Most of what I feature on In Spades involves statement pieces and rare finds. They are what I gravitate towards most, and I’ll be the first to admit this strategy of getting dressed is a tad backwards. While most people start with good basics and build a wardrobe from there, I start with the craziest pieces I can find and fill in where necessary – it’s a top-down approach rather than a bottom-up philosophy. Consider me Rule Breaker Numero Uno of Michael Kors’ wardrobe philosophy.
“70 percent of the clothes you own should be meat and potatoes.
30 percent should be icing and fluff—that’s color, pattern, shine, and accessories.
Too many women get the proportions the other way round, then can’t figure out why they can’t get dressed.”
That said, I wanted to get down to brass tax: what the heck do I reach for when running errands, working from home or packing for a quick weekend away? You know, the basics.
While Target and Zara are great, I’ve reached a point in my life where quality trumps quantity every time. I’m not interested in replacing sweaters every three months. I’d much rather spend $100 on something that will last me 5 years than $20 on something that will last me 6 months.
Here are 3 High Quality, Affordable Brands You Need to Know
If you consider yourself a fashionista, chances are you’ve heard of Everlane. Built around the philosophy of using ethical factories and transparent pricing, they are my go-to for t-shirts, sweaters and loafers.
The average piece of clothing is marked up 8x before reaching the consumer, but not at Everlane. They tell you exactly what it cost them to make your sweater and how much they’re going to charge you for it.
They also have a “Pay What You Want” program, which is as lovely and amazing as it sounds. You pick your price.
Vibe: smart, savvy, fashion in-crowd
Hero pieces: t-shirts, cashmere sweaters and loafers
Price point: $16 – $365 with the majority of items under $100
I teased Amour Vert during NYFW and if you haven’t yet checked out their line, now is the time. Committed to creating socially responsible fashion, they only manufacture in the US, have a zero-waste philosophy, use sustainable fabrics and non-toxic dyes.
What it means for you: eco-friendly clothing that will last.
Vibe: girly and eco-friendly
Hero pieces: silk tops, cozy day dresses
Price point: $38 – $288 with most items averaging $120
Where Everlane leans practical and Amour Vert leans girly, Cuyana is like your sophisticated big sister. They make incredible silks and leather goods in soft, feminine color palettes. Think ladylike pieces that will carry you from the office to an evening out.
Their motto is “Fewer, Better” which embodies the spirit of having fewer clothes with better quality. Also committed to sustainable fashion, their “lean shipping” option includes a reusable bag with pre-paid shipping label that you can fill up with your old clothes. Once received, Cuyana donates them to women in need. You also get a $10 credit for your contribution to helping others.
Vibe: clean and sophisticated
Hero pieces: silk separates and handbags
Price point: $35 – $495 with most items averaging $120