cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (sleek & stylish)
Cimorene ([personal profile] cimorene) wrote2015-05-16 10:37 pm
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If your list of clothes is supposed to be for ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE, it should probably fit on 1 page.

I followed a link from Pinterest to this list of supposedly the "essential" "basics" that "any woman" would need in her wardrobe, and like... gobsmacked.

I mean, I can ALMOST accept Tim Gunn's theory of basics, but there were still "basics" according to him that I objected to on the grounds that many many women, even many middle-class women living in the modern west in cities, would not need them. But THIS list is... something else. For one thing, it's way too long to conceivably be any kind of "universal", but that's just for starters.


The (almost) perfect wardrobe checklist
UNDERWEAR
- A bra that makes your girls look amazing
- 1 each tan/ white/black no VPL undies
- Suck me in undies (if you need them… who doesn’t!)
- Several comfy/ fun everyday bras
- A strapless bra (that actually stays up!)
- A few “ special” fancy bras (you know what they’re for!)
They're for when I feel like wearing them but honestly, all the ones I have, I bought because they were on sale. Pretty much by definition, a 'special' 'fancy' UNDERGARMENT is the opposite of essential.
- Lots of (hole-free) everyday undies
- A dark and a light “seam free” bra
- Sports bras
- A few pairs “Special” fancy undies (they could even match your bras, how posh! )

TOPS
- 2 x white, 2 x black and 2 x coloured tank tops (for layering, I love TEMT for cheap layerables)
- 2 x white, 2 x black and 2 x grey marle tee (deep V or scoop neck is universally flattering, ideally you’ll have a mix of fits, shapes and necklines here so you can mix it up.)
- 1 x white and 1 x black fitted shirt.
- 1 x white and 1 x black loose shirt (super girly and flouncy, or tailored and man-style, which ever you prefer… or a mix of both!)
Why do you need this many boring shirts??? Are you forced to do laundry no more than once per month or something?
- 1 denim/chambray shirt (these can double as a light jacket)
Wait, so you're literally saying that EVERYONE NEEDS a denim shirt? Really? There's NO WOMAN who can get by without a denim shirt? You're sticking with that?
BONUS POINTS (these aren’t necessary, but they are highly recommended and will be in italics in each section below)
- 1 army coloured shirt
- 1 floral or animal print or other pattern button up blouse (eeeww.. dont you just hate that word! It’s almost as bad as panties!)
- 1 Breton shirt (aka ¾ sleeve navy & white striped tee)

JACKETS
- A flattering leather jacket (not sure which shape leather jacket is going to suit you, then click here!)
- A goes-with-everything coloured blazer (aka navy, grey, black etc..)
- A light coloured fitted jacket (can be another blazer, or a waterfall cut.. go crazy!)
- A warm and (lets all say it again) flattering wool coat in a neutral colour (I prefer navy or gray over black)
- A long jacket in a neutral colour (doesn’t have to be a trench, they don’t work for everyone)
- A denim jacket
- A casual parka / wind-breaker style jacket
- At least one ‘Hey look how awesome I am’ jacket (this can be a print, a bold colour, hell it can be sequins, again, whatever makes your heart sing when you wear it).
I would say that none of these are actually essential for everyone. Why is waterproofing not even considered on this list, yet leather, denim, and multiple lengths of light jackets all are?

KNITS
- 1 light and 1 dark short cardigan
- 1 light and 1 dark long length cardigan (can be a mix of light and chunky knits as well)
- 3 good quality and flattering light weight knits (1 light neutral, 1 dark and one colourful if you are a real teachers pet)
- 1 grey zippered hoodie (for your days off!)
- 2 or more statement knits (these are the knits that you can throw on over a simple pair of jeans or pants and create a wow outfit)

PANTS & SHORTS
- 1 pair dark indigo blue jeans (in whatever cut you find the most flattering)
- 1 pair black jeans (as above)
- 1 pair “vintage” or pre-loved and faded look casual jeans (these can all be the same cut, or a mix and match. I am all about the skinny jeans, but that’s just me!)
- 1 pair beautifully tailored (aka makes your ass look rocking and like you legs go on for days) black (or grey or navy) pants.
- 1 pair 7/8th length really beautifully tailored cigarette pants in black
Literally nobody NEEDS 7/8 length pants. Short pants are a fashion which has come in and will go out and plenty of people are never going to adopt them.
- 1 pair tailored shorts (in a black, tan or navy)
Many people don't like shorts and never wear any at all. Many, many more people don't admit 'formal' shorts.
- 1 pair casual denim shorts
- At least one pair of brightly coloured or print pants and shorts in whatever style you look and feel best in.

