This post is part of The Gorgeous 50’s series inspired by a book given to me by one of my sisters on my 50th birthday – ‘Grown-Up and Gorgeous in your 50’s’ by Pamela Robson. I will be sharing some of Pamela’s words and my own thoughts along the way. To see all posts published as part of this series, go here.
Your essential wardrobe should consist of the following
Tops: cotton T–shirts, black cardigan, cotton V–neck jumper, white blouse or shirt, camisole, cashmere wrap
Bottoms: a couple of pairs of jeans, black tailored pants
Suits: good separates [jacket, pants and skirt] in black or navy
Jackets/coats: denim jacket, trench coat, wool coat
Shoes: black ballet flats, comfy plain sneakers, moccasins, black work pumps, black high heels
Jewellery and accessories: diamond stud/pearl earrings, classic watch, good–quality sunglasses, black work bag, brown everyday bag
Trends come and go: older women can get away with some ‘younger’ items as long as they are balanced by good basics.
Good basics endure: you can’t go wrong with well–cut classics in good materials. The trick is to add a twist with a few stylish items. Best stay away from those that are doomed to be discarded after one season. If you must, source them from the cheaper shops – not the teen departments.
Neutrals are your fashion friend: think black and white, beige, tan, silvery grey and navy.
Quality fabrics matter: they look better, feel better and survive longer – it’s worth the investment.
I must confess straight up that I am no fashion expert but I am getting better at knowing what suits me and my figure at my current age!
Pamela quite obviously does not live in Queensland! We rarely, if ever, need a wool coat here though it would be handy to have one should we travel to somewhere with a much cooler climate. A trench coat is more suited to our winters here [if it gets cold enough] and a denim jacket is always handy, though I must admit I don’t own one.
This picture I shared on Instagram towards the end of September when packing for Canberra shows my red trench coat which I was very excited to use in Canberra as it hasn’t been used here in Brisbane since my corporate days working in the city. Brisbane city, particularly George Street, can be quite the wind tunnel in winter!
I agree with having a couple or even a few pairs of jeans. Personally, I like some options! Style Options: bootleg jeans or skinny jeans, and Colour Options: denim jeans, black jeans, white jeans and so on. Everyone needs to have some black tailored pants – agreed!
These are the jeans I bought myself recently. They’re Dannii Minogue Petites high waisted skinny jeans from Target. Fantastic for the vertically challenged like myself [5 foot 3 inches and under], really affordable at only $39, and so comfortable!
I guess suit separates would be handy for many but not for all. It depends on your occupation and style choices. I also feel that there are lots of lovely colour choices other than black or navy!
As for shoes … moccasins? I think Pamela may mean slippers or ugg boots? The other shoes suggested are all handy and great essentials to have at hand. I would add nude/beige options in there also.
Diamond studs and pearl earrings are gorgeous to have but what about good ‘ol silver or gold [depending on your preference] sleepers and studs too? A nice watch is lovely to have but I’m finding that less and less people are wearing them these days because everyone has a smart phone on them all the time now and the time is available on those. Also, you are more likely to find a FitBit [or equivalent] on the wrist rather than a watch these days!
Pamela’s points under ‘REMEMBER’
I totally agree with all that she says here. Neutrals are must have wardrobe essentials and though I’m not exactly sure what Pamela might define as a ‘younger item’, I do think that balancing these with some good classic basics is a good idea, assuming that the younger item is a sensible choice for the wearer’s figure of course! Perhaps by ‘younger item’ she means an ‘on trend’ item?
Not only do quality fabrics matter, but quality clothes matter when you get older. It makes all the difference and it most certainly is worth the investment. I also apply this belief to the purchase of shoes. Well designed, comfortable and supportive shoes make life so much better! Feet abuse is no longer able to be tolerated in your 5O’s. Comfort is essential! I recently wore my Frankie4 Ellie III Silver Star shoes all around Canberra and all around Perth as I was touristing and I never had one little hint of foot pain at all. They are just that fantastic!
Do you think you have your essential wardrobe in order? What would you add to Pamela’s list?
Ciao for now,
Link up here at WOTM or with another of us in the Lovin’ Life Linky team:
Leanne of Deep Fried Fruit
Lyndall of Seize the Day Project
Kathy of 50 Shades of Age
Deborah of Debbish
and Jo of And Anyways
It doesn’t matter where you link up as it will magically appear on all six blogs.
