I’m often asked which key items of clothing every woman should have in her wardrobe – those essential ‘core’ pieces that form the building blocks of a workable and wearable wardrobe.

I believe these seven items of clothing have the ability to transform your style, and make getting dressed so much easier:

A crisp white shirt; great black dress; pair of denim jeans that suit your shape; a double-breasted trench coat; navy blazer; ; leather jacket and a Breton striped top.

In my opinion, these seven reliable and classic pieces will give you the foundation on which to build your style, while always providing you with something to wear. Because they are classic in style and not trend specific, they can be worn with all the other fashionable, trend based pieces in your wardrobe, making getting dressed and looking great a cinch.

When investing in these pieces, ensure they’re flattering to your figure, simple in design, comfortable, and made of the best quality fabric you can afford.

My tips to getting it just right:

1. White Shirt

A crisp white shirt will always make the wearer look fresh and stylish, and is the perfect frame for your favourite jewellery or scarves.
It will go with just about anything – from denim jeans, to a black ball gown skirt. I buy mine in a small size from the men’s department at Woolworths The fit is fantastic and the price is wallet friendly.

Wash your white shirt with a detergent that enhances white fabrics, to keep it looking fresh and bright. Always allow it to dry out of direct sunlight to avoid yellowing.
The little black dress or LBD

2. Leather Jacket

Choose a fitted style with slim sleeves, made in the softest leather you can find. Black, chocolate brown, stone and tan are the best colours to invest in.

Always inspect the lining, as this will give you a good indication of the general workmanship and quality.Take into consideration what you’ll be wearing underneath, and choose a size accordingly.

Ensure the zip is of good quality, or that the buttons are well sewn, with no loose threads hanging from them.

3.Navy Blazer

A single-breasted navy blazer can work equally well for work or play. It’s the perfect item to transform casual looks into something more elegant and refined.

Hardware like gold buttons give it a smarter, military inspired look, that’s perennially chic. Buy one that’s lined, as it will sit better on the body.

4. Breton striped top

Traditionally a three-quarter sleeve top, with blue and white horizontal stripes and a boat neckline made for the French sailors. Coco Chanel took a liking to it in the early 1900’s and since then, it’s been a classic piece worn by celeb’s the world over. Now you know!

While navy and white stripes are the true classic, red and white are just as chic. Wear it with everything from jeans, to chino trousers, to a neutral coloured pencil skirt.

Because of its casual, sophisticated vibe, I wear mine with a dazzling diamante necklace, which gives it a slightly offbeat character.

5. Little Black Dress

Look for a simple style that can work for both day and evening, with the addition of accessories.

The style of the dress should suit your body shape and not be too loose or too tight. It should skim over the silhouette effortlessly and feel comfortable to wear.

If you have a large bust, avoid styles with a high neckline. Rather opt for a V-neck shape.

Details like chain belts, cutouts or hardware like studs, should be avoided as they will date. When it comes to choosing a LBD, your mantra should be: “the simpler, the better”.

Ensure the hem sits on, or just above the knee – this is by far the most flattering length for all shapes of legs. If black is too severe for your complexion, try navy – it works just as well. If you don’t like showing off your arms, look for a style with a three-quarter sleeve.

6. The Trench coat

Black, taupe, grey, khaki or navy, are the best colour options and work with everything.

Re-think your price barriers and pay more if you can afford to, as this style will never date. Always buy a style with a generous fit and think about what you’ll be wearing underneath – I usually go one size up.

Ensure the lining is strong and substantial, it should sit comfortably against the coat. If it’s too tight, it will tear at the underarms and pressure points.

Never buckle the belt properly, this makes it look too rigid – rather tie it in front or behind, with the buckle hanging loose.

7. Denim jeans

A dark navy wash is by far the most flattering to the figure.

Choose a bootleg cut if you’re pear shaped – the flare will balance out the hips. A straight legs cut suits just about every other body shape.

Take a pair of heels along with you so you can gage the correct leg-length. Hems that just skim the floor make the legs look longer and slimmer.

When wearing them with flats, you can always fold the hem up for a casual, yet cool look.

If your stomach is not a problem area, opt for a low-rise style. If you have a larger tummy, choose a style that’s cut higher, to avoid the dreaded ‘muffin-top’…

Denim with a bit of stretch is brilliant for fuller figures as it holds in all the wobbly bits, and is super comfortable.

Visit In my bag for more great tips from Candice-Lee - one of South Africa's leading stylists and fashion experts.