Ten Closet Basics Edited by Me

It was one of those days when I scarcely had time to get ready before heading out the door to run a long list of errands so I kept it simple and stuck to basics. I’m not really (or at least, haven’t always been), a closet-full-of-basics kind of girl, mind you. A friend once lovingly and generously bought me a wardrobe assessment as a gift in the thick of my What Not to Wear obsession though, and the consultant’s conclusion was that I had no basic pieces but tended to buy more flash-in-the-pan stuff that didn’t work with much anything else in my closet. So on her advice I went ahead and purchased a pair of black pants, tweed pants, a blazer and a few more “necessities” (according to her), but ended up looking more business casual than fashion. Even though our personal styles didn’t really jive, she was right about needing to establish a foundation of wardrobe basics. Since then I have put together my own list of “must-have” staples that better reflects my dress code-less life (I’m lucky to have always worked jobs where fashion is emphasized). So here goes–a list of wardrobe basics according to yours truly:

1. A jean jacket. Because they are perennially in style and go with EVERYTHING

2. A skinny black pant/cigarette pant. For the same reasons as above BUT because the very nature of basics is that they go with everything, from here on out, that’s just a given. A skinny black pant is a closet chameleon–wear them with a chunky knit and flats, a blouse, or a tee and heels. They can be dressed up or down in an infinite number of combinations.

3. A loose-fitting white tee. Layer it under a blazer, atop the black pants from item 2, or tucked into an a-line skirt for a simple but put-together ensemble.

4. A black knit skirt . Because it’s just generally a good sub for jeans–but not when it’s too short. Then it’s just hoochie mama, so keep it knee-length or longer.

5. A great pair of jeans. This is vague when it comes to specifications because what makes a pair of jeans “great” is so subjective. Plus I have several pairs that I think are great. I like to wear boyfriends with my fancier tops to avoid looking too precious. I like skinnies with oversize knits, and I might even wear of-the-moment boot-cuts again if I can shake their strong association with my undergrad years. Regardless of wash or cut, jeans are my mainstay so I’m not sure why I waited until item 5 to mention them…

6. A white shirt. Because for the longest time, I associated white shirts with school picture day or Christmas, tucked into a plaid skirt that matched my sister’s, to boot–I was a late adaptor. But now my current favorite (a slightly wrinkled, slightly oversize version), is a staple in my wardrobe across all four seasons. Wear it layered under a long sweater, tucked into cutoffs, or under a trench. It always looks effortlessly chic.

7. A great coat. (Or coats as the case may be because we live in Canada after all, and Canadian Girls Need Coats). I love my leopard topper because it instantly dresses up jeans and a tee and more importantly, it’s FUN! Who wants to look at a black, wool coat day in and day out for six months? Not I. But I also own a black coat (because sometimes you just need one), a navy coat, a blue faux fur coat, a parka, a white wool, a leather jacket…can you tell how I cope with the snow?

8. A pair of colourful shoes. I’m thinking pumps but if you’re a strictly flats kind of girl, then the same rule applies: a simple stroke of colour on your feet can make your outfit. A favorite trick of mine is wearing a denim shirt or some other non-descript top like a grey tee, with jeans and then adding a coloured shoe to make the look exciting, fun and nighttime-worthy.

9. A pair of flats. This one is an important one but I would feel like a bit of a liar if I didn’t admit that I’m still on the hunt for the perfect pair. Flats, ironically, hurt my feet. They can’t be too round nor too pointy so for fall, I’m thinking of buying a pair of Python print loafers with a toe box that falls somehwere in between. I love flats with cropped jeans. The very Audrey-esque pairing always makes me feel super feminine.

10. A leather jacket. I don’t know if I subconsciously saved the best for last but you can throw a leather jacket over a combination of any of the above and BOOM: you’re done. Leather jackets embody a badass aesthetic that will never go out of style.

So back to the point of it all, even though I didn’t have the time to get ready, having the wardrobe staples from this list in my closet made getting dressed easy as pie. Here I’m wearing a combination of 1 + 3 + 4.

wardrobe basics

boohoo.com skirt (similar) | Gap jean jacket (old but similar | Converse Chuck Taylors | Alimonada and Old Navy necklaces | Aldo clutch (old but love this) | Zara tee

Wardrobe basics

Wardrobe basics

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