If you live in a bite-sized apartment like I do, you can probably relate to the feeling of being overrun by your own belongings. In my case, it’s my wardrobe. Being a fashion editor makes things even more crowded, with clothing, shoes, and accessories taking up pretty much all of the minimal space that I do have. So in an effort to clear up space and add some much-needed feng shui to my living situation, I decided to start 2022 off with a sartorial refresh. Goodbye, excess; hello, capsule closet.
To turn this thought into a reality, I zeroed in on 16 wardrobe essentials that I simply couldn’t leave behind in 2021. I didn’t technically get rid of everything that failed to fit within the 16-piece list—at least not yet—but for the most part, the classic pieces ahead make up the majority of my clothing options moving forward. And surprisingly, for someone who’s become accustomed to owning a lot of things, I’m not mad about the result. Keep scrolling to find out what pieces made the cut.
Though I’m not the type to wear dresses on a daily basis, when I do decide to shape up and put one on, a classic, midi-length, long-sleeved number is almost always my first choice, especially this time of year. A word of advice: look for one with a unique twist, like an open back or an interesting neckline.
My days of wearing jeans that are so high-waisted that they make my stomach hurt are long over. Instead, I’m transitioning my denim collection into the mid-rise region and only picking washes and fits that I can see myself wearing with every top or sweater in my wardrobe.
Thanks to Kim Kardashian, bomber jackets are making a comeback, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Ever since I followed her lead, I’ve been frequenting the style more than almost any other jacket in my wardrobe. Tip: buy one that’s actually warm. Winter is no time to be impractical.
Another piece of outerwear that’s a must during the colder months is a long, oversize coat. For starters, it allows you to go all out with layers because of its wider shape. Moreover, this style makes it possible to look put-together no matter what you have on underneath—even if it is tattered sweats and a matching hoodie.
This is the part where you probably think that I’m crazy. Low-rise pants can’t possibly be essential, right? Wrong. The more I incorporate the once-maligned silhouette into my wardrobe, the more it grows on me. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.
Waistcoats are trendy right now, but that doesn’t make them any less of a wardrobe essential. Personally, I’m pairing mine (I have two, one in cream and another in black) with matching trousers for a full tailored ensemble.
Tops are an easy thing to buy a lot of, so narrowing it down to just a few silhouettes was tricky. That said, fitted button-downs have been a go-to of mine for a while now, mostly due to their versatility and flattering shape. With patterned styles and more classic monochrome iterations, you really can’t go wrong with this silhouette.
Need I explain the need for a cashmere sweater? As they are the best of the best within the knitwear category, I couldn’t possibly enter 2022 without one or more super-soft cashmere knits by my side.
Before I bought a pair of knee-high riding boots and actually tried them out, I thought they would be totally impractical—something I wore only for special events. Now that I have them, I hardly go a day without wearing them. (Seriously, ask anyone. I even wear them while I work from home inside my apartment.)
Speaking of riding boots, my favorite clothing item to pair them with is a midi-length skirt. There’s just something about the way the two pieces meet in the middle that feels so cold-weather chic to me.
Another no-brainer essential is a blazer, preferably one in a color that you can wear with anything again and again. The classic style makes for the perfect topper when you need to look more put-together without sacrificing style.
There’s something so effortless and elevated about pairing nice clogs with dark-wash jeans and a cashmere cardigan, a trio that I plan to wear on repeat this winter.
Because of my job, I’ve basically tried on every white T-shirt under the sun, so when I find one that hits the spot, I keep it—and subsequently wear it—forever.
No matter what time of year it is, throwing on a slightly oversize oxford button-down will always be a good idea. This year, I’m pairing mine with straight-leg jeans, trousers, and perhaps even stirrup leggings (if they make the final cut—their fate is still TBD).
Once we can start to go out again, a miniskirt is 100% what I’ll be wearing. For now, catch me hanging out in my apartment with one of these on just for the hell of it.
When shackets first started popping up on Instagram feeds and retailers’ new-arrivals pages back in 2021, I really wasn’t convinced that they’d last. But as more and more brands have created their own iterations on the shirt-jacket hybrid, my opinion of them made a 360-degree shift. Now, they’re as essential to me as any of the other jackets on this list.
Next: The Best New Arrivals to Hit the Internet, From Size L to 6XL