5 clothing brands we count on for high-quality and affordable women’s basics



We’ve all had those moments, standing in front of a closet full of perfectly good clothing, but still unable to find an outfit we like. In those “I-have-nothing-to-wear” moments, you pull out the basics – classic, reliable pieces you can always count on to look and feel great. The super-soft, plain-white T-shirt. The jeans that hug you in all the right places. The tailored blazer that makes it look like you put a lot more thought into your outfit.

Great basics are – or, should be – the foundation to your wardrobe. When you have a few simple pieces you love, getting dressed in the morning is much easier. Just about every brand offers its own take on the basics, but these are the ones we always come back to. Combining high-quality materials, affordability, and flattering styles, these companies make the better basics you’ll want to wear every day.

Keep reading for five brands that make great, everyday basics you need in your closet:

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Shop modern, minimalist basics at EverlaneBest for: Minimalist, modern pieces that go with every budget and style

Why you’ll love it: There’s a lot of hype around Everlane, and we think it’s well worth it. Prior to working at Business Insider, I had never bought a piece from the brand, but after hearing my teammates’ consistently rave reviews, I bought two pieces that quickly became outfit go-tos.

One of my colleagues recently shared a similar sentiment after trying his first Everlane pieces, and for good reason. Everlane is strongly focused on transparency, giving consumers the cost breakdown of pieces, down to the factory where the piece is made and where materials are sourced. Beyond the brand’s sustainable, ethical practices, its clothes and accessories really deliver on quality and style. You’ll find simple T-shirts, sweaters, work pants, and more in universally flattering fits and a wide range of colors — there’s really something for everyone.


Universal Standard

Universal Standard

Shop size-inclusive basics at Universal StandardBest for: Modern essentials that are universally-flattering on all body types

Why you’ll love it: Universal Standard was born out of two women’s frustration with the lack of stylish clothing options out there for plus-size women. That’s why they set out to make amazing basics that look great on all women and, more importantly, make every woman feel great in her skin.

Overall, the site boasts a modern, stylish collection full of what we’d consider staples, but if you’re really looking for the basics, head to the “Foundation” section — it’s full of a range of simple tanks and tees that make great base layers for any outfit. If you’re not sure what you want, Universal Standard also offers the option to purchase a kit — it’s a curated collection of some of its best-selling pieces catered to your lifestyle, like workwear and activewear.




Shop soft staples at PactBest for: Cost-conscious and environmentally friendly basics that are soft, lightweight, and simple

Why you’ll love it: Pact doesn’t think being cost-conscious and environmentally conscious should be mutually exclusive. That’s why the brand is committed to making super-soft, comfortable products using organic cotton in Fair Trade factories. While organic is usually synonymous with expensive, Pact’s products are very affordable — leggings cost $20, T-shirts go for $25, and hoodies for $50, to give you a sense of pricing.

Pact has a wide range of products for men, women, and kids — you’ll find clothing, undergarments, and even bedding — though within each category, the selection is small. For example, men can choose from three T-shirt styles and there are just four dress styles for women, all offered in a few colors and patterns. If you have trouble making decisions, you’ll appreciate Pact’s thoughtful selection of just the basics.




Shop trendy basics at DSTLDBest for: Premium basics and trendy essentials at surprisingly affordable prices

Why you’ll love it: If your dream capsule wardrobe draws up thoughts of effortlessly chic leather jackets, premium denim, slouchy tees, and other pieces that are equal parts cool as they are timeless, you’ll love DSTLD. The direct-to-consumer model has allowed the brand to bring down prices pretty significantly, without sacrificing quality along the way. That means you can get a beautiful wool coat for $180, not far off from a price you would pay at a fast-fashion store like Zara, and a real leather jacket for $400 that would probably cost more than double if you bought it retail. All of the pieces sit in a neutral palette, making them easy to mix and match, so you can perfect that “I-just-woke-up-and-threw-this-on” vibe.




Shop timeless basics at Cuyana

Best for: Timeless, modern, and feminine pieces made with quality materials and craftsmanship

Why you’ll love it: For simple pieces with chic, feminine touches, Cuyana is a no-brainer. The brand embodies a “less is more” ethos, advocating for a closet that’s full of fewer, but better pieces.

If you’re wondering what better means — think beautiful pieces that are thoughtfully made every step of the way, from where the materials are sourced, to the factory where everything is put together, to what smart features are included on the product itself.

Other than clothing, we’re fond of the brand’s simple leather bags. While pricier than many of the other brands on this list, Cuyana prides itself on the idea that these will really be all you need (remember: fewer, better). Timeless silhouettes, beautiful colors, and simple but elegant touches make Cuyana’s pieces ones you’ll want to put on, especially when you’re craving the chic-with-minimal-effort look.