Sunday, February 24, 2008

My Curated Closet; or, the Clothes What I Wore

The lovely K-Line has tagged me to talk about my dressing philosophy—what the staples of my wardrobe are.

I find that I’m quite a minimalist—with a few extravagant details thrown into the mix. One half of my closet is thus spare, with clean, classic lines; the other half a riot of Liberty prints and sequins (on day wear), that I like to mix up.

My one style rule is that there are no collars on my shirts or dresses. I find collars unflattering—precisely because they are flattering in a certain sense. For my roots are firmly in WASP-y ground, by way of Scotland and Denmark, and I can easily embody that preppy fashion—polo shirts, pearls, etc. But because those looks work too well, I don’t wear them, except when I’m summering on the Cape and everyone is doing the same (OK; I don’t wear pearls even then—I’m very contrary by nature). I don’t like to fit in, so I’ll always try to have something a little “off.”

Collars on a jacket or coat are a different story. My philosophy also includes wearing pieces year after year, if they’re timeless and flattering, and my Prada navy blue collared seat-belt-buckle tech-fabric jacket fits that bill. If I recall, Prada outfitted a police department in Italy with a similar jacket, it’s just that authoritative. The collar is perfectly face-framing; it works when the jacket is buttoned up sans or avec scarf. I will wear this jacket through my 100th decade.

My typical choices are crew-neck, boat-neck, or turtle-neck, fitted cashmere t-shirts. I often buy these from J Crew, since the quality has greatly improved in the last couple of years. And I love wearing color, which is a staple of the Crew’s collection.

Skirts are pencil, with or without a fishtail, somewhere in the vicinity of the knee; I’m not that particular. I love the Hitchcock heroine’s silhouette, rendered fresh with some eccentric shoes—Te Casan, Anthropologie, Tootsi Plohound, for instance. And a tall, lean boot works too.

My skirts are usually some gentle check, plaid, or pinstripe—all the better to mix with my Liberty print shirts. But my Liberty shirts are not classic blouses; rather, I get them from Pronk, an online boutique run by the thoughtful Susannah, who takes Liberty and Kaffe Fassett fabrics and has them done up in romantic, feminine looks, complete with giddy ruffles and embroidery. Now I am not a ruffly person AT ALL, but I will wear Pronk’s, as long as I can render them a little edgy with a mismatched skirt and high, bold heels.

So that’s it: a little classic, a little eccentric, always on the edge.


K.Line said...

I LOVE the geo patterned pencil skirt with a floral top! It's so not a look I wear but I admire it greatly when I see it and wonder how so much contrast can look so right. And I'm so with you on the collarless cashmere. Excellent post Miss C. Thank you K

riz said...

This blog is awesome! Though it's my first time visiting it, your writing and feature choices inspire me! Thank you for that. I really like your Literary Fashion/Chaucer piece...

miss cavendish said...

Hi Riz--

Right back at you! Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

--Miss C

enc said...

I love what you wrote here. I can relate a lot to what you write.