Classic Style
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Wardrobe Workhorses for Living In.

By: Jen Shoop

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I’ve been reaching for a suite of key pieces week in and week out — staples that just make my entire wardrobe work. Seen above: several constituents, including kick-flare pants; a striped button-down; a striped sweater; and a great handbag. Detailing below —

01. A great ladylike blazer/coat. I have several, and my favorites are by Veronica Beard (how great is this new knit style?) and this Tuckernuck, but this $129 Mango steal really does it all. The gold buttons add polish; the tweed texture is a nod to Chanel. Throw this on over a tee and jeans and immediately feel like a million bucks. Also great for layering over blouses on chilly nights. Upgrade pick: this BA&SH.

02. Classic ballet flats. My most-worn are Chanel and Schutz. I love the simple, unfussy styling of these Madewells, too.

03. Timeless cateye sunglasses. I’ve been longing for this exact pair from Celine for an eternity. I’ve written about this many times, but I’m still doing penance for losing two pairs of Chanel sunglasses in my more reckless 20s, and have been making do with Le Specs Airhearts in the interim, which are excellent and less guilt-inducing if lost/destroyed.

04. White tee. Everyone’s favorite $15 secret is this Uniqlo tee. They really are excellent. I took my true size and find it runs snug/narrow – have heard other Magpies prefer to size up. I also absolutely adore my Leset Margo.

05. A casual non-denim pant (more sizes here). I’m currently in the honeymoon phase with these Brylies (also in a green color here) — the fit is perfection for petites. (If you’re taller, you should try the Nili Lotan Shons.) The silhouette feels on-trend, or just shy, and I love the vibe of dressing them up with a striped button-down or blazer. So cute. I also love a utility pant like these from Joe’s Jeans, which I still wear constantly. (This particular pair is very stretchy and comfortable.)

06. Classic watch. I wear my Hermes H Heure constantly, but these under-$400 ones from March Hare are classic, ultra-chic and reasonably priced. If you’re dead set on Hermes, you might set a search on TRR. You can always replace the strap by going into an Hermes store!

07. Striped button-down. Love the way this can elevate jeans / cargo pants / leggings. Rag & Bone’s Maxine is iconic — the perfect silhouette (not too oversized, not too fitted) and a gorgeous silky material that doesn’t wrinkle as much as others I’ve tried.

08. Mid-sized leather handbag. I love my APC Grace. She’s elegant, a perfect size, and looks even more expensive than she was. Easy to throw on for evenings out but also casual enough for daytime. She’s perfect.

09. Black turtleneck. An absolute unsung hero. The best for layering beneath cardigans, dresses, blazers, vests, etc. These ones from SoldOut are fabulous. Run small – I’d go a size up. I took my true size and feel very sucked in.

10. Gold earring. Somehow elevates everything? I’ve been wearing these Aureums nonstop (lightweight and vintage-inspired), but who doesn’t love a $12 Bottega-inspired score?

11. A neutral, “dressy” sneaker. IMO, these Loewes have staying power — they have been around for several years and I still think they kill. My other top pick for a neutral sneaker with legs are Supergas in white, navy, black, taupe. $70, last forever, and they’re always chic. I prefer this style of sneaker to Loewe or anything more athletic when pairing with dresses. I’d happily wear Supergas with a shirtdress but would think twice about pairing with Loewes — maybe it’s the millennial in me, but I have a hard time with the dress-and-athletic-sneaker situation unless the dress is a tee dress or something very dressed down. Other neutral sneaker options: these Bodens are a Loewe-look-for-less and these Autrys feel like a more interesting New Balance.

12. Shirtdress. My dream is to invest in one of the ones from Co, but I love the idea of a denim one to mix things up. Would look fab with heels, sandals, flats, etc. I own this denim dress in a lighter wash and it is perfect — the zip front adds a little interest. You could layer over a turtleneck, throw on beneath a blazer, etc. This brand generally runs big and long — great for taller Magpies.

13. A well-fitting pair of everyday jeans. I’m presently smitten with these SLVRLAKEs (run TTS), but I have to say that probably my most-worn pair of jeans over the past two years have been these Madewells. I do not think they hold up as well as higher-end/prestige denim labels — mine are looking a little long in the tooth after two years — but the fit is perfection. Go a size down in these. I also love my Citizens Charlottes and my Agolde Rileys but I find myself smack in between sizes in both of these styles. I erred on the side of sizing up in both, but they are both a tad bit too roomy. Still great for everyday wear, though.

14. Striped tee. I love the ones from Kule and Ayr.

15. Solid-colored cardigan. I love the weight of this particular one from Alex Mill — soft (cotton) so you could wear against bare skin for a slightly different look (versus layered over a tee) and a tad heavier weight / more structured than your run of the mill cardi. Upgrade pick: any solid colored cardigan from G Label. I own several of their sweaters and they are beautifully made. I find they run a tad small in general.

16. A black or navy pant. You do you in terms of which silhouette you find most flattering/comfortable, but I’m a long time devotee of the kick flare, and these Donnis (just got my pair) are pretty incredible. They feel like a legging (less compressive than Splits59 TBH) but look like a pant. I am going to have mine hemmed a bit. They currently look like a straight-up flare (I’m 5’0) but if you’re taller, they’re going to be ideal right off the hanger. I also love my Spanx perfect fit pants, but those are much more compressive FYI. You could travel in the Donnis; the Spanx are like “OK, wear to work and back, look like a million bucks, take off in favor of sweats.”

17. Roomy everyday tote. I usually wear either my Goyard St. Louis PM or my LL Bean — these Rue de Verneuils are next on my list though.

Shop Wardrobe Essentials.

P.S. Elevated athleisure.

P.P.S. On being truly happy for friends.

P.P.P.S. A fun beach read.

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7 thoughts on “Wardrobe Workhorses for Living In.

  1. Such a great list! We share a couple of faves, including the Autrys and the Uniqlo U tee. The Donni flares are next on my list! Their waffle shorts are some of my favorite warmer-weather PJ bottoms.

    On the Uniqlo U tee: I wonder if they have changed their sizing recently? When I first bought one of these now-iconic tees about 3 years ago, I sized up one size and now that tee feels slightly bigger — and because it’s cropped, this means that it doesn’t always tuck nicely into jeans, for example. I recently bought another white one AND a beige heather one in my true size (meaning, one size down from the one I already owned) — and they are SO slim, like to the point where I wouldn’t wear them on their own! They’re great for layering but are too tight in the arms to wear on their own :-/

    Just wanted to add this in case anyone else is considering them! Worth it to try on a couple of sizes if you’re near a Uniqlo store. Generally, though, I definitely recommend them — the super-tight knit makes it look so clean! I love the ribbed trim at the crew neck, too.

    xx

  2. Love all these – adding to list! Supergas…………I get these in white, have done for years. But they get beaten up looking quickly. Do you have any tips for keeping them clean / fresh looking? They’re relatively cheap so don’t mind replacing but also if there was a better option. I wash them but feel that doesn’t work too well. Thanks xxxx

    1. Hi Gilly – Oy, I’ve run into the same issue. No great solution except to use a tiny bit of detergent and a scrub brush prior to laundering, to pre-treat any really bad stains.

      xx

  3. What is the quality like on the Donni pants? I’m on the hunt for a cream/white pair in this kick flare style, but they look a bit see through on the model. Clicked on so many of these links – thank you!

    1. Hi! They seem lovely in quality to me (stretchy, well-made), though I can’t speak to the opacity of the cream/white. I personally think they’re a better fit if you’re over say 5’2 or 5’4. I need to get mine hemmed!

      xxx

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