Wardrobe Essentials

... Guide to Building a Ready-for-Anything Closet!


Wardrobe essentials - clothes and accessories that trendproof your closet


Wardrobe essentials are the building blocks to a solid and functional style.

Examples of wardrobe staples are the basic v-neck tee, little black dress and dark wash jeans. They're simple, versatile and can be worn with almost anything, at any time of the year!

Here's what you'll discover below:
  • How to personalize the closet essentials to suit your body figure, coloring, personal style, etc.
  • Clothing and accessory essentials-checklist
  • Advice on updating your closet for Spring, Summer, Fall & Winter

Anna, I don't have time!
Take me straight to the closet essentials!


This page will give you a detailed checklist of the wardrobe basics any chic fashionista should own - giving you an overview of what clothes and accessories you need to solidify your closet.


"So how do you know if your wardrobe is lacking the essentials?"



It may not be that obvious to you, but a sign could be that you spend more money on buying new clothes rather than wearing them.

Here are the common tell-tale signs:

  • You feel like you have nothing to wear despite your stuffed wardrobe
  • You tend to buy a lot of new clothes and accessories that are usually worn a few times
  • When putting together an outfit, you may feel that your look is boring, or that you've worn it in the same way in ages

If you found one or more of those points familiar, then your wardrobe really needs a reality check with some trend-proofing!


What Exactly is a "Wardrobe Essential"?

Most of the staples are basic and versatile - and some pieces are essential for the various inevitable occasions such as job interviews and your conservative auntie's 60th birthday bash.

They are also:

    Get Plenty of Each

    You can never have too many wardrobe staples. Securing several of each is convenient for warding off laundry days!

  • Trend proof - you can wear them on all occasions without sacrificing style
  • Flexible - you can change the whole look of it by adding a couple of accessories
  • Your wardrobe foundation - without them you'll end up feeling like something's missing. It's like not having underwear which is essential
  • Style savers - use them to tone down a dressy or an excessively trendy outfit
  • Outfit multipliers - with for example 12 basic garments you can create up to 80 outfits! (This is called 'Wardrobe Capsule')

How Does Wardrobe Essentials Work?

They're not as exciting as the current fashion trends but wardrobe essentials ups the flexibility of your style and wardrobe - which takes away a lot of the frustration we're often faced when putting together clothes.

Think of your wardrobe staples as blank canvas which you can build your outfits on.

For example, if you're wearing a plain simple black dress, you can put the "frosting" on there with statement jewelry and a pair of trendy shoes.

"The difference between style and fashion is quality."
– Giorgio Armani

The closet essentials are also your outfit fixers. You can use them to tone down a too trendy or flashy outfit! Like say, if you wore a ruffled striped shirt and would like to make it less frilly, just add a plain cardigan or V-neck sweater.

You can never go wrong with plain staple pieces. They're classics that never get outdated and go with absolutely everything.

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New & Updated Wardrobe List

I realized that many of the wardrobe essentials I had listed on this site prior to November 2010 were a bit limited and I've come to understand that not everyone likes black. If you've reviewed the Guide to Seasonal Color Analysis you may already know that most Springs and Summers don't suit it either!

That's why I decided to update this section with more alternative, ideas and explanations. Keep in mind that this list was again updated on January, 2012.

Now before you start updating your closet with the indispensables, here are some tips on how to make the process go smoothly:

Guidelines for Buying Wardrobe Essentials

  • The first thing you might want to do is to review the contents of your drawers and closets. This is where Closet Organizing comes into the picture. You also want to make sure that you buy essentials suitable for your lifestyle and climate.

    Click here to learn how to create a Wardrobe Plan »

  • Get at least 2 of each, 3 is even better! It's nice to have a spare t-shirt when the one you're wearing gets a ketchup stain
  • After securing 2 of each type, add even more but in various styles (eg. different necklines and waist styles. Such as a basic tee with front placket - also known as Henley or grandpa t-shirt)
  • Secure each essential in your neutrals first (both light and dark neutral) and then move over to your best colors (eg. if you're a Winter add true-reds, hot pink, purple, etc.).

    See: Neutrals and Universal Colors »

  • Make sure that the details and style of the staples are versatile! Avoid any fancy details and colors on your wardrobe basics - stick to simplicity first. This ensures that you'll be able to wear them with any style and outfit.
  • Your most expensive wardrobe essential (eg. wool coat) should always be a neutral color.
    • Best neutrals for cool skin tones: Black, navy, grey, snow and soft white. Silver. Anything blue-based.
    • Best neutrals for warm skin tones: Brown, navy (for the deep and warm), olive, camel, cream. Gold. Anything yellow-based.

Black is considered a staple for classy fashionistas, but it can look horrible on you if you're a Summer or Spring (Clear Spring and Cool Winters are an exception). But the trick is to wear it with a color from your palette, or away from the face if possible.

Learn more about wearing your best colors in theSeasonal Color Analysis FAQ's »

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Now let's get rollin'!

The Wardrobe Essential-Checklist

Whether you're new to fashion or have a passion for fashion, see what chic fashionistas see as the ultimate wardrobe and drawer essentials! Revised on January 2012




Now keep in mind that the wardrobe essentials-checklist is just a minimum. Depending on your taste, style and location, add as many as you like!

Also, there are hundreds of different styles on "the Little Black dress". Choose the ones that appeal to you and most importantly, choose the ones that you feel most comfortable in. Nothing beats style with confidence ;)



Looking to build and update your closet for the season?

Also make sure to check out the:





"Do you have a checklist for the closet essentials?"



Yes, I do - and it's totally free!

Just sign up for my new newsletter "You Look Chic" and get a free copy of "Chic Gal's Wardrobe Essential Checklist" containing checklists for clothes, accessories and the seasonal pieces! You can download the e-book (along with a new, updated 71-page Chic Style Guide) once you confirm your subscription.

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Already a subscriber?

Then you need to sign up for "You Look Chic" (changed from "Chic Fashion News"), so that you can start receiving the latest newsletters along with the 2 free e-books. Don't worry, e-mails will only be sent from the newest mailing list!

You'll find the Wardrobe Checklist and an updated "Chic Style Guide" in the Welcome e-mail.

» Sign up here






More Shopping & Chic Inspiration at the TCF Blog:
The Chic Fashionista's Latest Trends Picks - Chic Runway Looks and Must-have Trends and Trendessentials The Chic Fashionista's Chic Inspiration-blog - Outfit ideas, celeb style and trend styling tips The Chic Fashionista's Stylish Finds - Latest trends and shopping picks, sales & discounts, link round-ups and featured posts & blogs/sites Learn more about the fashion basics on how to look your best and dress stylish
Also check out the Style Makeover Shop!


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Style Guides & Quick Links:

Guide to Organizing Your Closet - Wardrobe Organizing Solutions Guide to Effective Closet Organizing - step-by-step method to organize your clothes and accessories Guide to Finding Your Best Colors According to the Seasonal Color Analysis How to Stretch Your Style Envelope



Go Back to Fashion Basics: Best Fashion Tips for Women

Leave Guide to Your Wardrobe Essentials and Return to Homepage





More Shopping & Chic Inspiration at the TCF Blog:
The Chic Fashionista's Latest Trends Picks - Chic Runway Looks and Must-have Trends and Trendessentials The Chic Fashionista's Chic Inspiration-blog - Outfit ideas, celeb style and trend styling tips The Chic Fashionista's Stylish Finds - Latest trends and shopping picks, sales & discounts, link round-ups and featured posts & blogs/sites Learn more about the fashion basics on how to look your best and dress stylish

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