30 Affordable Wardrobe Basics to Build Your Closet On A Budget

Wardrobe On A Budget – Basics By Price Point

I recently shared my full capsule wardrobe for summer in this post. It’s a popular post every season and very fun for me to put together. I select high-quality basics that will last for years, flatter most body shapes, and all work seamlessly together so that you can shop seasonally.

Many of you requested I share a few more budget-friendly basics to help you build your summer wardrobe. So below, I’m breaking down 10 basics in 3 different price points…under $200, under $100, and under $50. That’s 30 pieces you can mix and match! But first, here are a few quick tips when shopping and building your wardrobe basics…

Quick Tips
  1. You don’t need to buy it all at once. Look at your wardrobe basics checklist (that you get when you subscribe to the newsletter) and decide what gaps need to be filled.
  2. Find basics with a twist! Sure, a plain white tee will do. But if you find a plain white tee with a pretty flutter sleeve, you’re adding an extra detail that makes you look even more stylish.
  3. Make sure you know your body shape. Knowing your body shape makes it easier to get dressed every day. You can find out how to determine your body shape here.

Now for the fun! Keep scrolling to find basics under $200, basics under $100, and basics under $50…

30 Affordable Basics

how to build a wardrobe on a budget

Basics Under $200

You’ll notice that each price point features 10 items…two tops, two pairs of shoes, a pair of jeans, a pair of shorts, a blazer, a dress, and two chic accessories. All of these pieces are elevated and stylish, but basic enough to work seamlessly into your existing wardrobe. I kept a pretty neutral color palette but you can make swaps in different colors too. Below I’ll share a little bit of information about each piece with sizing tips, styling suggestions, and more.

White Farm Rio Top

This white top has beautiful embroidery details, a flattering v-neckline, and is the perfect cropped length for high-rise bottoms. I also love the subtle puff sleeve and that it’s 100% cotton so you’ll stay cool wearing it this summer. It runs true to size, order your normal size.

White o.p.t Midi Dress

This white dress is one of those pieces you can easily dress up or down for spring and summer. I love the smocked bodice, tiered skirt, and feminine flutter sleeves. The A-line silhouette is super flattering. Since it has a looser fit and a smocked bodice, you have some wiggle room if you’re between sizes.

Agolde Straight-Leg Jeans

Straight-leg jeans are a must-have and this pair by Agolde is a really great, high-quality option. They are high rise (10.25”) so you feel secure in the tummy area, the wash is perfect for every season, and they have a cropped length, which means they’ll work with pretty much any shoes! They run true to size.

Rails White Button Down Shirt

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know how much I love this Rails button-down shirt. I have it in a small and a medium so I can wear it with jeans, shorts, and skirts AND as a coverup when I want a billowy oversized fit. The gauzy cotton fabric is perfect for spring/summer and the quality is so good you’ll wear it for years and years. Runs true to size.

Black Nordstrom Blazer

Every woman needs a chic black blazer in her wardrobe and this boyfriend blazer by Nordstrom is the perfect modern piece to add to your wardrobe. Style it for the office with pants or more casually with jeans and a tee. It runs true to size and is designed to have a more oversized fit.

If you don’t already have a blazer and are wondering how it should fit, what style is best for you, etc., make sure you check out this post next.

Agolde Dee Denim Shorts

These Agolde shorts are my go-to’s every summer. The 4” inseam is perfect for women over 40 and I love the 12” rise for feeling secure in the tummy area. They run true to size but I always recommend sizing up one size in shorts.

For more tips on finding the perfect shorts for women over 40, check out this post next.

Chimi Square Sunglasses

I haven’t tried this Swedish eyewear brand yet but I love that its designs look a little retro with a modern twist.

Staud Bean Bag

Staud makes beautiful handbags and this one is perfect for every season! I love the simple silhouette and chic ruching.

