And since this is a fashion/style blog, I know that I won't last too long without an essentials post. I'm pretty sure a fashion blog without an essentials post curls up into a tiny cyberball and then self-destructs in a puff of silicon and data. I wouldn't want that.
You may not have noticed, but I love cardigans. I think they're the perfect addition to pretty much any outfit. You can use one to dress up a t-shirt or dress down a dress, cover up some skin without getting too hot (depending on the cardigan. I'm particularly partial to ones with half-sleeves for this reason). A good cardigan is a versatile and indispensible piece of your wardrobe.
The "little black dress" is something of a huge honking cliche now, but in my opinion, it's a cliche for a reason. It's very difficult to go wrong with a black cocktail dress. There's some class and sophistication there, but it can be just as easily brought to a more casual level with flats and chunky jewelry (and, dare I say, a cardigan?). For my purposes, the LBD is more of an archetype than a single entity: everyone should own a nice cocktail dress. Whether or not it's black is up to you; I would, of course, recommend having more than one! But it's pretty hard to look super out of place/inappropriate in black, unless you're at the White Party, so it's a good choice to wear when you aren't totally sure of the formality/style of wherever you're going.
Three: Blue jeans
This is really a no-brainer in this day and age, but seriously: jeans. Not jeggings or some other horrific miscarriage of hosiery, jeans. I personally prefer a dark-wash straight or wide leg, but any jeans work. Remember that the darker the wash, the more "formal" they get, which serves my purposes because I go to more plays than rodeos. Ridiculous embroidery is usually a no, though I will admit to having a soft spot for pocket embellishment. The problem with that is that, in drawing a lot of attention to your backside, it...draws a lot of attention to your backside. So no butt-spangles for the faint of heart.
Four: Pencil/A-line Skirts
Okay, this is kind of cheating, but it's my blog and I don't care. The pencil skirt is perfect for looking a little more professional, a little sleeker. I would recommend one in a dark neutral, because I love black, but traditional-made-sassy patterns like houndstooth would also be awesome. Conversely, a flouncy a-line is a must for any summer day, pretty-but-comfy event, or really any time you might feel like twirling. As a bottom-heavy hourglass, a-lines are my favorites because they go straight out from the hips, very flattering.
My final essential is lots and lots of shoes. Honestly, the shoes you "need" depend a lot on your wardrobe, your style, and your preferred comfort level. My own personal "must-haves" are black ballet flats, black boots (knee-high or ankle), neutral heels, a pair of sneakers, and then as many other pairs in as many colors, styles, and patterns as I can get my hands on. A pair of shoes can make an outfit pop or flop, and while the shoes I listed (black, black, neutral) can go with pretty much anything, finding the Perfect Shoe for an outfit is such a wonderful experience. Shoes are also a great way to show your personality, especially when paired with a fairly basic outfit; I have a pair of blue plaid pumps that make my life. I seldom have the opportunity to wear them, but when I do...I feel like a superhero.
What are your wardrobe essentials?