Lots of requests for this one, as well as for a rundown of brands made in America (for that I refer you here and here), but let’s start with my favorite fair trade fashion company, Everlane. To me, Everlane serves the function that Gap did back in the day: they provide sophisticated, well-priced versions of classic pieces that you can work into your wardrobe and make your own. Their $65 poplin button-downs are just as attractive and well-made as shirts I’ve paid a whole lot more for.
Zady also traffics in classics, but they’re a bit more fashiony. I am crazy for this excellent sweater coat.
I am surprised constantly by Eileen Fisher—the brand’s reputation is sleepy, but I find items I want pretty regularly, like this quilted jacket.
The clothes at Reformation are on the young side, but if you poke around the site you’ll find a number of super-cute items. I’m a big fan of this furry toggle jacket.
Krochet Kids sells some clothes, but I like this site for the winter hats on offer. This is fairly adorable.
Nisolo sells bags and shoes at reasonable prices. I think this weekender is very preppy chic.
“I loved 20 wardrobe classics,” writes a reader named Shelley. “Perhaps an update?” And why not? As I’ve said before, I don’t believe that there is even one universal item that every woman must have in her closet—we’re all different, with different bodies and ideas about what looks good on them—so what I’ve included here are my classics, the items I return to again and again. It’s almost the same lineup as last year, which surprised me, but of course the choices are all new. First up: there are few pieces I rely on as much as I do a great white button-down. This one is from Nili Lotan and is my absolute favorite, but this one from Madewell is much cheaper, and nicely oversized.
Without my R13 grey jeans, life as I know it would be impossible. They are spendy, true, but they fit me just right and it’s tough to put a price tag on that. Plus, they have a nice amount of stretch without looking like they’ve got too much stretch, which is key.
You can’t go wrong with a navy blazer—they are somehow just a little more French girl than black.
I live in clogs—they’re so comfortable, and make me taller, and since I am convinced I have impossibly stumpy legs, this is very important.
A black winter coat in an interesting fabrication is a good thing. This alpaca blend is from Maria Cornejo and exceeds the GOACA price limit, but it is currently on sale, and I own it and can tell you that it is as stylish and versatile as you please. Here is a faux fur coat that costs a lot less and is pretty great too.
A striped tee is forever, and I love them in black and white.
The only item I am flat-out repeating from last year are these Blundstone chelsea boots—you could walk forever in them, and they’re reasonably priced. Here is a slightly more refined pair with a bit of a heel, if that’s what you’re after.
I am always wearing a few necklaces, and my current favorite is this shark’s tooth that I gave myself for my birthday last year. Here it is in silver, substantially cheaper, but just as chic.
I like popovers a lot—they’re often more flattering than button-downs, but have a similar put-together look. I think the lace detail on this one is really pretty.
As I mentioned last year, I dislike the notion of the Little Black Dress, and prefer the idea of the Serious Black Dress. In honor of the cold, I’ve chosen one made of cashmere to show here.
Last year I determined that a cashmere beanie was one of life’s essentials, but we are locked in such a deep freeze at the moment in New York that this time around I chose something more substantial.
I always come back to a good, grown-up black handbag. This one is from Jerome Dreyfuss, and I want it bad.
I wear my army pants constantly, and like the notion of changing things up and getting this pair in blue.
A cashmere v-neck looks great (and a little sexy) on its own, and preppy-chic layered with a thin button-down.
A big huggy cardi is good for those days when you’re feeling like camouflaging your entire upper body.
An attractive, sturdy tote is a must-have for travel. I think this one from Filson is meant for men, but I like it a lot.
I’m always looking for new rings to add to my stack.
I’m so glad puffers are having a moment, because they’re so practical and warm that I’d wear them even if they weren’t fashionable. This one comes in a few colors, but since I’m all about a red puffer these days, that’s what I’m showing here.
A couple of you expressed a desire for a “perfect” leather jacket, which is a tricky request to fulfill, as we all have our own individual ideas about what perfect is. This has also been a tricky post to do because most of the really exemplary leather jackets I find are too pricey for me to feel comfortable posting on GOACA. So all of the following are on sale—some still pricey, but less pricey. And because they are all on sale, sizes are sometimes limited, for which I apologize. My ideal leather jacket is fairly streamlined, with minimal-to-no hardware or ornamentation, so that’s what I’ve included here. This one from Theory seems thin enough to wear right now under a puffer, which I always think is a good look.
Allsaints makes great leather jackets, and I’m a big fan of this shearling-lined number. The combination of brown and black is underrated.
Here is another choice from Allsaints, which I like because it has a certain chic slouchiness, and would look as good with a dress as it would with jeans.
Another nicely streamlined option with a nifty snap collar.
OK, this exceeds the GOACA price limit even marked down, but there is something so fun about red leather, and it’s lined in shearling so it’s warm, warm, warm.
I’m pretty sure I think this is just classic and perfect.
This one from Vince could not be a whole lot more perfect in my book, and I like the ever-so-slight sheen of the leather.
And this little cutie is suede so it doesn’t quite fit with the category, but it’s so damn adorable I had to include it.
I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.