Cover Your Basics

This season is all about a refreshing back-to-basics approach to dressing

photography by Curtis Comeau, makeup by Bernice Jang, hair by Charlotte DeLaet, models Anica Neiman and Sahr Saffa from Mode Models

Form and function have joined forces to allow for ease and simplicity when building an autumn wardrobe. Updated staples such as the perfect pair of jeans, the classic white tee and this season’s must-have bags are all about quality and versatility – meaning endless possibilities regardless of the weather. Designers and shop owners around the city are showing us that basic doesn’t necessarily mean boring, and have showcased the shapes, silhouettes and washes for our go-to garments.

Women’s Basics

Fashion’s it girls seem to have a knack for creating the perfect casual-cool look. This season, it is a uniform of a great-fitting tee, a hip outer layer, the perfect jeans and an oversized scarf to bring it all together. We loved the neutral scheme of black, white and tan, since it is versatile enough to be worn to multiple occasions, and the pieces can be easily mixed into several different outfits. 

Luxurious fabrics are the ideal choice when constructing an upscale casual look. Invest in layers made from leather and wool to help elevate the outfit from just a boring jeans-and-T-shirt combo to something more fashion-forward.

Citizens of Humanity jeans, $280, Velvet by Graham and Spencer T-shirt, $90, Samantha Willis ring, $170, and Mackage jacket, $600, from Who Cares Wear; Acne Studios scarf, $190, Marni earrings, $415, and T&F Slack shoes, $280, from gravitypope

From The Experts

Boyfriend Jeans

Women are once again taking a cue from the men this season, but the must-have borrowed-from-the-boy’s-silhouette for fall is not the oversized blazer or loafer of years past. “Boyfriend denim is a huge trend,” says Dana Creran, manager of Who Cares Wear’s Jasper Avenue location. “We are seeing our more dressy items being paired with a boyfriend jean. It gives you that relaxed sort of look, but still can be chic. You can dress them up, or you can put on a pair of sneakers and make them really chilled out.”

The Perfect White T-shirt

It may seem outrageous at times to spend close to – or even more than – $100 on a basic white T-shirt. But, as with any item of clothing in your closet, you get what you pay for. When you invest in higher price-point basics, the money you’re spending ensures a better quality of material and fit than cheaper counterparts. “I do find that you can dress it up a bit more, because of the way the shirts are made,” says Creran. “They are done a bit nicer, they are fitting a little bit better, the jersey is a little bit higher quality, so you can wear it under a blazer or tucked into a skirt and still look great. The cheaper shirt is sort of a one-look thing.” 


A well-crafted off-the-clock look isn’t an easy feat to pull off. The key to looking laid-back yet stylish is all about cut and quality. Look for high-end natural fabrics that will stand the test of time. Casual wear should be just that – casual – so invest in items that will hold their shapes after multiple wears without any fuss.

Layering is a great way to add personality to your weekend wear, be it with a textured cardigan, a button-up shirt or a sport coat. We opted to outfit the plain white tee with a knit button-down in navy to create a relaxed but stylish, silhouette.

AG Adriano Goldschmied pants, $285, WANT Les Essentials de la Vie bag, $550, and Tateossian bracelet, $220, from Henry Singer; Filippa K T-shirt, $125, A.P.C. button-up, $210, and Converse Chuck Taylor II shoes, $80, from gravitypope; Bench Craft belt, $75, from Val Berg’s

From The Experts

The Right Fit

A great pair of jeans is essential when putting together an upscale casual outfit. But it’s important to focus more on a great fit than what you see on the runway. “Denim fit is more dependent on the client,” says Reid Knisely, purchasing manager for Henry Singer. “Wider has come back in fashion, when before everything was super skinny, but a tapered denim or a narrow denim is still really important. It’s more about what fits your body type.”

Knisely suggests that men pay more attention to the treatment of the fabric than the cut du jour when picking out a new pair of jeans this fall. “The bigger trend is in the washes than the fit,” he says. “For so long, it was about the raw, super-clean denim, but we are seeing a shift in the marketplace that ripped up and repaired or distressed is more of the trend right now.”

The Wrist List

Men have gotten the short end of the stick for far too long when it comes to accessorizing. Women seem to have endless options when choosing jewellery to accent their outfits, but men have had to stick with little more than ties or pocket squares to punch up their looks. For the last few years, however, wrist adornments – be it in quirky cufflinks or tasteful bracelets – have been fashion staples for men around the globe. Look for something that speaks to your personality when choosing additions to your work wear and casual attire. With the market for men’s accessories constantly growing, you are bound to find something that speaks to you.

Tateossian salt-and-pepper cufflinks, $175, from Val Berg’s, Tateossian gear cufflinks, $175, from Val Berg’s, Tateossian clock cufflinks, $295, from Val Berg’s, Paul Smith bicycle cufflinks, $195, from gravitypope, Eton of Sweden beaded bracelet, $185, from Henry Singer, Tateossian blue and black bracelet, $220, from Henry Singer, Tateossian multi-strand bracelet, $195, from Henry Singer, Tateossian brown braided bracelet, $325, from Val Berg’s

Sleek and Streamlined

Digel suit, $898, Mirto shirt, $198, and Bench Craft belt, $75, from Val Berg’s; WANT Les Essentials de la Vie briefcase, $1,450, from Henry Singer

The introduction of the man bag has been met in the past with a mixture of ire and mockery. However, men are finally ready to retire the “murse” epithet, and are welcoming the benefits that a stylish carry-all has to offer.

The ideal bag for men this fall, made from high-quality materials, is streamlined to carry just the essentials. “It’s a combination of both function and fashion together,” says Knisely. “I think nowadays, people are trying to bring less stuff with them. A folio, for example, is small. It packs an iPad perfectly and, maybe, a few documents, but with the world going so digital, people don’t want to lug around a big briefcase with a big laptop with them anymore.”

WANT Les Essentials de la Vie travel kit, $225, from Henry Singer

WANT Les Essentials de la Vie folio, $450, from Henry Singer

WANT Les Essentials de la Vie backpack, $550, from Henry Singer

Tough and Tiny

Isabel Marant shirt, $185, from gravitypope; Ronny Kobo dress, $430, Jocelyn Kennedy necklace, $110, and Mackage purse, $310, from Who Cares Wear

The oversized bags of seasons past have been traded in for something smaller and more structured. Feminine cross-body bags with tough metal detailing and reptile-like texturing are the new must-have items for women this season.

Every woman knows that the perfect bag can help to elevate an outfit, so look for something that will allow for multiple outfitting options. “For purses and bags, you want that versatility, especially in the straps,” says Creran. “A lot of bags right now have one or two straps, so you can go from a clutch to a cross-body. Purses are investment pieces, so you want more than just the one look out of them. Your dollar per use goes way further that way.”

A.P.C. bag, $585, from gravitypope

Britta clutch, $270, from Who Cares Wear

Britta clutch, $270, from Who Cares Wear

Chain Gang

Chains of all shapes and sizes are the biggest thing in women’s jewellery this fall. Runway shows from New York to Milan all showcased the trend, from oversized chokers to miniscule chain details added to longer beaded necklaces. There is no limit to your choice of metals either, so whether you go with silver, gold, brass or copper – or a mixture of them all – there is no wrong way to adorn yourself this season.

Jocelyn Kennedy beaded necklace, $295, from Who Cares Wear; Melanie Urbanovitch chain choker, $398, Arielle De Pinto bracelet, $545, and Acne Studios gold chain, $720, from gravitypope

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