11/25/2008

Finding my style part IV - Wardrobe Essentials

The next step on my path to finding my style is to make a list of items that I need in my wardrobe. I've been working on a list for quite some time now using Isaac Mizrahi's, Tim Gunn's, and Stacy London and Clinton Kelly's lists. Of course, their lists are for the modern working woman. My list needs to be adjusted for what the average SAHM woman needs.



This list I've also gone over with Missi, and both she and I consider these items to be the bare essentials to a SAHM wardrobe. I'm sure many of you have less than this list, and many of you think I'm missing some things. But this is just my opinion of what you need as building blocks to a perfectly stylish wardrobe. Of course, I love dresses, skirts, tights, and ruffles, but ultimately I do not NEED that as a SAHM...so again, this list does not include personal taste and style - it just includes what you NEED to be begin a stylish and put together wardrobe.



Also note, this list does not include jewelry essentials.

Here is what I've come up with:

Every SAHM should have:



  1. 4 pairs of jeans (1 short pair for flats in dark wash for running errands, 1 short pair for tennis shoes in light wash for playing soccer with your kids, 1 long pair/dark wash for pumps or wedges for dinner out, and 1 long trendy pair for that night out with the girls)

  2. 1 button down shirt in a neutral color to be worn alone, layered underneath sweaters, or accessorized with big necklaces and/or belts

  3. 3 camisoles for layering (2 white or cream and one black)

  4. For the summer, 3 tank tops (2 in your favorite colors and one in a neutral color)

  5. 2 well fitting short sleeve t-shirts in your favorite colors for wearing alone in the summer and layering in the winter

  6. 3 well fitting long sleeve t-shirts - 2 in your favorite colors, 1 in a neutral color (like white) to be layered or worn alone in the winter

  7. 1 denim pencil skirt with plenty of stretch so you can move around easily in it - perfect for MOPS meetings or lunch dates

  8. 1 pair of casual flats you can walk in or go to the park in (think a Skechers mary jane)

  9. 1 pair of colorful flats for those short dark wash jeans

  10. 1 pair of neutral wedges for those long jeans or skirt (wedges are a great alternative to a pump for the SAHM - you get the height of a pump, but the comfort and walkability of a flat)

  11. 3 cardigans (2 in your favorite colors, and one in a neutral) for layering in the winter, spring, and fall

  12. LBD - every woman, SAHM or otherwise, needs a little black dress. Perfect for funerals, weddings, church, or a date night - this dress should be seasonless, versatile, and fit superbly

  13. 1 pair of classic black pumps for that LBD

  14. 1 trendy/dressy top for those trendy jeans and that night out with the girls

  15. For the winter - 1 v-neck sweater

  16. For the summer - 1 pair of denim bermuda shorts and 1 pair of neutral colored bermudas

  17. A trench coat - a trench is the most versatile of all coats. You can wear it in the winter over layers for warmth, you can wear it for the rain with less underneath, just to protect you from the water, and you can wear it in the milder months of spring and fall to add a little extra warmth. It is also flattering on every figure and can be dressed up or down (perfect for a SAHM).

  18. A neutral colored belt that can be adjusted to a waist belt or worn low on the hips (through jean belt loops)

  19. Proper fitting and good quality lounge wear (for those days when you never leave the house - which can be quite frequent for SAHMs)

  20. 1 pair of tennis shoes for those tennis lessons or aerobic workouts)

  21. 1 neutral summer bag, large enough for diapers and wipes, small enough to not kill your back

  22. 1 neutral winter bag with same specification as seen in #18

  23. For the summer, sandals you can walk in

  24. For the winter, boots to wear over skinny jeans, or under skirts and dresses (my preference is the wedge knee-high boot)

Just a few shopping tips:



  • When shopping for this list, pick a color scheme that looks best on you and only buy things within that color scheme so your wardrobe will mix and match seamlessly.

  • Never make the mistake of buying something just because it's on sale (a lesson I'm still trying to learn) - always go for quality over quantity - as adults we aren't growing, so one good quality classic piece can last forever

  • Nevertheless, it doesn't hurt to search for coupons before you shop and pick stores that are having sales!

  • As SAHMs, we don't need to make extra trips to the drycleaners when we know our kids will be spilling on us and wiping their noses on us all day! Opt for fabrics that you can wash at home and do not need to be ironed frequently

  • To make your wardrobe as versatile as possible, choose fabrics and colors that are seasonless (sturdy knits and cottons, jersey, wool blends, etc.)

  • Create your own list of essentials. Complete the shopping for those essentials, and then (and only then) add to your wardrobe your own personal flair items (hats, scarves, fun dresses, and skirts, etc.)

  • If you get overwhelmed shopping in large department stores, pick one sub-department in that department store to narrow down your choices (i.e, just the petites section, or just the juniors section)

  • Bring a friend or spouse (someone whose opinion you appreicate) with you to get a second opinion on if the item really suits you

  • Don't try to shop for all these items at once! You are not on reality TV!

  • Remember to not buy anything that doesn't fit perfectly (no matter how cheap) unless you can get it altered, and it is worth the money it would take to alter it

  • Remember to buy clothes that accentuate the smallest part of your waist (whether that be under your bust, or right at your waist)

Feel free to add to make a comment of what you think should be added to Missi's and my "essential list" - or we'd love to get more shopping tips from you all as well!