20 Essential Wardrobe Items Every Woman Should Have

Whether just starting to build your wardrobe, cleaning out your closet, or simply looking to elevate your style, there are closet staples that you must have. These closet basics will help you put together an outfit effortlessly from start to finish. 

Here are the 20 essential items you should invest in to help build a timeless style. Use these essential pieces as a foundation for your wardrobe.

The Classic Button-up White Shirt

This versatile piece is sure to come in handy in so many ways. The white shirt is a foundational piece. This means it can be dressed up or down by pairing it with a variety of tops and bottoms. For instance, you can pair it with a flowy skirt, pants, or jeans and layer it with a blazer or cardigan.

woman in a white shirt

The Little Black Dress

The little black dress or LBD is a must-have for any woman’s wardrobe. It’s a versatile and classic piece of clothing that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion and personal style. Here are a few ideas for styling the little black dress:

  1. For a formal event, such as a wedding or gala, accessorize with elegant jewelry, such as pearl or diamond earrings, a statement necklace, or a bracelet. Pair with heels and a clutch for a sophisticated look.
  2. For a casual look, try pairing the LBD with sneakers or ankle boots and a denim jacket. Add a shoulder bag or crossbody bag for a relaxed yet chic vibe.
  3. For a girly and feminine touch, pair the LBD with a floral kimono or cardigan and ankle boots or heels. Accessorize with a headband or hair clips for a playful touch.
  4. For an edgy and cool look, pair the LBD with a leather jacket and ankle boots or combat boots. Add statement jewelry, such as a choker or earrings, for a bold touch.
  5. For a classic and timeless look, pair the LBD with a tailored blazer and pumps. Accessorize with a simple necklace or earrings and a clutch for a polished and elegant outfit.
woman in a black dress

The trick to wearing the LBD is to pair it with different layers, accessories, and shoes that match the formality and style of the occasion and your personal preferences.

3. Basic White Tee

The basic white t-shirt should have come first on this list because it’s a basic staple. There are plenty of ways to style the white tee. You can dress it up with a blazer or jacket for a night out, keep it casual with jeans, layer it under a sweater or cardigan, tuck it into a skirt or simply add some personality to it with fun accessories like statement jewelry, a scarf, or a belt. 

woman in a white tshirt

4. Pair of Jeans that Fit Well

Denim jeans are another versatile and timeless wardrobe staple that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion and personal style. When choosing denim jeans, find a pair that fits your body well and is comfortable to wear all day.

 Like the LBD, jeans are extremely versatile. You can pair your jeans with a t-shirt, sneakers, and a baseball cap for a casual and laid-back look, or dress it up with a blazer, a dress shirt, and heels for a more formal look. For an edgy and cool look, try pairing your jeans with a leather jacket, ankle boots, and a graphic t-shirt. You can recreate so many looks with a pair of jeans. You just have to know what shoes, tops, and accessories to pair them with.

woman in a denim jeans

5. A Tailored Blazer

No wardrobe is complete without a well-tailored blazer. Though it’s a more professional clothing, when paired with the right clothes and accessories, you can achieve many looks with it, from a cool and laid-back look, edgy, casual to a chic and feminine look.

woman in a white blazer

6. High-quality Leather Jacket

A leather jacket is perhaps going to be one of your best investment pieces because of how well it will serve you. A good quality leather jacket will last you for nearly a decade. If anything, it gets better with time. We love how effortlessly cool a leather jacket makes you look. And the best part? You can pair it with practically everything.

woman in leather jacket

7. A Swimsuit

What’s summer without a sexy-looking pair of swimsuits? It’s a must-have for the summer months or for vacations. Invest in a style that fits well and is comfortable to wear.

woman in a swimsuit

8. Leggings

Leggings are not only comfortable but versatile pieces that can be worn with a variety of tops, trench coats, blazers, shoes, and more. They are the middle ground between casual wear and workwear. When you don’t feel like putting on a pant or jeans, leggings are your best friend. We suggest going for a pair that has a little pizzazz going on, like slits, zips, and stirrups.

woman in black leggings

9. Pencil Skirt 

In addition to being feminine, a pencil skirt is versatile enough for work, formal, and casual settings. Remember to choose the right length. A pencil skirt should fall at or just above your knees. A skirt that is too short can be inappropriate, while a skirt that is too long can make you look frumpy.

