What are Wardrobe Staples and Why do you Need Them?

With this being the first full week of the new year, I thought now would be a good time to take it back to the basics. I talk a lot about wardrobe staples here and there when discussing pieces of my outfits, but, as Jon mentioned during one of our blog dates, not everyone knows what style staples are. I’ve been toying around with the idea of sharing wardrobe staples with you all and wasn’t quite sure how to format it, but chatting with him helped confirm that this post is needed!

wardrobe staples for women

What I’m Wearing: Topshop coat | Target blazer | Zara tee | Target jeans | Century 21 boots (similar)

Rather than just provide a list of items (though that’s included in this post), I want to help you confidently build your staple wardrobe. That kind of assistance requires more shopping tips, style guides, and outfit inspiration than one post can handle, so welcome to the new series!

To kick off the new wardrobe staples series, let’s start by defining the phrase.

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What are Wardrobe Staples?

Wardrobe staples are items in your wardrobe that are timeless and versatile. They can be mixed and matched together to create classic outfits, and they can be paired with trendier pieces to create balanced outfits. When people talk about curating a “capsule wardrobe”, style staples are the bulk of that collection. To create a timeless and valuable wardrobe, your closet needs to have style staples.

One caveat I will add here is that even though an item may be deemed a “staple”, you should only add the item to your personal wardrobe if it fits your style. Buying staples for the sake of having staples is a waste of money and closet space. Think of the staple lists as a reference point, not necessarily the end-all-be-all.

You may not need a black skirt right now if it doesn’t fit your lifestyle, but who’s to say that won’t change in 5 years? Wardrobe staples are evergreen, so you can reference the same list in a decade with a totally different lifestyle and the staples won’t appear dated or youthful.

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Why You Need Wardrobe Staples

I touched on this in the previous section, but everyone needs wardrobe staples in their closet because they are versatile! Let’s say there are two different wardrobes in front of you. One is at capacity and filled with nothing but fast fashion, super trendy pieces. The other has breathable space but contains only wardrobe staples. If I asked you to put together an outfit that would fit any occasion, you’d have a much easier time pulling from the staples closet.

You need wardrobe staples in your life because they are the foundation to any good outfit, but they can also stand alone. There’s quite a bit of chatter surrounding creating a “uniform” for yourself, a la Steve Jobs or Kelly Cutrone. Wearing one color or the same outfit each day takes the guesswork out of what to wear and frees up that time you’d spend putting together an outfit so you can focus on more critical tasks.

While it isn’t totally realistic for fashion lovers like myself to stick with the same top and bottoms every day, having wardrobe staples in your closet is essentially the more diverse version of the uniform philosophy.

While it isn’t necessary to purchase expensive items, this is the area of your closet where you can comfortably spend and know you’ll get the ROI. I’m not saying you have to purchase your staples from Barney’s, but I wouldn’t be opposed to it if it’s in your budget! I personally find most of my staple items by shopping at high street stores and they last several years!

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The Wardrobe Staples

As mentioned above, this list is not the end-all-be-all. This is not a post telling you to go out and buy every single item all at once. For one, finding the best wardrobe staples will take time. I find that it’s best to buy 1-2 pieces at a time rather than going all out with a huge haul. For two, we’re just kicking off the series! Use the upcoming posts to help you navigate the wardrobe staple streets and take the guesswork out of curating your closet. Now, on to the list!

Wardrobe staples can be broken down into a few different categories: Tops, T-Shirts, Bottoms, Jackets, Shoes, and Accessories. If you’re asking me, I would even add a few beauty items to the list if you’re feeling fancy! Listed in no particular order, these are the recommended wardrobe staples:
wardrobe staples for women

Tops

  • Blouse (typically silk, but find what works for you!)
  • White Button-Down
  • Sweater (typically cashmere, but find what fits your budget and taste!)
  • Black Cardigan
  • Blazer

T-Shirts

  • White Tee
  • Black Tee
  • Gray Tee
  • Striped Tee
  • Black Turtleneck

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Bottoms / Dresses

  • Slim jeans
  • Black pants
  • Black skirt
  • Trousers
  • LBD (little black dress)
  • LWD (little white dress)

Jackets

  • Leather
  • Trench
  • Wool or wool-like blend
  • Denim

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Shoes

  • Single-sole black pumps
  • Single-sole sandals
  • Pointed flats
  • White sneakers
  • Ankle boot

Accessories

  • Watch
  • Stud earrings (yes, even us hoop earring girls need a pair of diamond studs!)
  • Everyday ring
  • Clutch
  • Tote bag
  • Crossbody
  • Thin belt

I’d like to add that even though I didn’t include beauty, I would like to add a red lip as an honorable mention!

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What’s Next?

Congratulations! By reaching the bottom of this post, you just completed your first step towards curating your staple wardrobe! I’m sure you can now see why I decided to break this out into a series. There’s so much info (and inspo) to cover, and we’ve barely cracked the surface!

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to examine your closet. How many of these staples do you already own? Are they in good quality or do they need a refresh? Tweet me (@ventifashion) or leave a comment below with your thoughts!

Also, this is totally unrelated to this post but I wanted to share (since I shared this goal in my reflection post) that the pictures shown in this post were all shot by yours truly! What do you think?!

wardrobe staples for women

Shop the look:

P.S. I also shared a YouTube video covering 7 style staples, two of which weren’t mentioned in this post! Watch the video below to find out what they are!


FTC: This post contains affiliate links. When purchases are made through the links provided, I receive a small commission. Please show your support by shopping the links! 

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