Presenting: The 8 Basics You'll Want to Have on Lock in 2021


(Image credit: @brooklynngallagher)

Ready for a fresh dose of basics? Well, seeing as you're reading Who What Wear already and you found your way into this story, I'm going to assume that's a resounding yes. There's no question that we're keen on wardrobe basics here seeing as we're always discussing them and highlighting where to find the best versions. So you didn't think we'd skip the opportunity to report on the latest batch of basics descending on us this year, did you?

Nope, we're taking this chance to talk about the best basics 2021 has in store for us, and—newsflash—they're really good. From the updated suiting separates we've been seeing on the S/S 21 runways to the cardigans that fashion girls have already begun wearing nonstop, continue on to discover the eight new staples you're about to see a lot more in the coming year. Of course, if you're so inspired to shop, I'm featuring my favorite versions here too.



(Image credit: @greceghanem)

Suiting separates have been around for a minute now but this year, we're about to see one specific item take hold and that's what I'm calling puddle trousers. The runways confirm that these extra-relaxed and slouchy trousers will reign supreme.



(Image credit: @matildadjerf; Pictured: Calle Del Mar Ribbed-Knit Cardigan ($395))

There's something that feels so fresh about a collared sweater. The detail is a relatively small addition but somehow transforms even basic pullovers into something much more current and cool. I think we're only going to see more of the style, so I suggest you secure one stat if you haven't already.



(Image credit: @raeannlangas)

After several seasons of longer hemlines, mini skirts are finally returning to the scene. We spotted a slew of these simple micro minis on the S/S 21 runways—from Miu Miu to LaQuan Smith—which tells me that it's a basic worth adding to your closet now.



(Image credit: @brooklynngallagher; Pictured: Who What Wear Cardigan ($26))

Even though we once considered them a trend piece, cardigans are basically a wardrobe staple now and the specific styles we're about to see more of are these slightly longer chunky knits ("grandpa" sweaters, if you will) that might even eclipse cropped cardigans. 



(Image credit: @camillecharriere)

Is it 2021 or the '90s? Fashion's favorite decade to take inspiration from is back yet again, this time delivering a basic we can already see ourselves wearing on repeat: sleeveless turtlenecks. Keep it simple like Camille did here and wear one with trousers and a shoulder bag.



(Image credit: @basicstouch)

Wearing a coat is no longer a burden when it's one of these luxurious wool toppers. With a relaxed shape, they honestly feel as comfortable as wrapping yourself in a blanket, but they're ultimately so chic. What's not to love?



(Image credit: @thedailynsreen)

If loafers were the trendy flats of 2020, then I'm calling it now: derby shoes are set to take their place in 2021. The lace-up shoes are especially cool with a platform sole and we suggest leaning into their academic vibe by styling them with tall socks and trousers.



(Image credit: @handinfire; Pictured: Isabel Marant Sweater)

And now for the easiest item to wear on this list: quarter-zips. The pullover is undeniably having a moment right now and we've been spotting them all over, whether it be designer versions like the Isabel Marant sweater pictured above or simpler takes featured on Nordstrom and Shopbop. 

Next up, 30 not-so-basic basics that are cool without even trying.


Anna is an editor on the fashion team at Who What Wear and has been at the company for over five years, having begun her career in the Los Angeles office before relocating to New York, where she's currently based. Having always been passionate about pursuing a career in fashion, she built up her experience interning at the likes of Michael Kors, A.L.C., and College Fashionista before joining the team as a post-graduate assistant editor. Anna has penned a number of interviews with Who What Wear's cover stars over the years, including A-listers Megan Fox, Issa Rae, and Emma Chamberlain. She's earned a reputation for scouting new and emerging brands from across the globe and championing them to our audience of millions. While fashion is her main wheelhouse, Anna led the launch of WWW Travels last year, a new lifestyle vertical that highlights all things travel through a fashion-person lens. She is passionate about shopping vintage, whether it be at a favorite local outpost or an on-the-road discovery, and has amassed a wardrobe full of unique finds. When she's not writing, you can find her shooting street imagery on her film camera, attempting to learn a fourth or fifth language, or planning her next trip across the globe.