25 Famous Women on Their Wardrobe Essentials

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Wardrobe essentials are clothes and accessories that can get you through almost any occasion. There are wardrobe basics (e.g., a leopard-print skirt, white T-shirt, or a glimmering piece of jewelry), and then there are special off-kilter essentials that speak volumes of personality and a signature style — including Jenna Lyons’s glasses, Stevie Nicks’s shawls, and Janelle Monáe’s tuxedos. Below, 25 famous women share their most-cherished pieces.

1. Diane Keaton
“Two of my wardrobe basics — fitted turtlenecks and wide four-inch belts — are highly underrated. First of all, turtles hide everything and frame your head perfectly. My secret is to buy shirt stays and sew them at both side seams to prevent sag. Belted coats are my signature; a good belt gives you a shape and a waist, no matter what’s going on with your body. It saves me every time.” — AARP, May 2014

2. Lizzo
“Lately, I’ve been trying to wear the least amount of clothes with the least amount of difficulty! I’ve been super into T-shirts worn as dresses. I live in L.A. now, so I don’t have to worry about snow. If you had asked me [about my style] when I was in Minnesota, I would’ve been like, ‘Layers.’ Right now, I like effortless clothing. I like to just look like I threw something on, but then the lingerie is for that ‘let me slip into something a little more comfortable’ vibe.” — Vogue, December 2017

3. Yoko Ono
“The way that hats came into my life is when I was like 4 years old, my parents always said, ‘Make sure that your hat and shoes work together.’ When I was a very little girl, I was always wearing a hat. And glasses … I’m fascinated by the fact that you can have two or three faces.” — The Chicago Tribune, July 2016

4. Donatella Versace
“My style is not that big. I wear heels, tight pants, and I wear diamonds.” — Vogue Festival, April 2013

5. Stephanie Gottlieb
“Diamond studs are a staple for any woman’s jewelry wardrobe. Rounds would be the most classic, but we have many clients who like to explore more interesting shapes like emerald cuts, Asscher, or even heart shapes! Depending on the size/quality of the stones, studs can also be used later on as an engagement ring stone, or solitaire pendant.” — Who What Wear, October 2018

6. Janelle Monáe
“I always carry my classic black-and-white tux and custom-made George Esquivel saddle shoes.” — Us Weekly, November 2012

7. Jenna Lyons
“It’s interesting; often when I think about the things that actually fall into that — the options seem to be rooted in menswear. If you really look at what is iconic for both men and women, I feel like a lot of times they’re the same thing. It might be a trench coat, or a button-down shirt, or a classic pair of jeans. The things that start in this time-honored tradition of menswear — which has always been a heavy influence on style — go back to something that feels classic.” — Glamour, May 2015

8. Phoebe Philo
“For me, the ultimate wardrobe is a white shirt, a pair of black trousers, a skirt, maybe three coats. Two jackets, a high heel, a flat shoe, and a trainer. A bag. Maybe only one bag. And maybe a scarf.” — Vogue, 2012

9. Jennifer Lopez
On her Birkins: “I have a couple. They aren’t something you can buy every day. Usually, they are gifts. People wait for my birthday, and they chip in and they buy me one. I think I have bought one in my life. The rest have been gifts for my birthday or Christmas from really special people.” — Vogue, August 2018

10. Eva Chen
“I invest the most in bags and shoes. When people tell me my feet are going to swell and stay one size bigger, I get really panicked about that, because if that ends up happening I am so, so not going to be in a good situation. All the shoes I’ve spent the last ten years cataloguing, owning, hoarding. Every night I elevate my feet for like an hour being like please don’t get bloated, please don’t get larger. I will invest in bags. I have a Chanel bag that I stole from my mom in college, because luxury bags can really become heirloom pieces. I still have the Dior Saddle Bag from like 2004 maybe, I still have a Dior J’Adore T-shirt my teenager daughter will wear at some point ironically. All my Proenza PS1 bags, I love those bags, even though some of them are three or four years old, I still use them on the weekends.” — Fashionista, December 2014

11. Billie Eilish
“Chains, rings, hats, hoodies, and currently a fanny pack.” — Galore, May 2018

12. Cher
“I’ve got shirts — my favorite shirt is 30 years old … As a matter of fact, people have pictures chronicling this shirt for a million years, and I don’t care and I don’t care how many times I wear it.” — People, September 2018

