12.20.2009

Style Secrets: Back to Basics

“Only great minds can afford a simple style.”
Stendhal

It may sound farfetched, but it’s the absolute truth. Being fabulous seems to take less time than being simple when it comes to dressing. When you enter shops you are often bombarded with sequins, tulle, lace, leather, and an abundance of other textures which are absolutely stunning, yet veer away from the basic staples one needs in their life to create looks that are downplayed yet domineering; minimal yet menacing; easygoing yet energized.

Basics are the backbone to the well-dressed young woman’s wardrobe. They are there to provide that extra oomph to your look du jour, interjecting a splash of much-needed je ne sais quoi to lighten up a glittering party shirt worn in the wee hours of the morning, or contributing a pinch of plain pulchritude to balance out the bodacious-ness of a faux leather pencil skirt; hence the reason why it is essential for your closet to harbor a fortune of no-frills fashions.

As with so many things in life, however, undertaking such a task is far more easier said than done. But don’t worry darlings; it certainly doesn’t have to be. As long as you know where to start, you’re well on your way to heading back to basics in true fashion-forward style!

Trail Blazer Please cast aside any preconceived notions about the blazer you may have. I am well-aware of the fact that it is most often recognized as the topper of a stuffy three-piece suit, but times have changed; the blazer is no longer only acceptable in the workplace. In fact, it is quite possible that there is no more versatile piece that one can add to their wardrobe than a black blazer. Cropped, boyfriend, either style retains the ability to put a completely new spin on your look, and cast a shadow of change upon the entire effect of your ensemble.

Sophistication and elegance is quickly discovered when Diane von Furstenberg’s slightly boxy, boyfriend-inspired Tuxant Blazer is tossed on over a shimmering minidress; a touch of hipster flair is added to a simple top and denim when coupled with a cropped blazer like the Charmaine Career Jacket; and a plain white tee and flippy skirt easily transform from playful to posh when shrouded with a wool style sporting a notched collar a la Theory’s Ediona Blazer. Remember, a well-crafted blazer will see you through countless ups and downs and millions of milestones; therefore, invest in a creation that you adore!

“Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.”
Jean Cocteau

The Little Black Skirt Despite its power and potential to literally stop traffic and work wonders in one’s wardrobe, the little black skirt is a piece of attire that is, unlike the little black dress popularized by Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, left out of the loop and virtually ignored when it comes to dressing. Far too many seem to overlook the chic simplicity that it proffers, whether offered via professional Pencil Skirt, flouncy Woven Skirt, or leggy Mini Skirt. Don’t be one of those individuals!

Unlike the LBD, which often relies upon a special occasion for it to be whipped out of your bureau for wear, the little black skirt is a garment that holds fast to the mantra “carpe diem.” It does not lie in wait for a lavish party to arrive; rather, it seizes the day and creates a sassy soiree all its own! Top it with a vintage tee, partner it with lacy tights, slip it on with a slouchy sweatshirt. When it comes to the LBS, styling opportunities are positively endless; and each presentation is more stunning and sophisticated than the last!

Black and White and Fabulous All Over! Mark my words, a person’s closet is utterly incomplete if it does not hold at least two fitted black t-shirts, and two fitted white t-shirts. There is no more essential or inexpensive basic than these pieces, given the fact that they act as a palette for your daily style, and are a necessity when layering. They also retain the ability to tone down exaggerated accessories, like a statement necklace, making them more wearable during the daytime hours.

But do not at all doubt the standalone qualities of the plain black or white t-shirt. It may be a basic, but one does not need to cover-up its simple style, or clean cuts in order to make it glamorous. Pairing a Short-Sleeve V-Neck with skinny jeans and riding boots is a no-fuss aesthetic which juxtaposes between elegant equestrian and laid-back jet-setter; while tucking it into a pair of trendy trousers and adorning your finger with a bulbous cocktail ring establishes an unmatched urbane ambiance that will leave jaws dropping in your wake!

Short Stuff It seems slightly ridiculous to think that shorts are a part of the basics category; a virtual must-have in your wardrobe. But they are. Don’t get me wrong, up until recently I was not a believer of this particular way of thought either. I felt that shorts should remain in summer, and be locked away once the sun gave way to rain, sleet, and snow; but so is not the case. Just as skirts can make the transition from winter to spring, summer, and fall, shorts can as well – as long as you’re working with the correct form.

