I was recently perusing what I consider the world’s greatest fashion blog—that one of visual and verbal splendor by Garance Doré— and her post “I am not…” got me thinking about my own wardrobe basics. We’ve all been told which “basics” one supposedly needs to build a decent wardrobe, but as we are all highly individual, even when it comes to basics, one size does not fit all. Garance shared her 10 basics and graciously asked readers to share theirs as well. I loved reading what her readers had to say.
So here are the top things that make my style my own, that I can’t live with out. I couldn’t stop at 10, though. I have more than 10 basics, seriously. What are yours? Post a comment and share, please!
- Black stilettos. The higher, the better. For several years I wore a super-pointy pair. Wore them out, actually. In the last few years, I’ve been wearing round toes and I love them. I can actually shop in them, they’re so comfy.
- A wide black belt. Preferably patent, but black leather works too. Must be at least 2.5 to 3 inches wide. Worn at the waist, cinched as tight as possible.
- A huge leather tote/handbag. Any neutral color will do…camel, grey, black, even white. But it must be big enough to hold a laptop, phone, iPod, Canon SLR, makeup case, a travel-style wallet, sunnies in a hard case, whatever I need to fit in it. Hardware can be gold or silver, but it must be high-quality leather. Faves are from Cole Haan and BCBG.
- Black trousers. Cut for heels, no pockets, no belt loops. Somewhere between a bootcut and a wide-leg is perfect.
- Pencil skirt. Just below or just above the knee. My favorite is my 13-year-old BCBG jersey version with a side slit. But I actually have several pencils in different fabrics, styles, and lengths.
- Tunic-length cardigan. Close-fitting wool blend in a neutral is best.
- A wife beater. White cotton with spandex so it doesn’t lose its shape. Hip-length, not tunic-length. I buy a new one about every year.
- Grey tunic-length loose tank. Another one that goes with everything. Belt it, top it with a cardigan or jacket, or wear it alone with leggings.
- Black leggings. I like to have some detail, either ruching or wet-look, but basic black is good too.
- Knee-high, high-heeled black leather boots. Quality leather, no hardware, must fit closely at the ankle and calf. My most versatile pair ever is a pull-on pair by Miss Sixty I bought about three years ago. They’re perfect with jeans, dresses, skirts, and leggings.
- Black, long, large rectangular cotton scarf. I have one from Old Navy that is actually more summer weight, but it is a dense cotton and because it is black and crinkly, I can get away with it year-round. I. Love. This. Scarf. It doubles as a wrap when I’m in a wife beater in summer air con; it keeps me warm with a jacket in winter, but without the bulk; it can be twisted in a knot and thrown in my bag; it also doubles as a camera protector when I throw my camera in my bag instead of its own case; it works as a blackout curtain when I’m on those hellishly long international flights; it covers up the chest area so you look decent when wearing something that doesn’t allow for a bra; it provides a buffer between your clothes and outdoor seating so you don’t get up with marks on your bum. The list goes on. I need to buy another one. It is my security blanket.
- Jewelry: Diamond studs, a statement ring, a watch. I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, and because my hair is long and earrings almost never show (and my hair gets tangled in them), I usually wear nothing or just studs. I always wear a watch, and usually wear a statement piece, be it a necklace or a huge ring on my right hand.
- Citizens of Humanity skinny jeans. I prefer a dark wash. I have the Ava and Avedon and love them.
- Beauty basics: Neutrogena Age Shield sunscreen, 100+ SPF, Creme de la Mer moisturizing cream, Cetaphil cleanser, Dermablend concealer, MAC Studio Fix powder, MAC Myth lipstick worn under any other shade or gloss, L’Oreal Voluminous mascara in Noir, Dallas by Benefit on the cheeks, Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur lipstick #52, OPI Lincoln Park After Dark or OPI on Collins Avenue nail polish.
- Big black sunnies. Wide arms, lenses as dark as possible.
With all those black basics, you can see why my wardrobe is so black. But hey, traveling is a breeze and I have a very low dry cleaning bill.