no brainer wardrobe :: day 11 the staples

The Staples (Slightly Less Important than The Essentials!)

Once you have your ESSENTIALS figured out and ready to go, you are ready to start adding to your wardrobe.  This is where the “staples” come in.  These are the items that add a bit of zest or spice to your outfits.  These pieces have slightly more flair or style than the pieces in your ESSENTIALS.  You’ll notice, you can still layer these pieces and you can certainly adapt any piece to your personal style.  I would update your STAPLES maybe once every year or two.  It doesn’t mean you have to chuck the whole set; it just means that since the items are trendier than the ESSENTIALS that you should reevaluate more often.

What’s Included

One Little Black (or Brown or Navy) Dress–This one is a sweater dress with a boatneck.  I love a good boatneck.  :)

The Chambray Button Down Shirt–This is perfect for layering.  You could swap out a gingham shirt or another print, if you wanted.  Try to keep it neutral or a color family you wear a lot.  I also really like light blue oxford shirts.  You can find them all the time while thrifting!

Black (or Brown or Navy) Maxi Skirt–Maxi skirts are trendy and comfy and cheap.

Cowl Neck Short Sleeve Sweater–This is my favorite piece of the fall and winter.  You can get this one fairly cheap at Old Navy.  Wait for a coupon code (I’ll post them on the Facebook Page as I see them) for an even better deal.

Bold Graphic Blouse–One item that really stands out and gets noticed!

Long Sleeved Tee–Choose a neutral that you wear often.

A Blouse with Ruffles–Ruffles are a quick way to feel put together quickly.  I chose a slightly punchier color than the rest of the group.

Paper Bag Skirt–This look was seen all over the retail marketplace throughout the summer and into the fall/winter season.  You could choose a neutral or pick a brighter color for more punch.

Black Tights–I feel pretty strongly that these should be black and completely opaque for the most modern look.

Wide Belt and Skinny Belt

Sneakers (not running shoes)

Nude Pumps

Black Booties (could even be a very short wedge heel)

Questions (for You and for Me)

Okay, first…anything on here that you just can’t get behind?  Do you have a lot of this stuff already?  Did you know that each piece from yesterday’s group (except the sneakers and nude pumps) were sourced from Old Navy?  I wanted to make sure that the pieces were extremely accessible and no one piece was unattainable on it’s own.  Sure, it might be out of reach to go and buy everything, that’s not the goal.  However, you might be able to pick a piece or two that would really make you feel great.

Now, I need to address a few things.  Stripes.  Horizontal stripes.  There seems to be a fear of this perfectly lovely pattern.  I dare you to splurge $8 on a striped t-shirt and see how you feel.  You might just wear it under a blazer, barely poking out.

As Anne, a lovely commenter mentioned in yesterday’s post, said, “For example, I can’t do wide stripes (probably not vertical either?), but I could do, say, a navy shirt with smaller white or cream stripes with a v-neck to break up the stripes.”  See, she is taking the ideas and making them her own.  I’ll prove to you how awesome stripes can be on all body types in a later post.

Also, boots.  We’ll be doing a post simply on boots.  Fear not and be patient.  :)  And, I know that today’s shoes won’t be for everyone.  No worries, simply pick and choose what you like and then fill the rest in with what you already have.

Here is a bold statement.  I don’t think anyone needs more than 5-10 pairs of shoes.  Hate me?

Previous posts in 31 Days to a No Brainer Wardrobe: day 1 a manifesto, day 2 the plan, day 3 defining your style, day 4 picking out pieces, day 5 for all women, day 6 purging your closet, day 7 where to donate, day 8 ask away, day 9, and day 10 the essentials.

 

71 Comments

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Amanda

    I am LOVING this series! And nope, I don’t hate you; I agree! I used to have a tonne of shoes. I was a shoe-addict. I still have a lot of shoes, but there are only about 6 pairs that get worn with any regularity.

    • Reply October 11, 2011

      Tiny Twig

      Thanks for not hating me. It stinks to be hated early in the morning. :)

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    ellen

    what i love about this series is that it’s giving me some intentionality as i think about shopping. i used to have a bad habit of running out and just buying something, anything. no matter if i didn’t love it or it wasn’t right for me.

    i’ve been working on that for a while now but i love that you’ve taken this so much further and made it so fun and simple.

    :).

    • Reply October 11, 2011

      Tiny Twig

      can’t wait to see you sooooooooo soon! and, i’ve been there with the “throw something in the Target cart because i’m there and it was such.an.ordeal.getting.there!”

