High school was in the late nineties so most of us wore 'baby tees' - usually from Guess or Artwork (mine were from Osh Kosh B'Gosh), flared jeans and flat strappy leather sandals. We were in these when it wasn't Giordano Classics shirts and Giordano Blues jeans.
In college, there were no rules on what we could wear to school. My university allowed us to attend classes in whatever we could find. I didn't find this as an excuse to be sloppy. Yes, there were days I simply wore shorts and my high school PE shirts, but most of the time, I dressed up. I didn't wear the fanciest stuff to school (I wasn't Miss Fashionista - Ick, that word) but I WAS a bit more spiffy than your regular University of Philippines Diliman student. I even wore make-up on a daily basis. Ask my friends, Maize and Kmae. I wore jackets (my favorite was a red denim one), skirts (really short ones much to the consternation of my friend, Barns), heels. I matched bags with outfits. Moreover, I studied in Manila where there were shops and stores that weren't available in Cebu yet at that time. I fell in love with Mango and Topshop, with Terranova and Zara. My friend, Leslie, and I went to Divisoria and Greenhills at least once per semester. I had accumulated so much clothes that when I flew back to Cebu after college, I had 18 kilos of excess baggage. My clothes and shoes were in boxes.
Now that I'm an adult, I've been more discerning with my clothes. Yes, I still occasionally give in to the trendy, Korea-/Bangkok-made stuff, but I'm glad to see a lot of well-edited classics in my wardrobe too. When I started earning my own money, I knew I had to buy clothes that weren't disposable - stuff that I could mix and match, and stuff that were generally more durable and well-made.
These being said, here are my top ten closet must-haves. Invest in these pieces and you'll get major outfit mileage.
1. a little black dress
LBDs are so versatile. You can dress them up or down. I love the ones from J. Crew the most. The one below is a good example. You can wear it with a bejeweled belt and sky-high heels to a formal event, or beads and flats if you want to be more casual.
photo from lamainaevents.com
2. great-fitting jeans in a good wash
I like darker blues for mine because again, you can dress them up or down. I like the ones from Mango the most even if I have to alter them, length-wise. They're made for much taller women, see. The fit is incredible. I like the semi-skinny styles the most. I have a pair in dark gray too. The ones below are from Madewell.
photo from denimology.com
3. an awesome crisp white button-down
OMG. I love crisp white shirts. They're so clean and fresh, and you can wear them with a black pencil skirt to work, with shorts to go malling or over your bikini at the beach. Mine aren't pricey. They're from Kamiseta and Terranova. The one below is from Pull and Bear.
photo from chictopia.com
4. a tailored blazer
I LOVE tailored blazers. You don' have to stick to basic black. I have a pink one from Ensembles. It's good to start with black, though, because you can pair it with anything. I found some pretty decent ones from Forever 21. The one below is from Mango.
photo from asos.com
5. a good cami
Good camisoles are hard to come by. I like the ones that aren't too thin, they show your undergarments. I have ones in different colors but it's good to start with white. Mine are all from Mango and Forever 21. You can wear camisoles to work with a skirt and a blazer, tucked into shorts with a pretty belt, or with a skirt and a cardigan to lunch or even to a garden wedding.
photo from warrant.priceinspector.co.uk
6. a good trench coat
Yes, I know we live in a tropical country, but hey, we travel, or we work in chilly, airconditioned offices. A good trench is needed. Mine is mid-length, suede and brown. It's from Mango. A good trench coat will keep you fashionably warm. A good color would be beige. The one below is from Zara.
photo from rosiesdailydose.blogspot.com
7. black pumps
The higher, the better. You can never go wrong with these. They can be platform, peeptoe, in patent or suede. They just have to be well-made. Mine are from Charles and Keith and Rustan's U. There are good ones from Aldo and Call It Spring. The ones below are uhm, Christian Louboutin.
photo from boards.weddingbee.com
Aren't they lovely? Aaaaand if you want something that'll take your breath away, here's another pair.
photo from clouboutinshoesusa.com
8. a good watch
I honestly do not know how some people can function without one. I've only went sans a watch on my wedding day. There is a watch out there for any occasion, believe me. Some are very trendy and casual. Some are fashioned like bracelets and cuffs, and some are very sparkly so you can really wear them to very formal occasions.
I've always worn watches. In elementary, I wore Swatch. In high school, I wore Guess. In college, I wore Anne Klein. Now, I wear Fossil. They're not expensive. They make for good collections. I love them. I am partial to big-faced ones. Please do not buy cheap ones that fall apart after a month.
If you only want one watch for now, the one below is a good one to get. It's a good everyday watch but you can also wear it to the next wedding you attend.
photo from kaboodle.com
9. a good bag
Something medium-sized that you can wear dressed up or down would be good. I have a favorite one from Bershka. The one below is from Chloe. Le sigh.
photo from purseblog.com
10. a good basic white shirt
Wear this with a scarf, with colorful thick beads, with piled on strings of pearls, with a statement necklace... The possibilities are endless. Mine are from Mango and Rustan's U. Hanes crewnecks for women are perfect.
photo from hanes.com
So, there you have it. No more hoarding of dirt cheap, disposable, uhm ugly, clothes, okay?