Schutz Heels

Schutz makes chic, high-quality, modern shoes at a great price point! These strappy heels are perfect for spring/summer and the neutral color will go with everything from jeans and pants to dresses and skirts. They typically run true to size.

Sam Edelman Sandals

I have these Sam Edelman sandals in brown and have been wearing them on repeat. I know they’ll be a heavy hitter for me this year! They run true to size.

If you’re interested, you can find all of my recent favorite shoes here.

wardrobe basics under $100

Basics Under $100

1.State White Cami

This cami is one of those basics with a twist because of the pleated details along with a flattering V-neckline. You can wear it half tucked into a pair of jeans with a blazer and sneakers for an elevated casual look. Or style it with a skirt and heels for a dressier outfit. It also comes in a bunch of colors and runs true to size.

Caslon White Midi Dress

This white midi dress is similar to the Under $200 option but instead of flutter sleeves, it has cute tie straps! I love the smocked bodice and tiered skirt. It’s a nice gauzy cotton material so you’ll stay cool and it’s easy to style with sneakers, sandals, or heels! The sizing online says it runs small.

Levi’s Straight-Leg Jeans

You can’t go wrong with a pair of Levi’s and this straight-leg silhouette won’t go out of style anytime soon. Plus, they’re only $98 for a pair of high-quality jeans you’ll wear for years. They run true to size.

Free People Eyelet White Top

I recently ordered this gorgeous eyelet top by Free People and love it! It has pretty eyelet details, a flattering V-neckline, and it’s perfectly cropped for wearing with high-waisted bottoms. It runs true to size.

Black Lioness Blazer

This blazer is so luxe-looking and high-quality that the first time I put it on, I couldn’t believe it was only $95. If you need a new blazer, this is it! The gold buttons really elevate it and the fit is great. It runs large, order one size down.

Free People Cotton Shorts

If you already have your denim shorts covered, a pair of casual cotton shorts are a great addition to your wardrobe. I love the polished look of this pair by Free People. The site says they run true to size.

Vince Camuto Espadrilles

I love wearing espadrilles during the spring and summer. Vince Camuto is known for its super comfortable shoes and these are a great pair to have in your summer wardrobe. They come in a few other colors and run true to size.

Sam Edelman White Sneakers

White sneakers are another basic you should have in your closet for spring/summer. This is a super basic pair but there are SO many options out there for white sneakers. Sam Edelman is another one of my favorite affordable shoe brands that have very comfortable and stylish options.

Le Specs Cateye Sunglasses

I have these and love to throw them on for a little extra glam.

House of Want Black Handbag

This small black bag can be carried on your shoulder or as a clutch. The minimal hardware and sleek look make it very versatile.

Wardrobe On A Budget

Basics Under $50

Halogen Black Tank

If you live in a hot climate (talking to you Texas and Florida ladies!), then you know how important it is to have a chic short sleeve top that’s a versatile go-to. This raw hem tank is the perfect option because it’s lightweight, easy to layer, and simple to style with pretty much everything else in your closet. It comes in a bunch of colors and runs true to size.

Open Edit Black Dress

This casual black dress by Open Edit can be worn two ways because it’s reversative! You can wear the flattering v-neck in the front or back. The gauzy material is lightweight, and the casual feel makes it super easy to style with sandals or sneakers for spring/summer.

1822 Denim Flare Jeans

Flare jeans can be so flattering and this pair is only $49! I haven’t tried the brand yet so if you have, let us know in the comments below how you liked them.

Mango White Button-Down

Mango has some really great basics at amazing prices! This white button-down shirt is crisp, polished, chic, and only $50. It runs true to size.

Madewell Black Shorts

These Madewell shorts are a cotton linen blend so you know you’ll stay cool. They are high-waisted (12.5” rise) and have a 3.5” inseam. They have a stretchy elastic band in the back for an easy pull-on style. I’d wear these with a tee and sneakers or a pretty white blouse and sandals. They run true to size.

