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 a white-button down, try a chambray shirt.
A classic white shirt will forever have a place in women’s closets, but a fitted chambray or denim button-down is just as versatile while being a smidge more modern. Wear it the same way you would a white shirt: Tucked into jeans, under a sweater or blazer, with a pencil skirt, or with a pair of trousers for work.
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 tailored black shorts.
Black shorts–whether slouchy or tailored—can step into the role of a standard pencil skirt all year round. In the summer, wear them as you would a skirt: with a silky blouse, a basic tee, or a silky tank. In the winter, add a sweater, a black blazer, and a pair of tights
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.
6. Instead of pearls, try a statement necklace.
Let’s be honest: As classic as they are, not all women like pearls. Luckily, it seems gorgeously gilded and equally as sophisticated statement necklaces made with chunky metals, deep-colored stones, and inteticate details have fallen into facvor, lending a modern touch to everything from a button-down shirt, to a cocktail dress.