I’m enjoying all the discussions on wardrobe Essentials.
I sometimes go back and forth on whether I’ve “ got it” or not. I do agree with rachylou that they can be quite individual/ personal, which makes it fun, and also makes it important for each person to think about it that , or else will accumulate things that are someone ELSE’S essentials.
I think type of item silhouette is important-particularly those that work easily with others- not too “ demanding. That’s why I learned that slim- straight and even slightly tapered pants are more of an “ essential “ for me, even though I love me a good pair of pleated wider- legged trousers.
Color palette is an important aspect — things need to go together and in the right way for your preference ( like what colors are on top or bottom or both, proportions of the colors in the outfit—including classic neutrals in the term” color “).
But consider “ face colors”. Let’s say someone looks fab in red. Let’s say a type of bright red, because it’s also often considered a “ statement “. ( picking that because I don’t look great in really bright reds!) And let’s say has a tight color palette of bottoms and jackets and shoes in a few classic neutrals but doesn’t look as good with those as face colors.
For this person then, having a great red cotton T, a light pullover, a red cashmere sweater, all chosen in styles that work with the bottoms and layer under toppers, could be wardrobe essentials.
So a counter would be, no, only the other neutral pieces are essentials, allowing room for the red tops.
But then.. stripes? I love some stripes too so it’s fun to think- why? Because they are a more subtle type of pattern, can tie together base colors, and I think also, provide a different “ face color “ than either single color in the stripe. Hence my stripes may have different sizes/ colors than someone else’s.
Then thinking whether versatility is at all related to essentials and how that relates to color and pattern. If one looks good in white and navy as Angie clearly does, toppers in these colors go easily over many outfits without a lot of fuss.
But I find that sometimes other colors are hard to combine as solids— grays together, some berries don’t mix , etc, so a tweedy or plaid jacket in the right colors can be more versatile and the piece that gets me out the door without changing clothes twice. Since some kind of topper IS essential, does an essential type of clothing have yo be in an “ essential “ ( neutral) color to be an essential?
Tweaking Angle just a bit, she is truly queen of pristine white footwear, but to me, white boots make a statement. But they are wardrobe glue, versatile and consistent with her style. So for a different color palette, another color that is not typically neutral, in a different tonal combination, could be essential.

Well, now that I’ve gotten into this wormhole, perhaps someone can harpoon me out, or add some thoughts.