They say moving to New York changes you, but one aspect I didn't expect the city to influence was my personal style. The frenetic energy, ever-present sirens, masses of people, and nonstop pace embued me with a sense of fearlessness I didn't have before—something that quickly translated to my closet. Bill Cunningham's words ring true: "Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life," and for New Yorkers, wearing items that spark joy is just one way we weather the relentless hustle.
While the city encourages you to dress for yourself and not someone else's gaze, it also requires a steady collection of fashion staples—items that act as a base layer for trend-driven buys. Simple white tees and black slacks mightn't be synonymous with New York style, but they're the unsung heroes of our closet. To give these essentials a little airtime, we turned to MyDomaine and Who What Wear's Manhattan-based editors to find out which items they can't live without. Their picks aren't bold tops, beaded bags, or of-the-moment shoes. Instead, they're base buys that can be worn on repeat. Consider this an ode to "boring" workwear staples, the simple items that get us through the rigors of everyday life.
Lauren Eggertsen, Fashion Editor at Who What Wear
"I pretty much live in my black Vince slip skirt. It's the perfect piece to wear with a T-shirt, blazer, or sweater in the colder months. The subtle shine of the silk instantly makes me look polished. Never would I have thought that a simple black slip skirt would turn into the hero item in my workwear wardrobe."
Hadley Mendelsohn, Associate Editor at MyDomaine
"I wear my oversize houndstooth blazer on repeat. It literally goes with everything, so I keep it on the back of the chair to throw on whenever the AC is too strong in the office during the summer. I layer it with sweaters and coats in winter or wear it as a light jacket in spring and fall."
Gabrielle Savoie, Editor at MyDomaine
"I own multiples of this basic Zara knit top in white, black, and a few other colors. It's the perfect dressed-up version of a basic tee and works beautifully with all my printed skirts and pants. Best of all: It's under $30, so I don't feel guilty about ordering it in bulk."
Gina Marinelli, Senior Editor at Who What Wear
"I have a collection of white tees ready for all sorts of work occasions. Yes, they're comfortable and breathable—both important for long days—but, especially for someone in a creative field, they also provide a bit of effortlessness to whatever more-polished piece they're paired with. My go-tos are usually a pretty midi skirt, a plaid blazer, or high-waisted pants."
Kelly Gallagher, Social Media Editor at MyDomaine
"I swear by these suede, block-heel, pointed-toe pumps! They're so simple that they go with anything whether it's my favorite raw-edge Everlane jeans and a sweater or a midi length dress. They add a touch of sophistication to any office outfit."
Sophie Miura, Senior Editor at MyDomaine
"I wear these black wide-leg pants from Zara at least once a week, no matter the season. They're so versatile. In spring and summer, I wear them with a nude Aritzia top or simple slogan tee, in fall, they pair with a silk T-shirt and leather jacket, and in winter, they make my rotation of turtleneck sweaters look a bit more polished."
Kelsey Clark, Lifestyle News Editor at MyDomaine
"I'm fortunate enough to work in an office that accepts jeans as appropriate workwear, and I take full advantage. I wear my Re/Done vintage Levi's high-rise ankle-crop jeans multiple times a week (and on the weekend) no matter the season. They're the perfect wardrobe staple and well worth the price. Pick a dark wash pair with no holes and a finished hem to make them a bit more polished."
Nicole Eshaghpour, Market Editor at Who What Wear
"Regardless of whether I'm at work, out on the weekend, or even at an event, I still manage to wear my white tee(s) more than anything else I own. They just go with anything from jeans to skirts to trousers and make getting dressed a lot easier. Plus, there's nothing more comfortable."