Retail Therapy: my basic Wardrobe staples wish list

Ramblings…a working plan for my leisure activities
October 27, 2011
A Secret Hideaway
November 13, 2011

For the past couple of weeks, I have been thinking about stocking up on some basics for winter and coming up with some ideas for next spring/summer – yes, I have been planning to clean up my closet and edit, prune and give away a few items…unfortunately, there are not a lot of options in town (replenishments), especially in my size which is a major bummer…. By Fareeha Qayoom

By Fareeha Qayoom



inter is in the air. For the past couple of weeks, I have been thinking about stocking up on some basics for winter and coming up with some ideas for next spring/summer – yes, I have been planning to clean up my closet and edit, prune and give away a few items…unfortunately, there are not a lot of options in town (replenishments), especially in my size which is a major bummer….



Here’s my wish list…


Winter staples


leather jeacket

Leather Jacket by Gap

Leather Jacket

My current one is perfectly fine, except last winter the two-way zipper went bust (one tab chipped off even though the zipper is still operational-yes, it is YKK)…so, I need to add another one…I also need to come up with an effective way to get the zipper fixed…


denim jacket

Denim jacket by Levi's

Denim Jacket

There’s only Levi’s – there could be other stores that might stock this item– might have to buy a men’s denim jacket. Again, fit would be an issue. There are no women’s options…at least I didn’t see any…sigh. Still, I am planning to go looking…


cable knit cardigan

Women's cable-knit cardigan by Old Navy

Cardigans and your basic black sweater

I might have to get this hand knitted. Again, there are very few smart sweater options in town. Most of them stock chunky man-made fibers or blends…also, HKB used to be a good resource but for the past few years…they have gone really boring on this front too. Also, I prefer stocking up on pure fibers like lamb’s wool, cashmere, angora so on and so forth…they last longer and in spite of pilling still manage to retain their quality, shape and appearance…


Year-round staples

basic white button down shirt

Black and White Cotton Lycra button down shirts

Store bought button down shirts don’t fit at my shoulder and armholes (in my size) because a. the stores that import these shirts don’t import them in petite sizes and only stock xs, s, m (sizes 6-12)! b. they are too short because western women don’t go for longer or tunic lengths and unfortunately, they are the targeted market and c. they don’t fit around my waist!


Getting them custom made is another problem because a. you can’t buy the cotton lycra fabric off the rack from your average fabric store (Yes, Pakistan exports this quality but the mills have minimums and will not sell small yardages to individuals or local wholesalers) and b. it’s a tough job locating a pattern maker who actually understands how to cut and fit this basic wardrobe staple if you are shorter than 5 ft. 7 inches (they have only learnt to fit the size block of a much taller woman!) and since our local tunic tops are usually knee length and longer and voluminous, it actually doesn’t matter if the fit is off at the shoulder, armhole, waist and hips – the garment is supposed to be pretty baggy fit anyway…so they can get away with poor fit for even custom made clothes…I have a couple of Gap button down shirts which I am thinking of pinning to my form, and then getting them custom stitched…let’s see I am still looking for a tailor to achieve this feat!


basic tee

a basic crewneck tee by Gap


For the past couple of seasons, Next (Store) has become stingy. They have stopped importing their basic scoop neck basic tees (they call it the Essentials!) – I bought about 4 of their basic white long sleeve tees in light weight jersey and around two in their basic pale pink ones this season…but I wasn’t able to buy a single black tee. (Also no other colors were available). My black tees are quite shabby now. I need to replenish them – unfortunately, I am not sure what to do to stock up some more tees. Men’s tees don’t fit well…they are usually boxy. Levi’s doesn’t stock my size nor do they supply any basic women’s tees…furthermore, they only stock slogan tees or fashion tees. There’s this local brand called Now Tees (but again they don’t offer solid plain tees – only slogan tees). Also most of the brands offer this item at PKR 1000 plus…which is kind of steep for a basic wardrobe item…so I am thinking of recycling my old tees by having them re-dyed a different shade and playing with a few trims, laces and notions to jazz them up…



Vest by Marks and Spencer



Vests (Your basic waistcoat)

Again, will have to get a few custom made. Can’t find a single source of your basic light weight cotton vest (waistcoat) in town; might have to go to a men’s tailor to get this done. I am looking to get a few variations – denim, canvas, twill, linen and poplin…might even try a few lawn and light weight muslins…



Basic two button Jacket by Marks and Spencer

Jackets and blazers

I am still looking for summer and winter weight jackets that you can wear over your basic tees…a jacket gives you an instant professional look no matter what you are wearing underneath even if it’s your basic boot cut, flare, or a skinny jean and a t-shirt …again, a tailor who understands fit is key for this item as well…I am thinking of having some jackets made in light weight cottons, twills, lawns, muslins and even bareeze type fabrics…


tunic top

A tunic top by Cold water creek

Tunic tops

I am also thinking of getting some long sleeve and three quarter sleeve tunic tops made.


denim shirt

a denim shirt by Levi's

Western and denim shirts

The only source I know is Levi’s. Again, their local store doesn’t stock any denim or western shirts in my size! I would love to buy a few check ones as well…but no dice so far…


My plan is to first trawl the malls, departmental stores, specialty stores, even international franchise stores – if all else fails, look for a tailor and get these made. I also plan to recycle my old denim clothes by converting them into neat vests, skirts and whatnot…In the meantime, I am also working on learning to sew from books and DIY pattern making from trial and error (actual hands on practice)…God willing, I might get somewhere by end of next year with my wish list with the current resources available in town! 😀


You never know, a retailer might move in my town that actually stocks these items in moderate prices – and yeah, pigs might fly! But knowing things, the retail scene will remain pretty basic even next year and I might end up shopping online – apparently, is shipping to Pakistan but you can’t shop for more than $2500…(relax, I am only $50-100 cheapskate so no fear of that!)





