The answer to this question does tend to change from time to time—what was considered an “essential” or a “basic” in the ‘80s is very different than what we want today—but here’s a pretty fool-proof list.
Image from A Portable Package
You can get a lot of mileage out of a simple, clean, nude pump. Look for something that’s as close to your natural skin tone as possible, and use it to add sophistication to all-white, all-black, or all-over print looks. Think of these shoes as an extension of your gams!
Watch trends ebb and flow, but this is one accessory that’s simply essential for a woman on the go. Invest in a watch that is classic and timeless in its look, and will mix and match well with everything from your work gear to a summer dress. A nice silver, gold, or even rose gold watch is a no-brainer, while one with a metal face and a good quality leather strap in either black or brown can do the trick as well.
Every woman should own a medium-size cross-body bag that will be your go-to catchall for every farmers market, flea market, sporting event, or vacation you will ever go on. Ideally the bag has a comfortable, long strap and several pockets to help organize your essentials. A nice cognac or saddle brown leather tends to work with everything, but a black one can definitely be a trusty travel companion as well.
If your outfit or necklace is stealing the show, pull out little diamond or diamond-looking studs to finish the outfit in a chic way. A little sparkle feels grown up and sweet, and never goes out of style.
A worn-in brown leather belt is absolutely vital when adding that touch of effortlessness. A luggage-brown leather belt, either flat or braided, completes a denim ensemble, adds casualness to an all-black outfit, and helps add interest to a flowy sundress.
You would not believe how many outfits and occasions call for a red flat. A little red flat, perhaps in a ballet style, is just the right amount of color for an otherwise neutral outfit, and can hold its own from summer to winter.
The key to being multi-faceted women is to stay organized in a stylish way! A sturdy canvas tote can hold everything from your computer to your gym clothes. Try a classic—a la L.L. Bean or Lands’ End—with a splash of color and of course, a monogram.
In order to simplify your daily accessorizing, always have a good old pair of classic sunglasses—like an aviator or a Wayfarer—in your arsenal. They never go out of style and look great with your entire wardrobe.