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Wardrobe Basics on a Budget

6 Essential Pieces


From a classic sweater set to black pants and more, these essential pieces will help you build a stylish wardrobe without breaking the bank. Even if they are all you have hanging in your closet, these six wardrobe basics can take you from work to weekend (and everything in-between) in wallet-friendly style!

Classic Two-Piece Suit

You'll wear this style essential to business meetings and interviews, but you can also wear the skirt and jacket separately. Dress up jeans with the jacket, or pair the skirt with a sassy top and shoes for a cocktail party in a cinch.

Shopping Tips:

  • Choose a suit in a mid-weight fabric for year-round use.
  • Think neutral and go with a black, brown or grey suit.

Black Pants

Essential for its versatility, the black pant will accompany you to both work and social functions.

Shopping Tips:

  • No skinny pants, please - choose a straight-to-wide leg cut.
  • Get a pair that is long enough to wear with heels - it's better to buy them too long and pay for alterations.


Gap Essential Jean
A basic wardrobe staple, find a pair of jeans that works for your figure and buy them in bulk!

Shopping Tips:

  • A little stretch goes a long way for a flattering cut.
  • Darker-washed jeans are dressier.
  • If you need to get your jeans taken up, be sure the tailor leaves the hem intact.

White Button-Down Shirt

White Button-Down
Paired with jeans, it's our favorite casual look, but a crisp, white button-down shirt can easily stand up to a little black dress when paired with the right bottom and accessories.

Shopping Tips:

  • For a flattering shape, choose a shirt with a slight curve at the hem.
  • Oversized men's shirts are great, but you'll want one with a slightly defined waist for the most wear.
  • Shirts with a little stretch will wrinkle less.
  • Watch out for yellowing at the armpits and be prepared with replacements!

Sheath Dress

Sheath Dress
A sheath dress never goes out of fashion, and is the perfect style to have on hand for a work-to-evening transition.

Shopping Tips:

  • Avoid crazy color trends and pick a neutral for this look.
  • Update your sheath with a belt at the waist or a pair of trendy shoes.

Sweater Set

sweater set
Add pearls and you're ready for the country club, but you can deconstruct the set for a variety of style options. Cinch the sweater with a belt and add a pencil skirt, or wear the tank with jeans and sassy shoes for a night out. The possibilities are endless!

Shopping Tips:

  • If you can afford it, spring for cashmere.
  • Finer, lighter fabrics are dressier (and won't remind you of your kindergarten teacher).
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