how to: build a basic wardrobe

The other day I shared a review of my recent purchases from Everlane. Today, I want to take that a step farther and talk about how to build a basic wardrobe.

Everyone has a unique style, but I do think there are a few basics essential to any wardrobe--obviously, these basics may be different for each person, or used in a different way by each person. Since I decided to switch to minimal style and living, I've really been dead set on the concept of a minimal wardrobe for everyday wear. So here's how to build one:

1. Basic Tee: This is essential to any closet. There is just so much you can do with a basic tee, but the key here is sticking with neutral colors like white, gray or black. Also try a simple stripe for fun! I think a v-neck is perfect, especially this one from Everlane: pair it up, pair it down, wear it with jeans--it's versatile and classic.

2. Black Pants: These could be skinny or ankle black slacks. Either way, having a pair of pants that fit well and go with any outfit is a godsend when you don't feel like pulling on a skirt or dress (which is pretty much all the time for me).

3. Ballet Flats: I suggest either black, brown, or both--preferably suede or leather. I'm not really a heels gal (maybe due to the fact I'm 5'8") so I love a good pair of comfy flats. They look great with jeans but can also look professional for work. It's a win-win.

4. Chambray: This trend has been going strong for a few years now, and I don't see it ending anytime soon. Chambray is so comfy and pairs with literally everything, whether you go with a light-wash or dark-wash.

5. Tailored Jeans: I'm a jeans girl. I wear them pretty much everyday, so if you're like me, it's really important to buy a pair that looks and feels great. A skinny pair is great, but a boyfriend pair might work for you, too. Splurge a little--I promise you won't regret it.

6. Silk Blouse: A staple for any style of wardrobe. It's best to start with a neutral like white, like this one from Everlane. A classic button-up blouse can be worn nearly year-round, whether it be with jeans or skirts.

7. Essential Blazer: I love my blazer, especially because I'm always chilly. A well-fitted black blazer pairs perfectly with anything in your closet, and it's easy to fold up and carry along in your tote. Dress it up or dress it down, it always works!

8. Simple Scarf: Everyone should own a nice staple scarf. I prefer to knit my own, sticking with blues and grays (they go best with my closet color palette). A silk one with a floral print is also great--but having at least one scarf is super important for any season. It can spice up an outfit so fast.

9. Leather Tote: I recently invested in a nice carmel tote and I've found it to be key to my wardrobe. It's the perfect size for carrying to class, to work, to a picnic, even out to dinner or for drinks. Brown leather goes with everything these days, and it will last you forever.

10. Gold Bar Necklace: I'm partial to a little jewelry (obviously), and I think it's important for every woman to have at least one piece of nice jewelry in her possession. A gold bar necklace, like the Harper, pairs with any neckline, style, and season. It's truly the essential necklace.

11. Simple Trenchcoat: I've always loved trenchcoats, even if it's not a super long one. Maybe you like a green military style, or a classic beige one with double-breasted buttons. Either way, this is a great coat to have for all occasions--you can wear it to work, when it's raining, out to dinner, and it's great for traveling because it's so lightweight.

12. Little Black Dress: A no brainer. Personally, I'm partial to a wrap black dress. It's a classic style that again, you can wear anywhere. I've worn mine out for an expensive dessert date, and also to church. A black wrap dress also looks great on any body type.

13. Pullover Sweater: In the winter, comfy is key. A soft pullover like this one from Zara is a perfect staple. No fuss, but still tailored and stylish. As always, I prefer choosing a gray, black, navy or white hue.

14. Black Heels: Even if you're like me and you don't love heels, it's always great to have at least one pair for those occasions you can't avoid. I go for wedge heels with ankle straps (they're the easiest to walk in).

15. Pencil Skirt: Perfect for work, or an evening out. Also great for job interviews, and easy to pair with any other essential in your wardrobe. I prefer black.

Over the past year, I've realized that these are truly the best essentials for a basic wardrobe. With these fifteen items, you can build a style that is professional and beautiful, while still relaxed. Obviously, there will be those fun items you throw in here and there--but even with just these fifteen items, you will have enough outfits on rotation. There are so many ways to pair everything together, and the rules are easy--because everything on this list goes together. Whether it's a silk blouse, jeans and scarf, or a basic tee, pencil skirt and blazer, you can't go wrong with this list. Again, it's about investing in less pieces with better quality.

What's in your wardrobe? What are some items you can't live without?

photo // here