WHat are your clothing staples?

tre3March 27, 2007

Let's all agree that MOST of us need/wear undergarments. Aside from those needs what do you consider essential as far as YOUR STYLE of clothing?

I buy and wear lots of white t shirts.

Is there an essential item missing from your wardrobe. The "If I only had...this outfit would work" item?

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black pants from Lands End.

This is what I wear, almost every day. Well, not every day, bcs I only own 3 pairs, and I wash them after each wear (I'd wear them twice, but I'm a klutz and there's always lunch on them).

And I wear solid-color dressy T-shirts or thin sweaters.

Sometimes, when I think I need to look more professional, I put on a scarf.

Every now and then I think I should (or would like to) wear a skirt and top, but I almost never do. I did once, about 1.5 months ago, and EVERYBODY commented!

I would like to own a dress, just to try what that's like to put on--one garment, off I go. But I'll wait until summer, when I can skip pantyhose. And, the reason I never buy a dress is bcs I have a hard time finding one that fits, since there are more factors to balance--in addition to the horizontal dimensions (chest, waist, hips), there's length of torso and hem length. Plus dresses pull at the sleeves more than T-shirts do.

I have really pared myself down to that black-pants-based uniform. Sometimes I think wistfully about dressing with more variety, But it's sort of like those "possibilities" I allow myself to merely dream about. When it comes right down to it, I know that I would simply bypass any dress or any suit, and just put on the black pants and grab a shirt.

I do have "if only"s though--I need shoes. One reason I don't wear skirts is that I don't actually have shoes to wear with them. I need brown pants shoes, new black skirt shoes, and maybe even brown skirt shoes.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 9:25AM
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khaki. My friends laugh at me. I have khaki shorts, skirts, skorts, capris, pants... and just about always have one of them on. But it makes packing for a trip so much easier! I like wear them with black, I think it's most flattering to me. But I'm not as predictable with the top colors.

I met a couple friends I hadn't seen more than a year for a girls' day. They both showed up in khaki capris as a joke to match me. Then laughed til they cried that they were right on the money!

But the black pants would be a good idea for me, too. My coffee spills wouldn't show, that's a problem for me.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 9:38AM
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Then laughed til they cried that they were right on the money!

isn't it nice that you could provide them with such amusement, in addition to the friendship, etc.?

Get a pair of black pants--freak everybody out!

Wear them w/ your black shirts, and people will say, "what, are you a NYer?"

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 10:07AM
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I LOVE jeans.

And in the summer, I top them with camp shirts. Winter sees me in all sorts of sweaters (except twin sets).

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 11:50AM
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This is a great question, something I'm always thinking about. My ideal staples are comfortable, loose-fitting pants and knit tops or sweaters. I prefer knits to wovens because they don't have to be ironed and they don't wrinkle. In the summer, I also sometimes wear simple dresses or flowing skirts with dressy T shirts or tank tops. I recently discovered a brand of chino pants that fit me very well and repel stains and wrinkles, so I bought four pairs (two black, one khaki green, one stone), and I find that I can wear these to work all week with different tops and dress the outfit up with a nice necklace. I only wear nylon stockings or pantyhose when I'm performing (I am a musician in my spare time).

I'm constantly looking for cardigans or jackets to wear with the above. I like plain blazer-style jackets, but these haven't been in the stores for the past year or so (what's with the short jackets over long tops?), so I've been wearing out the one I have left.

The search for shoes -- comfortable shoes -- never ends. I wear a size 11-12, and I'm always looking for shoes that are good for walking and also look decent. I wear walking shoes to work and keep a pair of flats under my desk to put on when I get there.

As far as colors go, I almost never buy anything white, because I immediately spill something on it, it gets dingy, and it's not the most flattering on me. I like black and deep or bright colors, not earth tones.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 12:34PM
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Lena M

Great thread!

The search for shoes -- comfortable shoes -- never ends.

