All in the Details

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 10:03 PM

Big necklaces, bold patterns and colorful tights can be tools to create eye-catching outfits. But for most women, they can't be the foundation of a wardrobe. We need basics — closet workhorses that can be worn over and over, combined in new ways and embellished with accessories. That's not to say those basics must be boring!

Whenever possible, I try to seek out basics that have some unique or interesting detail to make them just a little more fun to wear. You don't have to pay a lot for garments like these; just make sure that whatever detail you find isn't too trendy, or that item could start looking dated very quickly. I think I've done an especially good job with my neutral pencil skirts — and what could be more basic than pencil skirts in gray, navy and black? (I'm not including my burgundy pencil skirt, though it's a virtual neutral for me.)

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Gray: isn't actually gray at all. This skirt is a bit of a Monet: It looks gray from a distance, but get up close and you'll see that it's a micro-herringbone in black and white. Bought at Target in February 2011 for $10; it needed hemming by 1.5".

Navy: has the criss-crossing tabs, the buttons and the pleats. The buttons especially make it impossible to wear any top that's untucked unless it's quite loose, but the details look great with anything tucked in. No tag, bought in June 2011 at Goodwill Augusta for $5.

Black: It's hard to see the decorative top-stitching in the photo here, but that's secondary to the kick pleat, which takes the place of a slit. Neat seaming, too. Brand is The Limited, purchased at a Goodwill in Ohio this spring for $5.

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