Since I’m thinking about wardrobe improvement these days, I checked out The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own. Coletterie had recently posted about this book, asking about what 100 pieces would be in readers’ personal essential collections.
First off, what’s with the word “stylish”? Every person has a “style” – maybe it’s trendy or sloppy instead of classy or elegant, but it’s still a style. How did “stylish” come to mean “style worth copying”? Why is “stylish” associated with looking as though you have nothing better to do than drink cocktails and inspire people to wonder how recently you last had sex?
I do appreciate author Nina Garcia‘s note in the introduction: this shiny silver book of 100 items is her list of 100 must-haves, and other people’s lists are probably different. Since I sincerely doubt I can come up with 100 fashion-related things I couldn’t live without (and I’m not sure I would like myself if I could), I am instead viewing this list as a list of suggestions, things I might consider as part of my Wardrobe Improvement Project. If I want to get out of my rut of faded jeans and floppy shirts, perhaps the Must-Haves of a New York fashionista can be the perfect source of inspiration.
1. A-Line Dress: Something to think about trying. I don’t think I’ve ever worn one, since I like to highlight my waist. It’s also a common profile in dresses for toddlers and preschoolers, so I’m a little concerned that this profile isn’t appropriate for me. Also, I’d probably want it a little longer than is properly “stylish”. Maybe it’s something to look for on those rare occasions I find myself shopping.
6. Bangles: I’ve always liked the idea of bangles, ever since the popular girls wore loads of plastic jelly bracelets in fifth grade. Still, I’m not sure I’ll go shopping for bangles. Maybe I’ll luck into some nice ones someday.
7. Belts: Since my waist is a part of my body I’m not trying to camouflage, it’s perhaps surprising that I have only three (strictly functional) belts. I did just discover that A Fashionable Stitch sells belt kits, though, so maybe more may be in my future.
10. Black Opaque Tights: While mine are probably not as opaque as Ms. Garcia would recommend (since I can’t bring myself to spend $80 on a pair of tights), these are my choice for leg-exposing cool season outfits.
11. Blazer: I had one in college. Loved it. It’s gone now, and I’ve no idea what happened to it. I’d like to replace it, probably with a more fitted version.
13: Brooch: I’d like one, if only to keep shawls from automatically falling off 30 seconds after wrapping them.
17. Cape: I have one, and I made it. It almost never comes out to play, though, since in Seattle, cool enough for a cape is almost always also too wet for this particular cape. Perhaps one day I’ll make a new one, in something less likely to soak up every tiny raindrop.
18. Cashmere Sweater: I’d love one, thanks! Not that I’m sure how it would fit into my life (how does one wash cashmere?), so I don’t really see this as an upcoming purchase.
26. Denim Jacket: Somehow I made it through the 80s without acquiring one of these. Still want one, though.
28. Driving shoe: A “more fashionable option to the loafer”. I have two pairs of black 8 hole Dr. Martens (one for yard work, one for everyday), a pair of black pumps, a pair of black knee-high boots with minimal heel, and a pair of walking sandals. Once upon a time, the Docs were all I needed. These days, I’m thinking maybe I should branch out a bit. Perhaps a “driving shoe” could be an option. Only if they come in black, though.
36. Gloves: Someday, I’ll have a pair of properly fitting leather gloves.
38. Hobo Bag: Would this “Go Anywhere” bag work?
42. Jeans: The foundation of my current wardrobe. And since I’m not going to throw out something that’s working, jeans will probably remain a key piece of the clothing puzzle. I plan to try making my own, since I’m officially tired of jeans (like everything else) being too short.
45. Knee Boots: I love tall boots, but finding them without a sky-high heel is hard. Maybe if I wore high heels more often, they wouldn’t hurt so much. But this is one of those areas where comfort is going to outweigh fabulous. I simply cannot feel amazing when my feet hurt!
48. Little Black Dress: More versatile than the Evening Gown (# 30), even I know about the importance of the little black dress. Doesn’t mean I own one, though.
53. Man’s White Shirt: I stole one from Ian years ago.
62. Pajamas: These are are my Make Someday list.
65. Pencil Skirt: Like the A-line Dress, I think I might want to try this, just because I never have. Push my edges a little. Just because really full and really long has been the standard skirt for me doesn’t mean I might not be stuck in a rut and in need of a little shake-up.
73. Robe: Before I went to college, I asked for a robe. My grandmother, bless her heart, bought me a green terry cloth robe, size small. On me, that means that it’s just past my knees, with 3/4 length sleeves. Someday, when I’m a grown up, maybe I’ll have a robe that fits.
97. Wide Leg Trousers: Much like the pencil skirt and A-line dress, I’d like to try these just to see how they look on me. I think I need a digital version of myself I can dress up, so I can try these things with minimal up-front investment.
98. Wrap Dress: See above.
So there it is. Twenty-one items that appeal, seven of which I’m likely to work on (belts, blazer, bag, jeans, LBD, pencil skirt, trousers). The list didn’t include basic tops (I can’t really count cashmere as a basic), and my project definitely includes these.
Raise your hand if you think I’m biting off more than I can chew!