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Prepare To Be The Most Fashionable Woman You Know

Mothers can be full of good advice. One of my mother's pearls of wisdom was this - "Don't let your passport expire." Her reasoning - "You never know when someone might surprise you with a trip to Europe." I have yet to receive that surprise trip to Europe, but when it comes, I'll be ready. 

I have a valid passport. 

Similarly, I always advise my clients to have the right things in their wardrobes so that they are ready for any of life's surprises. This is really just practical planning. No one likes that feeling of desperation and pressure when a certain look is necessary and the pieces simply are not there. You end up frantically trying to find something to "make do" and end up overpaying for something you don't really love and will never wear again. With this in mind, I've compiled a list of 5 "must have items" that every woman needs in her wardrobe this season. Read this list. Check your closet. And if necessary, go shopping!

1. A Dressy Coat or Topper 

Here's the scenario. You've been invited to a party, event, symphony, play, formal affair, etc. . . You've planned your outfit perfectly and then the weather turns cold. There you are in your beautiful sleeveless sheath dress, but it's 32 degrees outside. There is no way a simple pashmina is going to keep you warm as you walk from the car to the event and what in the world are you going to do if part of the function is outside? Who wants to be that girl walking around in her down parka all evening?

Be prepared with a simply lovely coat such as Etcetera’s plush faux-fur COLDPLAY from the Fall collection (pictured left) or the embellished and appliqued NIGHTBLOOM from the Winter collection (pictured right.) You can stay toasty and make a statement at the same time.

The statement - "I'm fashionable and smart. Oh, and I'm warm too."

2. A Skirt Suit 

Let's face it. Even in our more casual, dressed down world, there are still occasions where a suit is the best thing to wear. An important presentation or meeting, a television or court appearance or unfortunately, but unavoidably, a funeral. Don't waste time searching for a suit the day or week before you need it. Have you heard the saying, "If you wait until you're thirsty to drink, it's too late because you are already dehydrated"?  

The same applies to a great skirt suit, such as Etcetera’s navy knit jacket and pencil skirt, ACADEMY, pictured to the left. Find a flattering style; get it tailored to fit you perfectly; make sure you have the right shoes. Bam! You're ready!

3. A Nude Pair of Pumps 

What’s not to love about a pair of nude pumps? They go with everything, lengthen your legs and make getting ready in the morning as easy as possible. Check out the iconic Christian Louboutins to the above! 

Find a comfortable pair that matches your skin tone and suddenly life is easier.

4. A Cute Travel Outfit 

Believe me, I speak from experience on this one. I had a business trip. I thought I had plenty of time to change clothes upon arrival. My luggage got lost, my room wasn't ready (feel free to insert any of the gazillion travel nightmares you've heard about). Long story short, I sure do wish I hadn't had to face my boss in a sweatshirt, jeans and furry boots. I hadn't showered either. 

With today’s focus on casual and comfortable dressing it is easier than ever to look sharp when you travel. I suggest a slim leg pair of pants with plenty of stretch (such as the plaid stretch cotton melange SLIM from Etcetera’s Fall collection featured left) which can be easily worn with pointy toe flats. Top SLIM with a crisp white blouse such as Etcetera’s CLARITY and a sweater tunic such as Etcetera’s FLAN (both from the Fall collection and featured with SLIM). You’ll get through security in a breeze and still look professional if emergencies arise.

Another fun travel option is Etcetera’s heather grey and porridge reversible MOOD jacket paired with the black stretch double weave straight leg ARSENAL pants. (Pictured right.) How convenient that you will actually have 2 jackets looks with only one piece!

5. Great Pair of Black Pants 

This just sounds so simple. You might even be rolling your eyes as you read this. Trust me. Check your closet to be sure you still love the seasonally appropriate black pants you wore last year and if necessary get a new pair. This season, Etcetera’s collection features every style imaginable: legging, slim leg, wide leg, straight, or boot cut, such as the DARKEDGE pant to the left.

MYSTERE, the black stretch crepe pant from Etcetera’s Winter collection (pictured right), is a great straight leg option. It even has a coordinating jacket (also pictured right) and pullover vest for endless “day into evening” looks. I hope this list helps you with the fashion opportunities life throws your way unexpectedly. Like having a valid passport, it pays to be prepared!