I have happily been commuting between the beach and the city since Memorial Day, but realized on Monday afternoon when I was rummaging through my suitcase (backpack) for my reading glasses that I have been dressing all summer in much the same manner that I did when I was a college student traveling on a Eurail Pass. I’m down to the basics, and other than the occasional party dress or shimmery shift that makes the cut for a specific event, I have been wearing the same things over and over and over again.
What happened to the fashion maven who spent untold hours concocting outfits that personified a mood or an emotion or a moment in time? Well, I have my thoughts on that which I’ll save for another post…but in the mean time I’d like to share with you the three (actually 4 if you count black AND white) pieces that have covered me (literally and metaphorically) in a myriad of social events since the ice finally melted from the driveway.
1) My trusty denim shirt:
Denim comes in all shapes, sizes, fabric contents and washes. I first fell in love with denim shirts in the second trimester of my first pregnancy. I found one at the Gap in the men’s department. I threw it away (after a brief memorial service) last summer when one of the sleeves fell off because it was so thin and tattered. My oldest child will turn 20 in a few weeks. That shirt went places. I have a similar relationship with my current denim shirt. I prefer what I call a “mid wash”…not too dark, not too light. I like a snap closure as it seems a bit more dressed up than a button down. I also prefer a bit of stretch in the fabric to make it hang better. This shirt has been on the boat, the beach, to dinner over black pants, shopping over white pants, attended several front porch cocktail parties and a few art gallery openings. With some strappy sandals and a nice pair of earrings it looks Island Formal. Toss on a pair of running shorts and you can gut a fish in style. Just make sure to wash it before heading out in mixed company.
2) White (and/or black) V-neck T-shirts.
My favorites are from StyleMint. I buy them in bulk. If you are 50+ and have to ask the value of a good white (or black) T-shirt we need to have a separate conversation. These come in both V neck and rounded neck. It’s a matter of personal choice. I have angular features that are softened (go figure) with sharper lines, but a round or crew neck may suit your personality better. These particular shirts have a thin but substantial weight to them. They wash well, hang well and hold their shape without a lot of fuss and wrinkles. I think I need to buy a few more right now… And what is more All American than a classic white T with a Denim shirt?
The one I have been wearing all summer is strapless with a super stretchy, tightly woven bodice that precludes wearing a bra – a plus on hot humid days. I purchased it at a random boutique in the tropics so I can’t provide shopping information, but J Crew has some great eyelet dresses in a variety of colors to flatter your skin tone. There is something about eyelet material that is multi purpose and multi generational. It looks just as great on a child as it does on a parent or grandparent (just control the frill factor). It’s definitely a 3 month fabric and will seem out of place once the kids go back to school, but in the summer months it’s fresh and fun and works practically everywhere, from casual to fancy. Oh, and it looks great with my ubiquitous denim shirt! (Even Pippa Middleton thinks so!)
So if you are heading out for a day or a weekend or even a week, take along these pieces (and a Tide To-Go Pen if you’re going to be on a busy European train) and you should be fine for whatever the day calls for.