A couple of weeks ago, we talked about the so-called "wardrobe essentials" we DON'T really need, and then we asked you to tell us about the ones you DO.
Now, having consulted your suggestions and noted the common themes, we're pleased to present The Fashion Police's own list of what REALLY constitutes a "wardrobe essential". Just to keep things simple, we're sticking to one season at a time - in this case, winter - and before we go any further, we want to add a quick disclaimer to say that these are simply the items which were suggested most often by our readers: obviously not every woman is the same, so you may find that your essentials are completely different, in which case we'd love to hear about them in the comments!
Read on for our list of Winter Wardrobe Essentials for Woman - as suggested by Fashion Police readers!
1. The Winter Coat
This was always going to be number one, wasn't it? Unless you're lucky enough to live in the type of climate which offers year-round warmth, it's hard to get anywhere in winter without the services of a thick winter coat. Because this is the item you'll wear every day, all season, a good coat is worth investing in, and we think it's also worth picking something versatile enough to go with all of the rest of your clothes: it might be tempting to go for a bold colour, to brighten up those dull days, but if you tend to always wear brightly coloured shoes too, you might find the two colours sometimes clash. That's not to say you can't go for lots of colour if you want to: just pick one that works with your wardrobe, and which you know you'll be able to wear every day, for months on end, without getting sick of it.
2. The weather-proof boots
Our readers were pretty much unanimous about the need for a sturdy pair of weatherproof boots or shoes in the winter months. Exactly what those boots or shoes might look like will depend on your lifestyle and the type of winter weather you typically get (If you generally find yourself ploughing through a foot of snow on the way to work every morning, snow boots will be essential, but if you live in a city where snow is rare, you should be able to get away with a wider variety of footwear. Low or flat heels were also mentioned frequently: as much as we love our stilettos, we have to agree that they're not much use in the snow, and positively lethal on ice, so leave them at home or carry them in your bag to change into once you're indoors.
3. Hats, scarves and gloves
You already knew these were winter essentials, but they're also an easy - and generally affordable way - to smarten up that winter coat and make it a little more interesting.
4. Jeans or warm trousers
We have a feeling this may be a slightly controversial one. Many of readers said they consider jeans to be a winter wardrobe essential, but we also know many of you hate jeans (or just can't find the right fit) and never wear them, so we've expanded this category to include any kind of warm, hardwearing trousers: cords, for instance, are great in winter, as are tweed pants or even velvet. As for those of you who never wear anything with trousers...
5. Jersey dresses
Indispensable to dress-lovers in cold climates, jersey dresses can be casual or formal as required, and come in almost every shape and shade imaginable, from 50s-style fit n' flare shapes to simple shifts. When it's really cold out, you're probably not going to want to wear them with bare legs, like the model shown above, which brings us to...
6. Leggings/Opaque tights
We've lumped these two into one category, because while some of you can't live without your trusty opaque tights, others insist that leggings are thicker, comfortable and more versatile. Personally, we're on the side of leggings with this one (We don't need to point out that we're ONLY on the side of leggings when they're not being worn as pants, do we?), but either option will work just as well.
7. A selection of sweaters
Ah, sweaters. At this time of year, we rarely see the words "winter fashion" written down without the words "cosy sweater" somewhere in the vicinity. As with everything else on this list, there's no single type of sweater that will work for, or be useful to everyone: if you want to get through the winter in warmth, choose a selection of fine-knits (good for work, or for layering under other pieces) and chunkier styles for the colder more casual days.