Classic Clothes: The Crib Notes

Fashion goes back and forth in the details, but since the mid-seventies, this is what consists of a classic woman’s work wardrobe:

  • Skirt, knee length, straightish.
  • Blouse, plain neck (shell)
  • Shirt, buttondown
  • Blazer, mid-hip length
  • Slacks, not tight

We’re coming to one of those fashion seasons when the silhouette is about to undergo a drastic change, so I recommend that if you work and you’re investing in expensive pieces, you keep your items more neutral in shape.

Example:  The pencil skirt has been the default “knee-length skirt, straightish” for the past decade.  Extreme versions of this skirt have been shown that are so tight you’re wondering how the poor woman bends over.  You can fish tail it a bit, make a higher waist, etc – all of which make the skirt more extreme.

So, when we’re in the middle of a pencil skirt season, and when those styles look amazing on you?  Go for it.

Right at this moment, you’re not seeing the ultra-feminine frills on those skirts.  That straight skirt is still tight, but it’s gotten straighter, dropped just below the kneecap, and you’re suddenly seeing soft pleated skirts come in.  (Those, btw, are where the feminine woman should go).

I wouldn’t push anyone to buy a mermaid skirt right this minute, unless it was a one-season item, like a bridal gown.

Blazers are seeing a huge change.  Again, we’ve been in a very feminine mode where peplums and extremely fitted designs have been all the rage.  But all things pass.  Your figure suits a fitted jacket?  A trim classic blazer is your friend.  Your figure didn’t really love those curves?  Shout hallelujah, because boxy is back.

That’s how it goes.  When a fashion suits you – wear it.  When it doesn’t, retreat to classic lines that do.

Because style is so fluid, and one line and another look utterly different, the only real sin is to be caught in something that was all the rage – two years ago.   And that’s why investment buys should be classic, always classic.  (Or utterly off the beaten path – again, only what was “in” can ever be “out”).

Write if that doesn’t make sense.  Or if you’ve seen the light.  Or … ’cause you want to?


5 thoughts on “Classic Clothes: The Crib Notes

  1. superslaviswife

    I think that a lot of more modern trends are not only getting chunkier and less form fitting, but they’re also starting to take influence from cartoons, games and anime as the generation that grew up consuming extreme styles are maturing and spending their money on pirate boots and skull jewellery. Any thoughts on whether this may continue? (Of course I’m all for it, for nerd reasons.)


    1. hearthie Post author

      Yes, we’re going to see more whimsy in clothing, but that’s part of the trend away from ultra-feminine/ultra-sexual clothing into greater androgyny. If you want a forecast, bring up the clothes from the early ’90s and then compare them to what you see in the shops right now.

      Fashion has cycled certain moods and silhouettes through fairly regularly for the last fifty or sixty years. Until we see a way-of-life revolution as radical as we did in the early part of the 20th century, we’re very likely to continue this cycle, since masses of fabric aren’t how we display luxury post-industrial-revolution.

      The change that we see in the 21st century is that lockstep fashion isn’t a priority any longer. As someone who got ostracized for not having her jeans pegged properly back in the day, this is a good thing! There is a lot more leeway to show individual style.

      It’s a natural cycle. We’d gotten to the end of the rope with aggressive visual sexuality – when you start yawning at yet another bit of lace tacked onto mesh, the only way forward is to do something completely different. Even Marchesa, which is an evening gown line dedicated to femininity, gave us more wearing ease in their 2016 offerings. There’s a tell for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. superslaviswife

        I was thinking that, seeing how conservative fashion tends to be after it’s escaped the runway, we’re going to see more fun with prints and accessories, leaving the actual cut of the clothes themselves as a sort of broad canvas. Which does tie into the 90s, to be honest, but possibly with less harsh metallics and more lace and laquer and sweetness. Sort of 90s clothes with 20s accessories and a hint more nerd culture. Which I would love. Dungarees, plus lacey hemmed blouses, plus candy shaped necklace charms sounds pretty cool. Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking…?

        Not hard to see the similarities:


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