Classic Style

The Best of Everything: Clothing Basics Edition.

By: Jen Shoop

[Ed. Note: Updated March 25, 2019.]  I’ve already covered my absolute favorite beauty products and killer home products; today’s post is all about clothing basics.  I devote a lot of time on this blog to trends and lust list items, but today, I’m sharing my favorite tried-and-true wardrobe underpinnings — and they should mean something since I’m the type of impractical shopper who will always lean for the $600 pair of statement-making 5″ heels over the more practical black suede everyday ones.  (As with my other “best of everything” posts, I’ve written about all of these products elsewhere on the blog about two dozen times, but thought it’d be helpful to keep them all co-located in one spot.)

Bra: Natori Feathers.  This is the most comfortable everyday bra.  I never need to adjust because wire is digging into my skin, or leaving red marks on my shoulders.  It’s beautifully constructed and offers a nice lift.  I love the deep plunge — you can wear it with nearly any neckline!  My only caveat is that it does run small!  They’re also well-made: several of mine have lasted years and look no worse for the wear.

Strapless Bra: Gap.  It’s frankly impossible to find a truly comfortable strapless bra, but at least this one stays put and performs its job well.  Plus — reasonably priced!

Underwear: Hanky Panky.  No brainer.  No lines, so comfortable, and comes in every color under the sun.  For nighttime, I only wear Cosabella Hotpants.  They are insanely comfortable.

Flip-Flops: TKEES.  I’m not a huge flip-flop wearer, but there are occasions that merit them (the beach, pedicures, running an errand at Duane Reade), and I love TKEES for that purpose.  They are simple, unfussy (as elegant as a flip flop can possibly be), and hold up extremely well, even when worn in rain, sand, and surf.  They also go with everything and don’t attract too much attention.

Everyday Flats: Anything by Loeffler Randall.  They don’t have many traditional shapes in their current selection, but I’ve had good luck trolling Amazon for past season styles.  I own and love these and these exact styles in different colorways and wear them heavily — and have done so for countless seasons.

Jeans: J.Brand Photo-Ready.  I LOVE the fit and stretch of J. Brand’s Photo-Ready collection.  It truly does “lift” and “contour” — it never cuts in to you; it just coats and sucks in the leg or something.  I dunno.  Magic.

Maternity Jeans: J. Brand Mama J.  SO COMFORTABLE.

Sunnies: Le Specs Air Heart.  These stunners look like they’re by Celine or something — but cost less than $70.  I always get compliments on them.

Leggings: David Lerner.  I first discovered this brand while pregnant with mini (they carry a fabulous maternity legging that I’ve since turned dozens of mama-to-bes onto — the most comfortable, flattering, and well-made legging!), but I love their non-maternity stuff, too.  These leggings HOLD UP wash after wash without appearing threadbare or scuzzy.

Warm Socks: Smartwools and Darn Tough Cushion Socks.  If you don’t have a pair of either of these but live anywhere north of D.C…God bless you.  You need them in your life.  These are, simply, the warmest, best-constructed socks out there.  They’re actually meant for hiking — super breathable but the warmest of the warm — but I wear them in the winters.  The Darn Toughs are a hair more comfortable owing to their “cushion” bottom.

Sports Bras: Target’s c9 for Champion.  These are inexpensive, comfortable, and breathable.  I can’t tell you how many fancy Lululemon sports bras I bought only to be disappointed — yes, they’re cute and they look good in yoga class, but they’re always digging into my skin in weird places, I often need to size up a few sizes (which is confusing because I’m very modestly endowed and have a petite ribcage — who wears the 0 there?!), and they don’t wash well.  Target’s c9 collection are made of the perfect stretchy material; they come in good colors; and they’re not hard on the wallet.  I wouldn’t say they wash particularly well —  I find that they typically fade in color quickly — but, at $16/pop, I’m OK with that.

Running Leggings: Lululemon Tight Stuff.  These flat out make you look great.  I also like the size of the pocket in the back of the band — wide enough to hold your credit cards, and the waist is high enough that it isn’t uncomfortable.

Running Shorts: Lululemon Hotty Hot Shorts 4″.  These are my jam.  Extremely comfortable and well-cut for running — but, importantly, not too short.  I’m only 5 feet, but I find that too many of Lululemon’s shorts are like underwear.  They also have a small pocket for things like keys and credit cards.

Running Shoes: Nike Free RN or Nike Free Run Flyknit.  I have been through dozens of running shoes, and Nike’s are the best because they are SO lightweight, but still offer structure.  I love both of these shoes, but the Flyknit is best for good weather — it’s knit almost like a sock and feels like you’re wearing nothing.  The first time I wore them, I looked down and realized I had run my first mile in 7.5 minutes, which is outrageous for me — I’m normally around a 9-minute mile pace.  Still, they weren’t practical for Chicago, which is cold and wet a lot of the time; these will let the water right in.  (I ran many miles with sopping wet feet.)  Both are excellent, though.

Non-Workout Leggings: Alo Yoga Moto.  I don’t know that I’d wear these running — they’re more my “I’m on my way to the gym but running errands first” pants, even if I don’t intend to go to the gym at all.  These are SO chic and SO comfortable and, against all odds, very flattering.  I own them in navy.

