life·11 min read

17 Wardrobe Staples That’ll Last for Years

Wardrobe Staples
Design: theSkimm | Photo: Nordstrom, Nadaam, L.L. Bean
Sep 7, 2022

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Being an outfit repeater…highly underrated. Not only is it one of the best and quickest ways to decrease fashion consumption and reduce waste, but it also makes things easier on your wallet and the planet (despite what any villain from “The Lizzie McGuire Movie” might think). So we rounded up our fave versatile items every woman should have in her closet. We’ve got pieces that can withstand trends, laundry cycles, and changing seasons. So you can save some money…and Mother Earth while you’re at it. Add to cart now, and wear again and again. 

Psst…this is part of our Relatable Fashion Week series. For more of our recs on all things sustainable when it comes to your wardrobe, click here.

A classic unisex tote that’ll take you from the farmer’s market to the office…

Because an L.L.Bean cotton-canvas bag never goes out of style. It’s super durable thanks to its double-stitched seams, reinforced bottom, and handles that can hold up to 500 pounds. Available in a variety of size and color options, you can monogram it for an extra-special touch. ($29.95+, L.L. Bean)

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The perfect crewneck tee you can wear all year round…

No matter the weather, you’ll always need a good cotton T-shirt. Whether you wear it on its own or under a chunky cardigan for extra layering, this bestselling one from J.Crew is a must-have. It’s got a vintage feel, so it’ll feel worn-in and ultra-soft on first wear. And you can monogram it too. HQ’rs especially love it because it washes really well. And things that hold up in your laundry mean you won’t have to shop for new pieces as often…which is a win for the environment. ($19.50, J.Crew)

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Birkenstock sandals that are classics for a reason…

If you’ve ever slipped on a pair of Birks, you know the hype is real. These suede strap sandals have the same orthopedic footbed and cork sole we all know and love, in countless colorways. They’ll last season after season, and they’ll get even softer and comfier with time. ($160, Nordstrom)

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A small crossbody bag that’ll take you from day to night…

Chic and made from upcycled landfill plastic? Yes, please. This machine-washable, everyday piece has an interior zip pocket and an adjustable strap, which you can use to turn it from a crossbody to a shoulder bag for a two-in-one look. Plus, its zippered top will protect all your essentials. It comes in four neutral colors too. ($148, Cuyana)

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Insanely comfy, celeb-fave sneakers that’ll keep up with your wardrobe changes…

These low-rise canvas sneaks are all you need to finish off your fave looks for every season. (Sweats included.) They’re sustainably made and have over 20K five-star reviews. Plus, they feel broken-in the second you put ’em on. So you can jump, walk, skate, or do literally anything in style and comfort. It’s no wonder they always sell out. PS: Skimm’rs get a little something off the price tag. ($79, Cariuma)*

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A lightweight blazer that makes the perfect layering piece…

This one from Uniqlo slips on like a cardigan but has the structure of a blazer. It’s sleek, yet has a relaxed fit through the body to maximize comfort. Wear it to the office for a sophisticated look or layer it over a sundress for a more casual vibe. And the best part? It’s under $100. Your wallet just called. It says ‘TYSM.’ Psst...reviewers recommend sizing down. ($79.90, Uniqlo)

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A comfortable pair of leather flats that come in a bunch of colors…

To keep in your bag as backup or to wear if you want to prioritize comfort throughout your day. This pair is super soft and coated in cork, so they’ll truly feel like clouds. The elasticized topline means they’ll stay on securely while you’re out and about. And because they’re made of leather, they’ll get even softer with time. No pinching or blistering here, thank you very much. ($34.50+, Nordstrom)

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PS: Check out our roundup of the best work shoes for all-day comfort.


A cashmere scarf you can wear multiple ways…

A closet essential. (Taylor’s Version.) This pashmina is warm enough to wear as an extra layer during the winter months, but light enough to use as a shawl in the spring. It comes in a rainbow of colors, is machine washable, and fits compactly as a travel blanket. Wrap it up. ($12.95, Amazon)

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A denim jacket you can wear with anything…

Like over a sundress on chillier nights or with a simple tee. This one has distressed details so it’ll make any outfit a little more casual. Plus, the more you wear it, the comfier it’ll get with time. ($75.36, QVC)

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A basic long-sleeve crewneck you can’t go wrong with…

Wear it on its own, pop it on under a blazer or even rock it during your next low-impact workout. This jersey one from Splendid is so soft, but is also structured enough to give you a more put-together look. Versatile pieces for the win. ($54, Shopbop)

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A durable pair of rainboots…

These pull-ons from Hunter have a ground-gripping sole and will keep excess water out while you're on the go. So whether you’re walking in a rainy city or doing yard work, this pair will keep you protected and dry. HQ’rs can attest that these last for years and are a solid investment. ($150+, Nordstrom)

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A classic cashmere sweater at a great price…

Spoiler: Cashmere can be really pricey. But this sweater from Nadaam is a great way to add it to your wardrobe without breaking the bank. It comes in endless colorways, is super soft, odor-blocking, breathable, and even wrinkle-free. What can’t it do? It’s made of 100% Mongolian cashmere and has minimal pilling. (But if it does pill, we love this handy tool.) Wear it on its own or treat it as a base layer for chillier days. It’s a need, not a want. ($75, Nadaam)

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A solid tank top that comes in 14 colors…

Major versatility, coming right up. The ribbed fabric not only provides comfort but also durability. And the racerback silhouette is ultra-flattering. Wear it as a workout top, a pajama top, under a blazer or cardigan, on its own with necklaces — you name it. Go for pink or cobalt blue. Get it, get it. ($11.97+, Aerie)

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A crisp button-down you can pair with just about anything…

This modern, relaxed version is cool enough to wear on the weekend, but elevated enough to wear to the office. It’s made of 100% organic cotton — aka it’s better for the earth — and can be worn tucked in or out, buttoned or open. Look good, do good. ($80, Everlane)

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Lululemon leggings that are incredibly popular for a reason…

Designed for low-impact workouts, the Align leggings are so buttery soft you may even forget you have them on. You won’t want to immediately take them off once you’re done working up a sweat. They come in over a dozen colors — and are also perfect for lounging. ($98+, Lululemon)

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Classic skinny jeans that'll make you feel good...

Baggy jeans may come and go, but skinny jeans are forever. (Trust us). These high-rise Good American ones come in a versatile indigo wash that pairs well with both faded neutrals and bright colors. They’ve also got five flattering pockets and come in sizes 00–24. Don’t let Gen Z’ tell ya otherwise, you just need a good pair. ($99, Nordstrom)

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Customizable, sustainably produced leather sandals…

If you get bored of your footwear often, these are for you. This pair is made so you can buy interchangeable straps and update the design of your shoe based on your OOTD. So you can invest in one pair — with multiple straps — instead of buying rounds and rounds of shoes to keep up with trends. Plus, the heel is made of recycled plastic, the midsole is cushioned in foam for all-day comfort, and they’re breathable. Finding a new fave has never been so easy. ($270+, Alterre)

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*This denotes a sponsored section.


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