Someone once said that an outfit needs to be constructed. I don’t remember who said that but whatever, that’s not important. What matters is that they were right. Putting together an outfit is like a project. You begin with the basics.
I realized just how important those basics were when I was standing with my mother in her room trying to help her find an outfit for New Year’s. It was going to be a casual affair, hor dourves, dinner and some sort of adult entertainment (and I mean that in a Uno or Scene It kind of way).
So what to wear? My mom was, until recently, under the impression that jeans were so casual one could wear them while exercising. They certainly weren’t something you go to a party in, which brings me to my first basic: dress jeans. Denim jeans of the darker variety (dark is slimming and versatile) without whiskers, stone washing or too much embroidery on the pockets.
Just as important is the fit. And with jeans, it’s all about the lines. Lengthen legs with a good inseam, make sure that your waist and butt are cradled, not pinched, and find a good length. Don’t settle. These are worth it.
After my mom and I secured the jeans (Yonkers, Calvin Klein, dark wash), we went to work on the upper half. What she seriously lacked was a good tank. Not just any tank, but a tank she could wear under a cardigan, a blazer or out on the town. Find one we did: gold, silk, scoop neck, with a ruffle on the front, a thing of beauty. Coincidentally this perfectly describes basic number two: the every situation tank.
Basic number three is the outerwear. A good jacket or coat that can be worn casually or dressed up. My mom had no problem with this one. She currently owns an adorable red pea coat with a belt that contrasts fantastically with her chestnut brown hair. Coats these days are fantastic: fun buttons, prints, and you can find them just about anywhere.
My only qualm with that is that with this availability comes cheapness. My father will spend money on two things: coats and shoes. He has a point. A cheap coat means two things: it won’t last and you can tell it’s cheap. A coat should have quality fabric and a good lining.
We end at the bottom with the feet. Just because it’s the bottom doesn’t mean it’s any less important. The shoes are the foundation on which the outfit stands. I will say this: nothing does a woman good like a pair of boots. Again, quality and versatility is what we are aiming for.
In my mom’s case she pulled out a pair of riding boots from the ‘70s, and they were brilliant. A few don’ts: hooker boots from the ‘90s— never okay. Shiny pleather? Nuh huh, and heels that are above three inches on boots usually aren’t a good idea. We are going for sexy, not prostitute. There is a fine line people—don’t be the one to cross it.
Good clothes make you feel good. This isn’t about getting the newest or triendiest, but about feeling and looking confident. So go out and actually like your clothing and yourselves.