Even if you can afford to buy all the clothes you crave, you probably don’t have closet space to store those fulfilled fantasies. However, with just a few basic, timeless pieces in your wardrobe, dressing as perfectly as the crowded-closet queen for any occasion is a breeze. Here are our 5 basic items you need in your wardrobe.
1: Classic LBD
Even as a little girl, most females know that a little black dress is a wardrobe staple. If you choose a sleeveless sheath that hits right at your knees, it pairs with the other essentials in your closet to carry you from casual neighborhood party to a business meeting and straight through to date night. For the barbecue party, top your dress with a white button-up shirt, your most comfortable flats and a chunky necklace or a splashy scarf. Take your LBD to the office with a pretty cardigan and some pearls or gemstone beads. At the end of the workday, ditch the sweater, add some strappy sandals and a “glam” necklace, and you’re ready to party the night away.
2: Black Blazer
A tailored black blazer is a versatile piece for anyone’s wardrobe. Fitted correctly, it should accentuate the smallest part of your waistline, making it both professional and flattering. Blazers easily transition from work to play; you can quickly dress up a casual jeans and tee look just by throwing on a blazer. It’s also a great cover up option over dresses for the cooler months. Regardless of whether you’re wearing it with dress pants, jeans or a dress, you’re sure to look polished wearing a basic blazer.
3: Dress Slacks
A pair of well-fitted black slacks combines with nearly anything, from T-shirts to sequins. If you need to go from the office to the club, add a blazer and silk tee to your dress pants for daytime with a pair of classic black pumps. After work, exchange the tee for a silky, lacy camisole to transform your business meeting attire into evening apparel. Stick with the same pumps, or swap them for strappy metallic sandals. On the weekend, add a white shirt and pretty sweater to the same pants, and you’re ready for whatever comes your way.
Expand your casual options with a pair of well-fitted jeans. Flared styles complement most body styles, particularly if you choose a dark blue denim version. Pair your jeans with your black pumps and a white shirt for running errands or with tees or sweaters for picnics and other family outings. If you add a sequined or metallic top and metallic shoes, your jeans are even appropriate for dressier informal parties.
5: White Button-Up Shirt
A classic white button-up shirt, tailored well and a size larger than your usual, also lets you go from casual to fancy in minutes. Pair it with jeans and flats for the supermarket or weekend shopping spree. With a pencil skirt, your dress pants or your little black dress and pumps, your white button-down takes you to the office or a parent-teacher conference. For that evening happy hour or party, top a pair of distressed skinny jeans with the white shirt, and add a pair of colorful stilettos.
The Secret Is in the Details
While these wardrobe fundamentals take you anywhere, a few accessories round things out and give you even more possibilities. A pair of comfy flats takes care of almost any event, especially if you stick with classic black. If you want that extra touch of color, vivid red flats are appropriate for every season. Black pumps with a 2-inch to 3-inch heel and a classic toe box work with any of the fashion elements in your closet. Opaque tights, again in timeless black, visually lengthen that skirt that might be just a little too short, and simple jewelry dresses an outfit up or down as needed. A soft scarf in your signature color is a versatile addition to your wardrobe, whether you tie it in your hair, at your neck or around your waist.
References & Resources
InStyle: Look Your Best This Fall: 10 Things Every Woman Must Own
Shape: Top 25 Things You Need in Your Closet
College Fashion: 15 Must-Have Items for a Classic and Timeless Wardrobe
Real Simple: 10 Staples for Every Woman’s Wardrobe
Huffington Post: The Five Items Every Woman Should Have in Her Closet, From Tim Gunn
About the Author
Pamela Martin has been writing since 1979. She has written newsletter articles and curricula-related materials. She also writes about teaching and crafts. Martin was an American Society of Newspaper Editors High School Journalism Fellow. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching in elementary education from Sam Houston State University and a Master of Arts in curriculum/instruction from the University of Missouri.