11 Clothing Basics Every Wardrobe Needs
These basics are anything but.
Shopping for clothing basics can feel, well, basic. But despite not being as exciting as the latest trends, the truth is that it's the basics make or break a wardrobe. Having the right reliable items not only means you can really let your statement pieces sing, but they make getting dressed every day a lot easier too.
Ahead, find 11 essential items you should have in your wardrobe, plus tips on how to use these clothing basics to bring out the best in the clothes you already own and love.
Related:What Is a Capsule Wardrobe? 10 Tips to Help You De-Clutter Your Closet
A White Tank Top
A white tank is deceptively simple, so fit really is everything. To avoid getting caught in a shrunken situation, we recommend splurging on a white tank that will last as long as the classic combo of jeans and a white tank.
Shop Similar: Filippa K Fine Rib Tank, $110.
A Silk Slip Dress
Not all dresses double as skirts, but silk dresses work marvelously with and without layers, making them a great choice for warm weather as well as the changing of the seasons. Maxi or midi-lengths tend to offer the most options, as a longer hemline means you can layer a sweater on top or knot up the hem to one side.
Shop Similar: Quince 100% Washable Silk Slip Dress, $80.
A Pair of Classic Jeans
When it comes to picking a pair of jeans that will work with everything you own, it's a good idea to steer clear of trends and gravitate more toward design elements that are timeless, tried, and true. We recommend a high-waist with a medium or straight fit throughout — not quite wide-leg and not quite boot-cut — so they can be easily dressed up or down.
Shop Similar: Warp + Weft ASE High Rise Straight Jeans, $98.
Related:The 19 Best Jeans for Women That Are Actually Worth Buying in 2023
A Button Down
The most business-casual clothing basic on our list is also the most fun to experiment with. You can wear a button-down shirt under any number of dresses, tie it at the waist for a casual, laid back vibe, or tuck it into a high-waisted bottom for a vampy moment. And when in doubt, an oversized button-down never fails.
Shop Similar: J. Crew Classic-Fit Baird McNutt Irish Linen Shirt, $70 (Originally $98).
Related:9 Classic Pieces That Are Worth a Splurge
A Relaxed Blazer
This basic clothing staple is more casual than business. A relaxed or even slouchy blazer goes with just about everything and is a great way to elevate your comfiest basics from maxi skirts to silk pajamas.
Shop Similar: Madewell The Relaxed Blazer in Softdrape, $185.
Related:The 23 Best Blazers That Will Instantly Elevate Any Outfit in 2023
If you think khakis are boring, think again. A pair of trousers with a neat pleat is an elevated staple in black, white, and yes, even khaki. Sneakers and a crop top will snap them right out of the cubicle.
Shop Similar: Everlane The Way-High Drape Pant, $128.
A White Tee
Another clothing basic that will never go out of style, a plain white tee is the answer to the question, "what the heck do I wear with this?" Keep one on hand and you'll never be left wondering what to pair with both your ultra-luxe and super-relaxed pieces.
Shop Similar: GAP 100% Organic Cotton Vintage Crewneck T-Shirt, $25.
Black leggings shouldn't be banished to gym days only. In fact, a great pair serves as a beautiful canvas for more dramatic looks when you have a statement top or statement shoes (or both) that you'd like to take center stage.
Shop Similar: SPANX Faux Leather Moto Leggings, $110.
A Pull-Over Sweater
Another clothing basic that works just as well with a statement skirt as it does over a pair of cut-off jean shorts, a striped sweater is one layer you'll want to bring with you everywhere from the office to a beachy vacay.
Shop Similar: L.L. Bean Women's Classic Cashmere Sweater, $139.
A Leather Jacket
Leather jackets might give you fall vibes, but don't sleep on this outerwear staple during warmer weather. It delivers edge but still feels luxurious (even in vegan leather). A win-win.
Shop Similar: AllSaints Dalby Slim Fit Gold Leather Biker Jacket, $499.
Related:The 17 Best Leather Jackets of 2023 for Every Occasion
Crisp White Sneakers
We saved arguably the best for last. Sure, keeping white sneakers crisp and clean requires quite a bit of effort, but the payoff is simply *chef's kiss.* From mini dresses to trousers to leggings and leathers, there's literally not a single look that won't benefit from a pair of fresh white kicks.
Shop Similar: Gucci GG Embossed Sneakers, $920.
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