Harriet, I hear you! I have wide feet, high arches, and heels that always seem to get bloodied up in new shoes. What works for me are Teva or Birkie sandals in the summer, cross-trainers or hiking boots for outside work, clogs or mules if I have to dress up somewhat, and I found a great pair of slip-on boots at LLBean for snow and slush.

Sometimes men's shoes fit better, they allow for wider feet.

Clothingwise I wear bluejeans or shorts, and grab whatever color fitted t-shirt is on top of the pile. I love freelancing!


Here is a link that might be useful: Comfy boots at LL Bean

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 1:47PM
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My teaching clothes were a basic uniform for me. Black, brown and navy pants, with a variety of solid bright tops. They are all gone now, but I still find I wear the same basic concepts.

I have found a style of stretch jeans at Just My Size. I buy five of them every year and get rid of the worn out ones. I still like to wear solid bright T-shirts, so I order several from either Land's End or Just My Size. I'm at the small end of their clothing, so I hope thay don't change their sizing.

I go through shoes quickly. I like to wear white tennis shoes most of the time, but I have the moc style slip ons for winter and I keep a nice pair of flats for those few times my casual shoes won't work. I also have two outfits for those times my jeans won't do.

My current "uniform" is very easy wash and wear. This cuts down on laundry hassles. It's just simple for me. Clothing was a lot of fun when I was a size 10. Now, at a 14 I'm happy with items that fit my lifestyle and are comfortable.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 1:57PM
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It seems that we all have a certain comfort level with a particular color, cut or style...almost a uniform. I think one of the reasons I gravitate to white tshirts is because I am a klutz. You can always bleach white. Darker colors tend to fade for me. I do confess to buying a couple of black tshirts every year for this reason. By the end of summer they just need to be tossed or turned into rags. One of the things that always seems to catch me up are those darned "possibilities" or feeling like I am stuck in a rut. Whenever I try to branch out, I find I am always choosing the same old thing anyway. I'm very attracted to prints but I don't like to wear them!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 2:01PM
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Lenam, how long are your feet? I 'm a size 8, and I find that KIDS size 7 is wide enough for my D-E-EE feet. Wider than my grown-up shoes sometimes! Of course, it can be hard to find a kids' size 7, but Lands End carries them. And catalogs can be useful, of course, for wide feet.

Whenever I try to branch out, I find I am always choosing the same old thing anyway.

I find this to be true as well, and I have decided to give myself permission to stay in my rut. If I feel a strong need to break out every now and then, I do it with something small--like going on a "scarves" kick, or a "new necklace every day" kick. I can't sustain those anyway, so they're a perfect sort of thing to have as the "out of the rut" type thing. Pretty soon I'm going to start looking for brightly colored belts for my black pants, and see if I can coordinate them w/ my shirts (contrast or same color, as long asa it looks good--or use a scarf as a belt, etc.)

I'm thinking I may be wild & crazy, and see if I can buy dark-green (loden) chinos for summer.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 2:10PM
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Lena M

Thanks Talley Sue for the shoe tips. I'm a big fan of Lands End for quality and price (plus I live close to a good returns/outlet store).

Wear them w/ your black shirts, and people will say, "what, are you a NYer?"

Black as the NYC look is right! Our Marshall-Field's Dept store was changed into a Macy*s - and folks around here found the saleshelp all dressed in sophisticated NY black very bizarre:
"Why lands sakes if it donÂt look like a funeral in there now hey, doncha know!"

How are our uniforms tempered by the culture of where we live?

