how to dress better using your basics with a striped dress and black blazer

18 Tried and Tested Ways on How To Dress Better Using Your Basics

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The unsung heroes in fashion are wardrobe basics. No matter what your personal style is, a basic white t-shirt, a sweater, and a pair of jeans are wardrobe essentials you need. If you find yourself stumped trying to find a stylish outfit each time you get dressed, it’s most likely because you are ignoring the basic pieces in your closet. You don’t need to buy new trends to achieve a great style; It’s all about learning how to dress better using your basics. If you are not sure how to style your evergreen clothes, follow the tips below!

1. Mix Your Seasonal Items

Just because it’s fall doesn’t mean you have to pack your summer wrap dress away. You can save a ton of money by being creative and mixing your existing items with your other seasonal clothes. No matter the season, there are different ways you can style your versatile pieces.

When the weather starts to cool down, you can pair your summer straw bag with your fall outfit. You could also team up your winter peacoat with your spring wrap dress. Once you start to see your clothing items as not being restricted to just one temperature, you’ll find that a lot of your pieces can seamlessly transition from season to season.

When you mix your seasonal basic items, you create a stylish look without having to buy anything new!

2. Get Creative With Layering

One of the many basics that make up a solid closet is outerwear. Whether you have a beige trench coat, cashmere cardigan, or blazer, these classic styles are perfect for layering.

But if you want to upgrade your outfit, why just stop at layering once? Double up on your outerwear! For example, you can use a cardigan as a starting point for your outfit and pop a belted trench coat on top.

This styling trick takes advantage of all your basics and doesn’t cost you anything to elevate your look.

3. Plan Out Your Outfits Ahead of Time

The secret to learning how to dress better using your basics? Three words: A good plan. It’s the answer to dressing up every morning stress-free. Deciding what type of outfit you want to put together the day before can help you figure out what basics you need.

Create a “what to wear” checklist in your notes app. You could include a section for tops, bottoms, and accessories to make your plan more organized. For even more ideas on how to make getting dressed in the morning easier, check out the post below.

Related: 6 Tips to Make Getting Dressed in the Morning Easier

4. Keep an Organized Closet

Ever wondered why you keep having those “I don’t have anything to wear” days? Part of the reason could be that you haven’t honed in on your signature style yet, but a large majority of the reason could be that your closet might not be as organized as it could be.

If your closet has jumbled-up clothes, it would be hard to find the everyday basics you need to make your outfit better. One great way of keeping an organized closet is by arranging them in different colors.

That way if you feel like wearing a black shirt, you know just where to look. Whatever organizational system you decide on will make such a huge difference to your closet and finding all your basics will be a breeze.

Because after all, how can you dress better using your basics if you don’t even know where they are or where to look?

5. Add Layers to Your Outfit

Double layering your outerwear is a surefire way to dress better, but you don’t always have to walk out the door in two coats to look stylish. And for those that live in warmer climates, that’s not even a possibility for you!

But popping on simple layers to an outfit will improve your overall look. If your everyday outfits are starting to feel boring, add a high-quality blazer or scarf to bring new life to your outfit.

Another style tip to try is to add solid color layers to an outfit. Go for tonal neutral colors for an elegant look. You could try light and dark shades of grey or beige to create a chic finish.

6. Mix Unexpected Pieces

Wearing basics doesn’t have to be boring! Think outside of the box when it comes to your wardrobe basics. You can be creative and put together some unique looks.

For example, joggers can get a classy vibe with a blazer and a turtleneck. You can also dress up your biker shorts with chunky loafers for a polished look.

7. Layer Your Necklaces

Layered necklaces almost always make any outfit look more effortlessly stylish. Not sure how to stack your jewelry? An easy way to layer your necklaces like a pro is to style a series of 3 (but 2 also works). You don’t want to add too many necklaces at once because your outfit will look disheveled.

For the best look, these necklaces should all have equal spacing between them so they don’t feel jumbled and look tangled on top of each other.

As an example, the first necklace could be a statement piece. Perhaps, it could be a chain or pendant necklace. This dominant piece should be placed at the top for an attention-grabbing look. The next two necklaces should be dainty and simple as this helps your stack of necklaces look balanced.

8. Wear a Hat

Every woman needs an all-year-round hat (or several) to wear with any outfit. Whether it is a bucket hat, beret, or wool fedora, you can use it your elevate a casual look or to complete your formal wear.

