Let’s say, hypothetically, that you need only these 10 essential pieces in your closet this winter. Mind you, we don’t mean you can have just 10 items and nothing else (we’re not insane). We mean compile a seasonal collection of items that effortlessly syncs with your year-round go-to pieces—both to update your wardrobe and to give you layering options for the temperamental weather. Here are the 10 winter fashion basics to buy.
1. A Sophisticated Midi Coat
Let’s look at not one but two very solid and supermodel-approved reasons you need a midi- or maxi-length wool coat this season. (I mean, Cara Delevingne AND Kate Moss?!) Not only will the streamlined, below-the-knee topper keep you warm and toasty through the polar vortex part deux, but it will also elevate your favorite jeans-and-sweater outfit and give you ultra-chic coverage over a dress.
2. Tough-Girl Lace-Up Ankle Boots
Add a pair of ’90s-inspired lace-up combat boots to your ankle-boot arsenal. A stacked-heel bootie still keeps the rugged, tough feel of the silhouette but gives you more versatility to wear with jeans, tapered trousers, a flippy printed dress, or winter shorts and tights, like a camera-shy Kendall Jenner.
3. The Coziest, Most Versatile Sweater
Yes, every fashion editor is obsessed with the chunky, creamy, and oh-so-cuddly fisherman sweater. And who can blame us? The cable knit works with everything—a pair of broken-in boyfriend jeans on the weekend, a button-down and tailored trousers for the office, and a pleated, feminine skirt for a holiday party à la Alexa Chung. This sweater will more than earn its keep this season.
4. A Ladylike Midi Dress
Just because it’s bone-chillingly cold and blustery outside doesn’t mean you should forgo your cute printed dresses this season. Just opt for one with long sleeves and a midi-length hemline (like Keira Knightley’s damask-printed Dolce & Gabbana dress) to give more coverage without skimping on feminine elegance.
5. Tailored Leather Trousers
You already have your rocker-style leather (or vegan-leather) leggings to effortlessly pair with a boyfriend sweater or designer sweatshirt. Try updating your (p)leather game with a pair of tailored trousers for an alternative to pair with a dressy top for a night out—or maybe even a crisp button-down and blazer for the office. Right, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley?
6. A Statement-Making Wide-Brim Hat
Hey, the Rihanna- and Angelina Jolie-approved cool-kid milliner Gigi Burris predicted that dramatic wide-brim hats would be hot for the season, so maybe put your beanies away this winter. Jessica Alba wore her street-style-ready hat for a transatlantic flight (to Paris, of course), but the style works just as well front row at Fashion Week as it does sipping hot chocolate at weekend brunch.
7. A Classic Black Turtleneck
This season hails the return of the classic, cozy silhouette that not only keeps us warm but also serves as an easy layering piece to wear on its own (like Nicole Richie’s black-tie-ready ensemble) or bundled under a wooly, cropped jacket or casual flannel boyfriend shirt.
8. Ultra-Chic Knee-High Boots
As we all know, tall boots serve two purposes in the frigid winter season: to give us extra coverage (especially when we opt for a miniskirt, like model Devon Windsor’s wearing here) and to add a dose of sex appeal to your look. Worn with tights and a longish pencil skirt, knee-high boots are totally office-appropriate (and will keep your legs warm). Plus, the height is a perfect compromise for those times you’re feeling a little sassy but aren’t quite ready to commit to the thigh-high.
9. ’70s-Inspired Patchwork Jeans
You have your skinnies and your boyfriend jeans and you’re probably dusting off your flares right now too. But this season, wear your denim with a twist—and a little ’70s inspiration—with patchwork details. You can go all out with colorful appliques or ease in with haphazardly patched varied shades of washes, like model Hanne Gabe Odiele at Paris Fashion Week. Pair them with anything from a tailored blazer and p
instriped button-down to your worn-in gray sweatshirt.
10. The Neutral Top-Handle Bag
So Taylor Swift just cannot stop carrying her $50 high-street bag, can she? As we’ve seen via the 1989 singer’s street-style game, a rich wine hue on a ladylike top-handle bag skillfully accessorizes all types of outfits (from Alpine sweater-and-beanie looks to tailored plaid coats over dresses) and makes for a refreshing update to the usual black/brown/gray neutral for the winter season. Or you can always be fearless and try a red. (See what we did there?)