My Fantasy Fashion Closet

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I hate it when I want clothes and can’t find them in stores.

Each season, I make a list of what I’d like to add to my wardrobe to make it complete and up-to-date with trends. While most of what I own is simple or weird enough to not be passé after a year, combining them with of-the-moment trends gives them a new life. Along with a few trendy pieces, I often need to replace wardrobe staples that no longer fit or wore out with use. Usually I only find a fraction of these pieces for my mind doesn’t seem to be on the same wavelength as mass retailers. These are the items I would love to have for this season but have yet to find.

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Sequined Peplum Top
I tried one on yesterday at Nordstrom Rack; it was from Alive + Olivia, was gold, but it was wrong. Not a true peplum, weird boxy shoulders that made me look like a linebacker, and unflattering neckline. That was the closest I have found.

I’d like it to have a round neckline – not a scoop, not a crew, just something that doesn’t make me have a log neck. Short puffed sleeves to balance out my thick arms and shoulders. A peplum that is obviously one, but doesn’t stick out like a shelf. I’d love it in peacock, teal… some sort of dark green with a blue in it. Could wear it with boyfriend jeans and stilettos, with black pants and pointed-toe pumps, or with a pencil skirt.

Olive Anorak-Style Jacket
Cotton, lightweight, looks good with the sleeves rolled up. I have one that has a belt, but there’s too many epaulets and straps and stuff. I want one with the bungee cord in the waist to cinch it. Something I can pair with my brown Karen Kane sequined skirt, a striped tee and booties for a hodgepodge that looks really good in my mind.

Black Wedge Booties
I know, there’s a kazillion black wedge booties on the market. Thing is, they all look wrong. I want ones that are loose at the top so they don’t look as though I replaced my feet with hooves – something that has space between shoe and ankle. I don’t want them super platform, or with a strange cut-out wedge. I don’t want them suede, or textured leather, or patent. Something very simple that I could wear with tights and a shift dress.

Black Photography Dress
My black shirtdress has become my photographer’s assistant uniform. It has deep pockets to hold batteries and memory cards, is full enough to let me get on the ground easily, is cotton which is comfortable and breathable at hot weddings and venues. I wear with a wide elastic belt and low shoes and I look cute, professional, appropriate. Well this dress has been laundered far too many times and I think only has one or two wearings left.

I ordered this dress from MICHAEL Michael Kors and while on paper it’s near perfect, on me it looks like a cheap flight attendant uniform. It’s very hard to find black dresses with pockets that actually can hold more than your hand and a lip gloss!

Black Photography Pants Ensemble
I know most photographers wear random black easy-care pants, flat comfortable shoes, and a faded black tee shirt or sweater. I just don’t feel good in that, I don’t feel myself. I’d love to find some Ponte separates – pants with a wider leg that have front and back pockets, a matching top that maybe has patch pockets on the front. Very clean lines, not too tight, plenty of stretch and places to store things. Oh, and if it could be machine washable!

Black Photography Shoes
Something closed toe with a slight wedge heel, comfortable, squishy, simple. Leather so I can polish them up when they get scuffed and they can handle some moisture.  Nothing dowdy, I’d like to also wear these shoes with jeans on weekends if I need to walk or stand for long periods of time. No flats, no separate heels that can sink in wet grass, no Mary Jane, but something that would also work with dresses.

White Cotton Shirt
I want this every year but I never find what I am looking for. Wrinkle-resistant (at least not the type to look crumpled after an hour) but not heavy or with a sheen. No boob pockets. Seaming so it doesn’t hang straight from the bustline. A collar that looks good regular or popped. No oxford, no voile, no mixed-media. Simple pearlized buttons. Looks good untucked, tucked in, or tied at the bottom and you can’t see the hooks of my bra through the fabric.

Black Leather Pleated Skirt
I thought I found the perfect leather skirt during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, but when it arrived I saw it wasn’t. The leather was far too stiff for the pleating, the drop waist hit at a weird place, and it was tight in weird places but gaping a bit at the waist.

I want a slightly dropped waist so the bulk isn’t right on my tummy, and soft enough leather that the pleats move and don’t get stuck together. Hit above the knee.

Black Taffeta Party Skirt
I want a big black taffeta skirt that hits at the lower calf. Pockets, defined waistband, maybe even a slightly dropped waist like my Banana Republic skirt, though that’s not necessary if it’s not too full. I want to wear it with a heather gray v-neck tee and booties, or with a crisp white shirt and channel Carolina Herrera. I’d even pair with a cashmere or sequined tank and wear to a more formal event.


Retailers, am I asking too much? I feel that these things I could use in my closet are relatively basic and would look fabulous on multiple shapes of women who have varied lifestyles.

