How To Build A Winter Wardrobe With Just 10 Items

Each year, building out a solid winter wardrobe can feel like quite the to-do. There's a balance to strike, and our cold-weather clothes need to be as warm as they are cool. Sure, that sounds easy enough, but in practice, it can be hard to decipher which veteran pieces are worth holding onto, which are worthy of investing in and replacing, and which items are just plain unnecessary. And, with trends changing as fast as they do these days, this process can be all the more confusing.

There is, however, a recipe for success — and it's all about paring back. In the slideshow ahead, we've broken down the 10 categories of items that aren't up for debate. Here's what you do: Look at your closet, and separate your clothes by section. Now you can more easily see what's happening. Don't have anything that fits one of the categories? Time to buy something new. Have 13 items that fit into the same one? Time to get rid of the versions you wear least. Once you have all 10 categories tuned up, then, and only then, should you pepper in those extra, purely on-trend pieces.

Seriously, you can get through the season with just 10 items. Click through to start getting the job done.
1 of 10
1. A Black Dress
If you don't feel like you can wear your black dress to any and every occasion this winter, you should get a new one. Having a versatile and reliable LBD in your closet is a game-changer: Pair it with your tough, flat ankle boots for a badass daytime look, or with a pair of heels for all of your holiday parties. The beauty of this piece is you can wear it time and time again and, with the right styling, people won't even notice.

Zara Fitted Dress, $129, available at Zara.
2 of 10
2. A Turtleneck Sweater
The key to a good turtleneck is that it needs to be fitted enough to layer underneath other sweaters and shirts. As much as we love a thin, solid option, adding a fun printed or detailed piece into the mix can help you avoid getting into a styling rut (because we all know how easy it is to wear a turtleneck and jeans every single day from now until March). This one offers a ruffle-neck and a striped sleeve, both of which will look just as good on their own as they will peeking out from a warm, chunky top layer.

MSGM Ruffle and Stripe Turtleneck Sweater, $686.40, available at MSGM.
3 of 10
3. Heeled Booties
There's a reason you won't find a pair of fancy heels in this slideshow: For the most part, you can get the same utility out of some heeled winter boots (and they're way more seasonally appropriate). Go for a statement option, like this white pair, or for something slightly fancier. Really, what's better than going-out shoes that can do double-duty?

Aska Goldie, $450, available at Aska.
4 of 10
4. A Chunky Knit
Sweaters can be a tough category to manage. More often than not, we find our closet filled with all sorts of knits that don't get enough use. Besides a layering turtleneck, you should definitely have (at least) one oversized, chunky option in your closet. How oversized you ask? Big enough to pop over any outfit, and underneath any winter coat.

Oversized Intarsia Wool-blend Sweater, $546, available at Net-A-Porter.
5 of 10
5. A Fancy Topper
When it comes to winter coats, you should have one that's more upscale, and one that's more technical. This particular fuzzy jacket is a great option for fancy events, because it's warmer than most wool versions, it's big enough to fit a few layers under comfortably, and it's easy to dress up — and, let's be honest, it's easy to dress down, too (how good would this look with jeans and a sweater?

Topshop Polar Bear Cocoon Coat, $180, available at Topshop.
6 of 10
6. A Warm Hat
During the winter months, a hat can often complete your look. And as much as we love a good beanie, this season, berets are back. If you're down to swap your wear-every-season cap for this classic French staple, make sure to try before you buy — you're going to want to ensure that the version you choose will still cover your ears on extra-chilly days.

Gucci Wool Felt Beret, $295, available at Gucci.
7 of 10
7. A Puffer Jacket
When it comes to jackets that actually keep you warm, this season, the puffer reins supreme — partially for its sporty look, and partially because certain iterations are thin enough to layer underneath the lighter fall jackets you already own. Plus, they're runway-approved, which means your days of feeling like a walking marshmallow are officially finis.

Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Parka, $69.60, available at Uniqlo.
8 of 10
8. Long Trousers
You'll notice that jeans are also exempt from this slideshow because they are one of the very few items of clothing you can actually wear all year 'round. Wide-leg trousers, on the other hand, can be tough to rock in the winter — we've all experienced that moment where a cool breeze shoots up your leg, and for a second you forget you're even wearing pants at all. But, if you opt for a pair that almost dusts the ground when you're in flat shoes (rather than sticking with the usual cropped version), you should be good to go. Plus, the silhouette lends itself to pairing with tights underneath, should you encounter an extra-cold day.

Babaton Manchot Pant, $225, available at Aritzia.
9 of 10
9. An Ankle-Length Skirt
While satin isn't the warmest material, an ankle-length skirt of any fabric is important to have in your arsenal. With it, the styling possibilities are endless: You can wear it with a chunky sweater and sneakers, or a fancy top and heeled booties. Just pop on some tights — and maybe even a chunky sock — and you're good to go.

H&M Satin Skirt, $34.99, available at H&M.
10 of 10
10. Flat Boots
Flat boots are an obvious must-have. Instead of just buying any plain old pair, though, go for one that's quasi-fancy and will match with anything in your closet; a subtle detail, like this front-strap and silver studs, give just the right amount of oomph. Simple as that.

Alexander Wang Hanne Leather Ankle Boots, $695, available at Alexander Wang.