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The Only 5 Pieces That Make Me Feel Confident

Like many women, I’ve struggled through many wardrobe crises. I’ve procured far too many trendy pieces on whims when I felt it necessary to stray from my classically minimal style, all of which were swiftly discarded. There was a time when I tried to be edgy in an attempt to shed my feminine tendencies—it was laughable, to say the least. I’ve also thought it was wise to overspend on a handful of designer items, including a pair of Louboutins I swear I needed, only to consign them shortly thereafter because a) I got tired of each piece and b) I couldn’t afford them in the first place!

I’ve grappled to find fits that truly flatter me—I’m 5’4″ (borderline petite, but, like, not really), smaller on top with a straight, athletic build on bottom. Jeans have always been the hardest (ladies with muscular legs, you feel me with how hard it is to find a good-fitting pair!). I gave up on pants entirely for the better part of my 20s because I couldn’t find a complimentary style at a price point I could afford.

Also, working in fashion can make you feel “less than” way too often. There’s always someone with an enviable bag, top, dress, you name it, especially during fashion week, when the street-style circuit is ablaze with covetable outfits one after the next … and here I am trying to make my handful of “fashion-y” pieces seem equally exciting. It often ends with me stressing out, throwing up my hands and feeling like I shouldn’t even bother.

The truth is, I’m way more comfortable in simple pieces that allow me to not have to think too hard about what I’m putting on my body. This has led me to purge nearly my entire wardrobe in recent months, after coming to the realization that no matter how many items were flooding my closet, I was always reaching for the same few shirts, jeans, dresses and skirts, resulting in a uniform of sorts. Some may say this is boring, but I think it’s genius. It’s given me peace of mind: I don’t worry about how my body looks in these pieces because I’m actually comfortable; most of all, it’s made me way more confident.

Having just a few key pieces also makes shopping so much easier. I’ve figured out that my legs look best in a straight-leg jean. I feel feminine in a simple white tee and flouncy midi skirt. I love a dress that hits just above my ankles, often in a silhouette that accentuates my waist with a nuanced detail or flourish. Classic shirting and modern versions in remixed silhouettes work well for me without feeling overtly trendy.

While the above issues are my own, I know they’re all extremely relatable. Everyone has a different body shape, style preference and budget, but a tightly edited wardrobe can unify us when building a long-lasting capsule collection. Here, shop my hero picks—they’re all timeless and can most definitely work for you, too.

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