Savvy shoppers know that well-rounded wardrobes begin with a core set of basics. Investment pieces that fit you well, flatter your figure and ride the fickle fashion waves from season to season create a foundation upon which seasonal trendy pieces can be added. Here you’ll find our list of 13 basics (in no particular order) that every chic woman should have in her closet.

Trench Coat

A coat is an investment piece so don't shy away from a higher price tag. You want a well made, good quality trench that is tough enough for a downpour and stylish enough to wear with a dress for a dinner date or suit for an interview.

Look for a trench that has a hem that hits around your knee, you'll be able to wear it with more in your wardrobe if the hem is longer. A trench with a removable liner is even better since you'll be able to wear it during the colder months.

A coat is meant to protect what you wear underneath and a trench should specifically be simple in style yet still fit well. Avoid all the bells and whistles of a trench that may have too many zippers, buttons or a bright pattern. A belted style is far more flattering. A good trench in a neutral color should last you 3 years or more.

Burberry long trenchcoat, $1495 at saks.com >

trench coat
black pants
Black Pants

Odds are you're already familiar with the magic of a great-fitting, figure flattering pair of black pants. A true wardrobe workhorse, black pants work for most every occasion and never go out of style. Such an essential piece is worth the initial investment and a trip to the tailor to insure the perfect fit.

Shop for a pair that can fluidly move between work and play. A style that can be worn with a belt will give you more accessory options. And be sure that the pockets lay flat on your body for a slim look.

< Isda & Co. Wide Waist Pants, $138 at nordstrom.com

White Shirt

The white button down shirt is a must have for every woman's wardrobe. Look for a style that fits your body shape and is long enough to tuck into pants and skirts. When you find the right style, stock up by buying two at a time. White shirts need to be bought each year due to makeup mishaps and yellowing stains that eventually don't wash out. You can buy styles that range from the classic man-tailored to those with feminine ruffles, pleating and various sleeve lengths. Wear yours with pants, skirts, jeans and layered under sweaters and dresses.

slim stretch shirt, $59.50 at jcrew.com >

white shirt
dark jeans
Dark Jeans

Dark denim is far more sophisticated than lighter or distressed washes and can be worn during the day with a t-shirt or dressed up for evening with a dressy top and heels.

Along with swimwear, jeans can be one of the most difficult items to shop for since there are so many different cuts, washes and pockets available. For most women, a low rise or mid rise is best along with back pockets that are centered on your rear and not patch pockets which can add bulk. Generally, a boot cut style is the most flattering silhouette. When looking for a classic style, avoid jeans with additional stitching details or bright threads.

Our advice? Try on as many pairs as necessary until you find the best fit for your figure.

< Citizens of Humanity Kelly bootcut jeans in Big Sur, $167 at tobi.com

Turtleneck Sweater

A great fitting turtleneck sweater can be worn alone as a slim fitting top or as a layering piece under sweaters, jackets and dresses. An ideal turtleneck would be thin knit made of cashmere or merino wool.

Classiques Entier easy cashmere turtleneck, $168 at nordstrom.com >

turtleneck sweater
a good suit
A Good Suit

A suit may not work for everyone's lifestyle, but it's a good idea to have at least one in your wardrobe so you're ready for the unexpected job interview or other conservative affair.

While everyone may not have a reason to wear a full suit often, you can easily wear the pieces as separates. A suit jacket can add polish and sophistication to a button down shirt and jeans and it can replace a jean jacket when you want a piece that has more elegance. You have endless options to pair with the jacket, pants or worn all together whether it be button down shirts, ultra-feminine tops, camisoles, sweaters even t-shirts.

Look for a classic neutral color in an all-season fabric. Bring it to your tailor to ensure the perfect fit. And always remember to launder both pieces together to ensure that one doesn't fade faster than the other.

< pinstriped suit jacket, $198 and Martin wide-leg pant, $108 at bananarepublic.com

Little (Black) Dress

The little black dress has been synonymous with style since Coco Chanel made it famous 80 years ago. And Audrey Hepburn helped make it a classic with her choices in Breakfast at Tiffany's. These days, your dress doesn't have to be black to be versatile and ultra-chic. Neutral colors and subtle prints work just as well. Be sure to choose a flattering, elegant style that can be dressed up or down with different accessories including boots, sandals, belts, scarves and jewelry.

David Meister bubble sleeve dress,
$248 at nordstrom.com >

little black dress
knee length skirt
Knee Length Skirt

The pencil skirt doesn't work for every body shape, but when you find one that fits it can be seductive, sexy and sophisticated. And of course, a classic. Scour the racks for a style that fits your waist properly, gives enough room around your hips without bunching lines across your thighs.

An alternative to the pencil skirt is a knee length style with a slight A-line silhouette. Universally, this is the best shape for most women. It defines the waist and easily hides a myriad of problem areas (ahem, butt, hips and thighs) by giving a little extra fabric to cover those areas. Petite women should avoid full A-line skirts as it is too much fabric and only adds bulk. Shop for slight A-line not wide styles instead.

< Theory Tailor Golda pencil skirt, $175 at bloomingdales.com

Fitted Knit Cardigan

The ultimate layering piece, a cardigan can replace a jacket when worn with a dress, add a colorful accent when tied over your shoulders or create a slimmer figure when paired with a skirt. Wear the cardigan alone with a scarf or layer it with a t-shirt or button down. Add a wide or skinny belt at your waist over the cardigan for a step up in style, to define your waist and add a pop of personality.

Lux Santa Cruz cardigan, $48 at urbanoutfitters.com >

fitted knit cardigan
long sleeve knit
Thin Long Sleeve Knits

Long sleeve t-shirts in henley styles or v-necks are great for layering under a sweater or jacket. Try layering yours under a summery dress or feminine short sleeve top to extend its wear through cooler months. Also ideal for packing when evenings may turn cool while on vacation.

< Splendid 2x1 long sleeve henley tee, $53 at shopbop.com

Short Sleeve Tees

Stock up on solid t-shirts in predominantly white, but also add in a few other colors that can be mixed into your wardrobe. Specifically shop for styles that are cut longer in length since so many of us own low rise jeans and pants and find it uncomfortable when we bare a bit of our backside. Buy various styles like crew neck, v-neck, boatneck and ballet neck.

James Perse casual tshirt tunic, $76 at shopbop.com >

short sleeve tee
fitted polo shirt
Fitted Polo Shirts

A polo, while generally considered preppy, is still slightly dressier than a basic t-shirt. Cotton, cotton pique and ones with a little stretch will give oomph to simple skirts, pants and shorts.

< Ralph Lauren castaway lisle polo, $85 at ralphlauren.com

Jacket or Blazer

A stylish jacket or blazer will kick jeans into the dressy category, work as cover for a dress and serve as a chic alternative to a full suit.

cross-dyed belted raglan jacket, $119 at lizclaiborne.com >

jacket or blazer

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