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Black or Camel Coat
Outerwear trends come and go every autumn, but there are a few coat classics that never change—and two timeless hues in particular, black and camel. A Burberry duffel coat's casual enough that you won't have to save it only for special occasions, while a chic peacoat infuses any look with instant prep appeal. As for Max Mara's beautiful self-belted topper, it's the sort of piece I could see myself passing down to my daughter and/or niece one day.
Classic Watch
More practical than nearly any other piece of jewelry, a watch adds instant polish and professionalism to any look, and is something you'll keep for years to come. Why shouldn't yours be an absolute knockout?
Patent Pumps
A simple, classic pump works for everything from job interviews to first dates to black-tie weddings to girls' night out. Find a pair that's comfy (OK, relatively so) and take the plunge. (Side note: while I love a smooth calfskin heel too, I think there's something about glossy patent that just adds that extra somethin' somethin'.)
Ballet Flats
Though less overtly sexy than the aforementioned stilettos, ballet flats are (or should be, at least) the day-in-day-out workhorses of a modern girl's footwear wardrobe. Chances are you'll likely clock more miles in these babies than in your heels, so take care when shopping for them. Porselli and Repetto make beautiful, ballerina-approved versions, and many editors swear by Lanvin's flattering hidden-wedge take on this sleek staple.
Little Black Dress
Audrey wore them. Carine Roitfeld lives in them. Kate Moss accessorizes hers to the hilt. A simple black fit-and-flare dress, body-con number or sleek sheath works for pretty much any scenario imaginable and is guaranteed to make you look your absolute best, so it's a sound item to spend a little extra on.
Printed Cocktail Dress
That said, when you're in the mood to make even more of a statement, there's nothing like a boldly patterned party frock. The trick here is to choose one in a relatively classic print—think florals, polka dots or easy geometric graphics.
Perfectly-Fitting Denim
There's absolutely nothing—nothing—like finding that amazing pair of derrière-perfecting, leg-lengthening, hip-slimming jeans. Sink a little extra cash into your blues, and they'll pay for themselves in compliments.
Gray Cardigan
Yes, black cardigans are great too, but hear me out: when you're already dressed in head-to-toe noir, sometimes you need another, slightly lighter neutral to keep the look from veering into Morticia Addams territory. In such cases, gray's your go-to. Heather-colored cardis look equally great with little white dresses, too—as well as pretty much everything in one's closet.
Oversized Cashmere or Wool Wrap
How do we love our enormous cashmere throws? Let us count the ways: they're the perfect way to stay warm in snowy weather (when you live in a windy city, a coat alone just doesn't cut it), they double as blankets (and pillows!) on long plane or car trips and they sort of make us feel like Stevie Nicks. Solid.
Timeless Handbag
If you're looking for the absolute most reliable place to sink those wardrobe dollars, a classic carryall's your best bet. Whether you opt for a classic flap-front 2.55 shoulder bag, a quilted tote or even a tiny crossbody carryall, there's just no going wrong with anything double-C-adorned. Proenza Schouler's cult-forming PS1, meanwhile, has made the tricky transition from trend to cool classic with ease. And of course, few can resist the heritage-steeped house of Hermès. While Birkins and Kellys may yield the longest waitlists, we're currently smitten with the smaller Constance crossbody.