When you come to think of it – you really can get dressed out of your closet with just a handful of well-chosen pieces. We used to call this capsule dressing and lately I have started to re-visit this simple route to style.
In the 80s Donna Karan came up with her five easy pieces – a bodysuit, sarong skirt, trousers, jacket and coat. It not only set the style for an era of glamour – it removed the stress of navigating the straits of fashion ensuring none of us ended on the rocks.
Those days are gone but the principle of a reductive approach to dressing is still an important one. We don’t need much – just the basics – but we do need knock ‘em dead accessories.
You can find great buys on the high street or at online outlets – not too many because fast fashion needs to move down a gear or three – but the point is, a few well-chosen bargains work best when they are punctuated with eye-wateringly beautiful accessories.
Build you base first. Make sure you have a gorgeous trench with an edge, a tuxedo suit that you can split or wear as one outfit, a fabulous pair of jeans, a neutral shift dress and a long evening slip. The gaps you can fill with white tee-shirts and a handful or fine gauge sweaters…..and don’t forget your wraps.
Now, what you do next is the difference between looking safe and looking stylish, looking adequate and looking amazing – but above all being sensational as opposed to existing in the comfort zone. While it might be tempting to play safe – especially if you are older – the reverse will deliver far greater results and with it, a serving of essential confidence.
Take an over-sized cashmere wrap. They exude elegance and, above all, they add drama to any outfit composed of well thought out basics. At CRC we much admire the legendary Iris Apfel. Here’s what this amazing woman, who celebrated her 100th birthday this summer, has to say,
“My mother worshipped at the altar of accessories and I got the bug. She always said, if you have a good, little, simple black dress and you have different accessories, you can have 27 different outfits.”
In style matters Iris is nearly always right. It is the accessories that count. Whether it is the whisper of a fine-knit cashmere scarf, a lovely snood, a blanket wrap, an armful of Lucite bangles or a tribal necklace, it is that one stand-out piece that pushes the mundane into the marvellous.
And finally, and importantly, it can be a question of spending your budget wisely. Basics these days can be very inexpensive so save your cash for investment pieces. They can transform any outfit, make literally dozens of looks work and it is possible to care for them so well they last a generation….and nothing says authentic style more than an heirloom piece.
As another great style icon, Estee Lauder, once said,“Be strong. Be confident. Be the star of your own life.”
Photo Credit: Alique