Try buying a few essential pieces, not a bunch of randoms.

FASHION ADVICE time! Ladies, check this out!
(Don’t worry guys, I’ll get to you in another post.)

Here, you’ll find simple ways to make your wardrobe work for you. Choose a few simple, versatile pieces that are easy to pair with others. I went shopping recently for some “essential” pieces. Essential pieces can be worn may ways, with different tops, bottoms and colours. A top, pair of pants, cardigan and camisole are pieces this post focuses on.

Here’s some photos and reason why these items work:

Pants are flared, heathered (static) grey. Grey = better than black. Believe me! This business-casual style is great for meetings, or meeting up with friends. The flared leg is perfect for a variety of shoe styles from flats to boots, open or closed toed shoes. This style also flatters both an apple and a rectangle body shape. For “apples” it balances the heaviness up top with the flare at the foot and for “rectangles”, it gives straight, skinnier legs some oomph!

The top is sheer, has a ¾ sleeve and a drawn-on checkered print. Three-quarter sleeves are my favourite length. They don’t get dirty from rubbing against tables, you don’t have to roll up the sleeves, causing wrinkles and they’re never too long or too short. The sheer style makes it great for day or night. It’s not too crisp or clean to go from work to play.
Tuck it in when wearing alone with dress pants to avoid slouchy, tousled look.
Tuck it in with the cardigan too. Never pair two loose items when dressing up. (Loose tanks and loose cardigans are fine for a casual look.)
Use the belt! If tucking in isn’t your thing, grab the classic black leggings I know you have (brown and charcoal also work) switch out the dress pants, put the belt on at your natural waist (smallest part of your midsection) and voila!- an empire style that flatters every shape. Empire style accentuates a pear shape’s curves and creates curves to those who don’t have a defined shape. (Don’t cover up with a cardigan in this case, flaunt the figure!)

Cami is a darker shade of nude and is detailed with a lace trim. This keeps it from being too casual. If accessories aren’t your thing, the lace trim is an easy way to dress up an outfit. It adds a nice, girly touch that can be more badass in charcoal or black. Nude is very versatile and works well under white to avoid the blended, over-crisp look.

Cardigan is loose and open. This style is my favourite because I’m not a skilled seamstress. With this style I don’t need to worry about buttons falling off. Some cardigans come with attached belts and the belt loops are never the right height for a natural waist. The open style lets you shape it as you prefer. The colour is a bold maroon and perfect to pair with lighter summer tops that may cycle into your fall/winter outfits.

Scarf is ruffled to avoid plain styling. Adds volume. The purple brings colour up closer to the face and draws others to the colour in your eyes. Scarves are key when a favourite v-neck tee may be too low cut. Add a scarf in any situation for colour and balance.

Belt is dark brown and has gold clips. This adds colour and texture together without having to add multiple extra pieces. Match a necklace or ring to the belt for continuity. (Or go for a coral piece to accent, rather than complement). Belts are a cardigan’s best friend. This chocolate brown is best for all seasons. In the fall/winter, it helps you stay away from black and in spring/summer it contrasts with lighter pastels.

To mix and match, keep it simple.

Wear the pants : with ANY colour top. This grey is heathered with black and charcoal speckles. The medium grey colour of the pant material can match with both light and dark tones.

Wear the top: with solid bottoms. Try it tucked in with a pencil skirt for definition, or free slowing skirt to cover up. Try it un-tucked with a skinnier belt with skinny legged dress pants. (Remember, two flowy pieces don’t flatter.)

Wear the cami: under any top. There are variations of the nude shade. Try a lighter one for spring/summer to bounce off tanned skin and lighter shades. Wear a darker tone for winter/fall to avoid a harsh contrast with a darker colour palette.

Wear the cardigan: for comfort. If it feels like you need something to add to your outfit, especially with a less exciting black and white combination, this is an easy way to introduce colour.

Cardigan too warm? Swap for the scarf.

Not a fan of too many layers?

ADD simple accessories!

Ditch the cardigan or the scarf. Accessories can be plentiful if you want to load up on bracelets, or have a few rings, but one of each on each limb turns you into a jewelry stand. Make the accessories the stand-out.

A thin metallic chain necklace would complement the heathering in the pants as well as the base grey, black and white colours of the outfit. Keep it thin to match the stripes in the top. (Necklaces work great with solid tops as well. Adds some fun to an otherwise less-fun top!)

Try a chrome bracelet or cuff, or a bold ring to match the black in the pants and stripes in the top. It’s OK to accessorize with black. Looks great on everyone? That’s the problem! It’s ON EVERYONE. Keep a couple solid black tees, or a nice pair of straight leg black pants as solid pieces to ground an outfit. Don’t use it as your base, use it in your accessories, or in your makeup.

Final tip: shop sales. I bought all these items at the same store during a 40% off sale and saved $115. Shop smart, look smart.

-Enjoy the ride.


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