Before you skip this one and think that I’m going to be telling you to buy a white button-down (again), this is not that kind of a post. I’m hoping after the multiple videos and checklists and posts on wardrobe essentials, you have the basics boxes checked in your wardrobe.
These are a whole different kind of essential. These are instant outfit-makers. Timeless but fashion-forward items we might all consider using to update our wardrobe and add European flair to our style.
Some of these are broader categories, while others are more specific and versatile.
Here, 11 wardrobe essentials that I saw all over Europe.
You can find versions of all of these items in this catalog.
The Black Dress
I know a little black dress is ubiquitous and on almost every essentials list, but it’s still worth mentioning here because the way that Europeans wore them was so different. I’ve always emphasized the need for a versatile black dress, one that could be worn casually with flats or sneakers, or dressed up for dinner, and it was this type of dress that I saw everywhere. Of course it doesn’t have to be black. Chocolate, charcoal or navy will do, but a dark neutral dress that is flattering and versatile is a true wardrobe staple.
The Bold Dress
We often think of European style as subtle and minimal, but there are as many different personal styles in Europe as there are anywhere else, so I think the true adjectives should be chic and confident. The women that I saw were often fashion forward and made some bold choices, often choosing one fabulous statement item and building an outfit around it. And many times that item was a fabulous dress in a bold color, like the ones shown here.
The Bright Pant
I mentioned fashion forward choices, and one that I saw over and over again was a chic pair of pants in a bold color. Combined with neutral essentials, they added effortless style to any outfit.
The Fab Skirt
I saw skirts worn more than shorts and as frequently as pants all over Europe, in all different colors and styles. Primarily, I saw women wearing midi skirts in either pencil, A-line or pleated styles casually to run errands, sightsee, or grab lunch at a cafe.
The Floral Dress
I saw lots of feminine dresses in Europe, both worn casually and dressed up a little, including lots of florals. Most of these were simple florals featuring a color and white in a small pattern, but there were also multicolor florals and bold florals everywhere.
The Best Jeans
One of the things that stood out to me is that even the most essential pieces, like denim, were never boring. I saw mostly straight and wide-leg denim in varying hues, but always with great fit and fabulous details, from sailor styling to high-waisted versions to 70s inspired flares.
The Red Dress
Red is an iconic and very French color, in my opinion, so I was thrilled to see it all over Europe in different iterations, most often in an iconic and chic dress. These were worn casually and also dressed up a little, and always made a chic statement.
The Short Dress
Shorter dresses were seen on women of all ages. The key is to make them casual and flowy, and they can be flattering and work on all ages. The other key is to find your short. That might be knee length, just below, or above. That length is different on every woman.
The iconic mariniere, or striped top, was everywhere, but there were also striped jumpsuits and dresses and accessories, always in black and white or navy and white.
The White Dress
Possibly the item that surprised me the most, and that I saw the most of, the summery white dress in eyelet, lace, relaxed gauze or crisp cotton, was everywhere. It was such a fresh and feminine look.
The Wide Leg Pant
From flowy to tailored, crisp to casual, the wide leg pant was everywhere and in every color, adding a dose of drama to every outfit.
What do you think of these European wardrobe essentials? And which would you consider bringing into your wardrobe? Let me know in the comments!