Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wardrobe Must Haves - all time classics

Must-haves for your Wardrobe
Here is a list of The Essential Wardrobe Elements that are practical pieces around which you can build your wardrobe.

You shouldn’t wear something just because it’s “in” right now. Always build a versatile and timeless (or classic) wardrobe first, and then bring in your own twists with some of the new stuff.

The Must-haves are mostly classic pieces, but what's important is whether they fit you properly, and bring out your best features. I have ensured that these must-haves will flatter most of the body-types and will not be outdated, ever.

We have seen that fashion-sense is ever changing, new styles hit the wardrobes every season. Unfortunately most of these items are only "in" for one season and after that they are left to dust in your closet. Therefore, it is important that you should invest in a few key pieces that will stay in fashion season after season and will enable you to mix and match them with some more trendy items; especially if you are tight on a budget.

I suggest that you opt for timeless, pricier items instead of trendy, cheaper ones will ensure that you're actually pocketing cash in the long-run.

The following are essentials that make up the staple backbone of any wardrobe and will give you a classy smart look every season.

Clothings must-haves

1. Little Black Dress

LBD, as popularly known in the fashion circle, can turn any woman into a diva. It's unbeatable and without a doubt a must have in your wardrobe. A well-chosen LBD is a good investment and can be part of your wardrobe for years to come.

How to wear it? It can work as a shift dress, you can wear it during the day in office and carry till evening for your date or a party. Day look: Wear it during the day with a jewel-toned cardigan and flats for a casual visit or shopping while wear a jacket over it with formal pumps for your office. Evening look: Accessorize it at night with a statement necklace, a clucth bag and strappy heels.

'You can dress it up, you can dress it down. It's really very easy and proper', Adam Glassman (Creative Director of 'O, The Oprah Magazine') says in Oprah Winfrey show.

Beautify Recommends....
Knee-length or just above the knees with a V-neck, boat neck or a round neck is the most versatile style and can be worn in the office or for your evening party.

Where can you find it?
You can find it at any good store. For designer fetish you can find a perfect LBD at Chanel (in Delhi), Gucci (in Mumbai), Dolce and Gabbana (Thanks, Mumbai). If you don't want to go for designer labels then you can find your LBD at high-street brands like Mango, Coco (a small Spanish boutique in Bandra), Promod. For a cheaper option look at God made me Funky (Mumbai).

A small background...... Coco Chanel established the little black dress as a fundamental fashion frock back in the 1920s. Now a quintessential wardrobe staple, the LBD has since been reinvented a million times over, with shapes and silhouettes available to suit every woman.

2. Perfect-Fit Jeans
It is often said the denim pants are the most useful invention of the century. They are the most widely worn and find a place in almost everyone's wardrobe whatever the age and weight. If you are heavy on hips, choose a wider leg (boyfriend style) as they will be more flattering. Petite ladies need to wear them long and a straight leg will suit you the most. Tall and slim? You can wear most styles and you are the only shape that suit skinny jeans. Boot cut flatter everyone as they balance out the hip and lengthen the leg.

How to wear it? The perfect jeans are flattering and work with all your wardrobe staples like a t-shirt and blazer for the weekend or Evening look: wear your jeans with a flowy blouse or a cami top and sparkly jewellery for a night-out.

Beautify Recommends....
The most universally forgiving style is a dark wash (this offers more versatility, such as going out at night) with a lower rise (fit your hips, not your waist), and that falls straight from the widest part of the hip.

Where can you find it?
For designer labels check out Muse (Mumbai) where you can find brands like Victoria Beckham, Seven For all Mankind, Paige, Citizens of Humanity, Made in Heaven, April 77 or Thanks (Mumbai) that stocks Dolce and Gabbana, Paper Denim or designer standalone stores like Versace, Moschino and Burberry. Your budget does not permit designer labels? You can find good quality denim at high-street brands like Levis (across India), Gas (recommended for their styles, colours and variety; across India), Mango, Esprit, Tommy Hilfiger. Looking for a cheaper option? Various stores stock denim pants imported from Bangkok and the like. You can find good variety at Kink (Mumbai) or small stores in Greater Kailash Market in Delhi. Remember to bargain at these stores.

