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Ajit Berg, Published January 10 2013

Fashion in Focus: Get celebrity style with 10 basic pieces

We all know celebrities have access to the best designers, stylists and beauty experts in the world, so it is not surprising that so many of them have such great style.

You might think you need a million dollars to get their style, but the truth is it’s all about key pieces in your wardrobe.

The trick to good style is to keep it classic and feminine.

I came up with a list of 10 must-haves to include in your wardrobe. Knowing how to incorporate these basic items to best exude your own personal style is what will make these pieces work for you.

Victoria Beckham, Katie Holmes and Reese Witherspoon – celebrities I worked with when I was a personal stylist in Beverly Hills – all know how to really work their personal style with these items.

  1. Black blazer

    A black blazer is a must in your wardrobe. Make sure it’s tailored – the best blazers have darts that cinch in the waist – and not too long. The jacket goes with everything, including skinny jeans, dresses and skirts, and completes any outfit, as shown by Victoria Beckham at right.

  2. Silk blouse

    A silk blouse paired with skinny jeans is not only classy and stylish, it is super sexy and feminine, as shown on Miranda Kerr, above. Complete the look with a ballet flat or patent leather pump and you’ll look effortless like the celebs.

  3. Classic trench

    The most stylish celebs wear trench coats. Whether it’s a raincoat, a wool trench for winter style or made of silk for over an evening dress, this look is timeless and transforms any outfit. Choose a classic, rich color such as tan – as seen on Emma Stone, above – or black that will match with everything.

  4. Dark denim skinny jean

    Nothing is cooler or sexier than the perfect dark wash skinny jean. Every celebrity fashionista owns a pair, as seen on Sienna Miller, above. If you are able and willing to make a little more of investment in a nicer quality pair, it can hold you in and lift everything up. The most flattering style has clean back pockets.

  5. Sunglasses

    Celebrities love their sunglasses, especially the big Jackie-O style shapes. Find the perfect shape for you and watch out for the paparazzi. Victoria Beckham sports oversize sunglasses at left.

  6. Lightweight long scarf

    All the celebs know a long scarf is the perfect accessory to any outfit. Long scarves in a lightweight wool, cashmere or silk fabric are the best because they drape better around your neck, as shown by Jessica Alba, above. With so many beautiful colors and prints, they add just the right pop to your outfit.

  7. Something red

    Every woman should own something amazing in red. There is no excuse to say you can’t wear red. Shades include poppy, coral, scarlet and burgundy, so everyone should be able to find the perfect hue.

    When I worked at Barney’s New York, I got to work with Alber Elbaz, the designer for the French line Lanvin. He would come to Barneys at least once a year, and in almost every collection he would make something in the most gorgeous shade of red that would make my celebrity clients drool.

    Whether it is a beautiful red dress, handbag (such as Sofia Vergara’s, above) or ballet flat, find something perfect to brighten up your wardrobe with this timeless color.

  8. Something with sequins, studs, or rhinestones

    Any time I put on any of my special pieces with shine, I instantly feel more stylish. I have a muted silver sequined cardigan I wear with a loose white scoop-neck T-shirt and skinny jeans, and it always makes me feel more fun.

    It is best to play down your “shine” items with more casual pieces like skinny jeans or ballet flats. Also don’t be afraid to wear them during the day.

    Katherine Heigl shows her glitz on the back of her pumps at right.

  9. The perfect stiletto platform pump or sandal

    A staple in every celeb’s wardrobe is a sexy stiletto pump or sandal. It elongates your shape, gives you a better figure and glams up any outfit. I love patent leather platform pumps with just a slight platform. With jeans – like Victoria Beckham’s at right – or dresses, they are super stylish and sexy.

  10. The perfect handbag

    The most stylish celebrities don’t leave home without their large, statement handbags on their wrist or shoulder. The perfect handbag is in a neutral or metallic shade, as shown above by Nicole Richie.

    Don’t forget to also include a clutch in your wardrobe. It adds the finishing touch to any outfit.

Go above and beyond

Working so many years in the Hollywood fashion world, I learned a few tricks of the trade.

One of the most important is to always alter your clothes to fit your figure perfectly. Altering an inexpensive item can make it look expensive and flattering. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on your clothes as long as they are flattering.

Buying the right size is also important. Something that is too big swallows you up and gives you extra weight. Buying something too tight can also appear to give you extra weight and cheapen your look.

My best fashion tip is less is more. Keep it simple and find looks that complement you and allow your own “star style” to shine through.

This column was written exclusively for The Forum.

Ajit Berg is a former personal shopper for Barneys New York in Beverly Hills. She and her husband, Chris, live in Fargo with their daughter..