DRESSES & SKIRTS
- A LBD that makes you feel amazing
- A maxi dress
I have never owned a maxi dress, if you don't count formal gowns, and I feel fine. And I'm also saying this as someone who for years preferred skirts about 80% of the summer.
- 1 (or more if you are a dresses girl) neutral day dresses (these are the type you can add heels to for work, or flats to make them brunch-appropriate)
There you are assuming not only a white-collar environment, but one where both dresses AND heels are de rigeur for work
- A super glam cocktail dress
What about the many people who prefer conservative, not super glam, for their formal wear? Are they gonna be forced into sequins or what?
- A couple of flattering neutral coloured skirts
- One show stopper skirt in your favourite cut (mini is a fitted studded mini, and a lace pencil skirt)Just... what. What.

SHOES
- 1 pair ballet flats (leopard print are my faves)
- 1 pair flat sandals
- 1 pair black heels
- 1 pair nude heels
??????????????????????????
- 1 pair neutral-colored strappy heels
- 1 pair booties
- 1 pair casual boots
- 1 pair “look at me” heels (the kind that just make you feel happier when you put them on!)
There are many heels that make me happy to look at on a shelf or in the box but no heels that make me happy when I put them on my feet. Zero.

ACCESSORIES
- Simple studs
- Long chandelier earrings
Because... people without pierced ears don't exist I guess?
- Bib style statement necklace
There's nobody in the world who could slide by with a different type of statement necklace! Nope, every woman needs a BIB one!
- Long length pendant necklace
- Simple short length chain necklace with simple charm or pendant
- Casual watch
- Fancy watch
People... who don't wear watches...
- Statement cocktail ring
- Chain bracelet (chunky or fine, whatever you like best)
???????????

BAGS
- A tote or everyday bag (although who am I kidding, as if you’ll only have one!)
- A mid sized cross body bag
- A super glam clutch (in gold, black or silver)


Like, this list is so specific it can't even be said to apply to every upper middle class white thin Western cishet femme woman who cares about fashion and might read fashion magazines. My sister is square in the middle of the target group there - a white collar office job (most of this stuff wouldn't apply to teachers for example) where she wears heels and has pierced ears and doesn't think nude heels look horrid, a person who cares about jewelry and curates her collection thereof, a person who has worn watches. But even so, dresses aren't appropriate at her formal office job; and their jacket advice would be a poor fit for her due to climate (even though she lives in the US!).

To this end, I decided to write my own version of the

"Essential" "core" wardrobe for a person with my relationship to cold, living in my climate, working in Finland in childcare and/or primary school

UNDERWEAR
- A nude-colored bra for those somewhat-transparent tops
- An unlined bra for hot summer days
- A strapless bra, if your occasionwear requires such
- A sports bra if you have sports needs
- A seamless-cup t-shirt bra if you can get one, but I literally can't find one in my size (28B) on this continent - or rather I ordered one from Marks & Spencers, but after coming all the way from the UK, it was low quality and bigger in the band than my still-too-big 30As
- Skin-color-approximating undies for light-colored bottoms
- lightweight bamboo/viscose/etc long underwear that can double as black leggings, for when it's firmly below freezing but not actually killer cold
- silk long underwear for when it's actually fucking horrible out

TOPS
- Solid tank tops for summer and layering
- Some t-shirts (I own like 30, but could get by with 7-10 in peak tshirt-usage season if I did the laundry weekly)
- Solid fitted long-sleeved t-shirts in black and white for layering in winter (in total, at least a week's worth)
- 1 loose cotton oxford shirt for summer coverup
- 2 button-down flannel shirts for winter layering (Actually I have 3, if you count the one I share with my wife)

JACKETS
- A puffy down-filled winter coat for when it's -10°C or below and you have to stand outside on playground duty
- A regular warm winter coat with a hood that can stand up to active snowfall for playground duty when it's cold but not FUCKING cold
- A lighter winter coat such as a wool coat
- A waterproof athletic jacket with a hood
- A fleece jacket for layering under it, or equivalent (approximately like worsted wool)
- A light jacket for spring/fall such as an unlined parka, trench, or peacoat
- A blazer if you might have business casual or party needs for such, like a rash of weddings or funerals

