If you’ve gotten caught up in the Konmari craze and are keeping only the wardrobe pieces that “spark joy,” you either have a highly curated, wearable wardrobe of things you love…or possibly a lot of gaps in closet essentials.
If the latter, or if you just want to freshen up what you have, here’s what I tell my clients: replace what you recycled with something similar but of higher quality. And your best investment is something classic. Classics may not always spark joy, but they can make us feel very pulled together on a moment’s notice.
Here are some closet essentials for the woman over (or nearing) 50, that offer longevity and wearability through timeless design.
One great blazer or jacket can complete many looks. It’s just smart to buy it as part of a suit. Grab one for the office, one for the weekend & casual days, and one for evenings out-for work or for play!
The simple classic pant has gotten a style upgrade with a bit of flare. It’s flattering on just about every body shape because it makes you look slender and as if you have legs for miles. If that’s too trendy for you, a narrower ankle pant will never go out of style.
One perfect pair of jeans is a new “classic”. Plus, modern-day denim comes is such a beautiful array of colors, they’re practically trousers! You’ll likely want to look for pairs with stretch, a higher rise in a variety of lengths and cuts. ‘Boyfriend’ and ‘Girlfriend’ cuts are roomy and hide many flaws. Skinny jeans show no sign of dying out, so that’s always a safe bet. Wider legs, bootcuts and their related straight-leg cousins are really having a moment trying to replace the skinny jean trend! “Rigid Denim’, or denim with no stretch, has made a comeback recently. We also have a full list of the best denim for older women here.
Every wardrobe needs a simple white, or nearly white, blouse. From there, expand your search to embellished blouses. A crisp blouse accommodates so many wardrobe options-from the office, to dressed-down denim and booties. They’re also great layered under sweaters! Linen is a great option, with rolled sleeves, for casual days in warmer months.
High quality classic shoes will go the distance: a pump, a sling back, or an embellished flat are the most popular, and comfortable for mature women. Shoes wear out faster than most wardrobe items so keep them polished, cleaned and re-soled. The styles below will be the perfect pair for everything from date night to lunch with the ladies. We have a full list of the shoes we love here.
A small handbag collection will serve all your needs: a crossbody, a clutch, a tote and one great every day bag. These don’t have to be in your neutrals, but beige is THE power color this season, and neutrals will be timeless. A top-handle, tote, and hobo bag are the most elegant and classic shapes. Learn more about handbag styles here.
Style mavens have at least one good piece of jewelry that sets their “brand.” If you don’t know where to start, pearls, a statement necklace, or gold or silver bangles are very versatile. Pearls, specifically, have come out of their standard “old lady” arrangement and are being used on jewelry for all ages, in the perfect blend of classic and modern design.
And then, make sure you have one great dress. The Little Black Dress is a must. It should have as simple lines as possible so that you can wear it with a long coat in the winter, a trendier jacket in the spring, a scarf or shawl in the summer (for air conditioned rooms) or with a fabulous piece of jewelry. The key is perfect fit. It should skim the body without being overtly sexy. The classy construction will speak for itself…and for you. Sometimes less is more.