A fashion savvy Australian Aborigine once said, "The more you know, the less you need." Translation: It's better to know your way around the classics than have a closet crammed with clothing that is already so "five minutes ago".
It's smart to stock up on classics, no matter your personal style. Think Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, Catherine Deneuve: always, simple, chic and impeccably dressed.
Once you have the classics, you can go anywhere. If you buy pieces that are well-made and in good fabrics, they'll wear better, feel better and, of course, look better on you. The fabrics to look for are lightweight wool gabardine, silk, cotton, linen, cashmere, and textured microfibers. Go that extra mile and make sure everything fits, especially the tailored pieces. Go to a tailor if something needs to be altered. It's worth the money. Now for those of you who are not the "classic" type, you can still do your own thing. Try a Chanel jacket with jeans or a leather bomber with a chiffon skirt.
If you're downtown hip with a touch of "goth", just add a leather jacket to the classics along with leather pants and animal print accessories.
If you're the artistic, creative type, throw on some ethnic or artful pieces to give the classics your own special style. Think Peruvian hand-knit sweaters, chunky bracelets or African necklaces.
Classics are also good if you're on a budget. They last longer and you'll have fewer mad dashes to the mall to buy a piece just for one evening. If you don't believe us, try on a little black dress or a solid color suit. Add a scarf, several necklaces or different belts. See how many different looks you have?
What are the true, blue chip classics? Take notes. The wardrobe you save may be your own.
1.) 3 Piece Suit -- Try a jacket, skirt and pants in a solid color.
2.) Navy Blazer -- A must have that makes an impression.
3.) White Shirt -- Nothing beats a crisp cotton shirt with or without French Cuffs.
4.) Khaki Slacks -- Versatility is their strong suit and they can withstand a nuclear winter.
5.) Cashmere Sweater or Twin Set -- Sedate or seductive. Your choice.
6.) Jeans -- Keep them "classic". Dry-clean or press them yourself after washing.
7.) Little Black Dress -- All hail to this number that can go from smokey bar to a ballroom.
8.) Formal Attire -- Dramatic separates are better to mix'n'match and make different outfits.
9.) Raincoat -- Go for a zip-out lining. The Trench Coat is the true classic.
10.) A Positive Self Image -- Nothing looks better on a woman than her confidence and pride.
Classics rock. Trust us.
Janet Behmer and Shirley Pierce are authors of the book "Dress Me Now: How to Make Your Wardrobe Behave". It's fashion for real women with real bodies and it's changing the way women think about clothes and themselves. Check out their web site DressMeNow.com at http://www.dressmenow.com.
Janet Behmer and Shirley Pierce have over 30 years of fashion experience between them. Janet has spent over 13 years as an on-camera host and buyer for home shopping channels and Shirley is the co-founder and president of Dress Me Now!, a company committed to the self-empowerment of women. She is invited to speak to women's groups and has been featured on radio and telelvision.