Why Not . . . Build a Versatile Wardrobe?


Yesterday afternoon, I returned from a day of teaching having worn a navy DVF tunic over dark denim skinny jeans finished with nude pumps. It was a simple outfit that was comfortable and appropriate; however, when I arrived home, I quickly slipped off my heels and swapped the tunic for a simple boatneck cotton long sleeve tee from James Perse. Über comfort was then achieved to help me ease into my writing schedule and then head to my evening French class without losing a bit of the style that allows me to be myself.

The simple transition that occurred from being dressed up in a professional, business manner to casual chic got me to thinking, what exactly are the items in our capsule wardrobes that allow us to, with one or two simple swaps, create an entirely different outfit and mood? So I came up with a list of 15 items, the maximum number for a capsule wardrobe — either in spring or fall, that ensures each item can be dressed down or up depending upon the demands of your day or evening.

Now you may be wondering, where can I shop these items? Two places: TSLL Shop (complete with hand-picked items for both Fall & Spring, as well as all-season essentials) and with more than a handful of the images below, you can simply click on the image to be taken to the original site to shop the outfit.

With each essential versatile piece you’ll also see style inspiration for both a dressed up and dressed down option, as well as links to detailed posts that will provide even more inspiration for incorporating that particular item into your wardrobe should it interest you. Happy styling!


The tunic has become a quick favorite as of late in my wardrobe. And the key to wearing it successfully is balance. Either pair with skinny jeans as you are wearing a full, loose top, or over tights, even bare legs in summer.

~shop the outfit here~

~learn more about Iris Apfel’s style here~


Day or night, flats (ballet, slipper, loafer or D’orsay) complete an outfit. Whether a classic black or a vibrant print, wear and be comfortable, but be certain you look stylish.

~shop the outfit here~

3. Blazer

The reasons for wearing a blazer and having a couple in neutral colors on hand is detailed in this post/podcast, but succinctly, they work well as a chic layering piece. Whether over a tee or a silk camisole, day or evening, you will be set.

4. Camisole

Another essential that I cannot seem to find enough of, whether in classic neutrals (black, white, gray) or gorgeous prints, a silk camisole worn under either a blazer, a cardigan or under a sheer top or sweater adds a subtle touch and a luxurious feel against your skin.

~shop the outfit here~

5. Extrafine Sweaters

While warm, bulky sweaters are worthwhile in winter, an extra fine, quality cashmere sweater can be worn year-round as a neutral layering piece. Whether with denim or a skirt, they strike the right balance each time. My favorites are from Eric Bombard (worn by Ines below), but there are many available from all designers.


6. Trench coat

No matter the color, the trench will always be in style. Discussed in detail for the long list of reasons why here, enjoy the versatility worn over a dress as well as your favorite pair of jeans.

7. Stripes

Here at TSLL I am a little stripes obsessed, but their versatility and timeless support my adoration. From the classic Breton top to stripes with skirts or dresses, for either warm or chilly weather, you will undoubtedly be en vogue. Discover a list of reasons to pick up and incorporate stripes into your wardrobe here.

~shop the outfit here~

~shop the outfit here~

8. Button-up collared shirt

Whether cotton or silk, white or black, even in stripes, a button up will never go out of style and can be worn to the Oscars as demonstrated by Diane Keaton or out to run errands on the weekend.

9. Nude sandals or pumps

While black pumps are always discussed, and I couldn’t agree more, each woman should have a pair in their closet, the nude pump and sandal should not be overlooked. Easier to dress up or down for day or night, the nude touch finishes the look but never overpowers the person of the outfit you’ve chosen.

10. Leather biker jacket

For some reason whenever I think of a leather biker jacket I think of Lisa Rinna. She perpetually choosing to wear one and she demonstrates perfectly how they work seamlessly for dress up or dress down.

~shop the outfit here~

11. Navy

Simply put, you just cannot go wrong with navy. Nearly every skin tone, age, and hair color work with navy. It transitions from day to evening well, it pairs with every color in your closet (even black), and it will never go out of style.

12. Dark denim jeans

Dark denim is flattering and the shade that will look as good dressed up with heels, a silk blouse and a blazer as it does with a basic tee and converse. Choose the cut and style that works best with your body, but know that it will slim your silhouette and work well with any color that will complement your skin tone.

~shop the outfit here~

13. Boyfriend trousers

Last fall I purchased my first pair of boyfriend trousers: sitting lower on the hips, soft fabric, loose through the thigh and hitting just above the ankle. I fell in love. While I wear them to work or the local symphony with a silk blouse or sweater, I also wear them with a cotton tee and a simple accessory as seen below. Theory makes a quality pair that I am loving, is made well and feels lovely to wear. However, many other brands offer their version as well.

14. Neutral long-sleeve tees

As I mentioned at the top of the post, my comfort, yet still remaining in style, at the end of the day comes from a long-sleeve cotton/jersey tee with a boatneck from James Perse. All of the clothing I have purchased from this brand has satisfied my preference of comfort and style, but these tops fit the bill perfectly. Work with jeans and flats or with a pencil skirt and heels, the cut is feminine and the comfort is outstanding.

~shop the outfit here~

15. Quality layering tees

And don’t forget the cotton short-sleeve tees for layering under a blazer for either day or evening, or as mentioned above, worn with your boyfriend trousers for a mix of high and low. The beauty is their ability to layer. Choose classic colors, a comfortable, breathable design, don’t spend too much, but don’t be afraid to spend a little (my favorite are from Rag & Bone), and enjoy the comfort along with the style.

~shop the outfit here~

I have a feeling you have most of these items in your closet, but perhaps a few new ideas on how to style them were shared. I don’t know about you, but having the essentials in my closet eases my mind so that I don’t have to worry about what I’m wearing, but rather can focus on what I am doing. Be sure to check out all of the style posts shared her on the blog as well as visit TSLL Pinterest Style Inspiration posts here. And stop by TSLL Shop for seasonally updated essentials.

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