Wardrobe Staples Every Woman Needs In Her Closet

Brandi Adair


Photo via Victoria Borodinova via Pexels

The term "capsule wardrobe" has gained a lot of traction recently. It's basically a fancy way of saying that your closet contains clothes you love, wear often, and can mix interchangeably to make plenty of different outfits. I find this easiest when I buy neutral clothing and invest in pieces I will get a lot of wear out of. I'm breaking down which staple pieces that every woman should own so that you never get stuck with "having nothing to wear."

1. A Comfortable Pair of Skinny Jeans

I'm convinced that a perfect pair of jeans will change your life. One of my biggest tips is to get jeans altered to your body. Make any clothes you buy fit your body. You immediately look more put together when your clothes fit you well. This staple pair of denim should be a medium wash, ankle-length, without any distressing. Medium washes are good because they are easily dressed up or down. Ankle length jeans can be worn with sneakers, sandals, booties, and tucked into taller boots. My favorite comfortable jeans are from Mother, Daze, and AGOLDE.

2. A Nice White Tee

The white tee is so underrated. I throw one on 99% of the time I don't know what to wear. Pair a white tee with leggings and a zip-up jacket for errands, a pair of denim and sneakers for a casual look, etc. Make sure it's 100% not see-through. You might have to spend a little extra to ensure it's opaque. A crewneck and a flattering mid-length are perfect for most occasions. When you find one you love, I suggest at least picking up 2 because white stains easily. I've found affordable versions at Zara and H&M, but I like ones from AGOLDE as well.

3. A Little Black Dress

An LBD is the quintessential wardrobe piece. Perfect for date nights, a cocktail or holiday party, a little black dress is always a safe bet. My favorite version is a black satin slip dress with spaghetti straps. I can easily throw on a jacket with it in the winter, and it's light enough for the summer. Find a style that works for the climate you live in. My favorite LBD is from Blue Life, but Lulus always has hundreds of affordable dress options.

4. A Conservative Black Dress

I know this seems a little morbid, but I think everyone should have a funeral appropriate dress in their closet. I'm speaking from experience here. I was very unprepared when I had a family member pass. The only dresses I had in my closet were from my college party days, and I had to scramble to find an appropriate, conservative dress. I found an Alice and Olivia shift dress with cap sleeves from Nordstrom Rack and have worn it to a couple of memorial events. Stick to a dress that isn't too form-fitting with sleeves, an appropriate neckline, and length. It can double as an interview dress or as an option for professional events.

5. A Structured Winter Jacket

I personally have more jackets than I do any other item in my closet, but everyone should at least have one. Choose a style and weight appropriate for where you live, but you can't go wrong with a pea coat. They are extremely versatile - you can wear a structured jacket with a sweat set and immediately look put together. You can wear jackets over a dress, and with work or casual attire. Look at J. Crew for classic styles, or try Zara for a minimalist, edgy style.

6. A Pair Of White Sneakers

I am all in favor of comfort and style, and white sneakers accomplish both. Whether you're rocking mom duty or taking on the corporate world, white sneakers are a great staple. You can wear them with casual dresses, athleisure, denim, and more. I love white because they are fresh and go with everything. Stick to a streamlined style to avoid looking too sporty. I like the Nike Blazer Low SE. Pro tip: a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will clean off most scuff marks. If your sneakers are really dirty, throw them in the washing machine and let them air dry.

7. Comfortable Heels

When I have to wear heels, which isn't often, I want to make sure I'm as comfortable as possible. While it's an oxymoron, you can find heels that are more comfortable than others. Anything lower than 4 inches or anything over 4 inches with a platform is more bearable. An open-toe is more comfortable than pointed-toe, but they are also a little more casual. If you can, get a black and a nude pair. My top pick is the Nine West Dempsey.

8. A Chunky Sweater

A thick, comfy knit looks incredibly luxurious, and it's also extremely comfortable. You can obviously throw on an oversized sweater with jeans or trousers, but I especially love them over a midi or maxi dress and even skirts. It's a great way to take a spring or summer frock and transition it to winter or fall. If you live in a warmer climate, throw on that sweater with a pair of denim cutoffs for a cool, laid-back look. I love mixing long and short lengths - the long being the sweater and the short being the cutoffs for maximum appeal. I buy sweaters every year from H&M that are very affordable. If you want to spend a little more, check out Free People.

9. A Blazer

If you're in a corporate 9-5, your closet is probably overflowing with blazers and matching trousers or skirts. Even if you're not in the corporate or dressy professional world, a blazer can mix seamlessly into your wardrobe. An oversized fit or a plaid pattern gives off a more casual vibe and looks great with jeans and sneakers, cutoffs and combat boots, or over an LBD. If you're not wearing this item regularly for work, stick to affordable options from H&M or Zara. If you are wearing this type of outfit every day, you could invest in Club Monaco or Anine Bing pieces.

Once you have the basics down, feel free to expand your wardrobe to trendier items or items that might be for special occasions. I always spend more on classic pieces that I know I'll have a long time and buy trendy items that are more affordable since trends change quickly. Neutrals are always classic, and if you're not sure what to wear to something, it's always better to be overdressed than underdressed.

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Hi there! I’m a fashion and lifestyle influencer and content creator. I’m spilling all the deets on fashion, lifestyle, travel, and beauty. Follow along for inspiration, tips, and ways to apply the hottest trends to your life in a practical way.

Houston, TX

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