We don’t follow trends because we need to, we follow trends because we
want to. Discovering new colors, patterns, and silhouettes — from season to season, on runways or in our favorite brand-name stores — thrills us. But, ultimately, it’s the transitional wardrobe anchor-pieces that win our full style attention. From the perfect white T-shirt to boots that were made for walking and classic blazers, these go-to staples are reliable, versatile, and timeless. Yet, they aren’t always the easiest to shop for.
Instead of buying six tees, three slouchy sweaters, and two pairs of “mom” jeans before finding the
right fit, consult our already vetted best-basics guide first. We sorted by top-rated products, waded through extensive comment sections, analyzed enthusiastic customer reviews, and even grilled our R29 team to curate the anchor-pieces that truly make the style-staple cut ahead. Your search ends now.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
Everlane The Cotton Crew
Why It’s A Best Buy: Constructed from luscious, lightweight Supima cotton, this tee’s value is well beyond its $18 price tag. It also boasts a 4.6 out of 5-stars rating and 2,112 (!) reviews on Everlane.
The Review: “I first saw this on my friend and Refinery29 coworker, Mi-Anne Chan, and it immediately caught my eye. The fit is loose but not so baggy that you get lost in it. There aren’t too many bells and whistles, which is what makes it so great. The tee’s fit and fabric speak entirely for themselves.” — Michelle Li, Refinery29 Associate Fashion Market Editor Everlane The Cotton Crew – White, $18, available at Everlane
Anthropologie Bias Slip Dress
Why It’s A Best Buy: The resurgence of 90’s style brought with it this majorly transitional power piece. Slip dresses can be worn throughout multiple seasons and during multiple occasions; bare shoulders paired with strappy sandals for summertime fancy OR overtop T-shirts paired with slip-on sneaks for fall casual.
The Review: “The perfect slip dress. The material is slightly thicker as one reviewer stated but for those of us looking for a more forgiving fabric this is it! The raspberry color is beautiful. Straps are adjustable which is a plus. The neckline does have a slight curve with a light drape in the front which really makes the dress special. True to size and great length.” – An Anthropologie customer review Anthropologie Bias Slip Dress, $96, available at Anthropologie
Madewell Denim Jacket
Why It’s A Best Buy: Madewell’s denim pants tow a consistent fan following — and its denim jackets follow style suit. While there are quite a few options to choose from, we love the classic silhouette and blue distressed-cotton color of this particular version that also comes in plus sizes.
The Review: “I love this jean jacket. it’s softer than a typical Jean jacket & looks great on! I feel like this is one of those jackets I will be wearing for years!” — A happy Nordstrom customer Madewell Denim Jacket, $118, available at Nordstrom
Blondo Elvina Waterproof Bootie
Why It’s A Best Buy: These boots come with a price tag, but are built to be worn for life (rain or shine). The classic block-hell design is crafted with a waterproof leather upper, sealed seams, medial side zipper, and rear pull tab.
The Review: “These shoes are a great find and believe me, I looked at what felt like hundreds of black boots before I finally settled on these! Although sizing was a bit of trial and error (I ended up going a full size up from my usual) I’m very happy with the final purchase. Waterproof, sturdy and with a small stacked heel, these are perfect for everyday or dressing up with tights or leggings. I’ll be wearing these all year long and hopefully for many seasons to come.” – An ecstatic Zappos customer review Blondo Elvina Waterproof Bootie, $160, available at Zappos
H&M Sweater With Dolman Sleeves
Why It’s A Best Buy: This slouchy pullover is a viscose/polyester blend so you don’t have to worry about the fabric getting warped or wrinkled in transit. It’s breathable enough to sport on a summer night out and substantial enough to layer up with during chillier fall evenings.
The Review: “Great every day sweater – great price! I highly recommend.” — An H&M sweater-weather-er customer review H&M Sweater With Dolman Sleeves, $14.99, available at H&M
Richer Poorer The Classic Bralette
Why It’s A Best Buy: Our Fashion Market Writer, Eliza Huber, surveyed the team to find out which bra is their go-to for comfort — and several chose this ultra-soft, modal-cotton style from trendy basics brand, Richer Poorer.
The Review: “I do not wear bras… like ever. In fact, the last one I wore, I took it off in the middle of the day, at my desk, because the underwire was poking me. So, in order for me to want to wear one and keep it on, it needs to feel like next to nothing. This bralette is reminiscent of a training bra — it’s so comfortable that it’s easy to forget that I’m wearing anything at all.” — Channing Hargrove, Refinery20 Fashion Writer Richer Poorer The Classic Bralette, $28, available at Free People
Mango Structured Wool Blazer
Why It’s A Best Buy: Mango is leading the game in sharp, affordable suiting with a luxurious hand. There’s a whole landing page dedicated to smart blazers and suit separates in both straight and plus sizes.
The Review: “My favorite blazer I own is actually from Helmut Lang but I bought it in a fluke last-garment-standing super sale and don’t expect to come by its likes again at the price I got it at. Instead, I’m throwing in my second favorite blazer (which I have three of) from Mango. Each one is a tad different since they offer so many colors and styles but what they all have in common is that they’re fully lined, the fabric feels great, the cut is cool, and they’re tailored in a way that makes it look like I paid three times as much.” — Marissa Rosenblum, Refinery29 Senior Shopping Director Mango Structured wool blazer, $69.99, available at Mango
MIA Abba Sandal
Why It’s A Best Buy: A true trifecta-shoe of style, budget, and seasonality — this under-$100 clog is ready to take your feet from spring through summer and into fall in comfy-chic Scandinavian fashion.