Personally, I would be happiest with a Hawaiian wardrobe -- everybody really does wear outrageous and beautiful Hawaiian shirts on the Big Island.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 9:02PM
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Talley Sue, that's funny! I snorted my "caw-fee" right onto my kahki shorts! Black pants would freak them out.. .next time I'll get them!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 9:52PM
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Black pants and t shirts. I'd love to get a few dressier polyester blouses like I used to have years ago but the ones they sell now are usually not machine washable. I bought a machine washable one about ten years ago and one sleeve came apart the first time I washed it. A couple of years ago I splurged on a nice cotton/silk top from an environmentally friendly clothing store. I learned the hard way that the peculiar silk smell takes ages to wash out. I'm not adventurous any more. Poly or polycotton machine washable. I miss the person I used to be - well dressed and well organised.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 3:34AM
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Macbirch where did you go? What happened to change from well dressed and organized?
Here in the States we have cotton bouses that are wrinkle free. I have one and as long as I don't over dry it in the dryer it comes out looking pretty good.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 6:51AM
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I always have three pairs of jeans. The newest and best i wear for outings, look good paired with a blazer jacket. a slightly worn pair for around the house, and a grubby pair for heavy duty cleaning, painting,etc. I buy about one pair a year and rotate the other two down a notch.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 10:20AM
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I'm usually wearing a V-neck T-shirt, long or short sleeved depending on the weather. If the winter is cool enough I'll wear sweaters. I may wear shorts around the house, but normally wear long pants or capris if I'm going out. I love bright colors, so my tops tend to be bright and bottoms more neutral

I used to have a couple of great casual dresses that made dressing so easy, but that was a few pounds ago. My middle-aged spread has made dresses particularly hard to fit. The only one I've bought in the past few years was to wear to a wedding.

I have problem feet, so normally wear athletic shoes with custom orthotic inserts. For that wedding I went to a store called Foot Solutions and found a pair of black pumps that were so great I could actually dance in them! Considering the problems I've had with shoes, that was truly amazing. Last summer I tried to find a pair of Birkenstock type sandals there that would fit & give me enough support, but had no luck. I'll try again this summer.

Another great place for shoes is zappos.com They have some indication of fit & support of each style on their website. I did manage to find some sandals that I can do fairly well in from them, but they're still not something I can wear all day long.

Here is a link that might be useful: Foot Solutions website

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 4:35PM
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Comfy shoes - for work I wear Dansko professional clogs. At home, Keen shoes - they work for my fat feet! I love them. Lots of toe room, good arch support, and they accomadate my high instep.

My basics are knit pants, jeans, t-shirts, and cardigans. Nice ones for work, sloppier for around the house. My MIL often gives me gift certificates to Hanna Andersson and I think the quality of their clothes is excellent. (I by for dd there as well - though it's pricey, the clothes never wear out.)

We don't have much seasonal change here in San Francisco - any time of year the rule is "always bring a sweater."

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 4:47PM
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I realized I must wear too much black after one of my med students started calling me Johnny Cash.

Signiture is a bright vivid salmon pink pashmina (remember those?) I use as a scarf on my black (of course) coat. Comfy and warm in this climate.

DH sports a similar bright orange one.

Both of us frequently get compliments. Nothing like a dash of unexpected color here in the frozen tundra.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 10:56PM
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From feet up and when not at work - winter look: loafers and socks, jeans, Land's End cotton knit turtleneck, cardigan sweater.

summer look - tennis shoes/short white socks, shorts, cotton short sleeve shirt.

Usually the top half is the same for work, but I have to do dress slacks or skirts on the bottom half.

I try at all costs to avoid shirts that require ironing!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 5:43AM
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I have a lot of bicycling clothing since I bike to work almost every day and spend several hours each weekend day riding. Since I am at work in bicycling clothing before I get changed into office clothing, I like wearing "cycling skorts" which are basically bike shorts with a wrap skirt over them. That is more comfortable for me than walking around (even for just a few moments) at work in skin-hugging lycra-spandex. Though I'll do that too when necessary.

At work my "uniform" is usually khaki pants and an upscale ladies t-shirt, with some kind of cardigan since I'm usually mildly chilly sitting around with inside temperatures. A lot of my work clothes are from Lands End or LL Bean.

