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The Lipstick Page Forums Fashion Blog: February 2006
Building a basic wardrobe, part 6
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, February 27, 2006 3:16 PM (Eastern)
Okay...the next thing to consider, is your lifestyle.
Why did I put that as the second thing to consider? Because if you first understand your influences, your preferences, your buying habits...then you can customize your wardrobe to fit both. But your preferences are more important than your lifestyle as far as what to buy.
For example, say you are fanatical about jeans. I may generally live in jeans, but I'm not fanatical about them. So I've found that three pairs of jeans will do. I seek jeans that look good enough, with a medium price range, that will wear as long as possible. I'll pay more per pair, and not buy more than three pairs, if that makes any sense.
If you're nuts about jeans though, you should buy more pairs of them. You may also buy more expensive ones. Depending on your budget, you may have to cut somewhere else.
If you're a skirt gal, you will need two or three basic skirts...the kind that go with just about everything, the kind you reach for. These are not always easy to find. Again it's well to pay a bit more for something that will last wash after wash (or else look good between trips to the drycleaners). Basic can be black, white, navy blue, olive green, chocolate brown, or whatever you gravitate towards.
You can add one or two pretty skirts to your basic skirt pile if you really are a skirt-type gal.
I like dresses but skirts are cheaper to manage, since many dresses need to be drycleaned. (Check your labels...Dress Barn has good dresses that can be machine-washed. Don't be put off by the name "Dress Barn"; lots of work clothes there.) With the skirts, you can wear washable blouses and just wash those, and get the skirts cleaned periodically.
Tops, imo...you can never have too many tops. Tops are cheaper than other forms of clothing; they need to be washed each time you wear them, so diffusing the wear and tear is a good idea.
Building a basic wardrobe, part 5
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Saturday, February 25, 2006 9:55 PM (Eastern)
Check it out! Socks
I still have these socks. They're still good. I haven't yet thrown out a pair of the pima cotton Target socks. I'm giving them one more year...by then I might have to toss.
A very good deal.
Building a basic wardrobe, part 4
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 9:13 PM (Eastern)
Okay, so now you've sat down and pondered, and have come up with a list of the most obvious fashion influences you have...the stuff that influenced you before you were sixteen years old.
For me...I've been attracted the most to function, utility, something that does something, something that wears next to forever, something that never really goes out of style. Something basic.
I dislike very expensive clothes. I suppose that might have something to do with being broke all the time rotfl...but even if I had money to burn, still I would not be attracted to say, that $10,000 dress. I'm not dissing it. I'm just saying, spending for the sake of spending does not interest me, so that's out.
As I type, I am wearing a golden-yellow Gap cotton sweater. I've had this for some years now. It's pretty boss, I wore it to work recently. (I still try to dress up for work...it's not that I have to. I just want to show the people I work for that I respect them.)
I'm also wearing those much-maligned (by me) Levi's 515 jeans. sigh They're at the point now where I want to replace them. It's extremely annoying. To me they should have lasted years longer than this.
So I will have to spend the money. Again--I'm not gravitating toward those fantastically expensive jeans. Remember? I don't like that kind of thing.
But, I can't spend less than what I already spent on the Levi's because all the jeans that I've read good reviews for (good reviews meaning the things LAST LONG and wear well), cost more. Possibly in the $50 range.
So that's my starting point. I want to find a pair of jeans that costs between $30 and $50 and makes it possible for me to NOT GO JEANS SHOPPING for as long as possible, preferably at least five years.
How many pairs of jeans to buy? Aside from my work stuff, I live in jeans. I have two young kids, need I say more?
I've been living with the two pairs of 515's and a lone pair of black Guess? jeans for a couple years now. Three pairs is about right. (Infuriatingly enough, the Guess? jeans are in better shape than the Levi's, and they're much older.)
So, for my $50 jeans spree, I will probably buy two pairs and ditch the Levi's. The Guess? jeans are still okay--keep 'em.
Do I need to buy shoes? No. I've been lazily wearing my slip-on Doc Martens Air Wear shoes, but I have a perfectly good pair of DM boots at the ready.
