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10 Fashion Essentials Every Woman Should Own

by Caroline Paris

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We live in a world in which a new trend is set almost every hour of the day yet, few actually stand the test of time. In stark contrast, there are those pieces that despite having once started out as just a trend, come what may, they continue to linger, to stick around, always retaining their rightful place in the list of essentials in every woman’s wardrobe.

I’ve picked 10 items that are versatile, can be combined with anything and can be worn in multiple ways, over and over again. Some of these are seasonal, others can be used at any time of year. Without a doubt, investing in high-quality versions of these items will mean years of love and gratitude towards your investment.

The black coat

Unless you live on a tropical island, chances are that at some point throughout the year you will need to wear a coat. Whilst a variety of colours could work fabulously with the outfit you have decided to wear, I would take a guess that 9 times out of ten, black will work well if not best. Choosing a high-quality version made of pure or almost pure wool means that whatever the weather you’ll be warm and weatherproof. Long, straight cuts work best on taller, broader women, whilst flared out shapes that nip in at the waist will work well with curvier and petite women. I prefer shorter lengths on shorter women too, although the oversized style worn both by taller and shorter women has become a trend over the past few years.

The little black dress

It was Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s that initiated the black dress phenomenon. Since then, it has retained its right to prominence at every single after-hours event womankind has known. The tight-fitting, knee-length pencil skirt version is a chic classic that can work on practically all body shapes. For big-chested women ensure that the neckline is kept simple, while boat or scoop necklines should be avoided. Shorter versions of the classic black dress look lovely worn both with black tights or bare legs, however, mini-length versions paired with bare legs tend to work best on toned legs.

Pointed black heels

The pointed shoe has a place in fashion history since it was considered a noble style, worn by the medieval French nobility. The pointed shoe elongates the foot and leg and is considered a sexier shape most especially when paired with a high stiletto heel. Whilst some people may prefer round or even squared-toed shoes, the pointed version is perhaps the only shape that may be worn with both a pair of jeans and an elegant outfit. On the other hand, a round-toed shoe does not hold the same style and formal power as the pointed one. I’m picking black as the essential colour because considering that black is not a colour as such, it goes well with anything, while there isn’t really a colour it will clash with.

Diamond stud earrings

In my opinion, the only fundamental piece of jewellery a woman must own is a good pair of earrings. You can never go wrong with a pair of diamond studs. Real diamonds will, of course, lend the greatest amount of dazzle but you can easily go for a pair of crystals or zircons which will still generate a similar effect. There is truly no outfit that won’t look good with a pair of diamond stud earrings.

Faux fur coat

A faux fur coat is perhaps the second most important winter item. There is a variety of options that will serve as a great investment, be it white fur, black fur, animal print fur or something else. I favour fur coats that are thick and voluminous and evoke memories of Marlyn Monroe swaddled in a long, white fur coat. I truly love white fur and there’s something almost magical about wearing white in winter.

A black classic handbag

When it comes to handbags, I will be the first to admit to suffering from an addiction, since I own more than one handbag. However, it’s also pretty factual that the one that gets used the most is my classic, rectangular, medium-sized, leather, black bag with gold hardware details. The second most-used item is probably a black bucket bag. A good handbag is so fundamental because it can completely elevate your outfit and make it look smarter as though you’ve put a certain amount of effort (and perhaps money) into it. Pricier handbags tend to look more the part but you can find many high-quality options at lower price points too. Look for even stitching, polished hardware and keep the frills and embellishments at a minimum.

A silk scarf

Some people associate silk scarves with their mothers, others with Grace Kelly. Yet, a silk scarf is one of those items that can instantly transform an outfit into something entirely different. Wear it around your neck, on your head, on your handbag - a hundred and one different ways.

A good bra

This is probably the most overlooked item in this list. The majority of women even at an older age are still not sure what their correct bra size is or which bra style should be worn with which garments. The biggest favour you can do for both yourself and your wardrobe is to book an appointment at a good professional bra fitting service and invest in a seamless skin colour bra (or as close to your skin colour as possible). This will ensure that there are no telltale lines visible under clothes. Buy some seamless underwear too whilst you’re at it.

A good pair of sunglasses

Do you know how many things you can hide behind a pair of shades? Broken hearts, dark circles, remnants of yesterday’s makeup all fade away into obliteration behind those shades that hide those windows to your soul. Here, you have quite the choice - select something inconspicuous that simply blends into your face without drawing attention or go for one of the classic cat-eye shapes that demand to be noticed.

Red lipstick

Whenever I hear the words ‘red lipstick doesn’t suit me’, my heart skips a beat. Red lips have been coveted for years and with good reason. The allure and power of a red lip perfectly outlined and perfectly applied is unparalleled. There are many versions of red and nowadays there truly is a red lipstick for all complexions. The important thing to remember is that you must outline it well with a matching lip liner, otherwise, it might bleed all over your face and you’ll end up looking like a hot mess.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of essentials, but simply my top ten picks. There are many more items I can think of such as a pair of straight leg jeans, flat boots and a big shopper bag that can hold everything. However, my dinner is calling and the rest of the list will have to wait until Part 2.

Looking to update your wardrobe after reading the tips above? Visit one of these women's clothing stores and these boutiques

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Caroline Paris
About Caroline Paris

Caroline is a fashion stylist and writer from Malta, she launched her fashion blog and lifestyle platform in 2011, always with fashion at the forefront of all her endeavours.

Over the years, Caroline has continued to develop her styling career and was awarded the Malta Fashion Awards – Best Fashion Stylist Award three times (the max this award can be achieved) – in 2013, 2015, 2016. She has worked as fashion stylist on many different campaigns and publications including Style Magazine, Sunday Circle Magazine, Venere TV Series, il-Klikka TV Series and Malta Fashion Week. 

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