      • Reply October 11, 2011

        ellen

        oh, i can’t wait. i’m a bit nervous about everyone else but so glad to get to see you, tracey, nester, et al.

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Sallie

    I have exactly 10 pairs of shoes, so I agree with you! However, I have had a VERY hard time finding nude pumps, which I’ve been looking for since Spring! Any suggestions–within a reasonable budget, of course? I agree with Ellen, that this series is helping to narrow the focus when it comes to shopping. And I like your breakdown of essentials, staples, etc.–it’s more flexible and more comprehensive than lists I’ve seen elsewhere. You’re doing a great job, and this is really fun! Thank you!

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Audrey

    AGREE about the shoes. I have about 40 pairs since my feet haven’t grown since high school, and believe you me, thanks to this series, I’m purging.

    Thinking of putting together a clothing swap within my church community of women– excited!

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Audrey

    Sallie– Target has some really cute nude pumps right now. And I think they’re like $20.

    • Reply October 11, 2011

      Tiny Twig

      Ooooh! That’s good to know. I must go check them out.

    • Reply October 12, 2011

      Sallie

      Thanks, Audrey! I’ll go take a look!

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Caitlin

    I am really enjoying this series. I’ve already added several new things to my list (if only I had some shopping money!)
    But I do disagree about the shoes. I have at least 9 pairs that get worn very regularly, at least in their season (boots & flipflops). But I do have several pairs of shoes that don’t get worn much, so I would say that you need about 10-15 pairs of shoes.
    I also wanted to mention that your site doesn’t seem to work with my google reader, and I was wondering if you knew of a solution for that.

    • Reply October 11, 2011

      Tiny Twig

      Okay, then maybe we can settle on 10 pairs? ;)

      And, I’ll email you about the google reader issue.

      • Reply August 2, 2012

        Emily Koch

        I found this comment on a google search to figure out why I cannot add this blog to my google reader…..it keeps giving me an error. If you know a way around this, could you email me too? I discovered your blog through the big raffle giveaway a few weeks ago and LOVE it. Want to subscribe! Thanks. :)

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Amy

    Love your information and am looking forward to the rest of the series!! Another request: pants. Do you have advice on finding good quality pants that are shaped for women who’ve had babies? Low-waisted pants don’t do me any favors, and that’s all I’m finding at places like Target, Loft, well – most places, really. Anxious to hear more!

    • Reply October 11, 2011

      Tiny Twig

      Actually, a lot of places are coming out with “high rise” options that don’t look like mom jeans. :) I’ll do some looking and get back with you.

      • Reply October 11, 2011

        Anne

        Thank you for looking! I’ll be on the watch for what you find. Now, I know why I should want high-rise pants. The muffin top seems more prominent this time around! LOL!

        It’s that or fake Spanx. :)

        • Reply October 12, 2011

          Kelley

          I have heard there is a line that JCPenney carries that are “shaper” jeans that have a slightly higher, but still not “natural waist” rise (which to me is better so you don’t have the awful “pouch” from mom jeans!) I haven’t been able to try them yet, but my sister in law swears by them. Just enough stretch, comfy, and pretty affordable is what I’m told. :)

    • Reply October 11, 2011

      Janice

      Amy, if you have a Kohl’s I find they have a variety of rises. And for jeans, Lee Riders also does, if you like them.

    • Reply October 11, 2011

      Kristin

      If you are looking specifically for jeans, Old Navy has several different named styles. The Flirt and The Diva are a lower cut, but The Sweetheart is wider in the hips and higher (but not unfashionably high) in the waist. I have had 5 babies and have naturally wide hips anyway and I love The Sweetheart jeans!!

    • Reply October 11, 2011

      danielle

      https://www.pzijeans.com/

      I have several pairs from PZI, and I can say with confidence, having just had my third baby June 30th, they will work for women who have had babies! Mine I purchased pre-pregnancy, and I’m back into one of the pairs, not quite into the other yet.

    • Reply October 11, 2011

      Kristin @ Studio Z Art

      I really like Levi’s for a little higher rise. I don’t have babies but I have a wide caboose with a little waist and they are the only kind I can wear that don’t have a HUGE gap in the back. They’ve just redone their sizing a little too, and the new curvy style is great!

