A Perfect Wardrobe: All the Basics

Hello, World.

As I get older, I realize that I have a serious problem with my clothes. While I love most, if not all, of them, I’m realizing I have the tendency to buy a ton of statement pieces, but lack a lot of basics. This lack of basics makes it hard to remix my statement pieces, and it makes it difficult to really play with my style. I love clothing, but I think I need more simple items in wardrobe. I’m sure I’m not the only person who struggles from this, and the more I’ve given it thought, the more I understand the importance of outlining. I’m someone who, if I have a list, I only buy what is on the list. Therefore, I think by having an outline of “the perfect building blocks to a perfect wardrobe” would make my shopping more direct, more efficient, and more cost effective. I want to share with you what I’ve compiled as my “necessities” as far as basic pieces go. Let’s start from the top…


Tops are important for a number of reasons, the first being they can act as the statement piece of an outfit, or the building block. The nine tops presented here are, I feel, pieces that are super versatile, and have great potential to act as a statement in a casual outfit. Every wardrobe needs a chambray. Worn open, buttoned up, tucked in, left long, etc. this shirt will have numerous uses and you’ll definitely get your moneys worth if you invest in a nice one from say, J.Crew. The plain white tee is also very important because, well, its classic. A cute striped shirt can act as a pattern contrast if paired with another pattern, a solid, or add a little flavor to an otherwise casual outfit. The gingham button up is classic in any color (pick what you wear most or what will go with the most of your items). Put under sweaters, worn alone, etc. this blouse is a must. Every woman needs a classic v-neck (or crew neck if you prefer) sweater in their closet…especially one in a neutral color. This sweater can be paired with a number of tops included in this list, or go over a spunky colored button down as well. The black peplum blouse is extremely classic, has fresh, clean lines, and will give your body great shape. This top can be dressed up or down depending on what it is paired with (jeans for casual, patterned minnie pants for a nicer event). A baseball tee is a fun basic that adds a little athleticism to your day, or just acts as a more fun t-shirt. The sleeveless blouse in pale blue will be great for the coming summer months! And last but not least, a flannel is necessary for every closet. Flannels are so versatile, and they come in SO many colors.


Every closet needs roughly eight pairs of jeans (well, maybe not needs, but this a “perfect closet”). The first three jeans are all skinny jeans, which is my go-to cut. Whatever you like, make sure you have a light, medium, and dark wash of them. Also, black jeans are a must because they can literally be worn any way you want. They go with everything, and always look classic and put-together. A boyfriend fit jean is amazing because they can be super casual and comfy, but also adorably dressy when paired with a cute, preppy pump. White jeans scare a lot of people (myself included), but I think they’re so cute, and can go with so many things. I know a lot of people get scared to get anything on the butt, so if you’re transitioning from the “anti-white jean” stance to the “this might work” stance, you may want to pair white jeans with a longer blouse that covers your bottom! I’ve wanted an olive jeans for  a long time, so I included this pair of jeans as my “colorful jean” pick. It’s always fun to have a fun color jean, whether its red, olive, coral, etc. Though I don’t wear flare jeans often, I feel one pair of really great flared jeans are super important for a good wardrobe. Some shirts and things just look better with flared jeans! Lastly, I think a printed, fun pair of nice pants are important. These can be casual, but are also a great dressy pant. They are fun while still maintaining a level of professionalism.


Skirts and shorts taste can vary on the person, but I think they are important to a good, solid wardrobe. Also, you can pick and choose which styles you would want to include. As far as skirts go, I think a classic black skirt that has great shape is a must, along with a fun printed skirt, and finally a classic pencil skirt to wear to interviews, the office, or to meetings with important campus officials. A classic pair of denim shorts are great, and they ensure you have a great clean, tailored pick in the denim category. White shorts, like white jeans, can be scary, but I feel that white shorts are a bit more approachable, and are just more summery. A tailored pair of shorts in a fun, flirty color are great because they add character to your outfit! A cute, simple printed short is also great to have, as it serves a similar purpose as the the fun colored short. However, patterned shorts can be worn with simpler tops, or with a contrasting pattern. High-waisted black shorts are clean, feminine, and classic. They are must in any woman’s wardrobe, and they are professional while maintaining a level of sexiness. A pair of super casual, ultra ripped shorts are a great pair of shorts to have if you want to dress down a tailored top, just go completely casual, or are running errands all day but still want a fun outfit. Image

Dresses are necessary in every woman’s wardrobe because there will be many occasions in which a dress is best. For this reason, every woman should have a “little black dress.” I mentioned this in my post about what every college girl needs, but I feel that women of any age should have a little black dress. This dress is classic, will never go out of style, and can be thrown on at a moments notice while still looking fabulous. Also, the accessory possibilities are endless. Similar to the chambray top, a denim casual dress is great! Any kind of casual dress is great, but the denim dress is a cross-seasonal dress, which is even better. A maxi dress is a must because it is comfy, but still looks dressy if needed. Floral dresses are spunky and fun! I usually lean toward florals when I go dress shopping because they are so feminine, bright, and fun. Floral dresses just put me in a better mood. Pick a signature color and dress cut, and buy a dress that fits this. That way, every time you put it on, you feel 100% like yourself. I love mint, and I love dresses that highlight my waist line, but flare out as well, so I chose the dress above. Lastly, every girl needs a good party or cocktail dress. College will be swimming with occasions to pull out your sexier dress, so make sure you have a great cocktail dress. If you’re unsure about cocktail dresses, watch Pretty Woman.


