Monday, November 22, 2010

SUV Fashion

Next up is post number 8 in a series in which the Bitches attempt looks from the Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style using clothing from our very own closets.

American Classic

What does it mean?

Moi: To me, American Classic is the most no-brainer of all the looks in the Lucky Guide, perhaps because it is the look that I most gravitate towards. After all, I live in the American Southwest, and although American Classic is a riff on what the Guide calls our, "collective fixation on the Northeastern-elite lifestyle," there is about the style something that is equally representative of the American ideals of rugged outdoorsmanship, individualism, and egalitarian ease. It's no accident that Ralph Lauren, the King of American Classic, spent his most creative years drawing inspiration from the Rocky Mountain Southwest. One of the very first designer pieces I bought for myself was one of his Santa Fe Style Prairie Skirts, and I am a Lauren fan to this day.

Pirate: This is the look that is the fallback look for me. It's my uniform. It's what I wear when I can't think of what to wear. Best of all, it fills so many gaps: it can be worn casual and/or professional, it's comfortable, it's easy. Shopping for it is a snap: it's basically everything J. Crew. It's also everything Land's End, Eddie Bauer, LL Bean, Talbot's, Ann Taylor . . . you get the idea

American Classic Icons:

Moi: When I think American Classic, I think three people: Jackie O, representing the East Coast's jaw-clenched preppy elite, and Lauren Hutton, representing the rest of the country's easy-breezy outdoor vibe. And, of course, one of my all-time favorite fashion icons and all around emulatable gals, Katherine Hepburn.

Pirate: Hells to the Yes on Lauren Hutton, who I remember re-discovering when she did a fashion shoot for J. Crew a year or so ago and wore all denim and white. She looked classic and fabulous, as ever. I also think of Lauren Bacall as an American Classic fashion icon: at 86 years old, that woman is a national treasure to fashion. She's all business, all classic.

Bacall then . . .

And now—such class.

The Pieces

Moi: The thing about American Classic is that, depending on material, designer, and craftsmanship, the pieces can be either high or low brow: polo shirts, silk sheaths with embellished necklines, double breasted jackets, penny loafers, cardigans, cashmere twin sets, and English riding boots on the one hand; jean jackets, slim white slacks, corduroy blazers, white button-downs, and tennis shoes on the other.

Pirate: This look surprised me in that every essential piece in the repertoire was something I could easily find in my closet (except for tweed—I seem to be lacking the simple tweed skirt that is so much a part of the look). The part I struggled with the most on this look is accessories, mainly because there's not much. The staples are pearls (studs and chokers), and gold (link bracelets, rings, hoop earrings). Although I have them, I often overlook their simplicity, and this look is all about understated elegance. I would argue that most women's best pieces in their closet are probably American Classic staples—your good blazer, your nicely pressed button down shirt, and your softest cashmere are probably all American Classic cuts.

Putting it all together:


Banana Republic chambray button down shirt, Ralph Lauren cashmere pencil skirt, thrifted pearls, BCBG boots

Vince cable knit cashmere sweater, Sparrow cardigan, Banana Republic wool scarf, Anthropologie belt, Pilcro corduroy jeggings, Børn riding boots, vintage Navajo pawn sand cast cuff

DKNY pinstripe blazer, NYC & Co white button down cotton shirt, Dolce and Gabanna white cotton pants, Peter Som leather wrap around belt, Anthropologie necklace, Unisa metallic sandals

And, finally, my "uniform." Some version of which is pretty much my daily, non-business go-to outfit in the fall and winter:

Atelier four season wool blazer, Vince cable knit cashmere sweater, Betsy Johnson belt, Gap jeans, Arturo Chiang boots

Pirate: I am actually having to narrow down the looks, they really are that easy to put together. Here's an everyday easy business ensemble:

J. Crew 3/4 sleeve "perfect" button down shirt, J. Crew stretch wool pencil skirt, J. Crew "Juliet" patent leather mid-heel

Slightly dressed up casual, work-appropriate (depending on where you work), or weekend appropriate:

J. Crew cashmere t-shirt, short-sleeve white button-down, J. Crew velvet pinstripe blazer, Michael Kors skinny jeans, J. Crew pointy-toed herringbone flats

I'm starting to see a theme here on where my clothes come from . . .

J. Crew "Dream" turtleneck, J. Crew vintage matchstick cords, J. Crew leopard patent belt, Vince Camuto "Fays" over-the-knee boot

Equally at home at the stable or the desk:

J. Crew 'Thandie" felted wool jersey double breasted blazer, J. Crew toothpick riding pant, J. Crew "Frances" ruffled silk top, J. Crew "Flannery" menswear detailed heel

Final Thoughts on this Look:

Moi: For better or for worse, American Classic is how I dress myself about 80 percent of the time. I think, for me, it's all about the organic, tactile nature of the fabrics: lush cashmere, crisp cotton, weathered leathers, and lightweight wools.

Pirate: This is a look that's all about closet classics—these pieces should be your everyday staples. It's easy to put together, comfortable to wear, and looks good on any body type. The key is to have good quality pieces in your wardrobe—spend the money on good quality items, and they will keep you looking good for many seasons.

Up Next: Pirate and Moi do Rock and Roll. It's about $*#@ing time.

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