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what makes a wardrobe staple?

How to decipher between what is timeless and what is juste à la mode.

Sometimes there are those pieces that you look at in your wardrobe and think, why the hell did I buy this, and where am I going to wear it ever again? When I'm shopping, I make it a point to only look for key pieces. Like a cozy sweater, a great pair of trousers, and heels that aren't too tall for walking around in New York City. But, the thing is, how can you tell if a piece of clothing is going to be a staple?

📎  What makes an item a staple?

  • If you've worn it for 5 or more times. Some may think this is a lot (or a little), but  we all have those items in our closet that we've only worn once that we should probably get rid of. Great staple items that come to mind are my favorite jackets, turtlenecks, sweaters, and jeans. 
  • Items that you have no problem styling multiple ways. 
  • Pieces that never go out of style. Think: is it a trendy piece, or can I wear it next season, too?

Here are some guidelines I like to follow while I'm shopping...
  • Usually, staple pieces don't have much of a print, color, or whacky shape. They mainly speak to you in a way that you know you can pair multiple things with it. For example, a great pair of jeans. They might not be ripped or patterned, but you know that they are timeless. 
  • If you see something that speaks to you in a store, don't buy it immediately. Wait, and if it's still bugging you for a week (or a month if you can manage), buy it. Sometimes, I'll see something in a store, only to find two weeks later that it was just a trendy piece that is already out of fashion. 
  • Turn to sustainable brands. Because they are not fast-fashion, sustainable brands usually have collections that will last an entire season and that are not so trend-based. Zara and H&M are constantly chugging out new designs, which is fine, but that means most items are just trend pieces rather than wardrobe basics.
  • Invest in quality rather than quantity. The outfit I'm wearing in this post is Acne (the shoes are Ganni), and I was scared that I was going to spend a lot of money on two things that wouldn't last. After thinking about it, I bought those amazing trousers (I made sure to try on different sizes to see what fit me and felt the best), and the fluffy sweater because I knew they were basic enough for me to wear them constantly. The trousers I wear at least once every week because they are my favorite color, fit, and can be styled in multiple ways. This doesn't mean that you need to buy expensive clothing, but just better quality so they will last as a staple in your closet. I find that items I get from fast fashion stores fall apart after a couple of months, which definitely isn't quality. 
  • Wardrobe staples that I constantly recommend includes a good white t-shirt, a leather jacket, a camel coat, black boots, pair of Levi's, loafers, a basic sweater, and, of course, a black cocktail dress. Optional: strappy heels, a small chain purse, a chic pair of sneakers, and a couple of white button up tops.

 Next time you go through your closet, think to yourself, "do I wear this enough?" If not, donate it. If yes, think about how you can style it multiple ways, and note what makes it a staple for you. We're all trying to build our own capsule wardrobes, so hopefully this can help. After doing so, I hope you can have a more focused sense of style and feel just a little bit more sustainable.


  1. so helpful! when I was a tween all I bought was cheap crappy fashion and now I’ve been more into investing in higher quality and thrifted clothes. it actually saves you money in the long run because you end up shopping less frequently on account of both quality AND timelessness of the clothes which I never thought about!

    1. I'm so happy this was helpful!!! Me too! Yes, exactly. So happy that you agree ♥️

  2. Do you have any specific favorite stores that are your go-to for staple outfits? :)

    1. Definitely! Oak & Fort, Need Supply, Reformation, Paloma Wool, Nanushka, Totême :)