back to the beginning (part 1)

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The other day at sewing class there was a conversation about the problems with today's consumer and how the average American in general has a kind of skewed up way of looking at fashion. The thing is, with all these Wal-Marts and outlet stores and discounted prices, we feel that we get a great deal when we get something for less. But that's not always the way it works.

I mentioned this to my mom later and she elaborated, saying that people would rather buy many cheap (and cheaply-made) clothes rather than spend a lot on a little. And while I do understand how not everyone has the means to purchase fabulous Chloe coats and Chanel bags, I do agree with the fact that sometimes it's okay to invest in your clothing. But more than that, people need to learn what to invest in when it comes to clothes. The trendy neon green Louis Vuitton of the season won't do you any good five years from now, No, it's the basics, the classics, the things that will last you a lifetime, that you should really obsess about. If we all have smaller closets with a few perfectly-picked classics (and some trendy things too, but nothing too outlandish) then perhaps in the long run we actually will save more and learn to buy less crap and cherish the basic essentials that we really do need.

Now, let's be honest, any fashion-phile will find it nearly impossible to narrow her closet down to a few solid good pieces, but we can at least make a start. We need to stop consuming all this cheap clothing that we like for about a minute. Just because it cost five dollars, it does not make it any better than the normal top at full price. Sure, it feels good to snag a great deal every once in a while, but shortcuts like that rarely work the way you think. If we just take a moment and stop buying on impulse or "just because it's half off!" then that would be so much better for everyone.

Plenty of people tell me that a closet cannot thrive on only a few items. So to prove the naysayers wrong, I've composed a collection of my dream essentials-only closet, and the reasons why I've picked each item.

 Be Classic: is the LBD not self-explanatory? Black works with anything, and this particular cut is ready for any occasion. However, by no means is it dull or plain. Just because something's a classic it doesn't mean you can't keep it fresh. Preen Line

 Make a Basic Unique: I actually feel like an originally-designed T-shirt like this one is more versatile and more aesthetically pleasing than a simple plain white tee. It's workable with anything but still has a unique quality to it. Sass & Bide
Go Casual: Dark wash skinnies are always in, and once again, the key to a simple wardrobe is versatility. Darker shades of denim tend to work for more occasions, and are much more flattering than faded washes. Citizens of Humanity

Brave the Cold: Everyone should own a coat. Even I own a few, and I live in sunny California. This Burberry one is extra-fabulous because it actually is two coats combined into one. The zipper at the waist makes it possible to actually detach the bottom and voila! You have a cropped jacket! Burberry

Snuggle Up: Everyone needs a light-weight cardigan that can be thrown over virtually anything. Something in a neutral, grey, navy, or maroon can work with almost any outfit. J. Crew

Accentuate the Positive: Personally, I think there's no other way to do skirts. A high waist creates definition at your smallest point, and a fuller skirt like this one doesn't cling in unwanted places the way some narrower-cut skirts do. Plus, the sparkle is there, but muted enough to go from work to cocktails with a shoe change and some jewelry. Diane Von Furstenberg

Loosen Up: The go-to work top, the blouse is essential for any respectable woman. A plain cream or white one works for so much. Look for little details that highlight your own personality, too. I picked this particular shirt because the bow and bell sleeves give it a feminine touch, but find something that works for you. Balmain

Show Some Skin: Shorts that are not denim are so much more capable of versatility, and these corduroy shorts are perfect for more casual occasions. For those of you who are afraid to show that much on the thigh, opt for a longer length, but don't do without these babies. Current/Elliott

Suit Up: Blazers have become a must-have staple, and not just for the workroom, either. Wear with a pencil skirt to look ready for business, or pair with jeans and sky-high platforms to dress up more casual attire. Helmut Lang

Brighten Your Outlook: In a wardrobe full of neutrals, it's important to have a few brighter pieces that can tie together an otherwise dull ensemble. Acne

And some classic accessories that every girl needs...

Scarf: Versace
Purse: Chloe
Boots: A.P.C.
Shades: Ray Ban
Belt: Alexander McQueen
Sandals: Jimmy Choo

See! With only a few pieces in the closet, you have all the essentials needed to be chic and less consumptive. With just a few more additions of some trendy items to freshen up the basics, you're pretty much set. 
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