I love those silver trainers!!!!
They’re divine. I love them!! Best purchase ever! xo
I agree with your addition of the Frankie4 Silver Ellies! They are definitely a footwear essential for me!
Aren’t they just fabulous! I love them!
I agree that this essentials list was obviously devised for a cooler climate. I think for Australia you would add a couple of little summer dresses and maybe some shorts (length depending on how good your legs are). Plus I think we all need a LBD of some description for evening dress. Oh and a pair of sandals. #TeamLovinLife
Summer dresses, shorts an LBD and a pair of sandles – totally agree agree with your additions Kathy!
I LOVE those shoes! I want a pair…off to google
I love them too! There’s a direct link to them within the post. No need for Mr Google! 😉
I’m failing badly. For work – when I have to go to Sydney – I have a couple of Thai silk printed A-line skirts that I wear with t-shirts, either long or short sleeved depending on the season. It’s boots in the winter and sandals in the summer. Maxi skirts all year round. No white at all – it doesn’t stay white with me – and absolutely nothing tailored. And thongs – I have 8 pairs of havis and a couple of pairs of terrell walking sandals that I wear all year round up here.
I can never buy maxi dresses or skirts. They’re always WAY too long for little shortie me! I love crisp and fresh white but have to be careful! I can be messy too! haha I don’t have a heap of havi’s but do have a couple of pairs of thongs for around the house plus my Birkenstocks. LOVE my Birkenstocks!
I hate plain bags with a wild passion – so kick me if you ever see me with a black work bag or a brown weekend bag. In fact, when I was trying to buy a new bag recently everything was black, brown or red and nope. I lucked out at the markets with something quirky that I was looking for.
Plus I don’t wear dresses, skirts, high heels or jewelry. I am trying to get used to wearing sunnies but I hate having things on my face so I really struggle with that.
I’m guilty of plain black bags! Black, red, beige coloured BUT I have also bought a few colourful and quirky bags recently so I think I can be forgiven (hopefully! LOL).
My aunt was talking about those Frankie 4s recently. I hadn’t realised she’d even heard of the brand but she was trying to explain them to me….
I’m struggling a little with work clothes at the moment. I looked in my wardrobe at home this morning and was not inspired at all. Some of the shirts I wear I’ve now been wearing every week for almost two years and though I’ve inherited a few new ones I’ve not actually bought any new shirts. I’ve bought a couple of Adrift dresses in the last year and some pants but probably need to think of tops.
I do agree on the notion of buying ‘plain’ though not necessarily beige / black / white tops. TS14+ is the only plus sized store around and their clothes are really bright with patterns and it’s really obvious when someone else is wearing the same thing!
I love the Frankie4 shoes. They are a little expensive but totally worth it for the comfort, support and style they provide. I’m totally drooling over some of their new summer range. There’s a couple of pairs I have my eye on! I love Adrift too … so much temptation in my inbox all the time! You’re working Deb – indulge in some more work clothes for yourself!
I have the basics, Min, and would like to go through my wardrobe this winter to reduce my clothing volume.
I need to do the very same thing Natalie!
Considering I am a maximalist when it comes to a wardrobe, I’d add in a ton more shoes (yes..I have a problem…). I like having fun colors of shoes, and hardly ever wear my black ones when it comes right down to it.
Take for example, silver. It’s one of those colors that goes with everything and is fun!! Or red. Or yellow! The list goes on…at least in my closet—haha!
Now why doesn’t it shock me that you’re a maximalist when it comes to wardrobe Jodie? LOL I like fun colours too and absolutely love my Frankie4 silver shoes with the quirky laces for that reason and because they look so fantastic and are SO comfortable! xo
I always need reminding about the basics of style – I am a great one for going off at a tangent and buying show pony pieces, then finding nothing to wear with them in my existing wardrobe. Love those silver FRANKiE4 sneakers 🙂
I’m exactly the same Jo – going off on tangents buying show pony pieces! lol I’m getting better though (I think!). I love those silver FRANKIE4 shoes too! Best purchase ever!
Love this post Min as I have been wanting to sort my wardrobe for ages. You have given me the inspiration to start. I love your red trench coat and every woman should have a pair of silver trainers shouldn’t they?
Glad you’ve been inspired to sort your wardrobe Sue! I love my red trench coat too. Wish I got to wear it more often though. As for those Silver FRANKIE4’s they would be my best purchase for 2017 by far. They totally deliver on every count: stylish, quirky, and oh so comfortable!
