The 9 Brands I Shop When I Just Want Pretty Basics

Allyson Payer

I'm pretty sure that 75% of the clothing I buy is basics and the rest is statement pieces to wear with the basics. These days, with my calendar basically wiped clear for the foreseeable future, so I'm relying on my collection of basics more than ever, but I also want to buy pieces that are fun to wear and that I'll look forward to putting on when its safe to be out and about a little more. Luckily, I've found nine brands that make the best pretty basics, and I've steadily stocked my closet with them over the years.

Since I live in the South and work remotely from home full time, my style is on the casual side, but I also love fashion and always make an effort to look cool—even if my only activities on a given day could be a Starbucks run and a Zoom meeting. These, my friends, are the brands that I rely on no matter what my schedule may be, and all of the said brands are filled with comfortable, chic, pleasing-to-the-eye pieces. Shop my picks from each below.

Cotton Citizen

Tie-dye as a basic? Why not? Not only is Cotton Citizen's quality very high, but the fit of every piece I've tried is also perfect, and both the solids and tye-dyes couldn't be prettier.

Cotton Citizen Tokyo Crop Tee ($90)

Cotton Citizen Milan Crew Sweatshirt ($195)

Cotton Citizen Milan Tie Dye Bike Shorts ($90)


Whenever I'm in need of a particular basic, one of the first places I check is Madewell. The prices are very reasonable, and as you'll see below, the basics are far from boring.

Madewell Pull-On Shorts ($40)

Madewell Cami Tie-Strap Sundress in Bright Buds ($138)

Madewell Denim Tie-Waist Patch Pocket Short Overalls ($118)


With Reformation, I love that I can get a special-occasion dress and a stylish everyday basic all in one place. The Ref Jeans line, in particular, is chock-full of great denim and knits.

Reformation Carrie Top ($38)

Reformation Demie Skirt ($128)

Reformation Dasha Top ($58)


Given how quickly Mango churns out new pieces, I can't believe how good quality they are. Every cool basics trend I see on Instagram is always present and accounted for.

Mango High-Waist Shorts ($28)

Mango Openwork Sweater ($42)

Mango Double Baby-Collar Shirt ($35)


Leset is newer on the scene but no less wonderful. If you want great, high-quality tees and the prettiest knit matching sets you could dream of, this is the brand to shop.

Leset Alison Ribbed Tank Dress ($160)

Leset Jamie Long Sleeve Snap Down Cardigan ($111)

Leset Rio Square Neck Tank ($132)

Free People

Free People is so much more than just boho pieces (although that's great too, if it's your aesthetic). The brand also has a vast, very stylish inventory of special basics to choose from.

Free People Violet Mini Dress ($108)

Free People U-Neck Tank ($20)

Free People Seamless Lace Bike Short ($20)


I'm far more willing to spend more on beautiful basics than I am trendy pieces. Enter Vince. I can never get over all the perfect white button-downs and satin slip skirts that I'd wear over and over.

Vince Textured Drape Skirt ($177)

Vince Puff Sleeve Pima Cotton Crew ($75)

Vince Drapey Silk Habotai Shorts ($245)

& Other Stories

Like Madewell, & Other Stories is one of those brands that I check first when I need something specific, as I know it'll have a pretty version of it for not a lot of money. Stories rarely lets me down.

& Other Stories Fitted Soft Cotton Top ($39)

& Other Stories Button Mini Skirt ($69)

& Other Stories Oversized Lightweight Trenchcoat ($149)

The Line By K

We Who What Wear editors talk about (and wear) The Line By K a lot. The designs are as good as designer pieces that are three times the price.

The Line by K Kaito Crinkle Midi Dress ($265)

The Line by K Margaux Lettuce Trim Turtleneck ($57)

The Line by K Ximeno High Neck Cropped Tank ($69)

Next up, how to wear nine trend-proof items you already own.

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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