I Tried Out So Many Basics—These 13 Will Be My Front-Runners This Season


(Image credit: @thatgirlyusra)

Despite the fact that basics are the simplest of all the pieces in your closet, they can be the most difficult to shop for. After all, these are the items you're going to be wearing almost every day, so you have to make sure they're worth the investment. No one wants to end up putting a ton of money into an itchy sweater or pair of trousers that fit wrong all around. After struggling with finding the right pieces I could rely on in my daily outfit dilemmas, I knew it was time to start from scratch. I had to do a full basics try-on, and upon completion, the experience changed me (and my style) for the better. I got the privilege of trying on a handful of trusty basics that caught my eye for fall and winter and documented everything for you here. With an array of pictures and my honest reviews, you get a proper look at items across all your favorite retailers and how they actually hold up. I've made an effort to wear most of them out the past month, so you're getting the real experience and feel of each piece.

I was looking for easy and wearable staples I could add to my wardrobe this season, and after trying on dozens of products, I found 13 that truly over-delivered. Believe me when I say that the quality of these pieces simply can't be explained. It has to be experienced. Keep scrolling and see my honest reviews of this past month's try-on haul, from the relaxed pants our readers are always buying to the cashmere sweater that I never want to take off. I'll be wearing them long past fall and deep into the winter, so trust me when I say they're worth the look.


(Image credit: @thatgirlyusra)

My Review: I've been on the hunt for a good-quality biker jacket for a while, but the fit has just never been right. They're either too tight and cropped or have me swimming in faux leather. And when I did find the right fit, it came at a far too hefty price. That was until I found this dream jacket at Mango. My first impression was how roomy and comfortable it was, making it perfect to layer over all my chunky sweaters. Despite being under $150, the leather has a luxe feel to it. 

My Review: Everyone's been talking about Abercrombie & Fitch, and I have to say the items certainly live up to the given hype. These trousers are soft, cinch perfectly at the waist, and are relaxed everywhere else. I've been nervous to try puddle pants, but I actually liked how they pooled slightly on the ground. Lastly, the subtle pinstripe isn't something I've owned before, and it's more versatile than I expected. 


(Image credit: @thatgirlyusra)

My Review: I usually thrift my button-downs, but this J.Crew pick is worth the purchase. It feels fresher than your average shirt thanks to the contrasting collar and cropped cut. The material is comfortable and not at all stiff like some other poplin shirts can be. I've already worn it with jeans, leather pants, and even a maxi skirt.

My Review: The options for trousers on the market can be endless, but it's still difficult to find a pair that looks and feel good. It's been easier to find puddle pants (see above), but the straight-cut style never seems to look quite right on me. This Abercrombie pair really did surprise me. The pleats at the waist are extremely flattering, and I love how the slight asymmetrical waistband sits right at your hips.

My Review: I've been thinking about this bag for months, and I've never been so happy to have finally made a decision on something. The sheen on the leather is similar to higher-end options I've been eyeing, but I prefer the look and size of this Staud one the most. I know handbags have a great impact on an outfit, but this one truly pulls everything together. Also, it fits all my essentials—even the hoard of random beauty products I carry with me on a daily basis. 


(Image credit: @thatgirlyusra)

My Review: Now that I've tried out J.Crew's cashmere, my life has been changed for the better. It's incredibly soft on the skin and has this slouchy fit that looks great tucked into trousers or jeans. Out of all the basics I tested, this is the one I wore the most this past month. From office days to relaxed fall outings, it kept me looking cozy and elevated through it all.

My Review: This item continues to be one of our readers' biggest buys, so I knew I had to try it out for myself. Compared to other traditional trousers, these are lightweight, which I tend to prefer. My only qualm would be that I went for the regular sizing, but at 5'3", I think going the petite route would serve me better. They're drapey yet don't feel too oversize, which is what I need in straight trousers.

My Review: This year, suede bags are the accessory trend that's caught my attention. When done right, the material looks ultra-luxe and just feels right when the weather starts to drop. The Berkeley Tote from J.Crew met (and even exceeded) all my expectations. I do wish the suede was on both sides, but I still think it's a beautiful bag. It's become my work tote, as it fits my laptop and iPad.


(Image credit: @thatgirlyusra)

My Review: If you dabble in the sartorial world, you are probably no stranger to the love for this Totême jacket. It comes in a few different colors, but I personally thought the camel option was truly timeless. While it may not be the thickest of coats, I think it provides excellent room for sufficient layering underneath and drapes effortlessly on the body. Even in a pair of simple jeans and boots, I looked like a million bucks. If you have the money to put out, I think it's a worthy investment that'll stay in your closet for years to come.


(Image credit: @thatgirlyusra)

My Review: Striped sweaters are a fashion-folk favorite, and this one is just like what I constantly see on the minimal style stars of Paris and London. Buying from Topshop can often take a bit of a trial and error, but this sweater was nothing but sheer success. When it's chilly and gloomy outside, this sweater is like the warm hug I need. Even if all I wear with it is leggings, I still look incredibly chic. 

My Review: I have the habit of wearing leggings a little too often, so I thought I'd give a more stylized pair a try. This split-hem option from H&M is not only affordable, but it also looks more put-together while offering the same comfort as a regular pair. Who knew a tiny slit can make all the difference? The split hem has a zipper, so you can adjust the length to your liking, which is ideal for me since I don't like to show a lot of skin. 


(Image credit: @thatgirlyusra)

My Review: While Reformation is known for its assortment of dresses, I think the knitwear is also worth taking a deeper look at. The latest fall drop is chock-full of dreamy cashmere and wool pieces—this turtleneck being one of them. It has a loose fit at the chest, but the sleeves slightly flare at the end, giving it that designer look.

My Review: To some, denim maxis can be seen as a fleeting trend. But as a modest dresser, it's a basic I've been searching for on the market. In only a month, I've worn it a handful of times, and it gets compliments every time. The denim isn't too stiff, so it still offers the "flow" a skirt should have. I'm 5'3", and it just grazes the floor when I'm not wearing heels. It also makes me look tall, which is a plus in my book. It does run slightly large, and while it fits me perfectly with a belt, I don't think it would hurt to go down a size. 

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Associate Fashion Editor
Yusra Siddiqui is an editor who resides in New Jersey but bounces between the suburbs and NYC. (She's a Jersey girl at heart.) After interning at Who What Wear in 2019, she found her way to the team after graduating from LIM College in 2022 with a fashion media degree. She's also spent time writing and working for publications such as Fashionista, Coveteur, and Nylon, but she always knew that Who What Wear was where she was meant to be. When she's on the job, she's perusing runway shows, analyzing the latest thing fellow Gen Zers are up to on the internet, and sharing what she can about the modest-fashion market. You can also catch her dabbling in entertainment, talking about the costume choices of the latest Netflix series or diving deeper into how the plotline affects the viewers in a myriad of ways. Lastly, she likes to create content for Who What Wear's TikTok. Her personal time is spent doing similar but also different things—deep diving into almost every new TV show (Bridgerton, Gilmore Girls, and Stranger Things are favorites), planning her next local getaway (whenever that may be), and reading the latest Emily Henry or Sally Rooney novel in one sitting.