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Karen

    Yay…skirts! I practically live in skirts because I feel like they hide a multitude of problems and give me a little confidence boost. My shape is what I call “short and stubby”, so I don’t know if I could do a maxi skirt, but I love the thought of it. It looks sooo comfy!

    • Reply October 11, 2011

      Tiny Twig

      Short and stubby??! Would you tell your best friend that she is short and stubby? No? Well, then be sweet to yourself, too. :) And, I think you could do the maxi skirt–lots of shorties are sporting them these days. Give it a try, you might find that you get that familiar confidence boost that you get with skirts. xo.

      • Reply October 11, 2011

        Karen

        You’re right~I need to be sweeter to myself. So, tomorrow I just might go out and try on a maxi-skirt! Thanks for the encouragement!

        • Reply October 12, 2011

          Kelley

          I’m 5’1″ and I rock the maxi skirt all the time. ;) Makes me feel cute and better about my body that’s had 4 babies. :D

          • October 17, 2011

            Karen

            I admit to being wrong…I found a dark grey maxi skirt at Target today that is just the right length. I really liked it in the dressing room, so I hope it will become one of my go-to pieces. Thanks, ladies! :)

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Kristin

    Hello! Visiting from 31 Days, and I loved reading your series so far today! The 5-10 pair of shoes statement was a hard one for me…shoes are my “thing” (I guess I see it as more of a collection than a necessity though). Was thrilled to see most of the pieces in your essential AND your staples already in my wardrobe. With the exception of the bright pieces – maybe I need a little more punch in my clothes life? Anyway, can’t wait for the rest of the series! Keep up the good work!

    • Reply October 11, 2011

      Tiny Twig

      hey! if it’s your thing…and you love them…then don’t let me take that away from you. :) all my words are suggestions, not demands. and, I would bet that you have 5-10 pairs that you wear most often, anyway. :)

      also, i think a few punchy pieces can really make you excited to get dressed.

    • Reply October 11, 2011

      Kristin @ Studio Z Art

      Hey, we share a name and a love of SHOES! And I’m the exact same way about colored pieces (and patterns, including stripes, I never buy patterns for some reason) too! But I figure I can wear my tan and brown outfit but throw on my bright orange shoes and hat and there’s my color. =)

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Janice

    Hi Hayley, it’s me, size 16 grandma (haha!) and I’m excited. I have to admit yesterday I was lost with the essentials because most of my time is wasted searching for something to wear to work (in an office) and the tees and jeans didn’t seem to fix that. Today it makes much more sense. I see that I can step up the essentials a notch (trousers instead of jeans, etc), add staples and voila = a work wardrobe too.

    Hey, I found a very subtle thin green stripe I’m going to try (peeking out from a jacket of course :) It was thrifted, so no loss if it doesn’t work.

    **Thanks also for changing the font on this comment box. It’s much easier to read and type!

    • Reply October 11, 2011

      Tiny Twig

      Good work, Janice! I’m excited about that striped shirt. If there is something I can get behind in life…it’s stripes. :)

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Jessica

    I’m getting so excited about this series! Every night I find myself wanting to go through my closet tweaking and perfecting. I’ve already sorted out sooo many different things that I’m not wearing right now and it’s freed space in my closet and in my mind! When I go to choose something to wear, I feel confident that what I choose will look good on me because I’ve already made that decision by leaving it in my closet. Keep up the good work! Can’t wait to read more!

    One more thing: about the nude pumps. I love heels, especially since they come in all kinds of creative styles and colors but I find them very hard to wear. I’m a flip flop kind of girl and my feet aren’t used to being stuck in heels for hours on end. What’s your suggestion? Should I try to train myself to wear them, or is there an alternative for people like me?

    • Reply October 11, 2011

      Tiny Twig

      LOVE THIS: “When I go to choose something to wear, I feel confident that what I choose will look good on me because I’ve already made that decision by leaving it in my closet.”

      And, about heels. Maybe a shorter wedge would work? Or, just wear them when you are going to be in them for short periods of time…and maybe look into some of the cool insoles that supposedly make them more comfy.

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Ellen S.

    I am SO with you on the shoes and you want to know the reasons why I only have a few pairs? (1) A whole lot less shoes to have lying about/tripping over and (2) A whole lot easier to grab a pair and run when the selection isn’t huge.

    • Reply October 11, 2011

      Tiny Twig

      that is the main reason my boys only have 1 pair of shoes at a time! :)

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Tamara

    I love this series! I had been thinking of overhauling my wardrobe, there are so many things in there that I never wear and way too many t shirts. This series is so helpful, can’t wait to see the professional wardrobe post. I need help there too.