ACCESSORIES
- Waterproof, insulated, giant fucking mittens such as sheepskin mittens for playground duty
- Lined leather gloves for outdoor excursions when you won't be standing in one place, and so don't need the giant fucking mittens
- Lightweight gloves that can go inside the aforementioned giant mittens or work alone in milder weather
- Very warm hat that covers the ears
- Lighter hat that covers the ears
- Giant scarf that won't let any cold air in
- Medium-weight scarf
- Light scarf or small cowl that will fit inside the waterproof rain jacket when the neck is zipped up all the way

KNITS
- Fine-gauge cardigan in neutral color
- Long cardigan in intermediate warmth (equiv to sport or dk weight wool or alpaca)
- Heavy-ish sweater in aran or worsted weight
- Warm, snuggly sweater, chunky-weight or more
- Neutral colored zippered hoodie

PANTS & SHORTS
- 1 pair clean dark indigo jeans
- 1 pair black jeans
- casual or distressed jeans
- black dress pants, if needed for party reasons (Mine pair with a black blazer for a suit)
- snow pants
- rubber rain pants if you're gonna have playground duty and your snow pants are too warm or not waterproof enough
- sweatpants or fleece pants for layering between long underwear and snow pants when it's fucking freezing
- plain black leggings if you wear tunics/dresses
- 1 pair nice shorts
- 1 pair casual/denim shorts

DRESSES & SKIRTS
- Formal or cocktail-formal dress, if weddings or other such occasions are going to happen and you want to wear a dress to them
- Tshirt dress for wear with leggings, if you choose to wear it
- Tshirt miniskirt for wear with leggings, if you choose to wear it
- A couple of neutral skirts if you choose to wear them
- Casual, lightweight summer skirt in neutral color, if you choose to wear it

SHOES
- Rubber rain boots
- Insulated winter boots that can be outside getting snowed on
- Lighter boots that can fit thick wool socks inside them for the less cold part of winter/ transitional weather
- High top sneakers or booties for the next warmer degree of transitional weather (I actually don't have this, so I've been seesawing between freezing ankles and too-hot feet in Docs the past few weeks)
- Athletic shoes
- Slip-on sneakers
- Ballet flats or other dress flats
- Flat sandals
- Strappy heels or other fancy formal dress shoes such as patent, glitter, or metallic brogues, if tux-level formal occasions are going to come up

JEWELRY
- There is no jewelry that is "essential". Some people don't even like jewelry and that's fine. Many people working in daycares never wear jewelry at all because washing your hands 20+ times a day isn't great with necklaces and bracelets, and tiny people climbing on you who might yank anything you're wearing isn't great for necklaces or, for that matter, for headbands or barrettes, all of which I've had yanked off or broken by children ranging from 3 to 8. However, stud earrings are popular with my coworkers who wear earrings.

BAGS
- A backpack for outings, etc
- A large sports bag type bag for when you need to carry changes of clothes to work with you
- A tote or everyday bag (I have three sizes of this, but I guess it depends how much stuff you like to carry around with you)
- A waterproof bag for when you have to walk or bike to work and it's fucking pouring rain
copracat: Audrey Hepburn looking over her shoulder (audrey)

[personal profile] copracat 2015-05-17 01:22 am (UTC)(link)
Wow. Wow that list is 'how many things can we convince you to buy'. Wow, I get by on a lot less and definitely nothing like that variety of bra range.

That original list has seven jackets, SEVEN jackets all about style and colour, only ONE of which is about weather conditions.
copracat: Close up of Lim and Callas from the police drama East West 101  (eastwest101 - lim)

[personal profile] copracat 2015-05-17 08:31 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, I'm not stepping out this morning without my wool-lined, hooded water resistant jacket. We don't get snow in cities here, but the wind does come down off the mountains and up across the sea between us and the Antarctic.

Maybe it was published with a northern/tropics readership? But whatever, that is too fussy a wardrobe for anyone with less than extravagant means and/or limited space.
hypertwink: (donna oh)

[personal profile] hypertwink 2015-05-17 01:35 am (UTC)(link)
That's one long list.

