Wardrobe basics: 15 items of clothing every woman should own

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  • The secret to good style every single day.

    Whether you’re one for investing in the latest summer fashion trends or prefer timeless outfits built from classic pieces, there are a few wardrobe basics that form the building blocks of good – and durable – style. These interchangeable garments are the answer to making getting dressed each morning a hassle-free experience.

    From the perfect white t-shirt to a fail-safe blazer, I’m talking about the staples that last from season to season. The kinds of pieces that’ll go with almost anything in your wardrobe, and compliment every trend-led piece you decided to splash the cash on.

    If you’ve always dreamed of being able to get ready in mere minutes, or wish those ‘nothing to wear’ days were a thing of the past, here’s what you need to own ASAP.

    Wardrobe Basics: The perfect white t-shirt

    Whether you’re teaming it with jeans, suit trousers or layering it under a slip dress or cami top, the perfect white t-shirt is the gift that keeps on giving.

    WOMEN SLUB JERSEY CREW NECK CROPPED SHORT SLEEVED T-SHIRT – £12.90 at Uniqlo
    Invest in a thick fabric that’ll survive many wears and washes.

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    Wardrobe Basics: A longline blazer

    Whether you go for classic black or heritage-inspired checks, a longline blazer will see you through every season. Throw it on over work separates and dresses during the day, then pair with jeans or smart leggings and heels come evening.

    FRANKIE SHOP Gelso oversized TENCEL Lyocell-blend blazer – £324.63 at Net-A-Porter
    The Frankie Shop is my go-to when it comes to blazers, and I particularly love this oversized style.

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    Wardrobe Basics: Straight leg jeans

    While skinny or straight-leg jeans are perhaps the most versatile denim investments, the most important factor here is the fit. Find a pair that are comfortable and flattering so you can dress them up or down for years to come. For more options, shop our best jeans edit here.

    Utility High Waisted Straight Leg Jeans – £29.50 at M&S
    These jeans are cut with a straight leg and high waist for a flattering fit and feature added stretch for all-day comfort. They come in different lengths so you can find the perfect fit for you.

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    Wardrobe Basics: White trainers

    A pair of plain white fashion trainers can come to the rescue on those days when you just can’t face heels or boots. Perfect for teaming with dresses or jeans and a t-shirt on the weekend, but equally great for adding a modern touch to office suiting. For more styles, shop my edit of the best trainers and sustainable trainers here. 

    VEJA Women’s V-10 logo-embroidered leather trainers – £130 at Selfridges
    Veja’s sustainable trainers are popular with the likes of Meghan Markle for their classic and ethical appeal.

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    Wardrobe Basics: A cashmere jumper

    Cashmere is the most versatile of knitwear, making it an investment worth every penny. Team it with work trousers, skirts and blazers, or use it to smarten up weekend denim. A grey cashmere sweater is always elegant.

    Cashmere Jumper – £150 at ARKET
    A blend of recycled cashmere and RWS certified wool, gives a luxuriously soft feel to this knitted jumper.

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    Wardrobe Basics: Neutral flat shoes

    Black, nude, navy and metallics all make for great investment shades when it comes to wear-anywhere flat shoes. Whether you prefer ballet flats, loafers or mules, look for styles that offer comfort and versatility.

    TOD’S Kate embellished suede loafers – £490 at Net-A-Porter
    Tod’s ‘Kate’ loafers have been artisanally crafted in Italy from tactile suede. This pair is topped with an oversized gold chain across the toe and set on a slight heel.

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    Wardrobe Basics: A simple white shirt

    Once again, the fit is the most important thing here. Look for a crisp, loose-fit white shirt that flatters and skims your figure, without bulging at the buttons. Incredible teamed with denim jeans and a blazer, this is one hero piece that’ll work for both work and play.

    RELAXED-FIT WIDE-SLEEVE SHIRT – £69 at COS
    COS is amazing for wardrobe basics, and this relaxed shirt is no exception. Go a size up for that premium look.

