Presenting: The 8 Basics You'll Want to Wear in 2021

Anna LaPlaca
·4-min read

Ready for a fresh dose of basics? Well, seeing as you're reading Who What Wear already and you found your way into this story from the headline, I'm going to assume that's a resounding yes. There's no question that we're keen on wardrobe basics here seeing as we're always discussing them and highlighting where to find the best versions. So you didn't think we'd skip the opportunity to report on the latest batch of basics for the new year, did you?

Nope, we're taking this chance to talk about the best basics 2021 has in store for us, and—news flash—they're really good. From the updated suiting separates we've been seeing on the S/S 21 runways to the cardigans that fashion girls have already begun wearing nonstop, continue on to discover the eight new staples you're about to see a lot more in the coming year. Of course, if you're so inspired to shop, I'm featuring my favourite versions here too.


Suiting separates have been around for a minute now but this year, we're about to see one specific item take hold and that's what I'm calling puddle trousers. The runways confirm that these extra-relaxed and slouchy trousers will reign supreme.

Bella Freud Angie Pleated Cotton-Twill Wide-Leg Pants (£245)

The Row Nerea Belted Wool Wide-Leg Pants (£1720)


There's something that feels so fresh about a collared sweater. The detail is a relatively small addition but somehow transforms even basic pullovers into something much more current and cool. I think we're only going to see more of the style so I suggest you secure one stat if you haven't already.

Calle Del Mar + Net Sustain Ribbed-Knit Cardigan (£385)

Mango Polo Neck Sweater (£50)


After several seasons of longer hemlines, mini skirts are finally returning to the scene. We spotted a slew of these simple micro-minis on the S/S 21 runways from Miu Miu to LaQuan Smith which tells me that it's a basic worth adding to your closet now.

Zara Mini Skirt With Slit (£25)

Mango Belt Miniskirt ($80)


Even though we once considered them a trend piece, cardigans are basically a wardrobe staple now and the specific styles we're about to see more of are these slightly longer chunky knits—"grandpa" sweaters, if you will—that might even eclipse cropped cardigans.

Staud Blake Pointelle-Knit Cotton-Blend Cardigan ($315)

Totême Vinci Black Merino Wool Cardigan (£560)


Is it 2021 or the '90s? Fashion's favorite decade to take inspiration from is back yet again, this time delivering a basic we can already see ourselves wearing on repeat: sleeveless turtlenecks. Keep it simple like Camille did here and wear one with trousers and a shoulder bag.

Theory Ribbed Stretch-Jersey Turtleneck Top (£125)

Albus Lumen Knitted Cotton-Blend Roll-Neck Top (£115)


Wearing a coat is no longer a burden when it's one of these luxurious wool toppers. With a relaxed shape, they honestly feel as comfortable as wrapping yourself in a blanket, but they're ultimately so chic. What's not to love?

Totême Annecy Shawl-Lapel Wool-Blend Houndstooth Coat (£880)

Nanushka Alamo Reversible Belted Houndstooth Wool and Silk-Blend Coat (£695)


If loafers were the trendy flats of 2020, then I'm calling it now: derby shoes are set to take their place in 2021. The lace-up shoes are especially cool with a platform sole and we suggest leaning into their academic vibe by styling them with tall socks and trousers.

Gucci Horsebit-Detailed Metallic Embroidered Leather Platform Loafers (£670)

Zara Loafers With Track Soles (£40)


And now for the easiest item to wear on this list: quarter-zip knits. The jumper is undeniably having a moment right now and we've been spotting them all over, whether it be designer versions like the Isabel Marant sweater pictured above or simpler takes.

Theory Moving Ribbed Wool and Cashmere-Blend Sweater (£410)

H&M Zip-Top Jumper (£15)

Next up: Our guide to the key trends for spring summer 2021.

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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