We’re not going to tell you to buy a white tee and a pair of perfectly fitted skinny jeans, because: duh. Why is every “essentials” list stocked with boring basics you already have? We don’t know, but we’re here to remedy that: Here are the eight style musts to mix in for the ultimate so-right-now spring wardrobe. Get one of each, and give your style an instant upgrade. You’re welcome.
1. A Sharp, Structured Jacket
This is a way chicer approach to battling overzealous AC than a ho-hum cardi. Look for a jacket with a sleek, futuristic silhouette—that means shoulder pads, some killer draping, and a slim-yet-sculpted shape.
Helmut Lang Sugar Combo jacket, $575 at Intermix.
2. A Chambray Shirt
Ok, this one isn’t so new, exactly. But still, this is an über-versatile piece every style-savvy girl should have sitting in her closet. The laid-back workhorse pairs with everything from a pleated chiffon maxi skirt to sleek leather short-shorts. It’s a must.
Perfect chambray ex-boyfriend shirt in Ferrous Wash, $69.50 at Madewell.
3. Leather Shorts
And speaking of leather shorts: Get yourself a pair. Wear them with everything, just like you would jean shorts. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Premium leather shorts, $130 at Topshop.
4. The Statement Collar Necklace
We love the dramatic punch of a major statement necklace, and the latest versions sit right at the collarbone for face-framing perfection. Mix yours with this year’s florals and stripes for a modern take.
Dannijo Zinnia necklace, $612 at Shopbop.
5. The Sliver Wedge
This just-a-hint-of-heel wedge is this year’s hottest sandal silhouette. Naturally, we lean toward the styles with a touch of something special, whether it comes from a flash of glinty metal, a lasercut suede texture, or a splash of exotic snakeskin.
Loeffler Randall Amelia suede wedge sandal, $375 at Saks.
6. A Minaudière
While there’s no question that recent years’ dalliance with oversize clutches is infinitely more convenient for those of us who simply cannot function without at least four lipsticks on hand at all times, these much more diminutive hard-cased clutches are the perfect balance of retro and modern, plus they come in a zillion playful patterns and vibrant colors. And who can argue with a trend that forces you to streamline?
Diane von Furstenberg Lytton printed sequin box clutch, $325 at Shopbop.
8. A Peplum Top in White (or Leather)
Peplums have been ruling the collective style consciousness for some time now. Lately, though, this femme style has been popping in spring-perfect off-whites and on-trend leathers. We promise you’ll be grabbing for the new iteration more than you expect.
Pictured: Asymmetric strapless peplum top, $69.95 at H&M stores.
Similar style: White peplum top, $44 at Dorothy Perkins.
9. A Day-to-Night Stripe
Bold graphic black-and-white stripes are everywhere this season—but the best part about the trend is how utterly versatile it can be. A bit mod and totally dramatic, this pattern works at work, then out to dinner, then out for drinks . . . you get the idea. Try a slinky silk blouse or a more structured ponte dress.
Alice double-knit dress, $149.50 at Club Monaco.
10. The Nouveau Floral
Florals are kind of a mainstay for warm-weather months, but this year’s batch has turned the print in a new direction, shoving aside the usual sticky-sweet, dainty versions for those with a bit more attitude. Think deep, rich palettes, black panel detailing, and exposed-zip accents.
Hawaiian track pants, $295 at Rebecca Taylor.