Editors handpick every product that we feature. We may earn commission from the links on this page.

9 Unboring Ways to Style Your Basics

Same closet, completely new outfits.

Jack Waterlot

We all have closets full of basics, but it's how you update your styling every season that makes a difference. A white shirt, pencil skirt, and a pair of black pants may not seem like the most exciting pieces, but pair them with other already-haves and smart new acquisitions, and just you wait! Here, three spectacularly cool new ways to wear each of your stand-bys.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
The White Shirt: Option 1

Step 1: Layer a black turtleneck underneath your shirt, then slip on a pleated skirt. Thanks to Gucci, brightly hued pleated skirts are having a major moment.

Styling Tip: Pull the turtleneck sleeves out from the under the white shirt and flip the cuffs.

Step 2: Wear it with socks and loafers! Socks will help keep your legs warm, while loafers make a marathon workday way more comfortable.

Vince shirt, $116.98, nordstrom.com; Vince turtleneck, $98, nordstrom.com; Topshop skirt, similar here; Hue socks, $8.50, nordstrom.com; Stuart Weitzman shoes, $455, nordstrom.com.

The White Shirt: Option 2

Step 1: Add  patterned pants (because that white shirt needs some life), and a fuzzy crop top over the shirt. The trick here is to find a crop top that ends at the top of your pant, so you don't see any white shirt underneath. 

Styling tip: Buy a crop top one size bigger than you normally would, so it's not tight against your shirt. Then, roll up your sleeves and unbutton your collar. 

Step 2: Add some color by experimenting with a bold lip. 

Vince shirt, $116.98, nordstrom.com; Sea crop top, similar here; Guess pants, $198, guess.com; Hugo Boss loafers, $595, hugoboss.com.

The White Shirt: Option 3

Step 1: Pair it with a denim suit, add a long-sleeve striped shirt underneath, then pull out the sleeves to create a dynamic patten.. It will add a layer of warmth necessary for winter temps, and change up an otherwise tried-and-true look.

Styling tip:  Unbutton your white shirt a few extra buttons to see more of your striped shirt. 

Step 2: Add some fun accessories like a slim choker (before the trend dies!), and heels—because with flares, everyone needs a little extra height.

Paul & Joe blazer and pants, similar here; Pam & Gela top, similar here; Vince shirt, $116.98, nordstrom.com; Ivanka Trump shoes, $119.95, nordstrom.com; Theory bag, $345, lyst.com.

The Black Pant: Option 1

Step 1: Add a skirt on top—look for a wrap style with a slit at the front. It not only lets you walk with ease, but shows off the length of the pant.

Styling tip: A skirt with graphic detail, like prints or stripes, in simple colors will be the most versatile. 

Step 2: Add a bright sweater. A form fitting one (rather than a bulky style), will keep this looking more sleek than slouchy.

Eileen Fisher pants, $168, nordstrom.com; Rag & Bone sweater, similar here; Stuart Weitzman shoes, similar here

The Black Pant: Option 2

Step 1: Layer a printed dress with a fun print or ruffles on top (this is a great opportunity to pull out summer dresses you may have regaled to the back of your closet). 

Step 2: Add a skinny belt over your dress. It will add structure to the look—and give you a waist. 

Styling tip: Roll up your pants, but flip the hem inside to create a straight (not rolled) bottom. Then add one big, statement earring to give your look an evening-ready edge.

Eileen Fisher pants, $168, nordstrom.comJill Stuart dress, similar here; Stuart Weitzman shoes, $238, nordstrom.com; Annelise Michelson earrings, available here.

The Black Pant: Option 3

Step 1: Slip on a printed blouse, then a jacket, then shrug a heavy coat over your shoulders. The trick here is about combining different colors in the same family. 

Step 2: Wear with socks and a fun pair of heels. Faux fur accents are a huge trend this fall, and wearing them on your shoes is a fun way to experiment with the look.

Styling trick: Wear your hair in a messy topknot to make the look less serious.

Eileen Fisher pants, $168, nordstrom.comTibi blouse, $425, nordstrom.com; Veronica Beard blazer, $645, nordstrom.com; 2nd Day coat, similar here; BCBG shoes, similar here

The Pencil Skirt: Option 1

Step 1: Put on a striped, silk blouse, then add a denim shirt over the top. Opt for a thin chambray fabric so the doubled shirts don't become too bulky. 

Styling trick: Unbutton the denim shirt all the way to point where it hits your skirt, allowing the striped shirt to peek through.

Step 2: Add a pair of low heels or sandals.

Acne Studios skirt, $420, nordstrom.com; Equipment blouse, $268, nordstrom.com; Cupcakes & Cashmere chambray shirt, $100, nordstrom.com

The Pencil Skirt: Option 2

Step 1: Add a puffer-inspired leather jacket. A leather option is a little sleeker for the office, and a soft, medium-knit sweater is sleek and slim underneath.

Step 2: Pair it with sneakers. Essential to keep your look grounded.

Styling tip: Keep the jacket cinched up for a slimming effect.

Acne Studios skirt, $420, nordstrom.com; Topshop sweater, $75, nordstrom.com; McQ by Alexander McQueen puffer jacket, similar here, Vince shoes, $195, nordstrom.com.

The Pencil Skirt: Option 3

Step 1: Pull on a chunky sweater, tucking the front in slightly, but leaving the back untucked. 

Step 2: Add a neck scarf in lieu of jewelry. This is a fun way to dress up a plain sweater look, and instantly adds a touch of color and polish for the office.

Styling tip: If the bandana-style isn't your jam, try wrapping the scarf all the way around like a choker.

Acne Studios skirt, $420, nordstrom.comRebecca Taylor sweater, $350, rebeccataylor.com; Scarf, stylists own; 3.1 Phillip Lim shoes, $395, nordstrom.com; Tyler Alexandra bag, available here.

Photography by Jack Waterlot, Styling by Aeri Yun, Hair by Clay Nielsen, Makeup by Rommy Major. 

Follow Marie Claire on Facebook for the latest celeb news, beauty tips, fascinating reads, livestream video, and more.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below