Vero Moda Cardigan

If something doesn’t feel like your style, you can always make some clothing swaps. For example, maybe a blazer feels like too polished of a 3rd layer for you. In that case, try a cardigan! This one is super versatile, a great length, and can be worn open or closed.

Square Sunglasses

Accessories are a great place to try to save money. These BP sunglasses are only $15!

Street Level Reversible Tote

Who doesn’t love a two-in-one?! This tote is reversative so you can change it from black to brown depending on your outfit for the day.

Open Edit Black Heels

I couldn’t believe these heels were under $50 when I put them on! They’re super cute, have adjustable straps, and are very comfortable. They run true to size. You can see how I styled them in this post.

Open Edit Quilted Sandals

These Open Edit sandals are also super affordable and I love the on-trend quilting. They come in a few colors and run true to size.

Is there a wardrobe basic you’re searching for that you haven’t been able to find yet? Let us know in the comments below and we can help!

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12 thoughts on “30 Affordable Wardrobe Basics to Build Your Closet On A Budget

  1. I have the 1822 jeans and absolutely love them. I noticed the fabric is a little thin, if you hold the up to the light, but the fit and drape are amazing! I took them on a 2 week trip to Europe because they are my favorite jeans…over pairs that cost 5x as much!

    1. So glad you love them, Becky! Thanks for sharing your personal review on these jeans! ~Erin xo

    1. We know how difficult it can be to find spring coats! What about something like this? It’s a great length and the color is super versatile for spring! If you want to share more about your budget or the climate you live in so we can find a more specific option, we’d be happy to help! Another option is to find a trench-style coat that has a removable belt. Hope that’s helpful, Noelle! ~Team Busbee

  2. I am looking for a belt to wear with a pair of jean. I love all your suggestions but most are in the 400.00 range. Can you give me a suggestion on belts comparable in style to your 400.00 suggested items? Thank you so much.

  3. This was very useful content. I love Erin’s style but I find myself intimidated by the price point of some of the items. I love how this post caters to every one. You can be stylish and luxe without breaking the bank. Thanks Busbee team. I find myself always coming to the blog for style inspiration

    1. So glad you liked the post, Lola! Our hope is that no matter what, you can get inspiration for the pieces Erin shares. Thanks so much for being here! ~Team Busbee

  4. Believe it or not, I’ve had tremendous inspiration to keep myself looking my best … even though I’m WELL past the 40+ (I’m 74!!!). Granted, I just can’t see myself in many of the suggestions; however, I’ve taken away plenty of ideas that I “can” incorporate into my lifestyle. For instance, knowing my body shape has inspired me to try a belt to offset my short, rectangular frame and give my “uniform” of knit pants and comfy shirts some definition. Also, there are many items in your “basics” that I can make work if I’m realistic; and knowing how to accurately measure myself is invaluable because 90% of the time I shop on line. These are things that everyone needs to know. In one of your videos you were talking about how necessary it is to take care of yourself. Those of us who are “farther along on the path” than most of your readers need to hear this message as well. I have NO desire to be 40, or 50, or even 60 again. 70s are just a new chapter of being alive and engaged with life, albeit at a different speed. My best at 74 is different than a 40 year old’s; but that doesn’t mean I can’t be the best me that I can. Thanks so much for putting your heart and soul into this newsletter, your blog, and your videos. I know I’m certainly not your “target” audience; but your offerings still bring me a lot of joy.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Cynthia! I’m so happy you’ve found inspiration from my content and that it’s resonating with you. No matter what your age, my mission is to help you feel empowered, confident, and excited about getting dressed every day. Knowing your body shape is SO important and I’m happy to hear you’re using that information to help with your online shopping. I also agree that no matter where you are in life, taking care of yourself is such an important thing to remember. So happy to hear you’re finding joy here…it’s why I do what I do! Thanks again for sharing and being here! ~Erin xo

  5. white jeans are on my list
    Got a pair of bone coloured booties . We avoided the snow that other parts of IRELAND got but it’s cold most days.

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