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a guide to women’s wardrobe basics: essential pieces every woman should have in her closet

May 5, 2023

If you love fashion, there’s a good chance you’ve been through your fair share of closet cleanouts. It can be fun chasing trendy statement pieces to add to your collection, but it’s easy to get caught up in the style hype. By the time a year has passed, you might be adding those exciting new outfits to the “donate” pile.

So how can you make sure you’re building a wardrobe that lasts? It’s all about investing in women’s wardrobe basics—the kind of clothes that go with anything, no matter the season. Also known as a capsule wardrobe, these wardrobe basics are made to stand the test of time. From a fail-safe pair of skinny jeans to the classic wool coat, these closet essentials create a strong foundation for timeless style.

In this ultimate closet guide, we’re covering all the must-have wardrobe basics every woman should add to her repertoire.

cabi Clothing | Wardrobe Basics

When looking for wardrobe staple tops, it’s important to consider cohesion. After all, you won’t just be wearing a top. Bottoms, outerwear, and accessories come into play too. The best choice is often something simple and solid color that lets another clothing item take the style spotlight. For example, a white tee can make a colorful blazer really pop.

What kind of tops should you make the building blocks of your style? Let’s take a look at some options for your capsule wardrobe.

white T-shirts

It’s hard to go wrong with the perfect white T-shirt that complements just about anything.

black turtleneck

A black turtleneck makes for a simple yet sophisticated look.

oversized button-down

A loose, oversized button-down shirt is something you can easily dress up or down, depending on the occasion.

ribbed cami

Camis or tank tops look great layered over or under anything in your wardrobe, but they make just as much of a statement on their own.

cabi Clothing | Wardrobe Basics

Just like with tops, it’s important to remember that these pants are just one part of a larger outfit. While you shouldn’t be afraid to go for a bolder choice, make sure your closet has plenty of neutral, versatile pieces that fit any occasion.

Here are a few of the wardrobe staple bottoms that every woman should have in her capsule wardrobe.

leather pants

A pair of black leather pants never goes out of style for a flattering but casual look.

dark wash jeans

While you can have all kinds of jeans in your ensemble, dark blue wash jeans are the most versatile.

khaki shorts

Perfect for any summer wardrobe, khaki pants keep you looking crisp and casual.

pencil skirt

They might be best known for office wear, but don’t underestimate the power of a pencil skirt to elevate any casual outfit.

cabi Clothing | Wardrobe Basics

Once the season arrives, it’s time to layer up. Layers can be fun, but they can also make you look bulky and weighed down if they aren’t worn the right way. If you’re wearing a larger, looser jacket, make sure the rest of your outfit is tight and fitted, like skinny jeans or a turtleneck.

What kind of outerwear should you keep on hand in your closet? Here are some of the best wardrobe basics.

leather jacket

A slim-fit black leather biker jacket adds an edge to just about any outfit.

denim jacket

If leather isn’t exactly your style, an oversized denim jacket also delivers an effortlessly cool look.

khaki trench coat

Compared to the bulk of most winter coats, a sleek khaki trench coat offers a flattering alternative for cool weather.

chunky knit

An oversized chunky knit is a must-have for comfort and style.

cabi Clothing | Wardrobe Basics

The right work outfit can help you look—and feel—as polished as possible without sacrificing your comfort. How can you stay cozy and professional? The answer is simple: workleisure.

To pull off workleisure, make sure to steer away from baggy sweatpants and yoga pants. While your outfits should be comfortable, they should still have the sleek and elevated look that keeps you looking professional. Instead, look for items like soft stretch pants, relaxed blazers, and crisp T-shirts.

Here are a few capsule wardrobe staples to help you perform your best in the office (or home office).

tailored blazer

A well-fitted tailored blazer will keep you looking put-together whether you’re in the office or on a date night.

stretch work pants

Made from a softer and stretchier material than your typical work pants, these office-friendly trousers still look the part.


For a head-to-toe professional look, you can make a powerful statement with a matching pantsuit set.

white blouse

A white blouse is softer than the average work button-down but still shows that you mean business.

cabi Clothing | Wardrobe Basics

There are plenty of accessory options to choose from, but make sure you don’t overdo it. Too many accessories can make your style look cluttered and overpower the rest of your outfit. Stick to a few classy accessories that complement the rest of your look.

Here are a few accessories that will take your outfits to the next level.

ballet flats

A neutral-colored pair of ballet flats has the comfort of sneakers but the sophistication of heels.

cross-body bag

A cross-body bag pulls your whole outfit together while also letting you go hands-free.

chunky belt

Whether you pair it with jeans or a trench coat, a chunky belt makes a strong statement.

gold jewelry

Warm-toned or gold jewelry adds just the right amount of elegance to any outfit.

cabi Clothing | Wardrobe Basics

The end goal of your capsule wardrobe is to create powerful building blocks in your personal style. With the right wardrobe basics, you’ll always have something to wear that you love and feel amazing in.

Of course, we all love a good trend-forward piece. But it’s the wardrobe essentials that make those pieces really stand out. From the classic black turtleneck to the straight-leg jeans, these closet staples keep your style durable and fuss-free.

Not sure where to start? Let us help you assemble all the capsule wardrobe staples you need and so much more.