This post is sponsored by Saks Fifth Avenue.
Call me boring, but I fall hard for a post that dives maybe just a little too deep into what makes a great basic. They’re my favorite posts to read and write — and, let’s be real, my favorite to research too.
So, today, I’m digging into four elevated essentials I recently invited into my wardrobe, all of which I intend to keep in heavy rotation through fall and, thanks to their “essential” status, well beyond:
- A white tee that’s both flattering and interesting
- An off-the-shoulder top that doesn’t require constant fussing
- Featherweight jeans in a timeless (and yet on-trend) silhouette
- A pair of truly comfortable ballet flats that fortify just about any outfit with a quiet confidence
4 Closet Staples From Saks That Are Anything But Basic
And for pieces like this, where the goal is truly to enhance what you already own with closet staples that are as joy-inducing as they are endlessly wearable, Saks’ lineup of brands can’t be beat.
And while, yes, a lot of Saks’ inventory is what I would call “investment material,” when it comes to these better-than-basics, that’s exactly what I’m after. I have every reason to reach for these pieces over and over again, and from a cost-per-wear perspective, that’s a very good thing.
So, let’s talk about what makes these four new faves such stealthy hits.
1. FRAME’s White Tee Is Anything But Plain
FRAME does elevated tops really well, and this one is no exception. I tried on this Le High Rise V-Neck Tee in-store more than a month ago, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. At the time, I was not in the market for a new white tee, mind you, but I made the mistake of wearing a jumpsuit while jeans shopping, and when the naked top half of me demanded something (anything!), this tee is what the sales person elegantly dangled through the fitting-room curtain.
Turns out, the tee stole the show, and I spent the better part of the afternoon wondering if I should go back for it. The double fabric at the sleeves and V-neck makes it feel slightly more structured, elegant even, while the drapey softness makes it feel well-loved and unfussy.
But my favorite thing about this FRAME tee is the shape. The sleeves are cut short and angled into the body a bit — almost the same not-quite-muscle-tank effect you’d get from rolling them up (one of my favorite looks, by the way) — but cleaner. And the length hits perfectly with high-rise jeans, so while you can pull off a tuck if needed, it looks really intentional and effortlessly cool even if you don’t. Wearing a small here (though I think an XS would be equally charming with a little more of a baby-tee vibe going on).
Worth noting: It’s also available in a “mid-rise” version that offers more length.
Shop More Interesting White Tees
2. A Flirty, Comfortable Off-The-Shoulder Top That Stays Put? It Exists.
I read somewhere recently that the early 2010s are coming back…which is like, what? Already? Did we not just do this? But if I think back to that time in my life — rich with bachelorette parties and showers and weddings (my own included) — shoulders were definitely a thing. One shoulder, cold shoulder, strapless. My favorite of that era (and, really, of all time, where shoulders are concerned) is good ol’ off-the-shoulder.
The problem, of course, is that off-the-shoulder tops can be annoyingly high maintenance. Either they ride up, or the elastic that prevents them from riding up is scratchy and digs, or you feel like your range of motion is limited for fear of them either riding up or slipping off. And forget carrying a purse with a strap or propping a baby on your hip.
This Suzie Off-The-Shoulder Top from L’Agence is like the unicorn of off-the-shoulder tops. It’s wonderfully soft and stretchy, long enough to tuck smoothly away for bodysuit vibes, generously cut so as not to dig into your arms (or your underarms), and most important, it stays put. Sure, if you were to reach both arms over your head, it might creep up over your shoulders a bit, but in all other ways, it wears with all the effort of a pajama-soft T-shirt — just with a much bigger payoff.
I’ve worn it with a crossbody and a backpack. I’ve worn it while carrying a babe, nursing a babe and playing cornhole. It’s genuinely an easy top to live in, wildly comfortable, and perfectly flirty. (The Sandy Olsson nod isn’t lost on me either.) Wearing a small.
Shop More Off-The-Shoulder Tops
3. rag & bone’s Featherweight Wide-Leg Jeans: Ideal For The Summer-To-Fall Transition
Fall is kind of our summer around here. The sun is finally out, and temps rise just enough to tempt shorts from your closet. The thing is, by the time this happens, I sorta…want to be wearing fall things. Not shorts, but jeans and real shoes and the like. The solution? Featherweight jeans.
I don’t say this lightly, but rag & bone makes some of the most foolproof denim I’ve bought. I’m so confident in the brand that I’ve even bought several pairs final sale online. All with great success. And these Featherweight Sofie Wide-Leg Jeans follow suit.
These jeans are, first and foremost, bananas soft. The featherweight denim is just a little heavier than chambray but still swishier and far lighter than denim. And yet, because they have all the proper embellishments (pockets, zip fly, belt loops, all that), they still wear like traditional jeans. They’re, in a word, lovely. And while I love that the exaggerated wide-leg style is on-trend at the moment, I also love that it’s not necessarily trendy. A long, sweeping wide leg with a trousery vibe will always be chic.
Sizing notes: I tried both my usual size and a size down, since I assumed these jeans might run oversized, and the size down definitely crept up my cheeks. In my true size, however, the waist is just slouchy enough, and the bum is good despite the fact that these aren’t fitted at all though the hips and thighs. Not sure how rag & bone pulled that off, but its back-pocket game is strong, so maybe that has something to do with it. (In sum: true to size.)
Since these rag & bone jeans are sold with a raw hem, I also hacked mine a couple of inches so I could maximize their wear with flats on my 5’5″ frame. For an investment pair of jeans, this made the most sense for me. They’re now the perfect length for the majority of shoes I reach for most often, but in their original length (34 inches), they’d be excellent with heels or boots.
Shop More Featherweight Denim Styles
4. These Loeffler Randall Ballet Flats Are Classics For A Reason
Aside from a naturally great turnout, I’m about as far removed from a graceful ballerina as it gets. That aside, I can’t over-communicate how much I adore the look of truly classic ballet flats. I know they had a big shiny moment a year or so back, but I don’t think they’ve truly ever been — or will ever go — out of style.
And there’s something about the minimalism of a pair like these Loeffler Randall Leonie Leather Ballet Flats that injects an air of intentionality into anything you might be wearing from the ankles up. But my favorite pairing has to be jeans — of almost any kind. Something about the juxtaposition of utilitarian denim with those feminine flat makes me feel youthful and grown up, all in the same breath. It’s a freaking delightful combo.
These Loeffler Randall flats, in particular, get the look just right by staying classically simple, and the buttery leather and extremely walkable sole makes them so wearable too. I love the idea of reaching for these any time I’d typically default to my checkered slip-ons when running out the door — especially if some other element of my outfit is just a bit sporty or tough. (These with baggy Levi’s jeans and a floral bomber would be a hard drop-off game to beat.) Wearing my usual size 8.
Shop More Ballet-Inspired Flats
Love to hear if you’ve fallen in love with any fresh basics lately. As I said, I love me some research.
Thank you so much to Saks for sponsoring this post. Sometimes it feels like a dream getting to work with partners like this that I’ve long loved, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity. And thank you for reading and supporting the brands that enable us to keep covering content we love — including digging into the best elevated basics for a wardrobe that’s timeless and lasting. It’s my fave thing, and I so appreciate you being here.
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Photos by Carolyn Stockman. Thanks, friend!
Oh hey, Pinners…