Achieve the Model Off-Duty Look With Our Editor Pant

Clothing Basics Every Woman Needs In Her Closet


Restocking your wardrobe with trendy pieces each season is fun. But the truth is, without the right foundation, new clothes actually make getting dressed even harder. Getting out the door easily and stylishly comes together quicker with the right wardrobe foundations. High-quality pieces that fit you well, pair with anything and work season to season. Ahead are ten wardrobe basics you can turn to again and again, restyle and accessorize, and make your own life easier, one outfit at a time. 

1. Jeans


Quality, well-fitting jeans work as a foundational clothing basic. Look for something with stretch; jeans should never leave you feeling hemmed in or restricted. A medium wash jean with a high rise and a straight leg is probably the most versatile and classic fit. Depending on the season and your own personal style, you can play with the wash (light, dark, black, gray) and the fit (cropped, wide, bootcut).


Express Womens Jeans
Express Womens Button Down Shirts

2. Button-Down Shirt


Some call it a button-down shirt. We call it a Portofino shirt, and as we see it, it’s the best button-down shirt out there. Thanks to a crisp and pointed collar, concealed buttons and long sleeves convertible with button cuffs, it’s both polished and unfussy. The straight hem hits just below the hips, perfect for tucking or wearing it out. Plan to wear it with trousers and a blazer at work, or casually with jeans.

3. Pullover Sweater


No we aren’t talking scratchy, bulky sweaters. Look for something breathable and machine washable, with an open weave and an easy fit, and then wear it all the time. A pullover sweater is excellent layered over tees and button-ups and under blazers, and it’s cute atop a flowy dress, either over your shoulders or around your waist.


Express Womens Pullover Sweaters
Express Womens White Tee

4. White Tee


If you’re doing it right, a white t-shirt is probably the piece you reach for most often. We’re big fans of the no-nonsense white tee—cotton, crewneck, with a longer fit and that can be tucked into high waisted pants, shorts or shirts. But the cool thing about white tees is the ability to customize. Maybe you’re a v-neck person. Or maybe you’re looking for a bit of shape, like the tees in our Body Contour collection. Find one that fits, and reach for it readily.

5. Little Black Dress


There’s no single formula for a perfect little black dress, although it should fit you well, and be timeless enough to dress up or down. For the most versatile little black dress, think about an A-line mini dress, a wrap or a high-neck shift. And you’ll get the most use from it if you avoid ruffles, complicated straps and fussy fabrics like tulle or taffeta. Natural fabrics like cotton, linen or wool-blends will give you the most wear.


Express Womens Little Black Dress
Express Womens Dress Pants

6. Dress Pants


Our decades-famous Editor Pant is a flat-front trouser with a closely tailored look and stretch-infused fabric that’s ultra-soft. Choose the leg shape that’s right for you—bootcut, flare, straight or skinny—and then find the rise that you’re after. Once you’ve locked down the perfect Editor Pant, dress pants can become a go-to basic, and we’re absolutely not just talking about the office. Worn with casual pieces like tanks, tees and sneakers, dress pants are ideal for everyday outfits, too.

7. Lightweight Jacket


Whether it’s a bomber jacket or a denim one, a lightweight jacket—that is, one that can be thrown over dresses, button-ups and t-shirts, no matter the season—is a crucial wardrobe basic. A tailored and tight cropped fit looks great with skirts and dresses, but roomier, off–the-shoulder jackets look particularly sharp paired with surprising pieces, like tailored trousers or silky skirts.


Express Womens Lightweight Jacket
Express Womens Blazer

8. Blazer


Chances are you think “workwear,” and a blazer is first on your list. But the truth is, a blazer has become an indispensable style staple that’s absolutely not reserved for Monday-Friday outfits. We’re big fans of blazers, either single or double-breasted and loose enough through the torso and length so that it doesn’t pull when you reach or bend. Plan to wear yours over dresses, belted with skirts or with your favorite pair of skinny jeans. A blazer is also great as a casual layer draped over your shoulders, too. 

9. Dress Shoes


The best high heel is one that you’ll actually wear. So skip the soaring stilettos for something stable and comfortable, like a sturdy pump with a gently tapered toe and a cushioned footbed. We’re big fans of heels when you’d least expect them, like with dress shorts, jeans or casual dresses.


Express Womens Dress Shoes
Express Womens Sneakers

10. Sneakers


Lucky for us—and for our feet—sneakers have never been hotter. A low-top white pair with a flat rubber sole is a go-to; colorful neutrals with chunkier soles can also add personality to simple looks.