My Basics Are in Need of Replenishing—18 I Tried From Nordstrom and Loved
Welcome to Let's Get a Room, a series where editor Eliza Huber heads to the dressing room to try on pieces from your favorite retailers, buzzy items, and new collections. Think of this column as a detailed guide to the pieces that are actually worth buying and the ones that, unfortunately, looked better online—no returns necessary.
I'm often guilty of buying into trends on a whim, only to get over them far too quickly, but I take shopping for basics very seriously. Because of that, I almost never do it, preferring to wear and rewear my trusty wardrobe essentials until they become pretty much threadbare. Then, I'll do a major haul, investing in elevated styles from brands such as Totême, Loulou Studio, Agolde, and Reformation as well as some low-priced staples that I can buy multiple of from Levi's and Topshop.
Given that this methodology involves buying from many brands at all different price points, I almost always end up defaulting to Nordstrom, where an escalator ride can take you from $25 tank tops to $800+ handbags. And with my T-shirts, button-downs, trousers, and jeans having seen far better days (I spent a lot of time in basics these last few years at home), I thought I'd head up to my local NYC store for yet another haul.
Ahead, discover the basics I tried on this week at Nordstrom that checked off every one of my many sartorial boxes.
Loulou Studio Pemba Sweater + R13 Crossover Shorts + Wandler Georgia Bag
The second I slipped this cashmere crew-neck over my head, I knew it had to be mine. Something about the way it effortlessly fell right at the waist of these super-cool R13 shorts wooed me and had me convinced that it would do the same with each and every pair of jeans, trousers, and shorts that currently reside in my closet (plus all the new ones I just discovered).
I think this might be the best cashmere sweater I've come into contact with ever.
I've seen these a lot, but it wasn't until I tried them on that I started to see what the hype was all about. They're effortlessly cool and comfortable, and I'm already planning ways for me to style these shorts this summer.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: If you're going to splurge on a handbag, make it this one. I'm ready to buy it in multiple colors.
Reformation Julia Rib-Knit Tank + Agolde '90s Pinch Waist Jeans
There are two types of tank tops I look for during a refresh like this one: thin, casual styles (think Hanes or slightly more elevated) and thick, corset-like ribbed ones, which this black Reformation top falls under. The first category is good for low-key looks, while the latter makes for great going-out tops when paired with either jeans or a nice silk skirt for something a bit more elevated.
You really have to try this top on to understand how great it is. Highly recommend.
At this point, do I even have to tell you that Agolde's Pinch Waist jeans are superior? From the rise to the way they fit through the thighs, this style can do no wrong.
Loulou Studio Espanto Button-Up Shirt + ACNE Studios Pernille Trousers
When it comes to basics, none are as essential as oversize button-down shirts. You can't take one peek at Instagram without seeing at least a dozen of them. They completely toe the line between trend and basic, which makes them both easy and fun to shop for. My goal was to find one that would stand the test of time while also checking off a trend box for spring, and this Loulou Studio style did just that. I love how it looks with a knit wrapped around the waist (channeling the F/W 22 Bottega Veneta styling) with a pair of slouchy puddle pants. It's so easy and buzzy and is still a smart long-term investment.
This shade of blue looks good on everyone, period.
My trousers almost always come from ACNE Studios. The brand, though experimental with its runway collections, does basic tailoring like no one else.
Open Edit Tube Top + Topshop Plissé Trousers
These pants have become a major talking point among our editors, so I knew that I had to bring them into the dressing room if I was going to do a Nordstrom try-on. And they did not disappoint. They pretty much feel like you're wearing nothing, which is great for when it's steaming hot in NYC in the summer, especially when you don't want to wear shorts or a skirt. I also love how they look paired with this little Open Edit tube top, which I've been waiting for an excuse to buy. Now, I have one.
For when you want something more fun than a tank and less showy than a going-out top.
