Save. Spend. Splurge.

10 Uncommon Essentials in a Wardrobe

You know how everyone always posts about the 10 essentials you must have, and they’re always something along the lines of:

  1. White button-up t-shirt
  2. Black dress
  3. Black blazer
  4. Dark rinse straight or bootcut jeans
  5. White t-shirt
  6. Ballet flats
  7. Cashmere Sweater
  8. Cropped Pants
  9. Black Pumps
  10. Wrap dress


Well here is my list for 10 UNCOMMON essentials you never thought you would need in a wardrobe, but desperately do.

1. Sneakers that aren’t running shoes

You know what I’m talking about.

These are fashion sneakers, not the kind that you pull on to go running or wear to the gym (those by the way, are only appropriate for working out and are NOT, I repeat, NOT work appropriate).

When I say fashion sneakers, I also don’t mean high-top sneakers or platform ones. I mean that they’re trainers / sneakers, but not meant for working out.

Brands include: Converse, Bensimon (all the cool French girls wear them) and Superga

2. Super soft pullover or zip-up hoodie


In a rich, luxurious fabric like cashmere you just can’t beat this option.

Or even if you don’t buy it in cashmere, having it in a super soft cotton that makes you want to cuddle up in it and never take it off, it’s worth the extra $20 you normally otherwise wouldn’t spend.

Let’s face it, even if you own a ton of hoodies, you only really reach for one or two right?

Simons has some great supersoft (rather stylish) hoodies, and Lululemon is also a nice place to go for a stylish, chic staple.

3. Moto sweater jackets


You’ve heard of moto leather jackets, sweaters and regular jackets, but you are probably missing my all-time favourite wardrobe staple — the moto SWEATER jacket.

It looks cool without being too tough (not in leather), it’s a sweater so it’s comfortable, and it’s a jacket so it kind of acts like an alternative blazer even for the office (a business casual dress code lets you get away with such things).

4. Striped Pencil Skirt


Forget boring black pencil skirts, striped pencil skirts are the way to go. Not only are they neutral and stylish, they are timeless and the shape means they’ll never, I repeat, NEVER go out of style.

5. Pointed flats


Ballet flats are usually round-toe things, and I find that they can veer towards being a little casual just because of the toe shape. If you want something that looks a little dressier without sacrificing on comfort, may I direct you to its pointed cousin?

6. Sweater dress


The one thing you don’t want to do in buying a sweater dress, is to buy it too tight. Buy it one size up so that it skims your body and it is a ridiculously comfortable piece of clothing to wear even to the office (business casual) with a jacket over it.

You can dress it up with heels, or dress it down and pair it with opaque tights and some biker boots.

Also, they’re fab for when you’re pregnant, as they stretch with you as your body expands.

7. Loose shawl topper


No collar, no lapels, just a loose shawl lapel in either a soft sweater or jersey combination. I like the look of loose shawl toppers because they’re work appropriate but also great to dress up or down. The fabric will also dictate how casual it is — the less soft and cuddly it is (and less sweater-like), the more formal it becomes.

8. White blazer

Black blazers need a white blazer counterpart too! White blazers might seem difficult to wear but … they go with everything in your wardrobe, even with outfits that are all white (no one does the matching whites thing any more, anyway).

Look for interesting details like a tipped lapel or in a luxurious fabrication.

9. Knee-high heeled boots


Knee-high, heeled kitten boots are fantastic. I can wear them in a higher heel than I would normally have heels for (3″) and they STAY ON MY FEET because it’s a knee-high boot.

You throw them on and it instantly elevates any outfit to “work appropriate” or “dressy”, then the rest of your outfit (a suit, or a sweater) will dictate how casual or formal you turn it up or down.

10. Short boots


Last but not least and still on my list to be purchased are a pair of short boots. I am not sure what style I want — sleek & chic or rugged and bikerly, but I am MISSING THESE and I want a pair badly, I just haven’t found the ones.

Brands that have great short boots include Isabel Marant, Rag & Bone, Josef Seibel and practically any shoe store these days (what can I say, I’m picky).



  • Akaleistar

    What a great list! A hoodie and cute sneakers are a must for me 🙂

  • Anastasia

    Love these essentials! I’m all about a shawl topper and a soft moto jacket. I also think having an alternative pencil skirt, whether it’s striped, lace, patterned, or textured, is always a perfect addition to your wardrobe that you can dress up or down.

  • Tania

    Yup yup yup. I think everyone needs a classic non-sport sneaker like a converse or vans – I prefer basic white or black. Ditto on a hoodie (I also live in nice pullover sweatshirts in charcoal, over dresses, shorts everything) and pointed flats (looks great with skinny ankle length pants/jeans). I can live without a shawl topper in my climate but I love it anyway for it’s coziness in AC. I don’t have a moto sweater jacket but do have a black sweater jacket in an edgier cut (not quite moto, maybe modified moto). It was crazy expensive (Iro) but also is my most worn item, EVER.

  • Michelle

    I absolutely agree with this list. And have almost everything on it.

  • Kristian

    A great list. I think even a lot of my “essentials” I ended up being told aren’t someone else’s essentials- which makes sense. Different lives, bodies and needs.

    Red shoes are an “uncommon” essential, I think. They are so cheery, go with most things and you feel like Dorothy in Oz so… win-win.

  • NZ Muse

    I reeeeally want a sweater dress.


  • Sally

    Uhhhh YES I freaking love this list, and while I NEVER have all the stuff on the 10 essentials type list, I have every single thing on this list with the exception of the sweater dress! I’ve never found one I feel really comfortable in, but I am sure I will find something eventually that works. I would replace the dress with oversized, lightweight scarf (so you can wrap it around a few times or wear different ways) in a print that can work with many outfits. I have a handful of these and love throwing them on in the morning!

  • Yetunde

    Hmmn! My staples would be black and blue jeans, comfortable black boots in ankle, calf and knee heights, black pants (work staple), gold hoop earrings, ballet flat in neutral color(s), black calf socks.

    Just realized, I’ve worn socks with almost every outfit since I was in elementary school – in very hot and humid Lagos, Nigeria – and I absolutely break out in a sweat at the thought of running out of socks! If I’m not in a dress or skirt, I’m definitely wearing socks

    • save. spend. splurge.

      I’m still on the hunt for black ankle boots because I don’t know if I want them sleek or more biker-style.

      Earrings are not my thing but I do wear them.

  • Sylvia

    The only thing I do not have on this list is the white blazer. I have been wanting a white blazer for awhile and found a really cute one at Marshall’s on recent trip to NY. I didn’t notice it wasn’t my size until I got to the counter to pay. I wanted to cry!! Why would someone put a medium on a large hanger? Can you say crushed!? So my search for the “one” continues.

  • SarahN

    Definitely a fan of the soft moto jacket. Kitten heels, I love and hate in cycles, but I have had some mid calf kitten heels which were cheap and nasty, but got a fair bit of wear! The horizontal stripes on the skirt would possible worry me, but I do have a pencil skirt with a white front panel – I saw something nice and similar on a woman with white side panels/stripes. And a white blazer has be on my to buy list for years, but I’m yet to find one I like… So yes yes yes to almost all your list!

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *