“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 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 denim skirt is a summertime essential for me.
And finally: I think you know by now how I feel about a good zipper hoodie.