11 Wardrobe Essentials Every Portland Woman Needs

Fashion stylist Elizabeth Teater's "11 clothing items every Portland woman needs"

  1.  Loose-fitting, glamorous overcoat.   This should be to the knee or
    longer, and solid color. It's an essential for two reasons: 1) It's a quick way to look streamlined and put-together since it covers up the rest of your clothes. I was at an event the other night and some of the best-dressed women in the room were the ones who never took off their overcoats. 2) With a raglan sleeve -- which extends in one piece from the collar -- there is enough room to layer a smaller jacket and sweater underneath for warmth.
  2. Trench coat.   This is a reliable way to throw on instant visual
    structure, and the big collar will bring out your cheekbones. The trench coat is on most "wardrobe essentials" lists, yet many women don't  have one. With so many stores having sales to cope with the economy, now is the time to get one at a steal. You'll find edgier versions, like the deliberately rumpled one shown on AM Northwest, as well as basic styles. Tips to focus your search: Look for one that fits high in the underarm. This is slimming, and it allows for better mobility.  It should also be water-resistant
  3. Warm jacket.   A wool pea coat or down jacket for everyday wear is
    an essential in our climate. Look for flattering features such as a nipped or belted waist, a faux-fur-trimmed hood, or an interesting collar. It should be in a solid color that blends with the rest of your wardrobe, so that it doesn't look like a frumpy emergency measure. Portland designers are great at putting uniques spins on classics, so you might find a pea coat in dove gray or dusty purple with a rounded collar. Even though it's a "basic," it looks and feels special.
  4. Blazer.   Whether loose or tailored, black or multi-colored tweed,
    it will work with most basic pants, skirts and jeans.
  5. Button-down shirt.   You can't go wrong with white, ivory or light
    blue cotton for a fresh, straightforward look. A silk blouse, perhaps in a jewel tone, is great for a woman who wants to look a bit more luxurious -- and it transitions to evening better than cotton does.
    Either way, be sure to avoid tiny collars; kitten ears only look cute on kittens. In terms of budget, the dress shirt is not a thing to skimp on. Cheap fabric and flimsy construction will be obvious.
  6. Fitted sweater.   This is your go-to piece for comfort and
    versatility, so choose a high-quality fabric like cashmere or Merino wool, in a neckline that really flatters you. Choose a sweater that works both with and without a button-down shirt underneath. (To prevent lumpy layering, bring the sweater with you when you shop for a slim-fitting shirt.)
  7. Tank top or camisole.   When there is no time to iron your
    button-down shirt, slip this under a blazer. It should be long enough to stay tucked in, opaque enough not to look like lingerie or pajamas, and the straps should be wide enough to easily cover your bra straps.
    Women ask me whether a lacy camisole is alright; I think now is the time to wear it because fashion is celebrating lace at the moment, but keep in mind it does conveys intimacy and might not be suitable for the office.
  8. Pencil skirt.   So crisp and ladylike. Wool is a good choice for
    adding warmth and rain-resistance. This is a great job interview piece. Choose gray, navy blue or brown since black tends to look a bit harsh for a first impression.
  9. Classic trousers.   These should look tailored, but be somewhat
    loose in the seat and leg; tight pants look unprofessional at the office.
  10. Versatile dress.   It doesn't need ironing, and it works for day or
    night. A dusty rose shift dress in raw silk, like the one shown on AM Northwest, will look impeccable in almost any situation. It's your answer to "What should I wear?" Top it with a blazer for a meeting.
    Throw on an overcoat and stiletto heels for a night out.
  11. Jeans.   These should be dark, and long enough to turn up a chic
    cuff. Flares and pencil-thin tapers are cute, but a straight leg is the most versatile and best for the office.

For questions on the clothing shown on today's show, contact Elizabeth by going to her website.

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