11 Under-$100 Basics I'm Forcing All My Friends to Buy

Since I work in fashion, it is very common for my friends (and sometimes even strangers on Instagram) to ask me for some sort of sartorial advice. Sometimes, their questions don't warrant an entire story on Who What Wear, but after years of listening to my friend's wardrobe dilemmas, I finally came to the realization that all of their problems revolved around one thing—a lack of good wardrobe basics.

More often than not, when we are shopping in a frenzy, we tend to buy really trendy, eye-catching pieces instead of investing in the basics. I used to do this as well and I found that getting dressed every day was unnecessarily difficult. But after taking the time to purchase the building blocks of a solid wardrobe like sweaters, trousers, and neutral bags, getting dressed suddenly became a breeze. Since most of my friends face this exact issue, whether it be literally not owning any of the basic wardrobe items or hating the ones they do own, this seemed like something all of you could benefit from as well.

Ahead, shop the 11 best basic pieces I think you should be adding to your wardrobe ASAP. And since buying a plain black slip dress might not feel like the most exciting thing in the world, I made sure everything below is under $100. You're welcome.

Crewneck Sweaters

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(Image credit: @erinoffduty)

Crewneck sweaters always look classy, and when you tie one around your neck like a little scarf, you'll always look trendy. 

Shop crewneck sweaters:

Timeless (But Cute) Boots

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(Image credit: @aimeesong)

Just because boots are a timeless wardrobe staple doesn't mean they can't be exciting. Take note of the subtle upgrades happening in footwear at any given time and choose to add those to your collection versus the same old same old. 

Shop timeless boots:

Black Slip Dress

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(Image credit: @ali_tate_cutler)

At first I was going to title this section "versatile" slip dresses, but when I thought more about it, some of my friends don't even own a black one, and in my opinion, that is the smartest place to start.

Shop slip dresses:

Neutral Bag

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(Image credit: @ada_oguntodu)

If you feel like you need a bag that goes with everything, then you need to buy one in a color that, well, goes with everything. 

Shop neutral bags:

Oxford Shirts

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(Image credit: @elizagracehuber)

Consider this your official white T-shirt replacement for 2020. Not saying you can't wear white T-shirts anymore, but in case you wear them a little too much, this classic shirt will be a refreshing swap. 

Shop oxford shirts:

Classic Sneakers

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(Image credit: @sophiaroe)

It's easy to let yourself be tempted by all the trendy sneaker styles out there, but at the end of the day, when you want to throw something on and call it a day, classic sneakers like Converse and New Balance's will always be the shoes you reach for. 

Shop classic sneakers:

Seamless Underwear

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(Image credit: @annelauremais)

People might not see your seamless underwear, but should you ever finally find the perfect thing to wear only to discover you don't have the right undergarments for it, these seamless undies will suddenly become your favorite item in your dresser. 

Shop seamless underwear:

Trench Coat

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(Image credit: @leisfez)

Trench coats used to feel drab, but the past year or so has proven they are beyond cool (and practical). Buy one and kiss all your jacket woes goodbye. 

Shop trench coats:

Tailored Trousers

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(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols)

Trousers have been the pant style fashion girls have been wearing instead of their jeans these days. Don't be intimidated, just buy. 

Shop tailored trousers:

Strong Blazers

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(Image credit: @nnennaechem)

If you haven't hopped on the blazer bandwagon yet, I want to be angry with you, but I know they aren't for everyone. The best way I can put it is to consider blazers as the outerwear piece that is eclipsing jean jackets. Style them the same way—casually and with little to no effort. 

Shop blazers:

Sleek Strappy Sandals

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(Image credit: @juliesfi)

There's nothing worse than a cheap-looking sandal, but that doesn't mean you can't buy sandals that aren't cheap. Make sure your shoe of choice is simple, sleek, and will go with everything. 

Shop strappy sandals:

Lauren Eggertsen
Editorial Director

Hi, it's Lauren here! I've been working in the fashion industry since my interning days back in college. I started my career at The Zoe Report and eventually landed at Who What Wear, where I have been for seven years now. Currently, I am Editorial Director, providing all of you with the latest and greatest in trends and shopping. My personal style is always changing, but right now, my closet is filled with tailored separates, contemporary bags, and lots of statement shoes. I moved to New York about three years ago but am originally from Orange County, California. I went to school at Pepperdine University and moved to Los Angeles immediately after graduation.