16 Must-Have Wardrobe Basics Every Woman Needs To Own

Nelly Wadia , 18 Mar 2020
Walk-In Wardrobe With Women's Clothes By snorkulencija | www.shutterstock.com
Walk-In Wardrobe With Women’s Clothes By snorkulencija | www.shutterstock.com

Every time I’ve googled must-have wardrobe basics for women I get flooded with a list of items that I don’t really need. A trench coat, a sweater? I don’t think so. We live in Mumbai and it really doesn’t get cold enough for me to purchase those items unless I’m travelling abroad. I just felt like it was time for someone to make a list of clothes that Mumbaikars, well Indians, in general, need to keep in mind when planning on expanding their wardrobes. The more basics you own the better your chances are of mixing and matching items. Plus it gives you more room to get creative with your looks and experiment.

Truthfully, this list could go on and on but, I really wanted to make a concise version so as to not confuse you on what you truly need, to keep you looking good all year round. Of course, these items can be purchased in different colours and prints and textures over time. Honestly, you don’t need to follow trends aimlessly, remember that fashion is an industry and thrives on you having to spend your hard-earned money on these clothes. Invest smartly and in classic items that you can repeat wearing and that will stand the test of time—these looks could form the building blocks to your every day fuss-free style.

Here’s a list of 16 must-have wardrobe basics to expand your closet the right way:

1. Black Blazer

A nice structured blazer works like a charm on any outfit. Honestly, I wear a blazer with a tee and shorts as well. I do, however, recommend buying a fitted longer one before investing in a cropped and oversized style. Layering is essentially the easiest way to make your clothes look more expensive and a nice way to shield yourself from that office air-condition. A key piece of information to keep in mind when buying a blazer is to make sure there’s enough room under the shoulders and arm to be able to layer over other items. And that the sleeves should be no longer than your wrists and can be rolled up to your elbows with ease.

2. Light Cardigan

A classic item that often gets overlooked. A light cardigan will help you at the movies, on a windy night and while it serves a multitude of purposes it totally makes your outfits way cuter. I’m just saying layering is the law of life. Pick from different lengths to styles, colours and textures. There’s no basic must-have cardigan style except that you should own several of these.

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When the memo says golden girl 👧🏻 💫 ✨

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3. White Shirt

You just can’t go wrong with a crisp white shirt. Tuck it in, leave it out, layer with it, wear an oversized shirt with a belt and make it look like a dress. There’s no wrong way to pair this perennial must-have. It’s a comfortable piece of clothing to own and is multifunctional and is quick to absorb that armpit sweat as well. I love wearing a statement necklace right under the collar. Looks so chic!

4. Pencil Skirt

Pencil skirts are great for office-wear but have you seen how they look when worn casually? Buy them in solid colours, textures and prints eventually. Pair it with tank tops or shirts depending on the occasion.

5. Denim Jacket

Can I tell ya’ll how much I love this particular item of clothing? I wear it through the year every chance I get until and unless it is super hot outside. Start by buying a structured version at first before moving onto an oversized one that seems to be currently on-trend. Style it with a summer dress or a basic tee for that perfect outfit upgrade.

6. Boot-cut Jeans

Who doesn’t need a pair of jeans that fits and feels like second-skin? These jeans always come back in style and look great for casual days at work, or when paired with body-suits, blazers, denim jackets and boots. They look great with shirts and sweatshirts as well. The reason I say you need to own boot-cut jeans is that these pants make you look taller and more shapely.

7. Black Trousers

A nice pair of black trousers is definitely another wardrobe must-have. It’s simple and elegant and not only slims the body but also elongates it. Pair with a shirt or a blouse for work and if you’re going to a party then a nice sequined top with heels will do the trick. The first pair to own however is one that fits loosely throughout the thigh, and flares out slightly around the bottom.

8. Little Black Dress

This particular item seems to have evaded me, even though black is all I wear I haven’t been able to find a little black dress that I must own and can’t live without. I do have the usual t-shirt dresses and so on, but not anything that I can categorise as a class 1 must-have item. That being said, find a black dress that fits you like a glove, that feels like a no-brainer on nights when you don’t care about being dressed up. But you know you’ll look like a million bucks anyway, because of how chic the dress is. Pick a short one or a long one the options are endless. There’s no rule book to owning the perfect black dress.

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another one 🐍

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9. Leather Jacket

A leather jacket has got to be one of the more crucial must-have wardrobe basics known to women. I love how bad-ass it makes any outfit look. And how dressed up but subtly causal it makes you look. It is, of course, one of the edgier wardrobe staples to own, and you won’t regret buying it.

10. Wrap Dress

This silhouette is sort of a magical one and just seamlessly sort of works on all body types. Dress it up with a pair of pumps or dress down with a pair of sneakers.

In addition to your basic black and white tee, I feel like a striped long sleeves tee is a must-have essential. It works so well when tucked into skinny jeans and layered with a blazer. In case you worry that horizontal stripe tacks on weight, buy the bretton stripe which is a much thinner stripe and makes one look a lot slimmer.

12. Denim Shorts

I mean do I even need to explain why I think this is a must-have wardrobe basic? It’s simple, works with everything and anything and definitely a must-have when you’re going on vacation.

13. Shirt Dress

A nice classic shirt-dress will serve you well when you want to switch things up with your office wear. They’re also super easy to dress up and dress down depending on the occasion and just as easily go from day-to-night.

14. Tank Tops

I love using these with layers and given how warm it gets I don’t like wearing full sleeve tops and this serves as a great substitute. Wear them with cardigans, blazers, denim jackets etc and circulate between different kinds of bottoms, because this item works with EVERYTHING!

15. Basic Black or White T-shirts

Start with buying black and white tee’s from the basic’s section and then slowly work your way into those colourful basics next. You can also buy them in different neckline’s and textures and eventually buy some graphic tees. Can’t tell you how many of these basics I horde.

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If you find a way, get-a-way ✈️

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16. Skinny Jeans

I don’t think anything beats owning a pair of skinny jeans. I tend to wear them to work and even go out to a party or dine in them. This item is super versatile and works on any body type and is definitely a must-have wardrobe basic. Just make sure to find one with a great fit. You can also choose denim that isn’t as tapering—straight fit jeans are all the rage and can even be cuffed on the bottom to amp up the style quotient of your whole ensemble.

Tomorrow’s blog will cover all the must-have accessories you need to grow your wardrobe. Please don’t feel that you need to go out and buy any of these items mentioned. This is just a reference point for you to follow when you do go shopping, these are the hero pieces that will ensure a hassle-free experience when getting dressed. Most times people get sidelined when shopping and buy things they don’t need and often regret later. So just keep a list handy to be more mindful of where and how you spend your money.

And make sure to follow @missmalinifashion on Instagram for more updates.

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