Open up any “style guide” and you’ll be met with a long list of wardrobe essentials that “every woman should own.” A trench, an LBD, a pair of ballet flats, a white button down, a string of pearls, the list goes on.
While we’re not saying those items aren’t classic, versatile, and often very necessary, we also think every women already knows how valuable they are. It’s hackneyed to tell us we need a classic trench, when we’ve been told that since we were old enough to read fashion magazines.
Plus, let’s be honest: Times are changing. While women still value the importance of looking polished, sophisticated, and timeless, we also want to look unique and modern—something that’s difficult to do while wearing dime-a-dozen ballet flats and classic trenches, for example. When every women is told they need the same thing, we run the risk of starting looking similar, even if if we style our essentials in different ways.
That said, we decided to call out 5 of these tried-and-true essentials and offer simple swaps with modern alternatives that’ll still retain a similar vibe, but modernize your wardrobe all year long.
1. Instead of standard skinny jeans, try a flared leg.
A classic skinny jean will forever have a place in women’s closets, but there’s something so chicly retro about a pair of flares when styled with modern classics. So 1970s!
2. Instead of a beige trench coat, try a utility jacket.
Army green utility jackets offer a more modern approach and can look evert bit as polished as a classic trench, which often can look a bit conservative.
3. Instead of a black pencil skirt, try a leather pencil skirt.
Leather bottoms–whether slouchy or tailored—can step into the role of a standard pencil skirt all year round. Wear it as you would a regular skirt: with a silky blouse, a basic tee, a blazer, or a chunky sweater.
4. Instead of ballet flats try pointy-toe flats.
Rounded ballet flats won’t ever fall out of favor, but flats with a sleek pointy toe look way more modern when paired with cropped pants, dresses, and short skirts. Plus, believe it or not, flats with a pointed toe can actually make you look taller.
5. Instead of basic black pants, try a colored cropped trouser.
Nothing beats black pants in terms of versatility, but you’d be surprised how often you’d reach for a modern pair of cropped trousers in a bold color. Wear them to work with a white or chambray shirt, a blazer, and a great pair of ankle-strap pumps, and wear them out at night with a platform sandal and silky black sleeveless blouse.