Jackie O’ in oversized sunglasses and wearing basic blues. Sharon Stone on the red carpet in a lavender Vera
Wang skirt and a man’s white shirt tied with a dragonfly pin, and Audrey Hepburn in a canvas of black and pearls. These fashion icons epitomized stylish elegance. These ladies’ innate personal style put them in a class of their own. As these icons figured out, style is not about wearing the latest and greatest couture fashions. Fashion can be purchased. However, one must possess style. A truly stylish woman makes her own rules. She knows when to ignore or incorporate fads. She creates what she wears and her look. She knows that style can be about blending classic pieces with trendy pieces.
Creating your distinctive style is relatively simple. It begins first with the fundamentals; these versatile investment pieces are staples that every woman—regardless of age, creed, and size—should have in her wardrobe:
- The LBD. The Little Black Dress is a canvas. This is the instant “I can’t think of anything to wear,” “I want to look refined, chic, and sophisticated” staple. It’s adaptable. It can be accessorized based on age, size, occasion, and mood.
- Classic White Shirt. This is another multi-talented star. A classic white shirt always looks great under a jacket. It also incredibly stunning paired with a ball gown-as Sharon Stone can attest. Of course, it always looks elegantly casual tucked into jeans.
- Pencil Skirt. The pencil skirt flatters all shapes & sizes. The straight cut is slimming, and one can never look too skinny! Choose fit, pattern, and material based on what works for you.
- Trousers. Channel Diane Keaton in Annie Hall with the men’s trousers. They are all about refined ease. Wear them with a sweater, blouse, and button up, or tee.
- Shift/Day Dress. Shift or day dresses are an effortless way to look sophisticated, and distinguished. These dresses are transformative. During the day, you can don the frock with a T-shirt underneath and flats. To spice it up for evening, swap out the flats for heels and remove the T-shirt for an “elegant sheath” look.
- Classic Jeans. This staple goes with just about everything. They symbolize comfort and flexibility. Because they can be dressed up or down, believe it or not today they can be worn in almost any setting—elegant restaurants, the office, and, yes, even the theater! The only challenge is finding the right cut: bootleg, straight cut, skinny, or full leg.
- Trench Coat. The trench should be loved by all women. It compliments every body type. It conceals flaws, accentuate slim waistlines, and is ultra sexy. It is the ultimate symbol of chic. A woman in a trench coat has an automatic allure.
- Cashmere Sweater. This is one of the ultimate luxury items. Cashmere makes everything else you are wearing look cultured and pull together. It can be worn in all kinds of weather and for any occasion.
The next step is selecting garments in cuts that flatter and accentuate your figure. This often means selecting quality over quantity. Clothing made with natural fabrics such as wool, silk, cotton, and gabardine have movement and drape qualities. They look graceful and poised and make you look slimmer! Fabrics that skim the body and move well are quite often of better quality and can cost more. However, it is well worth the money to splurge on one or two quality investment pieces that will only need replacement every three to five years or in some cases even longer—i.e. a classic Chanel suite from the ’60s. Cheap, ill-fitting, fabrics like polyester and heavy knits are the antithesis of elegance. These materials are often stiff and bulky (instant weight gain alert here!). They also tend to be shiny and highlight every little crease in the fabric and any imperfection in the body. Who needs that!