The 24 Basic Clothing Items Every Closet Should Have

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If one thing’s for sure this season, it’s that classic style staples are having a moment—and a major one at that. This incessant rise of quiet luxury comes courtesy of brands like The Row, The Frankie Shop, Everlane, and more, with designs that transcend the current fashion fads and have everlasting closet appeal. The best basic clothing items deliver maximum style with minimal effort—just think about the million and one ways to wear a white T-shirt, whether that’s simply tucked into a classic jean or dressed up atop a tailored trouser. As we transition our wardrobes from spring to summer, streamlining with useful clothing basics has never been easier, or chicer for that matter. 

Vogue’s Anything-But-Basic Wardrobe Wish List: 

When it comes to versatility, nothing is more effortless than a wear-with-everything leather jacket. Even better, a high-quality investment item, like the one below from Mango, doesn’t have to break the bank in order to last forever in your wardrobe. Equally as timeless is a pair of Levi’s 501s, worn elegantly on evenings out with a minimalist heel or with a menswear-inspired loafer. Quickly becoming a closet classic are trouser-esque leggings, and these from Toteme are editor-approved. All-in-one outfit dresses are, of course, on our list from the likes of Tory Burch and Khaite. And because it’s fashion we’re obsessed with, after all, there are also those irresistible trend-forward pieces like trendy tank tops and leather midiskirts that coexist beautifully alongside a roster of other basic clothing items. Plus, with summer drawing near, there are resort-ready pieces, like Eres’ black one-piece, Birkenstock sandals, and basket bags, to add to your seasonal capsule wardrobe. Also, who’s to say these pieces won’t soon become wardrobe essentials themselves? 

Here, 24 basic clothing items that will quickly become go-to style staples. 

A nautical-inspired striped sweater is incredibly festive during the summer months. This season, we’re wearing ours atop breezy linen trousers and bright white dresses. 

Alex Mill button-back crewneck sweater

Sometimes going back to the basics is best—and what is more foundational in a wardrobe than a sleek pair of black leggings? Crafted from high-quality stretch jersey, Toteme’s trouser-esque pair is a certified cult classic. 

Toteme zipped-cuff leggings

Similar to a great pair of jeans or a plain white tee, a crisp button-up is another basic clothing item every closet should have. From Rag & Bone, this plain white poplin is a perfect pick. 

Rag & Bone Maxine button-front shirt

No wardrobe is complete without a pair of Levi’s—501s, to be exact. With a straight-leg silhouette and baby blue wash, wear it with anything and everything for an effortless effect. 

Levi’s ‘90s 501 jeans

Oh, the versatility of a plain but perfect white T-shirt! When it comes to styling the closet classic, anything goes; but if we had to choose, we love to dress ours up alongside a tailored trouser and minimalist heels. 

Vince essential crewneck top

Every shoe collection needs an all-white trainer—and these from Nike are perfectly practical and seriously stylish. 

An all-in-one-outfit dress requires minimal effort with maximum reward. From Tory Burch, this little black (day) dress is a style staple to last forever and not just seasons. 

Tory Burch scoop-neck dress

Each summer there are those sleek sandal styles we return to time and again—and Birkenstock Arizona slides are top of the list. Wear them with a chic swimsuit and cover-up or a tropical-print dress for a resort-ready look. 

Birkenstock Arizona leather sandals

Because it’s fashion we’re obsessed with, after all, there are those trend-forward pieces, like Loewe’s Anagram tank top, that we find simply irresistible. This is one elevated basic to invest in. 

A sleek leather midiskirt is one trend we’ve seen transcend from the runway to the streets in total style. Like a classic wrap skirt but with a modern twist, Nanushka’s Ama leather midi is a favorite amongst the fashion darlings. 

Nanushka Amas leather midi skirt

In any jewelry collection, a pair of gold hoop earrings is a consistent mainstay. To achieve this, we can always count on Mejuri. 

Like the LBD, a little white dress is an equally fabulous fashion foundation. Khaite’s Octavia off-the-shoulder minidress is as darling as it is ever so daring. 

Khaite Octavia off-the-shoulder mini dress

Ballet flats are back and better than ever thanks to labels like Aeyde with their masterfully minimal interpretations. With a subtle pointed toe, this is one sweet style to make your staple. 

Aeyde Kirsten leather ballet flats

An anything-but-basic black swimsuit is a non-negotiable in a summer capsule wardrobe. Start with Eres’ Asia one-piece and expect sartorial success each and every time. 

Eres Les Essentiels Asia swimsuit

Call it the French-girl effect, but all we want to carry in the summer season is a festive straw bag. Dragon Diffusion’s basket bag is perfect for picnics or sunny beach days.  

Dragon Diffusion Bamboo Triple Jump Big woven tote

Forget about the latest in eyewear trends and return to the effortlessly cool all-black shade. Saint Laurent’s retro pair flatters any face shape and is the epitome of timeless chic.  

Saint Laurent Eyewear D-frame sunglasses

With a slightly oversized silhouette, Everlane’s ’80s blazer is tailored to perfection. Complete the full suit look and style with a sleek black trouser. 

Everlane The ‘80s blazer

Of all the menswear-inspired closet classics we know and love, none has more appeal than the luxe loafer. Gucci’s no-frills Horsebit 1953 is an iconic item, best worn with anything from a trendy jean midiskirt to a crisp shirtdress. 

Gucci 1953 Horsebit loafers

For a take on modern workwear, choose a relaxed-fit trouser like this pleated pair from The Frankie Shop. The dark gray wash is a welcome switch-up to the classic black or khaki. 

The Frankie Shop Layton pleated trousers

Nothing is more essential in a transitional wardrobe (or any wardrobe for that matter) than a timeless trench coat, and Max Mara’s belted beige trench is as traditional as it gets. When it comes to outstanding outerwear, start here. 

Max Mara reversible, water-resistant trench coat

When it comes to versatility, you can’t get more effortless than a wear-with-everything leather jacket. Even better, a high-quality investment item, like the one below from Mango, doesn’t have to break the bank in order to last forever in your wardrobe.

Mango faux-leather biker jacket

A belt is one of those essential accessories that often goes unnoticed. We’re here to change that narrative, starting with Nili Lotan’s Jane leather belt. Not to mention it’s a prized piece of quiet luxury.

Nili Lotan Jane leather belt

A roomy leather tote, like this one from Cuyana, is the ideal companion for commutes to and from the office or for a quick weekend getaway. 

A Cartier wristwatch is the ultimate investment timepiece. And while not necessarily deemed a must-have, consider it an heirloom intended to be passed down for decades to come. 

Cartier Panthère de Cartier 27mm stainless steel watch