There is nothing quite as ambrosial and cultivated as a pair of tailored shorts like Forever 21’s Cuffed Tweed Short or Pleated Satin Shorts. They do not have the grunge factor that denim dungarees oftentimes possess; rather they reserve a more sophisticated air courtesy of the single-button closure, and charming cuffed hems which work together to bridge the gap between saucy and sharp. During the warmer months flaunt bare legs by pairing them with cognac-colored riding boots; once the cold sets in style them with black opaque tights and matching ebony-hued shoes for a look that elongates and makes your legs go on for days!

“Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity.”
Plato

Tight Fit Loves, if you thought that hosiery was nothing more than a thing of the past, I am here to prove you wrong…so very wrong! Yes, feel free to steer clear of nude-toned pairs that are meant to look as if your legs are bare when they really aren’t; but please, do me a favor and fully embrace patterned tights, black opaques, and sheer styles that will take you through any season in true glamorous grandeur!

Tights like those crafted by Falke and American Apparel give you the opportunity to wear any attire of your choosing year-round, given their ability to provide a bit of coverage to keep you warm; while ensuring that you look stunning from head to toe. I recommend having at least three pairs on hand at all times; that way, should you encounter a sudden run or rip in the seam, you don’t have to sacrifice style – simply switch out the ruined ones for a pair that is in-tact!

The Bomb It doesn’t matter if you own no other piece of outerwear, as long as you have a bomber jacket in your possession your wardrobe is in good standing. Bomber jackets like Candela’s Leather Bomber Jacket are an amazing garment for the sheer fact that they not only provide warmth to the wearer; but they effortlessly effuse a rebellious aura that is both lively and headstrong, which helps you to migrate from one look to another with ease.

Keep in mind that the color bomber you select is extremely important. A black piece instantly gives off an edgy, rocker-influenced vibe synonymous with the leather-loving biker movement which is perfect for a smoky night out with the girls; while a caramel shade is more subdued and transitions easily not only from day to night, but from season to season, as well. Take inventory of your wardrobe before shopping to see what color would fit in best with your personal style and buy accordingly.

Duds for the Derriere Darlings, denim used to cut it in terms of accoutering ones lower half. And it still does; to a certain extent. One’s wardrobe should never be sans at least a trio of denim pieces that range from light wash, like Current/Elliott’s Super Slouchy Skinny Jeans to dark wash, like J Brand’s Petite 12” Pencil Jeans, all in the cut of the dresser’s desire. These three items of apparel alone will accompany you on everything from first dates to family gatherings; and shopping sprees to school functions. But I digress; denim is only half of what needs to be on hand for embellishing your lower region. The honor of the other half falls upon leggings.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…leggings did not start out as a favorite of mine, but I quickly grew to love them due to their elasticity, resilience, and ability to bring out the chic cosmopolitan sophisticate in anyone simply by slipping them on. Whether tucked into over the knee boots or topped with a bright-colored v-neck that hits at the hip, leggings like American Apparel’s Cotton Spandex Jersey Leggings or Winter Legging, are a must for the modern mademoiselle looking to be comfortable in her style of dress while keeping it completely classy!

“The well-dressed man is he whose clothes you never notice.”
William Somerset Maugham



Fashionably yours!


Thanks to Shopbop, American Apparel, and Forever 21 for the pictures.
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61 comments

Leah said...

"Only great minds can afford a simple style.” - I love this quote Erika.

And I totally agree with all these style secrets... I have them all in my wardrobe.

Have a lovely Sunday dear... one more day to go!

meraldia said...

Leggings were not my favorite as well but now I just love them! Great post, Erika!

janettaylor said...

WOW! Gorgeous post, Erika! I love Stendhal quote! That's true...

Please don't forget to enter the brooches giveaways!

X♥X♥

MissNeira said...

I love these picks, you definitely got it! everyone needs these

Jacqueline said...

I agree with these style secrets Erika! I always have extra tights on hand. I snag them so easily when I am wearing them, haha =)

www.FashionSnag.com

wonderfelle said...

Such a great post... I feel like i ignore all the basics in my closet on those days where i feel like i have "nothing to wear" but that's why they're there right?

Treacle (Stockings Addict) said...

I absolutely agree about the effect a tailored blazer and a trendy pair of tights can have on a look. One of the reasons I like tights so much is because they're one of the easiest and cheapest ways to change an outfit.

Really fantastic post.

