Thursday, February 3, 2011

Five (More) Easy Pieces: Part III
























On the (outside, I hope) chance you might think a 20-item wardrobe makes me a garment gourmande let me defend myself.

I feel we have reached an age -- whatever that may be -- where we deserve, no, have earned the right, to have a richer, wider, highly amusing wardrobe that works specifically for our life styles. Dressing is supposed to be a pleasure, not an onus upon us. With 20 pieces it can be, and it can be creative since I'm allowing us full reign with all the accessories we have collected over the decades.

The elements I've chosen give me almost infinite possibilities. If something didn't work in one way or the other with everything, it was instantly rejected.

You may find my choices boring or repetitive, I find them comforting and confidence building. Several years ago my top 20 probably would have included more skirts and something amazing for evening, but my life has changed.  If a grand soirée comes my way I'll subtract something from this group and see what I can find in my closet or maybe go shopping. 

Here comes a blasphemy for many of you perhaps: I think saying it's a lark to live with a five or 10 piece wardrobe for six months or a year is pure folly unless one has decided to take on a challenge. That's another story entirely. And why not?

Fun must be a fashion adjective. Frankly, I say take and make the good times where we can find them. Carpe diem.

Yes, less, I'm all for it. But life is too short not to have fun.

Here then is the third installment of my edited 20 item collection:
























11.) Black gabardine pants suit. Classic trousers with a cuff, blazer jacket, but refined by the hand of a tailor or seamstress to nip in slightly at the waist. No boxy blazers, they are not flattering on anyone. The suit above is from Marc Jacobs, but you can pull one together beautifully from Lands' End, just make sure a professional finishes the jacket properly. 

As you probably know, Lands' End does the cuffs to your specified length so make certain you choose the shoes you will most likely be wearing with the pants when you measure. 

It's not a bad idea to have two pairs of trousers for the jacket. They are all in the same dye lot and you'll be wearing them more often than the jacket. Also, you can choose a length for heels and a length for ballerinas or moccasins.
























12.) Black cashmere V-neck sweater. (My vanilla Chanel evening skirt stays in the closet.)

13.) Black cashmere T-shirt. I can turn it into a turtleneck with a black cashmere scarf or a black cashmere cowl addition, which I have, from Eric Bompard. Long sleeves, of course.

14.) Gray cashmere T-shirt. Long sleeves, but you knew that. 

In all cases, as everyone always points out, but I like to be redundant, buy the best cashmere you can afford, they are wardrobe workhorses. I reach for mine so often, I probably owe them money. Talk about cost per wear.



















15.) Amethyst silk moiré waistcoat shown in Edith's drawing. You see how it's a vibrant neutral? Tell me a color with which it cannot be worn.

18 comments:

Shelley said...

Right. Here's my question - a dead serious one: how much is 'the best you can afford'? Is it a percentage of your clothing allowance (so how do you set yourself a clothing allowance?); is it all the money you have in savings? Is it what is left in the checking account at the end of the month? How do French women budget for clothes? I'm all for upgrading, as my rare experiences with good quality do give evidence that it usually pays off. But I need numbers - preferably percentages. Your series so far has been brilliant - no disagreements here.

Christina @ Fashion's Most Wanted said...

Dear Tish, I'm reorganising my wardrobe and have just found two black gabardine pant suits and two white shirts. I love the amethyst waistcoat! xx

Gina said...

This was the best of all the posts. I agree one hundred percent. The tailoring of the jacket and the best cashmere have worked well for me, especially when traveling. For a 2 week trip to Europe my roller suitcase weighs between 22 to 24 pounds, I take the best I own...it has served me well.

Spiral Style said...

This is all so helpful. Thanks for all the wardrobe help. In the long run we'll all save money and stress by following your guide line. PS, I found a perfect Theory blazer at Neiman Marcus the other day. Was $395. and I got it for $138. Exactly what I was looking for.

