Whenever you find yourself with a large sum of “free” money—a gift card, a birthday check, or, in this case, your tax return—you essentially have three options: One, spend it all at once; two, spend it on a few less-expensive items; or three, save it. We know it’s fun to splurge, but what if that trendy “investment” piece suddenly looks totally wrong by September? A wiser choice would be to stock up on timeless, reliable basics that you’ll reach for well into next season—and probably the next three years, too. A sharp blazer always look chic, whether you’re headed to the office or rushing to a cocktail party, and you’ll be thankful for it on those hectic mornings when you have “nothing to wear.” The same goes for a crisp white blouse, perfect-fitting jeans, black ballet flats, and sleek trousers. It’s a similar idea to the five-piece French wardrobe: Invest in the classics, then play with trends here and there, but only if they work with your established style. We all know what it’s like to get irrationally excited about a new pair of $600 neon heels . . . only to realize they don’t go with anything you own. Avoid buyer’s remorse and shop the best basics at every price point, from $50 to $500, in the slideshow below.
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