Recently at a holiday party a guest complimented me on my black tuxedo pants. I confessed to her that I had them for longer than I cared to admit, it was a Vivienne Tam investment piece I acquired for myself when I was much younger. The pants were on sale and once I tried them on I decided it would be one of those clothing staples I would always cherish.
That got me to thinking about the pieces in my wardrobe that I have owned for years yet have remained fashionable and timeless. The Local Artisan Guide is a big advocate of "Slow Fashion". We encourage shoppers to invest in pieces that you know are going to be in your wardrobe for so long, you may to ward off your daughter and friends from trying to “borrow” them from you.
After rummaging through my closet and asking some friends whose styles I have always admired for their feedback, I came up with five “Slow Fashion Staples” that every woman would benefit from having in their wardrobe. These are pieces that should be executed well and made with quality materials. Whether you find them at Prada or your local artisanal boutique they need not cost a fortune but will always be worth the investment in the long term. With comparison shopping online or using The Local Artisan Guide you can find quality staple pieces that will act as your contribution to sustainable shopping which in the end in has a positive domino effect and benefits our planet. Here are my five top recommendations:
Black Tuxedo Pants: I love how men look in a tuxedo. I can’t believe there was an era when men wore them daily which makes me realize I was born at the wrong time. Men have been wearing tuxedo pants for centuries and looking rather consistently divine so why shouldn’t we women follow suit? No pun intended! My black tuxedo pants go with everything from a white button down blouse to my animal pattern cape. I can wear it with boots or any type of dress shoe and it looks elegant and put together. Its a no brainer and perfect for any formal event or evening out.
Sheath Dress: On everyone’s list of "must have" items usually a LBD (little black dress) makes the top of the list. Although I definitely agree an LDB is a must, I feel you can have more range by owning a sheath dress. One of my first big purchases when I was younger was a sheath dress from Giorgio Armani. It is powder blue, the cut is quite classic and the material is of such high quality I am always immediately complimented when I wear it. The dress is actually an incentive for me to stay in shape as I would hate to not be able to wear it any longer. A sheath dress can be any color that compliments you best, it doesn’t have to be just black. It is great for interviews, presentations, formal events and can go from day to evening. Accessories will always make it look fresh and modern. Make sure the material and cut are flattering to your figure or it will defeat the purpose of the purchase.
Navy Blazer: As one who loves to wear Breton stripe shirts in the summer, I discovered that navy blazers were very complimentary to this look. I was fortunate to purchase an affordable Ralph Lauren navy blazer with brass buttons and it has been one of my style staples since then. My blazer is immaculately tailored and very sliming. I love how it goes from high to low and elevates any outfit. I can wear it for work (over my sheath dresses) yet it looks great with jeans and a white tee. Its part of my uniform for when I travel making me look fashionable yet comfortable (not an easy feat when traveling).
Statement Necklace: I own a red beaded coral statement necklace that was made on a loom that came from a small island in the South Pacific. The color is vibrant and the weave is very unique. When I wear the necklace I am constantly asked where I got it from and on numerous occasions have had people offer to buy it from me right off my neck. It helps bring any outfit I have to life and is always a conversational piece. Whether its from your grandmother, a local jeweler, an accessories shop or a vintage store; a statement necklace, especially one that is finely crafted and not overtly trendy will be one of those investment pieces that can help bring your outfit from day to evening. Many local jewelers will even work with you on custom pieces that will make sure your statement necklace is original to you and your vision.
Vintage Bag: When my stepmother’s mother passed away, my stepmom was kind enough to pass onto me her mother’s silver beaded flapper’s purse. I use it for galas and special events and can be assured no other woman in the room is carrying anything as lovely and special. In a society where women (and some men) use high fashion brand handbags to state to the world their net worth and self value, nothing to me is more confident and stylish than a woman proudly toting a bag that is either vintage or from a smaller more artisanal designer. To be assured that your handbag does not define you but reflects your unique fashion sense is a sign of a person who has truly mastered their own unique style and marches to the beat of their own drummer. Simply acquiring “it bags” makes a statement that emanates more from the ego and not your own sense of self which at length reflects the person you are. Vintage bags and smaller artisan brands are not only original in design but make for great sustainable slow fashion items.
So when shopping and trying to figure out if you are growing your "Slow Fashion" wardrobe, just ask yourself these few questions. Are these items made to last? When I am dead and gone will people be fighting over these items? Does this piece always make me feel good about myself? Can you see the piece as timeless and classic? Are you "IN LOVE" with this particular item and can see yourself years from now filled with regret if you walked away from it? Well if you answer yes to any of those questions, you are on your way to growing your Slow Fashion wardrobe and growing a more sustainable world around you.
By Natalie Rivera