S here, coming at you after a lllooooooonnnggg quiet spell! Sorry for the absence, but I’ve been busy starting a new job, buying condo, laughing, loving, you know – as you do! But K was kind enough to allow me back in with some fashion musings, so I hope you will indulge me a bit :)
I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sound at all familiar? Perhaps a tiny flashback to this morning?? For someone who has as large and varied a closet as I do, I say this phrase all to often. Lately, I’ve been working to really refine my style (I’m feeling like I’m very Classic Urban – K, back me up here!) and in so doing, I’ve been trying to make my closet reflect that. Of course, we all have items that maybe don’t exactly mesh with who we are, but they’re just so darn perfect that we can’t let them go. I’m not talking about those pieces. I’m talking about the pieces that you can’t live without. If you could whittle your wardrobe down to those pieces that are most important to you, what would they be? And wouldn’t it be easier to get dressed in the morning? You would no longer have this jumble of stuff in your face!
Now, let’s not get crazy. I’m not saying you need to slim down to a five-piece wardrobe – I really don’t understand people who do that. But if your closet is a mix of “Summer in Athens/Boardroom Power-suit/Backyard Barbecue/Clubbin’ til 4/Lazy Day Sweats” you can see how pulling together a cohesive look day after day could be difficult. If you’re one of those people who can pretty much wear the same outfit to work as you could on the weekend, then you are luckier than most, and you could probably pare down your wardrobe even more than the rest. But for me, considering that I work in a very conservative place (read: NO JEANS EVER!) and I like to chill on the weekends, my wardrobe can seem as if there is a bit of a split personality. That’s all well and good, as long as I can keep those two moods separate. So, let’s look at what I cannot ever, possibly live without, and work form there.
1. The Perfect Black Skirt
I have been going through a metaphysical crisis lately because I (stupidly) got rid of my work-horse black skirt, thinking that it would be easy to replace. I have since purchased 6 different black skirts, and returned 2 of them, trying to find the replacement, and no luck – even the ones I kept are poor seconds. For me, I like a thick material, high-waist pencil shape, which goes to just below my knees. I can wear this style of skirt with blouses, t-shirts, tanks, you name it. Also, if I have one which is free from extras (stripes, lace, polka dots) I can wear it 3-4 times in a week, and no one calls me out on it. I truly feel like a black pencil skirt is the most versatile thing you can own. You can literally wear it from a major meeting to cocktails to the movies and then to grab breakfast tacos in the morning. It’s more professional than a maxi or a mini, but not as stiff as a suit. Next time I find the perfect one, I’m buying three of them, in varying sizes, so that I’m never without one again.
2. Longer T-Shirts
I have a long torso, so most t-shirts look perilously close to crop tops for me (and that is not a look I am into AT ALL). I prefer my tees to hit right at my hip bone – long enough to cover every last inch of skin, short enough to frame my ample behind. I pretty much always purchase black and grey, and I’ll throw in a blue or green to round it out. I appreciate white t-shirts very much, but I hate having to layer something underneath so that my bra isn’t showing, so unless it’s a baggy Hanes undershirt, I steer clear. I also prefer V-neck or crew-neck – I feel like scoop-neck shirts are just too wide, but again, to each their own. And I’ll admit – for ages, I’ve been into the whole 3/4-sleeve t-shirt thing, but lately I’m questioning how that looks. I just feel like it makes me look disproportionate somehow. Further experimentation there is required.
3. Black V-neck Sweater
This is the most versatile piece you can own. With jeans and black shoes, it can take you to either brunch or dinner, with a black skirt it can take you from work to cocktails. Throw it on over black pants and you’re professional, and it will add warmth on the beach with a pair of shorts. I’ve never been a big fan of cashmere – it always feels itchy to me. I usually go for a nice cotton/silk/Merino wool mixture and keep it simple. I like it too when the sleeves are extra long – I like them to reach all the way to my knuckles. I find that this just makes it more comforting. You can go for your big, baggy sweatshirts all you want, but for me, timeless comfort is a black sweater.
4. Jeans (in some form)
Here’s why I’m not specific on this one – I realize that everyone has a different shape, and different assets which they wish to emphasize, and between the different washes, lengths, cuts, etc. out there, there’s no way I could say “dark wash skinny jeans” are the perfect pair for everyone. For me and my body, I have never found a pair that works as well as the Long and Leans from Gap (bring them back to the stores, you meanies!!!!!). Yes, they’re usually a bit too long for me, but once I hem them, they fit every curve perfectly, make me look tall and skinny, and are perfect for every occasion. I know they’re available on the website, but I’m a bit weary of ordering clothes from the site. But with your favorite pair of jeans, you can’t go wrong. If you’re lucky enough to be able to wear jeans to work, top ‘em with a blouse and blazer, and you’re good. They pair perfectly with a tank on summer evenings, sweaters during the winter and jerseys once football season comes back.
5. THAT Dress
I’ll be honest, to a certain extent, I am still looking for THAT dress. THAT dress is defined as the dress you can wear anywhere for pretty much any occasion, and it works. It can be a little black dress, it can be a longer pencil dress in floral, it can be a cocktail dress in peacock blue. It’s that one dress that when you get the invite, and you’re not sure what the dress code means, you know this dress will work. It’s not so formal to be black-tie, and it’s not so casual to be Coachella, but for all of the situations in between, you know you’re wearing a stunner that is perfectly you.
6. Baggy Blouses
Not “baggy and I look homeless or like Mary Kate/Ashley Olsen,” but baggy like, “when I tuck this in, it gives my body a very nice shape.” I have about 3 or 4 of these in varying colors. One note – you MUST tuck these in or belt them. If you leave them hanging out, you can look like you don’t know what size you really wear. Again, being long-waisted, I find that these work with my pencil skirt to give my waist more definition, and if my skirt doesn’t have a high enough waist, I wear them untucked with a belt to tighten them up a bit. The nice thing about these is that you can eat a good-sized lunch and not worry that you’ll have a food baby showing. They hide all manner of sins.
I’m not going to get into accessories, because then we would be here all day. I would never narrow my shoe collection, I think everyone needs a signature piece of jewelry, and outerwear and swimsuits gets too complicated depending on where you live. I don’t set as much store in a perfect white button down as some people – I think they can look great when you first get them, but they get dirty very quickly, and I strongly dislike how sheer they’ve become over the past few seasons. If I wanted to wear multiple layers, I wouldn’t top it all off with a sheer shirt! I also think cardigans are more personal than universal – some people can really rock them and others (me), not so much.
I realize this was an incredibly long post, but I just missed you guys so much!!!! I’ll keep it shorter next time around!