Every season, do you look in your closet and review what you have to work with?

Well, you might want to consider it…especially as you start to grow your wardrobe and develop a set of essential items that will work for several years. Sure, there will always be room for the impulse purchases and garments that somehow magically make their way into your life as you splurge on a trend….

Jersey Dress

Jersey Dress

But what are the dresses you should really invest in? To be prepared for any occasion and ensure you always look your very best, these are the five dresses you should seek out and have hanging in your closet on standby.

Jersey Dressif you get a last minute invitation to a backyard barbecue or casual date, you want to have a comfortable and attractive dress on hand. Try to find a cut that flatters your shape and is going to make you feel relaxed and confident no matter how you’re feeling that day.

Nothing too binding or restrictive, this dress should be flexible enough to work with heels or a pair of laid back sandals.

The great thing about jersey cotton is that it can move from day to evening really well – so if you want to impress people after work, but know you won’t have time to change, this is the perfect choice. And best of all…it’s breathable.

Floral Dress

Floral Dress

Floral Dress – the bridesmaids in a wedding probably won’t have a chance to wear their dress again. But that doesn’t mean that you should be investing in a new dress for every single wedding you attend. When choosing a floral pattern, try to find one a larger print that is subtle, like the watercolor effect to the left. You don’t want to look like you’re trying to impersonate a garden…just that your dress would be perfect for attending a garden wedding.

Keep in mind that if weddings and moderately conservative events are where you will be wearing your dress, discretion is best. Keep the hemline a little bit longer and the neckline demure. No amount of floral pattern is ever going to make a dress acceptable for someone’s wedding if it is merely the size of a postage stamp.

While you may not be able to wear this dress for more than a handful of spring seasons, if you happily pull it out for more than a couple of weddings, you have seen a pretty good return on your wardrobe investment.

Party Dress

Party Dress

Party Dress -sometimes…you just need to dance. And every woman needs a dress she can reliably pull out of her closet and feel like she owns the dance floor. There’s no way you’re going to wear this dress every time, of course. But on those days where you’re not quite in the mood, but know you will feel better once you get out there, this is the dress that will push you to pull out those dancing shoes.

For this dress, you should know what flatters your body type and be bold – accentuate your best assets. If you have fantastic legs, don’t be afraid to show them! But keep in mind that you’ll be moving and working up a sweat out there…so this is one occasion where less fabric might be a better idea for everyone.

Not only will you let loose on the dance floor, but your confidence will make a big difference if scoring a free drink or two is also on your agenda..!

Black Dress

Black Dress

Black Dress – naturally…you knew this one was going to make the list. Every single woman, no matter what her job is or how frequently she attends evening affairs, should always have a reliable, timeless, perfect, little black dress. You could probably hunt for this dress all your life…but it would be worth it.

Once you have a black dress that works for you, make sure you guard it with your life. Out of all your dresses, this is the one you should consider getting tailored as well. The difference a little bit of help from a tailor can make to how a dress drapes across your curves can be substantial – for relatively little effort and extra cost.

Make sure you go with a style that is pretty timeless – while you may have other black dresses in your closet meant for one season, the little black dress that will always work for you when you need it should never go out of fashion.


Interview Dress

Interview Dress -whether it’s for a job or parent teacher conferences, you should have a dress on hand that makes a professional statement but with a subtle hint of femininity. Try to go with earth tones or muted colors – but punch it up a bit with a colorful accent like a vibrant purse or shoes.

I am a big fan of the shirt dress, but they don’t work for everyone. What I like is that they really accent a pretty waist but keeps everything else relatively conservative and business-y.

This dress probably won’t make it through to evening, but it should be pretty versatile as daywear – make the most of it. You can easily update a dress like the one to the left by changing the belt or adding different accessories. Just takes a very solid dress foundation and a little creativity.

There are many other dresses you might want to also consider, depending on your lifestyle. But these are the essentials that will get you through most any occassion without breaking a sweat.

Images: Nordstrom