12 Staples Every Frugal Woman Should Have in Her Closet
Here are 12 wardrobe staples that will carry you through every season, along with examples to give you an idea how much this super wardrobe will cost you.
1. Well-Tailored Black Pants
A pair of flattering, pressed black pants can be dressed up for work, classed up for drinks or dressed down for weekend shopping. Opt for slim or straight-fit for a look that won't go out of style.$59.98 from macys.com (M).
2. Classic Coat (Trench Coat or Pea Coat)
A timeless trench coat or pea coat can keep you warm from fall through spring, is versatile enough to be worn at the workplace or while hanging out with friends, and fits in whether you're going somewhere dressy or low-key. Choose a neutral color -- such as black or tan -- so you can switch it up with accessories, such as scarves. $99 on Amazon.com (AMZN).
3. Dark Wash Jean
A dark wash jean can be dressy, casual and slimming. Add a blazer and heels for a girls night out or to dress casually for a conference, or sneakers and a cardigan for running errands. Conduct a little research to find a classic fit that flatters your shape, like bootcut or straight, rather than opting for today's super-tight jeggings trend. $24 from Aeropostale (ARO).
4. White Button-Down Shirt
Every professional wardrobe should have a white button-down shirt. You can wear it by itself, under a blazer or cardigan or even layer it under a little black dress for colder weather. Opt for a long-sleeved shirt with sleeves that can be casually rolled up if needed. Double bonus if you can find a "no iron" shirt, like the one in our example. $39.99 at kohls.com (KSS).
5. Comfy (But Stylish) Pair of Sneakers
When you're just kicking around on the weekend, you might want a good pair of sneakers, but don't pick ones that make you look sloppy. Stay away from trendy looks that will be out of style soon, as well as overly athletic-looking sneakers that make you look like you just came from the gym, and stick with a cute but classic pair like the one in our example. They start at $40 on Amazon.
6. Little Black Dress
It's a closet cliche for a reason; the classic LBD never goes out of style and gets a ton of mileage. It's suitable for black tie affairs, cocktail parties, first dates and professional events. Find one in a simple pattern and a style that works for your body -- our example is a fit and flare, which is especially flattering on curvy shapes. $44.99from gap.com (GPS).
7. Black Pencil Skirt
Flattering for any shape, a black pencil skirt is sleek and professional and can be paired with a ton of different tops. Go for one that hits just above your knee. $31.99 from talbots.com.
A cardigan can double your wardrobe options instantly and can be layered over everything from tees to dresses. Buy a couple in neutral colors, like white and black, and one that provides a bright pop of your favorite color, such as pink, blue or red. They're $19.94 each at Old Navy, or $59.82 for three.
9. T-Shirts in Neutral Colors
Another layering essential, simple, one-color tees can be worn by themselves or under other pieces. Like cardigans, get a few that will go with everything, like a white, a gray and a color of your choice. The cut is up to you -- you can do scoop or V-neck, depending on which look you like better. They're $9.99 each at T.J. Maxx (TJX), or $29.97 for three.
10. Well-Structured Blazer
Not just for the office, a well-fitting blazer can instantly make any outfit look polished, even if you throw it on over a T-shirt and jeans for brunch or a casual date. Black, navy blue or dark gray are your best options here in order to create the most possible outfit combinations. Pair it with a wide bracelet for a more youthful, modern look. $34.95 on H&M's website.
11. Comfy Pair of Flats
Look cute and feel comfortable simultaneously with a classic pair of ballet flats. These shoes instantly add style to casual outfits, especially jeans, and pair with everything from jeans to dresses. They're appropriate for working at the office, running errands or even hitting the town. $44.99 at Famous Footwear.
12. A Great Pair of Boots
You can choose from an endless array of boot styles, ranging from dainty stilettos to peep-toe summertime booties. While you can pick whatever type of boot you prefer, we will note that leather or suede riding boots are suitable for a wide array of occasions –- ranging from running errands to hanging out with friends -- and tend to weather the fluctuating trends well. Whatever style you choose, make sure it pairs with everything from jeans to dresses and that it's comfortable enough for daily use. $39.99 on jcpenney.com (JCP).
And the Total Is ...
The grand total for our hypothetical wardrobe comes to $549.67 -- and that's a one-time cost. You can update this wardrobe each season with fresh accessories like jewelry, scarves and handbags, but you've got enough with these pieces to create a variety of looks for a variety of occasions year-round, year after year.
And the best part? You've now got a simple, streamlined closet where everything goes with everything else. No more staring at a ton of less-than-great options every morning wondering what to wear-just mix and match these pieces and you'll always look pulled together in a flash!
Paula Pant ditched her 9-to-5 job in 2008. She's traveled to 32 countries, runs a popular finance blog and is a successful real estate investor. Her blog, Afford Anything, is the groundswell of a rebellion against stodgy, uninspired financial advice. Afford Anything shows you how to crush limits, create wealth and maximize life.