Black SuitEveryone needs a great black suit. It also happens to be one of the hardest items to shop for. Make sure to consider the fit and fabric when shopping. Also make sure you like the jacket and pants as separates. There are endless possibilities for wearing a suit jacket--over a cocktail dress, with jeans or with a colorful skirt. And everyone needs a great pair of black pants.
Black PumpsIf you're going to splurge on one pair of great black pumps, make sure they're comfortable because you'll wear them with everything.
Christian Louboutin has perfected the black pump with styles like the Decollete, $575, which instantly transforms the look and feel of an outfit.
Trench CoatSoon after it was designed by Thomas Burberry for soldiers to wear during World War I, the trench coat became a fashion must-have for women as well as men. Wear it over jeans and instantly transform yourself into Audrey Hepburn. Wear it over a cocktail dress for a dressed-down but polished evening look.
Little Black DressThe little black dress is an essential piece in any woman's wardrobe. Go for the best fit, avoiding any cuts that might be too trendy. There are a lot of black dress options and you should try on at least a dozen before deciding what looks best on you.
Whether it's sleeveless, has short sleeves, is straighter or more full--your black dress should be ultra flattering.
White BlouseA classic white blouse can work with any outfit, and French designer Anne Fontaine knows this well. A white blouse can be worn just as easily on casual Fridays as it can to a black-tie affair with a taffeta skirt.
Cashmere SweaterCashmere sweaters last longer and look more elegant than merino wool sweaters. Pair with black trousers for a casual day at work or wear it around your shoulders during a cocktail event to fight the chill.
Pencil SkirtThe pencil skirt is back in fashion. Pair it with a white blouse for work, a cashmere sweater in the evening or a T-shirt on the weekend.
French Connection's Checker Play skirt, $39.99, looks great at a great price point, too.