Tuesday, 8 March 2011


I am being a bit of a dullard I admit, not posting my actual outfit photo from today and instead putting together a much better one that I'd have worn if only such things were possible.


The good thing about this though is it's not complete fantasy. I own 4 items in this wonderous selection and so have built around them - maintaing a very vague hint of realism. Calm yourself, I haven't managed to get the PS11 in my clutches yet; such a feat would warrant more than a casual collage I assure you. The pieces of this particular puzzle I already have in my wardrobe are: the Topshop leather leggings and Alex Monroe pea pod gold bracelet and on my dressing table (read in my bathroom cupboard) - Nars Red Lizard lipstick and Diptyque Eau Duelle solid perfume.

But it is the jumper that is really the beating heart of this whole outfit. It is a cashmere mix waffle knit by Theory. It may look deceptively simple, but don't be fooled. See the careful cut - lower around the back, higher at the front? Seams that ensure a certain nonchalance by falling after the natural line of the shoulder? And lastly, the narrow arms, nipping in cleanly at the wrist? Oh it is a basics masterpiece. 

It is rare that I look at something on the hanger and think - you're pretty perfect, utterly understated, and would be unfailingly hard working. We all know how strong basics can create and maintain a wardrobe for years and years, yet sometimes I find myself unwilling to spend money on them because, I suppose, they just aren't exciting enough to part with the pounds. 

I find myself pouring over blogs that focus on the necessity of basics, luxe or otherwise - and they speak to me in a way trend-led blogs simply don't anymore, and have undoubtedly encouraged me to shop in a more considered way. This jumper speaks to me in the same way. 
I appear to be hearing Fashion Voices. :) 

When I pass a rail the 'must have' item warrants less talk time - the quiet, classic ones earn repeat visits and careful consideration. I'm not immune to hype - far from it, but hype or not, I spend more time considering these days, and, more often that not, the momentary hyperventilation quickly passes.

How do you feel about the basics-debate? Do they form the heart of your wardrobe? Do you always focus more on luxury basics to last a lifetime or fall hard and fast for those seasonal trend-led items? ...Or... can there be a happy medium?


  1. great collage! oh wow, I want to see that sweater on! It looks like a beautifully designed basic. Theory has been off my radar for a while, because I think I associate it with professional clothes ... but perhaps it is worth another look.

    I used to love beautiful, statement pieces ... not necessarily trendy items, but clothes with interesting cuts/pattern/etc. And while I still appreciate them on other people and on the runway, I just don't like dressing like that anymore. I feel like it's all a bit fussy, and I'd rather make a quiet statement that probably goes unnoticed by most people. Like you, I've also been influenced by blogs that focus on basics and classic silhouettes, although I think my style is more casual. But it's great to see so many bloggers focusing on basics, it's an endless source of inspiration for me, so much more so than reading fashion magazines.

  2. I have staring at the same Theory jumper for ages! I just didn't want anything cashmere because it'll be too warm for me to wear where I am. Other than that, I think it's one of those beautifully thought-out basics.

    I'm definitely a basics girl - suits my lifestyle. And I've always been drawn towards classic designs rather than the avant-garde. Plus I think I'm personally trend-deaf, haha. I like basics that are thoughtfully designed and beautifully made - the little details in your Theory sweater for instance.

    That said, I think I'll always crave some fantasy/wow pieces - some day I'll like to own a sculptural dress by Mario Cornejo, something beautifully embellished by Dries Van Noten, a jumpsuit from YSL, something in flowing silk from Lanvin. I have a panelled and tiered dress from Vanessa Bruno that's far from basic and I don't wear very often but I treasure it for the design.

    I think a perfect blend of fantasy + basic would be a tuxedo jacket from Celine.

  3. I love basics with details that make them special, and the material is very important as well. I still like some stand out items, if stand out in a subtle way. It bothers me a bit when something I've liked for a long time all of a sudden becomes trendy. Like the Dicker boots, there are copies everywhere.
    I agree with S, blogs focused on basics are much more inspirational than fashion magazines.

  4. I'm also all about the basics. Because I have a limited budget and yet still gravitate towards more luxurious things, I'd rather buy clothes that are made out of nice materials and will last for several years than a ton of trendy pieces that will quickly go out of style. That being said, I also gravitate toward avant garde designers and have several pieces in my closet that would not be considered basic.

    Also, like Lin and S, the basics best suit my lifestyle. I'm a grad student/researcher/instructor. My days are usually spent in a library or in front of a classroom where it's better to be noticed for your ideas than for your outfit. I like to look put together and chic, but a more subdued way.

  5. I am actually focusing my blog-posts soon the basics. I sentenced myself to the I6L challenge for the very reason that my basics were out of control and that my closet was becoming a graveyard.

    The challenge really changed my way of thinking when shopping. So far I've bought an Anna Molinary silk blazer, revived my Giorgio Armani black suit, and acquired the Ferragamo Varas in black patent.

    The 29th outfit for the I6L styling challenge is up. What do you think of it so far?