Jen said...

i'm loving this post and i agree with all your basics listed. i'm still searching for that perfect, affordable blazer and a bomber jacket. otherwise i'm all set :)

Couture Carrie said...

Perfectly chic staples you've selected, darling E! Especially loving the blazers!

xoxox,
CC

Fashion Chalet said...

Awwe, thank you, Erika! ;)

You're too sweet. I know what you mean NYC is my new favorite place. That is until I get to Paris..someday! ;)




xx

Couture Cookie said...

You are my new style icon! I always frown at "wardrobe basics" lists, but this one is actually - gulp! - useful! I am not surprised in the tiniest bit that you of all people were the one to come up with it and share it with the rest of us. :)

Also, just had to mention.... I was a late adopter of leggings, too. These days I have no clue what my problem with them was - I live in my LnAs!

Have a great Sunday!

English Rose ♥ said...

this is so true it takes far much more confidence to dress simply and let your personality do the talking than really on your outfit to express things for you.

Hope you had an immense weekend my darling

Stay safe and chic
English Rose x
http://iamanenglishrose.blogspot.com

Allegra said...

love it all!

jayne said...

i love the blazer & the bomber myself

Emily said...

These basics take me through days upon days of outfits. If it weren't for them, I could never find anything to wear.

Wonderful post, as always :)

Sandy said...

Great post Erika! My wardrobe is filled with basic bottoms (don't want to draw too much attention at the moment) and lots of basic and interesting tops. Then I use jewellery (all of which my sister makes) and great footwear and I'm on my way. Along with great hair (which my stylist keeps looking amazing for me) and well-done makeup (thank you MAC artists), and I'm probably looking better than I ever have, despite a (ahem) little extra weight. For now. LOL
Always look forward to your posts Erika. Keep up the great work!

S.Elisabeth said...

Agree with all of this, though I must add. Leggings should NOT be paired with a shirt that does not hit at the hips, it looks so, so, so wrong.
Everything else I adore, I need to get myself some more basics, and I am always on the hunt for the perfect blazer!

WendyB said...

Little black dresses don't have to wait for a party...they should be as everyday as little black skirts, IMHO. The last thing you should wear to a party is an LBD unless you want to be a wallflower. I have strong feelings on this topic :-)

sharonlei said...

What a fab post E!! I Love that quote from Maugham... it's so true...

Hope you're having a great Sunday. :)

Love & Aloha, Sharon
www.elisharon.blogspot.com

Luinae said...

What a fabulous post Erika! I've been looking to get a bomber jacket for ages, now I'm SURE I want one.

la petite fashionista said...

great picks! all of these wardrobe staples have an important home in my closet as well !:)

clarewbrown said...

THis post is fantastic and luckily I have almost everything on this list! I am huge fan of basics then you can mix and match them and always looks fab!

And YES I would love to exchange links... I am actually embarrassed that I don't have you on my blogroll already... you are one of favs!

lancelonie said...

Brilliantly written article! love that

Have a great time! :)

Sarah said...

Great picks! When you have good basics you can do no wrong :)

Mimi said...

This is a wonderful post! I adore basics and could live off them alone, but who doesn't like some statement and edgy pieces to mix it up. Blazers, white tees, skinny jeans, all fabulous!!

Jaime said...

Great round up of the basics! I need a black blazer!

Taylor Sterling said...

oh I love the third look with the blazer and the body con skirt!

Rachel said...

I love your Style Secrets posts. They are always fantastic. You always give the best tips and suggest the most fabulous pieces!

I definitely agree that all of these items are must-haves. Especially loving blazers right now! And you've reminded me that I absolutely must find a great pair of shorts to pair with tights for the winter. Such a perfect look!

Rica said...

I couldn't agree more! everything you've said is true. I don't have these basics in my closet and its hard to pair stuff. I should get the basic first before going to the non basics. the thing is im not really "simple" when it comes to my style. I have this quirkiness in me but i still prefer the simplicity with elegance. i still don't know what my real style is. i think i got caught in the middle. do you have suggestions? :)

im following you now. and would you mind if we exchange links? thanks

xoxo
sassy rica

Jade "Purple" Brown said...

i love the embellished blazer!

wreckedstellar said...

Ironically my sister just said to me today that she needs more basics! I love this basics list- esp. the black and white shirts! I always need them to layer underneath or to balance out a bold colored skirt! xo, Mel

Jennifer Fabulous said...

Perfect post! I love all these tips because they are SO TRUE!! Starting simple can really take you a long way. :)

Penelope said...