    • Reply October 11, 2011

      Tiny Twig

      oh yeah–get rid of the stuff that you never wear. those are the easiest to start with! it will help clear things up and make it easier to see what you DO wear. xo.

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Laura

    I am afraid any kind of pleated skirt (like the paper bag skirt) doesn’t look good on me. It just makes me look bigger. I’d go for a pencil skirt instead.

    • Reply October 11, 2011

      Tiny Twig

      While I am sure you could pull off a paper bag skirt, I think a pencil skirt is a GREAT idea! I love how you looked at the piece, evaluated your body and style, and then thought of an alternative. Good work, lady!!

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Ashley Ez

    I’m with Janice. The Essentials yesterday really through me off. I don’t usually wear sneakers or jeans. But I like her idea of substituting trousers (although I don’t really those either)

    And I love the tights, officially running out to target to buy several pairs of opaque tights. Love the nude pumps too!

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Liz

    Shoes are absolutely my vice and that is the one area of my wardrobe that hasn’t been purged in years. Sigh. I don’t want to, but I know I need to!!! Sad day. :*(

    • Reply October 11, 2011

      Tiny Twig

      shoes have changed a lot in style in the last several years–so i’m sure you wouldn’t be too sad to see some of them go. if you just get rid of a few at a time, maybe it won’t seem so harsh! :)

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Libby

    I will definitely be getting different shoes… I do not wear heels. I don’t find them practical now that I have a kid… EVER!

    • Reply October 11, 2011

      Tiny Twig

      I certainly don’t wear heels around the house (although, Husband would LOVE that!). I don’t really wear them to playgroups/playdates either. However, I do like to throw on a pair of heels sometimes when I am going to be with mostly adults. No worries if heels aren’t your thing, but don’t feel like just because you are a mom that you have to give them up. :)

      • Reply October 12, 2011

        Libby

        Oh I am really not giving them up. I never really wore them before anyways… but now I wouldn’t ever wear them because I almost alway fall flat on my face!

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Elizabeth

    I’m loving your 31 days series! I just bought the maxi skirt pictured at Old Navy recently but have not worn it yet because I can’t figure out what to pair it with. I’m looking forward to more of your posts! Thanks!

    • Reply October 11, 2011

      Tiny Twig

      I would really like it with a structured button down and something layered on top of that, the cowl-neck sweater, another sweater, or maybe a jacket/vest. Check out my Pinterest Wardrobe board…I have lots of Maxi skirts pinned on there. :)

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Nikki L

    Hayley, This is such a fun series to read! I am a girl that LOVES clothes and putting an outfit together. You always have a way of looking good and casual at the same time. Love the nude pumps but what do they really look good with? I usually don’t wear dresses much in the winter.

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Jaima

    Loving your series! Found you through The Nester’s link up, and my, what a gorgeous site you have!!!

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Chris

    This series is great so far. Love how you’re breaking this down into manageable parts because evaluating a wardrobe is exhausting otherwise. I confess I am in the “i love shoes” group, but I think I gravitate toward accessories, shoes included, to add zing to the many solid colors in my wardrobe. Maybe I can learn from your series how to better integrate patterns that are versatile and will get multiple uses.

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Aimee

    Very good point about the stripes – I will consider buying a striped tee now!

    Yes, I’ll be passing on the nude pumps. I just don’t like the look at all. (Plus, I wear heals, what? twice a year?) I have a pair of black strappy heels, and a pair of gunmetal strappy heels, and between the two, they go with almost anything. So…I’ll make gunmetal my nude! :)

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    HopefulLeigh

    Love these staples! How about 5-10 pairs of shoes per season? Flip flops and peep-toe wedges in the summer, flats and boots in the winter.

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Scooper

    Great, great advice. You’ve inspired me.

    I’m doing a 31 Days of Real and it’s about all sorts of things, from real motherhood to real marriage and lots of {real} miscellany in between. Today and tomorrow I’m talking about real moms and our wardrobe dilemmas. I’ve linked to you both days,

    Keep up the good work!

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    Erin

    I just found this series today and I read every post and I am so inspired. Think my husband would mind if instead of going to bed tonight I cleaned out the closet in our bedroom? ;)

    Anyway, I do have a question– I have BIG feet. I’m talking 11W. And I’m tall. I’m only an inch or so shorter than my husband. So I wear flats. Always flats. I would love to buy a pair of boots, but it seems like they either are 1) flats that only go up to size 10, 2) my size but with a 4″ heel that I can’t and won’t wear, or 3) the perfect boots but costing about 10x what I can afford. I just don’t have a big budget for things like that. Pretty much everything I own comes from the thrift store.