3. The Indian version of LBD - smart kurti cum dress
A smart ethnic-dress -
a) can be worn as a dress;
b) if teamed with a churidar and good dupatta can change the role to a salwar kameez; and
c) if you want to make it look less formal but still ethnic then team it with skinny pants or tights.

A dress cum kurti is also a best fit for those who are do not like to wear much of Indian outfit but some occassions requires them to. You can wear it as a dress and it saves you from buying a salwar kameez for those formal occassions; just team it with good pants and dupatta and you are ready. Most of the Indian designers these days have dresses which have a ethnic look and most of them will even suggest those as an alternative to a salwar kameez for the versatility.

Beautify Recommends.... Go for a style that is not too short, minimum two-inches above the knees and in a little stiffer fabric, or if you want flowy fabrics like chiffon or georgette then get one with a stiff lining inside.

Where can you find it? Shantanu and Nikhil, Cur (by Rohit Gandhi and Rahil Khanna), Tarun Tahiliani are some of the designers I have come across who have good dresses which can play the role of a dress as well as a salwar-kameez. You can also get them stiched from your regular tailor if you come across a good design.

4. Classic White Shirt
A white button-up blouse or a shirt is a must-have for every female. No matter what you do, white shirt goes perfectly with almost everything. Its timeless ability to be worn throughout the seasons never lets it get out of fashion.

How to wear it? Pairing it with jeans and flats is a great combination for running day errands; for work, a more serious classic style is the safest. Wear a traditional collar or a great button-down shirt with French cuffs, and a stand-up collar; undo a few buttons and it turns subtly sexy for evening. Pairing white shirt with a skirt and some heels will do perfect for dinner at restaurant or some other special occasion. Wear it inside your LBD for a sophisticated look. Cinch in the waist with a wide belt over your shirt to change the everyday look. You just can't go wrong.

Beautify Recommends.... Find one that accentuates your best attributes and minimizes trouble spots. For example, if you have wide shoulders, stay away from large collars. Choose material with some lycra if you’re curvy and you’ll find the stretchiness provides much needed comfort. A rich cotton shirt has a crispier, sharper look.

Where can you find it? Almost anywhere. My favourites are shirts from Zara (they a huge variety of white shirts in excellent fabric) and Reiss. But they are not available in India.

5. Jacket
A jacket does not have to be masculine. Find one with a proper, fitted shape. Women's jackets should follow the silhouette of a woman's body and accent the hourglass curve at her waist.

Make sure you invest in a good one. This is a piece you will use over and over again. You can wear it on top of a simple t-shirt for a completely new look. If you find one that fits you great, you will wear it over and over again. You can choose from a denim, cotton or a blended fabric.

How to wear it? It is a perfect piece to put with the skirt or dress, pants and white shirt. Or make it casual with a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, tank, sweater or a top.

Beautify Recommends.... A Black Tuxedo Jacket in cotton or cotton mix fabric would be most versatile as can be worn for formal occassions or can be casually teamed with a vest or a t-shirt over jeans, flowy skirt or a day dress. Denim is also a good pick, though cannot be worn for a formal occassion.

Choose the fabric and style with care. Too much detailing will send confused signals and cramp your style. Simple cuts are best. Fit is key so ensure there are no puckering. A well-tailored jacket will turn heads.

Where can you find it? Mango and Promod are the most recommended stores for jackets among the high street brands; they have great cuts and styles. You can also find good jackets at United Colours of Benetton and Esprit. If it is difficult to find your size, getting a custom-tailored jacket is a good idea. For cheaper options you may sometimes find good jackets in stores like Kink, God Made me Funky, Nextt 2000.

6. Cardigan
One of the most versatile and easy to pick clothing piece, cardigans can be worn for a casual look and the same piece if co-ordinated and accessorised well can turn into a sexy party wear. They are most dependable when you are not sure what to wear, just team it with a nice vest or a camisole and you are on your move looking stylish yet comfortable.

