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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Guest Post : : Joanna of Mrs. Bossa Does the Do


Every so often, the fashion media rolls out that old page-filler – a woman’s staple items of clothing, full of ‘must-haves’, ‘basics’ and the 'foundations of a working wardrobe’. Despite the fact that they ‘should’ all be in our wardrobes anyway, they always find new and exciting ways to send us on spending sprees for these least exciting of items. I think we all appreciate the thought, but for me they’re so lacking in appeal; I accept that by their nature they’re not meant to be exciting purchases, but to plug them as essential doesn’t take into account that they don’t actually suit everyone. And what’s the point of splashing out on yet another thing destined for the ‘never worn’ section of the wardrobe?

So here’s how I have navigated the dull old route of ‘wardrobe staple-ism’ (as it shall now be called), and found more wearable alternatives – let me know yours in the comments!

FIVE WARDROBE STAPLES I CAN LIVE WITHOUT

Trench Coat: For me, this is the worst of the worst. I get the idea of a ‘catch-all’ coat, light enough for most occasions. But let’s face it, the belt doesn’t really flatter anyone with demi curves, and the beige colour makes otherwise healthy people look remarkably corpse-like. The lapels also make me feel like a detective, which hardly goes hand-in-hand with sex appeal. Some people do look lovely in them, however; on gamine Audrey Hepburn? Chic. On luscious Catherine Deneuve? Glamorous. On me? Sack of potatoes.

Mrs B’s alternative: Find a coat in your favourite shape and a fabulous colour; it’ll perk you up even on all-black days.


Is that Mrs Bossa, or a sack of vegetables? (source)

White shirt: Sorry, fashion world, but not all of us look all that great in light colours. And white is too much for a former goth like myself. Add to that the school shirt memories, the stain-avoidance and the necessity of ironing, and this one is definitely a no-go. Always sounds great, but the only thing I like crisp and white is my wine.

Mrs B’s alternative: A plain t-shirt. A pussy bow blouse. Anything but this.

Not so clean and fresh now, is it? (source)

Classic black shoe: Again, I see the idea behind this – a shoe that will work from day to night, and all that jazz. But to be honest, a ‘classic’ black shoe ain’t the most exciting of items, and we’d all do well to invest in a pair with a bit of character.

Mrs B’s alternative: A pair of vintage mid-heels. Go for colour if you want to add quirk, and a neutral if you want to blend. Zips, studs, platforms or patent leather entirely optional. Just go for something that’s you.


Anyone seen my toolkit? (source)

Jeans: I forsee a bit of heckling on this point. And to be honest, it’s just sour grapes – I have never found a pair of jeans that make me look or feel good, and unless I decide to fork out £200, I don’t expect to. Skinnies make my legs look like icicles, flares trail on the floor, and boyfriend jeans make me feel like I’m about to sort out someone’s plumbing. They’re just not me.

Mrs B’s alternative: the straight leg trouser, or if you’re my shape, a peg leg – I love that my brogues, flip flops, wedges and stilettos all work with this style…and I never feel like I’m copping out in the style stakes.


Horizontal stripes do not a Bardot make... (source)

Breton tops: Don’t get me wrong – I love me a stripe. I’m always drawn to them, and love how they look on other people (usually those that also look chic in trenchcoats and jeans). But they just don’t flatter me. I a sucker for Gallic charm too, but I’d rather go the route of the beret and Gauloises than don a pattern that distorts my shape beyond all recognition.

Mrs B’s alternative: a loose, fine-knit tee in your favourite neutral – I add character with my jewellery instead.

How do you work wardrobe staples?
And what items in your wardrobe could you just not live without
?

27 comments:

  1. How very true. My 'must haves' - looking back over the years- include a (faux) fur collar cardigan, silver shoes, a black jersey dress and several blazers. I have a white shirt and several neutral/black tailored suits, white shirts, 'classic' jeans (gah. 'Classic' usually means 'compromise' and 'looks good if it's v expensive') which I NEVER wear.

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  2. Loved the spin you put on this! I love trench coats too but it's 95 degrees where I live 360 days out of the year, so it just isn't practical! One my must haves though is a cardigan because it may be hot outside but inside, the AC is always blaring so it keeps me from freezing to death!

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  3. Such a great post that made me smile. :) I am actually with you about the black shoe thing - I don't have any and am not planning to buy any either... Too predictable and make my weirdy small feet look even smaller. :)
    x

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  4. This is hilarious! I totally agree about the white shirt! With the ironing, stain avoidance (both food and BO!), they are a big no! They make my teeth look yellow too!