The Review: “I found this pair on my perpetual hunt for the perfect clogs at the perfect price. While I’m admittedly still searching for The One Clog To Rule Them All, this minimalist-chic, heeled sandal is a solid option — costing me a fraction of the pricier options without sacrificing a single lick of the style. That along with the facts that I won’t break an ankle in them, can dress them up or down, and pair them with shimmery socks in between seasons.” — Elizabeth Buxton, Refinery29 Associate Lifestyle Market Editor Mia Abba Sandal, $98.95, available at Amazon
Levi’s Wedgie Icon Fit Jeans
Why It’s A Best Buy: Somehow mom jeans went from SNL spoof to need-to-have denim style. We’re not sure how, we’re just here for the comfortable high-rise ride — and this faded-cotton pair comes cut in a high-waisted, ankle-cut style that’s inspired by Levi’s OG vintage.
The Review: “Love, love, LOVE! Having grown up in the 80’s, I wore the infamous 501’s like everyone else. To me, these jeans are like an updated, feminine version of that and I really love the way they fit. The color is fantastic, as it’s the perfect shade of broken in jeans. Very pleased!!” — A pleased Nordstrom customer review Levi’s Wedgie Icon Fit High Waist Ankle Jeans, $98, available at Nordstrom
Ralph Lauren Cotton Broadcloth Shirt
Why It’s A Best Buy: A good white button-down is the great outfit equalizer and this Ralph Lauren staple has a casual exaggerated silhouette that makes it sublime. Jeans got you feeling too casual? Throw a crisp white button-down, and you’re immediately a few notches chic-er. Need to dress down your heels-and-skirt look for the office or a weeknight dinner? Button that baby up.
The Review: “I recently stopped pretending that I might buy something other than white button-downs, and I am now on the path to have a closet full of them, a la the late, great Karl Lagerfeld. I always look for 100% cotton — no blends! — and I think Ralph Lauren’s quality is top-notch for the price. This one also has a construction detail that I love — a slightly longer hem in the back for a legit borrowed-from-the-boys vibe.” — Emily Ruane, Refinery29 Fashion Market Writer Polo Ralph Lauren Cotton Broadcloth Shirt, $128, available at Ralph Lauren
Vans Old Skool Original Sneaker
Why It’s A Best Buy: These kicks are about as classic and transitional as they come — the OG skate-shoe turned high-style staple can be dressed up with everything from slip dresses to silk midi skirts or down with a pairs of distressed denim or workout shorts.
The Review: “Classic. Love this shoe! True to size! It fits perfectly and goes with everything!!! I did not expect to wear this shoe as much as I do!! I don’t know what I would do without them, they are comfy and really durable! Because of this shoe I have bought multiple other pairs of vans.” — A love-struck Urban Outfitters customer review Vans Old Skool Original Sneaker, $60, available at Urban Outfitters
Summersalt The Atlas One-Piece
Why It’s A Best Buy: R29 Shopping editors unanimously agree: Summersalt makes a quality one-piece. Sure, there’s the cheap viral Amazon Baywatch suit, but for a supportive, classic one-piece that won’t go out of style, we suggest checking out this brand. Plus, these suits are so chic you can transition them into fall as a bodysuit paired with high-waisted jeans and a jacket.
The Review: “…When [Summersalt] asked me to be a part of #Powersuits and gave me the chance to design my “perfect” suit, I was all in. For me, I wanted boob support with a sexy cut, and plenty of color, I’m obsessed. It’s available in sizes 2-22 and retails for $95. I love Summersalt because they want to change the conversation around swimwear. They are all about making women feel sexy on their own terms and making summer fun again by empowering women with the confidence we all deserve to have!” — Katie Sturino [edited] Instagram post on the launch of her swimsuit design with Summersalt. Summersalt The Atlas Suit, $95, available at Summersalt
Fabletics Black Leggings
Why It’s A Best Buy: This is an incredibly tough category to crown a winner in since there are so many black leggings out there that come with cult-like status (Zella, Lululemon’s Wonder Under, Girlfriend Collective to name a few). Fabletics made this roundup because it checks every single box. Sizing? XXS – 3X: check. Affordable? Currently offering new members two for $24: check. Moisture wicking? Check. Chafe-resistant? Check. See through? Heck no. Pockets? You betcha.
The Review: “Fabletics ALLLLLLLLLLL the way. Two for $24 with your first purchase? Sign me up.. and then refer another email and sign me up again (plus $20 dollar store credit for referrals) and again and again. Plus they have a few signature different materials to choose from (Powerhold is my go-to) and new prints and designs coming out every month. Plus you can choose different lengths from long, regular, or short with their regular length bottoms, 7/8 length, or even capri. I have about 15 pairs now ? and wear them every single day from working out, lounging around, going out, and to work. PS: I’m not a Fabletics rep nor get any commission or anything for this review. I just love them THAT much and for the cost it’s perfect for everyone.” – Refinery29 reader [edited] comment on our Best Black Leggings story Fabletics Salar Solid PowerHold Legging, $24, available at Fabletics
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?
We Found The Most Bookmark-Worthy Vintage Sellers On eBay
29 Under-$125 Dresses To Show Off In
R29's Ultimate A-To-Z Fall Shopping Guide