StyleOtter | Women's Basics
StyleOtter | Women's Basics

Women’s Style: 11 Timeless Clothing Basics Every Woman Should Own

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Have you ever spent money on a top that looks cute, only to realize that it doesn’t really blend with the rest of your style?  

Maybe you’re over having to buy and return clothes (we’re raising our paws) or you want to do a wardrobe re-do. 

Unless, maybe, you have your wardrobe built – even though you may also have about 50% of clothes in there that you wear, and 50% that you don’t.


OK, well, don’t get intimidated. What about your go-to items that you could toss on and look great? The items that should be getting repeated wear in your closet, because they just look so damn good? 

StyleOtter wants to equip you with our top timeless essentials that we believe every woman should own. We’re talking basics. We’re talking quick. We’re talking easy. 

Trust us, we’ve been there. And we’ve got your back.  Let’s get started.

A Beautiful Silk Blouse

Style Essentials Every Woman Should Own | StyleOtter

Thinking about a beautiful silk blouse just gives us the chills. 

Not only does it feel like you’re wearing pajamas to work (please note: we are not advising you wear your pajamas to work), but a silk blouse can make quite a statement when done right. 

Especially given a silk blouse is so versatile and classic; you’ll have no problem finding opportunities to pull it out of your wardrobe.

Full disclosure: silk tends to be pricier. But, we think this is the type of item worth the investment.   

Our top picks for silk blouses:

StyleOtter | Women's Silk Blouse
StyleOtter | Women's Silk BlouseStyleOtter | Women's EssentialsStyleOtter | Women's Silk BlouseStyleOtter | Women's Style Silk Blouse

When looking for a silk blouse, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Often times, silk blouses are dry clean only. Make sure to check the label
  • If you need to get sweat out of your silk, wash at home in cold water with some vinegar and detergent. Allow the garment to air dry – don’t pop in the dryer! 
  • If you’re packing up for a trip, you’re better off bringing a cotton blouse than a silk blouse (unless you’re bringing one of our favorite handheld steamers.) Take it from us – a cotton blouse may take awhile to iron, and when you’re traveling you may need to run in and out of meetings quickly 

A goes-with-her-everywhere bag

Style Essentials Every Woman Should Own | StyleOtter

We dream of the bag that is truly multi-faceted, long-lasting, yet looks pristine under most weather conditions. 

But that bag is not always easy to find.  Sometimes, it takes weeks and months of back and forth before pulling the trigger.

Luckily, we’ve found a few different options that could cover off on your different needs – daytime errands, going to the office/traveling, or grabbing the kids from daycare.

Here are our top picks:

StyleOtter | Fanny Pack | Women's StyleStyleOtter | Women's BagStyleOtter | MICHAEL Michael Kors Rhea Zip Medium Slim BackpackStyleOtter | Sam Edelman Daisy EE Convertible Crossbody/BeltbagStyleOtter | Rebecca Minkoff Women's Python Kate Mini Tote

When looking for a bag, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Know where you go, and where you live. While we’d like to think the options we selected are fairly sturdy (our Matt & Nat backpack has lasted 4 years in great shape), you never know how climate might have an impact on the wear of your bag
  • Keep in mind this bag might be going everywhere with you – therefore it’s best to know which colors you have in your wardrobe and how this bag might complement them. For example, if you’re always wearing black, consider investing in a different color to help your clothes pop

A Pair of Iconic, Comfortable Jeans

Style Essentials Every Woman Should Own | StyleOtter

If you don’t already own a pair of jeans that you absolutely love, prioritize this item first.

Gorgeous jeans are the most versatile item you could have in your closet.  And just because you go for gorgeous, doesn’t mean you have to compromise comfort, either.

The truth is, you can have it all with a really incredible pair of jeans.  Not to mention, you can style jeans so many different ways. And with the latest trend of wider leg jeans, the opportunities are endless.

