Every woman’s magazine has published a list of all of the necessary items a lady needs in her closet to make it “complete.”
These lists typically include some kind of ballet flat, a trench coat, a little black dress, and well-fitting jeans. All of these classic pieces are supposed to give you a well-rounded selection that makes getting dressed “a breeze” and will keep your wardrobe “timeless.”
I’m all for it, but at the same time, these lists missed a few key pieces that real women need in their real closets for when real life goes down.
1. Black pants that look professional but feel/fit like sweats - You wake up on a Wednesday at 8:15 am hungover as shit because last night’s catch-up drinks with your friend Alexa got way out of hand, per usual. You have to leave for work in 15 minutes. After emerging from a cloud of dry shampoo, you will technically need pants (I don’t make the rules, girl). You’ve been trying to make leggings-as-business-casual happen, but it’s not going to happen, so you need another option.
Enter: the black jogger. Preferably high-waisted and a polyester-spandex blend, you can pair these with a button-down or any decent top and generally pull off looking like someone who’s not getting a little old to be fucked up on a Tuesday night.
2. Throwaway flats - Different from their timeless, structured variety, these life savers are the difference between strutting through the club crowd to the bathroom like a vixen, or bambi walking it out of the building at 12:30 because you literally can’t stand any longer. As a rule, you cannot have spent more than $9 on them at a Payless BOGO sale.
The key is to wear these until the last possible second before arriving at your destination, switch into your heels, and then immediately put them back on when you’re out of sight of anyone you’d like to bang. So, you’d walk to the train in the Throwaways, stash them in your clutch (yep, they’re typically pretty flexible) when you change into your sexy shoes, and whip them back out at the end of the night.
Sound lame? You’re not going to look any cooler hobbling along in the 4-inch heels you never learned how to properly walk in anyway. Take the advice.
3. An oversized, thick, long c...ardigan sweater - If you’re always cold but don’t have enough clout in the office to control the thermostat, an article of clothing that’s essentially a blanket is crucial. Sure, you’ve got the boho-hipster-chic thing working for you, but you could also curl up under your desk and take a nap at any moment. AT ANY MOMENT. That’s the kind of freedom we’re marching for next, ladies.
4. Red Pants - I’m not going to sit here and say, “Everyone looks great in a high waisted trouser cut!” because if you don’t feel good in that cut then what’s the fucking point. Go with whatever style makes you feel the most fabulous, I’m not Stacy London/God. The most important thing is that they’re bright red. Two reasons:
- If you’re having a bad day, these pants will help you fake it better. Bright colors have power. Red is a powerful color. You’re really just doubling up on your strength here. Like Dragon Ball Z.
- Everyone needs a pair of last-day-of-period pants after wearing black all week. You triumphed over your uterus yet again, you deserve to celebrate while still being aware that all bets are not off quite yet.
5. A Boob Shirt - Save it, feminists. Boobs are magical and make things happen. It’s science and history all wrapped into one (er, two).
Going on a third date and have already convinced the other person that you’re an intellectual with multi-faceted interests and ample artillery in the witticisms department? Well done. Unleash the money makers!
Seeing an ex after several months of not speaking to see if you guys can work things out? Remind them what they’ve been missing. Even if you don’t end up getting back together, you three made a very significant final impression.
Boob shirts need be three things: extremely low cut, not a crop top (pace yourself), and able to tearfully bring a grown man or woman to their knees. Try Express.
6. Emergency “No It’s Part of My Outfit” Jacket - Your boyfriend invites you to dinner. Perfect! He forgot to mention that his parents whom you’ve only met once would be joining you. Not the right time to wear the sexiest LBD you own!
Luckily, you grabbed the “Just In Case” jacket on your way out. This can be conveniently left on and still look like an intentional element of your get-up. Leather jacket, army jacket, bomber, drape coat, all will work. I once misjudged the length of a skirt and worked in an office almost exclusively of middle-aged men. Didn’t plan on wearing my lightweight trench coat all day, but didn’t want to give Chet in Accounting another reason to corner me in the kitchen, either, so that was my outfit that day.
This jacket will also come in handy for beating your boyfriend with once you’ve “so nice to see you again!”’d the parentals away. Really? Not even a warning?
Hold on to your crisp white shirts and plain black turtlenecks, but add these items into the mix. A boob shirt with red pants? Are you a member of an early 2000s girl band? Try again.