Where To Shop To Build A Foundation To Your Wardrobe

Every time I looked at my closet I would see tons of clothes, yet I always struggled to find something to wear. I came across a fashion article that said this is because I was lacking the basic and essential components of a wardrobe.

Whenever we go shopping, we automatically reach for the cute blouse or dress that catches our eye. I used to shop this way all of the time. I wouldn’t focus on basic clothing items (think of tees, plain sweaters, jeans) because I was immediately drawn to a cute article of clothing. As the clothes began to pile up in my closet, I realized I was filling my closet with pieces that weren’t functional.

To have a functional wardrobe, you need to start by building it with basic clothing items that serve multiple purposes and can be worn on an everyday basis. Given my lifestyle, I tend to wear basic clothing more often than I ever wear a statement blouse so it was no wonder I never found anything to wear! My wardrobe didn’t fit my daily lifestyle. So, to change this, I took some principles from the concept of a capsule wardrobe. If you’re unfamiliar with this, there are many great articles on how to create a capsule wardrobe and tons of information on it – here’s a short article on what it is! I personally didn’t create a capsule wardrobe where I only wear a certain amount of multi-functional pieces (this is one of the main components of the concept) but I did set out to find pieces that could be used frequently and in many outfits which is also a core piece of the concept.

Your foundational wardrobe will look different than someone else’s because it should depend on your lifestyle. I’m currently working from home every day so it doesn’t really matter what I wear but once I go back into the office, it’s important that I maintain a foundational wardrobe of business casual clothes such as blouses and cotton twill pants. If you work somewhere that requires you to wear business formal attire every day then your foundational wardrobe and staple pieces will look different than mine. It’s important to take your lifestyle into consideration when determining what pieces should be staples in your closet.

Given the business casual dress code at my job and the fact that I normally dress pretty casually on the weekends, I knew the staples in my wardrobe needed to be casual but also functional enough that I could dress these pieces up or down. I focused on solid color blouses (I already had tons of print blouses so I definitely didn’t need anymore), work-appropriate jeans (nothing with holes or printed, only solid washes), solid color sweaters, solid color t-shirts, and versatile work-appropriate shoes (for me this meant non-athletic sneakers and Chelsea boots)

Here are some of the places I recommend buying pieces from to begin building the foundation to your wardrobe:


I absolutely love Uniqlo. Their stuff is great quality and very affordable, I have never been disappointed in the quality of anything I buy here. They’re also very good at having a large assortment of solid colors and basic articles of clothing. Whenever I find a top I like that is versatile and I know I’ll wear it a lot – I can probably buy it in 5 different colors at Uniqlo.

I highly recommend this Rayon blouse, they sell it in a variety of colors and it’s perfect for work and can also be dressed down a bit for a more casual setting.

I also have a few of their basic t-shirts because they’re comfortable, great quality, and come in so many different colors:

I practically live in turtle necks from November-February so these are must have. Once again – they come in many colors and they’re affordable!


The clothing selection for both women and men is really great and I always find new stuff when I go (which is pretty often). Target has definitely upped their clothing game over the years because it’s not what it used to be and I am here for it!

With the colder weather in the air, it’s important to have a few sweaters in your closet. I love these sweaters, they’re simple yet stylish so they’re very versatile for both work and everyday life:

Turtleneck sweater

Mock Neck sweater


In all honesty, H&M can be a hit or miss. Some of their items don’t always have the best quality but if you do some digging and read product reviews, you’ll find some great pieces. I’ve done a lot of research to find great fitting and affordable jeans and the jeans below are pretty high on my list for both factors. I absolutely love the Levi’s 501 original fit jeans but they’re on the pricier end and these are my alternative pick at H&M:

These Slim Mom High Jeans – they come in a few different washes

And these Vintage Slim High Ankle Jeans – these also come in different washes

Doc Martens

Ok, these Black Chelsea Boots might not be the most frugal purchase I’ve ever made but they are worth every penny and I’ll tell you why.

Chelsea boots are a staple in my wardrobe for the fall and winter so I wear them for about half of the year. They’re perfect for work and I love wearing them out. I’ve owned many other Chelsea boots and the quality just isn’t the same. They end up getting worn out or the black color becomes faded really quickly and I end up needing a new pair every year. These have lasted me 2 years so far and I’m sure will last another 2 years. They’re a little tough to break in at first but once you’ve worn them a few times, you’ll find they’re very comfortable and keep your feet warm in the colder months.


Their leather sneakers are both cute and functional. They have a lot of casual shoes that are great for work but can also be dressed up a bit. They would look great with any outfit, I’ve worn mine with jeans, dresses, leggings, sweatpants – you name it!


You can basically find anything on Amazon at this point but I’m a big fan of the Amazon Essentials brands. They have very affordable items and I haven’t purchased anything that disappointed me. You can find great basics for your wardrobe like these joggers:

Having staple and basic pieces for your wardrobe is essential to always find an outfit to wear. This also helps you spend less money because you’ll have a functional wardrobe and won’t always feel the need to buy more stuff!


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