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After much anticipation, summer is (almost) here! With that, we bid adieu to those wintery, transitional pieces that have dominated our closets over the past several months. The start of a new season is also often synonymous with change, whether it’s to improve personal routines, set and manifest goals, or even make a sartorial shift—a fresh idea about how you’d like to dress for the remainder of the year. Maybe you’re rethinking how to approach your style, cleaning out your closet of unworn items of the past, or looking to update and elevate your collection of wardrobe essentials altogether.
Vogue’s Ultimate Wardrobe-Essential Edit:
- The Go-To Denim: Levi’s rib-cage straight-ankle jeans, $98
- The Crisp White Poplin: Rag & Bone Maxine button-front shirt, $195
- The Trouser-esque Leggings: Totême zipped-cuff leggings, $200
- The Plain White Tee: Petit Bateau short-sleeve crewneck T-shirt, $50
- The Editor Dress: Tory Burch poplin wrap shirtdress, $698
- The Chic Sneaker: Nike Daybreak sneakers, $95
- The Fashion Flat: The Row Ava flats, $790
- The Oversized Blazer: COS relaxed-fit blazer, $225
- The All-Year-Round Boot: Reformation Remy knee boots, $478
- The Practical Carryall: Cuyana Classic Easy tote, $248
To help, the Vogue shopping team has gathered a robust list of our favorite, most versatile pieces we consider to be foundational for any closet. Pared back but never boring, these are the wardrobe essentials our editors find themselves turning to season after season, the mainstay items, and the pieces we’re loving for 2023. And while we’ll still welcome irresistible seasonal and trend-forward pieces like tailored suit vests and sleek denim midiskirts—it’s fashion we’re obsessed with, after all!—we know those need to live alongside a capsule of staples, because every wardrobe needs a yin-yang balance. That shiny new statement item will dazzle even more when paired with, say, the perfect go-to jeans. And sometimes the item becomes a wardrobe essential itself.
Ahead is a well-curated edit that has helped craft the foundation of our wardrobes. It’s safe to say we’re wearing at least one, if not more, of the highlighted pieces daily. We’ve covered the classics—white T-shirts, crewneck sweaters, trench coats, tailored trousers, chic sneakers—and also those items that have more recently earned their spot as a wardrobe essential: ballet flats, dresses, menswear-inspired loafers, and pairs of summer sandals fit for the warm-weather season. These pieces have transcended their stance as a fleeting trend, becoming notable additions to the list.
So here’s to raising the bar on stylish essentials this summer (and beyond) and investing in the timeless, long-lasting pieces you’ll love for years to come. Below, shop a collection of closet must-haves from your friends at Vogue.
No wardrobe is complete without a pair of Levi’s. Whether you shop them new or vintage, a high-waist, straight-leg pair in an easy blue wash is certainly the wear-everywhere denim you’ll never get sick of. Re/Done’s ’90s high-waist iteration is another heavy hitter—wear with a pair of heels to dress up the style.
One of the many menswear-inspired staples that make up a solid wardrobe foundation, a crisp white button-up shirt is a total must-have that’s sure to come in handy no matter one’s individual style.
For the ideal middle ground between workout attire and formal workwear, you’ll want a pair of black leggings that aren’t for working out. With zips, slits, flares, or stirrups, leggings with elevated details have improved the wearability of stretchy black pants. We’d argue they could even compete with a pair of trousers! Let these from Totême and Wardrobe.NYC—two brands synonymous with wardrobe essentials—be the foundation for your favorite white T-shirts, blazers, trench coats, and more.
As if dresses weren’t effortless enough, here are two that offer maximum style with minimal effort. We’re happy to report that midi-dresses are certified forever classics and can be seen around Vogue HQ; we’re pairing ours with kitten heels, jewelry, and the like.
Elevated versions of basic items like tank tops and T-shirts have the power to transform your wardrobe. These ribbed tanks will channel the simplicity of the ’90s. For added polish with minimal effort, layer one under a blazer.
Few things are better than a luxurious cashmere crewneck or chunky turtleneck when it comes to knitwear. Wear it with everything, like jeans to the office, or layer it into your summer airport attire. Classic sweaters such as these are truly year-round staples.
Every shoe collection needs a pair of lifestyle trainers, and these cool but classic options check all the boxes, from practicality to comfort to a vintage aesthetic. Not to mention that we saw many a sneaker on the fall-winter ’23 runways, serving as a fabulous fashion foundation for several casual-outfit formulas.
This piece of Western-inspired fashion has become a casual-cool mainstay in our closets as of late. A relaxed- or oversized-fit denim shirt is perfect for a transitional wardrobe.
