Better basics

Updated: Jan 29, 2021

Today's post is all about basic pieces done right. Jen's approach to building clients' wardrobes always begins with investing in foundational pieces that go the extra mile. What they have in common is quality - in the fabrics, the cuts and the detailing - and versatility.

Here's a great example of a stepped up basic. Theory's peacoat is a classic cut, but in this navy-based plaid, it reads like something more modern and high design. And it's perfect with everyone's favorite fall uniform: jeans and a sweater.

Apiece Apart makes this cute fuzzy bomber jacket. It's cozy and the nubby fabric gives the basic bomber silhouette a whole new look. Throw it on over casual gear like your workout clothes or dress it up with a good pair of trouser pants. It's super wearable and comes in ivory as well as the black shown above.

Jen can't get enough of this cape by Joseph. This is a GREAT investment piece that is both timeless and chic. Wear it over a sweater or on top of another jacket as shown at left. There are not many pieces that are as beautiful over a ball gown as they are over workout clothes. This cape is like a modern version of the pashmina - but it doesn't make you look like an escapee from the 90s. Update: a LOT of Joseph has just gone on sale for 20% off, including this cape! Check out some of our other Joseph picks from last month here to scoop up some great deals.

The right sweater dress can be an elusive buy. This one by Nili Lotan really fits the bill. It's cozy and cut right. If you are shorter, don't be afraid to get it hemmed by a good seamstress. Wear it with a colored boot or a cute sneaker or the on-trend See by Chloe boot we profiled a few weeks ago. Throw a jean jacket or the Joseph cape over top. This might be the ideal thing to wear to a holiday dinner at home with family this year.

On the left, check out these Vince boots. They go with literally any style of pant. The lug sole is very in this season and we are leaning into it. We need our comfortable walking shoes to dress up or down since we may never want to get back into heels again after this long hiatus!

Speaking of comfortable, Steve Madden makes the quilted sneakers on the right (they also come in all white). The quilted look nods to (much) more expensive styles by Prada and Chanel. And the wedge gives you an always welcome boost. These would be adorable with the Nili Lotan sweater dress.

We like this RE/DONE sweater so much, we've profiled it twice now. Today we're putting it with a classic T shirt, also by RE/DONE. The T shirt is a perfect example of a better basic - high quality fabric (not sheer at all), cut well and works as a layering piece all year. Jen has several of them. On bottom, we like these navy blue pants by Nili Lotan. Wear them now with boots or with sandals and sneakers in warmer weather. Throw on this whole outfit with the shoes above and go.

Jen loves a striped sweater. It just makes your "jeans and a sweater" uniform a little more whimsical and fun. The pink/black stripe by Ganni at top is a chic color combo. The jeweled shoulder is a nod to Simone Rocha - a little bling without being cheesy. Wear it with a wide-leg blue or black jean or a dress pant. At bottom, we love this Nili Lotan black/red stripe with its subtler shoulder buttons. Even better: it's half-price on her site right now (final sale, runs true to size, DM us if you're unsure of sizing).

This cashmere sweater by Vince is a great example of why it makes sense to pay a premium for a better basic. Each detail is just that much better: the V-neck is exactly the right depth; it's 100-percent cashmere so it's soft and holds its shape; the length covers your waistband and hits just right; the sleeve is longer than the cheaper versions; and the colors are perfect. Truly, you can wear a great V-neck sweater with ANYTHING: over a dress, with jeans, with a silk shirt underneath. It should be a staple of your winter wardrobe. We love it the navy, grey and black shown above and it also comes in a gorgeous burgundy.

Mother makes the best jeans with the perfect amount of stretch. This pair happens to be nicely high waisted and goes with everything we posted today. A true black, stretchy jean with the right amount of flare is a wardrobe workhorse.