Clothing Basics Checklist: Timeless All-Season Wardrobe

Often, the clothing basics checklist ‘s that you see on Pinterest are very short. They’re modelled after the 10-piece French wardrobe, a minimalist’s closet, or a capsule wardrobe. In certain climates, having a closet with only 20 pieces is really difficult.

Up here in Canada, we get all four seasons in full force. After failing to find a closet checklist with some of my most essential items, I felt inspired to create my own.

Clothing Basics Checklist for a timeless all-seasons wardrobe. 100 items complete closet list for a classic style.

Much of this list are things that I own, wear, and love already. While I do sway from the list from time to time, I know my dollars are most valuably spent on these items. They are pieces I tend to invest in because I know that I’ll have them for years to come.

Your list will look different from mine based on climate and personal taste. For example, I have winter AND summer maxi and midi dresses on my list. I feel most comfortable in these pieces. You might be inclined to swap those items out for mini dresses, or a jean skirt and shorts, or even just more pants.

I’ve starred some items and written about why I chose them or what they are and added images for greater elaboration. The explanations are down below.

So without further ado, here is my

Clothing Basics Checklist

Shoes:

A pair of classic nude patent pumps. Should be a staple in every woman's closet. These are Calvin Klein from DSW.

Cooler Weather

  • Winter boots
  • Rain boots
  • Ankle boots 
  • Sock boots* 
  • Hiking boots
  • OTK boots*
  • Formal winter heel 
  • Heeled bootie
  • Warm slipper

Warmer Weather

  • Classic sneaker*
  • Loafer
  • Leather flat*
  • Neutral heel 
  • Neutral flat
  • Running shoe*
  • Fancy heel
  • Leather strappy sandal*
  • Leather heeled sandal
  • Slides*
  • Woven flat*
  • Formal strappy heel
  • Summer slipper*

Bottoms

  • Dark skinny jeans
  • Casual jeans
  • High-waisted skirt (summer)
  • High-waisted skirt (winter)
  • Non-denim pants**
  • Opaque tights
  • Leggings
  • Summer pants**
Styling a classic wardrobe. 100 clothing basics checklist for a timeless all-seasons closet. Button down striped shirt with made well denim.
Styling a classic wardrobe. 100 clothing basics checklist for a timeless all-seasons closet. Button down striped shirt with made well denim.

Tops

  • Neutral tee 
  • Neutral long-sleeve
  • Button down**
  • Cream sweater
  • Cardigan
  • Cashmere sweater
  • Sleeveless top
  • Silk camisole
  • Long sleeve blouse
  • Thick wool sweater
  • Turtleneck

Dresses/Jumpsuits

  • Maxi dress (winter)***
  • Maxi dress (summer)***
  • Midi dress (winter)***
  • Midi dress (summer)***
  • Formal neutral dress***
  • Jumpsuit (winter)***
  • Jumpsuit (summer)***
  • Flowy sundress
100 Clothing Basics Checklist that every woman needs. The prettiest classic wardrobe items for a timeless look.
Clothing Basics Checklist. 100 items that every woman needs in her closet for a classic, timeless look. Modelled after the capsule wardrobe and the French wardrobe.
100 Clothing Basics that every woman needs in her wardrobe. Basics for every season and occasion.

Outerwear

  • Rain coat
  • Denim jacket
  • Leather jacket
  • Blazer (oversized)
  • Blazer (fitted)
  • Trench
  • Long wool coat****
  • Pea coat
  • Dressy coat
  • Toque***
  • Mittens***

Accessories

  • Neutral handbag
  • Crossbody bag
  • Formal handbag
  • Beret
  • Winter hat****
  • Sun hat
  • Simple necklace
  • Simple stud earrings
  • Watch
  • Leather belt
  • Waist belt
  • Statement earrings
  • Statement ring
  • Neck scarf****
  • Wool scarf
  • Gloves
  • Tote bag
  • Classic sunglasses
  • Fun sunglasses
  • Summer handbag
  • Sarong****

Others

  • Bathing suit
  • Snowsuit
  • PJ set
  • Rain coat
  • Umbrella
  • Wool socks
  • Perfume
  • Gym top
  • Sports bra
  • Gym bottoms
  • Gym sweater
  • Loungewear set
  • Long underwear
  • Socks
  • Underwear (black, nude, fancy)
  • Bras (black, nude, fancy)
  • Shapewear (black & nude)
  • Backpack
  • Luggage set
Loungewear basics for cozy days at home. A very hygge outfit and bedroom.
Loungewear staples.
Hanging at home in my favourite loungewear. Clothing Basics Checklist. Topknot with cardigan and joggers.

So there you have my 100 clothing basics checklist. Yes, you read that right, 100 items! Now imagine adding trendy pieces on top of that. Ugh, having four seasons is hard.

*Explaining the clothing basics checklist (shoes):

I’ve divided the shoes between warmer and cooler weather, rather than summer/winter, because some shoes I tend to wear year round. They’re really more weather dependent than seasonal.

Sock boots are on the list lately with wide-legged pants dominating trends, because you really can’t pull them off in the winter without a tight-fitting boot.

OTK (or Over The Knee) boots are more flattering on me than boots that hit just below my knee, but that’s a personal preference. A tall boot of any kind works well in their place.

100 clothing basics checklist. Winter wardrobe essentials for Canadians.
Ankle boots with a cropped demi-boot.
Classic French style wardrobe basics. OTK boots with mini dress and beret.
OTK (Over The Knee) boots that have fallen down 🙁 – still cute though.

A classic sneaker, for me, is anything from an Adidas to a converse, whatever fits with your style; a running shoe is something you might wear to the gym.