Mustard cardigan (right) from French Connection available at French Connection (Shopper's Stop, VAMA Mumbai), shop online from

How to wear it? Layer it with anything from your perfect-fit jeans and a classic white shirt to a versatile skirt or a dress. Wear it over your strapless dress, which you could not wear much because a strapless cannot be worn everywhere. You can wear it over a sexy camisole top or a lacy vest with undone-buttons and pearl string or a nice necklace for a party or a date.

Beautify Recommends.... A V or a round neck in black, grey or cream as they go with most most of the outfits. A cotton knitted one can be worn in all seasons.

Where can you find it? It can be found almost anywhere, but I recommend Mango as they have good quality cardigans in different sizes and colours.

7. Sexy Vest or Camisole
Camisoles or vests are great layering pieces that you must have in your wardrobe. A versatile pick can be worn in many ways and is definetly one of the basics of any wardrobe.

How to wear it? To layer or not to layer the choice is yours. They can be used to protect special shirts and jackets from body odor and sweat, and they also are great for coordinating outfits. You can wear a camisole or a vest under a suit to add a punch of color, you can wear one with a pair of jeans to create a soft casual look, you can wear it under your cardigan or inside your shirt to avoid the bra from showing. Wear it over your t-shirt for layering and creating a different look or slip a jacket over it. They are one of the most versatile piece of clothing that makes it a wardrobe must-have.

Where can you find it? Chemistry, Mango, Guess are some of the recommended stores. However you can find a good cami or vest in most of the stores; sometimes you can find a great pick even in a lingerie store (that can be worn everywhere).

8. Black Trousers and a Pencil Skirt
As with your jeans, you can smarten them up or pare them down. A pair of smart trousers can be worn to office, work for your lunch and dinner parties and can be even teamed with a ethnic kurti. Its a very versatile piece of clothing and definetly a wardrobe must have.
The right fit is very important else trousers can really make you look sloppy (and maybe even fat).

Beautify Recommends.... Black is flattering on all figures and goes with everything. If you are lean then slim pants are recommended. Go for straight fit if you are heavy on hips. You can get custom-tailored pants (its easy to get it done in India). Just explain your tailor the right style.

If you need dress pants then you also need a skirt. A skirt is very feminine and can be flirty or businesslike. Nowadays women do not wear many skirts or dresses, which makes a lot of them fall into a rut of dressing sloppily or like men.

Beautify Recommends....
A formal knee-length A-ine or pencil skirt in black is the most versatile piece. You can wear it to work or team with a sexy blouse and go for a dinner. A Classic Pencil Skirt never goes out of fashion a gives you a sleek look; an A-line skirt also is a classy pice and suits almost all body types.

Accessories must haves

9. Tote or a Shopper Bag in basic colour
A good bag can make a big difference to complete your look. You've seen those girls on the street - dressed in sweats, sneakers and a baby tee, but looking completely together because they're armed with the quintessential handbag (and maybe a good pair of sunglasses). That's what a good bag can do for your look; no matter how much you've scrimped on your outfit, a smart bag makes you look like a million bucks.

You may not go for an exorbitantly priced Birkin or a Louis Vuitton bag, but a good quality bag shows. Invest in a good quality handbag or tote that can be wiped clean with a damp cloth (this will add longevity to the piece).
How to wear it? Just hang it smartly and it can be carried with almost any outfit.
Beautify Recommends....
A smart large tote bag doubles up as a laptop case, an organiser and a fashion accessory. The added bonus is it will also slim you down by making you look smaller. Go for basic or neutral colours like black, brown, cream or mustard that will go with most of your outfits. It is important that you buy a good quality bag; it will be a good investment that can last over years.

I also suggest that apart from your everyday bag, you should also have an evening bag or a clutch that you can carry to any party whether you are wearing a saree, a dress, a skirt or a salwar kameez. Pick colours that will go with most of the outfits like mettalic, black, cream.