Here are some of our top picks:

StyleOtter | Curvy High-Rise Skinny Jeans in Danny WashStyleOtter | Women's EssentialsStyleOtter| Women's EssentialsStyleOtter | Women's StyleStyleOtter | Women's Style

When looking for a good pair of jeans, a few things to keep in mind:

  • Always wash your jeans after you buy them. You don’t know who’s tried them on before you, and if they’re dyed, the dye might rub off on clothes
  • Invest in jeans that will last you longer, and learn how to take care of them better 
  • Since we’re suggesting timeless basics, consider investing more money into items that aren’t as trendy, such as ripped jeans. We believe you’ll end up getting more mileage

A well-fitting bra

Style Essentials Every Woman Should Own | StyleOtter

Raise your hand if you’ve been wearing the same few bras for a few years?

Actually, you don’t even need to raise your hands. We already know.

What about the last time you got fitted for a bra? If you don’t remember, or this has never happened to you, it might be a good time to find a boutique who can get you sized up quickly. 

Otherwise, when we talk about “well-fitting” we’re not talking about francy shmancy bras from La Perla (even though bras like this one are clutch) we’re talking about EVERYDAY bras.

Because you don’t need to buy a bra that you’re only going to wear 5% of the time. 

You also don’t need to spend an arm and a leg for a great bra.

See our picks:

StyleOtter | Timeless Women's StyleStyleOtter | Timeless BasicsStyleOtter | Timeless BasicsStyleOtter | Women's BasicsStyleOtter | Women's Bras

When looking for a good bra, here are a few tips:

  • Make sure the bra fits (see us on our soapbox earlier)
  • Check care instructions to make sure they’re not high maintenance, then wash properly. We love these to ensure your bras last longer (and wash them more frequently than you think!)
  • Invest in basic colors, especially if they’re going to be an everyday bra. Black and nude work best

Shoes that travel

Style Essentials Every Woman Should Own | StyleOtter

We’re exhausted trying to find a shoe that has it all. Well made, cute, versatile, comfortable, and portable.

OK, maybe our list of criteria is a little long. But it can’t be that hard…right?

We love a good shoe that you can pop into your travel bag, or wear to travel in because they’re just that comfy. We live for a shoe that effortlessly goes with your wardrobe and is the ultimate confidence and compliment booster. 

Thanks to some research and testing, we’ve found the perfect shoes for you. Check them out, try them on, give them a whirl with your go-to outfit. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Side note: the Marc Fisher shoes below are the comfiest heel we’ve ever tried on!

Without further ado…our picks:

StyleOtter | Women's BasicsStyleOtter | Cool SneakersStyleOtter | Chelsea BootsStyleOtter | Tall Boots

When looking for a great shoe that will travel, some things to keep in mind:

  • Walk a mile in those shoes – it sounds like we’re kidding, but we’re not. Especially if you’re investing in a more expensive pair, make sure that you give the shoes a good test run. This is why we love a retailer like Nordstrom, since their customer service and return policy is top notch!
  • Keep material in mind. If you’re going to be outside at all, it’s best to buy a protectant for materials like suede or leather, or a sneaker cleaner for sneakers
  • Know your style and your wardrobe – can you picture shoes that are more an investment looking complementary to the rest of your wardrobe? Can you think of at least three different outfits where these shoes might work? Be honest…

Laid back tees

StyleOtter | Women's Essentials

If we had a dollar for every laid back t-shirt we owned…we would save up to buy another t-shirt. 

Contrary to popular belief and regardless of where you live, a laid back t-shirt is an outfit essential.  Not only can these t-shirts be the perfect standalone piece, but they also are great for layering with cozy sweaters for the fall and the winter.  

Finding the right t-shirt that suits your needs though can be a difficult task. For example, some t-shirts are too tight and expose every bra strapline.

Others have a thin material that’s practically see-thru. We’re not compromising quality in our t-shirt recommendations, and you shouldn’t compromise either!  

