Considering the topic at hand, you were probably nervous to even click on this blog post. How dare we question the closet essential in which Coco Chanel herself so sagely advised every woman to invest? Grab your garlic, prayer beads, rabbits foot, or whatever lucky talisman is tucked in your back pocket: we're blaspheming the black dress.
I'm not exactly going scorched earth on the universal style staple. It's just...well...LBDs kinda bore me. They're incredibly safe, a point which can be both a pro and a con. In certain situations, the LBD is hard to beat: business dinners, networking events, funerals (ugh, sad but true), office-to-happy hour-to-date-night fourteen hour days. You're banking on its conservatism, looking pulled together and appropriate, and maybe letting a fun shoe or accessory do the talking. But what about when you want to be noticed? When blending in is blah?
Answer me this: when was the last time you had an event or function you were really looking forward to and you thought 'I definitely, hands down, want to wear my go-to LBD. Again. No need to shop for anything new, or current, or updated. I bought this LBD for its versatility and dammit I'm gonna get it. Hip hip hooray!"
Ex-actly. It's a powerful moment when you realize a style mantra you've repeated to yourself for years no longer resonates. In fact, our sartorial boredom doesn't start and end with the LBD. Too many years have we heard "invest in a trench, it's iconic!" Mmm hmmm, and the earth is round.
Here are five fashion "essentials" it's time to switch out for an updated yet timeless look.
1) LBD < LWD (Little White Dress)
A simple switch of color can make a world of difference. Think you're seasonally limited when it comes to white? Think again. White dresses worn during the winter feel fresh and fun, and are only a pair of tights and a killer jacket away from an unexpected edge. Keep an eye out for detailing: fringe, a tiered skirt, or an asymmetrical neckline all make an otherwise classic dress to the next level.
Rebecca Taylor Tweed Dress // Black Halo Jackie O Dress // ALC Tolan Dress
2) Trench Coat < Moto Jacket
The iconic trench coat ranks a close second behind the LBD on every must-own list. No thanks. True, it's hard to beat when you're dressed in your best business cas on a rainy day. Otherwise? Yawn. (With the noted exception of this Burberry stunner). The real wow-terwear to own is a moto jacket in your material/color of choice. Black leather is a great place to start. Worn over a feminine dress, a basic tee, or with a prim pencil skirt, it looks thought out and fashion-forward.
IRO Ashville Leather Jacket // Zara Faux Leather Jacket // Mango Zip Leather Jacket
3) White Button Up Blouse < Blue Boyfriend Shirt
Keep the buttons, but make it blue and slightly baggy. Oxford and oversized. You may want to shop your man's closet or even the mens section. Think undone, casual French girl on a Saturday. Rolled up cuffs, halfway tucked in, maybe one more open button than normal. Best worn with classic blue skinnies, loafers, and a leather band watch.
Brooks Brothers Oxford Sport Shirt // J. Crew Boy Shirt // Zara Plain Oxford Shirt
4) Perfect Tee < Perfect Tank
Go on brush your shoulders off 'cause it's time to ditch the sleeves. A spaghetti strap tank is not only a great layering piece, it also lends an effortless elegance to palazzo pants, high-waisted trousers, and flare jeans. Grab one in your go-to neutral, or use it to add a pop of color or print. It's accessory friendly, too, so experiment with different looks by adding earrings here or a long layering necklace there.
J. Crew Carrie Cami // J. Crew Scalloped Carrie Cami // Banana Republic Wrap Front Cami
5) Classic Pumps < Ankle Strap Sandals
A minimal shoe with maximum appeal, these heeled, strappy sandals elongate the leg and keep a look from veering off towards clunky town. You can wear them with jeans or with a cocktail dress to a wedding. They're fierce yet feminine. I recommend starting with a black or nude pair first (versatility is a good thing), then consider adding a colorful or decorated pair.
Steve Madden Stecy Sandal // Stuart Weitzman Nudist Sandal // Loeffler Randall Reina Sandal