If I remember Tim, Clinton & Stacy, Trinny & Susanah: you need 8-10 basics: a white shirt, tailored black pants, jeans, the lbd, 1 kickass heels, 1 jacket/suit...and I don't remember anymore lol Oh, and the perfect bra measured to your actual size.
krait: a sea snake (krait) swimming (Default)

[personal profile] krait 2015-05-17 08:43 pm (UTC)(link)
Hahahaha. This man is free to come walk my dog in a sundress any time he likes, then.

(Me, I just walk the dog in jeans, because I do virtually everything in jeans. But he would probably Not Approve of the jeans, either.)
niqaeli: my boobs on display from the wedding (boobs!)

[personal profile] niqaeli 2015-05-17 01:54 am (UTC)(link)
Okay, but like. Somehow I manage to survive with a wardrobe that contains six sports bras, one black underwire, and one nude soft cup. And two shitty, decade-old soft fabric sports bras that I use for fucking around the house when I need a little support/containment (otherwise, it's bra-free when I'm at home).

I mean, yes obviously I just choose to live in sports bras, for reasons of I'm a goddamn 34H and BASIC LIFE requires more support than most non-sports bras provide. But, like, ignoring that there are women who are very active and rarely dressed up is... not... very... universal.

(And, like. I work at a five diamond resort. It's amazing how much as long as the straps aren't showing and your top isn't see-through, no one NOTICES what kind of bra you're wearing. Also I would punch anyone who gave me shit for my sports bras, because fuck you I'm a massage therapist. But, like, even when I was working a front desk at a four diamond resort in full formal office wear, seriously: no one ever registered it. Not my managers, not my co-workers, not my guests, no one.)

ETA: I should note my grump is really directed much more at the original. Yours is rather saner, overall.
Edited 2015-05-17 01:56 (UTC)
krait: a sea snake (krait) swimming (Default)

[personal profile] krait 2015-05-17 08:42 pm (UTC)(link)
I, too, live in sports bras! *high-fives you* Every other kind of bra I own, I was pretty much pressured into buying by either my mother or by a specific-to-one-occasion garment I was required to wear. They last forever because of how rarely I wear them; honestly, I have some that I've, er, 'outgrown' that are still perfectly wearable if only I weren't a cup size larger!
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)

[personal profile] vass 2015-05-17 01:55 am (UTC)(link)
I want to be a brain in a jar.

Then my only essential basic clothing will be A JAR.
laurajv: Don't give me any wild ideas! (Default)

[personal profile] laurajv 2015-05-17 02:16 am (UTC)(link)
I am thinking about what I own that is essential -- like, would make my life outrageously difficult if I didn't have it -- and your list is much closer to mine than the original one. Let's see:

UNDERWEAR
- a nude-colored bra
- a sports bra
- pajama bras (look I have enormous boobs ok)
- underwear that fits

TOPS
- garden shirts (long-sleeved but lightweight & breathable so I don't sunburn to a crisp but also don't overheat)
- some t-shirts, short and long-sleeved
- some flannel button-up shirts
- two nice dressy tops

JACKETS
- knee-length wool coat
- rain coat
- garden vest
- athletic jacket
- lightweight jacket

ACCESSORIES
- lined leather driving gloves
- hat that covers the ears
- floofy warm scarf
- light scarf
- 2 buffs for running + gardening ( http://buffusa.com/sports/ )

KNITS
- fine-gauge pullover
- several medium-weight cardigans in neutral colors

PANTS & SHORTS
- some jeans
- good work pants, by which I mean "gardening, hardscaping, etc" not "office": flexible, breathable, pockets, quick-drying, tough fabric. usually from Duluth Trading Co.
- black dress pants
- yoga pants for pajamas + running errands without changing out of pajamas
- few pairs skorts or shorts for summer playground/biking nonsense w kids

DRESSES & SKIRTS
- 1 nice knee-length dress

SHOES
- shearling winter hiking boots
- gardening shoes
- running shoes
- Athletic shoes
- house shoes
- dress shoe that goes with everything

BAGS
- a large canvas tote bag
- a diaper bag
- a garden bucket with a bucket buddy
- a wallet that can hold my phone

I own more stuff than that, but that's the stuff that if I didn't have it, my life would actively be difficult.
krait: a sea snake (krait) swimming (Default)

[personal profile] krait 2015-05-17 08:39 pm (UTC)(link)
- pajama bras (look I have enormous boobs ok)

Heh, I feel you. I have that same problem. For me, the "pajama bra" category is what my regular (sports) bras age into.
spark: White sparkler on dark background (Default)