Where can you find it? If budget is not an issue then I recommend a Bottega Veneta, Fendi, Stella McCartney (the best part is all Stella products are cruelty-free), Christian Louboutin or Gucci bag. I think Louis Vuitton is overrated and commonplace; although a few LVs are good. Among high-street brands Mango, Nine West, Charles and Keith, River Island and Zara (not in India) have good quality bags that can easily pass on for any premium brand’s bag.

10. Basic Belt
It is the hottest accessory that you can add to your look for a polished and fashion-forward feel! A stylish belt can brighten any outfit.

How to wear it? The most essential purpose a belt serves is to keep your pants or skirt securely in place. However belts are now migrating all over the torso, from just below the bust line, to the natural waist, and even slung low around the hips. You can cinch your belt around the smallest part of your torso – your natural waist, it emphasizes and slims this very feminine zone while accentuating sexy curves. The most relaxed and casual mode of wearing a belt is to slung low around the hips, it does wonders for tunics, casual shift dresses, trendy low-rise jeans and boho skirts, adding a ring of color and a finishing touch of flair and personality to the outfit.

Beautify Recommends.... A medium sized belt in black, brown or mustard generally goes with most of the outfits. You can even choose a patent belt in black as it can be worn in the office or for a casual look and will perfectly paired with an evening outfit for party or a night out. Ensure that you buy a good quality belt if you want it to last longer. Also your belt should have a movable loop so when you cinch it to your waist or tie it down at the hip it does not hang out.

Where can you find it? Fendi does most amazing belts amongst the premium designers. For a cheaper option I recommend Charles and Keith, Mango, Accessorize, United Colours of Benetton as they generally have wide variety of good quality belts.

11. Shoes
A man is known by the shoes he wears. But I would say even a woman is known by the shoes she wears. An ugly pair of footwear can spoil your complete look, while a smart stylish pair of shoes can totally change your look.

How to wear it? Just slip on a pair of carefully selected shoes and ensure that they are comfortable and you are able to walk in them.

Beautify Recommends.... For the most versatility buy about 2.5 inch heel (if you can carry the heels else a kitten heel or flats) black pumps. They will go with pants, skirts and dresses and will always be stylish. Comfort is a very important factor in shoes, especially if you are wearing heels; and I think that when buying shoes, don't hesitate if you have to stretch your budget a little. I would recommend to prefer good international brands for shoes as their shoes offer greater comfort, are more durable and they certainly score higher in design.

When you shop for your shoes make sure that you select a heel height that you can comfortably walk in, that you select a size that fits your foot properly, and a color that will work with the rest of your wardrobe. Walk for a minute or two all over the store to ensure that they are comfortable and the right size, so many times after actually wearing the shoes we realise that they are a size bigger or smaller and you end up just adding a decorative piece to your wardrobe. And I am sure you don't want your shoes to be just a decorative piece.

It is said that a woman can never have enough shoes. Even I am shoe fetish, but honestly if you have too many of them, not only it creates confusion but also end of the day you realise that you don't wear most of them and usually wear 20% of them 80% of times.

Where can you find it? Jimmy Choo, Christian Loubotin, Manolo Blahnik are the most recommended premium brands for shoes. For high-street brands, to fit your budget, you can check Aldo (they have good collection), Nine West, Charles and Keith, Venus Steps, Volar (not known to many people but this Italian born brand has a good collection of shoes).

12. Sunglasses
Sunglasses are essential to protecting the eyes from the sun's harsh ultraviolet rays, pollution and yellow dust. Plus they can instantly turn you into a diva.

How to wear it? Below is just a guideline as to what style will suit which face shape; however the best way to find is to wear the sunglasses and see for yourself what looks best on your face; go on shopping and try on as many styles as possible. If you can get permission to walk outside with glasses on, do it, so that you can find out how they actually work in the sunlight.

