I Like My Staples With a Hint of Extra—These 7 Do It for Me

Ask anyone about their top fall staples, and I guarantee the list will remain pretty much the same no matter where you go. Among the usual suspects are a crisp trench coat, black leather ankle boots, and a cable-knit sweater. (You get the gist.) All of these have a permanent place in my closet for good reason. They're versatile and timeless and won't ever feel out of place within the ever-changing tastes of the industry. While the classics will always receive plenty of sartorial play, lately, my immediate attention has shifted a bit elsewhere.

A little more amped-up than your typical seasonal pieces yet not so trendy that you'll fall victim to the hype, there's a new crop of staples rising out of the fashion landscape.  Initially It items of the moment, they've proven to have a longer shelf life that extends beyond the typical trend cycle. Plissé pleats and chunky boots are just two of the new-school staples I find myself constantly reaching for these days, and might I say they're better than the "classics"? Scroll on to see the full list of items I consider new classics and to shop them along the way.

The Leather Blazer

No, I'm not throwing away my wool blazers. I just happen to be buying leather versions more. Adding a leather blazer to a pair of jeans or pants is like an instant upgrade. It comes across as polished without resorting to heels or a dress, which can sometimes feel too formal. Whether you're into a boxier fit or a silhouette that's more fitted, the selection on the market runs the gamut.  Although I personally am on a leather-blazer kick right now, it's not a piece I foresee retiring anytime soon.

The Oversize Shirt

It's truly amazing how something as simple as a big shirt can transform an outfit into a look that's leagues better, but here we are. The popularity of this piece can be traced to The Row and Valentino (both brands incorporated the piece into their collections a few seasons ago), and from there, it caught on quickly. While the fanfare is more timely, its simplicity isn't something that will feel out-of-date should you wear it years from now.

The Suit Vest

The suit vest seemingly came out of nowhere to dominate 2021, but it's a piece that's worth its weight in terms of style and versatility. When worn as a part of a suit, it reads as sophisticated and confident, yet the scam is that it requires minimal styling expertise. My advice: stock up and wear them all season long with denim or underneath a blazer.

Chunky Boots

Exaggerated soles are on the menu when it comes to the latest boot trend fashion people around the globe can't get enough of. One might call it a trend, but the silhouette has stuck around steadily over the past few years, so I think there's potential to upgrade it to classic status. It's a little more rugged than your typical fall boots, which really adds oomph when worn with minimalist pieces.

Khaki Menswear Pants

Khaki pants are hardly anything new, but their newfound fame among fashion people has given this beloved staple a second wind. If your style errs on classic, you'll want to invest in a few pairs sooner than later. Style them with an oversize shirt or a sweater-vest and you'll have a look straight from The Row.

Plissé Pleats

Thanks to Issey Miyake, most of us are quite versed in the world of plissé pleats, but only recently has the trend skyrocketed to new heights. It's quite easy to see the appeal: The fabric never wrinkles, transitions easily between casual and formal outfits, and adds a hint of elegance to anything your wear it with. Every brand right now has its own take on plissé, so where you buy it is your call, but I highly recommend the plissé pieces from our latest Who What Wear Collection drop. 

The Quarter-Zip Sweater

Since I turned to the quarter-zip sweater, my crew-neck versions have been left untouched. It's a simple detail, but a shiny zipper really adds an edge that feels both modern and cool. I've been wearing mine with everything from midi skirts to sweatpants and jeans.