Every year we get into deep conversations about this and every year it gets simpler for me...not least because my list of essentials grows ever smaller -- likely due to a change in climate with my move, and also the pandemic, meaning I don't really go anywhere!
My list is awfully like Angie's and also is similar to Carla's -- and this makes me think this concept is just easier to grasp if you are a modern classic dresser with a limited colour palette.
For me, it's blue and white, all the way, with stripes as a key pattern. My essential jeans are slim straights (cropped or not), even though they are not trendy. I've also added a pair of slim straight navy pants, which I find myself wearing more than the jeans these days -- they're that comfy!
Footwear would once have included sandals and booties, but things have gone haywire with my injury, plus my new suburban location, and sneakers are pretty much the only essential at the moment!