Wardrobe Must Haves: Top Fashion Basics for Men & Women

Written by Ashley Hargrove on May 20, 2014 No Comments

fashion must have

In the initial phases of working with a new client one common question arises: What are the most important foundational pieces needed in order to anchor a stylish wardrobe? In every collection there are anchor pieces that form the basis of a person’s style.

Here are my favorite must-have foundational wardrobe basics for both men and women. Timeless everyday wear articles and accessories to keep you looking great!

Let’s start with the men

Suit and sport coats – All men need at least one well-tailored suit for special occasions and events. For most men I recommend the timeless black or gray single-breasted suit. I advise most clients to choose a classic cut that won’t go out of style. That way you’ll only need to change your shirt and tie to keep your look fresh and up-to-date.  Focus on purchasing something that can also be worn with dressier jeans and loafers.

suit image

Blue/White Button-Down Shirt – A dressy white shirt is a must-have article for suits or simply paired with dress pants. It’s a classic article that will never go out of style.

One Great Tie – Ties play a huge part in bringing a suite together. Although you should have a variety of ties in your collection it’s advisable to purchase at least one new, sensational tie per year as trends change frequently.

Black (or brown) Leather Shoes + Black (or brown) BeltClassic leather shoes will last at least a year or two while a leather belt will most likely last a lifetime. Make sure to pair these two together often— and don’t forget to sport some fun socks!


Jeans – The main anchor for the casual portion of a man’s wardrobe. The key with buying a great pair of jeans you can wear casual and more on the formal side is to purchase a darker pair that has a wider leg.

White and Black T-Shirt – Paired with a nice pair of jeans and you have an outfit that you’ll be able to wear every day of the week without anybody noticing. The simple jeans/T-shirt combo was quoted the hottest look in the latest issue of InStyle Magazine!!

Watches A watch is the only piece of jewelry any man really needs. A timepiece, like shoes, can say a lot about a man’s personality and fashion sense.  You are going to be wearing this EVERY day, so SPLURGE!!!! Get a nice watch that you can show off and have for the rest of your life.  Nice watches are investments and they will always go up in value.

mens watch

One Favorite Sweater – Every man has one sweater that he’ll wear again and again, regardless of how many times it’s been worn. Make sure you have at least one favorite sweater handy that makes you feel good and bails you out when you can’t figure out what to wear.

Now, must have basics for the ladies!

White T-Shirt or Blouse – They go with everything! You can dress them up or down and you can wear them season after season.

Black Leggings/Leather Pants – Must have! These can be worn with oversized sweaters when you want to be warm and comfy, or dress them up with heels, a cute top and a blazer.  Good leather leggings do cost a pretty penny but they are definitely worth it.  Leather never goes out of style.

Ballet Flats – The shoe that gives you the best of both worlds: stylish but comfier and more practical than heels. You can wear these all day every day.

womens flat

A Great Handbag – Here’s a favorite tip: always purchase one nice leather bag per year that won’t become unfashionable when transitioning into a new season. A good rule of thumb is to keep an eye on specific designers that NEVER have their classic bags go on sale – Chanel, Louis Vuitton, etc.

The Little Black Dress – Absolutely timeless and will NEVER go out of style.  My favorite option that looks flattering on practically every body type is sheath and peplum style dresses.

little black dress

Leather Jacket – Always season-less and timeless. Plus, leather jackets can be worn with anything and everything; just like your white shirt/blouse.  This is definitely something to save a pay a little more for. Leather jackets will last you a lifetime if properly cared for.

Classic Leather Heels – Splurge on a great pair of black pumps.  They will be your go-to year after year and can be worn to work every day or on a fancy date.

Dark Skinny Jeans – Dark skinnies can do wonders to a woman’s wardrobe and their body.  Not only are they slimming, but they look great with every color and every type of shoe.

Jewelry – While there are so many types of fun jewelry out there I wouldn’t recommend overdoing it on a ton of trendy jewelry.  Focus on key pieces that will last forever and appreciate in value.  My first recommendation would be a great watch.  Chanel and Cartier are two of my favorites that are always in style. Not only do they look great they also hold their value well year after year which is a major plus for resale.

Ashley Hargrove

DTK Austin Styling owner, Ashley Hargrove, is a leading wardrobe stylist in her home state of Texas and has taken her experience outside of Austin to LA, Chicago, Colorado and Canada for major productions. Ashley specializes in styling artists of all spectra including but not limited to models, musicians, radio hosts, TV personalities as well as personal styling. Her work has been featured on Dancing With the Stars and in Healthé Trim ads, global ad campaigns and commercials; A&E's Modern Dads, T-Mobile, Panasonic, Bounty Paper Towels, Western Union, TopGolf, and Dell. She has been published in magazines such as, ESPN, Avid Golfer, Study Breaks, Texas Music Magazine, and Story Chicago. Ashley is currently the lead wardrobe stylist for Austin Woman Magazine, ATX Man Magazine as well as a monthly contributor to Austin Fit Magazine.

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