HomeFashionThe 13 basics every wardrobe needs – and where to buy them

The 13 basics every wardrobe needs – and where to buy them


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From the perfect plain T-shirt to classic jeans and best trench, Irish stylists and fashionistas share for their tried-and-true high-street and high-end staples

These are the foundations of many of our everyday outfits, versatile staples that can be dressed up or down, and you want to invest in reliable options that will stand the test of time.

1. The Tee: Fits Everybody T-shirt, €58, Skims

Skims Fits Everybody T-shirt

“This would be my basic top. I have one in all the base colours — black, brown and grey — and I just wear them with every single thing,” says TV presenter and model Katja Mia (@katja_miaa). “You can wear it over or tuck it in, and they go really well with blazers, shirts and coats, so all throughout the year, you’re wearing them.”

With short sleeves and a crew neck, the T-shirt is made from a polyamide-elastane blend for a second-skin feel, and caters to sizes XXS-4XL. “It fits so well because of the stretch, and it’s got that butter softness,” Mia says. “It’s that kind of material like you get from Spanx or tights, so it really will hold you in, but at the same time, it’s really comfortable and really soft on your body.”

2. The long-sleeved tee: T-shirt, €25, Arket

Arket T-shirt

“If people are on a budget, Arket always does really good T-shirt basics, in lots of different colours. Arket does a long-sleeved T-shirt that I really like because it’s great all year round,” says fashion stylist Corina Gaffey (@corinagaffey), who counts Vogue Williams, Amy Huberman and Loah among her clients.

“I kind of veer towards long sleeves because I think it’s a better layering option — it works under blazers, and it works on its own as well. I prefer the silhouette and it’s a little bit more oversized. The Arket ones wash really well too. I wash and dry mine, and they’re always totally fine.”

The 100pc cotton crew neck top comes in sizes XS-L and in eight colours.

3. The jeans: 501 Original jeans, €120, Levi’s

Levi’s 501s

“That’s definitely a basic that I love time and time again. It just looks so classic,” says Zeda the Architect (@notzeda), a stylist and creative director.

The iconic blue jeans, invented in 1873, are shaped to a straight leg and feature a button fly, available in standard sizes in a 23-32 waist, and in plus sizes 14-24. They’re 100pc cotton denim, with zero stretch so they hold their shape better over time and won’t go saggy around the backside and knees.

Levi’s has expanded the 501 range to include all kinds of variations, from skinny cuts to cuffed hems to cropped fits, but Zeda prefers to stick with the original, ideally sourced second-hand.

“If you can, get it vintage, the fit is amazing,” she says. “But if not, there’s a remade version with a vintage fit.”

4. The sandal: Arizona sandal, €130, Birkenstock

Birkenstock ‘Arizona’ sandal

“The one thing I would always have on the go is a really good pair of Birkenstocks — and I never thought I’d be that woman who would be saying that she would have Birkenstocks,” says Sonya Lennon (@sonyalennon), designer and co-founder of Lennon Courtney.

She wears a pair from the German company’s 2021 collaboration with luxury label Jil Sander, although she rates the classic sandals too.

“They do some really interesting designer collabs, but the basic ones are brilliant as well. A basic pair of Birkis is kind of a must. I spend so much time traipsing on beaches and hopping into the sea, so just being able to throw them on and run is perfect.”

5. The mac: Extra-long trench coat, €79.95, Zara

Zara trench coat

“Definitely a mac coat,” says Zeda. “Burberry is too expensive, but Zara does a great extra-long one.”

The light camel trench, which is made from 100pc cotton and comes in sizes XS-XXL, has a double-breasted button fastening with tabs on the shoulders and cuffs. The matching belt can be used to cinch the waist or tied in a knot at the back to leave the coat hanging open, while the storm flap is offset with a raw-cut hem to put a fresh twist on its traditional tailoring.

6. The trainers: 530 trainers, €120, New Balance

New Balance 530s

“New Balance is a great everyday shoe for me,” says Mia. She has a few different models from the footwear company, but she returns most often to this white pair with grey and indigo accents.

“It looks really good with traditional denim but, at the same time, it’s neutral enough to go with everything. It goes with tracksuits, with tailored pants, and with jeans it looks great because of the blue.”

7. The shirt: Boyfriend shirt, €150, With Nothing Underneath

With Nothing Underneath shirt

“A shirt is a really good basic. I have the striped one. I like that it’s got the masculine element of the stripe,” says Gaffey. “They’re a really good price point and really good materials, and it’s sustainable as well.”

