Every clothing brand boasts the same thing: “Our dresses go from day to night with ease!”
Except… it isn’t exactly true. That little black dress with the plunging neckline isn’t appropriate for the workplace, even if you swap out your sparkly lavalier necklace for a modest string of pearls.
However, there are a few pieces of clothing that effectively serve double- or triple-duty, letting you dress them up and down with ease. Unsurprisingly, these are often fashion classics, staying in style even as other trends come and go. Do you have these five pieces of clothing in your closet? If not, it’s time to start shopping.
The Nude Pump
Kate Middleton has the right idea: a classic nude pump is appropriate for every occasion, whether it’s a wedding, a work meeting or even a fall housewarming party. Buy your nude pumps with a modest heel – Kate’s top out at 3 inches – and dress them up with a charming vintage number, take them to the office with a sheath dress or pantsuit, or wear them under dark denim to add style to a casual afternoon.
The Sweater Dress
What do we love about the women’s sweater dress? Its versatility. A single sweater dress can be worn over black leggings, over jeans, over nude hose or even over bare legs. It can be worn with chunky Doc Martens, staggeringly-high black heels, or even with a pair of classic nude pumps. The right sweater dress – not too lumpy and not too clingy – actually does take you from the office to the pub to the football field and beyond.
The Casual Blazer
Sometimes a suit jacket is too formal, not to mention that wearing half of a suit always makes you look a little unfinished. However, a casual blazer, particularly a canvas number in khaki or gray, projects an air of professionalism and adventure. You don’t have to be Indiana Jones to appreciate the way a basic blazer adds an air of gravitas to any outfit, whether you’re changing up a sleeveless dress or dressing up a button-down and slacks. Plus, unlike most other jackets, the blazer is both machine washable and, let’s be honest, looks better if it’s a little wrinkled.
The Dark Denim Jeans
Every fashion blog will tell you that a pair of well-fitting, dark denim jeans are essential to a woman’s wardrobe. Unlike other denim trends – remember acid wash? – dark denim never goes out of style. Do the work to find a pair of jeans that fit you perfectly; just like with bras, many women wear the wrong jeans size. Bring along a trusted friend to let you know if your dark jeans really do make you look fat; often, both too large and too small sizes add visual bulk to your silhouette. Once you find your perfect jeans, take good care of them: don’t wash them too often, don’t let the hems drag in the mud, and don’t let them sit in a pile in the corner of your closet.
The Satchel Bag
One of the hardest parts of double-duty fashion items is the fact that they have to sufficiently carry you throughout the day. Currently on our list of must-have items for fall, the satchel bag is just that: a purse large enough to hold your iPad, sack lunch, phone charger, and yoga clothes, and fashionable enough to carry to a board meeting or a hot date. The great thing about the satchel bag is that you can pack in in the morning and not put it down until you arrive home at night. Its size and style eliminates the need for a separate backpack, laptop bag, purse and clutch, and choosing a neutral color like black, navy or tan means it’ll match nearly everything you own. Get a satchel bag that can handle scuffs and stains, because once you have the right bag, you will carry it everywhere.
If you don’t have these five items, search your favorite outlet store, online resale site, or consignment shop until you’ve collected all five. The shoes are probably the only item you really need to buy new; the rest can be found more frugally from other sources. Once you have your double-duty items, remember to take twice as good care of them as you do your single-item clothes; after all, they’re doing twice the work!
Do you have a favorite double-duty clothing item currently taking up residence in your closet? Let us know – and send links to pictures!