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  • Writer's pictureIlana Hill

Wardrobe 101: Basics

Every great wardrobe is made up of great basics. These are the timeless pieces that are the building blocks of amazing style and outfits. I honestly was so excited to write about basics because I practically wear them all of the time. Even though everyone's style is so unique to them, we all rely upon these essentials and build off of them to add our own personal touch.

So, in today's post we'll be discussing staple pieces that everyone should have in their wardrobe (aka a capsule wardrobe), and I'll be including some specific stores and pieces to help you out! Although you will probably find that you have most of these in your closet already, this is the perfect opportunity to invest in quality pieces that definitely will not be going out of style any time soon.


Jeans are probably an obvious category when it comes to wardrobe staples, but a quality pair of jeans really can last forever. It might take some searching, but once you find the size, style, and fit that works for you - as long as you steer clear of jeggings for hopefully obvious reasons - you'll be so much more confident in your pairs of jeans that feel completely catered to you.

No matter where you live, jeans and jean shorts are a must. As a Florida resident, I know how important it is to find a good pair of shorts that won't feel as though you have to pull them down every ten seconds, and I also know the importance of finding a great pair of jeans because, honestly, I think jeans can be one of the most flattering things if they're the right ones.

I will say that jeans tend to be an investment piece if you're looking at certain brands, but they really are an essential that is totally worth it. However, I understand that if you still haven't found the one yet, trying out some more inexpensive jeans and jean shorts can be a great option. In fact, some of my jeans that I ended up purchasing for a decent price have become my favorites.

Here are some store recommendations that range in price for some great jeans: Zara, Levi's, American Eagle Outfitters, Madewell, AGOLDE, GRFLFRND, BDG, Urban Outfitters, and H&M.

My recommendations for jeans: blue jeans, straight leg jeans, black or white jeans, and blue jean shorts

Basic Tops & Tees

In addition to jeans, most of my outfits consist of cropped tops and tank tops that I dress up with some gold jewelry and some cute sunglasses. For me, the problem with prints is that a lot of them tend to go out of style, so I haven't been investing in a lot of printed pieces recently. Also, I keep my style more minimalistic and neutral. So, solid color tops - or printed, floral, polka-dot, or striped if you fancy those - are an important foundation in any wardrobe.

Since we're talking about staple pieces, I'm going to stick to very neutral colors: white, black, grey, brown, and other nudes. However, it's completely up to you if you want other colors and patterns - honestly, wear whatever makes you happy because how you feel in your clothes is all that matters. I also know that there are a lot of different kinds of tops, but for right now I'm going to be sticking to basic t-shirts, tank tops, bodysuits, and cropped tops.

The best thing about these is that they also suit any type of weather. Sure cropped tops may not be the best thing to wear when it's freezing out, but you can add layers to all of these tops. Additionally, all of these work with pretty much any kind of bottoms you can think of, and because they're neutral, you can experiment with wearing some printed pants and skirts as well.

My favorite stores for basic tops and tees: Zara, Aritzia, Urban Outfitters, H&M, and Mango.

My recommended pieces: white and black t-shirt, bodysuit, and tank top (those are the staples, but you can decide whichever colors you want cropped tops in)


For outerwear, I think that the two most important pieces to have are a quality blazer and leather jacket. Honestly, tell me when you've seen either of those two go out of style. You can dress them both up and down; you can make it for the office, a date, a party, a walk in the park... these two can be worn for almost any occasion.

If I were to say that any piece is most important to invest in money-wise, I would say that these two take the cake. It is so important to find a good blazer and leather jacket that will last you. If you're up for it, I also do recommend going to a thrift store to see what you can find. Sometimes you can end up finding a vintage piece that is such great quality for a good price.

The great thing about these two pieces is that they make such great statement pieces. Leather jackets and blazers come in all different kinds. You can get one that is fitted or oversized, and when it comes to blazers you can experiment with different styles and patterns: solid, striped, or houndstooth - my personal favorite.

My favorite stores for these pieces: Thrift/Vintage stores, Zara, Madewell, AllSaints, Mango, Express, and Nordstrom.

My recommended pieces: For leather jackets, my pick would be a very universal, black leather jacket; as for blazers, I think that an oversized houndstooth or solid-color blazer is best


Leggings might be kind of a shocker to include, but I don't think I know anyone who doesn't have a classic black pair of leggings in their wardrobe. Especially if you don't feel comfortable wearing jeans, you'll definitely love the comforting feel and flattering style that leggings provide.

One of the most versatile pieces in your wardrobe, these can be worn in and outside of the gym. Leggings are great for staying at home, running errands, taking a walk, and obviously working out. I always recommend owning a pair of yoga leggings because they feel amazing and can be worn at the gym, but you can also choose to opt for some cotton leggings as well.

Best brands: lululemon, Zara, Athleta, Aritzia, Aerie, Alo Yoga, Madewell, and Free People.

Recommended pieces: I obviously love a pair of plain black leggings that are high-waisted, but you can play around with different colors, lengths, and cuts as well


I know that when it comes to shoes not everyone is the same, but I think there are some types of shoes that most people would say are a necessity and are a staple in wardrobes. I believe that a pair of sneakers, sandals, boots, and heels are incredibly important in a wardrobe.

If you were thinking that I just gave a super wide variety of options, then you're right. It really is up to everyone to decide what style boot, heel, etc. that they want, but I do have some opinions on what I feel are necessities.

For sneakers, I think that a white, black, or grey pair of running shoes is key. Honestly, as long as you keep them clean, they look great. When it comes to boots and heels, I always end up combining the two in my mind because I believe ankle booties are one of the best things on the planet; they're super comfortable to wear and easily elevate any outfit. For sandals, I say go with whatever will fit most of your outfits. Sure colorful sandals are cute, but I don't think we need to debate whether polka dots or black goes along better with an outfit.

Best brands: Adidas, Nike, Rag & Bone, Steve Madden, REVOLVE, Madewell, Free People, Coach, and ASOS.


So obviously there are a lot of pieces that could be included in this list, but I didn't want to exhaust every single one of them. However, I did want to mention some of the pieces that I didn't go into detail about: sweater, white button down shirt, trousers, combat boots, trench coat, wrap skirt, and a little black dress.

Additionally, I also wanted to mention that I didn't talk about jewelry, sunglasses, bags, and other accessories because I truly believe that this is where everyone's personal touch comes into play. These basics just create a canvas - though a very pretty one - and it's up to you to add the rest!

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