The New Basics

– By Teresa Greenfeld –

The foundation on which all wardrobes are built, closet basics are basic for a reason.  Classic in cut and style, they are no slaves to trend, standing strong closet clean-out after closet clean-out.  They’ve endured the test of time.  But who said basic had to be boring?   Our new basics are not actually new – more like updated versions.  Think of it as “Basics: 2.0” – improved, sleeker – but no less basic.  Consider yourself time for an upgrade.




Polished enough for the office, yet chic enough for cocktails, the embellished white tee adds a bit of unexpected luxe to an otherwise casual basic. This new essential is exactly right for those moments when a plain white tee just won’t cut it. Styling tip: let this tee be it’s own accessory- keep jewelry minimal, adding only a statement ring or bracelet.



Look for lace accents, texture, and statement-making embellished details in this baisic-with-a-twist. Because the classic shape remains the same, the new blouse seamlessly replaces the ordinary button-down. Pair with anything and everything – the unexpected details are what take an ordinary black pant/white blouse combo from ordinary to extraordinary. 



The tuxedo pant earns its staple status for being the wardrobe clutch item. Ultra flattering, this borrowed-from-the-boys cut is destined t0 be your go-to item.  For evening look that’s beyond chic, pair with a coordinating jacket (buttoned and sans top underneath, or over a white oxford, buttoned to the collar) and statement heels,   Worn with sleek sneakers and a sweater, and the look is polished yet casual weekend-ready.



An update to the been-there-worn-that leather mini, the new leather skirt gets upgraded to statment status with a lower hemline, color, exaggerated proportions, and wrapped shapes.  Exaggerated shapes are balanced perfectly with a cropped top (for a high-waisted skirt only), or a tucked in silk t-shirt and ankle boots.  Pair luxe, textured leather with a sumptuous cashmere sweater – the mix of textures add interest for a look that’s full on luxe.  Go for edginess with a sheer, silk top worn with a leather wrap-skirt.



Always a wardrobe staple, the shift dress is fresher with geometric prints, texture, and metallic jacquard .  Add heels, a jeweled clutch and a statement necklace for a night out, while paired with ankle boots and a jacket that hits at the hip is office appropriate. For Saturday errands or lunch with the girls, toss on a leather jacket and ballet flats.



Perhaps the most updated basic, the vest has come a long way since the three-piece suit-esque version. The new vest takes on more than one silhouette; military versions are the perfect accompaniment to just about all shapes of denim – flare, skinny, and even shorts. When done as a sleeve-less blazer, it becomes office appropriate – look for leather accents for more edgy appeal. The fur vest is the perfect way to add a bit of luxe – paired with anything from leather skinnies or jackets to effortlessly tossed over a blazer, it adds that instant cool factor.



No less formal than their lapel-ed counterparts, the collarless blazer has just enough un-structured structure to pair with just about everything from a flowing chiffon dress to skinny jeans. Leather and zipper details liven up basic black, bringing the rocker esthetic of a beloved leather jacket  into office -appropriate wear.  For those drawn to a more  minimalist esthetic, color-blocking adds interest and dimension, without taking away from the clean look.  No wardrobe would be complete without at least one tweed jacket.  Look for jewel and bead embellishments; they’re ultra versatile, going from the most casual jeans and t’s, to cocktail-ready chiffon dresses with ease.



Truly a seasonless must-have, the versitle, wear-with-anything cargo jacket has become the essential layering piece. Details like leather sleeves, precise tailoring, and menswear shapes, there’s a style and silhouette for everyone.  Add a fur vest over a leather-sleeved version for a triple-textured look that’s totally on-trend or take a beloved summer white dress into fall by belting a menswear shirt-style jacket and adding booties.  Channel the urban safari and pair a sharply tailored silhouette with leather shorts and pointed toe pumps.



The ultimate in ‘throw-it-on-over-anything’ instant polishing, the new basic trench is anthing but. Cape tops, mixed textures, and unexpected materials  give the trench new life, adding that something extra – without taking away from its traditional bones.

Follow us on Bloglovin’

About the Author