The 9 Brands I Shop When I Just Want Pretty Basics


(Image credit: @allypayer)

I'm pretty sure that 75% of the clothing I buy is basics and the rest is statement pieces to wear with the basics. These days, with my calendar basically wiped clear for the foreseeable future, so I'm relying on my collection of basics more than ever, but I also want to buy pieces that are fun to wear and that I'll look forward to putting on when its safe to be out and about a little more. Luckily, I've found nine brands that make the best pretty basics, and I've steadily stocked my closet with them over the years.

Since I live in the South and work remotely from home full time, my style is on the casual side, but I also love fashion and always make an effort to look cool—even if my only activities on a given day could be a Starbucks run and a Zoom meeting. These, my friends, are the brands that I rely on no matter what my schedule may be, and all of the said brands are filled with comfortable, chic, pleasing-to-the-eye pieces. Shop my picks from each below.

Cotton Citizen

Tie-dye as a basic? Why not? Not only is Cotton Citizen's quality very high, but the fit of every piece I've tried is also perfect, and both the solids and tye-dyes couldn't be prettier.


Whenever I'm in need of a particular basic, one of the first places I check is Madewell. The prices are very reasonable, and as you'll see below, the basics are far from boring.


With Reformation, I love that I can get a special-occasion dress and a stylish everyday basic all in one place. The Ref Jeans line, in particular, is chock-full of great denim and knits.


Given how quickly Mango churns out new pieces, I can't believe how good quality they are. Every cool basics trend I see on Instagram is always present and accounted for.


Leset is newer on the scene but no less wonderful. If you want great, high-quality tees and the prettiest knit matching sets you could dream of, this is the brand to shop.

Free People

Free People is so much more than just boho pieces (although that's great too, if it's your aesthetic). The brand also has a vast, very stylish inventory of special basics to choose from.


I'm far more willing to spend more on beautiful basics than I am trendy pieces. Enter Vince. I can never get over all the perfect white button-downs and satin slip skirts that I'd wear over and over.

Like Madewell, & Other Stories is one of those brands that I check first when I need something specific, as I know it'll have a pretty version of it for not a lot of money. Stories rarely lets me down.

The Line By K

We Who What Wear editors talk about (and wear) The Line By K a lot. The designs are as good as designer pieces that are three times the price.

Next up, how to wear nine trend-proof items you already own.

Allyson Payer
Senior Editor

Allyson is a senior editor for Who What Wear. She joined the company in 2014 as co-founder Katherine Power's executive assistant and over the years has written hundreds of stories for Who What Wear. Prior to her career in fashion, Allyson worked in the entertainment industry at companies such as Sony Pictures Television. Allyson is now based in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She holds a BFA in theater. Her path to fashion may not have been linear, but based on the number of fashion magazines she collected as a child and young adult, it was meant to be.