When it comes to clothing, maybe basics are really all I need….
I was stooging around some websites the other day and found this article on Real Simple.
It’s a pretty good guide to the basics that a woman needs in her wardrobe (tees, shirts, trousers etc), though as ever, I still find it a tad too smart for my life – I recently chucked out two black suits, for instance, as they had hung unworn ever since I bought them. But the thing that really struck me was the pictures.
In their ‘basics’ (see left and right), I think all these women look great; in their ‘staples’, I think they look OK; but in their ‘statement pieces’ (see below), I think they look terrible.
Interesting. In fact, the more statementy and special occasion-ish the clothes become, the worse the women look, IMHO (OK, they get a pass for the cocktail dresses, which are very nice).
The black vest, the white tee, the black tee, the indigo jeans, the chinos, the denim jacket, the white shirt – you can’t really go wrong with these, can you? Virtually everybody looks great dressed like this, provided you pick the right cuts – the neutral, solid colours go with everything, and you can dress each piece up and down.
It’s when more choice begins to creep in that people begin to make mistakes. The patterned jacket, the patterned dress, the brighter shirt, the graphic sweater. Quite quickly, these women who looked comfortable, casual and happy in their clothing are now overcome by clashing patterns and unflattering styles. It looks like the clothes are wearing THEM.
Looking at this article also made me realise that I could pretty much spend the rest of my life in basics (well, with maybe the odd staple, such as a skirt with pockets). I have virtually no need of statement clothing these days. I never wear a dress except in summer (too cold), or for lunch out with the girls (maybe once every couple of months?) and my modest skirt wardrobe of black pencil, black stretch A-line, black stretch velvet fits nearly every occason when I want to be a bit dressier than trousers.
For ‘dressing up’ I used to love a bit of sparkle – when we lived in London, we liked the theatre, the opera, and the South Bank, which could stand a bit of glitter. But I now favour matt stretch fabrics that can be dressed up with a sparkly bag or shawl, rather than full-blown bling. You gets too old for it, love, and sparkle would be a bit much for lunch in a country restaurant.
I turned 50 recently, so I now have to think about what clothes will take me through to 60, and I have to say, it’s the clothes in the pictures at top left, not the ones that follow. This is pretty much me – the black vest, the white vest, the black tee, the white tee, the white shirt, the black polo: simple, wearable clothes that make me feel comfortable in my own skin.