It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of a new trend. When you scroll through your Instagram feed or walk to work and see every other 20-something wearing a similar version of a new craze, it can make you get tunnel vision for only spending your coin on the newest and hottest things.
But at the end of the day, you still need a wardrobe full of things that you can actually pair with trendier items — basics that never fail you and that you turn to time and time again. When you find that T-shirt that fits just right or the jeans that hug you in all the right places, they can make you feel like a million bucks, no matter what you pair them with.
These are the basics that are worth investing in; the ones that you’ll wear time and time again, even as seasons and trends come and go. With these, you’ll never feel like you have nothing to wear again.
1. A (Faux) Leather Jacket
Is there any wardrobe item that can immediately turn your attitude around as quickly as a leather jacket can? They can take a T-shirt and jeans from “I just rolled out of bed” to a full-blown look in half a second.
It’s 2020, and you don’t need to wear real leather for your leather jacket to look expensive. This is the faux option our editors swear by, and that we turn to over and over again
(yes, we have all showed up to work wearing it on the same day, and no, none of us took it off):
2. A Leopard Midi Skirt
This might sound like a wardrobe non-essential, but hear me out: you know the events where you can’t (or don’t want to) wear jeans, and therefore have absolutely nothing to wear? Having a leopard midi skirt to turn to can save you in an instant. Pair it with a tank and sandals in the summer or a sweater and booties in the winter — you’ll be shocked by how many ways you find yourself wearing it.
3. A (Good) White T-Shirt
How many times have you bought the same $5.99-version of a white tee that ends up shrinking in the dryer and becoming unwearable the first time you wash it? (For me, about 500). No white T-shirt is going to be indestructible, but buying one that fits you great and can be your go-to for at least a few months is worth it.
4. Basic Loafers
The workwear staple that’s become acceptable to wear on the daily, a good pair of loafers can be worn with just about anything and can last you years. If you’re a first-timer, opt for a basic black pair; if you’re looking for something more out-there, choose a fun texture or print.
5. A Go-To Blazer
Menswear trends brought blazers into our lives over the past couple of years, and they haven’t failed us a day since — they can be taken from work to play and are always effortlessly chic. There are countless colors and styles to choose from, but we’re partial to these:
6. Straight-leg Jeans
Skinny jeans will always have a time and a place in our wardrobe, but a good, straight-leg pair wears in a completely different way. While one pair won’t work for every body type, these are a few of our favorites.
7. A Leather Tote
A good leather tote is one of the only items in existence that tends to look even better with wear — there’s nothing like a worn-in, go-to tote that you can throw all of your essentials in and head out the door. These are the three our editors are obsessed with, and each would fight to the death over why they think theirs is best (I live and breathe for my Madewell Transport Tote) — you can’t go wrong with any of these:
8. A Cashmere Sweater
A cashmere sweater is definitely a luxury, and there’s no way around them being on the more expensive side. But one good, high-quality sweater that’s as soft as can be will get the cost per wear within a month of owning it. Spending the money on a good sweater that will last you for seasons is also less expensive than constantly replacing poorer-quality options (something I constantly need to remind myself of).
9. White Sneakers
Odds are you have a pair of gym shoes for working out, but having a pair for running errands and living life is essential. We live in ours on work-from-home days and over weekends — and even style them to wear to the office.
10. A Denim Jacket
Dress it up, dress it down, throw it on on a chilly summer night, pair it with black jeans and a white tee on the weekend — there’s always a need for a good denim jacket.