I ran into a colleague today who mentioned reading my post about Anthropologie and agreed that most of their tops are impulse purchase, wear once or twice and donate kind of items. We spoke about the lack of options for casual yet stylish everyday wear- something beyond the boring basic-ness of American Apparel but not quite at the ‘dry-clean only’ level of higher end merchandise. What can women wear everyday that is comfortable and casual but still stylish and appropriate? I have the answer for her, and for all of you.
Start with impeccable basics, add fabulous accessories and finish off with great footwear and handbag. The key here is to keep the clothing basic and unadorned (but still of high quality with great detailing) and allow the accoutrement to add personality and sparkle. Here’s how it breaks down-
Tops– If you’re accustomed to buying tops with lots of design details, it’s gonna take some adjusting to get excited about a sweatshirt. Or a t-shirt. But these are not your father’s Champion sweats. Classified as ‘weekend wear’ or ‘activewear’, these pieces make comfortable chic again, and paired the correct way, are absolutely appropriate to wear as part of your daily uniform.
Pants– Focus on finding great jeans and classic black leggings. My personal recommendations are Seven, Genetic, Mother, and J Brand. Colored jeans have made a comeback these last few seasons and are a great way to take a basic to the next level.
Shoes– The shoes make or break an outfit, and nowhere is that more important than with basics. Classic ballet flats are timeless, oxfords are more on trend, and loafers are (probably) the next trend. If you are looking for something a bit edgier, I recommend a short boot or booties.
Jewelry– Some options here are overlapping pearl strands (which contrast beautifully against the outfit’s casual vibe), a cocktail ring, the always stylish and versatile Chan Luu wrap bracelet, and amazing stud earrings from Carla Morrison Fine Jewelry. Great jewelry (whether it’s fine or costume) doesn’t need to be reserved for special outfits or occasions.
Accessories– These are the finishing touches. For this season, consider a slouchy beanie, driving gloves (with or without fingers), a scarf, and proceed conservatively. Jewelry and accessories need to be balanced so you’re not dripping in them. A general guideline for jewelry and accessories is to try and incorporate at least 2 and no more than 4 pieces per outfit.
Other bits n pieces– Add into the rotation a classic buttondown in multiple colors, an investment piece, and a denim shirt. Remember that it’s not about any one individual piece but rather how it all blends and balances together.
During the cold weather months, as long sleeves and high necks conceal some of our best jewelry, it’s important to find other ways to accessorize. In that vein, a brooch becomes an integral way to embellish an outfit, especially one featuring the jacket/blazer, a staple piece in the closets of all my clients.
The two best brooch styles are (as pictured) the fabric/bead/crystal combination and the antique. Since stores rarely carry them, I direct you here and/or suggest asking your mother or grandmother if any can be passed down.