One day a friend asked me where my dress was from, I smiled proudly and said, “Anthropologie of course!” She sort of scoffed at me and then proceeded to make a comment that went something like, “Well I just don’t have the kind of money that you do to spend on clothes.” Man, how horrible did I feel after that comment! I was embarrassed about my dress coming from a nice store, even though I bought it on sale and have worn it a ton since purchasing the piece. I began to think logically about how and when I had acquired the nice pieces in my wardrobe. All of these pieces met two criteria: they could be worn year-round and I bought them slowly over the past 6 years. From that, I decided to give you the 7 pieces I would spend money on to enhance your wardrobe for many years.
1. Jeans: Although jean shopping can be almost more exhausting than swimsuit shopping, with persistence you can find a pair of jeans that does everything right for you no matter what size or shape. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, just don’t be afraid to spend the money. Currently, I am in love with a pair I got from H&M because the fit is killer and they only cost me $49.99, but I would’ve paid twice that for how good they make me feel. Look for a darker wash, the color is dressier and can be worn in more settings. Go for name brands, like Levis, that specialize in denim and have a lot of styles to choose from. My last piece of advise here: if you find a pair you really like, buy two!
2. Bra: We all have them and we all need to keep them inline. Don’t skimp on your everyday bra. Be sure to get fit for a bra when you go to buy a new one because a woman’s body can change quickly. Your whole look can be shifted by the quality of your bra. I found my favorite at Victoria’s Secret two years ago, its from the Body by Victoria line. Another great place that I have loved in the past is GapBody.
3. Warm Jacket: You shouldn’t wear you snowboarding jacket to the company Christmas dinner just to keep warm. Invest in a warm winter jacket, like an wool peacoat or a lined leather one, that hits mid-thigh to your knees. I have had my peacoat since my sophomore year of high school and it is still a go to for me every winter. (Thank you mom for shelling out that cash!) Check out spring-time sales to snag a good jacket for next year.
4. Running Shoes: Please, please, please don’t just go to the sport’s store down the street from your house and grab a pair of Nike’s in your size to go run a marathon. You will hurt your body and you will have wasted money. I recommend going to a running store where they watch your gait and foot balance to help you find a pair to meet your needs. They do walking shoes as well. A good pair of shoes will last from 300 to 500 miles. Once you are fit, you can buy the shoes off a site like Amazon for a little less than retail.
5. Dress: Your every occasion dress doesn’t have to be black anymore, you just need to have a dress that can work anywhere. The key is to find a style that fits your body type well, in a color that will cross between seasons. I would look for navy, charcoal grey or a deep purple. They can be worn year round and, if you mix and match accessories, you are guaranteed to have a piece with staying power! Try a silk-spandex blend that can flow in the summer and be sleek in the winter. For cut, a-lines and empire waists will always be in style and v-necklines are good to make your silhouette look longer.
6. Swimsuit: I loathe swimsuit shopping, even though I was on swim team through high school and continue to swim for exercise. There are plenty of tricks that people tell you about how to find a suit to match your body type, but I think your best friend is persistence and confidence. If you find a suit that you love: buy it! When you get to the pool, be sure to have that confidence you think everyone else around you has. Ruffles or ruching over the tummy add camouflage to any suit. Spend money for Spandex because it will hold in what you don’t want out; droopy girls don’t help anyone.
7. Heels: You don’t have to wear black, supportive Keds in order to have comfy feet all day long. I love a good pair of heels, and you can find some really comfy heels that have support and squish. When in doubt, buy a platform heel. The extra lift gives you height and takes away (some) of the pain. Brands like Born and Sofft have great lines of heels with cush and stability.
Citizens of Beauty Fashion Contributor: Becca Alexander Pickrel