Winter Wardrobe Edit : Sixteen Essentials


It’s evident from many comments I’ve gotten this month that you’d love a little help building a solid wardrobe foundation.  Since I’ve started this blog, the question I get most frequently has been:

“Can I hire you to edit my closet and shop for some basics?”

… to which I kindly respond “no” since I simply don’t have the time these days.   However, I’m happy to give you some tools and advice to help YOU muddle through it.

I could take many approaches here, and appreciate the fact that my readers span a variety of styles, professions and budgets.  I thought I’d start from ground up and list what I would consider some all-purpose winter wardrobe essentials, focusing on only clothing and shoes.  While my pile of fashion magazines are flooded with spring looks, both you and I know that we have plenty of winter left here in upstate NY, and plenty more cold-weather outfits to create.

Although I will include examples of items that are currently available, the list is also intended to act as a checklist so you can examine YOUR closet’s inventory and see if there are any major gaps.  Below the photos are links to the specific items shown, as well as some additional comments.  I’m also including a printable checklist for use in your closet edit.


  1. Casual Coat (by Andrew Marc): Look for something warm and practical.  Choose a color that you’ll love for five years.  A little “nip” at the waist is always helpful when wearing such a bulky garment.
  2. Dress Coat (by Boden):  Look for a timeless shape, with some interesting details.
  3. Structured Blazer (by Ralph Lauren): A longer length looks great on most body shapes.  Start with a basic color.
  4. Poncho or Draped Cardigan (by PURE): A great layering piece for casual winter days.  Choose a lightweight knit.
  5. Fitted Black Turtleneck Sweater (by PURE):  A wardrobe workhorse that can be worn alone or under jackets, ponchos or blazers.
  6. V-Neck Sweater (by UNIQLO):  A well-fitting light grey cashmere sweater always looks great dressed up or down, layered, and with just about any bottoms.
  7.  Chunky Oversized Sweater (by H&M):  For those days you want to stay in your pjs all day, but can’t.
  8. Basic Denim Button-Down Shirt (by GAP): Wear it on its own with pants, jeans or a skirt, or layer under just about ANY sweater or blazer. The days of no “jean-jeaning” have officially passed.
  9. Longer Length White Button-Down (by Banana Republic):  A white button-down with jeans or black leather pants ALWAYS looks chic.  Choose a longer length for a bit of coverage when pairing with leggings or skinny pants (layered or by itself).
  10. Dark Wash Blue Jeans (by GAP):  Begin with a pair in a solid dark color, which are more flattering and versatile than their faded counterparts.
  11. Good Black Leggings (by Yummie): By “good” I mean not faded or stretched out in ANY way. They should NOT resemble athletic attire (although the gap is quickly narrowing). I love my Yummie leggings with their supportive high waist and super soft fabric.
  12. Coated Black Jeans (by WHBM):  A slightly dressier spin on the basic black jean, and coated jeans look awesome dressed up or down.
  13. Leopard Loafers (by Steve Madden):  I consider leopard more or less a “neutral”.  A great way to liven up a monochromatic or color-blocked look.
  14. Fashion Sneaks (by Adidas):  Choose a versatile color to start (and they should be different than your gym sneakers).
  15. Booties (by ALDO): A stacked heel in a neutral suede color will give you the most options.
  16. Rugged Outdoor Boot (by Sorel): Non-slip and waterproof.  Extra warmth can be achieved with a good wool sock.

Happy purging, shopping, or whatever this inspires you to do!  I’m happy to take the blame for any February credit card bills that may be abnormally high.

You’re welcome.

XOXO, Ally

5 Replies to “Winter Wardrobe Edit : Sixteen Essentials”

  1. I still remember you saying something about an essential black puffy vest, but this was probably a decade ago… too ubiquitous now?


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