15 Things Every Woman Should Own

things woman should own

Lately, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about what it means to be a woman. I mean, like, a real grown up lady. I don’t mean woman in the support-top pantyhose, minivan, white wine spritzer sense of the word. I’m talking about being a female who is in possession of all the knowledge, skills and paraphernalia that she needs to make her way in the world.

Here’s what I want in my proverbial toolkit:

  1. The perfect little black dress

    Cliche?  Yes.  Still useful?  Also yes.  Perfect for weddings, cocktail parties, graduations, walking on the beach after any of the above with the cutie you just met. (That link goes to a $20 dress that has 1,500 4.5 star ratings!)

  2. Shoes that cost more than a hundred bucks

    Preferably, they will work with the perfect little black dress, your favorite jeans and that vintage pencil skirt. (This is my expensive footwear of choice.)

  3. A passport

    For globetrotting and impromptu tequila runs. Or maple syrup runs. If you don’t have one, here’s how to apply!
  4. A toolkit

    Because you can only hammer nails with the soles of your shoes for so long before it’s embarrassing.

  5. An electric drill

    For bookshelf hanging, hanging lamps, drilling a hole into your neighbor’s apartment for better snooping. Wait. What?

  6. A vibrator

    Samantha Jones would be disappointed in any modern girl without one.
  7. A gorgeous piece of jewelry you bought for yourself

    It doesn’t have to be expensive, it just needs to thrill you.

  8. A set of professional photos in which you look amazing

    Leslie Plesser does all my photos and I love them.
  9. A hardcover set of your favorite books

    I’m working on an Anne of Green Gables collection and all the Kurt Vonnegut books.
  10. Engraved flask

    Or something pretty and personalized that will hold you favorite beverage. Mine will read Ms. Von and be filled with Suntory whiskey. What about you?
  11. A fantastic matching bra and underwear set

    You can wear it under your U of M sweats and feel smug and secretly sexy.

  12. A really good set of luggage

    I’m counting my REI backpack. But LV rolly suitcases work, too.
  13. A bank account with enough money for a cushion

    In this economy, it just makes sense, eh? (P.S. how to save up for big ticket items)

  14. Skincare products you love

    Because you can’t hide your affinity for sunbathing sans sunscreen.
  15. A good planner

    For lists. Duh.

But surely there must be lots of other things that a grown-up girl should have in her arsenal. What do you think? What things should every woman own?

P.S. 7 travel tools I won’t shut up about

photo credits brooke cagle and josh felise // cc

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#13, yes! I once read an article where the woman called her emergency fund "F you money". It was independent from the savings she had with her partner and her mom had taught her to keep one. When she was in a crisis (job or brerakup), she had this cushion with which she could still be independent… of job and man! Yay! (She happened to lose her job and moved to NYC to live on her F you money for a few months. NYC had always been her dream.)


Oh my gosh, I was scared to open the "vibrator" link to Amazon, haha!! You're so funny, Sarah!

Thanks for giving me an excuse to buy a new set of luscious underwear and shoes that cost more than a hundred dollars!


Getting a passport has been on my to-do list all year. Time to put on my big girl pants and check that one off. Early to Bed (feminist Chicago-based sex shop) is AWESOME for vibrators and toys. Lots of reviews and how-tos for newbies.


#8: We don't look cuter as we get older? Are you kidding me?

There's nothing more sexy than an older, confident woman who has learned to feel comfortable in her skin. That's something young women usually have yet to master.

A mature (not necessarily *older*) woman will know how to feel good, comfortable, and real–no matter her situation and age. Insecurity is a real turn-off.

We really need to stop the myth that only men get more attractive with age. This is a key point that we feminists should embrace.


Yes to all of this! Although I would say #8 is not really age related – I think it's important to have photos of yourself that make you feel great throughout your life!

Oh and I would definitely add the perfect shade of red lipstick to this list!


As a long time reader, I was disappointed to see your comment on #8. What a sad thing to say to women. I love the rest of the list, just sorry to see that bit. If anything, some women tend to not to be in photographs because they feel self conscious and to that I say, get in the photos, ladies! Embrace how you look today (and everyday) because you’re uniquely you and so beautiful. <3

Sarah Von Bargen

Great point, Cate! I wrote this yearrrrrs ago. Clearly it needs some updating.

Sarah Von Bargen

Ooooh! You’re totally right! I don’t have one (yet) but all my friends raaaave about them!


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