Wednesday, November 30, 2011

the classics. my list.

I feel like this classic fashion mess has consumed me. I've really, really enjoyed all the hypothetical shopping, but it's been a little daunting. Just the same, I've managed to come up with a list. A list of the items that I think could get you through the rest of your life. Seriously. I think if I had each of the items on this list, I'd never need another thing. Maybe. Here it is:
  1. Underwear that fits. I really do love the cotton bikinis from Gap Body. They lay flat, and you're not yanking on your panties all the livelong day.
  2. Bras that fit. Never, ever underestimate what a bra that fits can do for you. A bra that fits doesn't ride up in the back. The straps don't fall down. The material hugs and supports you. And, trust me, I've had a lot of bras. I spent the majority of my adulthood with big boobs. Then I nursed two babies, and now I think S could wear my bras. I've got a collection of bras from A-cups to D-cups. And, honestly, because Gap can't be reliably counted upon, I've found that I actually like bras by Maidenform. Particularly this one. It's a great everyday bra.
  3. Socks. How many times am I going to have to tell you to get some SmartWools? I know they're pricey, but they are worth every penny.
  4. Slippers. I live in slippers. I take off my shoes almost immediately when I get home and put on slippers. I'm like Mr. Rogers in that I'm so predictable. I linked to those cute ones yesterday, but I saw these this morning, and they look pretty dang warm.
  5. Heels. Classic pumps. Nothing flashy. Something that you can wear with jeans or with trousers or with a dress. I'm sticking with the Dolly.
  6. Boots. I have a pair of tall brown suede boots by Sofft that I love. If they ever die, I will cry big tears because they don't make them anymore. They are a very classic silhouette, like a riding boot, but as they're suede they're a little more casual, which suits me well.
  7. Ballet slippers. I swear, since I got my Bloch slippers at the end of the summer, I've been one of the happiest people on the planet. I fully intend to get a pair in black in the next year or so.
  8. Handbag. I spent more time than I'd care to admit looking for "classic" handbags over the past week. I like the idea of a classic handbag. I like the concept of having a bag that will last, one that doesn't look like you just picked up the latest trend. In the end, I settled on loving this one and this one. Also, I love a classic bag because if you need to add a pop of color, you can just tie a vintage scarf to the handle and look all Parisian awesome. If you don't have a vintage scarf, use a new one and tell everyone it's vintage.
  9. Jeans. I bought a pair of slim leg jeans earlier in the fall because I thought I should be a little more on trend and tuck my jeans into my boots. But you know what? That's not a great look for me. When I sent my dad to pick me up a smaller pair of jeans yesterday, I made extra sure that I didn't question myself. Dark wash, bootcut. I can wear those jeans with boots and sweaters, with cardigans and flats, with heels and something sparkly. Versatile and classic.
  10. Cardigans. I really cannot say enough about cardigan sweaters. They are my life.
  11. Tanks. I don't like actual matchy-matchy twinsets much. I like cardigans over tanks or sleeveless knits. I told you yesterday that I love these tanks, and I do, but this would also be nice under a cardigan.
  12. Sundresses. I don't wear shorts. Ever. I even wear pants to the gym. God did not intend for my legs to be seen in shorts. It's not flattering. I don't do it. In the past, I've been pretty well dedicated to skirts and tops in the summer, but from now on, I think I'd rather do dresses. Dresses are so, so easy, and you look a lot more polished in a dress. This was my go-to dress this summer. It was great with sandals for everyday or wedges if I needed to be a teensy bit dressier.
  13. Day dresses. I'm trying to extend my dress wearing to year round. I picked this up a couple of months ago, and it's been worn lots already. (It is much more flattering than the picture indicates, which is odd since they are attempting to sell the dress.) It remains to be seen whether I'll be able to stomach dresses throughout the long dark of Moria. I mean the winter.
  14. LBD. Everyone needs a dress that they can immediately pull out of their closet and throw on for a wedding. Or the opera. Or a fancy date night. My favorite one? It's from Ann Taylor. I got it in 2001. It's a great fabric, it fits like a dream, and it has yet to go out of style at all because it is completely classic. It's almost exactly this dress.
