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  • Writer's picturePamela Tucker

Updated: Aug 19, 2023

Do you find yourself trying to perk up your outfits with fast-fashion or trendy items that in just a short time no longer seem fashionable or you no longer love?

Do you like wearing trendy clothes with those already in your closet? How do you balance wearing what is at your fingertips while trying out new fashion?

This is the first in a series pointing out how fashion pieces could be added to your wardrobe. The focus is for those interested in current fashion trends; yet don’t wear mini-skirts, cut-outs or sleeveless. Feeling fashionable is important; but, feeling comfortable and confident is the paramount consideration.

Wardrobe Basics to Build On

Basics / Staples The best way to try out new fashion is incorporating newer pieces with what you already purchased. Let’s start with the wardrobe basics, also called “staples.” Basics are generally one-color, typically in black, white or neutrals such as beige and is a plain fabric so other parts of your outfit are able to stand out. In other words, the basics provide the canvas to build your stylish outfit.

Basics don’t change much over the seasons, and they could be placed in categories such as:

  1. Investment pieces, such as high-quality cashmere. The British company N. Peal has a number of cashmere choices, such as this long sleeve cashmere top:

  2. Staples of good quality but due to frequent wearing or laundering these are not expected to be in your clothing line-up for more than a few years.

  3. Fast fashion and lower priced tops, from stores such as Zara and Gap.

The assumption is you are sufficiently stocked with staples. If you are looking for refreshing your staples, below are a number of garments to consider.

Bodysuits - A bodysuit is wonderful layering piece because it tucks in easily and fits nicely under sweaters and blazers. The big payoff is a great looking silhouette!

Commando’s black crew neck short sleeve bodysuit is soft and stretchy: If your preference is for white, Wolford has a nice short sleeve option: As fall is approaching, long sleeve body suits should be explored. Check out these: Good American’s crew neck hugs the body and with it is a nice feel: If a cozy turtleneck is desired, Spanx has an essential turtleneck bodysuit:

T-Shirts - For those not keen on bodysuits, there are loads of other quality staples. Cotton pieces are typically comfortable, with pima cotton considered the best cotton for T-shirts. Typically, pima cotton does not pill or fade. You might also think about wearing fabrications such as modal or viscose. T- shirts with such fabrications generally provide a nice drape and are also comfortable, even feeling like a second skin. Check these out: A lightweight T-shirt by BOSS: Majestic Filatures has a few attractive choices to consider:

Blouses with button fronts are perfect basics as well. Fabrics such as silk or other soft fabrics fit well under a jacket or a sweater. And don’t forget a basic white blouse is handy when you don’t want to put much time into thinking about an outfit! Theory has an ivory fitted silk georgette blouse. Some nice features of this blouse include a hidden button placket, adjustable cuffs and mother-of-pearl buttons: Veronica Beard offers a basic white cotton blouse, Libby Poplin button-down shirt:

Sustainability and new fabrics A growing number of companies are focusing on sustainability and others are also focusing on using unique fabrics providing distinct benefits. For example, M.M. LaFleur, operating for about 10 years has a nice selection, including a pretty blouse on its website named the Lagarde Shirt: It is made of 100% polyester, with 35% being recycled polyester and is wrinkle-resistant. It is explained this fabric “… has been treated with Polygiene, an anti-odor finish. The fabric won’t hold smells, so you can wear your piece multiple times before tossing it in the washing machine.” These features seem helpful for busy days!

Before buying heavily into a color trend, why not try the color first in the lineup of your basics? For example, if the summer of Barbiecore is to your liking, a basic layering piece you could embrace is Weekend Max Mara’s fuchsia basic jersey T-shirt: Going into fall, try the red trend. Lightweight sweaters are terrific staples. Akris Punto has a crimson merino wool knit short sleeve top: A less expensive red top is a Bloomingdale’s private

Label C by Bloomingdale’s scarlet cashmere top:

A few more points to consider as you mix fashion trends into your basics:

  1. Try mesh or lace tops. For those not wanting a complete mesh or lace top, look for these features either in the neckline or in the sleeves.

  2. Go further with experimenting with fashion colors. In addition to working red into your wardrobe for the fall, look for other colors such as yellows, blues and grays.

