In last week’s post about updated denim styles, I spoke of jeans as being my clothing version of a soulmate. It got me thinking about the other “soulmates” in my wardrobe…those pieces that always seem to feel right, work with my lifestyle, and feel like a true expression of my style. They’re often the pieces that are “wardrobe glue,” and really help pull everything else together. They may or may not be basics, but they are essential to creating personal style. I’ve come to realize that whether refreshing or rebuilding our wardrobes, these soulmate items are where it often makes sense to invest rather than scrimp.
Here are a few of my wardrobe soulmates:
Jeans, Of Course
Ever since my teen years, jeans have consistently been the one type of clothing I feel most myself in. For many of us, they were relegated to very casual wear only, but have become mainstream in the last couple of decades, and their popularity shows no sign of waning. Jeans also feel like my ultimate Anti-Frump weapon. Slim-leg styles that show a little ankle (whether cuffed or cropped) are what feel most modern and wearable this season.
Ankle boots with a low-to-mid heel have been my favorite cool-weather footwear for years. They’ve become a year-round footwear option and I’m on board! Yes, even during the summer in all but the hottest, muggiest weather. For warmer seasons, go with lighter colors and look for styles with cut-outs or perforations, or even peep-toes. (Or wear with an athletic, moisture-wicking ankle sock.) My favorite Paul Green summer shoes are sort of an ankle boot/sandal hybrid, and just seem to go with everything.
A Longer Outer Layer
I love the drama that a long outer layer creates. But it has to have some softness and movement. I’m a fan of the duster-length cardigans that Eileen Fisher has done the last few seasons, and am always on the lookout for longer, softly structured jackets. The latter are not always easy to find, so when I do I hang onto them! Airy linen knit long cardigans are my go-to summer toppers over a tank or tee.
Because I tend to wear solids and simple styles of clothing, I rely on accessories to add some punch, texture and focal points to my outfits. I find that a few pieces of bold, unique jewelry, like my favorite French Kande medallion necklaces do exactly that.
A Classic Bag
It doesn’t have to be Hermes, Chanel, or even “designer,” but a quality leather bag in a clean and classic shape will be an instant “upgrade” to a simple or casual outfit. I prefer top handle bags with an optional cross-body strap. But flap bags, hobos, doctor bags, saddle bags, totes are all good options…whatever suits your needs and style. Look for good quality leather, and eschew a lot of hardware and extraneous details that will “date” a bag. That said, many styles that were initially trendy have become classics, so if you really love something, wear it and don’t worry about whether it’s In or Out according to someone else.
What pieces are your wardrobe “soulmates?”