What are your Wardrobe Essentials and Basics?

by | Mar 21, 2019 | Fashion trends | 0 comments

Essentials and Basics–aren’t those the same thing? Admittedly I interchange these terms frequently. I decided it’s important to be clear when I’m talking to clients and when I’m writing. Here’s how I define them.


These are the workhorse pieces in your closet: Black and (other neutral colored pants) denim, layering tees and tops, neutral blazers, shoes and boots. These are the building blocks you need to create your outfits. These are usually the things that show some wear more quickly than let’s say novelty tops. (unique colors/prints etc.)


Layering tanks/camisoles, lingerie, socks, shapewear, sleepwear.

Publishing a post about Essentials I felt was the appropriate time to show my new SHOP page at Nordstrom. I wanted this page to include things that didn’t got in and out of inventory. While working there, I learned there were many items that would be replenished when they sold out. They would be there year to year and didn’t disappear after they hit the sale rack. I can’t say that will be the case for every item I’ve selected for the shop page, but hopefully most pieces will be there for a while.

How to Choose Your Essential Pieces:

  1. Remember back to the Capsule Wardrobe when I emphasized not to be influenced by blogposts, Pinterest or whatever article that may suggest that you MUST have a white blouse or a black dress. Your essential pieces must fit your lifestyle, dress code and personal style. In other words, if you don’t like the structure of a white blouse, the feel of a blazer, don’t purchase because someone else says it’s a staple essential piece.
  2. Take an informal inventory. When I do a seasonal update with my clients, I send an inventory sheet so they can quickly tally pants, denim styles and how many and which colors of each. I often make two columns: HAVE and ADD. Sometimes it’s very obvious if something is showing wear and that got into the ADD column. Perhaps you would like multiples of certain items that (black pants, neutral layering tops etc) you wear several times in a week.
  3. Spend your dollars on Essentials. It’s all about cost per wear. You are going to wear essentials much more and for a longer period of time vs a trendy top.

Starting with the Jacket category, I tried to cover a variety of styles that would appeal to many. I varied the price points as well. Jackets are the perfect transition piece for this time of year. I’ll add other categories: bottoms, sweaters, blouses shoes. I’ll let you know when those are published.

Choose your pieces wisely going into these next months.