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Wardrobe staples ... eight to consider

Linda Miller Modified: January 24, 2014 at 9:20 am •  Published: January 24, 2014
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This is the time of year I usually try to reevaluate what’s in my closet. What works, what doesn’t. What I need to add, what I need to remove.

I wrote a story on wardrobe staples last week for the Life & Style section in The Oklahoman. Designer Michael Kors and Cindi Shelby,owner of Ruth Meyers, shared what they think women should have in their closets, and you might be surprised at what made the list.

Cindi surprised me when she said white jeans, but just the other day I saw a woman in white jeans and a camel leather jacket and she looked amazing. So put together. And even though it was just mid-January, it seemed the perfect outfit.

Here’s the story if you missed it.

Style experts have been encouraging women for years to pad their closets with wardrobe staples, those items of clothing they can reach for again and again and mix up in a dozen different stylish ways.

But some of those once go-to essentials don’t make the cut anymore.

 “The new wardrobe staples have evolved as fashion has evolved and the way we all dress has evolved,” said Cindi Shelby, owner of Ruth Meyers boutique in Nichols Hills.

Shelby said a black suit always used to be considered a staple, but not so much anymore.

Instead, her list of basics includes a pair of black leggings and white jeans, along with the ever-classic khaki trench coat that has been cited as a wardrobe staple for decades.

A nude stiletto made designer Michael Kors’ list. It wasn’t that long ago that a black pump was the more expected choice.

Here are some wardrobe essentials that make sense for 2014. It’s a mix of classics and a few new pieces that work for most women’s lifestyles.

Black leggings. Yes, they’ve been around a while, but they’re versatile and can be styled casually with a sweater or dressed up with a long sequin tunic. Women of all ages and sizes have embraced the look, and no one can deny the comfort factor. Opt for a pair that doesn’t stretch out and is a bit thicker, Shelby suggests.

White shirt. Skip the stiff or bulky versions that add weight. Invest in a style with stretch and that has some shape, and maybe a little detail such as French cuffs. “A white cotton shirt can freshen up any jacket in your wardrobe,” Shelby said. “Pop up the collar and the white against the face brightens your skin and eyes.” Kors likes a white shirt to wear with fitted denim and heels for a look that’s easy and polished.

Navy V-neck sweater.Cashmere or cotton, it looks incredibly chic with a black skirt and pearls. Or wear it with black pants or white jeans. “It goes with everything and it’s just that effortless chic, Parisian kind of look,” Shelby said. Mixing black and navy is a French idea that dates back to Coco Chanel. “I’ve always kept that in mind and think it’s so cool.”

White jeans.  The rule or guideline of when to wear certain fabrics or colors has vastly changed. “Now there are no rules. You wear it when it works,” Shelby said. Printed blouses, navy sweaters, denim shirts and jackets all work with white jeans for a fresh and modern look.

Trench coat. Think Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”  It’s an iconic look that still makes a statement.  Kors likes a classic trench because it can go from the office to an evening out.

Little black dress.  Kors prefers a sleeveless shift. Shelby suggests one that transcends seasons and that can be appropriate for a cocktail party or a funeral. The key is the way it’s accessorized. Glam it up with glitzy earrings, a faux fur cape, sexy stilettos or an armful of bangles or let the dress stand on its own for more subdued outings. “Choose a simple black dress that you can wear again and again,” Shelby said.

Leather jacket. A great fitting, beautiful leather jacket is timeless and can be styled in dozens of ways. “It can go from the boardroom to a cocktail party to every day wear,” Shelby said. “I think everyone should have a wonderful leather jacket in their wardrobe.” Today’s leather is often lightweight, making it suitable for more than just the winter months. And if you want timeless appeal, choose a clean style without a lot of embellishment.

Nude stiletto. Kors likes nude heels because they elongate your legs, look good with dresses and pants in almost every color and can be worn any season.