10 Wardrobe Essentials
White Tuxedo Jacket
It stands out in a sea of traditionally neutral blazers (you've already got navy or black down). And unlike its more predictable cousins, a white jacket can do fancy (lightly tossed over the shoulders of an evening gown) as easily as it can go casual -- with jeans and a T.
Acetate-polyester, IRO, $625; saks.com.
Instead of a necklace, try a soft loop of bright fabric to perk up a mundane outfit instantly. It's a fun and simple way to mix prints. Wrap it once or twice around your neck, letting both ends hang loose.
Rayon, Express, $35; express.com.
Cashmere-silk, Denis Colomb Lifestyle, $480; 213-489-8130.
Silk, Diane von Furstenberg, $185; 646-486-4800.
Polyester, Aerie, $20; aerie.com.
If you have a glamorous event and your feet are begging for a break from stilettos, slip into some decorated flats like the ones shown here. This contrast of edgy and feminine suits cocktail dresses, of course, plus flirty skirts and dark trousers.
Leather, Valentino Garavani, $795; 212-772-6969.
Punch up your office wear or faded denim with this snappy classic. Reveal a little (top it with a crewneck sweater so only your collar shows) or a lot -- untucked and flowy over white jeans or a solid navy or gray skirt.
Silk georgette, Sportmax Code, $305; 212-674-1817.
There's hardly an ensemble that can't be upgraded by the addition of this exciting spin on the traditional balmacaan -- a silhouette that looks good on every figure. Pair it with capri pants, colored jeans, a striped mini, or even your favorite LBD.
Studded cotton twill, Gryphon New York, $645; at Nordstrom.
Make your outfit interesting from the front and back. This vivid design allows you to color-block with clothing in everything from silver or white to cobalt, orange, or yellow.
Leather with enamel heel, BCBG Max Azria, $295; bcbg.com.
Decorating your wrist with one of these clean, modern shapes elevates your total look. Make a splash with clothes that have short or ¾-length sleeves -- or clasp it over a long-sleeve blouse.
Brass, Jennifer Fisher, $500;jenniferfisherjewelry.com.
Lapis and gold-toned metal, Ann Taylor, $68;anntaylor.com.
Gold plate, Giles & Brother, $185;gilesandbrother.com.
When so many options for your bottom half are solid basics, kicky printed pleats are unexpected. With this drop-waist silhouette, you don't need to worry that you'll be adding volume to your middle. Try it on with a T or tank in white, gray, or black, and finish with a denim jacket.
Cotton, Milly, $275; 718-338-2649.
Not as over-the-top as last season's versions, this new incarnation combines darkened metal with glitz and a bit of color for results that don't seem wildly out of place during office hours.
Swarovski crystals and brass, Lionette Designs by Noa Sade, $398; lionetteny.com.
A sleek, colorful purse will complement neutrals, brights, or pastels. Just don't match it with clothing in the exact same shade. (Go for versatility: This one converts to a clutch!)
Cowhide, Botkier, $375; botkier.com.