Wardrobe Essentials for Women

Last Updated on March 20, 2024 by Candi Randolph

Ever had one of those days where you stand in front of your bursting-at-the-seams closet and think, “I have nothing to wear!”? Yes, we’ve all been there. It’s like the Bermuda Triangle of fashion – so many clothes, yet nothing seems to fit the bill.

Well, fret not, my fashion-savvy friends, because we’re about to crack this sartorial conundrum wide open. I’ve put together a list of wardrobe essentials for women (think of it as your fashion survival kit) that everyone in her prime should have in her closet. And no, it doesn’t involve buying a whole new wardrobe or having to decode what ‘smart casual’ really means.

wardrobe essentials for women

So grab a cup of coffee (or wine, no judgement), sit back, and let’s dive into the wonderful world of timeless fashion, shall we?

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Wardrobe Essentials – The List

Here is the quick list of the items you may find to be ever so helpful to have living in your closet. More details for each below.

  • A well-fitting pair of jeans
  • A denim jacket
  • A little black dress
  • A comfortable flat shoe
  • A comfortable pair of black slacks
  • A white and a black t-shirt or button-down, you choose the style
  • A pair of dress shoes
  • A pair of fashion boots or booties
  • A 3/4 or long sleeve neutral top
  • A statement jacket or blazer

Wardrobe Essentials for Women

Well-Fitting Denim Jeans

casual clothes for women over 50 - J Jill

I would guess that with very few exceptions, every person reading this post owns something made from denim…jeans most likely.

It is such a popular and iconic look. Where did the term ‘jeans’ originate?

Jeans as a name for trousers come from city of Genoa in Italy, a place where cotton corduroy, called either jean or jeane, was manufactured. Republic of Genoa exported the jeans throughout Europe. Weavers from the French city of Nimes tried to copy jean but could not. Fabric they ended up with became known as denim, literally “de Nimes” or “from Nimes”.

Historically, jeans were worn by workmen who carried out very physical or manual labor roles. Denim provided the workers with the perfect rugged, rough, and durable material that was necessary to survive the wear and tear of physical jobs in the outdoors.

However, thanks to individuals such as Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss, denim has become an extremely popular material and an everyday part of the majority of our wardrobes. Take a look around  any casual social setting – the majority of people will be wearing denim of some sort.

Okay, on to the specifics of this well-loved wardrobe essential.

How many times have we stood in front of the mirror, scrutinizing the fit of our jeans, wondering if they flatter us or make us look like we’re trying too hard? The quest for the perfect pair of jeans can feel like an epic journey. But let me tell you, when you find that perfect pair, it’s like striking gold.

Why are well-fitting jeans so important, especially for us fabulous women in midlife? Well, let’s dig into it.

  • A well-fitted pair of jeans can work wonders for your silhouette. They hug you in all the right places, accentuating your curves and making your legs appear longer and slimmer. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want that?
  • They are incredibly versatile. Whether you’re running errands, going out for lunch with friends, or having a casual date night, a great pair of jeans can be dressed up or down to suit the occasion. Pair them with a fitted top and heels for a chic look, or go for a more relaxed vibe with a tucked-in tee.
  • They offer comfort without compromising on style. Jeans that fit well are not too tight or baggy, providing ease of movement while still looking stylish. Plus, high-rise jeans can cleverly conceal any extra skin around the tummy area that you might feel self-conscious about.
  • Finding the right pair of jeans can boost your confidence. When you know you look good, you feel good. It’s as simple as that. Wearing jeans that fit well and complement your body shape can make you feel confident and empowered.

I find my perfect-fitting jeans at Measure & Made. Seriously. They are absolutely amazing…like magic. Read more about the proprietary sizing system of Measure & Made pants.

