Her Casual Uniform

I’m postponing the rather long post that I was working on today to answer questions from the most wonderful Mrs. PvE and Fairfax concerning the woman’s equivalent to the casual uniform for evening conundrum. I immediately sat down over my luncheon of a smoked salmon sandwich and a glass of pinot grigio to puzzle it out.

Dipping in to the world of women’s clothing is a bit like wading in the ocean when you know that there is a riptide about. (“Beware the ‘undertoad’ ” used to send chills up a friend’s spine as a child who misinterpreted his parents’ warnings.) Up to your shins is fairly safe. At about the knees, things get tricky.

So let’s start below the shins. For casual day wear you can’t go wrong with a good pair of flats (nothing too gimicky, although I’m a sucker for those pointy toe numbers) or riding boots. I can’t speak for the quality of any of the brands below, but I like the looks of ’em.

Ballet flats by Costume National via Zappos

Ballet flats by Costume National via Zappos

Michael Kors Hanna Flat via Zappos

Michael Kors Hanna Flat via Zappos

Elie Tahri Gabby Flat via Zappos

Elie Tahri Gabby Flat via Zappos

Tapeet by Vicini vi Zappos

Tapeet by Vicini vi Zappos

Sergio Rossi Riding Boots via Zappos

Sergio Rossi Riding Boots via Zappos

There that was easy.

And now here we are knee deep in it.

There are a number of ways to go regarding the leg. If forced to choose favourites, I would say that the shorter skirt worn with tights (think houndstooth with black tights), riding pants with the boots (of course), or well cut jeans (not too skinny or too low rise, please) could get you through most any situation not requiring a business suit or ball gown. (For slightly more formal, but short of gown territory, I favour the silk wide legged drawstring sort of trouser, or one of those asian inspired tunic and trouser combinations. I had one made up in heavy white silk and linen for Mrs. E. once.)

Ralph Lauren\'s Houndstooth Skirt via Amazon

Ralph Lauren's Houndstooth Skirt via Amazon

The Hudson Twill Jodhpur by Ralph Lauren

The Hudson Twill Jodhpur by Ralph Lauren

A great belt in an exotic skin (or embossed leather) will always be stylish.

Skinny Alligator Belt by Ralph Lauren

Skinny Alligator Belt by Ralph Lauren

Wide Alligator Belt by Ralph Lauren

Wide Alligator Belt by Ralph Lauren

The perfect white shirt is always correct, very easy and very elegant when worn open necked and with multiple strands of pearls or your diamond solitaire. Mrs. B. should be able to advise you on the perfect one.

The black cashmere turtleneck is versatile, comfortable and universally flattering. It would go well with the jeans, the jodhpurs, the skirt…

Black Cashmere Turtleneck by Michael Kors via eLuxury

Black Cashmere Turtleneck by Michael Kors via eLuxury

I love a doublebreasted blazer in blue or black. It will go with anything. Opt for four or six buttons that don’t fasten too high. Something like this, but in black or blue. You may have to split up a suit into separates…

Grey POW Hepburn Model Suit by TM Lewin

Grey POW Hepburn Model Suit by TM Lewin

Round things off with a classic bag. A Rickey style like Mr. Lauren’s, or a Kelly style. Regardless, something structured and in leather or exotic skin.

via Toff\'s World.

via Toff's World.

Of course, you could just replicate my uniform, swapping out the trousers for a skirt or going with the wide leg Kate Hepburn look. That ahving been said the other day a young professional woman parked across the street and stepped out of her black Lexus convertible wearing black frame sunglasses, a black shirt dress with an a-line skirt, a wide black belt, black flats and carrying a Kelly bag. She stopped traffic.

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