affordable wardrobe staples by The Wardrobe Consultant

My 5 Go-To, Non-Boring, Affordable Wardrobe Staples

I was thinking about the pieces in my closet that were on the heaviest rotation. My favorites of 2017,  my best of list. The pieces that I go to over and over again that never disappoint. What surfaced were 5 go-to, non-boring wardrobe staples that always give my outfits that finishing touch. And the perk is THEY’RE ALL AFFORDABLE.

When I asked my go-to gal Elana to come up with her own list, guess what? Her list was pretty similar! The actual items we have aren’t the same, and our styles are not really the same (she’s younger, cooler and more edgy than me). And our shape and build isn’t the same either. But yet, these 5 pieces were each of our go-to’s. Hmmmmm. That got me thinking. What about these 5 wardrobe staples makes them so useful? And so versatile? IMHO, it’s because they’re pieces that easily add a little oomph to an outfit, BUT not so much oomph they couldn’t be worn again because they were just too memorable.

One important note – these wardrobe staples are available at all different price points. So, if you want to spend $20, $200 or in some cases $2000 you can find all 5 items at all of these prices, and everywhere in between. The looks will be similar but the materials used (rayon vs cashmere) or the designer label (Mango vs Gucci) are what account for the huge disparity in price. I’ve linked products that run the gamut price wise, so be sure to click the photos or the highlighted pink words to find the item and price that’s right for you.

My Top 5 Affordable Wardrobe Staples

1. Leopard Print Scarf

Once you have black, gray and camel in your scarf collection it’s time to add a leopard print. I might even argue a leopard scarf should usurp camel and gray on the list and be the second addition to your collection. Leopard is considered a neutral but with interest. Yup, it’s that versatile! This affordable Mango cutie is a fabulous dupe of this Gucci stunner (with a $425 difference)!
I have the scarf below and it is perfect year round. The lightweight fabric drapes perfectly and it’s long enough to wrap twice if I want to. This grey tone scarf is on my wish list. It’ll be a softer contrast when paired with denim and a white t shirt.
sole society leopard scarf nordstrom wardrobe staples


2. Striped T-Shirt

A striped t-shirt is a fashion girls must have. Either long sleeve, short sleeve or both! Once your basic white and black t-shirts are covered, a striped T should be the next piece you make room for in your t-shirt drawer.
This is the exact t shirt I wear at least once a week, and that comes on every vacation with me. The size selection of this one is limited but this t shirt would work well in it’s place. And this is a great substitute at $15 too. This type of shirt looks great under a vest or blazer and even peeking out of a chunky turtleneck. I’ve had this short sleeved version for a few seasons but need to replace it because I spilled coffee on it and can’t get the stain totally out (anyone have a good tip for that??). This guy will probably be it’s replacement – I’m loving the way the sleeves contrast.
 j crew stripe t shirt wardrobe staples


3. Tan Bootie

A tan bootie is the ultimate in transition footwear. BTW, this one is on final sale (that’s why it’s such a good price). Most people’s shoe selection goes straight from sandals to boots and it’s that in between time that’s always a challenge. The beauty of a tan bootie is that it has an airy feel, so it works in between seasons. It also pairs well with denim and lighter colors AND looks chic and unexpected when worn with all black. Add extra points if there’s a cut out because that detail allows you to see some skin, and that in and of itself makes it a bit more interesting and seriously season spanning.

aquatalia tan cut out bootie wardrobe staples


4. Pendant Necklace

Pendant necklaces are a wardrobe essential for two reasons. One, they visually elongate any outfit and therefore the person wearing it. And who doesn’t need that? Two, they add a touch of jewelry with out having too much impact the way a statement necklace might. Meaning, you look polished without being overly done. I have last years version of the necklace below. It’s made of brass which makes it more casual yet still refined.

madewell brass pendant necklace wardrobe staples


Leather Jacket

A leather jacket doesn’t have to be reserved for the likes of James Dean. Throwing on my leather moto gives even this middle aged, suburban mom a dash of cool. I wear mine with a t shirt and jeans but also love to throw it over a dress (it helps it feel less dressy). With advancements in man made leathers, a kick a** jacket doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg. This jacket was one of my “what to buy’s” from the Nordstrom Sale because it’s that good. I have the suede version and the style, quality and price are completely on point – actually for $98 it’s better than on point, it’s fantastic! This jacket is on the pricier side but perfect for very petite gals that can get overwhelmed by a traditional leather jacket – the proportions give a lot of edge without overpowering a smaller frame.

blank nyc leather moto jacket wardrobe staples



They’re even better together!

These 5 wardrobe staples can take any outfit up a level, so it looks thoughtful but not overdone. Basically these pieces are the key to giving your outfits effortless style and maximum versatility. And the bonus is you can wear ALL 5 together and it still works! These are pieces and parts that hold their own individually but also play very nicely together. That is precisely why they offer so much value to a wardrobe.

affordable wardrobe staples by The Wardrobe Consultant
So there ya have it. The 5 pieces I consider my wardrobe staples. Major plus that they’re also affordable wardrobe staples. When you think about your wardrobe, what are your go-to’s? Tell me in the comments – I really do want to know.


Cleveland-based personal stylist and fashion blogger.


  1. Girl – my scarf collection is insane. Which reminds me that I should organize the pile soon! Love your staples – totally agree!
    Karen |

    • Hallie Abrams Reply

      Thanks Lovely! Yup scarf organization can be a challenge. It’s like you’re a mind-reader, that is next weeks post!!

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