Wardrobe Staples (the first of many posts)

Guess what I got to do this weekend? NOT wear a winter coat! What a magical experience, that time when you don’t have to bundle up for the first time in what seems like thirteen years.

And especially for my Illinois (and beyond Iowa) friends, I wanted to take some pictures around my new area (often referred to as the Cedar Valley) so you could see where I live. My husband and I ventured throughout downtown Waterloo, and it was his idea to take pictures by the guitar sculpture. Because I’m so rock and roll with my (cool) mom tote and getting to bed that night before 10. Oh, well…it’s fun to pretend! And don’t you love that date night includes taking blog pictures?

Side note: people in my area (NE Iowa) were cracking me up…Hey, it’s 45 degrees! Time for vests and tank tops! Whaatt…But I should tell you that I’m always cold, so I did practice the fine art of layering when we ventured out early Saturday evening.

More importantly than how I layered my tops, though, is the need to have basics to turn to for several purposes. I have thought (and thought and then thought some more) about writing “wardrobe staple” piece posts for months, and truth be told, I have refrained because building a wardrobe seems d a u n t i n g. It doesn’t seem daunting…it is daunting.
But at the same time, though, I am always interested to hear about what pieces other bloggers deem necessary for a typical wardrobe. So when I feel like a piece (or four) has stood the test of time in my closet and has worked for me in several instances, I will write a post. And here we are….POST ONE!

Wardrobe Basic 1: The structured but comfy jacket
Try to find a non-restricting jacket or blazer in a comfy material (and in a neutral color) that can be your go-to layering piece when you want to feel polished. No, a hoodie doesn’t count. When I say non-restricting, I mean the jacket should have a relaxed enough fit to where you would want to wear the piece again and again. 
Since I like an edgier vibe in my life, I chose this black asymmetrical zip-up moto sweatshirt hybrid (like that description?) from Target. It feels like a sweatshirt, but the structuring of the collar and the zipper make the piece seem more polished and interesting. 
I have seen some really soft, almost t-shirt material blazers out there that would work just as well. The point behind this piece is (again) versatility. I wore this over a tunic sweater and jeans for a casual date, but I have also paired it with a tee and leggings for a grocery shopping trip post- (or pre-) workout. 

Wardrobe Basic 2: Fun jeans that you will actually wear

Anyone can go to the store and buy a pair of basic jeans. Yes, the task can be morally defeating and mentally exhausting, but when it comes down to it, most of you probably don’t have too much trouble finding a basic jean. But notice I didn’t say basic – I said fun.
A fun jean, in my opinion, adds some sort of visual interest to an outfit, whether it be through detail or color of wash. But for women on a budget, the fun jean should be in a fit that you know works for your body type. I favor a skinny jean, so my “fun jeans” are skinnies with a good amount of destruction.
If you do like leggings/skinny jeans, may I recommend the American Eagle jegging? If you are an avid reader of this blog, you have seen me wear my two pair of them about 50 times (because I’ve written 51 posts to date…). I know I will probably solidify my old lady status right now, but they wash up well and keep their coloring and shape. They really do fit like a legging, though, so don’t freak out about the thinner material and fit. 
Step one to securing a fun jean is knowing what type of jean fit works best for your body type. Step two is just really browsing on your favorite stores’ websites, on Pinterest, etc., to really figure out what details work well with the tops you have and your overall style.

Wardrobe Basic 3: Interesting tote bag

I talked to you a few posts ago about why I have switched to a tote bag for most days of the week. (Click HERE  to read that post.) I like the tote bag because all of my mom supplies (snacks, extra clothes, boogie wipes, etc.) and my supplies fit into one bag – diaper bag, your services are no longer needed. I will also talk to you soon about how I transition quickly from a tote to a regular purse/crossbody bag. 
Choose a tote with visual interest, like in an unexpected color or one with fun detailing, like the studs on the one pictured above. 

Wardrobe Basic 4: Espadrilles 

I talked with you last week on the crazy amount of options you have when you own a pair of espadrilles. Short story: you can wear them with pretty much everything and still feel put together. Long story: read last week’s post. Click HERE to read it.
So there you have it…four wardrobe basics I think you should consider buying. I think these staples work for any woman, regardless of profession. Obviously, those women working in a business environment may not get away with jeans at work but will need a pair for weekends or weeknight adventures. And, my dear reader, if you are building a wardrobe, please take the following tips to heart…
1. Start slowly. 
A wardrobe is not built in a day. Do not go to Target or the mall or wherever with the mindset of I have to get it all today. My husband has the kids, so I have to get this done. No. No. No. You will purchase things you won’t ever wear or will be dissatisfied with.
Shop from home first. Locate pieces that you are interested in prior to shopping in the actual store. Take your time – it’s worth it.

2. Set goals (including budget goals) each month. 
To start and continue the process of wardrobe building slowly, you will need to set goals for yourself. What are your most dire needs right now? How much can you spend this month? Make a list on your phone of pieces you want for this month and pieces you will want in the next month so you never feel like you’re back at square one in each new month. Carve out a budget and stick with it. Get excited about the process, and by focusing on one month at a time, you won’t feel overwhelmed and cranky. At least about your wardrobe. That’s the only part I can help you with…

3. Think about overlap. 

Working moms especially, try to add pieces to your wardrobe that will work for casual occasions and for work. Let’s just take the example of shoes. Do we really need the 4-inch heels? Will I wear the 4-inch heels to work and on the weekends? If yes, go for it. If not, try to find something a bit more practical but still fun. Why not try a printed flat? No, I’m not telling you never to buy heels. Practical does not have to mean old or boring.

Are you still overwhelmed and need help? Let me help you!
I do work as an image consultant (in addition to my stay-at-home mom gig) and would love to help you find your personal style, determine which clothing silhouettes work well for your body type, find the right stores for you to shop in, help you build a wardrobe, and essentially feel GOOD about yourself!
Want to know more about the image consulting process? I offer several packages depending if you’re local or if you will need to consult with me online. You add what you want to each package! Email me at hllindenmeyer@gmail.com (two Ls in there), or message me via my blog’s Facebook page HERE!
Outfit details…
Target Women’s Side Zip Jacket (no longer available, but check the Mossimo line in store. They have similar styles.) || Free People sweater ||  Stella and Dot rebel pendant || Stella and Dot studs || Nine West tote || American Eagle jegging || Target espadrilles

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