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    Wardrobe Basics: A midi dress

    A modern classic, the midi dress is a hardworking garment in all seasons. Opted for a knitted style in winter and swap for lighter fabrics such as silk and linen for summer. Shirt dress styles and wrap dresses are always flattering.

    Nimes Navy and White Gingham Frill Detail Dress – £299 at L.K.Bennett
    Crafted from a navy blue and white gingham check cotton-rich fabric, it’s a V-neck style with a frill collar,  a nipped waist, tie belt, side pockets and a flared midi-length skirt.

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    Wardrobe Basics: Black heels

    The saviour of all evening outfits, a pair of comfortable black heels will become your best friend. Court shoes or heeled pumps are the ultimate in where-anywhere footwear, while black strappy sandals will finish any night out ensemble.

    Dune Magnet Leather Heeled Sandals – £90 at John Lewis
    This pair of heeled sandals from Dune is crafted from leather for comfort and longevity of wear.

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    Wardrobe Basics: A classic trench coat

    A between-season staple and, let’s be honest, a great rainy day option throughout the British summer too, a classic trench coat fills all manner of wardrobe gaps. Belt it over workwear for office chic, or wear it open over a knit and denim jeans come the weekend.

    Cotton trench coat – £59.99 at H&M
    I usually go a size up when I buy a trench coat, as it makes it look chicer and more expensive.

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    Wardrobe Basics: A leather handbag

    The perfect finisher for all occasions, a good quality leather handbag (it doesn’t have to be designer) adds polish while remaining super practical. Look for handbags with detachable crossbody straps to score two bag styles in one. If you fancy a splurge, check out my best designer handbags gallery here.

    GUCCI GG Marmont super mini leather cross-body bag – £830 at MatchesFashion
    Gucci’s black matelassé-leather cross-body bag is hallmarked with antiqued gold GG-Marmont hardware, referencing the iconic hotel on Los Angeles’ Sunset Boulevard.

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    Wardrobe Basics: Breton stripes

    Another classic, you can’t go wrong with Breton stripes. Whether you opt for classic navy blue or red, keep to simple shapes like a long-sleeved crew neck to make sure your stripes remain timeless.

    Ripley Recycled Cotton Breton Top – £65 at Baukjen
    The Ripley top is proudly made from a blend of recycled and organic cotton. Its heavyweight composition makes for the sort of authentic Breton tops you’d find across the Channel.

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    Wardrobe Basics: A leather jacket

    Whether you’re throwing it on over a pretty dress or teaming it with jeans or leggings, a soft leather biker jacket is a timeless piece you’ll wear for years. Opting for one size up from your normal fit will give extra room for layering over knitwear when it’s chilly.

    BILLIE OVERSIZED LEATHER BIKER JACKET – £399 at AllSaints
    Crafted from smooth leather, the Billie been heavily washed and tumbled for a high-low effect. AllSaints is known for its biker jackets, and if this one isn’t your style, it has plenty more for you to choose from.

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    Wardrobe Basics: A black slip dress

    The slip has dress returned from the 90s archives and made itself a modern mainstay. Layer it with blouses, t-shirts or knits, and opt for a knee-skimming or midi length so you can wear it with trainers and sandals in the summer, then tights and boots come winter.

    RAEY Square-neck cotton-blend jersey slip dress – £95 at MatchesFashion
    Raey’s black jersey slip dress is made from a blend of cotton and cashmere, elevating the staple silhouette with the label’s dedication to indulgent materials. It’s cut to a slim fit that suspends from slender shoulder straps into a square neckline.

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    Wardrobe Basics: Ankle boots

    A good pair of ankle boots is a must. I’d suggest investing in a flat or mid-height heel so that you can dress them up or down. Perfect for wearing with dresses, leggings or jeans, classic black will always be a staple, though tan is a great option too. Shop my edit of the best ankle boots here. 

    Carvela Base Chelsea – £159 at Kurt Geiger
    The Base Chelsea boots sit on a 40mm black lug sole. The upper is in leather with two elasticated panels for slip on ability. The toe features a gold branded panel whilst the back of the ankle features a gold ‘C’ logo as well as small pull tab.

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