Wardrobe Essentials for Women
Written by KATERYNA LAKOMOVA
How often do we face such a paradox when the wardrobe is chock-full but nothing seems appealing! Then you pick those trousers but cannot find anything to combine them with. Then you try that shirt, but the pants don’t really match. And so on and so forth; it happens again and again. A full closet doesn’t necessarily mean you have many outfit options; it only means you have many clothes. But quantity doesn’t mean quality. Even with twenty specifically picked pieces, you might be able to create many stylish, well-matched outfits. The idea is to keep in mind that those leopard trousers you want to buy should be paired with something suitable, and if the piece is so bold, you might not have an appropriate match.
Luckily, there is a way to simplify wardrobe management and styling processes by creating a core of essentials that can be effortlessly mixed with each other and combined with daring accents. Essential women’s clothing should be highly versatile and plain. Your white tees, blue jeans, and black blazers are the first to be put on this list, but not only them. In this article, we will unravel the secrets of fundamental wardrobe essentials for women, discuss some styling examples, and browse through signature products from trustworthy brands.
26 Essential Clothing Items
We will call them must-haves; however, you may create your own core of basics and consider our list of outfit essentials as advice. Nevertheless, there are some general features that you should be aware of when picking your staple wardrobe pieces. Firstly, we recommend choosing neutral hues for your basics. White, black, gray, beige are the most versatile and will easily suit any other color. Secondly, it would be convenient if your basics were as minimal and simple as possible. Easy shapes, monochrome style, no prints, and elaborated details. Remember that simple doesn’t mean boring; it means versatile and laconic. One more important thing: try to cover all seasons and weather conditions with your essentials. So there should be not only tees, tops, and jeans but also winter coats, boots, scarves, well, you’ve got the point. The wider your assortment, the easier it will be for you to dress up every morning and look polished.
So, here it goes. We’ve selected 26 essential clothing items that, combined, can become a solid core of your classy wardrobe. Let’s check them out!
Basic pieces may differ by season, but in our mid-season selection, you will find items to wear all year round, like tank tops, T-shirts, blazers, etc. We’ve gathered a wide range of the most necessary clothing you will undoubtedly need to create stylish and comfy looks.
What can be more essential than a white T-shirt! It is suitable for layering for your winter outfits; it is good as a top for summer looks; it is endlessly versatile, and we recommend having several of them. You can easily create a forever-trendy look with a white tee and denim bottom or use it as an in-between for a tailored suit. It might seem easy to find decent white T-shirts for your wardrobe, but actually, it is a complicated quest. The most important thing here is to pick high-quality pieces of natural fabric. For instance, the Oversized cotton T-shirt from House of Dagmar is made of 100% organic cotton, which makes the tee breathable, soft, and neat.
Your essential blazer must fit you perfectly. It may be oversized or roomy, but the silhouette shouldn’t be too bulky. We suggest having a classy variation as your basic staple. Double-breasted with a straight hem, like the Pinstripe Blazer from House of Dagmar, will work excellently. Featuring a striped pattern, this blazer will become a stylish addition to your formal attire and casual looks. Yes, blazers combine well both with jeans and with elegant tailored pants. Don’t be afraid to throw it on your tank top for a street-style, laid-back vibe.
When you already have a white T-shirt, match it with a pair of simple jeans, and your first basic everyday look is ready. Jeans can be of any kind — white, light blue, raw denim, even black. Most of them are versatile staples that can be suitable both for business-like looks and for informal outings. As to the fits, we recommend using easier ones, such as straight, skinny, or cropped. A baggy or bootcut might be too street-style-specific to become an essential piece. Rises are also variable; high, mid, or low depends only on your figure proportions and personal preferences. Our example of a denim staple is High Rise Straight Riley Long from Agolde. This pair of black straight jeans will be the perfect base for your casual or formal looks.
Okay, we have a T-shirt for warm weather, but how about something more warm? A simple, cozy pullover should definitely be in your basic closet. It shouldn’t be extraordinarily bold, but minimal and elegant. Use neutral hues and a relaxed fit, and pay close attention to the quality of the fabric. We suggest picking a wool blend or pure cashmere for a long-lasting and refined piece. Tiger of Sweden has excellent alpaca wool designs in its collections, and the Turtleneck alpaca-blend pullover MARRIE is an example of a minimalistic silhouette blended with utmost comfort.
Let's add a formal piece when we already have two top staples with a casual attitude. A crisp white shirt is an undeniable must; you should just accept it and get yourself one if you still haven’t. It will be your favorite in-between for tailored suits and a lovely pair for your jeans. White shirts always look fresh and polished, regardless of the bottoms they are combined with. Our recommendation will be a Dart fold cotton shirt from Erika Cavallini. It seems like a plain white shirt but has exciting features — wide sleeves and folds on the back. Made of breathable cotton, this shirt is a good investment choice to include in your closet.