[personal profile] spark 2015-05-17 12:44 pm (UTC)(link)
Here is a list for a middle aged woman living on a rural smallholding, with sheep and chickens =)

UNDERWEAR
- 3-4 bras that can be worn under t-shirts when I don't want nipple poking through
- 3-4 soft sports bras for support under layers
- lots of cotton undies
- thick wool socks that will stay put under wellies
- lighter socks for other shoes

TOPS
- 8-10 t-shirts
- 1 more formal shirt for occasions of formality in warm weather

JACKETS
- a long, warm, hooded, waterproof, washable coat for outdoor work in bad weather
- a nice coat for occasions when pockets full of hay and mud smears are inappropriate
- a long, hooded, durable raincoat

KNITS
- 2-3 nice knits for occasions of formality in cooler weather
- 2-3 machine washable knits for short-notice occasions of formality in cooler weather
- 2-3 bulky ragged warm knits for layering for farm work

PANTS & SHORTS
- 2-3 pairs dark blue jeans
- 1 pair dark trousers for occasions of formality
- 2-3 pairs military/cargo shorts
- 2-3 pairs thick sweatpants

DRESSES & SKIRTS
- nope

SHOES
- 1 pair very good quality wellington boots
- 1 pair sturdy hiking boots
- 1 pair black leather work shoes that can be cleaned up for occasions of formality
- 1 pair hiking sandals

ACCESSORIES
- waterproof watch
- heavy duty work gloves
- warm normal gloves
- warm scarf
- pocket knife
- cheap black sunglasses

BAGS
- canvas messenger bag for the rare occasions when I don't have enough pockets
spark: White sparkler on dark background (Default)

[personal profile] spark 2015-05-17 04:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Wellies really aren't good for walking, and I wouldn't wear mine off the farm. They're probably not even the best for rain per se, they're for climbing around in mud and muck and streams and ditches -- more like protection from below. For walking to work in serious rain maybe something like http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Rain-Boots-Womens-Reviews/Sperry-Top-Sider-Falcon would do you better?
spark: White sparkler on dark background (Default)

[personal profile] spark 2015-05-17 07:19 pm (UTC)(link)
To me wellies are one piece molded rubber boots, which means they don't have much sole structure. But I admit the name could be used more widely outside my usual social circles!
krait: a sea snake (krait) swimming (Default)

[personal profile] krait 2015-05-17 08:36 pm (UTC)(link)
- A strapless bra (that actually stays up!)

Why is she putting imaginary items on her list? (Or, more to the point, if we're going to list imaginary items, let's go all the way; my list now includes "miniaturised antigrav tech bra".)

There's a lot to boggle at on that list, but I keep coming back to the underwear, because: underwear. It's covered by your clothes! Absolutely nobody sees mine, outside of when the dog hides it in the couch cushions; that is an absurdly long list of specialised garments and most of them do not apply to me. I get by on about four 'standard' bras (mostly white, but whatever's on sale) and seven sports bras and, technically, the stupidly expensive breast booster-seat that I had to buy to go under a bridesmaid dress eight years ago (it's still hanging around in the closet with the dress). And don't even get me started on panties, because "cheap multi-pack" is fine by me. (See above, re: undies sometimes doing double duty as dog toys...)
krait: a sea snake (krait) swimming (Default)

[personal profile] krait 2015-05-17 08:50 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, and I also take deep (heh) offence to this particular bit:

(deep V or scoop neck is universally flattering,

No, it is not. Unless I'm allowed to leave the pendant necklace off the list on account of my unfortunately-placed mole that will take its place, because giant-neckline shirts reveal it. :/

Regular V-neck is fine, but "deep" is not going to look good on me. Not to mention that I have more and better things to do than fish crumbs out of my cleavage.
niqaeli: cat with arizona flag in the background (Default)

[personal profile] niqaeli 2015-05-18 04:47 am (UTC)(link)
Why is she putting imaginary items on her list? (Or, more to the point, if we're going to list imaginary items, let's go all the way; my list now includes "miniaturised antigrav tech bra".)

This was my reaction. I last had a strapless bra that fit this description about four cup sizes ago. And for this reason I absolutely 100% maintain one of the first applications of anti-grav tech with a sufficiently small form-factor WILL be breast support. Because, seriously, those of us what got an abundance of tracts of land will have been fantasising about the idea for a long time by the time that happens.