The Hardest-Working Staples to Buy Now and Love Forever

As an editor of a fashion website, I spend a lot of time reporting on new trends, new labels and new ways to wear things. However, sometimes you really never can beat a classic, and it's arguably more important to build a wardrobe that you'll love for years, if not decades. Thinking of the longevity of your purchases not only is a way to have a more sustainable approach to fashion but also will help you to carve out a style that is timeless and feels truly you.

The idea of a capsule wardrobe created a real buzz around 2014 when a number of industry figures promoted a compact closet built of pieces that all perfectly match. There are some items that we think will always rise high above trends, making them the perfect pieces to invest in and add to your capsule (or not-so-capsule) wardrobe.

From the jeans that have been popular for decades to the accessories you'll treasure forever, here are the chicest items that will quite simply never die.

The Tailored Trousers
Classic fashion items



You can't get much more classic than tailored trousers. Whether you dress them down with a slouchy knit and boots or add polish with a shirt and heels, this is a chic staple that is sure to serve you for many seasons to come. Trust us.

Not only the perfect tailored trousers, but there's also hidden elastic at the back to ensure the right fit at the waist. 

COS always knows how to nail tailoring, and if you like your trousers longer with a wider leg, these are the pair for you. 

The Jumpsuit
Classic fashion items



The jumpsuit is one of those pieces that work for every season and are so easy to style. For winter, add a roll-neck and chunky boots. In summer, just add a pair of strappy sandals. 

A slouchy, relaxed fit for those weekends when you don't want to have to plan an outfit. 

For a closer fit, a retro-inspired kick-flare jumpsuit works with heels, trainers, sandals… The list goes on.

Chunky Boots
Classic fashion items



Comfy, sturdy and cool, the chunky boot will never let you down in the shoe stakes. 

A springy, rubber sole meets tough, hardwearing leather. 

A chunky black boot but with a decidedly more ladylike finish.

Floral Tea Dress
Classic fashion items: floral dress



When it comes to dresses, a vintage-style floral tea dress will have a place in your wardrobe for years and years.

For delicate florals and contemporary silhouettes, look no further than Rixo. 

For trans-seasonal appeal, dark florals will work just as well in summer as they will in winter. 

Midi Skirt
Classic fashion items



Longer lengths have proliferated over the last couple of years, with midi skirts becoming one of the fashion crowd's go-tos for a polished getup.

The satin midi is the ultimate in day to night dressing. 

Shirt Dress
Classic fashion items



Flattering, timeless and chic, the shirt dress is the wardrobe icon that looks good on everyone.

It might not look like it, but there is a slight stretch to this cotton fabric, so comfortable wear is guaranteed.

White Jeans
Classic fashion items: white jeans



When it comes to denim, we believe everyone should own a pair of white jeans. They work year-round. 

Non-stretch for that classic denim feel.

Allow this pair to convince you why flared jeans deserve a comeback.

Neutral Bodysuit
Classic fashion items


Who What Wear

In our experience, a neutral bodysuit is a serious multitasking wonder. Wear it with high-waisted trousers, slip it under a dress or layer it up with a shirt. 

Heist's speciality is shapewear, so expect a smooth, figure-skimming fit. 

Trench Coat
Classic fashion items: Trench coat


Style Stalker

As Burberry proves, a classic trench coat never goes out of style. 

Because a classic trench doesn't always have to be beige. 

Breton Top
Classic fashion items: Breton top


Brittany Bathgate

This was a wardrobe staple for Audrey Hepburn, too. 

The elegant boat neck is a particularly Hepburn touch. 

An oversized shape is a refreshing take on an age old style. 

Black Dress
Classic fashion items: Black dress



Another Audrey-approved buy? A little black dress that will last you decades if you opt for a classic shape. 

The long sleeves and collar make this dress a strong desk-to-dinner candidate.

Leather Jacket
Classic fashion items: Leather biker



When it comes to leather jackets, the ACNE Studios biker is the dream.

Slip-On Leather Sandals
Classic fashion items: Tan leather sandals


Emma Spedding

A pair of slip-on leather sandals is a wardrobe classic whether you go for Hermès Orans or a high-street equivalent.

Heeled sandals don't get more comfortable than this. 

These are available in striking poppy red, too. 

White Shirt
Classic fashion items:



White shirts aren't just for work, as they will slot into your weekend wardrobes, too. 

All of the Who What Wear editors are sold on this poplin shirt in different colours, but the white in particular works with every outfit. 

Leather Belt
Classic fashion items:



Belts might seem like a boring purchase, but they can actually make any outfit look so much more put-together. 

Gold Medallion Necklace
Classic fashion items:



A gold pendant is another chic item that will survive all your wardrobe clear-outs.

Chanel 2.55 Bag
Classic fashion items:



When it comes to handbags, a Chanel 2.55 quilted bag is the definition of timeless. 

White T-Shirt
Classic fashion items:



You might have to replace your white T-shirts regularly, but they will forever be wardrobe building blocks.

The kind of thick cotton that doesn't go sheer and expose your underwear. 

Ballet Pumps
Classic fashion items: ballet pumps



Ballet pumps are the skinny jeans of the shoe world. They are making a comeback this year in cool, fun tones and were definitely one of the trending flat-shoe styles of 2021.

A square toe is a modern update of the classic almond shape. 

Velvet, patterned, pointed, heeled or flat, Pretty Ballerinas has every type of ballet shoe you could possibly need, but we love the leather ruched Camilla. 

Camel Coat
Classic fashion items: Camel coat


Ada Oguntodu

When it comes to outerwear, a classic camel coat never dates.

Hoop Earrings
Classic fashion items: Hoop earrings



As for jewellery, a pair of gold hoops is a solid investment whether they are tiny, simple rings or a more statement silhouette.

White Trainers
Classic fashion items: White pumps



Simple white trainers—whether they're Veja or Converse—are also not going to date. 

Polka-Dot Dress
Classic fashion items: Polka-dot dress



It's always worth having a polka-dot dress in your wardrobe.

Maxi-length dresses can be dressed up for weddings, parties… in fact, any occasion that requires dancing. 

We can already imagine this on an alfresco summer evening. 

A.P.C. Bag
Classic fashion items: A.P.C. bag


Brittany Bathgate

A.P.C.'s Half Moon bag is a timeless accessory.

Printed Silk Scarf
Classic fashion items: Silk scarf



A printed silk scarf is the sort of item you'll pass on to your grandchildren. And the good thing is they can be styled in dozens of ways.

Look for a larger square to wear as a headscarf. 

This tropical-print scarf is the pop of colour a minimal outfit needs. 

Black Heels



Black pumps are the pièce de résistance of trends, and you'll have them as long as the stilettos remain standing.

Slim-Fit Jeans
Classic fashion items: Skinny jeans



Denim trends come and go, but skinny jeans remain timeless.

If you aren't already familiar with Aussie brand Cotton On, its recycled cotton jeans are the perfect introduction. 

The Neutral Blazer
Classic fashion items: Double-breasted jackets



Thankfully, there are plenty of expensive-looking jackets on the high street this season.

Arket blazers are a firm favourite among Who What Wear editors, so we're well-placed to say expect premium tailoring for a high-street price. 

Not only does this double-breasted jacket look sharp, but it has functional pockets too, meaning no more stitched-shut seams. 

This piece was published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

Next up, Spring/Summer 2022 Trends: The Only 17 Looks You Need to Know About

Opening Image: @thestylestalkercom

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