Basic Instinct


That’s a misleading title for this post, but perusing the latest issues of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, I was struck by a single thought: You’ve already got all this.

The theory is that in tough economic times it only makes sense to invest in something other than throw away fashion. “Buy things that you will love forever!” shout the editors.

Ummm. Yes.

Actually, that’s really good advice in any economic climate and for both genders. It’s just good common sense, basic instinct, isn’t it? I bet that if you’ve been following that bit of advice for awhile, you’ve got all the elements needed for a perfectly elegant summer wardrobe already.

Herewith, the Easy and Elegant Life Basic Woman’s Wardrobe for the Warmer Months.

1) Espadrilles (flats.) I love them in stripes, in bright basic colours like white and red, in dark solids like navy and black. Perfect for indoors or out of doors.

2) A white sandal, with or without metal accents. White shows off that tan.

3) Great sunglasses. You can’t go wrong with Ray Bans (Wayfarers or Aviators), and I love Mrs. E’s Persol’s. Black, gold metal, silver metal or tortoiseshell.

4) A striped fisherman’s pullover like those from St. James or any number of makers. 3/4 sleeve, boat neck.

5) A perfect white shirt (I can recommend Brooks Brothers’; it is as advertised. But stock up at The Gap for casual wear, too.)

6) Black and khaki capris. Lightweight cotton. No bells and whistles, no laced up legs or fancy metal studs. Just plain, dress ’em up or down capris.

7) Whites. That would be a dress, skirt or trousers. Maybe even in linen. Whatever you tend to wear when it gets blindingly hot.

8 ) A black bandeau bikini or maillot. You just can’t go wrong. I think one of my earliest “brand” experiences was Bain de Soleil “For that St. Tropez tan”. Sophistication. Can you look elegant on the beach? This is a good start.

9) Sundresses. But please, with spaghetti straps at least. They just look neater. Prints? Colour Blocks? Up to you. In cotton or linen.

10) A polka dot dress. Navy with white. A-line or with a fuller skirt. Classic, go anywhere wear.

11) A sarong. For the beach. It’s a towel, it’s a coverup, it’s a shade, it’s a picnic blanket….

12) The little black dress. Seasonless.

13) Sparkly accessories. Gold tones on tanned skin. Diamonds are forever. White pearls… (just remember to wipe off the suntan lotion and perfume first….)

14) A navy blazer (or a white suit that can be split into separates). Lightweight, in linen. You just never know.

15) Brown belt, shoes and handbag. The spectator cream and brown combinations are especially elegant in summer. Croc prints are wonderful against linen.

16) A lightweight cardigan. Throw it over your shoulders. Air conditioning can be a shock after a day in the sun.

17) Self tanner. To even out or just to avoid the problems associated with long-term exposure.

18) A colourful tennis shirt (Lacoste, Polo, Peter Polo… but make it a shocking bright one)

19) A colourful scarf. It’s convertible weather.

What got me thinking about summer aside from the magazines… Today’s Tuesday, it’s been three days of this:


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