The 10 best wardrobe basics for women


Does your wardrobe cover the basics, or is it
basically just the culmination of seasonal, impulsive
buys over the course of years and years? For many women,
shopping is something we do when we need something (or when we
just can't say no), yet we still end up with serious
holes in our closet when it comes to the necessities.

There are certain wardrobe classics that every woman can
benefit from owning, no matter where she lives or what she does
for work. These are pieces that have stood the test of time,
survived the tide of trends and come out on top decade after
decade. From the little black dress to classic blue jeans,
we've gathered 10 essentials to add to your closet — if you
haven't already!

1. A Little Black Dress

Eliza J crepe sheath dress, $148, Nordstrom

This sheath from Eliza J is one of the best-reviewed little
black dresses from Nordstrom's site. The timeless silhouette and
conservative length mean it can work for a variety of occasions
from work to weddings, requiring just a few well-chosen
accessories and a shoe switch to take it from traditionally
elegant to totally cocktail party-worthy.

Drape A-line sleeveless dress, $40, Uniqlo

Uniqlo is one of our go-to shops for affordable
basics and wardrobe essentials. This $40 dress has a flattering
A-line cut and just a bit of flounce, making it a playful,
modern twist on a classic silhouette. Plus, we love the pretty
bow belt.

Japanese GoWeave zip tee dress, $110, Everlane

If you haven't yet heard of Everlane — consider this your induction
into their world. This direct-to-customer brand makes high
quality clothes without the markup. Plus, their transparent
pricing model means you know where each item is made and what
goes into the labor and production processes.

2. Classic Blue Jeans

Articles of Society 'Mya' skinny jeans, $59, Nordstrom

These midrise skinny jeans from Articles of Society are some of the
best-reviewed jeans on Nordstrom's website, with 100 reviews that amount
to an almost 5-star rating across the board. A fabric
composition of cotton, Lycra and spandex means these jeans have just the right amount of stretch
in an ultrawearable cut.

Straight high waist ankle jeans, $40, H&M

We love the current styles of retro denim looks from the '80s
and '90s. These H&M jeans with an undone hem are on the
trendier side right now, but their faded blue wash and
straight-leg cut give them an easy wearability that will last
for seasons to come.

Ultra-stretch high-rise ankle jeans, $40, Uniqlo

These ankle-length blue jeans from Uniqlo
have a nearly perfect five-star rating online, with many
reviewers calling them the best and most comfortable jeans they
own. We love an ankle-length jean because it can easily be
dressed up with heels or down with sneakers while still
flattering the legs.

3. A White T-Shirt

Hanes women's nano T-shirt, $7, Amazon

You can't beat the price and quality of a simple white crew
neck T-shirt from Hanes — a classic piece from a classic
brand. And The "Nano" shirt is cut to flatter; plus it's
preshrunk to maintain its size and fit after plenty of wash and
wear. Tuck this T-shirt into your favorite skirt and add a
statement necklace for work, or pair it with casual jeans and
sneakers on the weekend — you can't go wrong!

Perfect V-neck tee for women, $10, Old Navy

Old Navy

For bustier women, a V-neck silhouette makes a great go-to white T-shirt. It cuts a more
flattering shape, and for curvier women, the neckline directs
the eye in all the right directions. Old Navy is one
of our favorite sources for cotton essentials, and this T-shirt
has a 4.3-star rating from more than 400 reviews.

Free People tee, $38, Nordstrom

For something slightly more feminine and fashion forward, we
love this relaxed Free People T-shirt in a slub cotton that's
slightly transparent with shorter, not-quite-cap sleeves.

4. Cropped Black Pants

Sloan-fit solid pant, $88, Banana Republic

We rely on Banana Republic to supply us with stylish, modern
takes on office-ready essentials, and these cropped black pants
are no exception. These "Sloan-fit" pants have a mid rise and just
the right amount of stretch, plus they come in sizes 00 to 16.
(Additionally, 360 customers have given them a five-star

T Tahari "Marlena" ankle pants, $78, Nordstrom

These T Tahari pants are on the longer side of an
ankle pant, which is perfect if you're in need of a more
conservative, traditional cut. Made from a crisp suiting
fabric, they'll pair perfectly with all your blouses and
jackets for endless outfit options from Monday through Friday.

Wide-leg crop pant, $68, Everlane

Who says cropped black pants are only for weekdays at work?
These stylish cropped wide-leg pants from Everlane offer
a casual option that has a bit more of a trend-forward look.
Tuck a T-shirt or silk tank into these high-waisted pants for a
playful take on a classic wardrobe essential.

5. A Button-Down Shirt

J. Crew perfect cotton shirt, $70, Nordstrom

Leave it to J. Crew to create a timeless button-down
shirt that's been part of many women's closets for more than a
decade. We love the classic blue stripes of this shirt, which
will work as well for the office with black pants or on the
weekends with denim shorts and sandals. The fit is feminine but
relaxed enough not to feel confining.