9. Match Your Shoes to Your Top

Your best bet to learning how to dress better with basics is matching your shoes and top. It’s a simple way of looking instantly chic!

For example, if you have a black blazer with gold buttons in your closet, then slip on a pair of black mule slides that have a gold bar for a coordinated and polished look.

10. Coordinate Your Accessories

Speaking of coordinating-do you have a gold watch and gold earrings in your jewelry collection? Coordinate these accessories to give your outfit an instant upgrade.

This style tip of matching your hardware and coordinating your accessories throughout your outfit will make your entire ensemble look well-thought-out.

Related: How To Build a Jewelry Collection: 11 Must-Have Timeless Pieces

11. Wear Clothes That Fit You Well

It may seem simple, but dressing better in your basics means you’re wearing basics that fit you well. It’s important to wear clothes you look good in…and feel good in!

You don’t have to get out of your comfort zone to dress better either. Pick clothes that highlight your best features and make you feel comfortable and confident. As cliche as it may sound, your inner confidence will shine through and that will make your whole outfit look better.

12. Balance Out Your Outfit

One key to making a basic outfit feel stylish and balanced is by balancing out your outfit by choosing pieces that suit your body type.

For example, if you have a rectangle shape, picking a flowy top and flowy skirt will not complement your body type. Instead, wear a fitted top to accentuate your waist and a flowy skirt to balance out your fitted top.

Balance out your outfit by keeping proportions in mind, but keep your body type in mind first too!

13. Always Add an Accessory, Even if It’s Simple

The next time you are planning your outfit, don’t forget to add a classy and simple accessory.

Whether it is a crossbody bag, chic sunglasses, or a pendant necklace, a simple accessory is what you need to improve your style and upgrade your basic pieces.

14. Embrace a Monochromatic Look

A monochromatic look is always a good idea, especially versatile year-round shades like solid neutrals. These classic colors are the epitome of chic.

If you want to dress better using your basics, then pick a beige (or whatever neutral color best suits your complexion) tee to wear with beige dress pants for an outfit that will look so expensive and classy!

15. Try a Half-Tucked Shirt

For a frump-free look and an elevated twist on your basic oversized clothes, take a little bit of extra time to style your shirt.

Do the half-tuck (or full-tuck, front-tuck) to achieve a fashionable undone look. The end result is a refreshing style trick that makes your existing clothes feel a tad more stylish.

Related: Fight the Frump: 12 Easy Ways You Can Fix Your Frumpy Outfits

16. Purge Your Closet

It’s time to get rid of the clothes that don’t excite you anymore. If your closet has too many items you are lukewarm about, get rid of them and make space for your new basics. The tank tops and cashmere sweaters buried in your closet deserve a better spot!

Making room for clothing pieces that are versatile and timeless will make getting dressed up hassle-free and allow you to create better outfits using your basics since you’re only selecting from the winners.

17. Stick to the 3 Color Rule for a Classic Look

Adding too many colors to an outfit can downgrade a look from chic to confusing. For a classic look, follow the three-color rule (preferably neutrals). Just remember: Not only do these colors have to complement each other, but they also have to look good on your skin tone too.

This is certainly not a rule you have to follow 24/7, but if you’re feeling in a style rut with your basics, it’s a great way to make them feel polished and chic again.

18. Take the Time To Fix and Straighten Your Outfit Before Leaving the House

When you are in a rush (or simply too tired) in the morning, it’s easy to leave the house without straightening up. You might not notice that your buttons are uneven, your shirt is inside out, or you have a foundation stain on your shirt collar.

Take at least 3 minutes in front of your entryway mirror to straighten up for a better look. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make the biggest impact.

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The kind of fashion advice most people give is to buy current trends. But the reality is, you don’t have to. Knowing how to dress better using your existing basics can create endless impeccable looks!

But you can’t dress better using your basics if you don’t even have any. If you’re looking for a quality place to start shopping for basics, check out this review: Everlane Sustainable Clothing Review | Good Basics for Your Wardrobe?

white t-shirt summer outfit
How to dress better using basics
Carolyn Arentson
Carolyn is the founder and creator behind My Chic Obsession. When she's not dreaming up new content, you can find her watching a funny tv show with her husband, raising her two boys, or planning her next trip to Paris.