A Denim Jacket

Oh, the denim jacket. It’s a fashion staple that has stood the test of time. But why, you may ask, should it hold a prized place in your wardrobe? Here’s why:

  • This little number is tough as nails. Crafted from durable material, denim jackets can withstand wear and tear like a champ. They’re the kind of friend who sticks around for the long haul, not just when times are easy. So, whether you’re gardening, shopping, or going on an impromptu road trip, your denim jacket will be there, ready for action.
  • A denim jacket is a matchmaker extraordinaire . It pairs well with pretty much anything in your wardrobe — be it jeans for a monochromatic look, a floral dress for a touch of femininity, or even your yoga pants for a chic athleisure vibe. Trust me, this is one versatile piece of clothing.
  • It’s a four-season wonder. Whether it’s a breezy summer evening, a crisp fall day, or a mild winter afternoon, a denim jacket can be your go-to outerwear. Its ability to provide year-round comfort means it’s always in season.
  • It’s customizable . Want to add some personality to your jacket? Go ahead, slap on some patches, embroider your initials, or even distress it for a grungy look. Your denim jacket is your canvas, so feel free to express yourself.
  • It’s a comfort queen. If you’ve ever felt like you’re being squeezed by your clothes, worry no more. A denim jacket should feel like a comforting hug, not a constraint. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a clothing item that marries comfort with style?

I bought a boyfriend style denim jacket from Amazon last year, and I absolutely love the oversize style. Not too big, but just enough to keep me comfortable and looking good. It’s very versatile. Here are a few examples for you.

The Little Black Dress (LBD)

my favorite little black dress - a simply Christmas Party Outfit

What? You don’t have an LBD? Well, let me introduce you to your new best friend, and why you should have one:

  • The LBD is like that one friend who always knows what to say. It’s a master communicator. Whether you’re headed to a cocktail party or a business meeting, your LBD speaks volumes about your style and confidence. It’s the universal symbol of chic sophistication.
  • The LBD is a magician— it has this uncanny ability to make us look slimmer. Black is a color that hides all those little imperfections and highlights our best features. It’s like having your own personal Instagram filter without the need for any app.
  • The LBD is the queen of versatility. You can dress it up with heels and a statement necklace for an evening event, or dress it down with flats and a denim jacket for a casual day out. It’s like having several dresses in one .
  • The LBD is timeless . Like a classic movie or a good book, it never goes out of style. It’s been a wardrobe staple since the 1920s, and it’s still going strong. So, you can invest in a quality LBD without worrying about it becoming passe in a few seasons .
  • The LBD is a blank canvas . You can accessorize it to reflect your personality and mood. Want to add some color? Pair it with vibrant shoes or a bold handbag. Feeling minimalist? Keep it simple with delicate jewelry and neutral tones .

I’ve got some great shopping resources for you when it comes to finding the perfect little black dress:

A Comfy Flat Shoe

Why, you ask, should every woman have a pair of comfortable flats in her wardrobe? Well, let’s get into it.

  • Flats are like the yoga of footwear — they’re all about balance. Unlike heels that can leave you wobbling like a newborn fawn, flats offer stability. You can walk, run, dance, or chase after a runaway pet with grace and agility.
  • Flats are like a spa treatment for your feet. Higher heels and unsupportive shoes can contribute to foot issues such as plantar fasciitis and flat feet. Flats, on the other hand, provide better foot support, alleviating pressure and helping prevent these problems.
  • Flats are the chameleons of the shoe world. They can seamlessly blend into any outfit, be it jeans for a casual outing, a skirt for a business meeting, or even a dress for a cocktail party. And the best part? There’s a myriad of styles to choose from — ballet flats, loafers, moccasins, sandals, you name it!
  • Flats are the superheroes of affordability and flexibility. Compared to other shoes, they cost less, and their versatility means you get more bang for your buck.
  • Flats are the epitome of comfort. You know that sigh of relief when you kick off your heels at the end of a long day? With flats, your feet can feel that kind of bliss all day long.

Here are some well-priced, really cute styles of flats on Amazon to check out.

The Black Pant

black pant from Measure and Made

Here’s a wardrobe staple that doesn’t get nearly enough praise: the well-fitting pair of black pants. These are the unsung heroes of our closets, the trusty steeds ready to carry us stylishly through any occasion. But why, you ask, should every woman have a pair in her wardrobe? Well, buckle up, because we’re about to dive into the world of black pants.

