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16 Best Basics for Women for a Year-Round Timeless Wardrobe

Imagine waking up in the morning and effortlessly getting dressed for work. Your trusted trousers make you feel ready to take on the day, and they complement the first top that you reach for. 

Later that week, you spend a bit of time lingering in front of your closet, trying on a few pieces. Should you build your evening look around a slip dress or bomber jacket? You end up combining the dress with playful accessories and confidently walk out the door, excited for your evening plans. 

This is the power of basic clothing essentials in action. They’re simple at first glance, but they form the backbone of a stylish and functional wardrobe. Quality basics are closet chameleons. Dress them up, dress them down, or use them as a neutral canvas for statement pieces. 

Your closet essentials may just inspire you to build a capsule wardrobe and say goodbye to all the clothes you never wear. A capsule wardrobe is a minimalist collection of clothes that can be seamlessly mixed and matched — and it’s built on solid pieces made for everyday wear. 

From a crisp white t-shirt to a perfectly tailored blazer or a classic boyfriend button-down, classic wardrobe staples are timeless and reliable. They take the guesswork out of putting a look together and reduce the occurrence of frustrating I-have-nothing-to-wear moments.

You can wear these clothing basics over and over again and make them look different every time. Most of all, you want to wear them over and over again — if you’ve invested in comfy basics that fit well and last, that is. 

As a conscious shopper who wants to feel good about your purchases, you may also want to look into brands like Frank And Oak, which crafts high-quality closet staples with innovative eco-friendly fabrics. 

Ready to elevate your rotation of everyday essentials? Here are the best basics for women. 

Frank And Oak’s Checklist of Basic Essentials for Women: 

 

1. Basic Tee

A basic tee is the ultimate wardrobe staple. If you’re wondering how to style a basic t-shirt  without looking basic, tuck it into your favorite pair of jeans and layer on accessories or simply wear it under a blazer!

A good tee should be thick enough to avoid showing undergarments and also be able to withstand hundreds of washes. But, there’s a balance to strike here, too. Consider a fabric that is still light enough to feel soft and breathable on your skin. Made from 100% organic cotton, Frank And Oak’s Essential T-Shirt from the basic tees collection nails that balance.  

The Essential T-Shirt

2. Basic Tank

Don’t treat a basic tank like an afterthought. This simple piece is indispensable for layering and standalone wear alike. The right basic tank will provide styling options year-round, from summer outfits to cozy fall looks. 

The Gap Modern Rib Halter Tank Top provides a flattering fit and can be styled in multiple ways, making it a versatile addition to your wardrobe.

Modern Rib Halter Tank Top

3. Long Sleeve Top

Transitional weather calls for a long sleeve top. This essential offers both warmth and style, whether you wear it with an athletic outfit or elevate it with high-waisted jeans and heels. 

The Aritzia BUTTER Bound Longsleeve combines a comfortable sweat-wicking fabric with a sleek design — layer it under a jacket or show it off on its own. Its cropped length makes it a tad less versatile than a classic long sleeve, but it’s perfect if you want to show off your waistline. 

BUTTER Bound Longsleeve

4. Crew Neck Sweater

Not too tight, not too loose: a classic crewneck sweater is a year-round staple that you can layer over shirts for a preppy look or wear alone with skirts, pants, jeans — or you can even throw it on with shorts on a chilly summer night. 

The Banana Republic Demi Cotton-Silk Sweater looks and feels luxurious thanks to a blend of breathable cotton and soft silk. Keep in mind that it needs to be hand-washed, so it’s not the most low-maintenance in terms of care. 

Demi Cotton-Silk Sweater

5. Cardigan

A cardigan is a versatile layering piece that adds a touch of elegance to any outfit. It can be worn over dresses, tops, and blouses depending on the occasion. Close the buttons, tuck it into your jeans and it can double as a sweater too. 

The Uniqlo Washable Knit Ribbed Cardigan features an easy-to-wear V-neck design and non-itchy fabric. 

Washable Knit Ribbed Cardigan

6. Button Down Shirt

Nothing says effortless style quite like a button-down shirt thrown over jeans or combined with tailored trousers. Whether you choose an oversized boyfriend style or a fitted classic one, you can’t go wrong with this closet essential. Made of 100% cotton, the Old Navy Oversized Boyfriend Shirt delivers on the versatility front. 