Oval face - Almost any style works for oval face. Prefer frames that are as wide or wider than the broadest part of the face.. Square shaped frames with gently rounded edges and higher temples also look good on an oval face.
Frame suggestions: Almost any frame shape, but check the proportions.
Round face - Frames should make the face appear longer and thinner. In general, look for frames equal to or slightly wider than the broadest part of the face. Minimize the curves and add definition with soft, angular, rectangular styles or double brow styles. Eyewear that is more angular or narrow with high or mid-height temples complements the round face.
Frame suggestions: Wider frames with angular / rectangular styles.
Square face - This face shape consists of a strong jawline, a broad forehead and wide cheekbones. Reduce the angles with soft, curvy styles that will give the face some definition such as cat-eye styles. The classic ovals also works well for this face shape.
Frame suggestions : Oval, Round, Cat Eyes.
Triangle shape - This face has a narrow jaw and a wide forehead. Soften the lower portion of the face by accenting the eye area. Styles such as cat- eyes should angle outward at the top corner and be wide enough to balance the jawline.
Frame suggestions: Frames with a Straight Top Line, Cat Eyes.
Oblong face - The oblong face is longer than it is wide. You should look for a frame that is wider than it is deep. Decorative or contrasting temples as well as strong horizontal lines can add width to the face. Round or square shapes will look great on this face.
Frame suggestions: Round, Square.

Beautify Recommends.... a) Always choose the right style that suits the shape of your face and fits well; b) Check if the sunglasses have UV protected lenses of at least 100 percent UV protection; c) Go for a oversized sunglasses, if you are comfortable with them, as they will provide you maximum protection and they also look great; d) they should be light-weight as you may have to wear them for longer duration as comfort is a must; e) they should also be durable.
If you are looking for designer sunglasses then I recommend Tom Ford, Roberto Cavalli, Chanel, Dolce and Gabbana, Gucci, Chopard, Bvlgari, Marc Jacobs, Giorgio Armani as they have some of the best designs and great shapes. However since sunglasses don't have to be expensive to be effective, you don't have to spend a fortune to buy a good pair. Ray Bans are also good and actually provides better protection in sunlight with a better view with their Polaroid glasses and are cheaper compared to most premium brands.

You may also pick jewelled sunglasses; however ensure that they are not overdone and do not look gaudy and cheap. Choose sunglasses with tastefully placed diamantes on the temples and sides - they look really classy.

Where can you find it? Find the best optician in your city who keeps the latest range of all the designer brands. Remember to bargain as the opticians give you good discounts and make sure you take the bill and the warranty card to ensure that you are not buying fake sunglasses. You can also find good collection at Shopper's Stop (however they don't offer discounts unless on sale)........................................................................................
Store Directory
Bottega Veneta: Mumbai - The Galleria, Trident Hotel (earlier Hilton Towers) Nariman Point; Burberry: Mumbai - The Taj Hotel, Colaba; Chanel: Delhi - The Shangri-La Hotel, Connaught Place; Charles and Keith: Delhi, Mumbai; Coco: Mumbai - 33rd Road, Bandra (Behind KFC);Esprit: Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Gurgaon, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Mumbai - Khar Linking Road; Levis: Stores Across India; God Made me Funky: Mumbai - Badra (W); Gucci: Mumbai - Trident Hotel , Nariman Point; Kink: Mumbai - Waterfield Road, Bandra (W) ; Mango: Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai; Moschino: Mumbai - The Taj Hotel, Colaba; Muse: Mumbai - Kala Ghoda, Fort; Nextt 2000: Delhi - South Ex Market; Nine West: Delhi, Mumbai; Stella McCartney: Bangalore - UB Mall; Thanks: Mumbai - Worli (Opp. Atria Mall); Tommy Hilfiger: Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Kolkatta, Mumbai; Versace: Mumbai - Trident Hotel, Nariman Point; Volar: Mumbai - Turner Road (Bandra), and Palm Beach Galleria (Vashi)


  1. very gud piece of advice, i hve so many useless clothes in my wardrbe tht i dont wear. the items u mentioned r definetly useful. the Lacy cami is surely very essential item

  2. I'd LOVE to try and buy any of the skirts you've got up there on your post, but my thighs are just too BIG! :(


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