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“Basics” That Are Anything But

Need to update staples like a trench coat, LBD, cardigan or pumps? Shop 7 Black-owned and -founded labels for tradition with a twist.

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photo collage of fashion pieces by Hope for Flowers
Courtesy Hope for Flowers
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Whatever your preferred style is — casual, chic, cool or something in between — chances are your wardrobe includes at least a few classic pieces. Think: blazers, white button-downs, cardigans, wide-leg trousers, little black dresses, trench coats and other staples.

These items can be the backbone of any wardrobe — from polished to eclectic and from feminine to gender-neutral. Plus, they transition from season to season, making them the hardest-working pieces in your closet. If it’s been a while since you’ve refreshed your classics, it might be time for an upgrade. We’ve pulled together Black-owned labels that offer well-made classic silhouettes ranging from luxurious to minimalist to modern.

Lita by Ciara

Singer-songwriter, producer and actress Ciara features bold styles in her brand, Lita. But the size-inclusive line also offers plenty of elevated classics. You’ll find two-piece suiting in traditional silhouettes, button-down shirts, knit dresses, cardigans, jumpsuits and more. Finish your looks with the brand’s outerwear and shoes, including trench coats, pumps and other classics.

Pricing: $48 and up
Sizing: XXS – XXL


Rebdolls is a one-stop shop for various clothing styles, making it a great place to find classic pieces. The size-inclusive brand has an extensive collection of sweaters, dresses, workwear and more. And its Reb Essentials line offers a curated selection of season-friendly classics, from tank tops to turtlenecks and swimwear to suit separates. Complete your outfits with the brand’s outerwear, which includes motorcycle jackets, long blazers and belted coats. With most items under $100, you can’t beat the prices.

Pricing: $11 and up
Sizing: S – 5X

Re Ona

If you’ve ever considered building a capsule wardrobe, Re Ona would be a great place to begin. The sustainable brand focuses on minimalist wardrobe staples in neutral colors, including slouchy cardigans, button-down shirts, turtlenecks, blazers, wool coats, suit separates and knit dresses. The brand also has a Sculpting Signature Line — a range of knit bodysuits, tank tops and T-shirts — perfect on their own or for layering.

Pricing: $65 and up
Sizing: XS – XL

In Earnest

Designer Byron Lars is known for his style “mash-ups” and is a favorite among celebrities, including Angela Bassett, Jill Scott, Regina King and former First Lady Michelle Obama. Lars’ current label, In Earnest, continues his tradition of transforming classic looks into modern reimagined versions. Notable items include sheath dresses in mixed fabrics, lace cardigans, tailored blazers and jackets with unexpected details.

Pricing: $100 and up
Sizing: 0 – 12

Hope for Flowers

In addition to beautiful special-occasion dresses, Hope for Flowers is a great source of investment-worthy staples. Designer Tracy Reese offers modern takes on classic silhouettes, including feminine button-downs, patterned suit separates, dresses and luxurious sweaters. Each style can easily transition from the office to a night out.

Pricing: $200 and up
Sizing: XS – XL

Woman in flowing floral pant separate
Hope for Flowers


Brother Vellies

For classic shoes and handbags with a twist, give Brother Vellies a look. The brand, founded by Creative Director Aurora James, focuses on sustainable manufacturing and African design practices. One collection, The Nudes, features pumps and other classic shoe styles in a range of skin-toned colors named after iconic women in history… discover if you’re a Cicely, Eartha, Maya or Grace.

Pricing: $195 and up
Sizing: 5 – 14

Harbison Studio

For timeless jewelry and bags, check out Harbison Studio. You’ll find classic hoop earrings, leather cross-body bags and other classic-but-statement-making pieces.

Pricing: $165 and up

gold earrings, form, crescent shape
Daniel Collopy/Harbison Studio
rice colored purse, gold accents,
Daniel Collopy/Harbison Studio

Follow Article Topics: Style