Why you need better basics in your wardrobe and where to get them
Updated: Apr 16
This post is going to go over what basics are, how they work in a considerate closet, whether you should invest or not and where to buy from.
Let’s get started with the fundamentals: what is a basic? Well, that definition can be slightly different for everyone since everyone’s style is unique to them. But in general, basics have the same core qualities:
So now that we know what basics are, how do they function in our closets and why do we need them?
Basics function as the base of an outfit. They generally help to compliment a statement piece (not distract). If an outfit was an equation it would be mainly composed of basic pieces (like jeans or plain t-shirts) and then a “dash” of statement would be thrown in to add interest (in the form of a purse, outerwear, jewellery - anything!) Here are a few examples:
Basics: denim skinnies + cream coloured long sleeve + moto jacket + brown booties
Statement piece: textured woven purse
Basics: mom jeans + black shirt + moto jacket + grey wool coat
Statement piece: leopard print slip-on shoes
Basics: black booties + grey wool trousers + cream sweater + moto jacket
Statement piece: none!
You can also use basics to create an entire outfit. An outfit built of basics will feel classic, timeless and polished but might not be the most “exciting”, unique or visually interesting. But it is very convenient if you’re building a wardrobe on the capsule closet concept.
We need basics because statement items take up a lot of visual attention.
For an outfit to work nicely together, our eyes need some breathing room - enter the basics. Basics are really easy to mix & match with one another or any statement pieces in your closet. They’re fool-proof ways to make nice outfits and an easy base to add interest.
So, basics are incredibly useful but do you need to spend a lot of money on them?
That’s entirely up to you and there are pros and cons of investing in your basics.
In my opinion, I prefer spending mid-range on my basics. So I’ll pass on the very inexpensive Forever21 items but I’m also not interested in designer pieces. For my basics I opt for places like the Gap, Kotn, Everlane, Aritzia, etc. That being said - I don’t often buy directly from those retailers. I’ll shop for these pieces at the thrift store first (and try to find the highest quality there - which I’ve written a blog post about) and then after that I’ll check out Marshalls and Winners. These stores give me the opportunity to buy higher quality items without the higher price tag (while also being more conscientious and eco-friendly by purchasing thrift).
A great example of an item that was worth the investment is my black t-shirt. I love wearing black and a black t-shirt is a basic in my wardrobe. I purchased a rag&bone t-shirt from Marshalls for $30 - which is more than I’d normally spend on a basic (since I’m used to shopping thrift) but after owning it for a year, it’s still in perfect condition.
I wash it often: no shrinkage, fading or stretching out. It looks perfect and I’ve probably saved money by buying higher quality. Instead of buying a $10 t-shirt every 3 months, I’ve got a great one that will last well over a year.
Awesome conscious places to buy basics:
- Thrift stores!
- Birds of North America (I specifically love the crescentchest top which they carry in various colours and in short and long sleeves. It is pricey but Victoire and White Elephant also put them on sale sometimes!)
Other places to buy basics:
- Marshalls or Winners
- The CORE LIFE collection at the Hudson’s Bay
I hope that helps!!! Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comment section.