What a classy wardrobe without a lovely casual dress in it! Casual dress is such a broad term that includes everything from slip dresses to knitted maxis that you can surely find a fundamental piece that will also express your own style. Our pick is a Straight-fit ribbed dress VALESA from Tiger of Sweden. Made of premium stretchy viscose rib knit, this versatile brown piece is an example of discreet sophistication seamlessly blended with utmost comfort. The main idea when choosing dresses for an essentials closet is not to try to pick an ultra-elegant and formal one; better go for versatile and comfy.
Tank tops are essential for layering with blazers, jackets, pullovers, and shirts. They are casual staples we shouldn’t underestimate, as their comfortable fit can be beneficial in our styling process. Try the simplest cuts and primary colors, like black, white, or gray. Our favorite is the gray Fine knit ribbed top KYLE CAMISOLE from Lisa Yang. Made of thin knitted cashmere, this piece is ultra soft and breathable, meaning that it won’t overheat and will keep you warm when needed.
It’s time to add a skirt to your basics closet! Regarding skirts, we should be more picky and careful not to choose a mini or extreme maxi. To keep your essential staple as versatile as possible, try a simple straight midi that can be made of leather, wool, jeans, or other easy-to-wear materials. Our choice is House of Dagmar’s Button-detail leather skirt, which is a bit more specific than a simple midi. It has an attractive front slit, a button opening at the front, and a high-waist fit. However, its look can still suit most casual or formal outfits, so we add it to the list without hesitation.
Formal attire blended with a relaxed attitude gave us the ultimate fashion solution — cardigans. We put them on the list due to the latest fashion tendencies, as cardigans are at the peak of popularity again, and it would be almost a crime not to have such a stylish item in your wardrobe. Lisa Yang makes extremely nice pieces that can become valuable basics, like this Crop cashmere cardigan marion. It has a soft knit and unique textured finish to give a personal touch to the look, even as a basic thing.
Turtlenecks are must-have staples; they will save you lots of time in rushed mornings when you just don’t have enough spare mind to decide what to wear. Well, that’s precisely why we are making this essentials closet — to have a quick and stylish solution for such situations. Our choice is a beige Turtleneck Cashmere Sweater from FTC Cashmere, created of thin knit cashmere. Its neutral hue and slim fit make this piece a perfect in-between for layering casual and formal outfits. Combine it with jeans, trousers, or skirts and create multiple different looks with a single top.
A pair of neutral, comfy trousers should be an obvious choice for your clothing core. Not too formal, not too relaxed—something in the middle. Ideally, they should be versatile enough to be your usual leisurewear, but when needed, to be worn as a part of classy attire. We’ve found a perfect pair in Erika Cavallini’s collections — Elasticized waistband straight trousers. Featuring a deep black hue and relaxed fit, these are utterly soft and casual pants to wear all day long without feeling uncomfortable or compromising the style.
When a shirt is too formal for your mood and you need a more casual option with a touch of elegant sophistication, go for a blouse. Blouses appear to be underestimated by fashion lovers; however, their potential is endless. You may combine them with jeans, casual wool pants, skirts, or even shorts — it will be a lovely pair for whatever occasion. A V-neck woven blouse from House of Dagmar is our choice for closet essentials. Its versatile black color and relaxed silhouette will add a laconic elegance to your everyday look.
Long Sleeve Top
The ultra-versatile in-between that you should definitely add to your wardrobe is a long sleeve. Similar to turtlenecks, long-sleeve tops will save you time when you aren't eager to create an extraordinary look. It should be a minimal and stylish piece that can be easily mixed with other essentials, like a Roundneck fine-knit top rowen from Lisa Yang. Made of thin, refined cashmere, this dark gray top will bring not only a stylish vibe to your outfit but also a soft and comfy feeling. Take proper care of your cashmere, and it will take care of you for many years to come.
Many women consider scarves an unnecessary accessory, though we cannot agree with this position. For winter outfits, warm wool or cashmere scarves are musts, and it’s more a matter of staying healthy when being stylish is a pleasant benefit. But for warm weather, we suggest having a nice silk variation, such as this Silk scarf from Beige Brown. Even though you might not wear it daily, it is a chic addition to your everyday attire, and we don’t think being chic is unnecessary.
We’ve already mentioned before that you should opt for midi skirts when choosing a versatile one, but midis also vary, and if our previous suggestion was more elegant, then here we will introduce a casual option. A Suede midi skirt EDES L from Tiger of Sweden, for instance, is a soft skirt with a relaxed silhouette. Featuring a neutral brown hue, this skirt will perfectly match your knitwear as well as tailored pieces and denim.
Gone are the days when sweatpants were worn only to the gym and running sessions. Nowadays, you will encounter them on the streets with the same frequency due to the latest fashion trends and the contemporary approach to designing sportswear. Many designers elevated sports style to the level of casual wear and added such pieces to their collections. We suggest you have a pair of sweatpants for lazy days when other pieces seem too fancy to wear. For example, these pants from Embroidered sweatshirt & pants set by Aeronautica Militare can become your casual staple. They might seem too colorful, but as we know, pink is currently in trend, so why not?