No votes yet.
Please wait...
Fareeha Qayoom
Fareeha Qayoom
Publisher and editor-in-chief of and former print editions of The Knit-Xtyle Fashion Review (tkfr), a trade newsletter for the textile and apparel industry of Pakistan. In short, Publisher, editor, and a blogger. In addition, she has served as Managing Editor of MIT Technology Review Pakistan, print and web editions (2015-16). Total of 7 editions were published under her leadership by ITU, Punjab's first public technology university under the license of MIT Technology Review (USA). She has also managed Value Mag in the same capacity, a real estate and lifestyle magazine for Value TV - 2008-9. Published freelancer for The News on Sunday 1994-96. Fareeha has over 21 years of solid management experience – of managing brands (like Harley Davidson, Munsingwear, Chaps, Chaps Ralph Lauren etc.,), Retailers (like Target, Mervyns, Kohl's, Marks and Spencer etc.,), customers (VPs, Product Managers, Unit Managers, and Buyers), and products (apparel - woven, knits, men's, women's, children's, Print and online publishing units), projects, teams, and processes, information, content, and data, staff, vendors, and time. Versatile and adaptable with international exposure, communication and language skills (oral and written), and a consistent track record of achieving company targets and objectives, plus a MA in Political Science from Punjab University, a MSc in Economics from La Salle University, Louisiana, USA, and a BA in Economics from Kinnaird College for Women.


  1. more reading?

    June 21, 2005The Staples For Every Woman’s Wardrobe
    I made this list a few years ago, and this list still applies to today’s trends. If you buy the correct pieces, you will have to purchase fewer pieces and you will have more options each morning as you decide what to wear. A rule to a wardrobe – QUALITY NOT QUANTITY!!! Repeat this mantra as you ponder over buying those pink pleather pants or that faux fur handbag. Will you like in in two months, let alone two years? Does it go with anything else in your wardrobe? Is it flattering? Comfortable? Versatile? Well made?

    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  2. Wardrobe Staples Women Must Have among Their Clothing Items

    By Jill Martin and Pierre A. Lehu

    6 of 6 in Series: The Essentials of Building a Fashionable Personal Wardrobe

    There are some items that you absolutely need ready and waiting in your closet. These make up the basis of your wardrobe; they’re the must haves, no matter what your style — the wardrobe essentials. To be considered a wardrobe essential, an article of clothing has to have several important attributes:

    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  3. Fashion tips: Basic wardrobe building and planning

    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  4. Bedroom Closet Clean-Out

    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  5. Closet Makeover

    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  6. How to Make Drawer Dividers

    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  7. 18 Wardrobe Essentials

    To makeover O’s first Make Me a Ten! candidate, creative director Adam Glassman chose pieces with maximum mixability.

    By Amanda Robb and Brooke Kosofsky Glassberg
    O, The Oprah Magazine | From the September 2009 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine

    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  8. How to Create a Basic Wardrobe for Women
    By Kat Consador, eHow Contributor

    Having a solid foundation of basics in your wardrobe can provide you with a clean and classic look. Basics are timeless and transcend trends. They have the ability to be worn across different occasions. Basics are versatile because they can flawlessly mix and match with other pieces. Planning and collecting solid basics can help you save time and money, while making you look and feel fabulous, no matter what occasion.

    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  9. The Essentials of a Well-Balanced Wardrobe

    By Karen Kozlowski

    Fill your closet with wardrobe essentials from five basic “clothing groups,” and you’ll never again ask “What should I wear?”

    The Well-Balanced Wardrobe

    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  10. 14 Basic wardrobe essentials for women
    Naima Turner
    , Style Examiner

    One thing that many women complain about not having enough of besides time, is not having enough options to wear. Part of the reason is because each season women flock to the nearest mall looking to buy the latest and greatest trend. While there is nothing wrong with that, there is something wrong with not having the basics covered. If the basics are covered, no matter what trends come and go, there would always be a wardrobe, with interchangeable pieces in her closet ready to be worn.

    No votes yet.
    Please wait...
  11. Look what I found? Great advice on wardrobe basics…

    Wardrobe Basics Checklist

    Use this checklist to build a strong foundation of timeless, versatile pieces.

    Always in Season

    Black tank. A white tank has its place—at the gym or on casual outings—but a black one is more universal. Dress it up with dark jeans or a skirt.

    Short-sleeved white T-shirt. White tees become unwearable quickly, so skip the costly designer versions and buy a bunch of good-looking inexpensive ones. Then replace as needed.

    Short-sleeved black T-shirt. The best short-sleeve length is about 1/2 to 1 inch longer than a typical cap sleeve—it shows just the right amount of arm.

    Long-sleeved white T-shirt. For a trim silhouette in white, choose a slim-fit T-shirt that skims your body but doesn’t cling.

    Long-sleeved black T-shirt. A surprisingly sophisticated layering piece, this works well under a dress shirt—or even a dress.

    No votes yet.
    Please wait...

Leave a Reply