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  5. fantastic post! funny and true! i try to wear the trench, I LIKE trenchcoats, but you're right the beige on my beige skin- not so chic, and I get this all the time: you look like a stripper under that jacket.
    white blouse+ me = stained blouse. nuff said.
    jeans, yeah I've one pair of 200 jeans and they are the only ones I could find that weren't low rise. and to be honest 200 bucks has made me looked better on almost any other clothing item.

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  6. This is very funny! I actually can (and do!) where most of these items. Except--- As an adult I have never owned a white button down. And I never will. They do nothing for me. It isn't the color. It is everything.

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  7. I do love a darling peg leg trouser. I also love a good boyfriend jean. Don't hate me. Ha!

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  8. Yes, white blouses are the bane of my existence! Still like the Breton stripes but have been shopping sweaters in increasingly fine gauge knits...I hear you, loud and clear.

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  9. Totally agree.. we are always told what we must have but generally speaking those classics make me feel BLAH and boring! especially the white shirt... i always just end up looking like a badly dressed waitress!

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  10. oh yey!!!glad I find someone who doesn't like the trench too!! I do like coats in winter but when spring comes, I don't want to wear something that goes further down than my hips! I like blazers and jackets for that reason!
    I love jeans and I don't fret over if they make my butt look nice. They just have to be comfortable and yes I agree that straight leg jeans and pants are the most flattering!
    I like t-shirts a lot...my usual "outfit" would be cardigan+t-shirt...occassionally I like shirts, but I don't own a white one!!!
    Anna

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  11. I agree with your logic - that is the trouble with wardrobe staples they are not for all. I much prefer a black trench coat with beret!

    But then as I like to say ..rules, staples, must haves - whatever! x

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  12. I like your must haves versus her's. My must haves are wedges, good fitting pair of jeans, sweet dress, multipurpose cardigan, & a great bag. xo

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  13. Hahahhahahhahahhahahah I am dying over here! I love this post. Thank you both for this very happy moment. I don`t follow any fashion rules exept one; fringes on everything, including my running shoes.

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  14. So true! The white shirt never works for me.

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  15. I can't live without jeans. But, it took some time to find the cuts that work for me. White shirts never work for me. I am clumsy, and they ended up as spotted shirts.

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  16. Mrs. Bossa, Once more you prove yourself sage!

    Thank you for the wonderful pull up regarding must-haves. I love it. Why the hell am I thinking about white shirts, for instance, when I've just moved to red clay country. Beats me. Time to pull out something I LOVE.

    xo

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  17. I have jeans and I love them, but mainly cos I'm lucky enough that Dotty P £10 basics fit me nicely and I don't have to go through the awful experience that is jeans shopping.

    As for the rest of the so-called wardrobe basics, uck! I find them so tedious to shop for so I tend to just not bother. My eye gets drawn to colour and pattern and interesting things, not plain, sensible stuff. Even my only pair of black heels are sky high and suede - hardly practical.

    Things that I would really struggle without - Irregular Choice shoes, bright red cardi, pyjamas. Yes, I don't wear the latter outside the house but they're my comfy, lazy staple.

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  18. Such a good post, I love reading your alternatives. Honestly, I have a white blouse and I don't wear it at all, haha! So these fashion staple item rules were made to have modifications. Nice work Joanna! -xo

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  19. It's so nice to hear someone say anything against the so-called wardrobe must-haves! It's refreshing to hear someone say, "Hey, I'm not anti-xyz, but it just does not work for me, and so I've done abc as a worthy substitute." That's advice more people should heed. Oh, and I loved the selection of photos too. -Steph's friend.

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  20. This is such a spot on post!
    I was thrilled to find a vintage Burberry trench for pennies at a jumble sale but despite my efforts it looked dreadful on me and to be honest I can e=never understand when a beige raincoat would fit into my life. No hood, too formal and I just looked like a bad detective. x

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  21. Oh, Mrs. B, how I love you. The bit about the boyfriend jeans, I couldn't agree more! I've been on the hunt for a perfect white button-down that actually fits my shape (notice I say fits, not flatters; wishful thinking is too far) and while I like the look I sometimes think I'm hunting for it simply because I feel I have to have it; like my wardrobe will be the laughing stock of all wardrobedom if it doesn't have a classic white button-down. Heaven forbid! Such a refreshing post.

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  22. hahahahahahahahahahaha!!! I LOVE THIS POST!!! I couldn't agree more with the bit about a classic trench. They NEVER look good on me!!! My addition would be the wrap dress, I have not found a wrap dress I could call friend in my life.

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