I love lists; they're so neat and organized and finite. Three Ways to Wear a Jacket, or Five Trends for Spring, or Ten Must-Have Basics. Lists can be inspirational and provocative, and we all know that a list is a great starting point when we're thinking about what to wear, or what to shop for. The problem with the list, though, is that it doesn't take into account the individual rhythms of each of our lives: are you 20 or 60? do you work full-time or stay home with your children? do you even HAVE children? how about pets? do you iron? dry clean? hand wash? pre-treat?
It all makes a difference in what you wear.
I am a big believer in basics: when your wardrobe is built on pieces that you actually wear -- well made, properly fitting, appropriately cared-for pieces -- you will always have an outfit, no matter where you find yourself going. And while I do believe that there are universal basics -- a bra in the right size, yoga pants that flatter your backside -- I also believe that each closet must answer specific needs in order to be functional. To say that there is ONE list, or that there are TEN must-have items, sells each of us short, and can leave us with a closet full of nothing to wear.
The list, you see, should solve your wardrobe dilemmas, not create more.
I am also a big believer in the distinction between fashion and style; fashion is what's on the runways and in the magazines, and while it is possible to make what's fashionable part of your personal style, style isn't about appropriating the Look of the Moment. Style is about creating a look that will last, a look that is personal and functional and, yes, fashionable. Style is about having a wardrobe that reflects who you are and what you do and how you want to be perceived. That's not too much to ask of your clothes, is it?
Not at all.
If you're waiting for me to get to the magical Ten Basics List, the one that will work for EVERY woman and EVERY closet, you need to keep waiting, because that's not what we're doing this week. Instead, I challenge each of you to create a list of ten basic pieces, things from your closet that you are really wearing (or things that you find yourself constantly wishing for, which is a sign that you probably really NEED them, by the way). Share your list in the comments, or post it at your own site; on Saturday, we'll look at all the lists and see who is wearing what.
We'll see what the REAL basics are. Oprah had white jeans on her Ten Must-Have basics list -- do you?
With your list, tell us a little about yourself -- how old you are, where you live, what you do all day. Be honest about what you wear and why, and about how your everyday uniform -- your basics -- are working for you. Or not, as the case may be.
Need some inspiration?
Real Simple has taken the basics list to a whole new level, with their Essentials for a Well-Balance Wardrobe package. Their lists are useful, although I sometimes wonder who chooses the actual pieces for the photo shoots at Real Simple.
Hairline Fracture has her list of basics up as well; she's also looking for a denim skirt, if anyone has suggestions.
Susan Wagner writes about fashion at Friday Style and The Working Closet and Fashion Find. She will be posting her own personal Basics List later this week at Friday Style, and rounding up all of your lists here at BlogHer on Saturday.
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