  • Black pants are like your favorite comfort food — they’re reliable and oh-so-satisfying. On those days when you’re staring blankly at your closet thinking, “I have nothing to wear,” you can always count on your black pants to come to the rescue.
  • Black pants are the ultimate fashion chameleons. Whether you’re pairing them with a crisp white shirt for a business meeting, a sequined top for a night out, or even a cozy sweater for a casual day, black pants can adapt to any style situation.
  • Black pants are a body-positive choice. Black is known for its slimming effect, and a well-fitted pair of pants can highlight your best assets while offering a comfortable fit. Remember, it’s not about being a certain size; it’s about feeling confident and fabulous in your clothes.
  • Black pants are a wise investment. They’re not just a passing trend but a timeless classic that will never go out of style. Investing in a quality pair means you’ll have a go-to item in your wardrobe for years to come.
  • Black pants are the epitome of effortless elegance. There’s something undeniably chic about a woman striding confidently in a pair of black pants. It’s a look that says, “I’ve got my act together, and I look fantastic doing it.”
find your perfect size with Measure & Made

Hey there friend, do you struggle to find pants, jeans, crops, & capris that fit you well? Yep, most of us have that problem.

Well, take a minute to learn more about Measure & Made, and their unique sizing system called ShapeLogic. Once you find your perfect size, you can buy and wear any of the bottoms on their site and they’ll fit you well!


A White and Black T-Shirt

These basics are often overlooked but they’re the unsung heroes that come to our rescue more often than we realize. But why, you might ask, should these be staples in every woman’s closet? Well, let’s spill the tea.

  • A white and black t-shirt or button-down is your ticket to versatility city. You can pair them with almost anything – from jeans to skirts, shorts, or even under a dress. Whether it’s running errands on the weekend, attending a black-tie event, or just chilling at the beach, these shirts have got you covered .
  • These shirts are like the ultimate fashion Swiss Army Knife. They can be sexy, professional, casual, or formal, depending on how you style them. So, whether you’re going for a meeting or a date, these shirts can adapt to the occasion ^2^.
  • A white and black t-shirt or button-down is a testament to timeless elegance. There’s something undeniably chic about a crisp white shirt or a sleek black tee. They’re simple, yet sophisticated, allowing you to express your style without trying too hard.
  • These shirts are a nod to body positivity. A well-fitted t-shirt or button-down can flatter your figure and boost your confidence, no matter your body type . Remember, fashion is about feeling good in your own skin, not fitting into a certain mold.
  • And, a white and black t-shirt or button-down is a smart investment. These are not trend-dependent pieces, meaning you can wear them season after season and always look on point.

My choice will almost always be a top or t-shirt, short or 3/4 sleeve, with a round or jewel neckline. That’s what looks the best on me so I stay with what works! How about you?

Dress Shoes

Let’s talk about an essential that often gets overlooked in our wardrobes: the pair of dress shoes. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Dress shoes? Aren’t they just for fancy occasions?” Well, my friend, let me tell you why every woman should have a good pair of dress shoes in her arsenal.

  • Dress shoes are like your secret handshake to the world. They can instantly elevate your outfit and give off an aura of sophistication and professionalism. Whether you’re going for a special appointment or a dinner date, these shoes say, “I’ve arrived, and I mean business.” .
  • A pair of dress shoes is a testament to timeless elegance. A well-crafted leather shoe, for example, can make you feel like Cinderella at the ball. Plus, they’re durable and breathable, ensuring your feet stay cool and comfortable.
  • A pair of dress shoes is a smart investment. They’re not trend-dependent, meaning you can wear them season after season and always look fabulous.

Wherever you prefer to shop for your shoes, you can’t go wrong with a well-made dress shoe waiting for it’s next assignment.

