How I Learned to Embrace Style Essentials

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One of the worst style decisions I ever made when I was starting out in the fashion industry was to buy a ton of over-the-top statement pieces. Sequin blazers, ruffled dresses, colorful tops in about every shade of the rainbow, the sky was the limit as long as it was A: affordable or cheap and B: loud as hell. I thought as a newly minted freelance assistant at ELLE Magazine that my wardrobe should reflect all of the gorgeous runway collections arriving to our offices and at our photoshoots. Unfortunately, my budget would never allow for those exact pieces to be the ones to find their ways into my closet (I still to this day feel so lied to by The Devil Wears Prada) so I would gravitate towards anything from H&M and Forever 21 that I thought was a close enough facsimile.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think statement clothing is inherently a bad thing. I have many truly gorgeous, guaranteed to get you street style shot, items from places like ZARA in my possession that I will covet for a long time to come. However, as a then recently graduated young professional, I never really invested in the building block essentials needed to be the foundation of any stellar closet.


Every morning I would wake up, search through my very tiny, VERY overflowing wardrobe and say the same words, “I have nothing to wear.” This panic every day would lead to a vicious cycle of buying new increasingly flamboyant pieces that would then leave me feeling like I had no ways to wear said items, as well as an ever diminishing closet space. It wasn’t until we were working on a fashion essentials feature at the magazine that I finally had my great style epiphany.



As the market editors began to request items, copious amounts of luxurious denims, the softest white and black tees, sleek boots and, finally, the most glorious cashmere sweaters began arriving at our fashion closet. I remember thinking, why would a fashion magazine ever feature something, well, so BORING? It wasn’t until one of the editors showed up at the office in a combination of all these pieces paired with extravagant Dolce and Gabbana printed over coat that I finally understood.



These pieces, no matter how simple, are building blocks to your outfit and create the support system for your eye catching pieces to be truly spectacular. Think of your outfit as a symphony; if all the pieces are playing loudly then it is just noise, but if each instrument plays and harmonizes together then the music as a whole is better. So, go ahead invest in those basics and don’t ever feel BASIC about it. While normcore might not be the buzz word du jour any longer, I hope that I’ve made a convincing enough argument to invest in style staples. Remember sometimes it’s the simplest things that make the biggest statements.



The Everyday Editor


Fisherman Hat: Karema Deodato Millinery (For Similar Style). Leopard Coat: Vintage (For Similar Style). White Tee Shirt: By Judy Zhang (For Similar Style)Chunky Knit Cardigan: Zara (For Similar Style)Mom Jeans: ASOS (HERE)White Boots, Dear Frances: (For Similar Styles). * also go to this link for a referral code of $100 off for these boots.

All photos by Della Bass

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