• Style Cliché

Fashion lessons: the difference between basics and essentials

As I want to discuss sustainability more on my blog, I thought it would be a good idea to suggest ways you can buy clothes that will stay in your wardrobe and will be timeless in *your* style.

Whether your style is minimal or not, every style has basics. Before we establish what 'basics' you should be buying, we need to understand the difference between 'basics' and 'essentials' which many think are the same thing. Spoiler alert: they're not.

Essentials can be defined in fashion terms as an item of clothing that is essential to showing what your style is, this is usually a trend piece of a well recognisable piece that your style is known for. For example if you love the 'cottage core' style that has been popularised by TikTok, you may consider a ditsy floral dress, wicker bag or a gingham dress as an essential style item, like these...

Or if your style is more oversized, comfy and boyish, your essential item may be an oversized T-shirt in whatever colour, a loose un-buttoned shirt or a pair of Nike crew socks that you wear with your fave pair of air force 1s or converse, like these...

If you'd love to try the Y2K style, an essential item would be a cami top as they are strongly linked to the late 90s/2000s style, or at least one item of clothing or accessory with an animal print, like these...

Or if you like the minimal, chic, Parisian influenced style (my personal fave), an essential item of clothing could be an plain oversized blazer, a pair of light wash jeans or a broderie anglaise/ruched top, like these...

Basics on the other hand make up the fundamental parts of your outfit. They should be very good quality as you will want to wear them time and time again, and will most likely wear them in every-single-outfit. These are items like simple block/plain tops in the colour scheme of your choice, and will relate to your personal style's colour palette, whatever that may be. These will act as the basics of your outfit in which you will then use the 'essential' item to highlight your outfit, making it look cohesive and well put together.

Here's an example of how I style one 'basic' top with multiple essential items to put together a look...

As you can see I styled this plain grey top as the 'basic' piece of my outfit and paired it with at least one essential item.

The first outfit's essential is the beach tote bag with blue stripy straps

The second outfit has 3 essentials: the baggy leather jacket, light wash jeans and a baguette style shoulder bag.

The third outfit's essential is the grey knit midi skirt, which can also be considered a basic because the colour is plain, so you can style a 'basic on basic' look, making the cross-body bag the essential item.


The great thing about having loads of basic items of clothing is that there is endless possibilities of outfit combos and looks, and it is very worth while to invest in your basic items rather than your essentials as its important to remember that sometimes 'essential' items can be trendy so they may go out of fashion quicker.

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