Do I need to buy shirts? I probably do. I'm currently milking the last drops of wear from some of my shirts. grumbles Again I will be stuck buying more expensive shirts. It's less of a fashion thing and more of a "I can't afford to buy cheap clothes" thing...but I'm thinking...of just a few shirts. I'm putting it off frankly.
Here's an interesting site
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, February 22, 2006 10:30 PM (Eastern)
I found it while looking for a picture of a sari. Then I got a bit mesmerized, not only from viewing page after page after page of sari's, but also by other aspects of the site...jewelry, articles, etc.
Building a basic wardrobe, part 3
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, February 20, 2006 8:39 PM (Eastern)
Okay...so now you've written a short list of your earliest fashion influences. The people and styles to whom you were drawn.
Now start another list...okay, I can admit I usually hate doing this sort of exercise. But in blogging about it, I'm realizing there are quite a few concrete examples of my early style influence. It's funny.
For the second list, you write down why you liked the items in the first list. What attracted you, what did you like about the influences? While you're at it, you'll probably remember more things to add to the first list.
Here are my additions to the first list:
Cheap Chic, well that's obvious. It was all about cutting edge 70's style, the stuff I kept seeing in magazines and movies, but never in my local stores.
Annie Hall...oh...everyone was wearing high heels and conservative clothes around me...she was wearing men's clothes, and flowing things...everything looked soft and touchable and elegant.
Flashdance...I guess the legwarmers got done to death at one point. But I loved the dancers' clothes. It was all about function.
Brooke Shields...the shock value part I suppose was aggravating, but she always looked good. Whatever people thought, she never showed much skin. She was model-tall but she never, to me, looked skinny, just tall and slim.
Later on she would appear in the heavy makeup of the time but what you remember is when she hardly wore any.
The Clash...black and white. I'm not talking about the green hair portion of The Clash fashion story *g* It's the stripped down, black-and-white period...something as simple as black jeans or pants with a natty Clash or Pretenders tee shirt. I was terrible at tearing these properly.
Madonna...early Madonna. Very innovative. Think of Desperately Seeking Susan--the pyramid jacket? Do you ever forget this jacket once you've seen it?
Seventeen magazine...still remember some of the images to this day. One was a girl wearing simple black clothes...a black flowing skirt...she had long dark, almost black straight hair, and wore this incredible warm red lipstick.
One was a cute piece pairing models of different ages. The idea was the older model would give a favorite piece of clothing to the younger model. Since it was a teen mag, the models all had to be teens, so...
One was the notion of pairing lace with denim or leather. Again that's been done to death since, but it was novel back then.
One...I'm almost sure it was Seventeen...had a pic of Phoebe Cates before she became a model and actress. She was wearing, I believe, this cute Catholic school uniform.
Military clothes...Norfolk is a military town, so it's not uncommon to see people in uniform there. I liked the uniforms...fatigues...Army Navy store stuff.
Indian sari's...keep in mind this was before cable tv, before the Internet. It was the most exotic and beautiful thing I'd ever seen.
So...? I am very cheap, yes, but I like clothes that are based on function...the military clothes, the dancers' clothes, Doc Martens shoes. Something that is entirely basic, but if you do it right, it's foolproof shopping.
I like to wear something different, something that is individual. Madonna's clothes, Cheap Chic, Annie Hall, the idea...I wear it, therefore it's right for me.
Something a tad beautiful...Indian sari's, the stuff in 1970's Seventeen magazine.
Something stripped down...early Brooke Shields (didn't she always wear very basic clothes?), The Clash...the idea, less is more.
Another thing. I like old items. Perhaps that comes from the vintage, antique stuff that was all around me (as it will be in the South).
Image courtesy www.nostalgiacentral.com
Building a basic wardrobe, part 2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 8:04 PM (Eastern)
Okay...so I think the first step is to sit down and remember your earliest fashion influences, whomever or whatever they happen to be. Because clothing for humans functions as protection, camouflage, mating gear...everything that fur, feathers or hide does for the rest of the animal kingdom. In short you have to feel at the end of the day, that your clothing is an outer skin. You have to feel comfortable and natural in it.
So my short list would be as follows:
I was attracted to all of these, I think, because all meant style over...substance? Style over money. Even when I was a kid, I disliked the notion of buying something conspicuously expensive, unless it was a fabulous item that just happened to be expensive.
