Sometimes it can be exhausting trying to keep up with trends, filling your closet with new pieces that will eventually be sidelined, never to be worn again. In a world with so many choices, how will you make the right ones when it comes to your personal style and comfort? Luckily, there are a few basic items nobody can go wrong with, and we’re here to give you the rundown on them today.
The pieces below are listed by category to make them easier to sort through, but the best thing about these individual items is that they can jump between categories and be mixed-and-matched endlessly. That’s the true sign of a wardrobe must-have, after all––something that is as timeless as it is versatile.
Without further ado, let’s get down to the nitty gritty and ensure you have these beloved pieces on your fashion journey.
Basics for Everyday Comfort
Let’s start our list off with casual wear that you can use for things like lounging, running errands, or meeting with friends. And if you’re still working at home, you can even enjoy the comfort of these basics while on the clock.
Easily your go-to when all you want to do is stay in bed, the sweatshirt can bring the luxury of your couch anywhere with you. A sweatshirt can be as muted or as bold as you like, depending on whether you’re going for a more laid-back or stand-out look. Either way, make sure you get a sweatshirt that is soft and made from high-quality material so you get the most out of this cozy wardrobe staple.
Nothing says cozy and cool like a hoodie that doubles as a cute dress. This piece can be paired with a jacket and leggings in cold weather, or worn on its own with a baseball cap for the ultimate casual look. Because this piece can stand easily on it’s own, this is a good place to play with color and texture in your wardrobe. Try a long knit sweater dress in a warm orange for the fall or a pastel color-block hoodie number for those balmy springtime afternoons. Anyway you dice it, this will be a hit.
To balance out the bulk of your sweater, make sure you’ve also got something you can throw on when you’re in the mood to show off your figure, or when you want a more close-fitting layer underneath a loose jacket. A form-fitting shirt should be tailored well to your body without being too tight. You can opt for a crew neck or something that shows a bit more skin––like a scoop or V-neck.
As with the other tops on this list, layering is key––and nothing makes a better base layer than the ol’ reliable t-shirt. Who among us hasn’t found themselves frustratedly trying on trendy top after trendy top, only to eventually throw on a white t-shirt and find that it fits just right? The simplicity of this choice is not to be underestimated, especially when it comes to finding something to accessorize with.
This might seem like a broad label, but it cannot be overemphasized how necessary a truly well-fitting, flexible, and convenient pair of pants is. This is that ultra-breathable pair that you would happily wear on an 8-hour flight, or that you throw on after a long day in heels. What that looks like can be different to you: a pair of leggings, knit trousers, soft slacks, or even sweatpants might do the trick. This is one thing you can’t live without.
You’re not truly comfortable until your feet are. That’s why sneakers, or tennis shoes, are one of the biggest must-haves for any closet. If you’re on your feet a lot, running errands (or running for exercise), you’ll want a sturdy pair of sneakers with good arch support to boot. Black or white is preferable so you can easily mix and match them with your other outfits; these don’t have to be a chunky fit, but it helps give them a bit of a trendy boost.
Clothes With an Edge
Not everything has to be a muted neutral or simple layer. Versatility also presents itself in the form of exceptional, stand-out pieces. While the clothes below can be used in a whole range of outfits and styles, they also ensure that you are able to show some personality in your wardrobe. So feel free to take these staples and choose versions of them that best exemplify you.
Short for motorcycle jacket, this piece offers a coolness factor that has been well tested by time. Go for a suede or faux-leather––opt for brown for something more mature and down to earth, and black for something more dark and slick. Not only does it look good, particularly when it has a slightly tailored shape, the moto jacket also comes in handy as a warm but not smothering layer year-round.
A statement jacket can mean whatever you want it to mean––that’s the beauty of having it in your wardrobe. It adds a unique quality to whatever you’ve got on under it. Use this piece to bring flair or form to an otherwise dull outfit. And although this should be an eye-catching piece, with all the options out there, there’s no reason to sacrifice style for comfort.
Bold Colored Top
Although a minimalist wardrobe should be stocked with muted tones, exceptions have to be made somewhere. Whether it features one color that really stands out, an abstract pattern that draws the eye, or some sweet feminine florals, you’re going to want a top that lets you express your personality. To make this piece really count, think about whether you prefer cool or warm tones and go from there.
The leather skirt has been a fashion favorite for ages. It’s chic, modern, and sultry––all in one. A mid-length leather skirt can be worn to the office or even for slightly formal occasions. It’s also surprisingly warm. On the other hand, there’s nothing like a leather mini-skirt to make you feel like a bombshell. Not a fan of leather? Feel free to swap this piece out for a cute slit-satin number instead––same effect, softer feel.