I chose a leather strappy sandal instead of flip-flops (I never wear flip-flops). Slides I’ve been on the fence about, not sure if I’d consider them a basic yet. A woven flat could be any breathable shoe that’s covered, but summer appropriate.

Clothing Basics Checklist. Perfect pieces for spring & summer 2019.

A lighter pair of slippers (or house shoes) are great for traveling. My heavy winter sheepskin pair is a bit much for summer weather, but sometimes having your feet covered is nice.

I wanted to note that while I have specified leather on my list, it doesn’t mean you have to. I prefer leather because it’s breathable and wears well. Nowadays, there are some amazing vegan alternatives to leather that aren’t very expensive.

**Explaining the clothing basics checklist (bottoms & tops):

Non-denim pants are great to have; they are traditionally a business-appropriate option. Other benefits: are more comfortable than jeans, perfect for traveling. I really enjoy having a pair of summer pants, made of something lightweight like linen. Usually another great item for traveling: linen pants can be a modest alternative to shorts.

Summer wardrobe basics for a classic style.
Throwback photo, but these are still my favourite linen pants.

In my first draft, I had two different button-downs: winter and summer. I prefer button-downs to tee’s because I think they look more put together, but that’s probably just me. Give me one in every colour!

***Explaining the clothing basics checklist (dresses):

If you scrolled here to figure out why I basically starred every item in this category, I just wanted to remind you: you have options! I just don’t find mini lengths flattering on me, but you do you.

Midi length dresses are so flattering and should be in every woman's closet basics checklist.

The neutral formal dress IS basically a LBD (little black dress), but I didn’t want you to think you should limit yourself to one colour. It’s 2019 after all. Why not have a LRD (little red dress) or a MND (mid-length navy dress) or even a PPS (pink pantsuit)?!

Forever wearing jumpsuits. Updated closet basics checklist for 2019.

Personally I could LIVE in a jumpsuit. So having a heavier winter one and a lighter summer one is useful to me. Some great fabrics to consider: velvet vs linen, wool vs cotton, corduroy vs silk.

****Explaining the clothing basics checklist (outerwear & accessories) :

A long wool coat could be replaced with a puffer jacket or another equivalent. The idea is to stay as warm as possible while still looking and feeling your best! I wrote a post on how to stay warm in the winter without having to own a ridiculously large winter jacket, check it out here.

Classic all-weather wardrobe. London Fog Trench coat and  hunter rain boots.
This coat will never go out of style.

I’ve added a toque and mittens to the outerwear category because I didn’t feel they are an accessory, but rather an extension to a coat.

Clothing Basics Checklist. Winter wardrobe essentials for every Canadian.

This winter hat is not a toque or a beanie, think sun hat but in felt fabric.

You know those neck scarves that flight attendants traditionally wore? That’s what I’m talking about. They’re really great for tying up your hair, adding a pop of colour to a handbag, or creating a bracelet when you don’t have one!

Sarong’s are lightweight, can double as scarves OR towels when necessary. Basically one of the only clothing items you need when on a beach vacation. Felt this item needed it’s own spotlight.

Final Remarks

My clothing basics checklist is something that I put together for my own reference. I keep it handy on my phone, so that whenever I’m out shopping I can stay on track and not buy anything unnecessary or that I already have. Keeping the list to a nice even number, 100, is just a fun bonus.

Clothing Basics Checklist. 100 Items for a timeless all-seasons wardrobe.

I hope you find this list valuable. Remember that it’s just a guideline, and it can change to suit your needs.

It might seem wasteful or excessive to have 100 things in your closet, but I challenge you to count up the amount of items that you have right now. I guarantee the number will be a lot higher than you think. This list is a mindful way to control the number of things you buy, and actually create less waste in the long run by purchasing quality items that you can have forever. By putting thought into each item you purchase and knowing it will have a place in your closet, you will never run out of things to wear and you will love every item in your wardrobe.

Do you have any additions, changes, or ideas for this list? Anything that surprised you? Let me know in the comments!

8 Comments

  1. February 28, 2019 / 3:52 am

    THIS IS WHAT I NEED!!! I need to step up my cold weather and outerwear clothes! I always feel so sloppy and gross in the winter, but I think it is because I put less effort into my wardrobe for the colder seasons.

    • catekittlitz
      Author
      March 5, 2019 / 4:54 am

      Thank you for reading! Totally! Winter fashion is so underrated. It’s important to focus on heavier fabrics but the options are endless.

  2. February 28, 2019 / 4:16 pm

    I love this post Cate! I found the same thing, people were always sharing lists with 20 pieces max, and I feel like on certain winter days, I’m wearing 20 pieces in ONE DAY! It’s just not realistic. I love all the pieces you’ve shared here. I definitely tend to gravitate towards pants rather than dresses, but I’m trying to change that because I LOVE dresses! We’ll see how well that works out!
    xx Victoria
    http://www.thevicversion.com

    • catekittlitz
      Author
      March 5, 2019 / 4:55 am

      Thank you so much! I agree, it’s crazy how much you can layer on in the winter. I try to remember my love for dresses more in the winter because they’re just so comfortable!

  3. March 3, 2019 / 10:58 am

    Love your style and am totally impressed that you’ve managed to come up with a comprehensive list in under 100 items for all 4 seasons. Glad we only have summer here in tropical Singapore. Dressing for the season is so much easier here!

    • catekittlitz
      Author
      March 5, 2019 / 4:57 am

      Thank you so much! I am jealous…that would make my life so much easier (and affordable haha)

  4. March 4, 2019 / 1:05 pm

    Can you please just be my personal stylist? lol, but for real Cate your style is so comfy chic, love it!

    • catekittlitz
      Author
      March 5, 2019 / 4:58 am

      Haha thank you!! Comfy chic is what I strive for 🙂

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