Take a look at our picks:

StyleOtter | Women's EssentialsStyleOtter | Women's EssentialsStyleOtter | Women's EssentialsStyleOtter | Women's EssentialsStyleOtter | Women's Essentials

When looking for a classic t-shirt, some thoughts from StyleOtter to you:

  • Remember to keep your style balanced. Meaning, if you have a looser fitting t-shirt up top, pair with tighter jeans on the bottom. If you’re someone who only buys wide-legged jeans, try investing in a more fitted t-shirt look to balance your outfit
  • Be mindful of care instructions, especially since some t-shirts have more delicate materials than others
  • If you’re self-conscious of your arms or your tummy (hey, no shame. We are!) try finding t-shirts that have longer length sleeves and are a bit looser near the waist (i.e. not super slim!)

A sleek jacket

Style Essentials Every Woman Should Own | StyleOtter

We’re already drooling at the thought of talking about this topic. Ugh, jackets. 

Bomber jackets. Leather jackets. Suede jackets. Denim jackets. Long jackets! Somebody help. 

There are so many options to choose from, but for a timeless clothing basic, and for the sake of keeping this post a post and not a novel, we’re sticking with a simple jacket that you can wear through most seasons.

Well, just not in debilitating heat or 10 inches of snow. 

A sleek jacket will pull together your look more than any other item. If you were to invest in one clothing item on this list, our VOTE IS IN for the sleek jacket.  When it looks good, it looks good, and it’s the ultimate outfit addition.  

Here are a few of our sleek jacket faves:

StyleOtter | Women's EssentialsStyleOtter| Women's EssentialsStyleOtter | Women's EssentialsStyleOtter | Women's EssentialsStyleOtter | Women's Essentials

When looking for a sleek jacket, some things to keep in mind: 

  • If you live in a warmer climate, you might be inclined to layer less. However, if you live in a colder climate and you want to maximize your purchase, make sure that you have a little wiggle room in spots like the arms if you wanted to toss on a turtleneck and a jacket
  • Look for basic colors and fabrics – denim and leather are great, easy go-tos that you’ll find yourself gravitating toward when completing an outfit
  • If you want a louder, bolder print – try buying something that’s a little bit more affordable. That way, if it doesn’t go with as much in your wardrobe, you won’t have to worry about wearing it less often

Looking for a more casual, trendy jacket? Check out our post on sherpa jackets.

A dress to impress

Style Essentials Every Woman Should Own | StyleOtter

A dress to impress could be interpreted so many different ways. 

While we’re not talking about going as far as black tie for something like a wedding, we do want to equip you with a completely reliable dress that you can pull from your closet at any moment. 

With that said, we also want to be mindful of what it means to have a reliable dress in your closet.  For the sake of keeping it easy, we’ve chosen dresses that are pretty and NOT high maintenance when it comes to care (for example, having to rely on the dry cleaners vs. at home.)  

We’ve also selected dresses that feel more versatile and easy to incorporate with a variety of different outfit choices. 

Here are a few dresses (OK, and maybe one jumpsuit…we couldn’t resist) that will surely impress:

StyleOtter | Women's EssentialsStyleOtter | Women's EssentialsStyleOtter | Women's EssentialsStyleOtter | Women's EssentialsStyleOtter | Women's Essentials

When looking for a dress to impress, some things to keep in mind:

  • Ain’t no shame in Spanx. If a dress is more fitted and shows your panty line – try on a pair of Spanx with the dress before you pass on it
  • How you style a dress makes a difference in what season a dress could be considered “appropriate” in. For example, you can wear a wrap dress with flats in the summer, and with tights, knee-high boots, and jackets in the winter. Investments in dresses can work for all seasons!
  • If you have a more feminine dress, try pairing it with a bomber jacket or something more casual to mix and match styles

A casual hat

Style Essentials Every Woman Should Own | StyleOtter

Oh yeah. There’s nothing like a good hat to pull a look together.

We are firm believers that hats are transformative to your look. Especially when an outfit needs something, but you just can’t put your finger on it… 

What we love about hats is that there’s one for every season.  We rely on baseball hats in the summertime, and transition into cool, fun beanies in the winter. In between seasons are a great time for a more structured suede hat. 

Point being, you can’t go wrong. 

