A dozen basic pieces that are on another level — investment clothing that could last a lifetime and reimagined classics with modern twists.

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Sure, trends still happen, but one of the great things about fashion right now is that originality — and even anti-fashion — are allowing people to wear what they want, not what they’re told.

Movement toward uniform dressing, unisex styles and comfort are pushing basics into a more interesting place, with work pants and white shirts getting more details, finer fabrics and more transparency in manufacturing.

Here are a dozen basics that are on another level — investment pieces that could last a lifetime and reimagined classics with modern twists.


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For beautiful drape in all seasons, opt for a silk top that can be worn alone or layered in multiple ways, such as the Everlane Silk Short-Sleeve Crew ($75 at everlane.com). Everlane shares extensive information about its manufacturing facilities, and sells direct for lower prices on its fine fabrics.

If you like the idea of creating a signature look that speeds up getting ready each morning, consider a white button down that is both classic and unique. The Uniforme Kahn Smock Shirt ($348 at unifor.me) is made in New York from elegant Swiss cotton, with mother-of-pearl buttons and a back pleat for a flowy fit. The price is high, but first-time buyers can get 10 percent off when you sign up for emails.

Uniforme Kahn Smock Shirt, $348; Everlane Silk Crew,  $75
Uniforme Kahn Smock Shirt, $348; Everlane Silk Crew, $75

Zady’s .01 The Sweater ($160 at zady.com) is U.S.-made at every step, from the wool sourced from an Oregon ranch to its knitting in California. It has a menswear-inspired fit that looks modern and is very versatile.


Portland’s Older Brother Gabardine Trousers ($245 at olderbrother.us) are unisex cool and eco-friendly to boot. The 100 percent organic Japanese gabardine is soft with a relaxed fit, and the natural indigo dye (done in California) provides a unique color and finish to the fabric.

For a new take on the work pant, consider the Eileen Fisher Silk Georgette Crepe Icon Wide-Leg Ankle Pant ($278), a super-wide-leg trouser in fluid silk that pairs with anything you would put with pants or a skirt.

If you live in jeans, an investment in a perfectly tailored pair of premium denim might be worth considering. Try first the Diane von Furstenberg Debbie Flare Stretch Jean ($328 at Neiman Marcus), with a high waist, stretch fit and flare leg for a balanced silhouette.


If you’re looking for eco-friendly clothing that looks chic and modern, check out Kowtow’s Two of A Kind Dress ($229 at kowtowclothing.com) and other 100-percent certified-fair-trade organic-cotton basics. The dress is reversible with pockets and a skinny fabric belt.

Another versatile, go-anywhere option is the Toit Volant Mariko Dress ($139 at toitvolant.com), which wows with a slit back opening, dresses down with jeans and sneakers, or looks professional with booties and a jacket. It comes in three neutral colors to fit into your wardrobe.


Portland’s Wildfang is one-stop shopping for unisex styles. The boutique carries Native Youth’s Adeleine Jacket ($148 at wildfang.com), a brushed-poly statement coat that’s cozy, modern and practical.

For something to get you through the spring showers in style, try the Everlane Anorak ($98 at everlane.com), with a cinch waist and curved hem to add shape, and water-resistant fabric and a hood to keep off the rain.


Birkenstock Monterey Leather Sandal, $225; Repetto Zizi Oxford, $350
Birkenstock Monterey Leather Sandal, $225; Repetto Zizi Oxford, $350

You may have pulled some old Birks out of the back of your closet in the last year or so. If you realized how comfy and versatile they are with Seattle styles, perhaps it’s time to upgrade to the Birkenstock Monterey Leather Sandal ($225 at Nordstrom), with a black leather footbed that elevates the sandal to office-appropriate.

Or go for polished, tomboy cool with the French-made Repetto Zizi Oxford (starting at $350 at repetto.com), an all-leather shoe in an array of colors and finishes that will add to your wardrobe for a lifetime.