I used to go to these parties. The cool people in Norfolk would be hanging out there, wearing their Marilyn Monroe buttons and other cool items. There were tons of cheap vintage items...$3 pumps, $5 dresses. Stuff from the 20's and 30's. I suppose it's all gone now or else it's actually called "vintage" or "antique" and priced accordingly.
So. For me now, I need to get my money's worth buying clothes, that was always important to me, whether it is a $3 shoe you wear when you're fifteen, or a $100 pair of shoes you need to buy later on.
Which brings us to...shoes.
I like Dr. Martens. It's my favorite brand. Granted, it's not an office type of shoe. But they're great shoes. It's the only brand I wear outside of office-type situations.
Cole Haan is a nice office shoe brand. I have an old pair of these...sighs I always get compliments on them. They're getting old now but that would be the first brand I'd look at for a replacement.
Good shoes are worth the money. It is not imo worth it to buy cheap shoes (unless as I say, you can still find those $3 vintage pumps). Cheap shoes wear out after a year, the heels wear down, you have to replace them...good shoes don't wear out. I have three pairs of Doc Martens that have yet to show a single sign of wear.
So--find your brands of shoes and figure out where you want to buy them. (I've heard people Ebay Doc Martens.)
Image courtesy media.venda.com
Building a basic wardrobe
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 4:11 PM (Eastern)
I hope to write more about this rather than trying to cover everything in one go. It's certainly not simple; not simple at all. I highly disagree with those guides that presume to solve all of your wardrobe problems in one page's worth of writing.
I suppose I should start with a few of my early influences.
One was a book entitled Cheap Chic. I think there are updated versions but the one I read was published sometime in the 70's. I remember a picture of Lou Reed (still young) in it, iirc he was wearing black nailpolish (I was so jealous! This was in the days before Wet 'n' Wild).
Cheap Chic introduced me to the concept of "cost per wear." The idea was to figure out how often you actually wore an item. If it became a staple item that you reached for again and again, the cost per wear could conceivably be lower than that of a cheaper item that you hardly ever wore.
Another early influence of course was Annie Hall, with the luminous Diane Keaton.
Admittedly, emulating any of the looks from Cheap Chic or Annie Hall in the 70's in ultra-conservative Norfolk, Virginia, was impossible. I knew people back then who flew to New York City to do their clothes-shopping, they were that desperate. Still, the influence was there and remains to this day. How to simplify and yet remain beautiful and complex, without breaking the bank over it.
Later on I would be influenced by The Clash. :D Yep, the rock band, The Clash. Shortly thereafter, naturally, there was Madonna. People too young to remember early Madonna do not appreciate how ingenious she was. Both The Clash and Madonna embodied some Cheap Chic notions; again, that it wasn't how much cash you spent (mind you, this came during the time when fancy designer clothes reigned). It was how wisely you spent what you had.
Building a basic wardrobe for me personally, is a relatively new experience. For quite some time now, I had access to an outrageously cheap source of name-brand clothes...Banana Republic, J.Crew, Ann Taylor, etc. The extent of my game plan was to go there every year and grab everything I saw that I thought would work. But, the place is no more. So I've had to do some planning.
One sad thing I've learned, and it's hard to say, but Levi's jeans are no longer any good. I know they're based here in San Francisco, people work for them...but the gold-standard Levi's of my youth are gone. I bought two pairs in September 2004 (archived fashion blog) and they're already at the point where they don't look that great anymore.
Before you snort "that was over a year ago," I had had visions of those jeans lasting year after year, the way the old Levi's did. I mean people used to age their jeans. They used to splatter bleach on them, wash them over and over again...an old pair of Levi's was a treasured object.
I'm not sure what I'm going to replace them with. I'm thinking J.Crew or Land's End...dunno...I'll have to do some research.
Image courtesy www.popmatters.com
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, February 09, 2006 11:33 PM (Eastern)
Check out this article by our own Stevie Wilson:
Convicted Clothing -- Fashion From Behind the Walls!
This was featured on the front page of Gather.com.
It's pretty neat...a clothing line that commissions artwork from persons behind bars to use as designs on the clothing.
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