The Only 15 Items You Need to Build the Perfect Wardrobe
How many do you have?
You overslept and you’re in a mad rush to get somewhere. You’re fine forgoing hair and makeup, but what on earth are you going to wear? Getting dressed in a hurry is stressful, but it’s much less so if you’ve got a capsule wardrobe of go-to pieces that can be mixed and matched with ease. We’re not saying you should have only these 15 staples in your wardrobe, but if you have them, you’re pretty much ready for anything.
The perfect white tee
V-neck or crew, slim fit or oversized, finding the right white tee can be tricky, but it’s totally worth the hunt. This staple is casual and comfortable without looking sloppy, and is perfect for pairing with your favorite jeans (more on that later) or dressing down a fancier skirt.
A navy blazer that’s not part of a pantsuit
If you think blazers are limited to the boardroom, think again. This structured topper is actually pretty versatile, as seen above. Black might read a touch more corporate, but in navy, a tailored blazer (worn with everything from dress pants to boyfriend jeans) says you mean business but also have a keen sense of style.
An a-line midi skirt that highlights your shape
Flattering and sophisticated, this silhoutte is one that’ll get a lot of wear, especially in a neutral color. Go barelegged in the spring and summer and with tights in the winter and fall and you’ve got a no-fail alternative to a dress that’s easy and always looks put together.
Dark wash flared jeans that elongate your legs
Pants that let us fake miles-long legs? Sign us up. Flared jeans might be reminiscent of the '70s, but styled properly, they look thoroughly modern and ultra-flattering. Look for a darker wash that’s additionally leg-slimming and wear them with everything from wedges in the summer to stacked-heel boots when it’s colder.
A white button-down that’s not your boyfriend’s
How cool does this girl look? A slightly loose-fitting button-down is relaxed, comfortable and super chic, in a crispy, borrowed-from-the-boys way.
A classic trench coat that makes you feel elegant
A timeless addition to any outfit, the classic trench never goes out of style. It also works for pretty much anyone, regardless of personal style. Think: an elegant Audrey Hepburn strolling along the Seine or a ‘90s dream Kate Moss with nothing underneath.
Tailored black pants you can dress up or down
These babies will take you from work to the weekend, depending on how you style them. The difference between these and any other pair of pants is tailoring: You want them to be fitted but not overly tight.
a silky camisole you can layer...or not
Whether peeking out from beneath a blazer or worn on its own, a silky camisole can read sweet (tucked into that A-line midi skirt) or sexy (tucked into a curve-hugging pencil skirt), depending on your mood.
A good ol’ denim jacket
Another all-season piece, a jean jacket adds an element of cool to any outfit. Draped over your shoulders with a breezy summer dress or layered under heavier coats when it’s colder, it’s both relaxed and utilitarian.
A not-stuffy pencil skirt
OK, stay with us. We’re not saying you have to wear yours with Converse and a chunky sweater (though it’s a terrific option), but a pencil skirt with a fun twist like a print or an unexpected color is a great way to stay appropriate without looking boring.
A striped shirt that makes you look French
There’s a reason there are so many articles written about how to look like a French girl: They’re eternally chic. One way to copy their effortless style is to snag a long-sleeved striped shirt--preferably with a boat neck. It’s a casual, cool way to spice up your weekend jeans and T-shirt uniform.
White pants you can wear any time of year
We’ve never been one to follow fashion rules, especially the whole “you can’t wear white pants after Labor Day” thing. You could go the skinny jean route, of course, but we also love a wide-leg version that’s a little more dressed up and unexpected.
A little black dress you’ll wear forever
Ever gotten a last-minute dinner or drinks invitation and had no time to choose your outfit? That’s where the LBD comes in. A total workhorse, this should be a dress you’re comfortable in and can wear a bunch of different ways for a bunch of different occasions. On its own it’s fairly plain and simple, so you can also get a lot of wear out of it without anyone noticing.
a showstopping dress for special occassions
Sure, you won't be able to wear this little number as frequently as you do your trusty LBD, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be in your closet. Always have something flat-out fantastic on hand.
A basic sweater to throw over anything
Think of this as the cooler-weather version of your plain white tee. Paired with jeans it's an easy instant outfit. It's also perfect for layering: It's easy to tote and does the trick in chilly offices and on deceptively breezy spring or summer nights.