Also, pair it with the right footwear. Heels are a classic choice for a pencil skirt, as they elongate your legs and give you a polished look. For a more casual vibe, try pairing your pencil skirt with boots or ankle booties.

woman in pencil skirt

10. A Pair of Black Pants

We are yet to meet a woman who has no black pants in their closet. If anything, it’s among one of the first foundational pieces every woman buys. Black pants are easy to dress up and down to suit any style and occasion. 

woman in a white shirt and black pants

11. A Neutral Sweater

No wardrobe is complete without a neutral sweater, whether in black, white, or grey. It’s a true workhorse, especially during fall and winter.  

woman in a neutral sweater

12. A Pair of Comfortable Flats

 Flats are a comfortable and stylish shoe option that can be worn to the boardroom or on casual occasions. You are spoilt for choice when it comes to flats, from loafers, ballerinas, and oxfords to moccasins and sneakers.

woman in nude ballerina flats

13. Denim Jacket

Just like the biker jacket, a denim jacket is perfect for layering on button-up shirts, dresses, and tank tops. When shopping for one, always choose a denim jacket made from high-quality denim that will hold up well over time. More particularly, look for jackets with sturdy hardware and well-constructed seams.

woman in a denim jacket

14. A Pair of Heels

 Heels are a classic choice for formal events or a night out. Invest in a good pair that are comfortable and well-made. 

When selecting, it’s always a good idea to try on heels before making a purchase to ensure a good fit and comfort level. If you’re new to wearing heels, start with a lower heel height and gradually work your way up to higher heels as you become more comfortable.

woman in strappy heels

15. A pair of Boots

 Boots are a practical and stylish choice for the colder months. When selecting boots, prioritize comfort and quality over anything else. Boots made from durable materials will hold up over time, while boots with a cushioned insole and a padded collar and tongue provide added comfort. We suggest trying on boots before making a purchase to ensure a good fit and comfort level.

Also, consider the type of boots that will best suit your needs and personal style. Do you need something waterproof for rainy days or boots that are more versatile and can be dressed up or down? Your needs and style will tell you what type of boots you will need to invest in.

woman in black boots and long coat

16. Pair of Pumps

Plums are the classic shoe workhorse. With even just a single pair in either black, white, red, or nude, you can dress up to the office and straight into an evening without much effort.

pair of red plumps

17. A Black Fitted Turtleneck

Every woman needs a black turtleneck that fits like a glove. Just like the white tee, a black turtleneck can do wonders in your closet. It’s an easy piece to dress down and dress up, be it with a pencil skirt, black pants, or even under a dress for the cold months. It simply just makes dressing so much easier.

woman in black turtleneck

18. A Long Wool Jacket

A wool jacket can be worn over pretty much anything and still look put together and polished. We suggest getting one in a neutral color that can match every of your outfit. When selecting a wool jacket, you want to go for a more structured jacket that hits just right below the hip. Also, go for a high-quality piece that will stand the test of time.

woman in beige woolen coat

19. A statement Necklace

 A statement necklace is a great way to add some flair to an outfit. Choose a statement necklace that reflects your personal style and tastes as well as flatters your neckline. If you like to wear clothes with a high neckline, a shorter necklace may be more flattering. If you prefer to wear clothes with a low neckline, a longer necklace may be more appropriate.

woman in a gold necklace

20. A classic Leather Handbag

Is there any better way to finish off an outfit than with a classic leather handbag? Whether a tote bag, mini-bag, or simply a crossbody bag, a leather bag is a win all day, every day. And no, it doesn’t have to be a designer bag, just a good-quality bag. 

woman in black leather bag

There goes the 20 staples you need in your closet. Of course, you will keep adding more pieces to mix and match the staples, as these are just foundational pieces. You can also add a few trendy pieces to elevate your fashion style.