What Is A Wardrobe Staple? The Key To A Versatile Closet

Image via Bottega Veneta

Closet full of clothes and nothing to wear? You may be lacking important wardrobe staples.

Every fashionista knows that building an effortlessly stylish wardrobe isn’t simply a matter of accumulating pieces. It requires careful selection, an understanding of your personal style, and, most importantly, a solid foundation of wardrobe staples.

But what exactly is a wardrobe staple?

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In fashion parlance, a wardrobe staple refers to a classic, timeless piece of clothing that serves as the backbone of your closet. These items might not be the most exciting things in your closet, but they’re the pieces you’re going to reach for day in and day out, because they’re versatile and can be mixed and matched with other items.

Wardrobe staples transcend seasonal trends, helping you maintain a chic and put-together appearance regardless of changing fashions.

Wardrobe staples may be simple, but they’re far from boring. They offer a canvas upon which you can express your personal style. Whether you accessorize with bold jewelry, layer with fashionable jackets, or pair with statement shoes, your wardrobe staples are the reliable workhorses that keep your style game strong.

Jeans in a silhouette you love are a must0have. Image: Kelly in the City

The magic of wardrobe staples lies in their timeless appeal and versatility. Investing in these pieces not only simplifies getting dressed each day but also paves the way for a more sustainable, stylish, and effortless wardrobe.

So, which items make the cut as wardrobe staples? The answer will depend on your personal style, the climate you live in and your lifestyle. However, there are a few universally acknowledged pieces that make a strong case for inclusion in every wardrobe. Let’s delve into some of these classic garments.

15 Important Wardrobe Staples

1. A Crisp White Shirt

This garment is the epitome of versatility. It can be dressed up with a blazer for a professional look or dressed down with jeans or shorts for a casual, chic outfit.

2. A White t-shirt or Tank Top

Like a white button down, a white t-shirt or tank top can be worn alone, layered under a blazer or sweater, or used as a base layer. The ultimate in versatility.

3. Little Black Dress

Coined by Coco Chanel, no wardrobe is complete without a “Little Black Dress.” It should be comfortable, elegant, and suitable for a range of occasions.

4. Well-Fitting Jeans in a Contemporary Fit

A good pair of jeans is a non-negotiable part of any wardrobe. They can be paired with virtually anything, from t-shirts and sneakers for a laid-back look to a blazer and heels for a more elevated casual ensemble. Go for something in a modern silhouette, but make sure it’s something you’re comfortable in, too.

5. Classic Blazer

A blazer adds instant polish to any outfit, whether it’s paired with a dress, trousers, or even jeans. Opt for a high-quality, well-fitted piece in a neutral color.

6. Trench Coat

Timeless and sophisticated, a trench coat is ideal for transitional weather and instantly elevates any outfit. Choose one in a classic color like beige or black.

7. Black Heels

They don’t have to be sky-high stilettos, but a classic pair of black pumps can take you from the office to a night out and will match with most of your wardrobe.

8. Ballet Flats

For those days when comfort is key, a pair of chic ballet flats can be just as versatile as your black heels.

9. Classic White Sneakers

Perfect for running errands or casual weekends, these shoes bring a cool, urban vibe to any outfit.

10. Neutral Knit Sweater

For added warmth and coziness, a neutral-colored knit is key. It can be paired with jeans for a casual look or a skirt for a more dressed-up approach.

11. Versatile Skirt

A skirt in a timeless cut and neutral color can be paired with a multitude of tops for different looks. A-line skirts are a classic choice that flatter every body type.

12. A White Summer Dress

Like a little black dress, a flowing, breezy white dress is a summer must-have. You can wear to to a picnic, to the pool, or to a party and you’ll always look great.

13. Leather Jacket

For a dose of effortless cool, you can’t go wrong with a leather jacket. This edgy piece adds a rebellious touch to any outfit.

14. Athleisure basics

These days, athleisure is a must. Leggings you can throw on to go to preschool drop off, and a hoodie that easily goes from the gym to your Target run are an important park of today’s wardrobe.

15. A designer bag

Everyone need at least one good handbag. What qualifies as good will depend on your budget, but a designer bag, whether it’s from Coach or Chanel will elevate any wardrobe. If you can’t afford new, check sites like The Real Real for authentic secondhand items.

Adding Wardrobe Staples to Your Closet

A floaty white dress is a warm-weather essential. Image: Kelly in the City

So, how do you go about assembling your wardrobe staples? Start by assessing what you already own, as well as your lifestyle.

If you own a ton of professional clothing, but you’ve recently started working from home, you probably need to invest in casual basics that fit your new lifestyle.

Once you take stock of what you need, it’s time to shop.

Shop intentionally, prioritizing quality over quantity. Remember, these are pieces you’ll be wearing for years, so it’s worth investing in items that are durable, comfortable, and well-made.

It’s also important to keep in mind your personal style. No matter how “classic:” or “essential” an item is, you won’t wear something that doesn’t make you feel confident and comfortable, so be true to your look and your lifestyle.