10 Easy Looks with 1 Basic Foundation

10 Easy Looks with 1 Basic Foundation

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 howiwearmy@yahoo.com by February 2nd. Visit the How I Wear My page for more information.

How I Wear My Badge


Make it a rich day!




  1. January 25, 2015 / 5:58 pm

    Well done, and a great illustration of how easy it is to build a wardrobe from good basic pieces!

  2. January 25, 2015 / 6:14 pm

    So Well done my dear! You illustrated perfectly … the power of accessories!

    You styled my necklace perfectly … love it with your leather jacket! Kudos on an informative and stylish fashion post!

    Wishing you a wonderful new week! xo

  3. January 25, 2015 / 6:19 pm

    I love all your looks here! This is a fun post to show basic black is not so basic.


  4. January 25, 2015 / 6:51 pm

    Well done! I especially like the long vest and boho looks.


  5. January 25, 2015 / 8:37 pm

    Great job and looks Adrienne. Love the edgy and boho looks but then again you look fabulous in everything. xo

  6. January 25, 2015 / 10:00 pm

    You did this so well! Every look is completely different and gorgeous! I will be copying these looks :)!

  7. January 26, 2015 / 4:26 am

    What a super fun idea for a post! All the outfits are so chic! I’m especially loving the poncho look! FAB, Adrienne!
    Dawn Lucy

  8. January 26, 2015 / 4:53 am

    I like the way you did this, Adrienne. Good job…I pinned the one with the cape. Have a wonderful day!

  9. Kathy
    January 26, 2015 / 5:36 am

    They all look great – especially love the one with the denim jacket, but I love all things denim. What a great idea for the 10 outfits.

  10. January 26, 2015 / 5:47 am

    This is excellent! Thank you for such a practical (and in my case NEEDED) post! I have a dress like tat and have not worn it because I never really knew how to make it special.

  11. January 26, 2015 / 6:28 am

    So beautifully done, A! You’ve got me running to my closet to experiment. Thanks for sharing with Visible Monday, xox.

  12. January 26, 2015 / 6:32 am

    I have been wanting to break out of my jeans/sweater/boots rut, too! Thanks for the great ideas!

  13. January 26, 2015 / 7:06 am

    What a great post, I have a black jersey Banana Republic dress that I often use as a foundation piece, sure makes packing easier ( and my second go to is knit leggings and a black long sleeve Tee) Amazing how we so often convince ourselves we need so many clothes instead of doing something like this and figuring out really what quality pieces we need, Great looks Adrienne. (totally pinned this)

  14. Christie
    January 26, 2015 / 7:27 am

    I love this! I can’t wait to see what you do with a basic foundation for spring and summer!

  15. January 26, 2015 / 7:45 am

    I love this idea and all your outfits are great! I especially like #10. I do this sometimes with black pants, top and boots. It is so fun to just add a couple of things to make a new look! Peace! Cheryl

  16. Linda Salazar
    January 26, 2015 / 8:34 am

    Love this post Adrienne… gives me some ideas for incorporating some casual looks to that basic LBD. (mine sits in my closet because I’m always saving it for dressier occasions) Great job!

    Bill did good on your Valentine’s present!


  17. January 26, 2015 / 9:20 am

    I am planning a trip to Europe (Amsterdam) and this post was very timely. I am trying to do it all out of one small bag. Thank you. I’m printing this post and packing similar items. I’ll let you know how it works out.


  18. Diane
    January 26, 2015 / 12:50 pm

    Love this post – great outfit ideas! Please do it again in the future 🙂

  19. January 26, 2015 / 2:41 pm

    🙂 Oooh, I like this! Great post and wonderful ideas!
    Have a very HAPPY week 🙂

  20. January 26, 2015 / 5:46 pm

    Love all of these, but especially the Louis V + cape combo. Swoon. I’ve been trying to mix up my basic black this winter so this is super helpful!

  21. January 26, 2015 / 10:41 pm

    Well, well, am in for closet shopping. Very inspiring post.

  22. January 27, 2015 / 5:52 pm

    I just love what you have done with your basic pieces + add ons. I have actually been planning a post similar post about multiple ways to change up your monochromatic look. Lovely look!

  23. January 28, 2015 / 5:25 am

    We love look #4 the camel cape—-the proportions are so right—super cute!!!

    Rachael and Ellen

  24. January 29, 2015 / 8:10 am

    Love, love, love!!! So versatile which is helpful not only in our daily routines but also when traveling. I think I just may have to pull out my black long sleeve T and a black skirt and give this concept a try. Thanks for the fun ideas!

  25. Cindy
    January 30, 2015 / 4:35 pm

    New to your blog and really look forward to reading more. Love your style!

    Just returned from the Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa. Another lovely resort with 10+ service! Have you been there?

  26. February 1, 2015 / 7:47 am

    Wow, this looks beautiful! We’ve been to the wine cournty twice with Brendan and it’s always my favorite part of our trip. We’re trying to get a group of friends to go next summer and visit, this looks like the perfect place to stay! Thanks for this review, Adrienne!

  27. February 4, 2015 / 11:20 am

    Adrienne I just knew I would get some great ideas here and they are all so good looking! Brava!

    The Arts by Karena New Feature

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Privacy Policy

We do not share personal information with third-parties nor do we store information we collect about your visit to this blog for use other than to analyze content performance through the use of cookies, which you can turn off at anytime by modifying your Internet browser’s settings. We are not responsible for the republishing of the content found on this blog on other Web sites or media without our permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice.”