Your style might rival the likes of Jenna Lyons or Gigi Hadid, but on days when you just can’t even, you don’t have a stylist on speed dial who can put together a flawless outfit for you that strikes the perfect balance of effortless elegance and It-girl chic. Sigh. That said, looking perfectly put-together when your lazy girl style sensibilities start kicking in can be easily accomplished if you have the right wardrobe essentials on hand. Here, you’ll find 15 transformative items (most of which you likely already own) that are guaranteed to give even the most laid-back basics an instantly polished feel — and save you from an impending sartorial crisis.
1. Mango Zip Leather Jacket ($170): No closet is complete without a leather jacket (faux or otherwise) in its ranks. Beyond its badass aesthetic that effortlessly adds hella panache to closet classics, an iconic moto’s clean lines and luxe appearance are the total package, as far as sophisticated ensembles are concerned. Tone down the rocker vibe for a modern ladylike look by styling it alongside a pleated midi skirt, an A-line dress or tailored trousers.
2. Angela Roi Morning Crossbody ($135): So maybe there isn’t enough room in your budget for an enviable lineup of luxe bags, but that’s totally cool. Just adding one structured leather style to your arsenal that you can reach for on the regular will do your wardrobe major service. Swap out that beat-up canvas bag you’ve been rockin’ since freshman year (and haven’t washed since — eek), and slip this chic saddle bag on instead. The best part? It’s under $200 — proof that impeccable style doesn’t have to come with a haute price tag.
3. Tanya Taylor Peggy Printed Stretch-Cady Skirt ($178): Casually rockin’ a pencil skirt, whether at the office or off duty, is a straight shot to polish. Pass on solid styles, opting instead for graphic patterns and prints that will elevate your look without compromising on personality. Pair it with a simple tee and statement steppers for a getup that will do your Insta proud.
4. Luz Ortiz Movil Earrings ($338): When statement add-ons are involved, an understated jeans-and-t-shirt combo can achieve runway-ready status in seconds. Step up your style game without exerting excessive energy by tacking on a pair of show-stopping earrings (we’re swooning hard over these customizable hoops) and a swipe of matte lipstick.
5. Embossed Lace-Up Ballet Flats ($30): Proof that head-to-toe black isn’t necessarily a fast-track to style success, these fancy flats are straight-up #goals. Add a little pep to your step mid-week by slipping them on with unexpected suiting separates, or toss ‘em on with metallic culottes, a silk cami and embellished clutch for GNO.
6. Truth & Pride Tweed Jacket ($268): There’s a reason tweed resurfaces in Chanel’s collections every season: It has an innate elegance that transcends time. A tailored boucle jacket is just the thing to turn everyday denim, shirt dresses and even athleisure essentials into full-on finery. Rack up a few extra style points with the cool-kid crowd by balancing out its old-world appeal with a fresh pair of statement sneakers.
7. Banana Republic Avery-Fit Striped Pant ($98): Joggers, culottes and flares may fall in and out of style, but a good old pair of dress pants is forever. Be it a job interview, wedding or dinner date, there’s nothing these refined bottoms can’t do. Poorly fitting pants are, however, a total deal breaker, so make sure you take your trousers to the tailor before busting them out.
8. Karen Walker Number One Crazy Tort Sunglasses ($250): Not only do sunglasses shade your eyes from the sun, but they also have the power to totally transform your outfit. Seriously. Every fashion enthusiast should have a signature pair on hand that embodies the wearer’s unique sense of style. Like a good pair of jeans, a pair that feels true to you will give your confidence a major boost — which counts for a whole lot more than a closet full of designer duds.
9. Everlane The Japanese GoWeave Back-Zip Tee ($88): Cotton t-shirts are closet staples you just can’t live without, but they aren’t exactly blazing new style trails. By simply switching up the fabric and opting for pieces with unexpected detailing, like this cool zipped back, you can instantly take this tried-and-true topper — and whatever you wear it with — a step above.
10. Marc Jacobs Courtney Bracelet Watch, 28mm ($225): Fashionably late doesn’t exactly work when it comes to things like your nine-to-five. And yes, you have your phone, but let’s be real — staring at your phone all day long (even if you’re not skimming through Insta) isn’t going to help you win any brownie points with your boss. Doing the whole #adulting thing requires a traditional timepiece that keeps you and your style in check, and this streamlined number is ready to rise to the challenge.
11. Trouvé Crepe Tuxedo Jacket ($119): Does it get any more classic than a blazer? We think not. Even if your idea of dressed up is donning a pair of black boyfriend jeans, a streamlined jacket is non-negotiable. Fake it ’til you make it by tossing one over a tank dress, ankle boots and a statement choker for an on-duty look that comes together in seconds.
12. Topshop Jewel Cap Toe Block Heel Pump ($110): Stilettos are drastically overrated, but a pump with high walkability factor will never disappoint. Luckily, low-riding steppers are the shoe du jour, with block-heeled numbers like these two-tone ankle strap stunners popping up on city streets and fashionable Insta feeds left and right. And here’s a reason to celebrate: You can actually commute in these bad boys, meaning you can now officially retire that shoe graveyard residing under your desk.
13. Need Supply Florence Necklace ($32): While we can’t deny the allure of a great statement accessory, there’s certainly something to be said for paring down. This sleek collar necklace is the perfect partner to printed tops and statement sweaters, adding just the right amount of finesse without taking your look into over-the-top territory.
14. M.i.h. Daily Jean High Rise Straight ($245): Never underestimate the power of tailoring — even with denim. Say what?! Whether you live in boyfriend jeans or can’t even entertain the idea of wearing anything other than high-waisted skinnies, fit is paramount. A pair of $20 denim that fits like a glove will look a thousand times better than a $300 pair that’s too tight. Trust us. Once you find a brand, size and style you love, load up! And don’t be afraid to take that denim to the tailor.
15. ASOS Bonded Trench in Midi Length With Belt Loop Detail ($121): A trench may not help with frizzy locks, but it will certainly keep the rest of your rainy-day ensemble on lock. Whether you opt for a classic Burberry-inspired style or decide to embrace bold colors and modern silhouettes, you just can’t deny the trench coat’s forever appeal.
Follow us on Pinterest for more style inspo!
Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.