Though one of my New Year’s resolutions is to take more fashion risks {D.C. can be a tough playground for fashion frivolity…but I’m determined to live it up this year!}, I’ve been thinking lately about those fool-proof staples that, quite simply, will never go out of style and will never raise an eyebrow.  These are the items that are worth searching for — and the items that will keep you in good stead from now til ninety.

First: the striped shirt / chemise mariniere.  The classic is by French line Saint James, is uni-sex, and is available through J. Crew ($85, J. Crew).

It runs boxy and oversized {I’d wear it more like a sweatshirt, layered over a preppy oxford and finished with some skinnies and some funky flats}, so if you’re into something a bit more body-con, check out this more fitted style from J. Crew ($42).

This is another case where the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” adage applies.  This dress style is functional, universally flattering, and perfect in terms of walking that cool line between masculine and feminine.  I have a style in a light oxford blue color that is in heavy rotation, regardless of season — with tights, boots, and a nubby sweater-jacket in the dead of winter; with leopard flats and a gauzy scarf in summer.  Diane Von Furstenberg is the queen of the shirtdress — in fact, in the snap above, Corinne Rae wears a DVF.   {Is that color fab or what?!}  Score your own in a similar statement-making hue with this mint green confection (DVF, around $500, Matches):

Or, try of-the-moment neon in DVF’s “Taya” style ($385).  I’m digging the day-glo yellow.  If you’re more into the classics, check out this affordable (on sale!) khaki-colored version from J. Crew ($79).


{OMG, those nails.  Loves.}  Now, if you’re lucky enough, you’ll score the classic from Hermes {seen above, and also available via Hermes’ e-boutique for a cool $2,775.}  If you’re like me, you’ll get the look for less thanks to La Mer Collections.  They’ve perfected the wrap-style watch, and have it available in up to date colors, including neon pink ($88).

This one sort of goes without saying.  It’s as chic on a teenager as it is on a woman of 100.  Get the classic from Burberry ($1,095, Net-A-Porter):

OR save a bundle on this version from French line Kookai (on sale for $146).  Funnily enough, my trench {in a dusty rose color} is by Kookai as well — it was a popular store when I lived abroad in France, and I snapped it up several years ago, while living there.  I live in it.

The LBD is almost so trite a fashion staple, it’s not worth featuring, but seeing the little chic pea above just reminds me that its undying chicness cannot be underestimated.  It’s my favorite blank canvas.  This classic from DKNY ($375, StyleBop) is just the sort of LRR {lather-rinse-repeat} piece I’d gravitate towards — structured, sophisticated, and endlessly versatile.

As lovely with pearls ($16,400, Tiffany) and pumps ($625, Barney’s) as it is with wild leopard tootsies ($1,495, Barney’s) and a statement necklace ($340, Suzanna Dai).  In the market for a new LBD of your own?  Theory has some great variations on the theme, and many are on post-holiday sale.  Check them out here.

Chanel is the ultimate score for any fashion lover/labelista.  Don’t worry, though, if you can’t afford the real deal.   This gorgeous Barbie doll pink style from Marc Jacobs is available for $575 at Ssense {and the bronzed version is on sale for $402!}:

If that’s too pretty a penny, check out this Rebecca Minkoff style ($195) in — I know, MORE NEON!  — an eye-catching color.

Equipment is the namesake here, end of story…I love the colors and prints they’ve been releasing of late.

…but if you’re not into spending $200 on a blouse {although…a classic white or nude will last you a life time…}, check out these more affordable styles from Madewell ($79, and love it in that bright red) and J. Crew ($98 — awesome colors, especially the neon azalea!)  Or, check out this wallet-friendly bow-front Tinley Road style ($54) — I love it in the polka dot or fuchsia.

In my opinion, preppy will never go out of style.  And neither will its hallmark: textured sweaters.  Go for the gold {or spend your own} in a full-on cashmere style from  J. Crew ($228) or Polo ($398).

Or, check out the more budget-friendly wool blend turtleneck cable-knit style from J. Crew (on sale for only $49!)

No one has quite mastered the ballet flat like Olivia P.  They look so fresh and modern paired with her fashion-forward (and yet, paradoxically, classic!) styling.  Splurge on a pair from Pretty Ballerinas (around $200 a pop).


I’m also loving all of the bold colors that J. Crew’s Cece ($128) is available in this season.  For something more wallet-friendly, check out the classic cap-toe from Marais USA ($64), which I’m still coveting in the white and tan combo.

Though this runs counter to the majority of the items above, which are more about practicality and staying power, you gotta have a little POP and pizzazz, and there’s nothing I loved more than seeing Taylor Tomasi Hill show up all over fashion week last year with her cobalt blue Celine pouch — it was her calling card for the season.  So do something a little crazy with color, and make it your own signature move.  Consider, for example, pulling a Taylor Tomasi Hill with one of American Apparel’s oversized leather clutches ($50).  I snagged a bunch of these as gifts for my besties this Christmas.

Looking for something a bit higher-end?  Check out these laser-cut Christopher Kane pouches ($530).  Alternately, a Clare Vivier clutch ($156) won’t do you wrong.

What are your fail proof tricks of the trade?!


  1. great post! was looking for a list of must-haves, especially suggestions for a pretty chain bag. one addition: dark skinny jeans! i have 3 pairs and wear them all the time.

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