A relaxed-fit trouser makes almost any outfit look effortless; and for that tailored-to-perfection look, a pleated gray or khaki pair goes with absolutely everything.
Every woman needs a sophisticated day bag that fits not only her essentials but her style. These are just a few of our editors’ favorites.
Eyeing an investment piece? This season is the time to take the plunge. A high-quality leather jacket can last decades, improves with age, and makes any outfit look effortlessly cool. You can always count on Acne Studios for luxurious leather and an equally chic choice when it comes to the biker jacket, while Loulou Studio’s cropped version offers a different style.
Perfect for summer or any year-round vacation, a sleek sandal from The Row or Everlane is a must in your minimalist wardrobe. At Vogue, we’re wearing ours with relaxed denim, pleated midiskirts, or crisp shirtdresses for the ultimate quiet-luxury look.
The L.L.Bean canvas tote is a cherished classic among editors at Vogue—owning one is almost like a rite of passage. This durable carryall is one of those items that finds itself perfectly balanced between practical and chic. Meanwhile a roomy leather tote is also an ideal companion for both office days and the commutes in between or weekend getaways upstate.
Ballet flats don’t have to be boring. In fact, small details go a long way when it comes to the flat shoe. Embellishments or interesting details take a pair of Mary Janes or sleek smoking loafers to the next level while still pairing extremely well with the rest of your wardrobe.
We dare you to think of a single occasion for which a slip dress isn’t appropriate—seriously, we’ll wait. Wear this ’90s-inspired staple with a plain white tee or a cozy sweater, or dress it up for one of the many weddings you’ll be attending come spring.
A charming pendant necklace is unexpectedly flattering and feels substantive without overwhelming your neckline. Choose one with inherent meaning, or opt for whatever happens to catch your eye—such as these dainty gold nameplate necklaces.
Nothing screams summer quite like a straw bag. Our favorites include DeMellier’s Santorini tote and Dragon Diffusion’s version. It’s the French-girl look, after all.
If you’re going to buy just one item from the many must-haves in this guide, make it the perfect plain white T-shirt. No further explanation necessary.
The search for the perfect earrings is over. These small jewelry items will make a big impact and are low-key enough for everyday wear but equally appropriate for, well, everything else.
Thanks to Miu Miu, miniskirts were the fashion item heard round the world in 2022. And while the above-the-knee silhouette isn’t for everyone, there are many options that feel polished—dare we say professional? (Perhaps in a fashion office.) Either way, we couldn’t leave out the miniskirt for 2023.
As stealthy as they are stylish, a pair of all-black sunglasses is the epitome of timeless chic. Saint Laurent’s retro black sunnies flatter any face shape, while Ray-Ban Wayfarers are a tried-and-true classic often seen at the Vogue office.
One of 2022’s most popular items was the long denim skirt, thanks to brands like Khaite. Many editors adopted the look last fall, and we don’t see the momentum slowing down in 2023 either.
Feminine and masculine all at once, an oversized blazer is the definition of bona fide cool.
Oftentimes bold, colorful items get left out of essential roundups, but it’s time to reconsider. Once The Row showed saturated hues of knits and tops layered into its fall 2022 collection, it had even the most minimalist of our staff gravitating toward color in their looks. Mix things up this summer, and opt for an unexpected knit in a familiar silhouette.
This summer season, we’re nominating the suit vest as one of many wardrobe staples to invest in. Once a classic menswear garment, the best suit vests for women are reimagined in chic, flattering silhouettes that add a depth of formality to any outfit.
Eres’s retro-inspired strapless swimsuit isn’t your average black one-piece. It has coverage just where you’ll want it, yet its U-ring detailing offers an elegant reveal of the right amount of skin. Tory Burch’s underwire swimsuit is a must-have on any upcoming vacation.
On the fall 2022 runways, it was about all things tubular—clavicle-baring, body-hugging tube tops. Try a refined version of the going-out top for yourself, courtesy of Totême and Paris Georgia.
You never know when you’ll need a party dress, so why not keep one mini on hand? Summertime white is a forever seasonal staple, and Khaite’s off-the-shoulder ivory minidress will secure your spot on the best-dressed list.
Wear it in your hair, around your neck, as a belt, as a top, or as a bag charm. Silk scarves like these can play many roles in a wardrobe, which is all the more reason to make sure you’ve got one.
