Photo credit: Irene Suchocki
“When you’ve got a great trench on, what’s underneath isn’t so important.”
I wanted to start my quest for the 100 with the trench, because it’s one of the pieces I already have and I looooooove it. If I could only pick one thing from the 100 list, the trench would be it. Heck, it doesn’t even matter what you wear under it. You could just pair a trench with a pair of killer heels or boots and that’s that.
The original trench was created as a raincoat for British soldiers during WWI. When the soldiers returned from war, they took their Burberrys (yes, Burberrys) with them. Since then, the trench has been a British institution, a film-noir mainstay, and a style staple for men and women.
It’s definitely a classic. Just think of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, Catherine Deneuve in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.
I go for the original khaki, but every now and then I see a great colored trench (my mom has one in a gorgeous spring coral). Nina Garcia says you could go for gold lamé, but I’m not so sure about that…have you ever seen anyone besides a grandma from New Jersey pull that off?
Miss Nina suggests Burberry for your traditionalists (surprise, surprise) and Gap or Juicy Couture for bold colors. I got super lucky with my trench: I stumbled upon an Elie Tahari version at Marshall’s, of all places. I spent a grand total of $60 on it, which I couldn’t pass up after I saw the retail price of $400. It’s lined, double-breasted, and belted, and it’s made of sturdy, water-resistant cotton that doesn’t wrinkle. It was totally worth every penny (and then some)!
For those of you who have a few thousand to spend on a trench (yeah, right), you could go for an updated version of the original Burberry. If that’s a little ridiculous (and I don’t blame you), Gap and Jones New York make some cute ones, and I’d highly recommend Tahari. You can also find a fun print from Anthropologie or Stella McCartney. But I’m a traditionalist when it comes to the trench, so I’d stick to neutrals and classic silhouettes.
I’m starting a new feature on the blog today. It’s doesn’t exactly showcase married life, unless you count my depleting the joint bank account on designer clothes and chronicling my husband’s reaction. But it seems just plain ol’ fun, so I’m going for it.
Some time ago I stole–I mean borrowed–Nina Garcia’s The One Hundred from my mother. That’s the 100 pieces every stylish woman should own, according to everyone’s favorite fashion editor and formidable Project Runway judge, Ms. Garcia. In her own words, they are…
…the items that have been there with me season after season. They have been with me through thick and then. When trends begin to fade away, these are the items I can always turn to with confidence. Each has alternately comforted me when I’m done after a bad, grueling day, and each in turn has boosted my confident to greater heights when I’m feeling great after a good, fulfilling day. Each has its place in my heart. Each represents the yin and yang of my personal style.
Simply put, these items make me feel classic. And there is no substitute for feeling this way. Ever.
Nina lays it all out for us, complete with a few fashion history lessons and some hollywood name dropping. And while I’ve never considered myself to be a trendy person, “stylish” is something I definitely want to be. So before handing the book back to my mom, I’m taking on a little challenge.
What challenge is that, you ask? Exploring and procuring the one hundred. I’ll base my posts on Nina’s book, although I might edit a bit–she’s listed a few things that make me say, “WHAT?” and omitted others I think should be included. I’ll be doing this on a budget, which will make it less fun for those of you who are trying to live vicariously through my spending, but hopefully I’ll make some good finds. From ballet flats to the man’s white button-down shirt to the wrap dress, I’ll keep a record of it all here. So check back soon–I’ll start with some of the pieces I already have, with a guide to finding some great versions. Happy Sunday!
For all you public radio nerds out there:
Take advantage of the eight digital V-day cards NPR has created, available for free download. Share the love!
I heard a lot of buzz about this show on NPR and in Entertainment Weekly before I even knew what it was. After a little research, I discovered you could watch all four episodes of the Masterpiece Classic miniseries on PBS (or even buy the dvd, which we did after watching the online versions). And holy crap, it’s AMAZING. Set in the lead up to World War I, Downton Abbey shows you just how backward the world of English aristocracy was (is?) and the strange dynamic between family and servant (not unlike Gosford Park, but Downton Abbey has done a better job developing the characters). It’s the start of the modern world, although many of the characters try to resist that: while the youngest daughter sneaks out to go to rallies in harem pants and supports women’s suffrage, the family is too scared to use their first telephone, and one of the servants refuses to use the electric lights. I love the way change looms over this life and no one knows quite what to do about it.
But maybe the reason I’ve been obsessed with this show for the past week is the costumes. Yes, I would wear every one of them every day if I could! It’s impossible to not be inspired by the elegance of these ladies’ wardrobes.
I’m mostly smitten with this one particular dress. No doubt about it, either I’m going to make this myself or hire a seamstress (which might be the best way to go because hemming chiffon scares me):
This Edwardian look falls in between corsets with bustles and slanky flapper dresses (which means women with hips can actually wear these dresses!) Are you as enamored with these looks as I am? I wouldn’t mind “dressing for dinner”…I just need more gowns.