The London brand is B Corp-certified, in recognition of its high standards for social and environmental impact. Its button-down — dubbed ‘The Boyfriend’ for its looser fit, inspired by men’s tailoring — is created with 100pc organic cotton and available in sizes 6-18.

“I love that the shirt is becoming a co-ord with shorts this summer, and then you can wear it with jeans in autumn,” Gaffey adds. “I love the combination of something dressy with casual, like [a] shirt with sequins or under a suit.”​

8. The cardi: Gaspard cardigan, €100, Sézane

Sézane Gaspard cardigan

“Sézane does great knitwear,” Gaffey says of the Parisian brand. “The Gaspard is their signature cardigan. It has little buttons down the front, and you can wear it back to front, with the buttons on the back, kind of like a crew-neck [jumper]. That’s a really nice, more dressy style of cardigan that you could wear open with a cami or wear on its own. It’s a bit cooler than your typical kind of cardigan.”

The cardigan comes in more than 30 colours, from black and navy to bright red and sea green. Made from a mohair-alpaca blend, it’s hand-wash only, and available in sizes XXS-3XL.

9. The belt: Triomphe belt, €470, Celine

Triomphe belt

“I got this belt for my birthday, kind of like an investment belt,” Mia says. “It’s black and it’s skinny, and it just goes with everything. If I’m wearing something really casual, that’s how I would glam it up so I could wear it out for lunch or to an event.”

The mid-waist belt is crafted from Taurillon leather — more durable and scratch-resistant than standard calfskin — complete with neat gold finishing at the clasp, which features the French fashion house’s Triomphe logo, the interlocking C motif. It comes in two widths and up to eight sizes, in many different colours, from crisp black to pastel pink to leopard print.

10. The shoe: Flat slingback shoe, €220, Nicki Hoyne

Nicki Hoyne slingbacks

“A pointed style draws the eye down, it gives you a cleaner line and it makes legs look a little bit longer,” Gaffey says. “If you don’t want to wear a trainer and you want to look a bit more dressed up, it’s a really good option, for comfort factor and then also it’s polished, if you want to take them to the office or dress up a pair of jeans.”

She recommends the collection by Kilkenny designer Nicki Hoyne, made in Spain. Gaffey highlights the new crystal-embellished style ‘The Moment’ (€270) or, for a more understated look, there’s a black suede pair with oversized bows.

“I like the idea of the pointed flat not just being for daytime. I think Nicki’s doing that evening flat well,” Gaffey adds. “You could wear it with a dress, you don’t have to rely on heels. I’m so bad with heels, so I’m all for people putting flats first.”

11. The blazer: Eve structured oversized blazer, €65, 4th Arq

‘Eve’ blazer 4th Arq

4th Arq, founded by Dublin influencer Rosie Connolly, is best known for its half-zip fleeces, but has branched out into other categories, including blazers, of which Mia is a fan.

“I wear that blazer a lot, it’s another staple,” she says. “It’s an Irish brand, and the blazer looks so good with jeans and a T-shirt.”

She wears the charcoal version, praising its oversized, boxy shape, sold in three sizes: XS-S, M-L and XL-XXL. There are also olive, cream and black options of the double-breasted jacket, made in a polyester blend that is machine washable.

12. Frankie round handbag, €180, Somas Studio

Somas Studio bag

“I go for a crossbody bag, because I need my hands free when I’m working. I prefer a smaller bag that you can just fit essentials in, like a phone, wallet and a little bit of make-up,” Gaffey says.

“Somas Studio has a really nice selection of bags that are a little more minimalist and quiet luxury. They’re multi-use bags: you can wear them crossbody, you can wear them as a shoulder bag and you can also clutch them in your hand. I have this in a cream colour, which actually is quite practical to go with lots of neutrals.”

Margaret Urbanowicz’s handbags are designed in Cork and manufactured in Italy, and the ‘Frankie’ silhouette is available in black, brown, khaki and orange.

13. The loafer: Brushed leather loafers, €930, Prada

Prada brushed leather loafers

“You can get trusty loafers from Asos, but the Prada ones are amazing — they’re so comfortable and they’re so worth it with the cost per wear,” Zeda says.

The fine leather loafers are set on platform rubber soles, giving the preppy stalwart a modern, streetwear edge, and feature a notched-effect welt emblazoned with the Italian house’s distinctive metal triangle plaque to add a splash of bling.

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