Loved this post! I've actually bookmarked it! It's really informative; and really useful for those days when I just want to work with my basics and yet; look fabulous at the same time!

Kudos!

Ashley said...

Blazers and bomber jackets have become a fashion staple for me lately. Can't get enough of them!

nubiasnonsense said...

Love the blazers and the cute shorts!!

Nicole Marie said...

love my blazer! wear leggings probably a little too much :)

FASHIONconfectionairy said...

Simple style is hard to nail but if you do absolute perfection!
XOXOX
Libby
http://fashionconfectionairy.weebly.com

Sherin said...

Lovely post! Basics are definitely really important. A black blazer is essential.

Nina said...

I still don't have my blazer. Grr! Not giving up though!

Nina

Inspiration in Italy said...

I SO agree with this post, Love! The blazer...so necessary and I've definitely got the little black skirt, the shorts, and the leather jacket as well! Wonderful post, dear...and I hope you had a great weekend!

xoxoxo
Rachel

Silverbeige said...

I love these sets. Pure, femine and comfy!

Have a nice day!:)

annoiii said...

Awesome post! Especially like the part on the black skirt and blazer:)

Macaron Treats ♥♥ said...

I love those shorts!! especially the first blue ones with the bow! Gorgeous post and you always postbeautiful selection of clothes!

xxx

AudreyAllure said...

haha i was just talking about this with a friend the other day. we always go into a store to buy strictly basics but we come out with a whole bunch of other stuff haha

Rachel Scarlet said...

Lovely collection of outfit. The leggings style has a parisian feel to it and yes I did not immediately fell in love with legging when the fashion world decided to opt it as a fashion piece, nonetheless my love for it grew.

Anyways, Happy Birthday Erika! XOXO :)

Keith said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog. I greatly appreciate it. I'm glad you enjoyed my Elvis Christmas post. I wanted to let you know that I'm having trouble with my internet access right now. I may not be online as much, but I did want to visit your blog. I hope you will have a great week. Cheers!

Style, via TIa said...

I agree with you about leggings at first I was in love I thought it was best to stay in the 80's and now oh now I LOVE them. So comfy and chic!
Oh and the bomber is lovely.

All Women Stalker said...

'Tis why I've been searching for the perfect white and black shirt for weeks.

-meream

xoxo said...

If I had a wardrobe like that I'd look really cool...cooler than I already look, i mean ;D I love the leather jackets the most.

J-Diggety said...

So, I've been lurking for awhile, reading your lovely blog, and I just want to say how much I love it... I love your writing style, I love what you write about... it's just all-around FAB!

Oh, Happy B-day to a fellow Sag! :)

Miss Caitlin S. said...

First off, love the quote. And definitely with you about basics!!! Very important!!!

http://candyflosspersie.blogspot.com/

sara said...

I am one to always forget basics. Whenever I shop I run right to the most detailed/ intricate thing in the store. thank you for reminding me how important basics are!!

http://goldandcitrus.com/blogs/blog

MizzJ said...

This list is truly the best how-to guide to wardrobe basics for right now. I own everything on this list!

Midtown Girl said...

I love this post bc you described some of my wardrobe staples that always make me look & feel put together.

I just bought an adorable cropped tuxedo blazer from a sample sale that I have to take pics of soon!!

Closet Cravings said...

Love the Shopbop blazer you picked (totally heart Shopbop). Also diggin' the shorts and jackets. Ok - so I like everything. Fab post. =)

Nikolett said...

I totally agree about the leggings trend. I don't like when people abuse them as pants, but I've fallen for them!

P.S. It's Unbeweavable informed me it was your birthday this past Sunday! Happy belated birthday, girl!

And I think I've caught up on most of your blog posts haha :)

That Chelsea Girl™ said...

I am OBSESSED with basics. Thanks so much for great outfit ideas, as well.

Hanako66 said...

this is such a wonderful post....i agree with you 100%!

Marz said...

Lovely, amazing post. I love how you mentioned the little black skirt, it seriously is a contender against the LBD any day!
-Marz

Little Bow Prep said...

Great post!

"Basics are the backbone to the well-dressed young woman’s wardrobe." - so true! Since I'll be leaving home for college in a few months, I need to start streamlining my wardrobe to good basics.

fashion apparel said...

This is such a great post! I love those shorts!! especially the first blue ones with the bow! Gorgeous post and you always post beautiful selection of clothes!

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