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5 Basics Everyone Should Have in Their Wardrobe


“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.” – Coco Chanel. 

Believe it or not, Ms. Chanel is correct about that. Sometimes, simplicity is key to life—but more specifically—with personal style.

No matter how much we adore a statement piece, sometimes nothing is better than a classic white button up and a pair of jeans. 

For, essentially centuries, it has been the “go-to” outfit for millions of people. 

It just works.

And it doesn’t matter who you are or how much money you have; a white shirt and jeans as a look, works. You can dress it up or you can dress it down, and you can wear it every day. What more could you ask for?

In our constant pursuit of mastering the frivolous things in life, we’ve found a hunger for a classic and timeless personal style that ages well. Ironically enough, timeless style also often lends itself to this sort of simplicity.

It’s this idea of simplicity in personal style that made us think about the basics that everyone should have in their wardrobe. Because, sometimes, we don’t want to have to put much thought into our outfit, but we still want to feel confident and comfortable when we go out. We get it. Somedays, you want to effortlessly look put together. Here’s the good news: it’s really easy to do!

So, we rounded up 5 basics that we think everyone should have in their wardrobe: 

  1. Classic Button Down

    Classic button downs have become the secret weapon of casual personal style. As the line between “smart” and “casual” become increasingly blurred, the versatility of our collared and cuffed companions has only become more prevalent. Trousers, bike shorts, big jeans, and nearly everything in between — throw on a classic button down with it, and you’ve instantly smartened up the look.

    *For guys, Nathan has used and abused button ups in all manner of ways in the warmer months, rocking them with nylon shorts, workout shorts, and even bathing suits. If you can look like you just grabbed the shirt you wore to dinner the night before off your bedroom floor, you’re doing it right. His current favorite (and affordable) version is here, and if you’re looking to branch out, try this roomier version from J Crew.
  2. High Quality T Shirt

    A good tee is about as ubiquitous as it comes when thinking about wardrobe staples, but getting a high quality one is what really sets apart and elevates an otherwise mundane outfit.

    To clarify, high quality doesn’t always mean more expensive. We’ve tried all sorts of brands — both expensive and cheap — and we’re here to tell you that almost no modern cotton t shirt on earth is worth more than $50. We’ve found the sweet spot is around $30 — typically the cotton is a higher quality, the brand is likely making a more sustainable product, and you’ll likely get more mileage out of it than it’s cheaper counterparts.

    In the end, you’re looking for a t shirt that fits you right, feels comfortable, ages well, and lasts beyond a couple of washes. If you find a tee that brings all of these things together, you’re much more likely to reach for it on those days when you can’t be bother to throw a ‘fit, but still want to look like you know what you’re doing.

    *N is a huge fan of these tees from Madewell. On top of having a really great selection of garment dyed colors, they fit great around the shoulders and chest without hugging your stomach. They also vaguely have that look Carmy rocks in The Bear, which we always love.
  3. Trench Coat

    There is not a more go-to piece in Anna’s closet than her trench coat. Once again, versatility is what makes this a must-have piece for anyone looking to stock their wardrobe with staples. The right trench is mid-weight, which means you can wear it just about any time outside of Summer — we’ve learned more and more that having pieces realistic for the climate you live in is key. For most of us, even in NYC, winter isn’t insanely harsh, so you can wear a mid-weight coat with an extra layer underneath and be fine most of the time.

    Beyond factoring in weather, trench coats do wonders for a simple outfit. We love throwing one on over a tee and jeans, and if you add a baseball cap, all of the sudden… it feels like you’re doing something on purpose, and like we always say: wear something with confidence, and people will believe you.

    *To us, the trench-adjacent option for men is a simple chore jacket. They can look really sharp with a part of slacks or chinos, and are effortless with tees, hoodies, and jeans (they’re sort of the casual version of a blazer, and are extremely easy to wear). This is one of N’s favorites!
  4. Easy Wearing Denim

    Probably the most obvious pick in the list… but in an age when skinnier jeans are fading away and the conversation around pants is a little confusing if you’re just looking for something easy to wear, it’s important to remember that a good pair of jeans can make getting dressed really easy.

    When it comes to jeans you return to regularly, it’s all about wash (color) and fit. You need jeans that go with almost everything in your wardrobe, and that fit like a glove when you put them on. Jeans of the lightest and darkest hues all have their place in your rotation, but a mid-wash pair will almost never not work with something in your closet. The right pair of denim can make a blazer and loafers feel more casual, while also holding up just as easily with sneakers and tees.

    Find a pair you love, and wear them ’til they disintegrate!

    *A great men’s alternative to skinny, slim, or even straight leg jeans (none of which are super friendly to guys with thighs) are jeans that have a relaxed fit up top, but a tapered leg that get slimmer around the ankle. These from Madewell Men’s are a great option with some great color options!
  5. Leather Shoes

    More than sneakers, boots, or heals, having a great pair of versatile leather shoes will take you far and give you tons of options for wear. This pair is one of Anna’s favorites because it takes on the classic Chanel Ballet Flat silhouette at a fraction of the price. There are tons of color options, but we’re fans of the cognac-ish brown colorway linked above because it will age beautifully and can easily be dressed up for work. It’s an every day wearing shoe that can smarten up the simplest of ‘fits!

    *On the men’s side, we love these supe’d up dress shoes from J Crew. Lug sole shoes have very much been in for the last few years, but this pair isn’t quite as, “fresh off the runway” in nature. Instead, the tread is simply a practical boost to shoes that can work in a biz-casual office environment and will look great with jeans on the weekend, too.



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