I Noticed That Every Fashion Person Owns These Elevated Under-$200 Staples


(Image credit: @josefinehj)

Recently, I’ve been focused on curating the staples in my closet. In typical spring cleaning mode, I donated the pieces that I haven’t been wearing recently, but there are some wardrobe gaps I’ve been needing to fill since. While I love test-driving some of the breaking trends, my personal approach to shopping is to buy a foundation of timeless pieces I’ll have in my closet for years to come, so I’ve been zeroed in on finding the items that are currently missing. 

There are some elevated staples that I’ve noticed every fashion person has in there closet right now, so I’ve been working on adding them to my closet. The best part? You can find them for under $200, so you don’t need to make a big investment. Bubbling pieces including boxy jackets and maxi skirts are as wearable as they are cool, and they have carved themselves out as key staples to own right now. Others, including T-shirts and jeans come down to the colorways and silhouettes that make them feel directional and cool. Ahead, the fashion items under $200 on my current shopping list.

Straight-Leg Jeans


(Image credit: @sylviemus_)

If there is one denim silhouette to add to your closet, make it straight-leg jeans. This classic shape is cool now but will stick around forever.

Boxy Jackets


(Image credit: @anoukyve)

One of the rising trends to have your eye one? Boxy jackets. While the piece may be trending, it's about as classic as you can get—and there are great finds sitting on the market for under $200.

Button-Up Shirts


(Image credit: @tylynnnguyen)

I am constantly shopping for new button-up shirts because they are such great staples. Not only can they be styled throughout the seasons, but they will truly never go out of style.

Striped Shirts


(Image credit: @fakerstrom)

Striped shirts are a classic piece, but seem to be resonating now more than ever. Zara's weighted, oversize version is particularly popular, which is why it's constantly been selling out.

Tailored Pants


(Image credit: @jastookes)

When it doubt, keep things tailored. Pants, in particular, are key. Styles have recently been revolving around wide-cut silhouettes with smart, tailored details.

Crewneck T-Shirts


(Image credit: @leiasfez)

While there are many shapes of T-shirts on the market, crewneck silhouettes are winning out as the piece to own. The high-neck shape works just as well with a simple pair of jeans as it does with a more formal pieces.

Maxi Skirts


(Image credit: @sophiaroe)

This year, we've been seeing the rise of maxi hemlines, including skirts. The floor-sweeping pieces come in every iteration from denim to wool, so pick whichever version works for your wardrobe.

Leather Belts


(Image credit: @bellathomas)

Belts have been having a renaissance of sorts recently—becoming the finishing piece to add to an outfit before leaving home. It doesn't have to be too complicated though, as sleek, simple leather belts are the key style to own.

Ballet Flats


(Image credit: @clairerose)

Last year, Miu Miu put ballet flats on the map again in major way. That momentum hasn't died down. In fact, it has picked up even more, making the shoe a closet staple.

Tailored Shorts


(Image credit: @clairerose)

As we head into summer, new-season pieces are top of mind. If you already have trousers covered, consider a pair of tailored shorts.

Next: The Biggest Accessory Trend to Know For Summer 2023

Associate Director, Special Projects

Kristen Nichols is the Associate Director, Special Projects at Who What Wear with over a decade of experience in fashion, editorial, and publishing. She oversees luxury content and wedding features, and covers fashion within the luxury market, runway reporting, shopping features, trends, and interviews with leading industry experts. She also contributes to podcast recordings, social media, and branded content initiatives. Kristen has worked with brands including Prada, Chanel, MyTheresa, and Luisa Via Roma, and rising designers such as Refine and Tove, and her style has been featured in publications including Vogue.com, Vogue France, WWD, and the CFDA. Before Who What Wear, Kristen began her career at Rodarte, where she worked on assistant styling, photo shoots, and runway shows, and at Allure, where she moved into print and digital editorial. She graduated from the University of Southern California, where she studied art history and business, and currently lives in New York.