wardrobe building 101: the 10 best fall basics under $150

earlier this year, i wrote about the quandary of finding quality clothing at reasonable prices. several readers have written to ask for affordable fall essentials, so here are my picks for the season.

1. little black bouclé jacket // ever since i saw the portrait of SC from the Chanel Little Black Jacket exhibition, i've had a classic LBJ on my wishlist. thanks to the Carine x Uniqlo collab, we can all finally get one without forking over four figures.

2. lightweight down vest // i think Uniqlo's ultralight down collection is their best and most ingenious line. the vests are utterly featherweight, warm without being overwhelming, compact (they fold up into the little duffle bag for easy peasy travel), and come in a myriad of colors and prints. i wear the XS (i'm usually a US 0-2). it's perfectly fitted for a tailored look on its own, or layered under jackets and coats. a must-have in every wardrobe.

3. tailored down jacket // same as above, except in full jacket form. i've been layering mine (also the XS) under blazers lately as a warm but tailored alternative to bulky knits.

4. foldover leggings // i discovered these last winter, and have been living in them ever since. worth the extra cost over other cheaper leggings IMO because the jersey cotton feels like silk and washes/wears incredibly well. i throw mine in the dryer and it hasn't overstretched or bagged out at all.

5. silky merino cardigan // from who else – Everlane, of course. a timeless classic – now that the temperatures are dipping up and down, i find myself reaching for cardigans almost every day. this is perfect for office to weekend.

6. 'Yohji' sweatpants // i bought these last year, and they have become a travel essential and trusty all-around basic. they are the perfect inexpensive, stylish sweatpants with a Yohji-esque vibe.

7. minimalist sneakers (also here) // lightweight, amply cushioned, and incredibly comfortable for pretty much everything. these get my vote for #1 most chic sneakers. (i find that they run a little big, so size half down.)

8. striped breton shirt // easy to wear and layer and pair with everything else on this list. i like the cropped shape, it looks good tucked or untucked with a variety of denim and pant styles.

9. wool oversized cape/wrap scarf // the muji US online shop is down for the time being, but if you're near a store definitely scope this out. there are armholes for wearing this like a cape, and the wool is soft and cozy. love all the plaid options!

10. winterized slipons // i've said this before re TOMs, they're one of my favorite versatile flats. love this winterized version with cozy shearling lining! they remind of me of the limited edition Row collab from a few seasons ago.

what do you think? what are your favorite basics?


  1. The breton top available right now (Long Sleeved Striped Boatneck) in J Crew factory right now is 100% cotton and cut in such a nice flattering way it beats my second favorites from Muji (organic cotton) and Petit Bateau. I recommend it.

    I also love the new dark wash skinny jeans from the factory.

    I do not how anyone can live without the power polartec tights from Athleta (I discovered them just this year and not last year in Boston....)

  2. What an amazing post! Thank you so much for sharing xo


  3. i second the uniqlo vest! so far this fall i've only bought a few things.

    i never shopped at ann taylor before but got these pants at 50% off ($40!) and love them.

    also got this plain navy t shirt from cos - like the weight of the fabric and it's good quality:

  4. you're so right about yohji-esque sweatpants -- i bought a pair for flying in and find them even more comfortable than leggings, and they also have a bit of swagger so i don't feel like such a slob when i'm flying.

  5. How do the uniqlo vest and jacket compare to Patagonia warmth wise? Fit looks about the same.

  6. I purchased the Uniqlo down vest for my dad for xmas. I think it's such a great piece for winter - I have a down vest and I wear it for warmth when my sweater is too thick to fit into my coat sleeves comfortably.

    I'm still partial to James Perse tees, and they always seem to be on sale in flash sites like hautelook and ruelala, and discount stores like TJ Maxx or Marshall's so I never pay full price. I was at Woodbury Common outlets this weekend, the JP store had a 40% off everything sale so I stocked up!

    I have a pair of Nike fleece 'yohji' sweatpants. I loved them so much I bought a second pair. Perfect indeed for traveling and running errands.

  7. great guide, though it would be nicer to have a little collage of the items


    Inspirations Have I None


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