    -La Copine


  6. Great collage.I wouldn't mind having all these pieces in my closet (have only Repetto flats so far).

    I always choose quality over quantity and basics that can last a loong time.Of course I don't mind buying t-shirt or jeans at retailers (COS-they never dissapoint me with quality;Zara;H&M;Topshop).
    I am more likely to spend more money on accessories ( good watch), bags(never buy at retailers) or shoes.And I would like to own more Isabel Marants jackets and at least one Balenciaga leather jacket:)

  7. I am all about luxe basics, but it's fun to get the odd item which is more exciting. I am always surprised by how often I end up wearing some of my statement pieces - a gorgeous reversible Isabel Marant cotton-jacquard jacket, or a pair of blue, mustard, and white See by Chloe platform heels. It adds some punch without making me look like a clown from head to toe :)

  8. Sorry it has taken me so long to reply to comments - dreadful!
    @S: Yes, Theory has never really been on my radar - I often notice some of their brilliantly simply basic items, and give a nod of approval but had never thought about buying anything from the label. But I just kept revisiting this jumper again and again - the material and cut are just so good.

    @ Lin: I like the description of being trend-deaf - very good! I think lately I'm choosing to be more and more trend deaf, it ensures I avoid those later-regretted purchases. My deafness sort of takes the form of humming and looking away to distract myself from the neon bright/jewel encrusted/leopard print something that is oh so right one season, and ridiculous in real life and a few weeks later. Would love to see your Vanessa Bruno dress - sounds very special. It's definitely still important I suppose not to be too strict with ourselves and enjoy unexpected and of the moment purchases too.

    @Garderoben: I think we're very similar in our attitude towards basics. For me they have to be special too - otherwise I just don't enjoy wearing them and they lack the style that seems to come for a well cut special basic. As fort the Dicker boots - I'm sorry to have jumped on the band wagon too! But I think with these the 'trend' will die down and they will become for most just a very hard working, quietly stylish boot. When I wear them I don't think of the trend side - just how well they work with and complete so many outfits. Let's hope the trend mania goes away!

    @Jennifer: Being true to your style whilst in a working environment must indeed be tricky. Since graduating I've worked in fashion environments where you can wear pretty much anything to work, in a way in most workplaces you wouldn't dream of! I do wonder now how I'd adapt after that to dressing for a more traditional work style. Do you find you can still be true to your style and clothes that make you feel true to yourself? A bit dramatic sounding, but you know what I mean!

    @ Mari: Your challenge sounds really good - will definitely pop over to your blog and take a look. I'd find it so hard to stick to so few pieces!! The Ferragamo flats must be amazing though - very jealous.

    @ Only Cool Cats: How do you find your Repetto flats? I always think how nice the design is but have yet to try them. I agree on the accessories - I wouldn't waste money on a cheap bag, watch or jewellery if at all possible. It is just absolute false economy. And it's so nice for your accessories to become treasured items that you have for years and years and use each day. At LEAST one Balenciaga leather jacket? Very ambitious! :) I'd love an IM jacket too - I shall have to wait for the right one to come along and hope my finances can take the strain. I loved Fleurette's latest navy one. Have you seen it? Beautiful!

    @Ammu: I agree about the exciting item here and there. I'm spending a lot of time thinking about an incredibly colourful Tom Binns necklace at Colette. 'Odd' choices often work so well to bring something fresh or a certain edge to an outfit, especially when it is against a back drop of well chosen basics. I think that's the style I am for - brilliant basics (one day!) and special, slightly different touches that add a clever edge.

  9. late to your post, but i am with Lin and Jennifer in that i'm definitely a basics girl who tries to maximize luxe quality. that said, i definitely think there is a way to get both luxury and basic - a few designers like Rag & Bone, some pieces by Isabel Marant, and J.Crew (their regular and their Collection line) do this very well.

  10. Oh no, please don't apologize about jumping on the Dicker band wagon! I didn't mean it like that at all. I was thinking that when celebrities wear them, they're immediately copied. Not just "inspired by", I've seen almost exact replicas. I've never thought of the trend side either, just like you said, they are quietly stylish and complete all kinds of outfits. I can't praise them enough, and I'm glad to have found more people who appreciate them!

  11. Nice post :) I'm definitely basics-focused, and I am so much more satisfied with my wardrobe since I began thinking that way about wardrobe building. Sometimes there are trend pieces I can't keep away from- but the feeling of buying something luxurious that you have saved for and will last years is just awesome.

  12. @Miss Sophie: so sorry for my late reply! Yes I agree with you entirely. Basics that maximise luxe quality - exactly what I'm after. Also getting more interested in J Crew these days - they have some great looking items for not to shockingly high prices - any idea how the quality is?

    @Garderoben: Yes I see more and more of the replicas out there - but missing the things that make the IM boots special - the perfect heel height and so on. I do think the boots will out live the trend though, and you and I can enjoy them for years longer without worrying we look as though we jumped on a trend or replica band wagon! You wear yours brilliantly - always inspiring looking at your outfit posts x

    @Asha: Why thank-you very much. It is so much nicer building a carefully considered wardrobe of things you treasure rather than dashing from one thing to the next, wearing for 5 mins and casting aside. I'm going to keep working on it, it's really enjoyable knowing that each piece you buy will be in rotation for years to come. x


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