I like my money right where I can see it , hanging in my closet
Carrie Bradshaw , Sex & the city
” I do not have anything to wear” is one of the commonest lines heard in every household almost every other day, despite the clothes overflowing out of the wardrobes. More often than not, women end up shopping on impulse , under stress, those silly PMSing days , party frenzy , pay rise , weekend travel plans , travel internationally ( yes we shop before we travel to wear during the travel & we shop while we travel for the post travel days) or maybe just like that ( women don’t need reason to shop ).Despite so much of shopping worth thousands done, most of us don’t shop wisely. We end up buying the latest trends & fads without having the basic wardrobe in place. I have ended up helping few friends to arrange their wardrobes, shuffle through it, list down missing things and as the budget allows, first make those purchases and then buy extra around it.
This blog will enlighten you on the wardrobe basics , but specially designed for Indian climate and demographics. In this blog I will cover must-have-basic-foundation for western wear in India. The idea being , first invest in basics and then add show stoppers later on . It would be absolutely foolish to buy a neon colored pant if you don’t even have basic black pants.
So here is the list of 13 must have’s for Indian women’s western wear wardrobe.
1) White Shirt – This is my go-to option when in dilemma on what to wear. It is absolutely versatile piece. Wear it with denims or long skirts or short skirts or work wear trousers or shorts.
White Shirt – Deepika Padukone
Different kinds of white shirts
Buy them in 2 kind of fabrics – Cotton for day wear & Silk for evening wear . You can vary the sleeve style – Full sleeves , 3/4th sleeves, sleeveless.
( Wearing instruction – Do not wear white , black or colored intimates , opt only for nude toned inner . Yes , I know they are very granny style , but well , you don’t want to look tacky either )
2) Black Shirt – For all of you working in corporate, you will want to keep one extra black shirt. It has that crispness about it, clear air of authority and no nonsense attitude about it. For those who are in other sectors , a black blouson top is more beautiful than a shirt . Wear the shirt with denims , shorts & short skirts.
Black shirt – Miranda Kerr
Buy them in cotton/ linen fabric for day wear Tops and in Silk / georgette /chiffon for evening wear . You could vary styles in sleeves like Full Sleeves , 3/4th sleeve , sleeveless.
3) Solid colored Tops /Blouses – I am a big fan of solid colors rather than prints as they allow immense mix & match and lets me create a big wardrobe around it. Once you have black & white tops , now go for all possible colors that you love in plain colors.
Solid Mustard Yellow colored Top
Champagne colored Sleeveless Top
Mint colored chiffon blouson
Colors – Red , Blue , Green, Pink, Yellow , Purple , Beige & then its shades.
Fabrics – Cotton , Linen , chiffon, georgette, silk
Style – You can buy interesting styles , vary the sleeve length , check for tiny detailing in patterns.
These tops can go over your denims, trousers, shorts, skirts both long & short, even on Patiala , dhoti pants , Zouave pants , palazzo etc. Try monochromatic schemes like wearing an aqua blue top over navy blue long skirt. Try contrasting schemes like a yellow top with a hot pink palazzo for a high-spirited look.
4) Printed Tops – Start by investing in Polka dots , Stripes , checks initially. They are ever green patterns and will sustain all fashion trends. Next step would be quirky prints available in the markets currently. Buy them frugally as you never know when the trend dies.
Polka dotted Chiffon blouson
For the rest all who are interested in textiles of India, you could build a basic wardrobe of tops in ajrakh print, kalamkari, bandhni, leheriya , batik , tie & dye , chikankari , phulkari , south cotton , ikat , chanderi , Kashmiri work & kachi work .
5) Blue Denim - A classic blue denim is an absolute must have in any wardrobe. As much as it is essential for the wardrobe building, I know we all have dreaded making that one denim purchase. Either the fit sucks or the right blue color isn’t available or maybe god only knows why did the designer decide to stick stars & studs just on the bum when everything else was perfect in that denim !
I typically avoid denim purchase as much as I can , as I know I would have royally screwed my mood by the end , unless gods decide to be kind on me that day.
Blue denim – Alessandra Ambrosio
Invest in these– 1) Straight snug fits 2) Boot cuts for evenings.
Colorwise invest in one dark blue denim & one light blue denim.
