The One Basics Mistake Our Editors Agree Should Be Avoided

When to Replace Your Basics

Photo:

@nicoleakhtarzad

Before the New Year, our editors came together to make a few fashion resolutions. These included ditching excessive packaging, disengaging from so-called "retail therapy," and avoiding getting bogged down by labels, among other things. Our editors also pinpointed the four fashion mistakes we wanted to leave behind in 2019, because what better time to turn a critical eye on your own wardrobe than on the verge of a new year and a new decade?

After all this, in a bid to build a conscious capsule wardrobe once and for all, we've been turning to our basic pieces more and more. These are the staple items like white T-shirts, jeans, and black booties that we know and love. When a wardrobe is built upon versatile pieces like these, it only needs a few extras and statement pieces to round it out.

We're a month into our resolutions, and after building outfits around these staple items, we have another fashion mistake to add to the list: not knowing when to replace your basics. This is important because if a basic item isn't in good condition, it won't act as a strong building block for the rest of your outfit. Keep scrolling to learn exactly when you should replace your basics.

1. When Your White T-Shirt Has Yellow Stains

When to Replace Your Basics

Photo:

Szymon Brzoska

A white T-shirt can have a tight or a loose fit. It can be brand-new or it can be well-worn. No matter the style, cut, or brand, a white T-shirt should be clean and crisp—never stained. If yours has begun to show yellow stains and is resistant to stain treatment, it's time to replace it. You can cut up the shirt to repurpose it as a rag. A fresh tee will keep the rest of your outfit look elevated—even if you're wearing it with jeans and sneakers. 

A high-quality, classic white T-shirt doesn't have to be expensive. 

When a celebrity stylist designs your T-shirt, you know it's going to fit perfectly.

This $5 shirt is a best-seller for a reason.

A white T-shirt with the face of a French film star (Brigette Bardot) is just about iconic as it gets. 

2. When Your Sweater Has Too Many Pills

When to Replace Your Basics

Photo:

Szymon Brzoska

A neutral or solid sweater—whether mock-neck, turtleneck, or crew-neck—is one of the best and most basic items you can possibly own. The only way a sweater loses its allure and its versatility is if it's ragged and pilled. If yours is pilled beyond recognition, it's time to invest in a new one. 

We'll be wearing this graphic black-and-white turtleneck all winter long.

This ivory sweater looks (and feels) just like a cloud.

This cable-knit option looks like something an old fisherman would wear, and we mean that in the best way. 

This oversized henley sweater is the definition of casual-cool. 

3. When Your Jeans Get Baggy Around the Waist and/or Knees

When to Replace Your Basics

Photo:

Szymon Brzoska

There are certain styles of jeans that are meant to be baggy around the waist and the knees. But what we're referring to in this instance is when your well-worn jeans start to stretch awkwardly and uncomfortably in those areas, which affects the overall fit and silhouette. If that's happening, it's time to pass them along to a new owner.

The Levi's Wedgie Icon jeans literally have the word "iconic" in their name for a reason.

The Agolde Pinch Waist jeans are another Who What Wear favorite. 

These are one half jeans mixed with one half cargo pants, and we're obsessed.

These straight-leg jeans from H&M are chic and budget-friendly. 

4. When Your Neckline Is Stretched Out

When to Replace Your Basics

Photo:

Szymon Brzoska

Whether it's a mock-neck top, a turtleneck, or a crew-neck, the moment you realize the neckline is starting to stretch, sag, or lose its shape in any way, it's time to consider finding another. After all, if the neckline isn't intact, the outfit won't look as structural and as polished as it should. 

This elegant, sheer chiffon top is asking to be worn to a cocktail party.

You can't go wrong with a classic black turtleneck. 

We love the exaggerated sleeves on this Jason Wu sweater.

There's nothing better than a cold-shoulder top with an architectural neckline. 

5. When Your Black Boots Are Worn-Out

When to Replace Your Basics

Photo:

Szymon Brzoska

We love a pair of well-worn black booties. However, there should be a limit to how "well-worn" your boots are. Once unremovable scuff marks appear, the soles wear down, and the ankles start to sag and lose shape, it might be time to invest in a new pair. If your shoe cobbler says it's a lost cause, it's best to believe them.

These Chelsea boots have a cool croc detail running up the back. 

Go for a Western-inspired look with these Ganni boots. 

Upgrade your old pair of Dr. Martens with this heeled style.

The wrap-around buckle detail on these slip-on boots is so cool.

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