What Do You Look for in Your Staple Pieces?

Wardrobe staples are, in a sense, unique for everyone—for instance, heels would never be a staple for me but are for friends of mine. I have a clear set of criteria that I use when I am hunting for wardrobe staples that can be applied to many different items, so this list is hopefully helpful to you! What do you look for in your staple pieces?

For me, comfort is key. Comfort is often confused with sloppiness, which is absolutely not the case—you don’t need to be wearing athleisure to be comfortable. Well-made items that can be tailored to fit you (for clothes) or made to fit you (like shoes), are just as comfortable and far more polished.

Weight of clothing
Weight is a more recent addition to my list of criteria. I do a lot of walking when I’m in the city and carrying or wearing something that’s very heavy can be difficult–like my overcoat. I try to balance the weight of coats, bags, and shoes when editing my wardrobe staples. If things are too heavy, then they aren’t truly practical for me at this point of my life.


A lot of the clothing I wear on a regular basis, especially outerwear and shoes, is inherited and is at least a decade old, if not twenty or thirty years old. So many pieces–my trench coat, my shoes, my sweaters–are truly timeless pieces. They don’t look out of place now, and they won’t look out of place in the future, either.

Discreet branding

I really don’t like flashing the logos of a company around–I prefer my clothes not to shout. I find ostentatious labels tasteless. If I am wearing a designer piece, I’d rather it be recognizable only if you know–like the bows on Belgian Shoes.

The real thing

I don’t buy “dupes” (and don’t like the word.) If there’s something that I would like that’s not quite within my budget, I wait, or search for it online or in opportunity shops, and then if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be! I find waiting for the real thing to be very rewarding.

What do you look for when you’re tracking down your staples?

4 thoughts on “What Do You Look for in Your Staple Pieces?

  1. This is a great list. I recently looked at some ‘dupes’ for a pair of shoes I wanted because I’m so hard on everyday shoes. Everything else looked visibly cheap and poorly made next to the real thing. I found real ones secondhand and love them. (And yesss totally with you on discreet branding!)

  2. I share most of this criteria, too. I am allergic to logos. (One exception: I have one Harrington-style jacket from Polo that has the little polo player embroidered in the usual place, but it’s black-on-black and as discreet as can be. Okay, another exception: A Lacoste polo shirt. I try…)
    For me, as I attempt to recover from shopaholic overindulgence in retail therapy, a new standard emerges: Only buying *exactly* what it is I want. No substitutes. If it’s a sport coat that has most, but not all, of the details I seek, I cannot make the purchase. If it’s a pair of shoes or pants that are almost right but not quite, they’re no-gos. Often, it’s a more expensive item I’m looking for, which means I hold off and save for it, rather than purchase something in its place that may be perfectly serviceable in its own right, just not exactly *the* thing, if that makes sense. That way, I’m not still coveting the thing I actually wanted after buying something similar, nor am I buying two (or more) versions of the same thing in the long run. I am hopeful that this strategy saves money in the long run. It’s my latest effort at the “fewer and better” concept. 🙂

    1. I think there are a few instances when a logo is so iconic (and small) that it’s not too bad. I love your new standard and it’s definitely something I apply to my purchases as well. If it’s not exactly what I want, then I don’t want it in my closet!

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