My Top 6 Wardrobe Staples For Your Wardrobe
If you were starting a wardrobe from scratch what should you buy? Well using a wardrobe capsule formula (you can download and print this one) is a great place to start. We all need wardrobe heroes, but without the supporting acts, the heroes don’t work (unless you are the queen of ‘out-there’ style). So what would I recommend as some great basics to include in your wardrobe? Having done many wardrobing sessions over the years and knowing that we all need clothes to get by, these are the pieces that I think have the broadest appeal and work for the majority of women.
1. Dark Denim
Denim is a great staple in most wardrobes (of course I don’t believe that everyone has to wear jeans, but many women do). And a darker, clean (non-distressed) denim is the most versatile. Distressing makes the denim more casual, so if you only want one pair of jeans avoid whiskering or distressing of any kind. Look for a darker wash without any fading. They can be dressed up or down so make a great wardrobe staple.
2. Knit tops
Find ones in a neckline that flatters your jaw shape – so replicate the shape of your jaw with your top. If you have a pointed jaw go for a V shape, if you have a curved jaw, go for a scoop neck, if you have a square jaw, go for a boat neck or square shape.
Knit tops are great. Provided they are of a decent quality you can dress them up and down. You can wear them to work, you can wear them casually. You can get them in so many colours, you can layer them. They are a truly versatile garment. And of course, you can add your hero over the top (if your hero is a jacket or necklace) and they provide the perfect backdrop.
3. Skirt in a shape that flatters
We don’t just need to wear trousers all the time. A skirt is a great staple for your wardrobe. It looks dressier than a pair of pants and it’s way easier to fit (trousers are the hardest garment to get good fit on for the majority of women). Again it’s a great versatile basic that you can wear to so many occasions and pair with so many different items to make it a brilliant supporting act.
4. LDD – Little DarkDress
A dark dress in your best neutral or deeper colourthat you can dress up and down is a really useful staple for your wardrobe. If you can find a fabric that crosses the border between day and night you are set. Throw a blazer over it or a cardigan and wear it to work. Add sparkles, heelsand a pashmina and you’re ready to go out at night. It doesn’t have to be black. In fact I recommend looking for a dress in a great signature colour – one that brings out your eyes if possible – at the more neutral end of the spectrum, so that you really can wear it again and again and nobody remembers the colour in particular, just that you look great it in.
5. Flattering Flat Shoes
Shoes that you can wear with skirts and dresses (and of course your pants too) are a necessary staple that is so often missing from wardrobes. A great comfortable shoe that you can walk in that still works with your skirts and dresses will expand what you wear and how you wear it. Many women end up in pants every day as they haven’t got an appropriate comfortable shoe to wear with their skirts and dresses which really limits their wardrobe choices. It may be a ballet style flat (and many these days have padding and support), or a knee high flat boot for winter.
6. Comfortable Jacket
Ajacket that you can dress up and down, that you find comfortable, in a colour that is a great neutral for you is an excellent addition to your supporting acts wardrobe. You can throw it over a pair of jeans or wear it to the office with skirt or dress, it can take you out to dinner (though I don’t think it will pay the bill). It will add that layer of warmth when you need it and that structure that makes you look smarter and more put-together.
Think a little more broadly about your jacket, it doesn’t need to be a traditional suit blazer style. It could be made of a stretchy fabric or textured or be light and drapey. It just needs to work with lots of your other clothes to make the cut as a staple supporting act.
What are the garments that you consider to be staple items in your wardrobe?
Do You Need Interesting Basics or Understated Staple Garments in Your Wardrobe?
Oh I am so excited! I have just gone through the very painful process of putting together a beginning wardrobe for a new work environment where ‘relaxed business’ is the style that seems to be appropriate (no jeans!). One hundred percent more formal than I have had to be since returning to work six years ago.
I have managed to tick all the boxes that you’ve posted here, Imogen. That is a huge confidence booster for me. I don’t feel like I’m all that great at “putting myself together” and haven’t really had to, so I’m on a steep learning curve and it’s nice to know I’ve managed to get it right. Thank you!
Personally, I don’t have any “specific” items I would consider staples, but DO have a majority of pieces that are very versatile pieces.
The creative/Rebelic/Edgy side of my style, I tends to ignore timeless and trends and ignore the almost “universal” or “timeless ” lists and why I can’t point out specific staples. But also having a classic leaning, Ive most of the classics and I’m also a camelont dresser – I wear any type of garment (skirt, pants, jeans, dress etc) depending on the occasion or my mood. If I were re-building my wardrobe, I probably would look for garments that are practical, simple, neutral and versatile. Some of them are Low heeled combat boots, Walking ballerina shoes, Skinny treggings-like dresspants, Neutral fine knit cardigans and tailored skirts in twill or jersey.
Even though I love wearing dark bootcut jeans (Dressed up) and traditional dresspants which I also wear alot- the treggings pants (not leggings, they have no zipper and have a dresspant fabric but can worn like that.I dont dare to call thick woven polyster blend for typical leggings ones. 😉 ) and they may not consider being timeless, they’re more suitable for my needs.https://scontent-arn2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpf1/v/t1.0-9/10246318_410130185862268_333302566901859276_n.jpg?oh=1d7f11323bf3f6941c14d22897dbe2b2&oe=56231203
Feeling they are somewhere between jeans and dresspants in formality (doesnt look very casual or business-dressy) and having no zipper makes them alot comfortable and the cut works with more shoes (I prefer bootcut better bodystyle wise, but they dont work with as many shoes as the skinny fit ones), so those would the first trousers I would buy. But all three are ones I would wear frequently (and almost interchangable). So I dont can’t interpret them one of them as staples. The treggings are only the ones I would buy first if recreating my wardrobe. Today I also purchased a summer versions, bermudas in same fabric and no zipper. (which I prefer due to constantly bloated belly and having different sizes during different seasons!)
Great post! My staples year round are tunic tanks for layering, button up shirts, dark denim, cute jackets, and always comfy shoes for my bad feet.
I would add a handbag – black or other neutral, medium sized, that you can wear to work as well as after work or for the weekend.
Spot on, Imogen. I’m just discovering your website and I am very impressed with the quality of your posts. My essential wardrobe items tick all the boxes in your article. I find that I end up wearing the same favourite clothes every day, like a uniform, to the point that people think I cannot afford other clothes ! This is because I go to the shops and most items are nowadays made of synthetic fibers, which either cling or stink or don’t hold their colours/shape after being in the wash. Even prestigious labels do that and it’s very disappointing. Other ladies in my community have all their clothes made to measure in Vietnam, it appears this is now “a thing”…