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Eight Essentials Everyone Should Invest In—for Under $3 a Day

Reinforce the foundations of your wardrobe without breaking the bank.

By Emma Steinbergs

Think of your wardrobe as a house. (Bear with me—I’ve been on an Architectural Digest kick.) Simpler items like black pants and classic blazers make up the long-lasting foundation, while pieces like vibrant silk blouses and sumptuous cashmere sweaters serve as the decor. The former category is essential for a solid structure; the latter engages the senses and weaves joie de vivre into your everyday.

Before you have fun decorating, you have to build a solid base—preferably out of high-quality materials that will stand the test of time. No boucle couch or marble coffee table can save a house with a flimsy frame. Similarly, if your wardrobe lacks well-made foundational pieces, there’s a ceiling on how versatile it can be—no pun intended. 

When building (or reinforcing) the foundations of your wardrobe, your priority should be investing in ultra-versatile pieces you can wear multiple days a week. Think: timeless styles in seasonless, neutral hues and easy-care fabrics you won’t be afraid to live in. These are the items you’ll have on rotation for years to come—resulting in a ridiculously low cost per wear: the cost of an item in your wardrobe, divided by the total number of times you’ll wear it.

Let’s Do Some Math

To demonstrate, I’ve selected eight workhorse pieces and calculated their realistic costs per wear. If I’m being conservative, I can assume that a product’s lifespan is five years and that you’ll wear any given item no more than twice a week. That puts each piece between $0.51 and $2.71 per wear. Pretty good, no?

1. The Foster Pant in PowerStretch

$0.51 Per Wear

Our #1 best-selling pant, the Foster is a must-have that strikes the perfect balance between yoga pant and tailored trouser—thanks to a thick Italian-cotton blend we call PowerStretch. As if this streamlined, straight-leg silhouette weren’t versatile enough, adjustable hems allow you to switch between full-length and cropped. Try pairing the Foster with a coordinating blazer and low-heeled booties for a Power Casual suit or with a Pima cotton T-shirt and leather sneakers for a polished weekend look. The possibilities are endless.

2. The Merritt Jardigan in Jardigan Knit

$0.68 Per Wear

The Merritt jardigan is the very definition of flexible. Combining the structure of a jacket with the stretch of a cardigan, it’s safe to say jardigan knit is one of our most unique materials. It’s also easy to understand why the Merritt is our best-selling layering piece: Its sharp lapels and waist-cinching tie give it a defined shape, while its knit construction provides cardigan-like comfort. Wear it with the matching Harlem skirt for a business formal suit that’s secretly stretchy or with wide-leg jeans for a casual look with statement-making proportions.

3. The Moreland Jacket in OrigamiTech

$1.35 Per Wear

The Moreland jacket is a rare feat. I mean, how many machine-washable blazers have you encountered in your life? Made from our lightweight, wrinkle-resistant OrigamiTech, the Moreland is easy to wear, care for, and pack. Slip it on along with matching styles like the Colby pants or Maaza dress, or combine it with a patterned piece like the Bevin dress for a more playful, textured look.

4. The Cynthia Dress in Washable Wool Twill

$2.71 Per Wear

Marrying classic tailoring with innovative functionality, the Cynthia is the ultimate work dress for the modern woman. When you hear wool, you might think of garments that are heavy and warm. But make no mistake: our wool twill is lightweight, breathable, and made to be worn year-round. This sharp, square-neck style is also machine-washable and has a chic, built-in waist belt. Create a suiting set with the matching Yiyan blazer, or transform it into an evening cocktail dress with sparkly accessories and heeled sandals.

5. The Tatum Top in Washable Silk

$1.10 Per Wear

Everyone needs a handful of well-made button-downs, and the Tatum top stands apart from the rest due to elegant details like a thin placket, tall sleeve cuffs, and washable, 100% silk fabric. Button it up and tuck it into suiting trousers for a traditional office outfit, or leave it open over a floral-patterned camisole for a breezy warm-weather ensemble. Elegance meets ease.

6. The Aditi Dress in Recycled WonderTex

$0.81 Per Wear

Ten years ago, we launched the Aditi as one of our first seven dresses. A decade later, it’s still one of our top-selling styles. This V-neck sheath offers plenty of coverage and ease of movement, thanks to our structured yet flexible Recycled WonderTex fabric, which is made from recycled plastic bottles. It’s also treated with Polygiene®, an anti-odor finish, so you can wear your piece multiple times before tossing it in the washing machine—saving both time and water. Long story short: This one’s sure to become one of your go-to get-ready-in-five dresses.

7. The Nejvi Top in Eco Soft Wave

$0.81 Per Wear

Part T-shirt, part blouse, it’s no wonder the Nejvi has become our best-selling top. A seam at the waist creates an elegant drape, while the machine-washable, odor-resistant fabric allows for easy care. Eco Soft Wave, an eco-conscious version of our fan-favorite Soft Wave fabric, is crafted in Japan and composed of 35% recycled materials. Style it as an elevated T-shirt with jeans or as a no-tuck blouse with a pencil skirt. What’s not to love?

8. The Milo Jean in Better Than Denim

$0.51 Per Wear

The Milo jean is an employee favorite for a good reason—actually, two. First, it achieves that slightly oversized look that many of us are after, without overwhelming your frame. (That goes for you, petites!) Second, it’s made from Better Than Denim, a Turkish two-way stretch cotton, which provides a polished look, comfortable stretch, and impressive recovery. Plus, concealed snaps at the hem allow you to adjust the length. Wear the Milo jeans with flats, sneakers, slingbacks, slides, heeled boots—or whatever footwear you fancy.

Written By

Emma Steinbergs

Emma is M.M.LaFleur's Brand Manager. She previously worked as an M.M. stylist and still loves thinking through styling challenges and solutions for customers.

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