New fitted boyfriend Oxford shirt, $50, Gap

This Gap shirt comes in three easy colors —
light pink, white and blue — that will add an array of
versatility to your wardrobe. While these shirts obviously play
well with your favorite skirts and pants for office hours,
don't forget to try layering yours under a shift dress or over
a turtleneck in the winter for a refreshed look.

Rails "Ingrid" chambray shirt, $148, Nordstrom

For weekends and casual days, having a soft chambray shirt in
your arsenal is a must. With just the right amount of slouch
and perfectly soft fabric, you'll have a hard time finding
occasions not to wear this Rails shirt.

6. A Layering Sweater

Cashmere crew neck sweater, $100, Everlane

If you're looking for luxury at an amazing price, it doesn't
get much better than this Everlane cashmere sweater that's just $100.
Reviewers on the brand's website rave about the fit and
quality, and this essential layering piece comes in more than
10 colors. We love navy for its timeless wearability.

Rib-knit sweater, $25, H&M

Whether you want to wear it with jeans and ankle boots for a
night out in the fall or with a button-down shirt and mini
skirt for dressier occasions, you can't really beat the $25
price tag of this cozy, ribbed sweater from H&M.

Extra-fine merino V-neck cardigan, $35, Uniqlo

No longer relegated to the category of "grandpa chic," cardigans are an essential layering piece
for any modern woman's wardrobe. We love that this classic
design from Uniqlo comes in an array of colors and is
made from 100 percent merino wool. At just $35, this deal is so
good you might as well buy more than one!

7. A Denim Jacket

Levi's ex-boyfriend trucker denim jacket, $89, Bloomingdales

Nobody does denim quite like Levi's, and we love their whole array of denim jackets. At the moment, our favorite
silhouette has a slightly longer and more relaxed fit through
the shoulders, giving it a more modern and less restrictive

Madewell jean jacket, $118, Nordstrom

In a mildly distressed cotton denim, this versatile Madewell jean jacket is detailed with
traditional felled seams and coppery metallic buttons. Its
relaxed yet feminine silhouette makes this jacket a go-to for
layering over all your wardrobe essentials — especially

Denim jacket, $40, H&M

Further proof that great denim doesn't have to cost a fortune,
this 100 percent cotton denim jacket from H&M is only $40. We love
how it looks as part of a "denim tuxedo" with jeans or layered
over blouses and dresses all summer. When colder seasons
arrive, it's got just enough extra room to wear with your
favorite chunky sweaters, too.

8. A Trench Coat

Classic trench coat, $80, Gap

This trench coat from Gap is a timeless example of outerwear
you'll have for years to come. Cut in a slightly shorter
length, this double-breasted coat will keep you looking stylish
no matter what the weather may bring your way.

Trench coat, $145, And Other Stories

If you're looking for outerwear that feels classic with just a little
something different, try this modern-looking trench coat from
H&M's sister store, & Other Stories. This version has a
long and narrow silhouette in less-crisp fabric, no buttons and
a fabric belt for adding an ultra feminine shape.

London Fog hooded trench coat, $130, Nordstrom Rack

Getting your hands on a high-quality coat doesn't have to cost
a fortune if you know where to look. Past season styles are
always available at a huge discount from stores like Nordstrom
, including this timeless London Fog trench with a detachable hood.

9. A Wrap Dress

Betsey Johnson wrap dress, $128, Bloomingdale's


While there really is no hard-and-fast rule for a "universally
flattering" dress, a wrap style is about as close as you can
get. The V-neck accentuates your décolletage while the tie
waist creates a feminine hourglass silhouette that flows into
the skirt. We love the print and high-low look of this Betsey Johnson dress, which translates easily from
work to weddings and special occasions.

Wrap dress, $85, & Other Stories

An LBD that's also a wrap dress? What more could you ask for!
This mini-length wrap is the ultimate fashion chameleon; you
can easily transform it from a casual beach day cover-up to a
special occasion dress with the right shoes and some dramatic

Madewell denim wrap dress, $118, Shopbop


There's an effortless quality about this flattering Madewell denim wrap dress. It's great for
summer with sneakers and necklaces, but can easily be worn into
the colder months by layering tights and a turtleneck
underneath and throwing a cozy faux fur coat on top.

10. A Knee-Length Skirt

Vince Camuto "Animal Whispers" skirt, $99, Nordstrom

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Whether it's brunch with the girls, dinner with your hubby or a
business meeting, there's no shortage of occasions to wear a
pretty knee-length skirt. This high-waisted version from
Vince Camuto has a subtle animal print and
feminine ruffle that will work well for those who don't want
the constriction of a pencil skirt.

Pleated midi skirt, $85, & Other Stories

Another great alternative to the pencil skirt, a knee or
midi-length pleated skirt retains all the formality and elegance of a
simpler silhouette — but with more movement and versatility.
This navy version from & Other Stories will look perfect with a
tucked-in white T-shirt and heels for date night or a blazer
and pumps for the office.

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