I agree with some of the stuff she says but I think black and white and beige without any other colours make me look washed out and older. I am a huge fan of a coloured top to brighten my face and I think you need more than just black in your shoe choices too. Maybe I’m forgetting my age but I intend to be colourful all the way through til I die – and then be buried in my colourful coffin (with glitter thrown if possible!)
OMG the vision of a colourful coffin with glitter that I have in my head Leanne! LOL Yes I agree that just black and white and beige can be boring for sure. I think she’s just talking with regards to ‘basics’ though, maybe assuming colour would be added with a scarf or jewellery etc. I like a bit of colour myself and have shoes and clothes in many different colours! 🙂
This is a great post Min and I’m glad you shared it again. I noticed Sue added it to her FB page as well because it’s something we all need to put a bit of thought into. Just throwing any old thing on isn’t going to work for us as well as it did when we were younger.
Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM xx
Leanne | http://www.crestingthehill.com.au
Thanks so much for reading and commenting and sharing Leanne, especially as you already read and commented when I first published this post. I think quality and simplicity is more important with fashion as we get older. As you say – it’s not as easy to just throw on any old thing and get away with it! 😉 xo
Oooo I wonder is I could get Danni’s jeans over here in the UK? Thanks for the tips x #Lovin’LifeLinky
Oooo I don’t know Maria but you could always order and have it delivered to someone here in Australia and then get them to mail it over to you! 🙂
This is a most helpful and interesting post as for the first time in “forever” I am getting into my wardrobe and taking a photo each day. It is doing wonders for my emotional health and self-confidence. I cannot wear any shoes as pretty as those but I recently found some Ecco sandals on special. Lovely post, Min! D x
Thank you Denyse! I’ve seen that you’re posting #everydayfashion photo’s now and you’re looking fabulous! I’m so glad that it’s helping with your self-confidence. xo
I’m a big fan of quality basics that can be worked together to make lots of different outfits and love the Smart Closet app for keeping track of these outfits and also the individual pieces that are in my wardrobe. I purchased my first pair of silver sneakers this year and wear them all the time, so am now on the look out for some silver summer options.
I might have to check out the Smart Closet app! I’d like some silver summer options too … but I’m a bit distracted by some new rose gold slides that Frankie4 have in their new summer range. I need to win some money! I want too much! lol
Whilst I really don’t like those prescriptive lists, this is one of the better ones I have seen. However, as I age I find myself wanting more colour in my wardrobe. I will always have my neutral basics but definitely not beige. I also wonder about the need for a V neck jumper, I don’t wear V necks well. But we all need a starting point and this list is a good one.
Glad you think the list is a good one Jan! I think it’s pretty good but as I said, with a few additions and subtractions to suit my taste and where I live etc. BTW I’m not really into beige either but do love black and white! 🙂
Personally, I do love black and white as a wardrobe staple. I also love navy, as it goes with so much. I have silver sneakers too – they’re so comfy and lift a casual outfit 🙂 #TeamLovinLife
I love black and white and navy too and I do love my silver Ellie’s. Loving the metallics at the moment! 🙂
I do love Danni Minogue’s style.
Me too – love her range at Target! 🙂
The essential list would have been wonderful for me twenty years ago. But now, at 70, living a rural life, riding a motorcycle, corralling two 60# dogs, I keep it simple. The only time I dress up in something other than jeans, capris or leggings is when we are on a cruise. LOL!
Oh what a fabulous life you must lead Donna. I love the country! Yes you would need a rather casual wardrobe most of the time. Nice to have some more dressy options at hand though for those times you do get a more dressy occasion! 🙂
Oooh, I have all of those and more! In fact I think I have about 10 or 20 complete essential wardrobes in my cupboard. Oops. In my defence, I do hang on to good things forever. Did anyone mention scarves? Can’t live without those.
Good for you Christine! My wardrobe needs a good overhaul! I have a lot of stuff I never wear so I really do need to go through it all and cull! I do love scarves but its usually too hot here in Brisbane for them, though I might get some opportunities during winter if it gets cold enough! 🙂
My wardrobe is so far out of order it isn’t funny. Sigh.
Mine too Jo! I need to do a good cull and rethink!