Oversized Boyfriend Shirt

7. Jean Shorts

Jean shorts are a summer essential that can be styled in numerous ways. And yes, every woman can rock them. Find a cut that you feel good in and have fun creating outfits for different casual outings. 

The Levi’s 501® Mid-Thigh Shorts provide a classic fit and vintage look, ensuring they remain a favourite season after season.

 501® Mid Thigh Shorts

8. Midi Skirt

Your closet won’t be complete without a sophisticated midi skirt, which you can pair with many different tops and shoes for maximum wearability. Dress it up with strappy sandals or style it with crisp white sneakers for a more laid-back vibe. The Mango Midi Satin Skirt is an elegant choice. Though it’s flattering, it doesn’t have much stretch, so turn to fabrics like jersey if you’re looking for something a little more stretchy. 

Midi Satin Skirt

9. Slip Dress

Turn to slip dresses when you don’t want to give your outfit too much thought but still want to look put-together. Complete your simple yet sophisticated look with stackable jewelry and chic accessories and you’re ready for dinner in minutes. 

The Aritzia New Only Slip Satin Midi Dress is drapey, strappy and slinky – everything you want a slip dress to be.   

New Only Slip Satin Midi Dress

10. Little Black Dress

There is a reason it even has its own nickname. The little black dress, affectionately called the LBD, is an essential that stands the test of time and will never look out of place. It’s the epitome of versatility and elegance. 

The Reitmans Sleeveless V-Neck Shift Dress provides a classic silhouette that will carry you from an important meeting to a post-work event. 

Sleeveless V-Neck Shift Dress

11. Casual Jeans

One solid pair of basic jeans outweighs five mediocre-fitting ones. Denim provides comfort and style and takes your confidence up a few notches when you find a style that hugs your curves yet doesn’t feel restrictive. From that point on, the outfit possibilities are endless. 

The Frank And Oak Cyndi Straight Jean boasts a timeless cut that is slim through the hips and straight from the thigh to the leg opening. It’s also crafted using an innovative eco-friendly process that saves up to 95% more water than traditional methods of making denim. 

The Cyndi Straight Jean

12. Pants 

Comfortable, well-tailored pants are essential for both professional and casual settings. They move with you and adapt to different occasions. They can be combined with a multitude of tops and shoes to create completely different looks. 

The Aritzia Limitless Pant combines comfort and sophistication, with a high-waisted, wide-leg design and wrinkle-resistant Japanese crepe.  

The Limitless Pant

13. Leggings

Leggings are a versatile and comfortable option for both casual wear and workouts. A high-quality pair of leggings can take you from gym to brunch and pairs well with casual tops and jackets, from soft cotton tees and sweatshirts to stylish windbreakers and bombers.

The Old Navy High-Waisted Jersey Ankle Leggings offer a flattering fit and high-performance fabric. 

High-Waisted Jersey Ankle Leggings

14. Bomber Jacket

bomber jacket is a stylish and functional outerwear piece that has earned its title as a basic clothing essential. It adds a cool edge to any outfit and is perfect for transitional weather. 

The Frank And Oak Skyline Reversible Bomber offers two looks in one and helps you brave the elements with its water-repellent and wind-resistant fabric. It’s also machine-washable, which is a huge plus for a piece of outerwear. 

The Skyline Reversible Bomber

15. Blazer

A blazer is a wardrobe must-have. Sure, it’s a workwear classic – but it can also do so much more. Blazers play well with jeans, t-shirts and sneakers or ballet flats. They look chic over turtlenecks. Find a blazer with a modern twist and they’ll be guaranteed to up the versatility factor of your wardrobe. 

The Banana Republic Lido Sculpted Italian Wool Blazer offers a sharply tailored fit with luxurious fabric, making it a standout piece. 

Lido Sculpted Italian Wool Blazer

16. Denim Jacket

You may think of jeans when you think of quality basics, but a denim jacket falls into that category too. It’s a timeless piece that adds a touch of cool to any outfit and can be worn year-round to adapt to different temperatures. Vintage aesthetics meet modern durability in the Levi’s 90’s Trucker Jacket. 

90’s Trucker Jacket

The Best Women's Basics Improve Your Wardrobe 

By focusing on adding the simple pieces above into your style repertoire, you’ll build a wardrobe that makes you excited to get dressed for everyday life. They check all the boxes that women's basics should check: versatility, timelessness, style appeal, and the ability to complement a wide variety of looks. Look for high-quality cuts and fabrics to ensure lasting appeal — and have fun mixing and matching new clothes with old favourites. 

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