A hoodie is one of those items that is better to have than not to have. On lazy days, when comfort is more important than neat and elegant attire, we need hoodies to bring some coziness into our lives. FTC Cashmere has a comfy Short-sleeve Cashmere hoodie that can be your choice for warm weather or an everyday leisurewear piece. But don’t hesitate to add a long-sleeved hoodie to your wardrobe, as it is even more versatile and works perfectly as an everyday go-to.
Jackets are our alternatives to blazers when the dress code is not so strict, allowing us to have a slight edge in the look. Ideally, we suggest having both for more styling options, but you may always pick the one you need the most. An Oversized vintage denim jacket wayne from Agolde is our choice. It features a light blue wash, a relaxed and roomy fit, and will most likely be suitable for all your casual outfits. Try denim on denim if you opt for something super trendy, or wear a more classic denim with trousers variation.
Belts are essential accessories we can use not only for pants but for dresses, skirts, and even blazers. They help to create a slim silhouette, a graphic shape, or add an accent to the waistline. When choosing a belt, we recommend having a classic black leather one, like this Slim leather belt geometia from Tiger of Sweden. Ultra versatile, this belt also possesses a touch of elegant minimalism in its neat design.
When you’ve created the all-season core of the wardrobe, you may add some specific winter basics, which are musts, when the temperature falls below zero.
When the winter is in full swing, you should be prepared to conquer the cold in style, and puffer jackets are your best helpers in any weather. It might not be necessary to have puffers only if you live near the equator, but all other regions, unfortunately, have to get used to voluminous jackets and layering. Although puffers usually don’t look so appealing, we know great examples of stylish and comfortable pieces. Look at this Lightweight padded jacket bankhead and be sure that it will not only keep you warm but also add a fashionable vibe to your winter outfit.
Although we’ve already mentioned pullovers in our list, knitwear is a broader category where you can choose from various sweaters. They can vary in thickness, fit, length, etc, and it might be a great help with everyday styling to have a versatile knitted item in your wardrobe. As mentioned before, simpler is better, so we’ve chosen a Crewneck cashmere sweater RENSKE from Lisa Yang as an example. It has a relaxed, plain fit and a minimal monochrome design and can be combined with any outfit you would like to create. Pure, high-quality cashmere is another benefit of this piece, as when treated carefully, cashmere can live long and become even softer with aging.
Can you imagine an essentials closet without a pair of trustworthy sneakers? Well, we cannot, too, and when picking your next pair, we suggest you take a high-quality one. It might vary in hues, but the quality defines how long your sneakers can survive and how comfortable you will feel wearing them. And if the service life can be neglected, comfort should be the first priority. After all, that’s the purpose of the sneakers — to make your walk as comfy as possible. Voile Blanche has many lovely options in their collections, like Fur-lined nubuck sneakers julia. Though fur-lining is more of a winter option, you may find lots of more versatile ones.
When you’ve chosen a puffer, let’s choose a comfy pair of winter boots. Leather chealsea boots BETHEL from Voile Blanche are perfect in terms of versatile style but also in their warming and comfortable properties. Chelsea is a good option for urban winter; however, if your life is more active and "suburban," we suggest a more tough variation: hiking winter boots. They will be more durable and safe to wear in any weather condition.
If, for some reason, puffers are not your thing, have a look at more substantial coats, like Hooded down parka coat jocada from Moose Knuckles. Parkas are more durable than puffers, so they can be worn in more extreme weather conditions and keep you warm, comfortable, and, unquestionably, stylish. Choose this piece depending on your style and conditions, and pay close attention to the quality, as such coats are long-term investments.
Beanies are the most stylish and versatile headwear you can find nowadays, so we go for them when choosing our essentials. Even though you rarely have the opportunity to wear a warm hat, it is better to have one in your closet, just in case. Its absence might be extremely unpleasant when the time for warm hats finally comes. A Ribbed-knit cashmere beanie MARTIGNY from Lisa Yang in a dark green hue is our favorite. Versatile fishermen's style, high-quality cashmere knit, and lightweight make this piece such a wanted one.
Overcoats are all about chic versatility; they are ultra comfy but possess a vibrant elegance, making them a necessary item in the wardrobe. Soft winter wool coats are the best solution for urban outings, both informal and business-like. You may throw it over your tailored suit to create a polished, refined outfit, but you may also combine it with a hoodie and jeans to stay on the casual side. A Double breasted coat from House of Dagmar is a fashionable wool coat with numerous styling options.
Have you found some items you don’t yet have but want to? Or maybe your essentials closet is already complete?
In any case, we hope our list of women's basics was helpful for you, and we will see you in our next post!