Holding Me Together

Let’s talk staples.  I like the ones that go through the large stack of papers the first time you push down, but that’s just me.  The colored ones are fun too.  In high school, I had a physics teacher who would give you extra points on assignments if the staple was at a perfect 45 degree angle.  Oh… we’re not talking about those types of staples?  Right.  Carry on.

There are a few pieces in my wardrobe that I feel like most people have.  That’s probably why they are called staples; they hold everyone’s wardrobes together with a commonality.  My staples are well loved, and I probably have over-worn them throughout the years, leaving me in my boring clothing slump that inspired this here blog.  They are, however, still staples and, when used appropriately (i.e. not every single freakin’ day), can bring together an outfit to create a different mood.

The cut and color of each of the following staples is up to the wearer.  After all, I don’t care for clothes that are so large they look like I am trying to smuggle 18 cats under my sweater, but other people online seem to be all about the oversized look.  As someone who has struggled with self identity vs. clothing size, I’m going to go ahead and skip that one.  Regardless, to each person his/her own style.  The ideas, though, remain the same.

1.  Cardigans

Cardigans are my weakness.  I feel the need to have lots of cardigans in lots of different colors.  Ok, that’s not always true.  I think I have around four different styles of black cardigans.  Trust me, I use every single one.  A cardigan, though, can be used to transition clothing from day to night (throw a cardigan on for work and then shed it for the evening activities), from formal to casual (adding a plain one can tone down a sparkly shirt, a formal dress, etc.), and from inappropriate to appropriate (because I can’t be wearing skimpy little tank tops to work.  I don’t work at places like that).  You can get fancy with different cuts, colors, fabrics, and buttons.  Or you could be like me and only end up with a few colors and wear them over and over and over again.

2.  Jeans

Ahh jeans.  They are such a personal choice.  My sister, for example, likes wide leg jeans, but I like boot cut.  Then there’s curvy, boyfriend, distressed, acid rinse, dark rinse, bell bottoms, sailor cut… Skinny jeans seem to be all the rage these days, and I would like to be able to appreciate it if I could ever find a pair that (A) allowed me to get into them, (B) didn’t make my thighs look funny, and (C) allowed me to move… anywhere.  I just can’t get over how great they look with tall boots, though, so I am on the hunt.  Anyone have any great tips on where to look?

In my opinion, if a person likes jeans, it’s important to own a pair of dark rinse jeans (whatever cut you like) because of how they make everything else in the outfit pop.  It’s also important to have a pair that will be formal enough to be “going out” jeans versus “Hey, I’m here to help you clean out your attic” jeans.  Lastly, just make sure they cover your booty.  No one likes to see plumber crack.  Not even plumbers. Same thing with the muffin top.  You’re not fooling anyone with the wrong size ladies.  Ignore the number and go for fit.  That needs to become a mantra.

3.  Scarves

Living in Maine, scarves are more of a heat necessity that happily has become a mainstreamed fashion must-have.  Pashminas and silk scarves can be seen everywhere, though the first one will keep you much warmer.  Basic colors work best for starting a wardrobe collection because you can make them go with just about everything and they add a nice pop of color close to the face (thanks for the tip, “What Not to Wear!”), but animal prints have been huge this fall.  I intend to make one on my own (look for an upcoming scarf tutorial) so I don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on something I could do myself.  With all of the ways you can tie scarves, they are a super cute and easy way to add polish and warmth to an outfit.

4.  Boots

Boots are new to me.  Here in Maine, you owned a pair of boots so you didn’t lose your feet during the winter.  I honestly thought the idea of fashion boots was deranged.  Why would you pay money for boots that can’t be worn in the snow?  Well, fashionless-self, you get boots you can’t wear in the snow because there are three other seasons of the year!  I have since fallen hard for mid-calf, booties, and knee-high boots.  I bought a pair on Amazon (same as above) and LOVE them.  They are my go-to shoes, and I get compliments every time I wear them.  I am secretly hoping to get more boots for Christmas.  Yes, Virginia, there are boots not made for snow.

5.  Sneakers

Yes, they are basic, but come on.  This is a post about staples.  I live in my sneakers whenever I can workout after school, and I also have a pair of those toning sneakers that I found on sale.  The trick with sneakers is figuring out how you are going to use them the most.  Are you primarily a walker?  Get a walking sneaker.  Want to do some running or jogging?  Get a pair designed for that.  It will help cut down on aches and pains (but sorry, it won’t magically get you back into shape.  I know.  I’ve tried.).

6.  Black pumps

Shiny, matte, kitten heel, stiletto, whatever.  Go with your comfort level.  They will dress up anything and go with just about every occasion… but not running.  See the sneaker section above for that.

7.  White t-shirt

Not just your dad’s old white t-shirt, one that has some versatility (and preferably fewer stains).  It helps if the t-shirt isn’t too casual or too tight so you can pair it with tons of different styles.

8.  Flats

I love me some flats.  Working as a high school teacher without a room of her own, I run from one end of the school to the other to get to my classrooms, not to mention stand in one place for 30 minutes during lunch duty.  Flats are my friends.  I have a pair of patent leather flats that I love love love, and they have the ability to jazz up every outfit just a little.  I also have a pair of silver ones with big jewels.  Mmm jewels…

9.  Tights

Another cold weather yet stylish necessity, you can get tights or stockings almost anywhere.  They can keep your legs warm, add a bit of formality to an outfit, and definitely make an outfit more work appropriate.  Except for fishnets.  Stay away from those at work.  Like I said, I don’t work at a place like that.

10.  Undershirts

Gap makes some super comfy ribbed tanks that work great on me as undershirts.  I did the whole spaghetti strap tank thing for years, but with a chest like mine, the tanks always rode too low and the girls were a little too out there.  No bueno.  Ribbed tanks with bigger shoulder straps keep everything covered and are super easy to put under clothes.

So there you have it, the basics of what I am starting with.  I plan on doing a full documentation of what my basics are, but at this point, with Christmas coming and me needing to finish out (and survive) the final week before break at school, I figured I should just keep the clothes in the closet and document later.  Is that something you would even want to see?  Let me know in the comments.

What are your wardrobe staples?  Anything I should look for in mine?

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