Seven Essentials

A long while back, the lovely Eleyna (who was MIA for a long time, but now she’s back–yay!) wrote a great post about her wardrobe essentials. When I commented that my clothing must-haves would probably be very different from everyone else’s, she asked what mine would be. Well, I hadn’t actually thought about it–so it was pretty silly of me to go ahead and decide that mine would be so unique.

Since then, I sat down with a pencil and pad of paper (during a very slow day at work) and started jotting down the wardrobe basics that my closet is hungry for.

Side Note: I’ve been coming to realize over the past year or so that I really hate pants. I’m serious. Dress slacks, in particular, make me nuts. But also jeans–uber-versatile though they may be. Of course, this hatred probably stems from the fact that I have never, not once in my life, owned a pair of pants that actually fits exactly like they’re supposed to. I know that after lots of work, I could probably learn to fit pants myself–but it’s hard to feel motivated to do so when I hate pants so much! Perhaps after time, that will pass. But for now, I’m all about the skirts! So, no, “a great pair of jeans” is not on my list. Not yet. This might be the main difference between my “7 Essentials” list and everyone else’s.

Second Side Note: For all the pictures, click the picture to be taken to the site where I found them. I tried to be all web savvy and trace the pictures back to their original sources. . . but I failed.

So, here are my Seven Essentials:

1. A navy blazer.

Casual, lightweight–more likely to be cotton than wool, I think. (No shoulder pads–I have linebacker shoulders and they don’t need any more oomph. Although, sleeve heads might be good.) Oooh, a navy cotton stretch sateen would be ideal! I’m thinking I could line the sleeves in a wee bit of silk and use blue and white striped bias binding to finish the rest. I want to be able to wear the blazer in warmer weather and I absolutely HATE to be hot.

I love this navy blazer from J. Crew (which they no longer make). It is pretty much perfect.

JCrew Maritime Blazer

2. A lightweight, cropped jacket.

When I think about this imaginary jacket, I think of the lightweight jackets my grandaddy used to wear–they weren’t cropped, of course, but that’s the fabric I think of. Windbreakers? Is that what I’m thinking of? It was water-resistant, but it wasn’t slick. It had a soft texture and sort of swished when you rubbed it between your fingers. Does anyone know what I’m talking about? I don’t even know where to begin to look!

Anyway–I want it to fall right to my waist, with a waistband that has a tab that snaps over the zipper at the hem. I have a crazy-pants idea for the shoulders (inspired by Luke Skywalker of all people!). As of now, I have not found any patterns that come anywhere close to what I want, so I may need to get creative. For color, navy or gray. Or I may get crazy and do a red or cranberry. Or yellow!

Now we're getting somewhere--zippy pockets, yes; Mandarin (ish?) collar, yes; shiny leather, nope.

This is pretty close to what I’m thinking–zippy pockets, yes; Mandarin (ish?) collar, yes; shiny leather, nope.

Now this I really like, except I really want a tab on the waistband. And I want it in that mystery fabric I was talking about.

Now this I really like, except I really want a tab on the waistband. And I want it in that mystery fabric I was talking about.

(Oh, if you want to see something fairly ridiculous, go here. I mean, really???)

3. The LBD

Do I even need to explain this one? I’m not talking a cocktail LBD; just something simple-chic that I could wear to nice dinner or work gatherings and such. Also, I think this is something I’d need at least two versions of: warm weather LBD and cold weather LBD.

When I Googled “Little Black Dress,” of course I was given sooooo many choices that I didn’t even know where to start. I’m still at a loss with this one, but I’m thinking maybe a sheath? Maybe a knit??

Now that I think about it, I used to have a really cute black knit dress that was super flattering and comfy but my sister stole it and after repeated requests for it to be returned it never was. I’m kind of annoyed about that. . .

4. The fitted white tee.

I have only owned one of these in my life years and years ago.. Of course, over time it became stained and I eventually outgrew it. Or lost it. Or my friend April stole it. . . But it’s time for another one of these to be back in my life. I need one thick enough that I don’t have to wear a cami (I can’t even begin to tell you how sick I am of wearing camis under things–bleh and bleh). And, having received some super helpful hints re: fabric on my last post, the only question left is v-neck or scoop? I’m leaning towards scoop. Not a crew neck. There are few things I hate more than crew necks (one of those few things is turtlenecks–I don’t enjoy being choked by my clothing).

5. The chambray shirt dress.

I can’t say what exactly put this in my head. Maybe it was Ina’s post on denim shirt dresses? Or maybe Eleyna got me thinking about it with her pearl snaps? Somebody somewhere has been talking about chambray shirt dresses, but I can’t remember quite where. . . Either way, this dress is happening.

But first, I have got to find a really great shirtdress pattern. I tried Simplicity 2246, and it’s a really cute little pattern, but those sleeves. . . I can’t even begin to tell you how over gathered sleeves I am (speaking of which, I really do need to tell you about the last time I tried that pattern–what a disaster!). I have a great idea in my head, but I’m not sure it will look right on my figure. It would with a belt, but I don’t want to have to wear a belt every time I wear the dress. I suppose I could use versions A or B. I don’t know.

I did a bit of research and found this drawing of a shirtdress. If I ever finish my sloper, it is conceivable that I could replicate this design, right?

6. The white button-up shirt.

One word: Archer. One more word: challis. Am I crazy?

