I don't shop by outfit, as in, I don't buy a complete outfit in one shopping trip generally. Sometimes it works out that way, but usually not on purpose.
I do brainstorm ways to wear things before I buy them, though and usually by shape, not necessarily color.Thinking this way will open new doors for you and might help you plan your wardrobe a little better.
I got this skirt and because I already had blazers and layering tops, I knew I'd be able to wear it a variety of ways. I don't believe in "basics" per se, but maybe your key pieces...things that make your closet complete so that when you DO decide to bring something new into your closet, you know exactly where and how it'll fit in.
I absolutely love the texture and details of this skirt. It reminds me of a skyscraper with the cool architectural lines. It's also jersey, so it's comfy too. Yay. I guess it came with a matching jacket, but yeah...no. I'm not quite into Legally Blonde. ;)
Skirt: Classiques Entier, Top: Mossimo for Target, Jacket: Ann Taylor, Shoes: Nine West "Rocha"