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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Extra Credit: Top Ten Basics

I do love a good challenge! And so when Susan Wagner asked for bloggers to contribute their top ten basics, not only did I have to answer with my list, but I asked Kati and Karen to contribute their favorites, too. So technically it's thirty basics... with a ton of overlap!

Jeanne's Top Ten Basics:

I approached this by thinking about what I packed to wear in both Europe and Japan this past year -- in looking through my photos, you can definitely see what I picked to wear. (Check me out by Big Ben!)

These are things I'd wear to the office and basically every day; I also considered the factor of mixing and matching, like if you're on a trip and suitcase space is at a minimum.

- solid color tops -- sleeveless, short-sleeved, or long-sleeved. I have several of the "Perfect Fit" tees and tanks from Old Navy in various colors and various sleeve lengths. You can always get them in white and black, but I like colors like navy and raspberry, too.
- tunic-length or longer tops -- I have a couple of long striped shirts from the Gap (as seen above, naturally!) that I wear all the time. While technically not a tunic, and really a mini-dress, I have a deep love for the American Apparel fine jersey leisure dress, which is basically a very long polo shirt. Great for wearing over jeans or, if you're feeling bold, over tights. I also like gauzy tops for the summer; I know Karen's not a fan of tunics, but I love them.
- dark jeans -- particularly if they're black/dark denim and skinny or straight-leg. I live in my jeans, and if they're dark, they're easier to dress up. I do like the skinny jeans look, but again, that's my preference.
- black sneakers -- I wear Saucony sneakers, but it used to be Converse. I'm not a huge fan of white running shoes (I think they make my feet look big!), so I go for more of the dark casual sneaker look.
- cardigans in basic solid colors -- I covered the need for a cardigan in my quick and dirty business casual post, but just to reiterate: solid cardigans are awesome.
- black sheer jersey shirred knee-length skirt from American Apparel -- I'm not a big skirt wearer, but I love my jersey skirt from AA. It's soft, comfortable, and cute; it's like wearing yoga pants, but it's a skirt! I wore this all over Europe and to Japan, including to Nara, where I was antlered by a deer while wearing this skirt. True story.
- nude or black camisoles -- Always good to have on hand, especially if you're wearing a gauzy tunic.
- black heeled Mary Janes -- Dresses up the dark jeans, goes with the skirt, and pretty much go with everything.
- opaque tights -- Do I really need to tell you how much we love our opaque tights, particularly the colorful ones? Great for under your leisure dress or your jersey skirt.
- flats that aren't sneakers -- these can be ballet flats, can be sandals, but they MUST be comfortable for walking in. I brought so many cute shoes in my suitcase to Europe, thinking of how cute I would be walking around Paris, and wound up in Converse the whole time because my feet were so blistered. For Japan, I brought my navy Saltwater sandals. I know, I know, both the Manolo and FabSugar have declared them ugly, but if we're not allowed to wear flip-flops as our casual sandals, what are we allowed to wear? Either way, comfortable casual flats are on my list.

Kati's Top Ten Basics: (Jeanne: Remember, Kati covered her travel must-haves in July!)

- Black v-neck anything (sweaters, tees, tanks, you name it, it gets worn.)
- Purple/grey striped wrap dress from Charlotte Russe (this is my favorite day-time dress, I wear it a lot.)
- Hoodies, esp. of the zip up variety (it rains a lot here, hoods are vital)
- My turquoise 3/4 length sleeve cardi. (it goes with all the black and makes my skin and eyes pop!, works for work and casual time.)
- Headbands (easiest way to look like I care about my clothing ever.)
- Enell sports bra (I don't know how I worked out before I had this.)
- Jeans that fit
- My trusty Old Navy black tights (I have had these for YEARS and they are still not dead.)
- Boots (flat, heeled, ankle, knee, black, brown, whatever. Love them all, and they can pull together an outfit like no other.)

Karen's Top Ten Basics:

- A great pair of glasses, plus sunglasses for the horrible light of day. Other accessories need not apply -- sometimes a necklace will slip through the cracks.
- Ribbed cotton tank tops (mostly from Old Navy, oh the colors!) for working out and as undershirts.
- Long sleeve, solid saturated color crewneck shirts (Target's Mossimo line has a good rotation of varying styles and colors).
- Warm but light cardigan or V-neck sweater for colder, almost-spring days.
- A-line skirts, too many in black and a few in colors or patterns. I have a kooky vintage grass-green A-line wrap skirt with white rick-rack trim and white lace pockets on the front, purchased of $5 at the Garment District in Boston. Simple A-line skirts are a nice, safe way to spice up your casual wardrobe.
- Solid tights in brown, black, and grey. H&M puts out passable "hipster" black tights with a nice soft, low waistband -- I've already worn through about six pairs this winter.
- Straight-leg slacks in brown, black, and grey. I vary on the straight-leg theme by going with wide-leg for a more Annie Hall look.
- Comfortable non-athletic sneakers. These can be some cutesy-wutesy sugary sneaker-style flats, Converse, or even just some grimy old gym shoes you schlump around to the grocery store in when you have the flu. Your feet, knees, hips, calves, and back will thank you in twenty years' time, I promise!
- Sturdy, low-heeled pumps. It has been said that I sometimes dress like a World War II-era German schoolmarm (see above: A-line skirts, black, brown, and grey, etc.), but nothing works for a lazy office outfit like 1.5-inch wooden heeled shoes do. Always helps to be able to walk those ten blocks in an emergency because of a subway shutdown without blisters and arch spasms.
- UNDERWEAR. Hello. How basic, am I right? If I have cash to burn, I'll do a little splurging at the Gap Body store and get their black cotton hipsters, so comfy! They're a little pricier, but worth it for their durability and kind sizing -- who knew I was a size M in undies?

We're all different girls in different places with different bodies, but some things are clearly universal -- and that's why they're our basics!

images from periodicstyle.blogspot.com and store.americanapparel.net

1 comment:

Susan said...

Excellent! Thanks so much for participating!

And Jeanne, I love that jersey skirt, specifically because you described it as "like wearing yoga pants, but it's a skirt!" Perfect.

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