Be daring. Be different. Be fabulous.


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If you don’t already know, a great coat is a MA-JOR winter Closet Essential ! 
When shopping for coats (now is a great time because they’re all on sale !) consider the following details:
1. Formal or casual ? Are you looking for a coat to wear to next year’s (yikes, I mean this year’s) Christmas dinner or are you shopping for a casual coat to wear around the city? 
2. Fabric. Leather says, “I’m a badass !” Wool says, “I like to be fab and cozy.” Cotton (like the Gap parka above) says, “I’m casual.”
3. Color ! Blacks, browns, and other neutrals are great, but who doesn’t love a shock of color ! This is only an outer layer, so you can spring for something that complements your wardrobe but doesn’t necessarily “match" what you already own. 
4. Finally, fit. I don’t mind if my casual coats are loose, but I prefer for my evening coats to be fitted. Slimmer coats are more sophisticated and elegant, while chunkier coats are usually spunkier. For instance, Ahlia has a fur lined parka that’s super heavy and chunky, but because it’s casual, it totally works. 

Dropping Knowledge: The L.L. Bean “Bean” Boot
With Hurricane Sandy, this year’s mandatory “End of the Century,” apocalyptic hell storm that plowed through the East Coast last week, it’s only right that we dedicate this week’s column to the most storied piece of American rain gear: L.L. Bean’s Bean boots.

Duck boots are most definitely a Closet Essential ! They’re perfectfor rainy days, trekking through snow, and any mucky situation you might find yourself in. Rain boots are usually very clunky and not that attractive; nicer pairs exist (Loeffler Randall, Burberry and Jimmy Choo !), but they come with a less-than-fabulous price tag. Bean boots range from around $75 to $150. The more expensive versions come in cool fabrics (like pebbled leather) and with nicer details (like fur lining !). Mosey on over to L.L.Bean’s site for a great selection. If you don’t like what they offer, just Google “duck boot” and tons of options will pop up. Although Bean may have designed the boot, numerous companies make them. 
Fall Essential: JC Booties by asiabee featuring a cropped jean jacket
Any single piece in your wardrobe can be worn a million different ways, especially shoes ! I actually started this Polyvore by picking these fabulous, perfect-for-fall Jeffrey Campbell booties. I liked that they are a neutral color, but not boring ! (Do I hear CLOSET ESSENTIAL??) The frills on the side and the interesting heels give these boots some edge.. On the left, I styled the boots for a date. Although you might not want to go to a super fancy restaurant with this ensemble on, it can work for all types of occasions: the movies, bowling, a casual diner. To keep your date interested (aside from your personality, obvs !), I’d suggest a gorgeous bold lip. The look says I’m fabulous and I know it. On the right, I styled the booties for a more casual event. A trip to the grocery store, a day in the library, or even a day of hanging with friends would call for a look like this. Although these outfits aren’t really out there, don’t be afraid to be more daring. Taupe booties are great for neutralizing bright colors, major prints, and everything in between !
Spring Essential: A great fitting trench ! My dream trench is a bit out of my price range, but that’s alright because everyday stores like H&M and Zara have great, well-priced pieces. This particular jacket is $50 from H&M. I like the classic, yet feminine shape of this version. Zara will likely have more classic silhouettes. H&M has lots of variety. Remember: fit is key !
Flat booties are a closet staple ! They’re perfect for those chilly spring and summer nights. I love them for summer festivals and other outdoor events. They’re also perfect for fall and winter. If you buy a durable material (like real suede) they can work for chilly weather and even teeny bit of snow. All around, flat booties are a great versatile shoe. To maximize wearability, dark, durable fabrics are the way to go. Light neutrals work, but will require a bit more work to keep clean.
This list is pretty spot on ! If you find this list to be excessive (or just want to tackle a few pieces at a time) here are the universal top 10 for ladies:
Black pumps, tall boots, opaque tights, classic t-shirt, cotton oxford (buttondown), jeans, black cigarette pants (slim fit pants), LBD, wool coat, blazer.
A cool, neutral colored pair of sneakers is an absolute Closet Essential. Brighter sneakers are awesome, but the cooler the pair, the less likely it will match a lot of stuff in your closet. Neutral sneakers ensure lots of wear.
A gorgeous pair of tan boots is an absolute closet essential ! While the style and height are completely up to you, my personal favorites are riding boots (above) and military boots. While these styles are two different ends of the spectrum (preppy and badass), they go very well with tons of clothing styles. If you’re a fan of heels, a pair of tan booties is just as useful as a knee high or mid-calf pair.
Ditch your puffy ski jackets and try a delicate looking cape for some added warmth. With minimal slits for your hands, the simple cut and design of a cape can be added on to just about any outfit. A quality cape is an investment that you will never regret. #closetessential
Closet Essential: Black Coat

This classic option from Modcloth is perfect. The tailored waist and simple collar are extremely elegant. The belt around the waist adds a very feminine touch when tied in a bow,