Top Ten All-American Classics
By: Sharon Mosley
Want to get more bang from your fashion bucks? Then get back to the basics by investing in quality updated classics that will give you plenty of style. Getting dressed any time of the year will be a cinch. If you have a closet filled with the “core essentials,” then you can easily add some personality pieces and accessories. But first you’ve got to start building your wardrobe by laying the foundation.
Here are 10 All-American favorites to get you started:
— Jeans. Unless you are one of the few people that don’t like to wear jeans, this is one item that has been a classic fashion staple in most people’s wardrobe since the ’50s. Most of us grew up wearing them and still love wearing them today, even when we dress them up for a party. Re-evaluate your denim wardrobe every year. There are so many new styles and washes available that you may want to try several pairs. I usually buy two new pairs of jeans each season — one to wear with flats and a dressier pair to wear with heels.
— The jean jacket. Another denim classic. Fit is key here, however. Forego the “old” look of the boxier jackets and shop for more modern silhouettes that are fitted and not as shapeless. I also like jean jackets that are made with softer denim, so that they don’t feel stiff and uncomfortable.
— The tank top. Now more than ever, the tank top is one item that you can never have enough of in your wardrobe. It’s the quintessential layering piece. Wear them one on top of the other. Buy these in both long and short lengths and in a wide variety of colors.
— The T-shirt. Another fashion basic to buy in multiples. Nix the baggy, stretched-out and faded ones. Instead go for the fitted versions to wear alone or under jackets, shirts and blouses. I like to wear T-shirts in “thinner” fabrics when I wear them as a layering item; I wear heavier cottons or jersey ones when I wear them on their own.
— Menswear pants. Whether they’re flat-front cotton chinos or classic twill trousers, we all need a few pairs of “go-to” pants that are comfortable and will work with everything else in our wardrobes when we’re NOT wearing jeans. Stock up on these in neutral colors, and you will always have versatile options in your closet that you can rely on. My “neutral” is black, but gray, khaki, beige, white or cream are all great options.
— The pencil skirt. Gotta have at least one of these. And don’t worry if you don’t have great legs. These slim skirts look great in lengths that cover the knees. Wear them in the summer with strappy sandals and T-shirts. In winter, wear them with jackets, dark opaque tights and boots.
— The sheath dress. Think Audrey Hepburn and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” and you’ll get the reason why this little number has always exuded charm and style through the decades. Whether it’s in a sophisticated black or a colorful pop-art print, you can’t go wrong with having one of these fabulous finds hanging in your closet.
— The cashmere sweater. Buy these in solid colors, and you’ll have style for life. In a cardigan, they can be worn over a sleeveless dress in the summer. Or in a crew-neck version, they can be worn over jeans for a casual weekend look. Don’t underestimate these basics, which can instantly give your wardrobe a little touch of luxury for years.
— The classic blazer. A workhorse classic for your closet, this jacket is a must-have for professional wardrobes as well as casual ones. While the silhouettes will change from year to year, the more tailored, minimal blazers in streamlined shapes will be your best bets — they can easily transition from the office when worn with skirts and trousers to the weekend when tossed over jeans and T-shirts.
— The trench coat. My all-time favorite topper. It’s the classic coat that you can wear year-round — in waterproof fabrics for spring and summer and in heavier wools for winter. My collection includes a red silk one I wear during the holidays and a raincoat with a detachable fur lining I wear all year long.
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