13. Solange
“I have a uniform now. When I travel and I’m on the road and doing tours, there’s a designer called Black Crane, and I have three jumpsuits in two different colors, so six total. I just wear them every time; I’m on the road every day. I know people think I don’t wash my clothes because I just recycle and recycle them.” — Fashionista, April 2017

14. Padma Lakshmi
On her go-to outfit: “A slip dress, a strappy pair of heels, and an antique embroidered shawl from Kashmir. Or a leather jacket if the shawl isn’t appropriate.” — Town & Country, February 2017

15. Stevie Nicks
“I have my shawl vault — they’re all in temperature-controlled storage. I have these huge red cases Fleetwood Mac bought, all the way back in 1975 — my clothes are saved in these cases. All my vintage stuff is protected for all my little goddaughters and nieces. I’m trying to give my shawls away — but there’s thousands of them. If I ever write my life story, maybe that should be the name of my book: There’s Enough Shawls to Go Around.” — Rolling Stone, February 2019

16. Rashida Jones
“It’s downright undignified how many blazers I’ve bought over the years. And will continue to buy. They immediately give shape and add authority. With the perfect blazer, anything is possible. Almost like magic, a strong, angular, but subtle shoulder lifts your center of gravity, while the clean straight line of a lapel can justify the rest of your outfit. Whether it’s printed trousers from Miu Miu or Etro, a longer, fuller skirt like those at Chloe, or even a brightly colored Araks blouse, the blazer makes it all work.” — T magazine, August 2012

17. Mariah Carey
“I mean, I’m sitting here doing an interview in lingerie. But I was just like, ‘You’re totally gonna understand that this is what I’m gonna wear!’ Why should I wear something uncomfortable? This is what I like.” — V magazine, Spring 2018

18. Chrissy Teigen
“I wear towels all day when i’m home and now I have discovered the ones with the elastic and snaps.” – Twitter, November 2018

19. Carine Roitfeld
“I buy endless black skirts. I have 20 versions of the same skirt and each one is almost the same as the ones I have already. Most of the time, I’m dressed the same. I did a lot of crazy things before [though we can’t find any photographic evidence of her looking anything other than chic] but when I became a grandma I had to look like one.” — Stylist, Issue 342

20. Rihanna
“You know, when I was younger, I couldn’t afford everything, but a pair of Timberlands: That was my Dior. And I had to save my money for a whole school year to get those Timberlands that I wanted, and I did it. Shoot, if your closet is full of Dior, go for it, put Fenty on with that. But you might have some Balenciaga sneakers and a Fashion Nova fit that my jacket is super lit with.” — T magazine, May 2019

21. Kim Kardashian West
“I think you can literally never go wrong with a pair of Lucite heels. They go with everything. I’ve worn mine to the ground.” — Who What Wear, April 2019

22. Isabel Marant
On the six essentials to achieving “French girl” style:
“1. A pair of skinny jeans
2. A men’s jacket
3. A linen T-shirt
4. A pair of boots
5. A sweater
6. A checkered shirt” — Who What Wear, November 2013

23. Erykah Badu
“Accessories really are everything for me. I travel with a black body bag full of them when I’m on tour. I’ll [throw] in my Yoruba beads, my Maasai beads — and there’s space for six hats in my hat box.” — Vogue, July 2015

24. Dolly Parton
On her wigs: “I have a cabinet where I carry all the show wigs. I travel, when I’m on tour, with Cheryl Riddle, who is my hairdresser. But we always have a cabinet in the back of the bus to carry show wigs … Oh, heavens, I have no idea [how many wigs I have]. I can’t really count them all. I always make a joke and say, ‘I wear one almost every day, so I must have at least 365!’” — Vogue, August 2016

25. Iris Apfel
“I think jewelry is the most transformative of all accessories. By just changing the kind of jewelry you wear with a little black dress, you can go from day to night. My mother taught me that if funds are limited, get a few well-cut basics and add personality with jewelry. Through your choice of accessories, you make them individual and make them your own. That’s advice from the depths of the Depression, but it still applies today. You can find bangles in flea markets that look wonderful with an haute couture dress. People will tell you that you can’t just go out and buy a piece of junk and put it together with something so precious. But I love to do that.” — Harper’s Bazaar, February 2018

25 Famous Women on Their Wardrobe Essentials