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5 wardrobe basics every woman needs to own

The must-have wardrobe

Ring in the New Year, and with it, some new clothes. It's only natural to want to kick start the year with a little bit of shopping to spruce up your closet. But this year, instead of dropping big bucks on trends that will be over before you get your money's worth, focus on creating a smart core wardrobe with basics that will last forever. We spoke to three top fashion experts to find out what five pieces should be in every woman's closet.

JEANS

Our experts unanimously agreed that every woman must have a pair of dark wash jeans that fit properly. " I can't imagine anyone getting dressed casually without turning to a pair of dark wash jeans that fit well and make them look fantastic," says Teresa Morisco, Founder and Chief Stylist of Wardrobe 911.

"Choose a straight leg or boot cut and they will be appropriate for most work environments as well as most casual activities," adds Kelly Machbitz, AICI CIP, Certified Image Consultant. The fit is critical, says Sharon Haver, founder and Editor in Chief of the NEW FocusOnStyle.com. "Forget about the tags and find a pair that truly fits you well," Haver says.

SHOES

Everyone also agreed that great shoes are a must. "Classic black pumps never go out of style and look great with everything!" Machbitz says. Haver adds that "a stacked heel makes you a little more dressy -- you look a little more pulled together and polished." Morisco points out that "nothing works more effortlessly with a multitude of colors in your wardrobe then some perfect snakeskin print heels. They just seem to go with everything, and they are timeless."

SHIRT

Next up -- the shirt. And here, our experts all had their own take. Machbitz voted for a white button down shirt you can pair with dress pants or a pencil skirt for work, or with jeans for a casual day of shopping. Morisco suggested getting a few jersey knit tops in various colors for effortless mixing and matching. "Try one with a draped neckline -- super flattering for all body types," she says. And Haver opted for a fitted black turtleneck in a lightweight cashmere. "It's worth the investment, because you can wear it forever," she says.

JACKET

For outerwear, our stylists recommended a great fitting jacket or blazer. "Go for a classic look," says Haver. "Stay away from the trendy details -- you can keep a jacket or coat for years, so it should go with everything you own."

"Having a jacket that is well constructed and that communicates your personal style sends the message of authority, even if you're at a PTA meeting. This is where you should splurge because the cost per wear value is so high," says Morisco.

"Pick one in a neutral solid color like black or navy and you can wear it with just about anything. It's the perfect topper," says Machbitz.

SKIRT/ DRESS

As for the fifth item, our experts were split -- but they were all about choosing pieces for their flexibility. Morisco chose a pencil skirt: "Whether you work in an office or are a SAHM, having a black pencil skirt in your wardrobe will allow you to create countless outfits from day to night," she says.

Machbitz selected a little black dress. "By choosing a simple style that is well fitted you can wear it to work with a jacket or add some sparkly accessories for a night on the town."

HANDBAG

Haver took a different tack and recommended that every woman own "a bag that you love. Get a neutral color that goes with everything you own, and get a really good bag that will last you years."

Choose your favorite five and hit the stores!

FOR MORE WARDROBE TIPS:

How to avoid wardrobe malfunctions

5 wardrobe staples for 2009

Build a wardrobe on a budget

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