Basics Instinct: Wardrobe Staples, Elevated

© Dan Martensen

Humble wardrobe staples are taking their star turn—here's where to buy the essentials.

Implicit in the adage that fashions fade but style is eternal is the wisdom that style isn’t built on flashy or elaborate designs, that chic closets are the sum of their tried-and-true parts. Especially now, when the hautest of haute designers are championing looks with casual ease, simpler styles are the new pièces de résistance, and greater attention is being paid to those go-to, fuss-free items that one routinely reaches for.

Brands like Vince are raising the bar on casual wear by rendering go-tos, such as shirtdresses and A-line skirts, in exceptional fabrics, like satin and suede. Vince’s range of all things classic, clean, and endlessly wearable recently expanded to include footwear and handbags that are the accessories equivalent of its elevated everyday apparel.

Where Vince’s beauty is the breadth of its offerings, a crop of new, niche brands are gaining loyal fans for their collections honed in on superlative renditions of specific essentials: the separates and layering pieces that make up one’s day-to-day uniform. Look to Atlantique Ascoli for elegantly unadorned blouses, Exemplaire for sumptuous cashmere sweaters, Håndværk for impeccable tees and sweatshirts, and Grace MMXIII for timeless takes on the little black dress.

By upgrading the most fundamental elements of design—fabric, fit, and finish— these brands transform the commonplace into the lust-worthy.