Tops & Sweaters
If you are a Busbee Style regular, you know how much I stress the importance of your wardrobe basics. Like your home, your wardrobe needs a solid foundation in order to function. When you have basics that you love, that fit and flatter your body, that make you feel confident, it’s SO MUCH easier to build outfits day-to-day. You will also save so much time and money. You can get your wardrobe basics checklist by signing up for my newsletter here.
In this new, exclusive series, I’m breaking down each section of the wardrobe basics checklist so you really understand what to look for when you’re shopping. Plus, I’m also sharing some of my holy grail wardrobe basics picks!
Let’s start with tops and sweaters. (Check back tomorrow for the scoop on pants and dresses.)
Step #1 | Check Your List & Understand What You Need
Having your basics will allow you to easily build an outfit. They are key to getting dressed faster, easier, without all the stress. After you sign up for the newsletter, the Fall/Winter Wardrobe Basics Checklist will be delivered directly to your inbox. You should download it and print it at home. Next, go through your closet to check off everything you have or do not have. Then you’ll know what you really need! This is the crucial first step in building your perfect wardrobe!
The Must-Have Tops & Sweaters
Now that you have your checklist and know what you need, it’s time to break down each of the wardrobe basics categories so you feel more confident when shopping. Knowing what you need is the first step, but knowing what to look for and where to find it is just as important. I hope this helps you find exactly what you need and what works for you!
Black & White Camisoles
You have options here. You definitely need the basic stretch camisole to wear underneath see-through or slightly transparent shirts. I prefer to grab the ones with a bit of spandex so they mold and shape to the body. I also like adjustable straps. Ann Taylor has some great ones here.
Once you get your cotton camis covered, preferably in both black and white, you can add on with fancier, sexier camisoles which will also provide you with a ton of versatility. I LOVE Cami NYC camisoles. I also think Nordstrom’s B.P. camis are great as well as Abercrombie & Fitch’s camis.
Black & White Long Sleeve Tees
These long sleeve tees can have whatever neckline you like. I think in a perfect world, you would have both a v-neck and crew neck, long-sleeve tees in both black and white.
If you only have the budget for one, I would base your decision on your bust. If you have a D-cup or higher, go with a v-neckline. If you are smaller chested, opt instead for a crew neck. But, I definitely can make an argument for having both. When you’re looking for your perfect long sleeve tee, think about how you’ll wear it. I like to layer mine under sweaters or jackets. So I look for thinner, lightweight layering tees. But if you live in a warmer climate, you might just need a thick-ish tee that you can wear on its own!
Once you have your basic tees covered, then you can add some interesting options to create a mini T-drobe. I look for cutouts, straps, heathered-fabrics, and distressing.
My favorite lines for trendy t-shirts are:
FAVORITE LONG-SLEEVE, CREW NECK TEE | Halogen Modal Tee
FAVORITE LONG-SLEEVE, V-NECK TEE | JCPenney
FAVORITE SHORT-SLEEVE, CREW NECK TEE | Madewell
FAVORITE SHORT-SLEEVE, V-NECK TEE | Madewell Whisper Tee
2 Great Quality Sweaters
This category is pretty broad. Some fabric choices to look at wool blends, cashmere, heavy cotton or cotton blends, and silk blends. After you decide what kind of material you like, think about the neckline. There’s V-neck, crewneck, boat neck, cowl neck, etc. Again, pick the neckline that flatters your body type. You should also get these sweaters in neutral colors like black, gray, white, tan, brown, navy, etc.
STYLE TIP: Remember that scoop and v-neck sweaters are the most universally flattering and work well for busty women.
1 Black Turtleneck or Knit Top/Sweater
This turtleneck sweater/top option is separate from the 2 Great Quality Sweaters because I think it’s really important to have a turtleneck. Get your turtleneck in black or white so you can layer it or wear it alone. Remember when selecting your turtleneck that you want to be able to wear it alone so choose a fit and fabric that allows you do do that. If you don’t like turtlenecks, swap this one for an extra blouse or sweater in a neutral color.
There are so many cardigan options out there too. Keep it simple, and get at least one cardigan in a neutral color (black, gray, white, tan, brown, navy, etc.) that is around hip-length or a little longer. You can generally feel your hip bone to better understand where that is. Avoid cardigans with buttons, ties, large front-facing pockets for maximum versatility. Remember the details add bulk and draw the eye. Placing giant rectangular-shaped pockets on the hips, may not be the look you want. The longer duster cardigans can be really versatile and slimming too! I would consider one hip length and one duster for the season.
White or Ivory Blouse or Button Down
#1 White Button-Down Shirt
A white button-down is key and one of my favorite basics. For fall/winter you might want to look for one with a more structured fabric. Some great brands to look at are Rails, Frank & Eileen, and Bella Dahl.
You can also find classic options at:
#2 White or Ivory blouse
For the white or ivory blouse, there are tons of options out there. Find a nice blouse that fits and flatters your body and makes you feel comfortable. Also, look for one with interesting or modern details. It could be anything from a high neck to a mesh-like texture. Remember that this blouse is meant to be worn anywhere from work to dinner.
When I’m looking for standout white blouses, I always check Express. For mid-range prices, look at WAYF and Yumi Kim. I also love the higher end lines: Alexis and Frame.
I curated some of my favorite blouse brands in white here.
2 Solid Colored Blouses
Your basics should always be of higher quality than your trendy pieces. Your basics need to last longer and you will wear them MOST of the time. Always think about that when you are making your selections. Quality over quantity. For your 2 additional blouses, I would go for some color. Maybe a bold blue top or something in forest green. You can even walk on the wild side and grab a neutral animal print blouse!
STYLE TIP: Color choice depends on what flatters your skin tone. Wear the colors you feel the best in and the ones you get the most compliments when wearing. Please be aware that if a stylist or image consultant tells you not to wear a color like red, for example, there are hundreds of shades of red… and certainly one of the red shades will work well for your skin tone.