Nordstrom Everyday Tank + Reformation Wilder Jeans
Since I'd already found a thicker fitted tank to add to my collection, next I had to stock up on some more casual types for every day. I'd never tried any of Nordstrom's in-house brand's styles before, but I saw this heather-gray one on the rack and knew right away that it'd be perfect. It's super soft and shrunken, so it fits nice and snug. Even better, it doesn't stretch out, which almost all tanks do. I styled it with a pair of ecru-colored jeans from Reformation that, by chance of a miracle, didn't gap in the waist at all.
Totême Wool Midi Dress
I've long been a fan of Totême's low-key, luxurious aesthetic, often opting for the brand's trousers, sweaters, and jackets. This time, though, I spotted a maxi-length dress that, like the aforementioned oversize button-down, is both trendy and basic, making it especially enticing. Though it's technically knitwear, the material of this dress is super lightweight, so it's equally weather appropriate for spring and fall. I hate having to store anything, so pieces that work year-round are always on my wish list.
Trust me—this dress is worth investing in. Quick, it's on sale at Fwrd right now for a limited time.
K.ngsley Fist Cutout Tank
Ever since I first learned about the brand when Nordstrom launched it a few months ago, I've been considering purchasing a tank top from K.ngsley. Now that I've seen the quality and interesting cutouts up close, I won't be hesitating for much longer.
This is not your average tank top. That much is for sure.
Wandler Lucy Loafers
If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know how much I love the brand Wandler, so when I spotted these buttery-yellow loafers in the shoe department, I knew I had to see how they looked and felt on. Just as I suspected, they were a perfect fit, both for me and for my feet. The color is so different from all the black, brown, and white loafers that have been dominating the flat-shoe world for the last two years, which makes these all the more alluring.
Topshop Satin Dress
I'm very picky about slip dresses, mostly because I've tried on so many during my tenure as a fashion editor that I know exactly what I like and what I don't like. As for this one from Topshop, the neckline and back detailing are both perfect, and the fabric feels surprisingly luxe considering the price point. I don't always love when slips have slits in them, but if that doesn't bother you, then I'd absolutely suggest going for this dress.
An easy black slip works for literally every occasion. It all depends on your shoes and accessories.
Marine Serre Logo Tank + R13 Crossover Shorts
I've been seeing this Marine Serre logo tank everywhere of late, so when I spotted it once again—this time on a rack in Nordstrom's Space department—I knew I had to see what all the hype was about. Really, it is just a slightly oversize tank top, but I think this fall's runway shows proved that even a simple item can still make a big statement, especially when there's a buzzy logo involved.
This more fitted style wasn't available in-store, but I prefer it to the baggier one I tested out.
Pleats Please Issey Miyake Pleated Midi Dress + ACNE Studios Pernille Trousers
I've been trying and failing to figure out a way to style the dresses-over-pants trend that was all over the spring/summer and fall/winter 2022 runways in a way that feels authentic to my style for months, but it wasn't until I slipped on this Pleats Please Issey Miyake dress with an easy pair of ACNE Studios trousers that the concept really stuck. That said, when I ditched the trousers, the slightly sheer midi dress still looked just as good, albeit different. Really, every piece in this line of plissé pleated dresses and separates is great, especially for spring and summer.
This is what effortless fashion looks like.
K.ngsley Romain Cutout Tank
Before I could finish my four-hour-long Nordstrom excursion, I had to go in and try on one last K.ngsley tank, this time in black with an even more oblong shoulder cutout. I paired it with forest-green work pants that are also from the brand (but not available online) and got a serious Kim Possible vibe that I'm honestly not mad about.
If your tank-top collection is on the drab side, I suggest adding this style in at least one color. Problem solved.
More can't-miss elevated basics from Nordstrom:
I have way too many oversize button-downs already, but I still want another.
I just feel like this blazer looks so luxurious, yet it's under $80.
Every celebrity is wearing low, baggy trousers like these this season.
Everyone needs a pair of easy pumps to throw on for dinners, work meetings, or just with jeans for a casual day.
All the look of vintage cutoffs with none of the effort.
I was straight-up nuzzling this sweater in the middle of Nordstrom.
Kim Kardashian did everything right when she designed these tees.
I've had my Topshop slip skirt for at least four years now, and it still looks as good as new.