Hi Min, I had a pampering mani/pedi with my daughter this morning. She is on maternity leave with just over 3 weeks to go until baby arrives. I purchased a pair of black ballet flats and love them. I think having a classic basic wardrobe allows you to mix and match and also add seasonal pieces each year. Thanks for sharing with us at Midlife Share the Love Party and have a great week! #MLSTL
Oh Sue, the pampering mani/pedi with your daughter sounds fabulous. I’m overdue for the same. It’s one of my self care treats for myself because I love it! I feel so excited for you about your new grandchild due so soon. Can’t wait to hear the good news! Black ballet flats are a very handy item for your wardrobe and will get a lot of use for sure! xo
I have almost everything on the basic lists. These things make sense for me. I don’t love to shop and my clothes don’t go out of style and I’ve had many of them for years. I have also learned that cheap clothes are usually not worth the money, especially cheap shoes! I’m with you on the tan shoes- both loafers and smallish heels!
Sounds like you have a very organised and well thought out wardrobe Michele! I don’t love to shop either – preferring to shop online actually. I’ve also learnt that cheap clothes aren’t worth the money and generally it’s far wiser to invest in good quality clothes, and shoes!
Hmmm, suits, not so sure that they are a necessity even in the corporate world these days, a smart dress and blazer is a much more flexible combo to take one from work to dinner. As you know Min I am not a great fan of prescriptive lists; I much prefer tips for finding what suits (and V necks don’t suit me). I totally agree that quality is always a winner and represents better value for money as well as being kinder to the environment. I also agree neutral basics are essential building blocks but I couldn’t live with a wardrobe that was all neutrals.
Yes – I don’t always agree with what Pamela has to say. I never really wore suits when I worked and lived the corporate life. I wore pants and tops and blazers/jackets alot and sometimes skirts. Occasionally a dress. I’m the opposite of you when it comes to V necks. I like them as they are flattering on me. Good quality clothes and shoes are a must for me these days. I couldn’t bare an all neutral wardrobe either. I adore colour! 🙂
I love your silver shoes with the ribbon ties. I have three pairs of silver shoes and am all about comfort. I got rid of all of my suits when where I worked went more casual though I do think I should have hung onto a couple of the jackets. You can’t go wrong with a pair of nice black pants.
I love my silver shoes too Victoria! I too would love more silver shoes – they go with so much and make me feel happy! Thumbs up to black pants – I have several different styles of black pants and they are the most handy thing in the wardrobe ever!
Hi, stopping over from MLSTL and very intrigued with both this post and some of the links. Will be exploring more! As to the basics…. as I was reading through it, I was nope, nope, nope. Have very few of the basics in my need-to-downsize wardrobe! I’m still shifting away from a work-based wardrobe where I wore jackets (usual with black slacks and pumps) all the time in a “beauty based” work area…meaning try and be trendy with colors and styles. For me that was the “uniform” of black on bottom and trendy on top. Yes, I have about 20 pairs of black pants in different styles…of which I wear them now…never! It’s so hard to get rid of clothes that fit (for me) even if I don’t wear them… it took so long to find the fit. As a petite, very curvy woman, clothes shopping is a nightmare to find things that fit. And my range of colored pumps (to match those jackets) have also been worn … never in the past 2 years. Sigh. My look now is so casual – shorts and T’s in summer, jeans (blue, black or olive) and polartec pullover in winter. Boring but comfy! But I’m thinking a red trench is so needed in my wardrobe!
I’m with you, Pat. I spent too many years uptight and buttoned tighter, hoping to be what everyone thought I should be. Now that I’m retired and in my 70’s, I dress for 1) me and 2) comfort. Like you, though, I love the red trench coat. I wear bright colors, wild flowered patterns and things I would never have considered in my younger years.
Have fun getting that wardrobe sorted Pat. A change of lifestyle certainly does mean a change of wardrobe. However, I’d still hold on to a few of those black pants – they come in handy! Hope you get a red trench. I absolutely love mine! 🙂 xo
Definitely a list for a cooler climate, although down here in SWA we do sometimes need a wool coat – but I can count the days on one hand. However, it is a good list and a thoughtful list, and much better to maintain a wardrobe with these items than to buy indiscriminately because you ‘just love a piece and have to have it!’ – er, that would be me 😉
Yes – very much a cooler climate list Jo! lol I like the idea of having some good practical basics in the wardrobe and then some ‘show pony’s’ to compliment! 🙂 xo