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  1. This may be something you could look at…..last year I picked up a black knit dress at our thrift shop that had a great fit, simple style and huge useful pockets. The tag said Estee Lauder. Turns out they are made for employees I guess? It was perfect for someone who needed a black work dress with pockets because of the fit – neckline that had some style but wouldn’t gap when you bent over, ease through the waist, thick knit for lots of washing without loosing shape, etc. I’ve passed it on already or I would mail it to you! It might be worth an ebay search.

  2. I’ve worn the Eddie Bauer wrinkle free white 3/4 sleeve shirt for a few years now. (Now I need to replace it). I love that I don’t have to tuck it in….

      1. Any time! I agree with your new post. This one didn’t quite fit me right, either. Too big in the hips and a little baggy under the arms, but I think I will get it altered since I’ve been looking for something forever!

  3. I’m with you, Allie! Every season I’m after some basic items, but they seem to be the hardest to find, although I’m willing to pay premium price for quality items. That’s why I have huge gaps in my wardrobe. Shoes or booties are not a problem to me, but white cotton shirt that fits, does not crease and is not very see-through is a rare gem. I don’t want a shirt that is made of paper thin fabric. The same goes for white basic T-shirts.

    That is definitely something that retailers should take a note of. Good luck with your search!

  4. Allie, I’m kind of shocked to hear you say that the Michael Kors shirtdress looked like a cheap flight attendant uniform in person- I’ve had mine for two years now (my guess is that they keep it actively available because it’s so popular), and honestly it’s one of the nicest, most becoming pieces of clothing I own!
    I am very often complimented on it’s versatility/style, and It fits very nicely without being too revealing/grabby (I’m super curvy in the bust/hips/butt). As for being cheap, I fell down several slate courthouse steps in it, and despite many scraps/bruises on areas covered by the dress it remained absolutely perfect- not a single mark/tear/run!

  5. My wish list for fall actually contains two things on yours. Black wedge booties. I had the perfect pair last year, but ruined them falling down some stairs and my cobbler can’t fix them because they have a molded sole. I’m worried I’m not going to find the perfect pair again this year and it’s driving me batty. The other item is a full leather (or even pleather) skirt. I tried NAS, no luck, and I completely missed the pleather one from the new Target collection. I need to find a reasonably priced one, but no luck so far.

    Good luck to you!


  6. For the black dress, consider getting one custom-made. If you live in a city, it should not be hard to find a dressmaker. This is something you will wear for years, and will be worth the investment.

  7. For me, the perfect classic, white buttondown is the “holy grail” of closet staples. I have it designed in my head (with most of the features you listed above) and good ole Ann Taylor is the only retailer who has come close. As you have said many a time in previous posts, Allie, almost nothing is going to fit straight off the rack. That’s why I have befriended a local tailor, whom I am willing pay a pretty penny for, because she makes a piece that’s a “7” look like a knock-out “10”!!! Thanks for posting and good luck on your ongoing search! ~Sarah

    1. Allie, have you tried the coldwater creek No-Iron collection? The only white shirt I have ever worn that made my 36J bustline look good.

  8. A great-shaped black dress with ample pockets would be heavenly. Maybe you’ll design one? : > Love those black wedge booties.

  9. Asos has a sequin peplum in black and gold, no blue. I think I saw a metallic blue one there (not sequined). I feel like they may have an anorak like what you pictured too.

  10. I got a jacket very similar to the one in the picture at Kohl’s a few weeks ago. Trying to find link but the Kohl’s website is not playing nice right now…

  11. This always happens to me and I am glad that I can sew. It makes it easier to have the things you want and in most cases the quality is better because you can choose your own fabric, line garments and go the extra steps in construction to make it nice.

  12. I have three cotton dresses from eShakti that I love love love, and they have wonderful pockets. But I just checked and I can’t find a black cotton one currently on their website, sad face (this is the closest I could find, but cotton chambray could maybe work?). But then again, they may release a black cotton one again this spring…?

    (embedded links didn’t work, sorry)

      1. I did my measurements on two of them, and they worked great (especially for my arms, I did an elbow length for one of them). I also have bought two of the overstock dresses, one cotton sleeveless and one cotton with straps. The one with straps really doesn’t fit me that well in the chest area, but that’s my fault, I feel (and beyond the pockets, they have those really nice snaps to hold your bra strap in place). The other one is so ruffly that no one can see that the chest part doesn’t fit so well, so there you are. That said—I haven’t ordered anything but the cotton, and I loved it for the events I wore them too (I’ll send you pictures). I really wish they’d offer more dresses with sleeve options, that’s for sure. As well as women being able to post pictures of them in their dress, somewhat like Modcloth and other stores allow you to do.

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