Building The Perfect Wardrobe: Basics 101

The Basic AF Guide To Wardrobe Basics from Basic AF by Grace Morrissey

Personally, I’m at a point in my life where I’m in dire need of a wardrobe revamp.

I’m at that awkward-just-graduated-college-but-not-quite-a-real-grown-up-yet stage and I’ve had some pieces in my wardrobe since high school. Yup that’s right, 6 years and probably 20 pounds lighter and 2 inches shorter ago.

I’d spent months super unhappy with my closet. It was annoying that I had all these clothes, yet I truly felt like had nothing to wear. So I started the process of researching and curating items to build the perfect wardrobe.

There are certain essential basics every girl should invest in and build her wardrobe around.

My personal shopping philosophy is invest in timeless wardrobe staples and buy trendy pieces on a budget. 

There are pieces in my wardrobe now that I will have forever. I’m so thankful that I splurged on them because they’re amazing quality and worth the price. But let’s be real, there’s nothing worse than spending a lot on something on-trend, only for it to go out of style and have it sit in your closet unworn.

Three notes I want to mention before we start:

  1. Always, always, alwaysssss be true to yourself and your style. Don’t buy something in a certain color or cut that you don’t love on you. Me personally, I’m super picky about the way my clothes look on me. If I don’t love the way it looks on me or where it falls, I can’t buy it. Plus I’m very pale and some colors wash me out. So even though I think mustard is a gorgeous color I know I have to steer clear of it.
  2. All of the images above are just representations of items I think are essential. To go along with the note above, I’m not saying you need skinny jeans or you need a crew neck. Pick whichever fits you like best. Always do you, and take what I and others suggest and make it your own.
  3. I do not own or have tried on most of the pieces in the images. However, I will link them below in case anyone reading this is like, “OMG I love those jeans! Where the heck are they from?!” I’ll put an asterisk (*) next to anything I do own. And also I’d like to note that none of the links are affiliate links and won’t benefit me in anyway.

Wardrobe Basics

Alright, let’s break it down.


  1. BLUE JEANS – Personally, I love super dark denim. I think it’s so flattering and slimming and you can really dress it up or keep it casual.
  2. BLACK JEANS – Every one needs a pair of black jeans, I mean, come on. The outfit possibilities are endless.
  3. BLACK LEGGINGS – Good leggings can be so hard to come by, but they’re essential and when you find a good pair hold on tight to them and never let go! Also I’m not talking Lululemon or other athletic leggings here (which I do love very much). I’m talking like everyday leggings.
  4. RIPPED JEANS – There are so many cute pairs of ripped jeans, and I love how many different ways a single pair of ripped jeans can be styled. I adore this pair and see lots of people wearing them. I definitely want to try them out.


  1. WHITE SHIRT– Whether it’s scoop, crew, or v-neck, you need a plain white shirt. I love cotton t-shirts, but find something plain and simple that’s your style. Make sure it’s not see through, and don’t splurge too much on it. We all know you’re gonna spill red sauce on it at some point. My favorite plain white shirt was only $8.
  2. BLACK SHIRT – Again, the neckline doesn’t matter. But a plain black shirt will see you through many outfits.
  3. GREY SHIRT – It’s just a necessity. ASOS sells three packs that could be a good starting place if you’re into crew neck or v-neck.
  4. STRIPED SHIRT – I like my stripes thin and equal in size, and usually black and white, or navy and white.
  5. GO-TO GRAPHIC TEE – Whether it’s a band or a brand you love, or a funny saying, a graphic tee is perfect for a quick casual outfit. You can wear it a million ways and it will look cute and timeless. Stay away from seasonal graphic tees as your go-to. You’re super cute “Pumpkin Spice Everything” or “Witch Better Have My Candy” shirt won’t really make sense in July. But again, you do you.

Jackets & Sweaters

  1. PULL OVER SWEATER – Pull over sweaters are extremely versatile, you can layer it or pair it and it makes for a ton of outfit options.
  2. JEAN JACKET – * I have and love this jean jacket. I absolutely adoreeee it. Like oh my heavens, it’s amazing. See it in action in this post. While some items you may have to replace over time, a good quality jean jacket will last you forever.
  3. GO-TO CARDIGAN – * Again, I have and love this cardigan and wear it multiple times a week. For me, a cardigan is essential with almost every outfit. For you, maybe a blazer is more your style.
  4. VEST – I seriously love vests, especially in the fall and winter. When I’m not wearing a cardigan, I wear a quilted vest with almost everything. Your vest definitely doesn’t need to be quilted, but I personally like quilted much better than the big puffy vests. I love the J.Crew one I linked, but it’s a little pricey for some, but Old Navy and J.Crew Factory make good ones as well.


  1. BOOTIESBrown or black, suede or leather, doesn’t matter to me, but you needdd a pair of booties in your wardrobe. I wear mine almost every single day.
  2. GO-TO CASUAL SNEAKER – Whether you’re a VansConverse, Keds or Steve Madden kind of gal, you need a pair of white or black (or neutral) casual sneakers that you can pair with almost anything in your closet.
  3. TALL BOOTS – * I loved my riding boots until the zipper broke and now I’m in the market for a new pair. But in the mean time these over the knee boots have stolen my heart.
  4. SANDAL – Timeless sandals are a must. For me it’s Birkenstock’s or a cute slide like these ones linked, but something simple and neutral is all you need.


  1. SIMPLE EARRINGS – I bought myself a pair of pearl earrings when I graduated high school, and 5 years later I’m still wearing them every. single. day. These babies are my life.
  2. SIMPLE NECKLACE – * I feel naked without a necklace on. I wear this one my boyfriend gave me for my birthday last year almost everyday. And it’s a practically a dupe of this Tiffany’s necklace. But I also have and love this Kate Spade one I pictured above too.
  3. GO-TO HANDBAG – For me, it’s a brown faux leather crossbody. But for you it might be a big tote, suede, or black. This one linked is super cute and comes in brown and black, it’s also along the lines of this Madewell crossbody.
  4. SCARVES – Scarves can transform an outfit into something completely knew. Start with a neutral scarf or two, like this natural-toned scarf or this greyscale-toned scarf. Then add in colorful scarves and you’ll have endless outfit options.

The biggest thing I hope you to take away from this guide is that neutrals are your best friend. If you build your wardrobe around black, white, and denim you will have so many pairing options. And when you add in color and pattern, it’ll be mind-blowing.

Also I know there were a lot of things left out; a winter coat, rain boots and a rain jacket, and more dressy work clothes like pixie pants, blazers, and flats. And there are definitely more accessories that are important and can take your look to the next level. But for me and my everyday life, this was the starting point to batten down the hatches and rebuild my wardrobe. We’ll get to the rest later.

xx Grace

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  • Reply Allison October 13, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Love this, and your blog!

    • Reply Grace October 13, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      Aw thank you so much! Loving your blog, too, Allison!

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