In my opinion, there are roughly nine jackets that I feel go with anything, are great to have, and have many a time wished I had while getting ready in the morning. The first is the classic tan trench. Every since watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I’ve lusted over this look, and I will continue to do so until the day I finally acquire one. The trick with the trench is knowing how to own it, as well as finding one that fits your body type well! The cream cardigan, similarly, is something I always lust over. Cardigans are great layering pieces, and the perfect lightweight sweater when seasons are changing. The Barbour jacket is one that is great for cold weather, and looks comfy and not too pouffy or chunky if you’re doing something where a bulky jacket is a hassle. The Barbour is a fabulous everyday winter jacket, especially if you live somewhere super cold in winter months. The denim jacket is a must. I invested in a good denim jacket two years ago, and I wear it all the time! I love denim jackets because if I wear black jeans, I throw my denim jacket on, and don’t feel too dressy, but also not too casual. The perfect black blazer is another jacket I go to all the time. It dresses up any outfit, and keeps you looking serious, professional, and fashionable, but can be easily paired with boyfriend jeans or ripped shorts for a casual look. The neutral crew neck sweatshirt is great to have to throw on because it is soft, casual, and an easy thing to throw on if you’re in a hurry. The North Face has amazing jackets. They vary depending on what you need them for, but I know that going to school in California means you need a North Face jacket. They are everywhere in the Bay Area, and they are amazingly warm, fashionable, and comfy! A quilted vest is awesome to have, trust me, I wear mine a ton. Vests are especially great in the Bay Area because layering is a must, and it helps add warmth to an outfit, without giving me a heat stroke. Finally, a peacoat is necessary because it is a classic coat. It is versatile, can be worn for years, and is simply a great coat to have.


In my wardrobe, I tend to wear the same shoes over and over again. In the winter, especially, I live in boots. I have too many boots, but that’s beside the point. In the perfect closet, there are numerous shoes that are great to have for various reasons. First, a cute loafer that can be dressed up or down, and is comfortable. Second, Toms or something similar. I love Toms because they conform to your foot, are super comfortable, and if you invest in a neutral color, they go with pretty much any outfit. Salt Water sandals are my go-to summer shoe. I know they are popular among little kids, but I’m almost 20, and I still adore mine. A good wedge is a must. Being 5′ 11”, I don’t wear heels much, if at all, but I’m obsessed with these wedges. My best friend, Rossy, has them, and she always wears them in the cutest ways. Seriously, I need to get myself a pair, and just hope whoever I date next is at least 6’4”. A classic pair of black pumps are a must, as you probably know. Black pumps are adorable paired with a super nice outfit, and even more cute when paired with slouchy (boyfriend) jeans! Rain boots are necessary if you live where it rains on a regular, or sporadic, basis. I love my Hunter rain boots, and where I come from they are very very popular. The packable version are great if you travel frequently, and they are bit more lightweight than the classic version. Similar to black pumps, black ballet flats are equally necessary to a good wardrobe. Bean Boots are great for snow, and they are just adorable. I’m hoping to acquire a pair for next winter. I just love the preppy feel of them, as well as their versatility. A cute pair of sandals, such as Jack Rogers, are great to have because they are a little more fun than the typical sandal. They also contrast my typical Salt Water pair nicely. Since I’m a softy for Sperry Top Siders, I will include these, but you may feel another version of boat shoes fits your personal style a bit better. Riding boots, a classic pair in either brown or black, are my go-to in the winter months. I try to find excuses to wear these boots well into spring, but alas, they are amazing. The final two pairs of shoes are running shoes for, you know, running, or walking long distances, or running errands, etc., and converse because they are a staple in most west-coast girl’s life. They are comfortable, cute, and fun if you get a pretty color. When I was in high school, red converse were the go to because red was one of our school colors!


I considered leaving the “Undergarment” section off of this post because I know my dad reads my blog, and I knew he’d be mortified. So, dad, if you’re reading this, you can stop here (haha!). But as I talked with my friends, they felt proper undergarments are super important to making clothes work and fit correctly. SO, I will briefly chronicle the undergarments I feel are important. First, a good, stable, comfortable, neutral strapless bra. You will need it to wear with dresses, and especially with most clothing today, many shirts. Second, a good push-up bra because well, sometimes its needed to make an outfit work well. Also, this can make you feel a little more confident. A good sports bra is a must because if you plan on doing anything with a lot of movement, a sports bra is more comfortable and such! The next item I suggest is the bra that looks like a tank top to go under tops that have weird cuts, or weird straps, etc. The showing of bra straps can be a little awkward at times, and this is a great way to avoid that. Whoever invented this was a genius. A cute lace bra is your “I feel good today” bra. I know that sounds weird, but sometimes wearing a cute bra makes you feel more confident. The classic nude, “to-go-under-tshirts” bra is an absolute must. If you only have one bra, I would recommend it be this bra because it is the most versatile, and will be the easiest to wear under clothing. The three types of underwear I would recommend is a thong because some outfits only work if you are wearing one, a comfy boy short fit to sleep in, and a hip hugger that will hide lines under dresses and other sometimes telling outfits!

That sums up my take on how to build the perfect wardrobe. What are your closet staples? Do you have any additions?

Callie leigh

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