  15. Something festive. Right along with the LBD, you need something with some pizzazz. Something to wear to holiday parties. Something that you can mix with jeans or trousers or a black skirt. I keep three things along these lines tucked away. A midnight blue silk sleeveless cowl neck top that I think I got before I got Mr. Ouiser, which was eleven years ago. I've also got a cranberry silk surplice sleeveless top that I think I bought two years before S was born. A black lace tank from around the same time. None of these pieces are worn often, but they've all paid for themselves dozens of times over. In fact, I'm wearing the blue silk to M's office Christmas party this Friday. Something along these lines.
  16. Wraps and scarves. I couldn't live without wraps and scarves. Mostly I wear wraps as scarves because they can double as blankets when I'm cold, and I'm always cold. While I'd love to be rocking these, this is one area where I tend to go cheap. You can always find wraps at Marshalls or Target. Also, if you don't spend a ton of money on them, you don't mind when your daughter plays dress up with them outside.
  17. A trench coat. I want one. That's all.
  18. An umbrella. I'm not talking about a golf umbrella or the tiny fold up number in your driver's side door. Those have their places, but I'm talking about an umbrella you'd walk around Paris with. I've got a couple of stick umbrellas that I inherited from M's mother. I love them.
  19. Wellies. I'm getting tired of talking about Hunter Boots.
  20. A belt. Again, I swoon.
  21. Tee shirts. You just have to have them. As a grown up, however, they shouldn't say anything. You're not a billboard. This, of course, only applies if you're going for a classic look. There will always be a time and a place for your favorite Chicago Cubs tee shirt.
  22. Trousers or skirts. I told you yesterday about how trousers aren't always good to me. Skirts, however, are all mine. Everyone needs something nice. Something for fancy brunches, parties, funerals, impromptu meetings with the President. Whatever. I stand by these pants from yesterday, but this skirt is what I'd really wear.
  23. Pearls. I'm fortunate enough to have joint custody of my grandmother's double strand with a sapphire clasp. They are beautiful. I actually wore them as a bracelet over my elbow length gloves at our wedding to remind me of my Grandma as she passed away a week and a half before the big day. I also wear pearl studs pretty much daily. I'm wearing them right now. If I didn't have Grandma's pearls, I'd want these. I kind of want them anyway because real pearls are one of the greatest things ever. The weight and the texture and everything about them screams luxury and elegance, and I love them unapologetically.
  24. A vest. The Ouisers really do love vests.
  25. A fancy coat. I'm not talking about a fur or anything, I'm just talking about something to wear when you want to look nice. I've got a traditional wool camel coat that works well, but I've also got a brown tweed with a faux-fur collar that I bought a few years ago that I adore. I'd probably go with something along these lines if I were replacing mine.
  26. An everyday coat. You might live in a reality where a fancy schmancy looking coat can go with you from day-to-day. I do not live in that world. I live in a world where one must jump in leaf piles and make snow angels and traipse around on the farm occasionally. I wear something almost identical to this (in black) to do it.
  27. Sweaters. V-Neck or crewneck or turtleneck or cowlneck. Pick your poison, but everyone needs sweaters.
  28. Knit tops. You know...shirts to live in. Since I don't wear button downs...
  29. Sandals. It's kind of weird to follow coats and sweaters with sandals, but they're a necessity. I don't wear things between my toes, and I don't wear things that flop when I walk, so that limits what I'd wear. And I know these have a kind of geriatric Jesus vibe, but you cannot deny that they are classic. And every time I see a pair, I kind of want them.
  30. Loungewear and sleepwear. While I'd love to look like this, reality is somewhere less glamorous. Just the same, you need something for Sundays on the couch with coffee and the paper. Or Sundays on the couch, covered in spit up and crayons, clutching your coffee like a life raft, trying to keep your infant from eating the Life and Style section.
  31. An apron. I spend way too much time covered in flour to not include an apron on my list of classic items. I wear mine daily to keep my clothes a little less ratty looking. It doesn't protect me from my infant, though. I keep a nicer hostess apron like this for company.
  32. A bathing suit and sunhat. I wear almost this exact suit, which might be a smidge too retro for some. I also love this hat.
  33. A smile. Really, you can pull off anything if you're doing it with a smile, with your shoulders held back, and your chin held high. Everyone looks better when they look confident, when they look like they want to be exactly where they are at that exact moment. And if you don't want to be where you are, fake it 'til you make it.
So that's it. Really. I defy you to think of a situation in which you couldn't combine these 33 items and be appropriately attired for anything. Anything!

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