the sunday brief | back to basics | outerwear

all right, ladies, it’s sunday which means another installment from my series ‘back to the basics.’ what are those items that are considered core closet essentials? and why do we need them? when you think about building your wardrobe’s foundation it should start with those items you can pair with anything else in your closet to create an outfit. that’s the goal, creating outfits. each and every day we need to get up and head out the door fully clothed. right? so why not make that task a little easier? the number one reason you stand in your closet and think you have nothing to wear is a lack of those wardrobe essentials or the basics. so that new dress or that skirt or shirt you just bought you don’t have the shoes, clutch or jacket to go with it. it’s almost impossible to put your wardrobe together without the basics.

remember, your clothes should look pretty hanging on a hanger but they also need to work for you. think of core essentials as the connecting piece that two tie two garments together. and they’re neutrals: black, white, nude/camel, and grey. navy is also neutral. build your basics with different styles to add variety and give you more options. a white crewneck tee doesn’t flatter your figure? go ahead and add a v-neck. think your full figure can’t pull off a white button down? try a white button blouse with a relaxed fit. or better yet a flattering wrap blouse. the goal of building your wardrobe with core pieces is to have a closet that functions from day-to-day, month-to-month, and season-to-season.

if you have missed any of the previous ‘back to basics’ posts they are listed in order: closet cleanse, back to basics tops, back to basics bottoms. today, it’s all about outerwear.

shirtdress season

denim daze

scattered prints


jean jacket – yes, once again denim makes the list. this time as a jacket. look for dark rinse, light rinse, oversized or fitted. for summer add a denim vest for variety. wear your jean jacket with a white tee and white denim and roll the sleeves for a casual look. or how about a jean jacket with a dress and sandals? that works too. it also looks great in the fall paired with a flannel shirt and cable knit sweater.


blazer basics


blazer – personally i like a tailored black blazer. but a deconstructed blazer has a looser fit and feels like you’re wearing an oversized sweater. blazers look stylish popped over a cocktail dress or boyfriend jeans and a tee. how about a pair of shorts? can you say versatile?

rainy days and mondays

trench coat, j.crew toothpick jeans, everlane silk tunic, target merona slides


trench coat – what an iconic statement piece. the classic khaki trenchcoat hails all the way back to WWI. according to Wikipedia During the First World War, the design of the trench coat was modified to include shoulder straps and D-rings. The shoulder straps were for the attachment of epaulettes or other rank insignias; There is a popular myth that the D-ring was for the attachment of hand grenades. The ring was originally for attaching map cases and swords or other equipment to the belt. This latter pattern was dubbed “trench coat” by the soldiers in the front line. Many trench coats had large pockets for maps and cleverly placed flaps and vents to deal with the odor associated with earlier rubber coats. A range of waterproof coats was designed and sold during wartime that incorporated War Office requirements with traditional aspects of leisurewear. What became known as the ‘trench coat’ combined the features of a military waterproof cape and the regulation greatcoat designed for British officers. a classic way to wear a trench is unbuttoned and the belt tied at the waist. or tie the belt in the back for variety. who doesn’t like choices?

spring, sprang, sprung

fridays with oscar


utility jacket – this little baby is a hard-working transition piece in those early days of fall and spring when the weather can be unpredictable. wear it with a feminine skirt. they say opposites attract. a long-sleeve stripe tee is the perfect companion to a utility jacket.

rock candy

day and night


leather jacket – to me a leather jacket works just like a blazer but with an edge. drape it over a dress for evening or wear it with your favorite pair of blue jeans. either way, it works!

next week we’ll be discussing accessories. this is a topic i know you’re interested based on the questions you ask. see you then!



  1. Cynthia Matos Macsherry wrote:

    Beth, love this series. I have all these piece except for the black blazer. I do own one but as part of a suit and I don’t want to wear it out! Looking forward to the accessories next week

    Posted 2.11.18
    • ha ha! but if you ever felt adventurous you could break the pieces to the suit apart. just sayin’.
      so happy to hear you are enjoying the series. the basics aren’t glamorous but boy oh boy are they the hardest working items in your closet.

      Posted 2.14.18
  2. DriftwoodLover wrote:

    Good tips. I’d like to find a utility jacket in a chamois color. You woe a jacket earlier this year that color and I saw it is a nice change.

    Posted 2.11.18
    • awww, your remembered that jacket! one of my favorites. it’s always a toss up between my olive jacket or the chamois color.

      Posted 2.14.18
  3. Sophie McDougal wrote:

    Great tips Beth! Love this series; classics for your wardrobe staples! And you carry them off so beautifully, too!

    Posted 2.11.18
    • hi sophie! thanks so much for stopping by. and i’m happy to hear you are enjoying the back to basics series. there’s nothing glamorous about wardrobe staples but they are the hardest working items in our closet!

      Posted 2.14.18

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