15 Basic Wardrobe Essentials

15 Basic Wardrobe Essentials | Positively Smitten

Whether you’re building a wardrobe from scratch or it just needs a little freshening up, you’ll want to make sure your closet includes these 15 items!

#1 – Basic tees and tanks

It’s always a good idea when building a wardrobe to start with the basics. A handful of neutral tees and tanks — I’d start with black, white, and gray — can start as the base for tons of fantastic outfits. You can pair a T-Shirt (I prefer slouchy, V-necks) with a cardigan and some skinnies; tuck it into high-waisted jeans; add a blazer and some heels; or pair it with a skirt and you’ve got complete outfits. Tanks are similarly versatile. I like to wear tanks under my sweaters, but in the summer you can add some dark jeans, cute flats, and a chunky necklace for a simple but cute look.

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Boyfriend V Tee, Target, $9 / Long & Lean Tank, Target, $9

#2 – Casual black blazer

A casual black blazer can transform any outfit. This blazer should differ from the one you use for interviews/professional purposes. Instead, this blazer can have three-quarter length sleeves, or sleeves that are rushed, or sleeves that can be rolled up to your elbow. Others have fun embellishments like zippered pockets. Whatever you opt for, the blazer should be fitted and look good open or closed. Then pair it with leggings or a great pair of jeans, wear it over a graphic tee or a sweater, or try it over a dress!

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Fine and Sandy Blazer in Noir, Modcloth, $64.99

#3 – Ballet flats

I’m not one for high heels, but if you are, feel free to substitute a great pair of pumps for your ballet flats. But I think a good pair of ballet flats are great to have because they go with almost any outfit, they’re comfortable, and they come in lots of great looks, colors, and patterns. I even have a pair of glitter flats, because why not?

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Ballet flats, Target, $16.99

#4 – Dark denim jeans

Dark denim jeans are the best. The pair you invest in should have a little stretch, and they should make you feel good. I love skinny jeans, but if you prefer other cuts, go with that. I highly recommend sticking with at least one pair of dark jeans because they can be dressed up or down. With heels and a great top, you’re ready for a night out; with a slouchy sweater and some knee-high boots, you’ve got a casual weekend outfit.

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Women’s Rockstar Super Skinny Jeans, Old Navy, $34.94

#5 – Classic pearl necklace and earrings

If you’re not sure where to start with accessorizing, opt for a great pair of pearl earrings and a simple, one-strand pearl necklace. These items are classic and they look fantastic with almost any outfit!

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Ladylike Pearl Necklace, Charming Charlie, $10 / Timeless Pearl Studs, Charming Charlie, $8

#6 – Beloved bag

I can’t overemphasize the importance of a great bag. You can either go with a neutral (black, brown, beige, or white will pair well with almost anything), or choose something bright (red and mint are fantastic for a pop of color). Once you’ve got a color in mind, then you can worry about its shape (I like hobo and satchels) and size (believe it or not, it’s a good idea to try a bag on!).

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Women’s Tote, Target, $59.99

#7 – Pencil skirt

A pencil skirt is a must-have for the workplace, but you can also make them work on the weekend! These skirts always work with a structured, button down top, or a great sweater. I’ve seen some pair a crop top with their pencil skirt, or a loose top to add some nice contrast against a form-fitting skirt. I love this look, too, which pairs a pencil skirt with a leather jacket. Here are a few other great looks.

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Women’s Plus Knit Pencil Skirt, Old Navy, $32.94

#8 – Little black dress

There’s a reason so many celebrate the almighty little black dress. The right one can work for any occasion, and can easily become your go-to outfit anytime you want to step it up a little. There are no rules to a little black dress; just make sure you invest in something that makes you feel fantastic.

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Little Black-Lace Dress, Modcloth, $54.99

#9 – Button-up blouse

The button-up blouse is a staple in the professional setting, and can also easily transform from day to night. Opt for a loose fitting button-up for the slouchy, casual look, that can easily be paired for jeans or leggings, or go for something a little more tailored and contrast it with some ripped up, loose boyfriend jeans.

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Poplin-Stretch Dress Shirts, Old Navy, $26.94

#10 – Sunglasses

All you need is one pair of sunglasses, but they’re crucial for driving on sunny days, spending some time outside, or even just anytime you want to feel fabulous. If you wear glasses (like me), order some prescription glasses on the cheap from places like GlassesShop.com or Warby Parker or Zenni Optical.

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Cat-eye Sunglasses, Mango, $19.99

#11 – Watch

I haven’t always worn a watch, but I’m loving these “masculine”-inspired women’s watches that are coming out now. I especially love the layered look, where these types of watches are paired with feminine bracelets! Find a watch that’s versatile by opting for a gold, silver, or rose gold metallic hue, or have some fun with colorful watches from places like Charming Charlie.

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Classic Chronograph Watch in silver, Forever 21, $22.80

#12 – Lightweight scarf

I always wish my scarf collection was bigger, but having one or two can help allevate an outfit to the next level. It’s an easy accessory and there are so many ways to wear one. My favorite scarves are leopard print!

ps-leopard-scarfLeopard Print Woven Scarf, Forever 21, $12.80

#13 – Boots

Boots are fantastic not just because they’re cute, but also because they’re practical in the fall and winter. Get them in black or brown to make sure they work with any outfit.

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Women’s York Riding Boot, Payless, $69.99

#14 – Cardigan

A great cardigan can work over a dress, with a skirt, or with jeans. Choose a longer cardigan and wear it with some leggings and boots for a great fall look, or go with a short-sleeved, loose fitting cardigan to wear over a cotton sundress.

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Crew Neck Cardigan, Old Navy, $34.94

#15 – Fitted coat

Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you can’t look cute! Try a peacoat or a trench coat, both of which can be found in vibrant or neutral colors.

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East Coast Tour Coat in Sand, Modcloth, $99.99

What are your wardrobe must-haves?

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