The NEW Basics

BASICS

Okay, here’s the lowdown. Tim Gunn once said that there are actually 10 Essential Basic Wardrobe Must Haves that any woman should actually have in her closet. These are the following:

1. The Basic Black Dress

2. The Day Dress

3. A Classic White Shirt

4. A Classic Blazer

5. Dress Pants

6. A Trench Coat

7. A Good Pair of Jeans

8. A Skirt

9. A Cashmere Sweater

10. Sweatsuit Alternative

These are the  foundation on which all wardrobes are built, closet basics are called “basics” for a reason.  Classic in cut and style, they are no slaves to trend, standing strong closet clean-out after closet clean-out.  They’ve endured the test of time.  These are classic pieces to which you build your style on. But who said basic had to be B-O-R-I-N-G?   My new basics are not actually new – more like updated versions.  Think of it as “Basics: 2.0″ – improved, sleeker – but no less basic.  Consider upgrading to these closet staples with me will you?

T-SHIRT

Polished enough for the office, yet chic enough for cocktails, the embellished white tee adds a bit of unexpected luxe to an otherwise casual basic. This gives the proper balance of chic and utility.  This new essential is exactly right for those moments when a plain white tee just won’t cut it. Styling tip: let this tee be it’s own accessory- keep jewelry minimal, adding only a statement ring or bracelet. You can also opt by adding some cool jacket without hiding its embellishments or pairing it with a skirt and clutch for that optimum classic feel.

BLOUSE

Look for lace accents, texture, and statement-making embellished details in this basic-with-a-twist. Because the classic shape remains the same, the new blouse seamlessly replaces the ordinary button-down. Pair with anything and everything – the unexpected details are what take an ordinary black pant/white blouse combo from ordinary to extraordinary. You can find a lot of classic white shirts with little details on it whether it be on a collar or the sleeves. You just have to be mindful of the details.

PANTS

The tuxedo pant earns its staple status for being the wardrobe clutch item. Ultra flattering, this borrowed-from-the-boys cut is destined t0 be your go-to item. Think Chanel, Candice Swanepoel, think Tilda Swinton! For evening look that’s beyond chic, pair with a coordinating jacket (buttoned and sans top underneath, or over a white oxford, buttoned to the collar) and statement heels,   Worn with sleek sneakers and a sweater, and the look is polished yet casual weekend-ready.

SKIRT

Correction. THE NEW LEATHER SKIRT. An update to the been-there-worn-that leather mini, the new leather skirt gets upgraded to statement status with a lower hemline, color, exaggerated proportions, and wrapped shapes.  Exaggerated shapes are balanced perfectly with a cropped top (for a high-waisted skirt only), or a tucked in silk t-shirt and ankle boots.  Pair luxe, textured leather with a sumptuous cashmere sweater – the mix of textures add interest for a look that’s full on luxe.  Go for edginess with a sheer, silk top worn with a leather wrap-skirt. You can be a rocker with a chic twist with this combo.

SHIFT

Ahh the shift dress. Add a belt and some high-heels and you’re good to go! Always a wardrobe staple, the shift dress is fresher with geometric prints, texture, and metallic jacquard .  Add heels, a jeweled clutch and a statement necklace for a night out, while paired with ankle boots and a jacket that hits at the hip is office appropriate. For Saturday errands or lunch with the girls, toss on a leather jacket and ballet flats.

VEST

Okay, I know, this is not part of the Tim Gunn 10 Basic Essentials. Perhaps the most updated basic, the vest has come a long way since the three-piece suit-esque version. The new vest takes on more than one silhouette; military versions are the perfect accompaniment to just about all shapes of denim – flare, skinny, and even shorts. When done as a sleeve-less blazer, it becomes office appropriate – look for leather accents for more edgy appeal. The fur vest is the perfect way to add a bit of luxe – paired with anything from leather skinnies or jackets to effortlessly tossed over a blazer, it adds that instant cool factor.

BLAZER

No less formal than their lapel-ed counterparts, the collarless blazer has just enough un-structured structure to pair with just about everything from a flowing chiffon dress to skinny jeans. Leather and zipper details liven up basic black, bringing the rocker esthetic of a beloved leather jacket  into office -appropriate wear.  For those drawn to a more  minimalist esthetic, color-blocking adds interest and dimension, without taking away from the clean look.  No wardrobe would be complete without at least one tweed jacket.  Look for jewel and bead embellishments; they’re ultra versatile, going from the most casual jeans and t’s, to cocktail-ready chiffon dresses with ease. Ready-to-wear brands such as Mango and Zara have the most exquisite pieces yet!

JACKET

Truly a seasonless must-have, the versitle, wear-with-anything cargo jacket has become the essential layering piece. Details like leather sleeves, precise tailoring, and menswear shapes, there’s a style and silhouette for everyone.  Add a fur vest over a leather-sleeved version for a triple-textured look that’s totally on-trend or take a beloved summer white dress into fall by belting a menswear shirt-style jacket and adding booties.  Channel the urban safari and pair a sharply tailored silhouette with leather shorts and pointed toe pumps.

TRENCH

This is an optional piece. Especially if you are living in the Philippines. But December is almost near and who would want to look drab in some plain-old jacket? The ultimate in ‘throw-it-on-over-anything’ instant polishing, the new basic trench is anthing but. Cape tops, mixed textures, and unexpected materials  give the trench new life, adding that something extra – without taking away from its traditional bones.

XO. Cara

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