Sure, treating yourself to something luxurious is nice, but nothing beats the thrill of a high-quality affordable find. The backbone of our closets are those such essentials, and there are a few that Vogue editors swear by, like Everlane and Madewell’s cozy sweaters, and Dr. Martens and Converse’s comfy shoes. And while we’d hate for them to sell out, we’ve decided to share the details on all of our favorite wardrobe steals here. Some are from classic brands that have withstood the test of time, while others are from up-and-coming brands that need to be on your radar.
Whether we’re keeping things polished and professional for important Zoom meetings, staying cute while walking the dog, or stepping out for a socially-distanced lunch, these are the affordable workhorses in 12 Vogue editors’ closets—and everything is under $200.
Sarah Spellings, Fashion News Editor
White Chuck Taylor high-tops are the perfect chameleon shoe. My trusty pair have accompanied me to dark, sweaty parties with thumping music (many moons ago), long walks on the Irish countryside, New York Fashion Week, and countless other events, high and low. Every year, I give them some TLC to get them bright again (though I like them a bit scuffed up). Best $50 I’ve spent on shoes.
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Core Hi sneakers
Emily Fara, Senior Fashion News Editor
I have a black Madewell cardigan that I reach for almost daily. It’s cozy, but not chunky, and it isn’t so oversized that I feel sloppy. It’s also made from a super soft yarn, which is hard to find at this price point. I’m picking up a few similar cardigans for my #WFH winter, starting with this one in a mood-boosting shade of orchid.
Madewell Colburne cardigan sweater
Mai Morsch, Associate Market Editor
My Levi’s Wellthread jeans are my go-to pair for every occasion. The super high waist is beyond flattering, and I love the classic no-stretch, straight-leg style. Not only are they relatively affordable (especially considering how often I wear them), but they also use less water in the dyeing process than traditional denim—a purchase I would make again and again!
Levi’s Wellthread cottonized hemp ribcage straight jeans
Willow Lindley, Accessories Director
When it comes to workhorses, touch is key. I dare you to find anything softer than these, which means you will always be reaching for them no matter what season, what mood. Plus, they layer easily for any occasion. I recommend buying bulk.
Aerie boyfriend long-sleeve cropped T-shirt
$30$23 AMERICAN EAGLE
Loft ribbed Henley sweater
Steff Yotka, Fashion News Editor
As someone who prefers to wear skirts and dresses all year long, an indestructible pair of black tights is essential (this pair is also mostly sustainable, as they’re made from recycled nylon). I buy mine several sizes too large—both to ensure they are ultra-opaque and to make them comfortable for sitting in all day.
Alice tights Swedish stockings
Elisee Browchuk, Editorial Business Coordinator
This Girlfriend Collective moss skort holds a holy grail status in my workweek wardrobe. Fitting in a quick workout between Zoom meetings has never felt easier (or chicer), and starting my day already halfway ready to meet friends for a quick tennis match after work is a total ace.
Girlfriend Moss skirt
Julie Tong, Commerce Editor
If there’s one hero wardrobe piece to emerge in my closet during 2020, it’s my Entireworld striped button-up shirt. My colleagues can attest to how many times they’ve seen me wear this on Zoom, but I love it so much. It’s the perfect top to throw on in the morning while still looking put together. A popular styling tip among the Vogue staff is pairing a button-up shirt with a tank underneath and topping it off with a statement necklace. The shirt is slightly oversized for a cozy pajama-like feel, while structured enough for all-day professionalism. At under $150, it’s a steal in my book. Which reminds me, I need to go stock up on more!
Entireworld organic cotton giant shirt
Madeline Swanson, Market Editor
Sleek, chic, easy to wash, and exceedingly comfortable, Bleusalt’s “classic shirt” has quickly become my go-to wardrobe staple for fall. It goes with virtually everything, from wide-leg trousers to pajama pants, and the fact that it was produced from start to finish in LA from sustainable botanic beech tree fibers (vegan and antimicrobial, yet somehow softer than cashmere!) makes me want to buy one in each color!
Bleusalt the Classic shirt
Charlotte Diamond, Assistant Market Editor
Since quarantine began, my style has shifted toward classic staples that will work year-round. Think rigid jeans, loafers, and striped tees. My favorite Saint James Breton striped shirt makes an appearance at least twice a week. Hopefully no one on Zoom has noticed…
Saint James Minquiers Moderne Authentic Breton stripe shirt
$85 SAINT JAMES
Daisy Shaw-Ellis, Jewelry Director
A cashmere crewneck isn’t really a surprise for a warm weather staple. I have relied heavily on a strong rotation of Everlane’s version since they launched them a few years ago. They’re just slightly relaxed in fit and come in a litany of colors to match your mood or your outfit.
Everlane cashmere crew
Alexis Bennett, Commerce Writer
It doesn’t matter if I’m wearing a floral fall dress or sweatpants, I can always count on my Dr. Martens to add a cool hint of grunge to my look. If you divide the cost by the amount of times I’ve worn them (about a million times, btw), they have basically paid for themselves. Plus, they’re comfy as hell to walk in, which is really all that matters to me right now.
Dr. Martens Jadon boots
Madeline Fass, Commerce Fashion Market Editor
My most prized affordable closet staple is an Express x Karla collab ribbed tank. Sadly, they aren’t available anymore, but I do have a few other wallet-friendly treasures that I constantly wear and can always rely on to complete a look. The first is a pair of real leather colorblock Weejuns loafers. The second is a faux leather blazer from Mango, you can shop a similar version here.
Weejuns Whitney colorblock loafers
$110G.H. BASS & CO.