I must preface with a disclaimer. I am no fashion expert. I love fashion and have as long as I can remember. I even went to college as a Fashion Design major, but after one semester I realized someone had already come up with the idea of a turtleneck and wide-legged pants, so I switched my major to Journalism and settled into a world of words, all the while maintaining my great love of style.
My style isn't super 'on-trend'. It's not filled with high fashion and cutting-edge looks. I heard once that if you want to know what's really cool to wear, don't pay so much attention to what the models have on as they strut down the catwalk, look at what the designer wears when he or she comes out after the show. I always wondered why the person behind all those avant-garde looks was often times wearing only jeans and a t-shirt. The way I see it is, designers express their art through fashion, but what they choose to wear themselves demonstrates their personal style. Personal style is where it's at for me.
So let's dive right in, shall we?
Today we're digging into the basic tops I think we all should consider for our spring and summer wardrobes. I listed them on an earlier post, but for those of you who haven't committed the list to memory, here's a recap:
Ethnic print shirt
White, peasant top
And now, the evidence for my thesis.
The workhorse. This is really something we should have ample supplies of throughout the year. It can be worn with everything from ratty jeans for yard work, to a black suit and heels for a fancy dinner out. I like one that isn't too thin - I don't enjoy having to wear layers of undergarments beneath my white T, just to make sure Victoria isn't sharing any Secrets, if you get my drift. Plus, I develop weird holes in my knits right at the level of my belly-button which is as frustrating as it is concerning, and I spill on myself frequently. That said, I don't want to spend a lot of money on a t-shirt if its life span is limited. The best t-shirt I've found for the price is the Perfect T from Old Navy. It's thick enough that you don't need a camisole underneath, the fit is fabulous, and it costs less than $10. If you pick one up now, they're on sale for $6, which is really insane. Get about four of them.
Nearly as useful as the white t-shirt only with the addition of a bit more drama. The Old Navy Perfect T is the best choice, once again. Of course, once you have a couple of these super basic black T's in your wardrobe go ahead and add some funkier versions, if you're so inclined.
The Striped Shirt:
I'm talking the classic French sailor shirt, or Breton stripe, if you will. I have about seven variations of this shirt in my closet and, to be honest, none of them are quite right. So, I ordered the French stripe shirt from L.L.Bean earlier this week and am eagerly anticipating its arrival. The L.L. Bean version of this is super traditional and that's what makes it funky, in my opinion. There is also a pretty good one from Lands End. Both of these are under $30.
You may be thinking to yourself, "Mal, how versatile is this striped shirt, really?". I thought that might be the case, so I jumped onto Polyvore last night and put together three examples of how you can wear this particular item. From super casual, to a chic night on the town. Check it out.
The Ethnic Print Top:
I would like to amend this item to just a print top. Really any print would work depending on your personal tastes. You could try ethnic, if you were feeling a bit tribal, or you could go geometric, floral, bohemian, whatevs. It's all good. The point is to get a top that has an all over pattern on it. It's such a nice way to beef up solid color bottoms or even to push the envelope a little and pair it with another pattern. These can be a bit experimental, so it's nice to look for affordable versions at first until you know what look you like best. Forever 21, TJ Maxx and Target are nice places to dip a toe into pattern without making a foolish investment.
The White Peasant Top:
Really, this is just a white top that may have some flow to it, but is for sure made of a broadcloth (not knit) fabric. I put it on the list of basics because it's so light and summery and can be dressed up or down. This look can also be translated into many different styles. You could go for one in a loose t-shirt shape for a traditional look, you could do a puffy sleeve, a cap sleeve, a tank, anything, really. Just make sure it's all white and has an airy feel to it. It's like wearing summer.
There are a few extra credit items I think are nice for spring and summer tops (because I like extra credit):
Patterned Tunic. These look great over swimsuits and with shorts and pants. I like prints in very tropical colors to give me that poolside in Florida look, but you could also stick to black and white if that's more your style. Having a pattern though is critical because it's just too much fabric on your bod to be worn in a solid color without it looking heavy.
Pastel T-Shirt. You can't miss with pastels in Spring and Summer and luckily enough everyone looks good in them. Blush, mint, lavender and pale yellow are great choices. I, myself, picked up a blush colored Perfect T at Old Navy for $6 the other day when I loaded up on my black and white T's. I think I will enjoy it.
Chambray. It's becoming a year-round staple, really. A lighter weight chambray is best in the warmer months for obvious reasons. It looks great with shorts and pants, even over a swimsuit or as a light wrap for occasionally cool nights. Plus, you can easily wear it into fall, so it has some staying power.
So there it is. We've wrapped up our tops overview for now, and next week we'll do pants. Pretty exciting stuff, no?
As an aside...I've so enjoyed hearing from some of you with questions about your clothing selections. Please don't hesitate to contact me personally if you need some wardrobe advice. I'm happy to help if I can.
I'm wearing this.
The colors say, "It's still a bit chilly." The shoes say, "Looks like Spring to me!". Anyone looking at me would say, "How about a pedicure?"
gratitude: Google, you blog readers, moto pants, weekends
thanks and love.