Actually, the other day I was in line behind a girl at the grocery store and I absolutely loved her low-key yet chic look. She was wearing a coral/red button-up with the loveliest drape (was it challis??), simple denim shorts and the sort of comfy, flat sandals that I can’t find anywhere. She looked so breezy and pulled-together and I felt like such a bum (in comparison, and also because I really did look sort of like a vagrant) and I thought, “I want that to be my summer uniform. I need a button-up in every color.” (You can tell I feel passionately about this because of all the italics.) For variety I can switch out the shorts with the next item on my list:

7. The denim skirt.

I actually have the perfect denim skirt. I used to wear it All. The. Time. I still have it, and except for a button that needs to be replaced, it is in excellent condition. For a long time, I did not fit into this skirt. But, I kept it. I kept it thinking that one day I’d be able to wear it again. It really is a great skirt. Dark blue stretch denim with some great topstitching. I kept trying it on for months and months hoping that it wouldn’t be too tight.

Well, my friends, two weeks ago, on a whim, I pulled that skirt out and tried it on again. And guess what…

It finally fit! Almost just like it used to (actually, it used to be too big. The waist would move all over the place and the skirt would twist. I still loved it. Now it fits just like it should, I think).

But, this skirt is knee-length (I’m also So Over knee-length. I have spent a lifetime enduring dress codes which required knee-length or longer skirts and now I want to get all rebellious up in here!) and it is a nicer sort of denim skirt. I used to wear it to teach. So, do I shorten it and make it more casual? Or do I save it as-is for the very rare occasion when a semi-dressy denim skirt is in order?

Of course, if I save it, that means that I need to make a new casual denim skirt and I already have the perfect pattern in mind: The Grainline Moss Mini (except not the mini-mini version). I’m thinking a lighter denim–the sort that looks well-worn–with some classic gold top-stitching.

As I’ve been working out this list, I really have had warm weather in mind, but the great thing about being a Georgia gal (besides all my Southern charm), is that I can wear my warm weather clothes well into the autumn. It may actually be a good idea to come up with a separate cold weather list. Because there is nothing I love more than making lists (true story!).

Of course, now that I’m block obsessed, I probably won’t even begin any of these projects before fall. This is assuming that I conquer the sloper this summer.

Haha! How naive.

So, what do you think, lovelies? What are your essentials? Do you have an off-the-wall fashion love to admit? Go on–this is a safe space! You’re among friends. Spill!


11 thoughts on “Seven Essentials

  1. Classics, totally! I can see you getting a lot of wear out of a wardrobe like this and being able to pair everyone of those things with an item that ‘pops’ or is ‘trendy’ that you don’t have to spend as much on. My essentials are jeans. I wear them a lot. Not as much T-shirts, but more longer flowy tops. And, my off the wall fashion love is print and pattern! I am not afraid AT ALL of prints nor of mixing them together. So, if you get a little fidgety around non-solids, best have a drink before we got out. 🙂

    • You know, I don’t know if I actually own very many solids… I think that’s why my essentials list is full of them. So, prints and patterns? Not a problem! 😉

  2. I’m always trying to define my wardrobe essentials (in my case the goal is to have less garments and make dressing up faster in the morning). This is a great list and I stand by it, with 2 exceptions: the denim skirt (always try to crack it and it never works out for me) and the white shirt (the white classic shirt is a myth, it makes you look like a waiter or too polished unless you’re wearing some crazy bottoms. I prefer textured white shirts, or white shirts with a mandarine collar, or tiny lace appliques).

    • I do like a white button up–it all depends on how you wear it, I think.
      And I totally agree with you about a simpler but more versatile wardrobe. I feel like I have plenty of clothes, but nothing goes with anything else. I hope that adding some basics will help pull it all together.

  3. Ahhhhhh! How did I not see this post sooner? Thanks for the shout outs girly! You’re the best!

    I love your basics list! I especially love the look of the cropped leather jacket. LOVE!

    I love seeing what other people would put on their basics list. The little black dress is totally a good one. And the denim skirt, I would have never thought of. I think this is because I don’t wear dresses and skirts a lot – but I’m so so sorry you don’t have a good relationship with pants. Pants are my best friend because they keep my thighs separated 🙂 haha

    Can’t wait to see your pieces and the patterns you choose when you start sewing up your list!

    • Thanks, friend 🙂
      I, too, love basics lists–any kind of list really. I wish everyone would write one so I could read them all!
      Someday, pants and I might get along. But, for now, skirts and I are BFFs.
      As far as patterns go–man, some of these are going to be tricky! The cropped jacket, I think, is going to be quite a challenge to figure out.

      • Ooo yes, that’s ture, the cropped jacket might be a toughy! But I’ll be on the look-out for any patterns that might resemble those jackets that you posted.

  4. I did not steal any perfect white tshirts. I’m trying to think of anything I DID steal, but nothing is coming to mind (probably because I forgot it was yours!). Maybe I did end up with that one 3/4 length sleeve red gap sweater… I don’t remember.
    I’m into maxi dresses right now. I want to live in them. I’m gonna be that person who continues to wear them even after they go out of style because that’s what was in style when I was in my prime. Like all the women still sporting fluffy bangs twenty years out of date.
    And I realized you are spot on about pants! I have bought several pair of cute colored pants recently and I want to look super pulled together in my bright pants, but they fall down or ride up and cause me all sorts of anguish. But I do enjoy seeing them in the closet.

    • Oh, who cares who stole what–I probably don’t want to wear any of that crap anyways! Plus, that tee probably just died the slow death of the white shirt. It happens to them all.

      You know, I’ve always balked at wearing maxi dresses, but I might be coming around. I’ve been envisioning a simple black one with a hi-lo hem, but I can’t quite envision proper shoes to go with it. . .

      And, hey! I haven’t talked to you in a thousand years!

I'm done. Now, YOU can talk :)

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