There's almost nothing I want to know more than what experts in their given field prefer - a chef's favorite olive oil and cheese, a personal trainer's favorite workout class, etc. Hence my extreme interest in a top stylist's favorite white t-shirt, bra, and more. After all, who would know better? Here to scratch that itch is the adorable and mega-talented Anita Patrickson, whose previous columns on fashion mistakes and awards shows you can read here and here.
My career revolves around being familiar with the landscape of fashion market (styles, brands, etc.), and from all the options, knowing what looks and works best. After many years working and experimenting with every different body type, taste level, and quality of clothing and accessories, I've honed my current list of favorites to the below.
The Elder Statesman: The softest cashmere on the planet! CFDA winner Greg Chait has the best eye. All the designs are so timeless yet each piece always has something really unique and special about it.
J.Crew: They have simple classic, basic cashmere in every color imaginable. There's no obvious slogans or stitching - really clean and elegant.
Alexander Wang: Alex Wang is so edgy and street sharp - it's no surprise that his slouchy beanies are the best in the business!
Free People: Their beanies have just the right amount of slouch and are very affordable. I love the chunky knit versions - they feel really effortless and casual.
Giorgio Armani: Known for their suiting, Armani's cigarette pants are cut so beautifully. These are a staple that will be a friend in your wardrobe for the next 20 years if you take care of them properly. Pair with a black bustier and blazer for an evening look or a striped tee and a stacked heel for a chic work ensemble.
H&M: Sometimes when you are buying something really basic, you can get away with going with a more affordable brand. They may not last as long but unless someone really gets up close and inspects them, you can often pass the item off as a pricier version. H&M has some gorgeous pants, with really chic tuxedo detailing like a satin pocket stripe. Never underestimate the power of a great tailor. A cigarette pant whether expensive or affordable should cut your leg just above the ankle. This can be done for $20 at your local dry cleaner!
Target: Target is great for basic no show underwear and it won't break the bank. They also stock up on a variety of sizing so it's rare not to be able to find the one you want. I also love that their bras have clasps on the back of the straps allowing you to make it into a racer back with one easy clip!
Dr Scholl's Gel Pads: Comfort is key! Anything that might make a heel more bearable is a winner in my books. These are easy to put in as well as remove from a shoe. You can transfer them from one shoe to another without it getting completely stuck and coming off in a million pieces. The gel is a great cushion for your feet and really makes the world of difference!
Sergio Rossi: Simple, classic, sexy! I love the 'anonymity' of this shoe. It looks expensive - you know its expensive, but its not shouting its name from the rafters. It has the perfect amount of toe cleavage, the shape is very sexy and they are more comfortable than most of the other options.
Aquazurra: He's the darling of the shoe world at the moment and its easy to see why! Super chic, novel designs that are elegant with a boho element - the perfect recipe for a strappy sandal. Plus you will be able to find a range of heel heights that suit your needs.
Alvaro Gonzalez: Sandals that are handmade and 100% leather. These feel like that perfect leather sandal you bought on that fab trip to Barcelona 10 years ago. They get better with age and feel authentic and one of a kind.
Wolford: Wolford tights are a household name for a reason. They are comfortable and most importantly don't rip the minute you try to put them on.
Saint Laurent: The fabric and cut of the Saint Laurent blouse do lessen the shock of the price tag. They never seem to pull at the bust and the collars remain clean and flat.
Anne Fontaine or Equipment: Anne Fontaine is an older brand and you might need to wade through some rather dated looking pieces before you find the simple clean options. The fit is great and they are really comfortable. Equipment is a fabulous option for breezy blouses. they also have a variety of patterns and prints. These can often feel a little oversized so I like to style them with shorts or a form fitting jean.
The GAP: As they say: don't fix it if it ain't broke! The basic white crew neck tee from gap is a classic. Throw it on with a pair of high waisted black skinny jeans and you are good to go.
3x1 or Mother: 3x1 are a bespoke brand that will customize jeans and trimmings for you, as well as for off the rack styles. I also love Mother Denim, they are on the cutting edge of the latest styles and washes.
Theory: I am such a blazer gal. It's got to be one of the most figure flattering items to keep in your closet no matter your shape. Throw it over jeans and a tee and you have a ready-made outfit in one easy step. I especially love Theory blazers because of their cut. The sleeves are easy to roll. They are the perfect length, and have a relaxed loose fit while still having structure and shape to keep you looking put-together and elegant.
The Row or Ann Taylor: The Row is one of the chicest brands around. Their simple cuts and gorgeous color palette make it the perfect go-to for an elegant basic. The fabrics they use always fall so beautifully! Ann Taylor always surprises me with their fabulous range of winter coats, especially pea coats. There is something for everyone and you don't need to sell something to own one.
Zimmermann: I ADORE this brand. They are the perfect go-to for a special, yet easy-to-throw-on dress. You can dress them up with delicate gold jewelry and heels and wear them to a summer wedding or add a hat and a leather jacket or a chunky cardigan and booties and you have the perfect day look.
Anine Bing: Anine Bing lace bras in black and white are the perfect 'peek-a-boo' bra. Wear it under a tee or a blouse, showing a little lace to up the 'sexy' factor while still keeping things classy and demure.
Madewell or FRAME: When it comes to tees it's all about the wear. There is nothing more annoying than spending a fortune on a tee that looses its shape after the first wash! Both Frame and Madewell have basics as well as more fun options like classic navy and white stripes and retro prints.
Eres: I'm not one of those gals who feels totally comfortable prancing around in nothing but a swimsuit so I really value pieces that are flattering. I know Eres is a little more expensive but for the extra confidence it gives me I think it's worth every penny. The cuts and fabric are the best of any that I have found and they last for years when taken care of.
Golden Goose or Superga: Supergas are a tried and tested classic. They are affordable and I have had a pair in my wardrobe for as long as I can remember. They're perfect with a summer dress or jeans and a blazer. I love Golden Goose sneakers because they are understated and exactly what you want your kicks to look like without having to wear them in for six years. Great for dressing down a look!
Soludos: Soludos are hands down my favorite summer shoes. They have a range of amazing prints and styles and go with anything and everything. Perfect for the beach or a cozy summer date night!
Eric Buterbaugh: Never before have I been so obsessed with one brand. They have only six scents to choose from, each one being a true floral note. Violet is my favorite and I wear it every single day! I also adore Hyacinth and I keep it on hand for a fresh alternative.
NARS: Finding a fun color is one thing, but finding a fun color that isn't all over your teeth and your face within the hour is quite another! The NARS collection not only has a great variety of bold hues, they are moisturizing and look fab hours later.
Essie Ballet Slippers: I find this to be a little more interesting that a regular nude, yet it still goes with everything!
Tom Ford anything: Sexy and sultry, Tom Ford does it best. His polish has a better staying power than a lot of the other polishes and a deep rich velvety finish. I also hate making decisions in the nail salon so I make my choice ahead of time and come armed with the color I want.