At home, during the summer (6 months of the year here in TX), I favor technical tees (plain ones) and long shorts. I have a hard time finding shorts as long as I want them -- I want them almost down to my knees. I prefer the technical quick-drying fabrics because I always seem to be getting wet either from sweat or from some activity. I like wearing Teva sandals with socks, which for some is a major fashion faux pas, but it works for me.

I also would like to get some more casual skorts for daily wear. I like several at Title 9. I like a lot of Title 9's clothing (though it isn't cheap)! They also have some of the best photography/marketing in the industry (in my modest opinion). I love that they show real active women in real activities and tell you a little bit about their models.

Jean Marie

    Bookmark   March 29, 2007 at 11:49AM
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For work, I usually wear black, brown, tan, navy, or gray pants. I wear various colored tops, jackets & sweaters. I normally buy polyester, microfiber, or a similar fabric that doesn't wrinkle. For meetings or other occasions when I need to be more dressed up, I wear the same pants, just with a dressier jacket. My shoes are neutrals, too - black, brown & navy. I do have a couple of pairs of bright sandals for summer.

At home, I wear yoga pants with a tee or sweatshirt. I'm very cold-natured, so I don't usually wear shorts, even in summer, since the A/C makes my legs cold.

I'm having trouble finding jeans that fit, so if I go somewhere during the weekend I just wear black pants & a simple tee.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 8:46PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I just feel the need for balance on this thread and my clothing needs will even it out. I need everything. Summer skirts in dressy, casual and in between. Spring jackets in spring colors. Autumn pants, winter scarves, September not yet cold but not summer colored clothes either...everything in each season coordinated with the right colors and no drab anything! No navy, grey, tan, beige, marroon, or all black outfits. Khaki is ok...I have one pair that is embroidered all over and has a scalloped hem, those are nice.
All my favorite jeans have embroidery somewhere. I must have 25 pair of jeans altogether. I love capris.

I need a handbag and shoes to go with each outfit but they can't match each other, of course. I need jewelry too..

When I walk in my closet I primarily see pinks, lavenders, greens, blues and reds. I love color!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2007 at 9:42PM
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Jeans, jeans, jeans. When I took early retirement, my friends asked me what I'd be doing and I said that I didn't know, but I'd be doing whatever in blue jeans. So, staples: jeans and flannel tops or older blouses to go with them, black, brown and navy trousers and good tops to go with them, a few pieces of simple good jewelry, good walking shoes, and low-heeled pumps. I never wear knits, as this old bod just can't take the clingy look any more.

My downfall is nightware. I love silk-polyester pajamas and have 15 pairs, plus 15-16 robes to wear over them. I wear them from when I retire to the den in the evening to read or watch TV and until late in the morning, unless I have to be somewhere. Am definitely part of the online pajama-brigade!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 3:47AM
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Loose cotton knit pants that fit like trousers in beige, navy, charcoal gray. Topped by long loose woven cotton tunic tops that cover all the sins that accumulate by age 59. "Big shirt", sometimes a shorter, dressier blouse under a knit cardigan (lands end's).
Must wear athletic style shoes for foot problems, so I find them now in tan, black, gray in addition to white.
Comfort is the byword. Clean & presentable; far from the clothes horse I used to be.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 7:24PM
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bumblebeez, I bet your closet is gorgeous!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 10:39PM
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bumblebeez, thank God SOMEONE is having fun with their clothes!