Lounge Pants: J. Crew’s Dreamy Jogger.  How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.  These are the softest, most comfortable pants ever.  The waistband is generous and the cut is slimming.  I die over these.  I even prefer them to my favorite sweatpant — the Monrow Vintage Sweatpant — which is also incredibly soft and comfortable.

Pajamas: J. Crew’s Dreamy Pajamas (see above), Lake Pajamas Long-Long Set, or Beaufort Bonnet Company’s Wimberly Wine Down. The latter two are made of the most gorgeous pima cotton — they’re both satin-y soft and look great on, with a nice amount of stretch.  For some reason, the TBBCs wash like a dream: I pull them out and it nearly looks like I’ve ironed them.  Beautiful!  Plus, you can coordinate with mini 🙂

Slippers: LLBean Wicked Good.  LLBean’s slippers are the coziest (I actually hate that word — it’s been so abused by the blogosphere! — but it’s truly the perfect appointment for this particular item), and my pairs have lasted a long, long while.

Getting Ready Romper: Eberjey Teddie.  OMG, this.  The softest cotton.  I used to blow-dry my hair with a towel around myself and I was constantly having to re-tie/adjust/etc.  Then my bestie introduced me to Eberjey’s teddies and my life changed.  So comfortable, so breathable, so cute.  I wear this every time I get out of the shower.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Robe: Pottery Barn Waffle Knit.  Just like the hotel — fluffy, luxurious, a great heft to it, and monogrammable.  I couldn’t live without my robe.

Loafers: Tod’s Gommino Loafers.  You just have to have a pair.  These are beautifully made, comfortable, and wear well.  I own them in bright orange, and they can completely make an outfit.  Just throw on jeans and a t-shirt or oxford and you’re done.

Everyday Heels: J. Crew Elsie.  Manolo’s BBs are similar and beautiful as well, but I find J. Crew’s Elsies to be the most comfortable.  The perfect heel height — it distributes your weight well and makes it easy to stand for hours on end.  I also happen to think they nailed the toe shape: not too pointy, not too round.  Simply perfect.

Canvas Sneakers: Superga Cotu (shown above in pic at top!).  The timeless classic.  These are insanely comfortable, come in great colors, and go with everything from sundresses (currently dying over all the floaty sundresses from this line) to distressed denim.

Tees: Hanes x Karla for white, Kule for stripes.

Clutch: Gigi New York.  I can’t tell you how much use I’ve gotten out of this simple, monogrammed python clutch, which I own in the stone gray color.  It’s my answer to the OMG-I-have-no-handbag-that-matches-this and it accompanies me on every single trip as a convenient catch-all for anything from cocktails to errand-running to lunch dates (plus, I use it to stow jewelry or hair accessories in my suitcase).  It’s so easy, goes with everything, and is simple enough to compliment but not compete with any look.

Everyday Tote: Goyard St. Louis or Cuyana Zip-Top.  (More thoughts on everyday bags here.)  The Goyard is, simply, a classic.  It is crazy lightweight, has a nice protective coating, and can carry a shocking amount of crap.  I use it as my diaper bag!  The Cuyana is lovely because the leather is of such a beautiful quality (at a reasonable price!) and I love that the top zips.  Neither of these bags stand up on their own, though you can always add an insert that will correct for that.  If you need structure, in warmer months, I am IN LOVE with my Pam Munson Isla Bahia tote!

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6 thoughts on “The Best of Everything: Clothing Basics Edition.

  1. So many good insights and things to try here! I have bookmarked each of your “best of everything” posts but this one in particular holds a lot of new-to-me products. Really, the only overlap we have here are the Nike running shoes and the Hanky Panky + Cosabella underthings!

    This is making me want to compile a list of my own! It would definitely include Outdoor Voices running tights (I find that the 3/4 length hits me right at the ankle, which I love — so many running tights are too long for my short legs and I hate the idea of having to hem workout clothes!)

    1. I’m in your same boat, MK — at 5’1, I need those Outdoor Voices tights! Ordering them whenever I decide to get my butt in gear and kick into my running routine again. (The snow is making it a little tough to make good on my aspirations for the new year.) xx

    2. They do have great colors! I love the blush pair but tend to stick to darker (or at least more colorful) options — I have one pair in “Santa Fe”, which is like a slightly orange terracotta color (similar to blush, actually!), and whenever I wear them my boyfriend ALWAYS (jokingly) says that passersby will think I have no pants on. Hahaha!

      P.S. I feel you on the snow making workouts harder … it’s terrible here in Boston, which is why I am going to suck it up and join a gym! I feel a bit silly doing it in January (feels a bit bandwagon-y!) but the one I want to join is running a really good deal…so tempting!

  2. A few Christmases ago, my (then-Burlington-residing) baby brother turned me onto Darn Toughs. They are just slightly pricier than smartwools and unlike the latter, the heels and toes do. not. wear. out. Also, re: running tights, I recently bought a pair of Tracksmith’s turnover tights and have been living in them the last few weeks — they offer similar support to the Lulus but (I find) are a little less confiney/spandexy-feeling (which is handy when you are 39 weeks pregnant!).

    1. How have I not heard of Darn Toughs after living in Chicago?! THANK YOU! Will definitely give these a try!! And, good to know about Tracksmith. Will absolutely give those a try. FINALLY — congrats on 39 weeks!!! Almost there — you can do it! xoxo

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