6) Black Denim – After the Blue denim , 2nd must have piece is a black denim. They work as perfect work wear option for people working in non corporate areas and also as a perfect evening wear.
Black Denim – Miranda Kerr
Buy in straight fits & boot cuts both , depending on your body type.
7) White Pants – They always have a very 70’s feel to it – hippy and retro, but it has been my favorite since my college days. A woman needs to have a pair of white pants , be it in denim or corduroy or linen.They are absolutely gorgeous to perk up the day. Wear it with colorful blouse tops for the day meetings, brunch or idle hang outs & dress it up with silk tops for the night parties.
White wide legged pants tangerine Silk blouson – Neha Dhupia
Classic white pants with white jacket
( It goes without saying – Ladies check the quality of the fabric, it shouldn’t be See through. Also only and only nude colored thongs to be worn for everybody’s sake )
8) Denim Skirt – I am yet to meet a girl who hasn’t worn a denim skirt till now . Come Summers and we want to flaunt our legs . Denim skirts are the most versatile option . Dress them with cotton white shirt, black top , colored tops or printed tops .
Denim skirts by Stella McCartney
Denim Mini Skirt – Miranda Kerr
Buy them in 1)straight fit , knee-length or a mini 2) A line if you have a pear shaped body . Invest in two shades Dark blue & Light blue.
9) Black Skirt - Whether you want to go to a board room meeting or want to let your hair loose & party, you need to have a black skirt for sure. Team it with shirts & solid colored tops for day board room meetings, add a jacket for some oomph. Team it with silk tops in prints or solids for evening parties.
Black straight fitted skirt – work wear
Black Skirt – formal wear
Black skirt A- line
Buy them in (1) Long skirt with straight fit (2) Short skirt with straight fit, A-line
10) Shorts – Yes each one of us must be having various colored shorts in our wardrobes but shopping basics is to first have that one denim shorts which fits perfectly well . The length & the fit of the shorts is very important .
Denim Shorts – Alessandra Ambrosio
Neon green shorts styled with basic black Tee and White jacket
Once you have denim shorts, you can start buying shorts in other colors starting with black, beige , white, khaki , navy blue ,olive-green & then bright colors like red, orange, pink, green & yellow.
11) Jacket – If you do not have a jacket as yet & are planning to buy one, then your first purchase should be a black jacket. Get it in linen fabric as it is versatile, you could wear for work & party both. Your second purchase can be ivory or off white jacket followed by all strong solid colored jackets doing rounds in the fashion circuit. They spike up any outfit and make it look more structured.
Black Jacket styled with Denims white shirt
White jacket styled with blue denim and champagne colored top – Miranda Kerr
Buying tip – Check up the shoulder pads, they are passe & they make you look big . The length of the jacket & sleeves should be comfortable enough for you to raise your hands up without feeling uncomfortable.
12) Denim Waistcoat - This is the latest entrant in the must-have’s but I swear by its versatility and all my friends who have tried it agree to it. Invest in a smart denim waistcoat to perk up any outfit. Wear it on plain tee, printed spaghetti , cotton day dress, maxi dress or on a crisp white shirt .
Denim waistcoat styled with floral maxi dress and scarf
Denim waistcoat styled with white long skirt
Buying tip – Opt for a light blue to a medium blue shade, not a dark blue version of it. Lace trims are good add ons to it.
13) White & Black Tee shirts – I am not much of a tee – person but yet I have few basic white & black Tee shirts. Grab them in full sleeves, 3/4th sleeve, cap sleeves with v-neckline or a crew neck. They can be worn with denims, long ethnic skirts, short skirts, colored pants , palazzo etc.
Black basic Tee styled with a pink skirt
White basic Tee Styled with wide legged white pants
Buying Tip – Fabric quality & fit are of utmost importance. Do not & I repeat , Do not buy a snug fit unless you have washboard abs .
Once you have these many basic pieces in your wardrobe , managing styles around it becomes easy. I have not covered dresses in this section as it in itself is a very long segment. Let your creativity speak now. You could style it in your own personal way with accessories , footwear , scarves, stole, headbands , hand bags , aviators etc.
I hope this helps you take your inventory & list down what you have to buy in the next-sale coming up for the season :)
Watch out this space for the next blog on – Wardrobe staples – Ethnic wear for Indian women.
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Keep smiling and stay stylish :)