I sometimes regret that I've given that up. I don't think about my clothes, I just put them on. I'm content w/ that, but I know that I'm deliberately forgoing a certain pleasure.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 12:54PM
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So glad I'm still a member. Haven't posted in over a year, but this thread is near and dear. I love clothes, always have. Love organizing my closet. Wish I could make a living buying wardrobes for other people - that "What Not To Wear" show would be my dream job.
Anyways, if I had to pare down to the essential staples, I'd say I'd keep my tan suede skirt suit with both jackets - one is jean jacket style the other is more sophisticated, a pair of black wool straight leg pants- no pleats, my 2 pair of dark wash jeans, my one jean suit, my black wool long sleeve dress, my leopard suede blazer, all my pencil skirts, all my cashmere cash-blend sweaters, and my 5 1950's style dresses.
To the woman with size 11's - try Auditions.com, Masseys.com, Cowardshoes.com. Try Arthurberen if you've got money to spare - expensive but beautiful shoes in your size. I've got one pair of sandals from them that I've worn for 9 years now. The wide feet gal - try Cowardshoes and Footsmart.com. Looking for dresses over size 14 - TV shopping is your best friend. QVC labels - Nina Leonard, CitiKnits. HSN labels - Maggie Sweet, Carolyn Strauss, Slinkys. As a matter of fact, I think all plus size women should have a closet full of Slinkys and CitiKnits.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 3:15PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I wear size 11 shoes too...I gave up going into department store shoes years ago. After having a bunion removed because I squeezed my foot into pointy size 10's for years.

Nordstroms, Eddie Bauer, Zappos, and JJill are my main shoe stores now. And I'm 6' tall so I usually want relativly flat shoes.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 5:24PM
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I have to wear dress clothes 6 days a week, but I find myself using a black or a navy skirt, LOTS of colors of tank tops(summer) mock turtle necks(winter), and lots of print jackets in many colors...all with some navy or black in the print. A day or two a week I have to wear a suit, so I have a navy, a black and a dark brown suit that I can wear with different colored tops under the jackets. Unfortunately I wind up with TOO MANY clothes, but there really isn't anything I can do to solve the problem....and I wish Cube1067 lived next door....I NEED her!!!!!!!!!
And don't ask about shoes...I only have a few pair, but finding replacements is a horror story...one bad foot, narrow size, have to be low heels, but dress shoes YIKES!!!!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 5:25PM
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DD wears an 11 and has no trouble shopping in stores.
She is 6', and I am a bit shorter, and we both LOVE wearing heels!
Why do you want flats, bumblebeez???

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 6:37PM
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I wear Lands End All-Weather Mocs all winter. I find them on sale and have them in black, tan, grey, olive, and red. Those shoes are my biggest staple.

I wear jeans a lot, but if I'm home alone I'm more comfortable in something like Danskin knit pants. Shorts in the summer, but never if I leave the property. My legs have not improved with age.

In summer, I reluctantly put away my all-weather mocs and get out white leather sneakers, the plain kind that Hanes makes. Ratty old pair for gardening, nicer pair for shopping. And sandals if I'm wearing a skirt.

Turtlenecks in the winter and tees of various kinds in the summer. Lately I've been trying to pay more attention to colors that flatter me. I don't think too much about style, and sometimes wish I had a better sense of it.

This week I bought a too-small dress as an incentive for losing weight. I did this on a larger scale years ago, and it was helpful. But mostly I just couldn't resist this dress. It's black, with a beautiful drape, from Jones New York, originally $136, and I got it at Macy's on clearance for $16. Now all I need to lose is 10 pounds or so...


    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 10:41PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Probably because I am insecure! I do not like towering over those around me....and that includes my hubby who is a bit shorter than I am. My sister in law is my height also and wears heels all the time...our family looks like a reunion of amamzons when we get together but in my secret fantasies, I am petite.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 3:33PM
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jaybird, try BeautiFeel shoes. They have flat-ish dress shoes. I'm on my feel alot at work, and can wear them all day.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 8:12PM
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Jeans and cotton shirts. It works for my job as a preschool teacher and also as MOM. Lately I've had no desire to go clothes shopping. I've relied on my "uniform". Jeans and cotton shirts. As for shoes, they are limited because I'm experiencing pain in both big toes. I see a podiatrist in a couple of weeks. I'm now limited to 1 pair of white Keds and 1 pair of black Clark's. It's been really hard for me, because I love shoes.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 1:49AM
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Bumblebeez, I work very P/T at J.Jill! I wish we carried their shoes in our store. I own one pair that I love. I need to order more, since I get an employee discount.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 1:59AM
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