    So if you or one of your readers were to find me a pair of rocking brown boots, flats, available in an 11W, for $50 or under, I might just KISS YOU. Or not. If that creeps you out. :)

  • Reply October 11, 2011

    tlswank

    Love the essentials and the staples. Don’t agree about needing nude pumps or black booties, but I’m not a heels kind of girl. I recently got nude peep-toe flats that work for me. And I choose black boots or black flats instead. I’d have quite a hard time cutting my shoes down to only 10 pairs! This series is great. I will definitely be re-evaluating my wardrobe and purging some of it!

    • Reply October 12, 2011

      Tiny Twig

      yes, pick and chose what is YOU. :)

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    Kate

    I’m still loving your 31 Days! :) Out of both the essentials and the staples the only thing I’m not sure I can bring myself to wear is the Maxi Skirt. Possibly the ankle booties, but I’ve been thinking about those for so long that they’re finally starting to grow on me!

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    Carol H.

    I have a couple of questions:
    — a maxi skirt means a long skirt? Where does it fall on the leg?
    — is a paper bag skirt only short? (I can’t imagine that looking good on hippy me).
    — (from yesterday) what is the difference between a skinny jeans and straight legs?

    Loving this series. Thanks for doing it.

    • Reply October 12, 2011

      Tiny Twig

      Ok! 1. Maxi skirt is just above the ground. 2. I’ve only seen paper bag skirts short or to the knee. and 3. Skinny jeans have a slightly tapered ankle while Straight jeans are pretty much straight down from the hip. I think some people are more comfortable with a straight leg jean because the bootleg has been in style for so long that it is less of a drastic change.

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    Kelley

    I’m really liking a lot of these pieces! LOVE nude heels and the booties. I agree about the black tights…although I do have a dark heather gray pair that I think is pretty unique and trendy and I just love for something different. :) Agree about the shoes…I think 10 is a good variety, but not too many. Do you have a good source for boots? I’d really like a flat pair of riding boots, but trying to find some that don’t cost an arm and a leg is proving challenging. :)

    • Reply October 13, 2011

      Aimee

      I got my boots at DSW a few years ago (before flat boots were so popular, somehow!), and I believe they cost only $35. It’s my favorite source for great, less expensive shoes.

      • Reply October 14, 2011

        Tiny Twig

        completely unfair to get great boots at that price! :) well done, friend!

  • Reply October 15, 2011

    sona

    am assuming the tights are to wear with the skirts only? As one who was brought up on a farm where boots were worn for work in the fields and tramping through…..you know what…..it is hard to think of them as a fashion statement :o)

    • Reply October 16, 2011

      Tiny Twig

      I only wear tights with skirts or dresses…but you could certainly wear them under pants as an insulating layer. :) And yes…boots are now “in”. I bet you have some great stories from growing up on a farm!!

  • […] day 6 purging your closet, day 7 where to donate, day 8 ask away, day 9, day 10 the essentials, day 11 the staples, day 12 the finishers, day 13 what’s missing?, day 14 potential outfits, day 15 more outfits, […]

  • […] day 6 purging your closet, day 7 where to donate, day 8 ask away, day 9, day 10 the essentials, day 11 the staples, day 12 the finishers, day 13 what’s missing?, day 14 potential outfits, day 15 more outfits, […]

  • […] of five must-haves for working women and some ideas for mixing them with Hayley’s Essentials, Staples and Finishers. All our finds are under $50 and from stores you can likely visit at your local […]

  • […] I gave one away at Relevant to Trina who found me first at breakfast–I wish I had gotten a picture of our flowers together.  Also, the cowl I am wearing in the picture (oh!  my hair is dark now, too!) is from The Staples. […]

  • Reply April 1, 2013

    Bekki

    Re: Old Navy. If you’re a whole size different top and bottom so that t’s always stretch over your hips and look strange,, Old Navy’s maternity shirts are a PERFEct fit. Some of their T’s are obviously maternity wear, but a lot of them are their regular styles cut one size bigger through the hips.

  • Reply November 1, 2013

    november goals

    […] back and cover the updated Essentials, Staples, and Finishers for the No Brainer […]

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