California Girl said...

I used to spend a great deal of money on my clothes and it was well worth it. You're right, the investment pays off. My grandmother worked for Bullocks Wilshire back in the 30's. She worked with the designer Irene, dressing many of the Hollywood elite. She always told me to buy "classics" and keep them. Her idea of a classic? Blazer, skirts, boucle knits, cashmere, camel hair coat. It was the Fifties. My biggest problem is I now live in a resort area in the mountains and it's hard to find anything up here or bother to dress up much anyway. My jewelry has been put away, for the most part, for years. I miss thinking about what to wear and accessorizing.

Rebecca said...

I SO concur with your 20 piece wardrobe. Honestly, I have navigated the past few months with even fewer! Sadly, extra pounds I've gained are the reason...but I'm working to rectify that and in the meantime am taking concrete steps to eliminate several pieces from my "once and future" wardrobe.

I have many classic pieces that correspond nicely to those you have been showing us in the past few posts!

You'll look fabulous! Thanks for the inspiration.

"Comforting and confidence-building"...I like that description.

ida said...

I have 3 pant suits cream,taupe,& midnight blue.
Have always understood that with a long body,short legs (sounds ghastly) cuffed pants are a no,no?? What is your take on this?
Thanks for the informative blogs. Ida

quintessence said...

Love (and own) most of these. Obviously I like the way you think. My only issue is where does one find an amethyst moire waistcoat? I suppose you could have one made. And of course tailoring is key to everything!

Deja Pseu said...

Tish, I'm really enjoying these posts!

Now I'm thinking I need a waistcoat...

elise said...

The Marc Jacobs suit is wonderful.
The hat, Oh God that hat well lets just say I'm in love. Swoon

Best,
Elise

Belle de Ville said...

Great post. I well tailored black suit is an absolute must, just for the versatility.
My easy pieces include a black pencil skirt, a button down shirt and long black cardigan. In fact that is what I will wear everyday this week, changing my shirts for variety. It is my uniform. Change to a slinky black top and heels and voila, I'm ready for dinner.
Totally easy.

BigLittleWolf said...

J'adore #11 - with that glorious plunging neckline (and the audacity it takes to pull it off). I find that this look can work on women of many statures (thank goodness), including moi.

It's a classic.

Pearl said...

I love the amethyst, but I love purple. I agree--many useful wearings of a splendid color!

the gardeners cottage said...

hi tish,

i love this. i think the most important point you make is that our wardrobe fit our lifestyle. my lifestyle is very active/outdoorsy so i'm drawn to easy cotton classics that can take a beating. that being said i don't like dressing in clothes that look like i just stepped out of the sports store. i try hard to be stylish in my outdoor adventures. i love your choices as they are all elegant and so classy. i'd love to see you in them. do you ever post pics of yourself in them?

xo
janet

Claudia said...

After 4 years, I embarked on a weight loss program and am reaping the rewards. Instead of fitting into my four-year old clothes from days of skinny-yore, I am looking to build a good wardrobe - I am following and loving. My life is more laid back but I think I can adapt. I am glad that when I gained weight - I kept the cashmere!

knitpurl said...

Dear Tish, you are at your best when you blog these suggestions for us. I love it and am busy culling my wardrobe. Several people alluded to living in areas where they have to adapt to more casual items. I live near a city with almost zero fashion sense and find I will need many pieces you suggest. Then I will find my way to denim, twills, casual items. In my life, they will all go together. Definitely recommend shopping online. xoxo, C.
PS: love "waistcoat" for vest.

Beadboard UpCountry said...

I'm reading your blog backtracking.... I didn't want to miss a thing..... Loving it! Maryanne Love the idea about the two pant lengths.....I always go with my vintage black Armani jacket just a little nipped in at the waist.......Maryanne xo

Beth - In My World... said...

Another wonderful post - love the amethyst material...it is a color that seems to flatter everyone.

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