Getting back to the basics is always a good idea. And today, we are going back to the basics—reaching into our wardrobe for those forgotten pieces hidden deep within. Foundation pieces should not be an afterthought but rather the basics that maximize comfort and keeps us looking put together every time we get dressed. We are talking about wardrobe essentials every woman should own.
Trends will come and go, while Style is fluid and subject to change over time as we evolve or change and elevate. But there are basic clothing and wardrobe essentials that have stood the test of time. They are the pieces we will reach for over and over again. The pieces that make us feel safe and good each time we go for them.
I learned to put together my wardrobe with what my mom called Foundation pieces. I was fifteen and beginning to evolve out of my tomboy phase. Looking back now, I was not allowed any trendy pieces at the time; I believe it had much to do with the budget. But it forced me to find new ways to wear the pieces I owned.
Over the years, I have neglected the foundation in favor of trends. But thankfully, those moments were short-lived, and I resorted back to those pieces that took minimal effort and made me feel safe [like I knew what I was doing when it came to my Style], good and well put together.
The pieces you gravitate towards.
While this article is about wardrobe basics every woman should own—there is one rule you should subscribe to, and I will explain. A well-edited and universally flattering wardrobe is essential to creating a Style that is yours and yours ONLY. A Signature Style if you must.
Often people associate one’s Signature Style with a restrictive uniform way of dressing—be careful not to confuse the two. Your Signature Style is about you; it is about incorporating the pieces in your wardrobe that make you feel good as much as it is about pieces you tend to gravitate towards.
At fifteen, I knew that playing around with the pieces I owned made them look fresh and exciting. My friends did not think they were the same pieces being recycled. At twenty years old, my take on foundation pieces evolved. I began to incorporate pieces that spoke to me [pieces I gravitated towards]; it was the beginning of much trial and error. Still, it was also the beginning of me feeling comfortable in whatever I wore.
I began to look at my Style as an extended expression of myself—while I was not too vocal or never loud, my Style was. As I changed or evolved, so has my Style. It has not remained static; it has shifted as I have. And I believe that is the beauty of looking at wardrobe basics and choosing what speaks to you. Everything is not for everyone—determine what vibe with you. Your Style is always about YOU. And never about trends or what someone else is wearing.
Here is my list of Wardrobe Essentials every woman should own.
This list is meant to serve as a guide—take from it what you speak to you and discard the rest. Then, revisit this list as often as needed.
- You do not need to go out and purchase every piece on this list.
- Zero in on key pieces you already own, and see which ones translate to what is on this list. This is not only sustainable, but it is fabulous.
- Look to your favorite influencers or celebrities for inspiration. But before you do, know what you like—the pieces you gravitate towards. This helps you identify those with similar tastes as you, making your general Style inspiration more targeted.
Autumn/Winter Wardrobe Essentials
- Black + Nude Strapless Bra
- Black + Nude Smooth Bra
- Black + Nude Skirt Slip [with tummy control]
- Nude Underwear [Tong + Regular]
- Buy-in-Bulk Underwear
- Nude Thigh Shaper Spanx
- Black Thigh Shaper Spanx
- Black Opaque Stockings
- Black Patterned Tights/Stockings
- Nippies or NuBra
TOPS + SWEATERS
- Black + White Camisoles
- Black + White Long Sleeve T-shirt
- Black + White Short Sleeve T-shirt
- 1 Black Turtleneck or Knit Top/Sweater
- 1 Cardigan
- White or Ivory Blouse or Button-up Shirt
- 1 Transitional Sweater
- 2 Great Quality Sweaters
- 2 Solid or Printed Blouses
- 1 Striped Sweater
- 1 Clean Hoodie
PANTS + DRESSES
- Dark Wash Skinny and Straight Jeans
- Dark Wash Bootcut or Flared Jeans
- Dark Wash Relaxed Fit Jeans
- Black Jeans
- 2 Well-Tailored black Trousers [Wide Legged + Tapered]
- Black Leggings
- Black Skirt
- 1 Easy Slip-on Dress
- 1 Wear-Everywhere Dress
- 1 Wrap Skirt
- 1 Little Black Dress
- 1 Wrap Dress
- 1 Versatile Dress
- 1 Little White Dress
OUTERWEAR + BAGS
- Tailored Black Blazer
- Black or Tan Trench Coat
- Black or Camel Wool Coat
- Black Puffer Coat [ dependent on Location]
- Black Leather Jacket
- Denim Jacket
- Black + Metallic Clutch
- Black/Brown/Neutral Cross-body or Shoulder Bag
- Black/Brown/Neutral CarryAll Tote
BOOTS + SHOES
- Black Pumps
- Ankle Boots
- Black Booties
- Black or Brown Knee High Boots
- The Ballet Flats, Mules, or Loafers
- Snow Boots [dependent on Location]
- Statement Shoes
- Metallic or Black Evening Shoes
- White Sneakers
- Athletic Sneakers
- Rain Boots
- No-Show Socks
- A Body Flattering One Piece Swimsuit
- Warm Scarf + Silk/Dressy Scarf
- Neutral Gloves + Hat [dependent on Location]
- Special Occasion Jewelry
- Hoop Earrings
- Everyday Gold + Silver Necklace
- Everyday Gold + Silver Bracelet
- Everyday Gold + Silver Earrings
- Everyday Gold + Silver Ring
- Frame Facing Black + Brown Sunglasses
- 2 Leather Belt [1 black + 1 white]
- Reversible Belt
There you have it, the Wardrobe Essentials Every Woman Should Own.
Remember to take from this list the pieces you vibe with, those that flatter your body, those that make you feel your best, and those you gravitate to the most.
I believe that the pandemic has been instrumental in helping us to refocus our wardrobe to the times we now live. As a result, many of us are choosing to go back to the basics—remembering the value of using wardrobe essentials as the foundation upon which we develop our Signature Style.
I am working on a downloadable PDF of this Autumn/Winter Wardrobe Essentials that you can keep as a guide to edit your wardrobe or shop for your chosen essentials. I will add it in a few days.