Speaking of skirts–-what better accessory to pair them with than a pair of dust-twirling boots? Whether they be combat platforms, thigh-high heels, or classic brown ankle boots, a good pair of boots is not to be missed. Though the trends on these may evolve, there are a few mainstays––black or brown boots with a slight heel that reach just to the knee, for example, are sure to stick around and deliver universally flattering looks for ages to come. When in doubt, refer to your own taste––that’s what will ultimately outlive any trend.
For a lot of women, this might be the most important part of the wardrobe. If you find yourself in a professional setting a lot, you probably already have most of these pieces. But, if you’re just stepping into the workforce or preparing for a job interview, go on a little shopping spree and pick these up on the way. You’ll also be happy to find how they elevate other parts of your wardrobe, both in and outside of an office.
A classic black blazer is never out of place when you’re aiming for professionalism, be it at the office or an interview. This might end up being the most well-tailored thing in your wardrobe; as such, is useful in lots of contexts to add a structured and polished look to any outfit. For extra practicality, keep your eyes peeled for blazers with pockets. And if the snug fit isn’t your thing, no worries; you achieve an effortlessly elegant look with a slightly oversized blazer. Just remember to roll the sleeves up a tad.
It’s not the most fascinating piece of clothing, we’ll admit it––but that doesn’t mean you’ll love it any less. The straight trouser is a workplace must-have. It’s also good for semi-formal events where you’re not quite sure about the most appropriate attire. For the most versatile version of this pant, go for something just the slightest bit loose around the ankles (allowing you to cuff them up if needed) in a dark shade that, ideally, matches your blazer.
Not everybody needs to show up to work in kitten heels. The loafer is a comfortable yet smart alternative to fancier footwear. It blends seamlessly into an outfit and evokes a slightly vintage Oxford professor-type feel––in the best way. Make them brown and sleek or black and chunky for a slightly more up-to-date look; you’ll be glad to have one of these at hand.
The button down is another one of those items that span several categories. Buttoned up and tucked in, you can pair it with a blazer and wear it to work. Unbuttoned and tied to crop around the waist, you can rock it with a midi-skirt and wear it to the beach. A white button down might have the most uses––and is able to add some levity to otherwise dark work attire––but if your wardrobe is already filled with white tops, maybe make this a black blouse or even a pale-colored satin. Your button down can be form-flattering or boxy––whatever floats your boat.
You most likely already have one or two formal pieces in your wardrobe––whether they be new, or leftovers from formal milestones such as graduations or weddings. But as you evolve, so should your wardrobe. These are some iconic looks that will come in handy for formal occasions, parties, or days where you feel like doing a little extra to upscale your look. And unlike that prom dress, these won’t be gathering dust in your closet.
With trends returning to the late ‘90s and early 2000s, people are rediscovering the beauty of the slip dress. Typically in silk or satin, this ever-chic number drapes gracefully across the body, bringing out the shapes you’d like to highlight and smoothing over those you don’t. A slip dress can hang to your ankles or stop at your thighs; either way, with the right accessories (or lack of them), this is a beautiful go-to for birthday parties or swanky galas.
Despite appearing a bit more modest than other types of dresses, the midi-dress is coming back in style in a big way. The bit of extra length adds more than just coverage; it creates form in your figure, and draws attention to whatever shoes you’re wearing. That’s why pairing the midi with your favorite statement boots or platforms will have you standing out while being comfortable all the while.
Tired of wearing dresses to formal events? Try a jumpsuit. A jumpsuit that cinches at the waist and flares out at the ankles is a great way to create an hourglass figure while elongating your legs. To really amp up this piece, go for a bright color or an interesting pattern. Vertical stripes can add even more length, and polka dots take this slightly androgynous look in a sweet mod direction.
Anybody who’s ever missed a pair of pumps in their closet knows how crucial they are. They accentuate virtually any outfit and can even dress up a t-shirt and jeans under the right circumstances. While the natural inclination is toward a black pump, a nude pump (nude meaning whatever shade that closely resembles your skin tone) fulfills the same purpose of matching a wide range of outfits, while also having a bonus effect: blurring between the lines between your ankle and the beginning of the shoes creates the illusion of longer legs.
The purpose of these pieces is to build a wardrobe that is as fashionable as it is useful. Choosing durable fabrics and high-quality materials is also an important part of that. A few more things to keep in mind: Remember to have pieces that are suited for different seasons. It might seem counterintuitive to go coat-shopping in the summer, but once October rolls around, you’ll be thankful you did. Also, don’t get too caught up in trends––keep your focus on pieces that will last a long time. As always, comfort is also key; while it is true that some glam looks simply will never be as cozy as your favorite sweater, remember how things will feel once you’ve got them on, and how you want to feel as the day or evening extends.
With these things in mind, get out there and see which one of these pieces you have in your wardrobe. Make up for what you missed, and don’t forget to keep an eye out for similar pieces you love that will become must-haves of your own.