Fashion Boots or Booties

booties can elevate a simple outfit

These footwear wonders are not just for cold weather or horse riding anymore. They’ve strutted their way into our hearts (and our closets) for many reasons. But why, you might ask, should these be staples in every woman’s closet? Well, let’s hop on the style wagon and find out.

  • Fashion boots or booties are like your wardrobe’s secret weapon. They can instantly elevate your outfit and give off an aura of chic sophistication. Whether you’re going for a casual brunch or a night out, these shoes make a statement.
  • Believe it or not, boots are incredibly versatile. You can pair them with almost anything – from jeans to dresses, shorts, or even leggings. They’re perfect for transitioning between seasons and can adapt to almost any occasion.
  • A pair of boots or booties is a testament to timeless elegance. There’s something undeniably stylish about a well-crafted boot. They’re classic yet contemporary, allowing you to express your style without trying too hard.

A Neutral Color Top

Let’s talk about another unsung hero in our wardrobes: the 3/4 or long-sleeve neutral top. It’s like that reliable friend who’s always there for you, ready to step in and save the day. But why, you ask, should this be a staple in every woman’s closet? Well, let’s get into it.

  • A 3/4 or long-sleeve neutral top is your secret weapon for arm confidence. Whether we like it or not, our arms change as we age, and some of us might feel a little self-conscious about showing them off. That’s where these tops come in. They provide coverage while still allowing you to stay cool and comfortable.
  • These tops are like a chameleon—they blend seamlessly into any outfit. The neutral color ensures they can be paired with virtually anything in your wardrobe, from bold-patterned skirts to classic black pants. Plus, the longer sleeves make them versatile for different seasons and occasions.
  • A 3/4 or long-sleeve neutral top is an exercise in effortless elegance. There’s something undeniably chic about the simplicity of these tops. They allow your personality and accessories to shine, creating a look that’s uniquely you.
  • Fourthly, these tops are a nod to body positivity. The 3/4 or long sleeves are flattering on all body types, and they offer a comfortable fit that doesn’t compromise on style. Remember, fashion is about feeling good in your own skin, not fitting into a certain mold.
  • Lastly, a 3/4 or long-sleeved neutral top is a smart investment. This is a timeless piece that will never go out of style. It’s not trend-dependent, meaning you can wear it season after season and always look on point .

A wonderful resource for 3/4 or long sleeve tops is Covered Perfectly, an online source that creates comfortable tops for women in midlife. I absolutely love my black tunic top from CP!

A Statement Jacket or Blazer

This is the piece that walks into a room before you do and says, “She’s here, and she means business.” But why, you ask, should this be a staple in every woman’s closet? Well, let’s uncover it.

  • A statement jacket or blazer is like your personal cheerleader. It instantly elevates your outfit from casual to professional. It’s the fashion equivalent of a power pose, helping you feel more confident and in charge.
  • These jackets are the Swiss Army knives of the fashion world. They’re incredibly versatile and can be paired with anything from jeans for a casual yet chic look, to a dress for a more formal occasion. Plus, they’re great for transitioning between seasons.
  • A statement jacket or blazer is a testament to your unique style. Whether it’s a bold color, a unique cut, or an eye-catching pattern, this piece allows you to express your personality and stand out from the crowd.
  • A statement jacket or blazer is a smart investment. This is a timeless piece that will never go out of style. It’s not trend-dependent, meaning you can wear it season after season and always look fabulous.

I’ve found a couple of wardrobe essentials to add to my list this season. How about you?

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Wardrobe essentials for women - fashion over 50

6 thoughts on “Wardrobe Essentials for Women”

  1. Hi Candi, I always enjoy your fashion tips and a denim jacket has been on my list for so long. I really need to purchase one. I have started clearing out my wardrobe and trying to make it more functional rather than having so many items that were impulse buys. Have a great week!

  2. Interesting. I am the type of person who goes against the fashion trends, I steal my husband’s clothes and claim them as my own most of the time, but I still have an appreciation for those who do have stylish clothing and great wardrobes. Perhaps one day I will embrace the ways of womanly fashion, but today is not that day.

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