So many of us seem to be searching for our own version of a uniform or at least The Well-Edited Capsule Wardrobe: those dozen or so timeless, ageless pieces that will flatter our unique proportions and carry us through just about any situation save Black Tie or Red Carpet. It’s a concept that’s easy to conceive, but hard to achieve. Perhaps we just can’t make the individual pieces “gel,” or maybe styles change, our bodies change, our circumstances change and our trusted-and-true basics no longer feel right.
My own wardrobe has been in transition the last few years. I’ve swung from more classic/tailored to softer pieces, but found an ensemble comprised entirely of unstructured knits too “droopy.” Currently I’m finding that a balance between structured and soft feels grounded, comfortable, appropriate for the office and appealing to my eye and tastes. I’m redefining ”Classic” for myself and am finding ways to re-incorporate those more structured elements in a way that feels modern and fresh.
For work wear, I’ve settled into three variations on a uniform.
- Jeans and Jacket
- Pencil skirt and Jacket or Cardigan
Below are a few of the pieces that I currently find myself reaching for more than any others. They are my New Classics. Nothing flashy or fancy here; these are the workhorses, not the show ponies.
Trouser Jeans. I really love the bootcut/slight flare silhouette which is flattering, works with a low-to-mid heel, and in a plain dark wash feels right for a Business Casual office. My current favorites are these by Ann Taylor.
Blazers. Pop the collar, roll up the sleeves, and don’t be afraid to throw on a brooch or three. (I’d recently expressed my frustration with finding blazers that didn’t look mannish and stodgy, but I’ve since decoded the design formula that makes them work pour moi, which I’ll share next week.) A style along the lines of this navy J.Crew Schoolboy Blazer is hitting the jacket sweet spot. And it looks great with the dark wash jeans!
Pencil Skirt. I’ve collected a few over the last year or so, but my current favorite is this ponte knit version from Ann Taylor. The length is just right, and the vertical seaming makes it very flattering.
Dresses. I’ve recently begun mixing the soft and feminine silhouette of my Karina Dresses with a more structured blazer (see above). It was a running-out-the-door experiment that worked!
Boots. Ankle and knee boots are my go-to footwear for the cooler months, and I’ve collected several pair in recent years. I prefer knee boots with my longer, softer dresses, and ankle boots with pencil skirts and tights, as well as under pants.
|Now four years old and still going strong.|
Big Hoop Earrings. I like a larger size to give some edge to the classic.
The watch I wear most days is a few-years-old version of this one. (Raymond Weil “Tango.”) Roman numerals non-negotiable.
I utilize tops, scarves and bags to add some interest and color to my basics. I’m already thinking about how I’ll tweak this mix for the warmer months.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United States License.