February 19, 2017
  By Frank Vaia

 If you’re like me, you have items in your closet that have turned out to be your “go to” pieces.  You know, items or outfits that you can always rely on when you’re in a hurry to get dressed.

Or things you just really like to wear and feel mighty good in for whatever reason...proud, sophisticated, comfortable, professional, striking, sassy. 

Grabbing for them can make an easier start to whatever you’re off to do or enjoy. Let’s hear it for low-to-no stress dressing!  Well, I believe another strategy for making quick and chic fashion choices is having essential CORE pieces in your wardrobe.

Sure they can be your “go-tos”, but let’s talk about their major role; serving as catalysts when styling yourself. They’re the big kahunas in your quadruple-door, custom designed walk-in.

Don’t have one of those? Tsk! Tsk! Okay, yours only has 3 doors. Sorry. All joshing aside, let’s give these clothing leaders, call them your “Core” pieces, the importance and respect they deserve.

“Core", complements to Wikipedia...hmm, let’s scan the choices:

 “Intel core”?   No.

 “USS Core”? No.

 Hard and soft core? NO!

Hmmm... let’s try another reference source. Ah ha! The Chambers English Dictionary nails it: 

  “Core”, “the most essential part of something”

Yes! I’ve asked a few of my co-workers to give us a practical (in regard to clothing) description of Mr. Chamber’s definition of CORE, the most essential parts of their wardrobe. These women got very specific:

For this upcoming season, Lana Jones Gould says her core essentials include blue and white denim jeans, blazers, white shirts, a basic jersey dress, and black and white booties/sandals.  

Susy Damon relies on black leggings, tanks, white shirts, neutral colored sweaters, and a great jacket or two. (She’s a layering kind of girl. AND I can’t believe she didn’t mention any shoes!)

Julie Ross loves to have a long blazer and cropped jacket on hand and swears that she wears black leather leggings spring, summer, fall and winter.   Her other core essentials are layering tanks in creme, white, and black, a great pair of comfortable but heeled black shoes and a ring belt!

So what can we learn from these three fashionistas?

A lot. First off, it’s pretty obvious that they each have their own particular style. I see all of them quite a bit either at work or out and about socially so I know they weren’t crossing their fingers behind their backs or just telling me what they thought I wanted to hear. 

 Now, I do want to say these ladies...and I say “ladies” in a very respectful way...and I are in the retail fashion business so how we present ourselves is a big deal to us because we understand the importance of living the K. Renee brand. It’s akin to the “practice what you preach” rule.

Let’s move on to lesson #2. The above trio of wondrous women list only a few pieces each. Again, I know more than one of them have pretty darn big wardrobes. But none hesitated for a nano second to list the core pieces in their closets. Why? Because they are essential to them. My guess, and it’s an educated one, is that they are not only items that they love but can build many, many outfits around.

Now, you’ve learned from past blogs I’ve written that I like to throw in my perspective to the topic at hand once in awhile. I’m all about gender equality. In fact, I feel gender rules and regs are way too rigid. Just saying. Well anyway, sure I have core pieces in my wardrobe.

They are sport jackets and shoes. And one favorite t-shirt I’ve had for almost thirty years.


I throw it on with shorts or jeans. Wore it the other day as a matter of fact. 

It’s also my main go-to under causal sports and outerwear jackets. I can’t wear it to work, so here’s a picture of it. 

Crazy, huh? 


Back to you. What's core in your wardrobe? Or what items are missing that could be your styling work horses?

Before you answer, think about how you fill your days or evenings...whether it be working outside and/inside your home. 

  • Do you travel for work or play? 
  • Are you the party giver or go-er? 
  • And how about your preferred style? Tailored, sophisticated, casual, edgy? 

The answers to these questions will guide you in ID-ing the core pieces in your possession or ones you could definitely use. Which is a perfect thought to segue into...

...Lesson #3. One of the greatest benefits of getting the right core pieces for your wardrobe is economics. And, in this case, economics are about investing. What I’m saying here is that it pays to spend a little more on the major players in your wardrobe.

So when you shop, don’t think you need to spend big on everything you purchase. Sure, you can if you want to, but it isn’t a must. I think you’ll find those beautiful black slacks, for instance, that you just dropped big dollars for will be in your closet as a core item for years to come. That’s how a clothing investment pays off! It’s very justifiable. 

The guidelines are fairly simple: First, make sure you have quality basics across all categories of your apparel, and eliminate clothing from your wardrobe that you don’t wear, love, and love to wear. Buy new basics to fill any gaps, and remember quality over quantity.  Once you are satisfied with the quality and fit of your core essentials... it's time to add a little flavor.

And then add at least five nonbasic items per season (once in spring, summer, fall and winter) that add a bit of personality and make your wardrobe feel current and fresh.  Here are a few of my spring favorites that can easily compliment your essential core pieces!

If you’re wondering why it’s called a “French” wardrobe, from what I could gather, the idea originated from a “French Style” thread on The Fashion Spot that discusses how the French wardrobe philosophy focuses on the concept of curating the direction of your wardrobe.  

Just for the heck of it, let’s imagine a possible K. Renee shopping scenario: You come in and we start assembling complete, head-to-toe outfits for you. We do this naturally because we all love fashion and the choices on our racks and shelves inspire our creativity. 

 But if that’s not the experience you’re after on that particular day, tell us straight away.  

  Yes, tell us that what you’re looking for right now is the perfect pair of black slacks, for example, that you will wear with so many things you already have at home.  
  Or a jacket versatile enough to pair with dresses, jeans, skirts. 

Or a pair of shoes that not only take you to the office but also out to dinner or a night on the town.  


I promise we’ll accommodate you because we understand the importance of core items.

With all due respect and with experience under our belts, I’m betting you’ll eventually be back for more of our quality clothing and shoes because as sure as my initials are FMV you’ll see for yourself how well and for how long they serve you. Again, just saying.

Fresh and exciting spring merchandise continues to flow into the store along with all the core essentials needed for your stylish wardrobe.  Now is the perfect time to schedule an appointment with Ryan, Julie, Lana, Susy, DJ or me.