It feels good when mixing new clothes and colors into existing wardrobes. It is especially gratifying (for the pocketbook as well!) when the new trends are ones that are versatile. So when you make a purchase think how versatile the piece could be. Is it an item that could be dressed up or down? If so, you’ve probably selected a winner. And, if not, no worries, an occasional splurge is not bad either!

How do you shop for basics? What are some of your recent basics purchases?

  • Writer's picturePamela Tucker

Anecdotal evidence concluded retail vacancies grew considerably during and after the pandemic in my local shopping area, the Upper East Side in New York City. The reasons could have been driven by the pandemic as well as less foot traffic due to people buying more on line. Stores including L'OCCITANE, Aldo, Williams Sonoma and Banana Republic, to name a few closed. One of the more notable closings in 2020 was a multi level, 50,000+ square foot Barnes & Noble that had been open in the spot since 2009.

Again, based on anecdotal evidence, since Spring 2022, the Upper East side has seen a spurt of store openings. Panera returned to the area, but in a much smaller space. Target took over the Barnes & Noble location and the area has seen the first neighborhood Framebridge, which moved into a unit of the bankrupt Francesca's. For the most part the new entrants are food related -- restaurants, dumplings, chocolate and fine bakeries. I'm eager to see the upcoming opening of Dave's Hot Chicken few blocks away.

A few weeks ago Barnes & Noble, the country's largest bookstore chain returned to the Upper East Side, (87th Street and 3rd Avenue) a few blocks from where it operated for more than a decade. The company was purchased by Elliott Management in 2019. The CEO of Barnes & Noble since the acquisition has been executing a growth strategy that sounds reasonable. In articles I've read the strategy is for individual stores to curate the offerings as appropriate for the immediate customer base. With 600 units throughout the United States, about 30 stores are planned to open this year.

Today I visited this new Barnes & Noble store. I'm unable to critique if the store is curated for the locals; however, I liked what I saw. It is a bright store, the interior and furnishings are soothing shades and it has an interesting layout. The spaces between shelves and tables are not wide and yet not too narrow. It is much smaller than the former location. I read it was 8,000 square feet. (Lacking a tape measure I cannot confirm the size!)

My two favorite things about this Barnes & Noble include: (1) It does not have a cafe. This means books are the focus! (2) I did not hear anyone on a cell phone. For me that was a delight. I love being lost in my own thoughts when shopping (for anything) and not having to listen to phone conversations. Not too sure it will be cell-free when I visit again, but definitely there will be other things to like about shopping in a bookstore.

  • Writer's picturePamela Tucker

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

I had typically shopped for fashion outside my neighborhood, meaning the stores

are located about a self imposed 10 blocks or so radius from my apartment. Unfortunately the number of stores in the area has dwindled so there is not much of a selection.

Compensating for the loss of shopping options, my neighborhood has expanded, with it now defined to any location where I want to walk -- and based on the day it could vary. On Saturday, a hot and humid day, decided to take a walk in the neighborhood to check out the shopping options and to see if I could find a few items.

The store visits were successful. I hadn't been to AnikNewYork, a one unit retailer located on the Upper East Side since the beginning of the pandemic. I like the trendy and less forward fashion merchandise it stocks. The fitting rooms are a nice size, but there are not any mirrors in them so you have to leave the room to get to the mirrors. I don't like doing that.

A benefit of switching up stores s is learning about new brands. While at AnikNewYork.

I came across a few brands I had not seen before. Estelle and Finn was one of those new brands. I bought a great pair of black "step-hem" styled black pants. Super fabric and perfect fit! When I got home I looked on line for some information about Estelle and Finn. Loved seeing the line is designed and made in New York City! Hoping it ramps up its website to provide more details about each of the products it offers and considers selling direct to customers via its website.

After AnikNewYork I walked a few blocks north to Mixology. With stores in New York and New Jersey this retailer focuses on a younger target market, GenZ and the Millennials. Nevertheless, the brand ZSupply caught my eye. The ZSupply cotton tee shirts felt soft to the touch. ZSupply is sold in other stores; but, it was nice to see it readily available nearby. Mixology is also stingy with mirrors. The fitting rooms are a nice size but you must leave the fitting room to see a mirror.

Overall a nice local shopping trip. What are you favorite local fashion stores?

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