Perhaps the most underrated wardrobe staple of all is the classic knit vest—like this cable-knit one from Alex Mill or Frame’s turtleneck version. From the high street to the ultraluxe, designers are also leaning toward the sleeveless style. Throw on over your favorite white T-shirt or sleek button-up; this is a garment that has fully completed its happy transformation from geek to chic.
If there’s one denim trend we all agree will stick around for a long time, it’s the relaxed and/or baggy fit. Somewhere in between the boyfriend and wide-leg jeans, these are the cool, comfortable, wardrobe staples for effortless style in 2023 and beyond.
Speaking of eveningwear, a clutch, pouch, or mini bag is still an essential in our eyes. You can’t go wrong with something that shines, be it for a date night, wedding ceremony, or black-tie event.
An elegant evening shoe deserves to be in your rotation. Embellished slingbacks or satin sandals look just as good with a gown as they do with jeans and a T-shirt—who can resist versatility? Plus, it makes the cost per wear not so bad after all.
The nautical-inspired striped sweater is a favorite among a handful of our very own editors; perhaps it’s because La Ligne’s striped knits have been perfected by two former Vogue editors. Kules’s cream-and-navy version is another cozy choice.
Sleek leather and elegant buckles are the must-have requirements for choosing an understated and stylish belt. Whether you loop it through trousers and jeans or over blazers, these belts come in handy for a quick cinch. Either of these styles is a timeless accessory to return to over and over again.
While not necessarily considered a must-have, a wristwatch is the kind of investment piece that will resonate with your wardrobe no matter the decade.
Despite the many inventive iterations of the style, the flat, no-frills black leather loafer is as iconic as it is classic. For a bit of contrast, choose Weejun’s black-and-white leather loafers.
As for coats, may we present an updated trench for your consideration? Max Mara’s take on the timeless beige outerwear instantly elevates any outfit with its ever-so-slightly oversized silhouette. Draped in A.P.C’s cotton trench is the easiest way to keep your in-between-seasons wardrobe looking fresh.
While the leather blazer has become a staple in our tailoring repertoire, like the aforementioned structured blazer, a luxurious tuxedo-style jacket offers up a similar twist on the classics. Many of the spring 2023 collections showed tuxedo jackets, and whether styled with denim or trousers, it’s a sophisticated staple we can get behind.
Each season, there are those irresistible trend-forward pieces that capture the hearts (and closets!) of fashion darlings everywhere—and this spring-summer, it’s all about the quilted shell jacket. Striking the perfect balance of fashion and function, we’re layering ours over striped tees, button-ups, midi-dresses, and more.
Before getting distracted by each season’s most stylish footwear trends, you’ll want to make sure you first have a great pair of all-year-round, goes-with-everything boots. One with a manageable-height heel, black leather construction, and a slim mid-calf silhouette is likely going to fit within your wardrobe no matter your sartorial preference.
A longline tailored coat is an effortless and eternally chic way to pull together a look, even with casual clothes underneath. You’ll never get tired of a single-breasted wool silhouette in neutral colors.
Knit polos are a polished option to the otherwise classic crewneck. A cashmere polo is a chic and understated choice, whether it’s Nadaam’s camel V-neck version or Everlane’s ivory button-up.
Turtlenecks are prized pieces of layering; they’re warm, sophisticated, and stylish when worn on their own or underneath an outstanding outerwear offering. Thanks to its fair price, Everlane’s version (with a fine-rib feel) makes stocking up easy, because we’re sure you’ll want more than just one. A black turtleneck like this one from Wolford can be just as dressed up as it can be dressed down.
Sweatsuits have long been accepted as more than just clothes for going to and from the gym. That being said, loungewear should be presentable for both indoor and outdoor wear; you won’t mind bumping into someone you know in Everlane’s well-curated color palette of stylish matching sweats.
Give your sweats a night off, and get dressed up for bed with this striped and piped set of pajamas. Lake’s polished yet ultra-comfortable pj’s are a favorite among a handful of Vogue editors. Meanwhile, Lunya is the current sleepwear brand to know.
We’ll admit it, Skims’s undergarments have become an instant hit among our editors. They are genuinely comfortable, lay perfectly flat, and are offered in a wide range of sizes and colors. Three for the price of one, Commando’s thong set is the best way to maximize foundational wardrobe pieces.
Like a bralette but with more support, Cuup’s plunge bra is made of sheer power mesh that’s so comfortable you might forget you’re wearing anything at all. Meanwhile, Araks’s lace Tamara bralette is perfect for those peekaboo moments.
It’s important to have a nice sock that feels totally luxe without sacrificing function, and Comme Si’s and The Row’s do just that. Trust us when we say you’ll want to show these off with a loafer.