Basic Outfit Ideas for When You Have Nothing to Wear

Silvana Patrick
by Silvana Patrick
10 Minutes

If you're suffering from the famous conundrum of having a full wardrobe but nothing to wear, perhaps it's because you are in a style rut.

In this lookbook, I’m going to show you how I style my own pieces on a daily basis in order to give you some basic outfit ideas. I hope to inspire you to get excited about your closet once again.

I have six classic base pieces in neutral tones. Out of these six pieces alone, I can make up to twelve different outfits.

The six pieces I have are a plain white t-shirt, a plain white button-down, a little black dress, a pair of black tailored pants, a black skirt, and a blazer.

As for shoes, I have a pointed-toe kitten heel pump.

The beauty of these basic pieces is that they are neutral and very straightforward. They are not supposed to be the focal point, they are supposed to be the foundation of your wardrobe and then you can use your creativity to add in color, accessories, and some edgier pieces as well.

Plain t-shirt & pants

1. Plain t-shirt & pants

We’re starting off with a very plain outfit, just a t-shirt and a pair of pants.

Some people would be happy with this very simple outfit and there's nothing wrong with that, it’s a great fit.

Plain t-shirt & pants

But to elevate it, I’ve added a blazer, belt, and neck scarf and it’s amazing how the entire look is transformed.

The addition of a blazer makes everything look even more polished and the scarf adds a nice touch of pattern. The chocolate brown belt deepens the color of the blazer, cinches in my waist, and creates a bit more definition.

Accessories really allow you to inject your personality into an outfit and make it personal to you.

This outfit looks harmonious as I’ve stuck to a small color palette of black, white, and shades of brown. 

Plain t-shirt & pants

Here are some other similar alternatives to the look.

Skirt & plain t-shirt

2. Skirt & plain t-shirt

When I'm wearing something very plain, I like to add a bit of drama in the form of jewelry. A necklace can add an ultra-chic touch and you can never go wrong with pearls. 

Skirt & plain t-shirt

A colorful bag looks spectacular with a black and white outfit. 

Skirt & plain t-shirt

A colorful scarf is another option and here I replicated one of the colors from the scarf in the shoes.

Skirt & plain shirt

3. Skirt & plain shirt 

I find this look okay but a bit uninspiring. 

Skirt & plain shirt

To shake it up just a little, I added a pop of color with a scarf and a belt. These two details make all the difference.

4. Little black dress

There are so many directions that you can take a LBD in.

Little black dress

To winterize it, simply put a turtleneck on underneath and top it off with a coat and boots.

Because the dress is black and the turtleneck is black, this is a great way to transform it. You wouldn't even recognize that it’s the same dress.

Little black dress

To make it more weekend-friendly, I've paired it with pink platforms and a crossbody bag.

Little black dress

For a more dressy occasion, I would wear it with heels, nice statement earrings, and an evening bag.


5. Layering

A turtleneck is a basic foundation for layering and the black turtleneck here adds depth and contrasts nicely against the white shirt. 


You can add some color and pattern by switching out the white shirt for a colored or patterned one. 

Another tip I have about layering is to think about your pieces in a multifunctional way.

For example, if you wear a dress with a sweater, it becomes a skirt. Or a jumpsuit with a sweater becomes a pair of pants. That kind of thing really makes your closet go a long way and allows you to get the most out of your clothing. 


6. Bags

For a work environment, a bag with a top handle would be my choice. 


For an evening, a clutch would be perfect. The golden chain on this one is pretty and goes with the buckle of the belt.

Basic outfit ideas

That brings us to the end of our style guide. My top tip to you is to ensure that you have a good collection of classic pieces in neutral colors and then try to mix and match everything.

Once you have this solid foundation, you can then begin to inject your outfits with color, pattern, and your personal style. 

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