I knew it was time to break out of my latest fashion rut of a big sweater, rolled up skinny jeans and ankle booties when a friend told me she was meeting me for lunch dressed like “the rich life” and showed up wearing that very outfit.
While the jeans-sweater-bootie combination will stay on my style rotation, I decided I was ready to stretch beyond the predictable and try something new and something feminine that didn’t involve jeans.
To me, new sometimes means complicated and I am not a fan of complicated. So I came up with a way to create several outfits – that don’t include jeans – using what I call a Basic Foundation, then adding other clothes, footwear and accessories to create new looks. This has been my go-to method for creating a variety of outfits ranging from dressy to casual these last few weeks.
I started with my Basic Foundation outfit – a black scoop-neck tee by J. Crew, a black pull-on knit skirt by Stella Carakasi and black tights – then added jackets, coats, sweaters, scarves, jewelry and a variety of footwear to come up with 10 Easy Looks with 1 Basic Foundation.
#1 Add a Poncho
Casey of Mason Street Designs named these sweaters Luxe Pullover Wraps, but they are also ponchos – very luxurious, versatile and comfortable ponchos. I have two and I love them – one in Light Heather Gray and one in Taupe. I like to accessorize my ponchos with a long necklace and sometimes, if it’s cold out, I will wrap a black pashmina a couple times around my neck. My gorgeous leather tote is by Adora.
#2 Dress it Up
Put on a dressy jacket, your fanciest shoes, and some blingy jewelry and grab an evening bag on the way out the door and you’ve got an evening look that starts with a Basic Foundation. This brocade coat was one of my luckier consignment finds. Shoes from Sole Society, necklace from a boutique in Sonoma and bag from Goodwill.
#3 Wear a Short Jacket
Adding a short jacket is a simple way to add color, texture, pattern or all three to a Basic Foundation. I grabbed this great kimono style jacket, bought a couple of years ago on consignment, and accessorized with my black Adora bag and Evil Eye necklace from Michal Golan.
#4 Wear a Cape
I cozied up with my camel colored Royal Alpaca cape from Montecristi Panama Hat Company of Napa Valley and added the medallion necklace I wore in #2 and my very old Louis Vuitton Alma bag. This outfit says easy luxury to me.
#5 Layer with a Sweater
I layered my Basic Foundation with one of my favorite Stella Carakasi sweaters, the Sublime Sweater. I love that I can create a totally different fall or winter look just by pulling a sweater over my head!
#6 Tie on a Large Scarf
This vibrant plaid, extra large tissue-weight scarf is one of my favorites. I bought on a whim at a boutique in Sonoma a few years ago. For this look, I folded the scarf in half into a triangle shape and tied it around my shoulders. I think it took all of 90 seconds! I brought out the cobalt blue in the scarf with my blue Adora bag.
#7 Wear a Long Sweater Vest
This Stella Carakasi Go-Getter Vest really gets a work out. I wore it all summer long, and now I am wearing it frequently with my Basic Foundation. I styled this look with my new Kate Spade Cedar Street Elissa tote, an early Valentine’s Day gift from my husband, a tassel necklace by Vince Camuto (similar) and Boden booties.
#8 Edge it Up
Nothing says edgy better than leather clothing and accessories. I wore my very favorite leather jacket that I bought in San Gimignano, Italy with La Canadienne combat boots and a Kenneth Cole bag (very old). My necklace was a gift from Tamera Beardsley. I feel very powerful in this outfit.
#9 Dress it Down
Throw on a jean jacket, cozy scarf (this one’s by Madewell) and some oxfords for a casual, comfortable look, ideal for running errands or heading to a coffee shop to read or meet a friend.
#10 Go for Boho
I love boho style, it’s so casual and laid back. I added a long sweater coat by Free People (similar) to my Basic Foundation and topped it off with a boho hat from Montecristi Panama Hat Company of Napa Valley. I carried my black Adora bag and accessorized with long beaded necklace from La Brocante in Sonoma.
Can you believe how easy that was?
I created 10 completely different outfits using just 1 basic foundation and minimal effort!
A reminder that How I Wear My: Long Necklace is coming up fast. Submit a photo of you in your long necklace look (600 pix wide for best resolution) along with a brief description of your outfit to email@example.com by February 2nd. Visit the How I Wear My page for more information.
Make it a rich day!