The Best Wardrobe Basics for Women

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Welcome to your closet-essentials HQ — we’ve got more basics than Gap. Photo: AFP/AFP/Getty Images

These days, basic has become something of an insult, but we’ve never used it that way. It’s why we’ve always made it our mission to sniff out these wardrobe building blocks, like the flattering white T-shirts, the leg-lengthening jeans, or the white sneakers that kick up everything. Below, the very best of your closet fundamentals.

The Best White T-shirts for Women

A great white T-shirt can mean something different for everyone (or every mood). We talked to 15 different stylish women about their favorites, whether they like it tucked, filmy, slouchy, or opaque beyond belief.

Read more about the best white T-shirts for women.

The Best White Button-Down Shirts for Women

We talked to a bunch of stylish women about the best white button-down shirts they’ve ever found — these are their picks, from the oversized to the slightly sheer to the totally straightforward.

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The Best Jeans for Women

Maybe you’re a fan of the high-waisted, ankle-cropped look that’s so of-the-moment — maybe you prefer a skinny dark wash instead. No matter what, there’s something chosen by the 15 women we spoke to (including two Strategist editors) that you’ll love.

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The Best Jeans for Petite Women

We sourced the best jeans to flatter small-statured women by way of petite style blogger Kileen Valenzuela. From affordable to high-waisted, and even a pair of maternity jeans, we’ve found five favorites.

Read more about the best jeans for petite women.

The Best Black Leggings for Women

Photo: Bettmann/Bettmann Archive

Writer Alison Freer lives in black tights and has tried nearly every pair on the market — these six pairs the ones she swears by.

Read more about the best black tights for women.

The Best Pregnancy Pants

Struggling for comfort, writer Jessica Silvester sought out the best leggings at seven months pregnant. “Think of ranunculus petals. Think of the bear from the Downy commercials. Think of your skin post–Korean face mask, or the superior tissues that Oprah must blow her nose with. I bought two pairs of the Align, have worn them almost every day since, and plan to do so every day hence.”

Read more about the best pregnancy pants.

The Best Work Pants for Women

Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

All this time, we thought the story of the pants that were flattering on everyone was an urban myth, but it turns out, they exist. We found the black, slim-ankle pants that are the Spanx of fancy pants.

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The Best Elastic-Waist Pants for Women

If you’re looking for a pull-on pant that is not athletic nor meant for a workout, here, writer Melissa Seley has amassed a notable collection. Often high-waisted, soft, and incredibly chic, these are several of her favorite pairs.

Read more about the best elastic-waist pants for women.

The Best Sweatpants for Women

Writer Sierra Tishgart found a pair of sweatpants that are as flattering as they are comfortable. “They’re the kind of pants you feel so good in that you want to actually go outside into the real world, just so you can strut. Once, I felt so outrageously confident in them that I put on a sports bra and walked around the West Village half-naked, like Sporty Spice.”

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The Best Uniform Jumpsuit

If you’re looking for a cute and affordable coverall-style jumpsuit, the Five Rock Poplin Short Sleeve Unlined Coveralls is your answer. Friendly for all seasons and in a variety of colors, this piece can be worn constantly.

Read more about the best uniform jumpsuit.

The Best Bag for Everyday Use

The perfect bag walks a tightrope — it should be professional but not boring; luxurious but not extravagant; big but not tentlike. This Baggu bag checks all the boxes.

Read more about the best everyday bag.

The Best Silk Blouse

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

An ultraflattering silk shirt for work, after-hours drinks, or museum-hopping on the weekend. So versatile, our writer bought them in four different colors.

Read more about the best silk blouse.

The Best Gray T-shirt

Writer Alex Ronan found a perfect gray shirt that she’s worn more than any other she owns. “The material — a blend of polyester, cotton, and rayon — felt incredibly soft, and it hung — or draped, rather — in a flowy, expensive-seeming way. I felt powerless under its spell.”

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The Best Turtlenecks for Women

What writer Hilary Reid likes most about the fall season: turtlenecks. “If there’s such a thing as a ‘face-framing’ haircut, I’d say a turtleneck is a face-framing shirt. It’s like a pedestal for your face. Any turtleneck collection should be broken into three categories: staying-in turtlenecks, leaving-the-house turtlenecks, and going-out turtlenecks.” Here are her favorites.

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The Best Cashmere Sweater for Women

A good cashmere sweater not only hits in all the right spots — at the waist, wrist, and shoulders — but flatters your collarbone and feels like a warm hug all through winter. Our style director Rebecca Ramsey found one in the most unlikely place.

Read more about the best cashmere sweater for women.

The Best Black Shirt for Women

Can a single clothing item actually go with everything? When it’s perfectly cut and made of buttery silk and (this is key) black, it certainly can. You’ll want to wear it every day.

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The Best Camisole

Writer Sadie Stein had her life changed when she found the Yummie by Heather Thomson Shelf Cami. “For starters, the straps are adjustable; they can also be converted to a tasteful cross-back. What’s more, the gossamer-fine fabric does not do that cruel, upward-squishing thing to the underarms. I can walk about feeling confident and secure.”

Read more about the best camisole.

The Best Bras

Whether you need extra support for the day or a workout, or perhaps you just want something sweet or sexy, we’ve collected the opinions of experts and real women who have found their favorite bras. This selection of 11 of the best bras cover every type of boob and occasion.

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The Best Invisible Underwear

If you’re in search of undergarments that don’t peek through your pants, a costume designer told us about the underwear that disappears underneath form-fitting clothes.

Read more about the best invisible underwear.

The Best Underwear for Women

We asked 15 women — stylists, rappers, models, actresses, creative directors, and designers — on the underwear they keep stocked and stashed. With a full range of preferences (organic cotton, G-string, no-show), there’s a panty for every situation.

Read more about the best underwear for women.

The Best Socks for Women

We asked several women (stylists, store owners, a rapper, a costume designer) about the socks they love to wear. From what looks best with a knee-high boot to what works best for a long run, we get specific.

Read more about the best socks for women.

The Most Flattering Clothes for Women

From a sheer top to go out in to an elongating pencil skirt for work or play, we talked to 15 women about the most flattering pieces in their wardrobes. We aim to find those clothes that fill you with just the right about of pride.

Read more about the most flattering clothes for women.

The Best Stan Smith Sneakers

If your preferred pair of shoes is some white Adidas Stan Smiths, we went and found 30-some of the best pairs you can buy online.

Read more about the best Stan Smiths you can find on the internet.

The Strategist is a new site designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best notebook, black T-shirts, fashion-editor-approved jeans, toothbrush, and apartment décor. Note that all prices are subject to change.

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The Best Wardrobe Basics for Women