Take a look at some of our favorite, year-round hats: 

StyleOtter | Women's EssentialsStyleOtter | Women's EssentialsStyleOtter | Women's EssentialsStyleOtter | Women's EssentialsStyleOtter | Women's Essentials

When looking for a hat, keep these thoughts in mind:

  • If you wear bronzer or foundation on your forehead (or where a hat would hit) you might want to opt for darker colors when considering a hat, or a hat that will be easy to wash 
  • If you have a bigger head (not calling anyone out, just being honest) then consider getting a hat that will stretch more easily, like a beanie or an adjustable strap baseball hat
  • Neutrals go with more – the whole point of timeless basics is that you can grab and go in your wardrobe. We’ve recommended neutrals because you’ll be more likely to pick them out than a print that’s louder (even though we love loud prints)

Comfy PJs

Style Essentials Every Woman Should Own | StyleOtter

If you’re like us, you may or may not sleep in the nude. 

But you know where you don’t sleep naked? In a hotel room, or in an Airbnb where there is a slight likelihood that the sheets haven’t been washed (sorry, but it’s true.) Point being, we’re not trying to be dramatic, but a good pair of comfy PJs is always wise to have on hand. 

We’re partial to robes and more classic sets as PJs, but as long as the fabric is comfy and it fits, you really can’t go wrong.  

Here’s a look at some of our favorites: 

StyleOtter | Womens EssentialsStyleOtter | Womens EssentialsStyleOtter | Womens EssentialsStyleOtter | Womens EssentialsStyleOtter | Womens Essentials

When looking for some comfy PJs, keep these in mind:

  • If you sweat when you sleep (it happens) make sure to get PJs that are washable – the set above is a silk set AND washable. Woo!
  • If you travel and want to pack PJs, make sure they’re not too bulky – a lot of two piece sets tend to be a lot of fabric, and will take up more space than you’ll want in your travel bag
  • Buy two pairs of PJs if you come across a brand you really love, and keep in your closet for a last-minute gift. Who doesn’t love comfy PJs as a gift?

Breathable Leggings

Style Essentials Every Woman Should Own | StyleOtter

There was a moment in time where some said that the leggings trend was just that. A trend.  Pretty sure we’re here about 15 years later, and we’ve seen more leggings in the past year than we’ve seen scrunchies, and let’s be real, scrunchies are huge right now. 

Finding a good pair of leggings isn’t easy. Also, we know that some leggings cost an arm and a leg. Or both arms. And both legs. Basically, you’re sacrificing yourself and your wallet. No one wants that. 

While we don’t believe in spending an exorbitant amount for leggings, we do believe in investing in great leggings so that they can last you awhile.  We also love the trend of layering leggings with tunics, jackets, and flannels to pull a look together. 

OK, so let’s get into it, our timeless legging picks:

StyleOtter | Womens EssentialStyleOtter | Womens EssentialsStyleOtter | Womens EssentialsStyleOtter | Womens EssentialsStyleOtter | Womens Essentials

When looking for leggings, keep these tips in mind:

  • Tall and short girls unite – be mindful of length. If you’re a tall girl and you just plan on wearing your leggings with boots, then length may not matter. But if you want full-year wear, be mindful of the inseam
  • The cheaper you go, the less likely they are last. Fight us on this if you will, but cheaper leggings in our experience always tend to rip or get holes pretty quickly. Caveat emptor
  • Do the squat test. Ask a close friend if they can see underwear lines or anything else when you bend and snap. If they can, it might be worth researching to find a different pair

Final Takeaway: 11 Timeless Clothing Basics Every Woman Should Own

Style Essentials Every Woman Should Own | StyleOtter

If we had created this post 5 years ago, or 10 years ago, we don’t believe the items listed here would’ve changed.

We truly believe that each piece mentioned here is truly timeless, and they’re the items we’ve found ourselves revisiting in our closets over and over again.  

If your focus is on having timeless items in your closet, then let this post guide you toward starting to build your ultimate timeless wardrobe.

And with that said, we’re always open to suggestions. Let us know what your timeless items are in the comments section below.

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