Does basic get too basic?

Yesterday, I went to an open studios event at Everlane. They're an online clothing line that designs basic clothes and works directly with factories to make high-quality items for less money (by keeping their line very focused and cutting out the middle layers of wholesale->retail).

They're based down the street from me, and they had an open house to let people try on their not-yet-released fall things and also the items they have available for 1-hour delivery in SF. It was nice to get a sense of the sizing on different items. Though it was one of our hottest days, so trying on chunky merino was painful!

Anyway, here's the thing. My wardrobe - tops, especially - is becoming full of basics, often repeated. I have 5 or 6 black Uniqlo drapey cotton tees that are perfect with everything. I could happily wear black sleeveless silk shirts three or four times a week. I have a new one from Everlane that is amazing thick silk, as good as Equipment, so I might duplicate it - or triplicate. I was tempted to get a few of their black silk tank tops, also, and another long-sleeve silk blouse to go along with my two Uniqlo Ines de la Fressange silk blouses (another duplicate...).

But, with my current obsession with Uniqlo (for cheap basics), Everlane (for minimalist staples like silk tops), and COS (still haven't bought anything) - am I going to become too boring? I'm trying to give myself permission to stock up on the silk tops but I worry that I'm going to get stuck in a rut.

I guess I rely on all-black for impact, and I think that's ok. I have high-quality shoes and a selection of crazy pants and skirts. Maybe I should just recognize that tops are not where I want to be crazy. I get enough drama from basic silhouettes. I also recognize that this is fitting a trend shift towards luxe basics. It feels hipster (in a good way) and French (also in a good way).

Some of the tops in question:


WIW: dinner with scientists

Tonight, we went to a dinner party hosted by my department's recent Nobel laureate (!!!). It was just a casual dinner to welcome the past year's new faculty hires. I wasn't quite sure what to wear, but put together two outfit options that seemed about right for the event.

My boyfriend helpfully took photos of both so I could ask friends for advice, and they unanimously chose #1. It's a Theory cotton shirtdress over my skinniest R13 jeans, with these fun heels I almost never get to wear.

So, I wore #1, and it was great. Comfortable, sharp, and the right tone for the crowd. It's funny to realize how anxious I still am about dressing for events, just leftover feelings from many years of always feeling awkward.

Outfit option #2 will be revisited later, but I can see why no friends voted for it. It's a Zara wool dress with great ruching and draping. Unfortunately, it hits my calves in exactly the wrong point. I made it worse by choosing the ankle boots, but I wanted boots to make it less dressy because I knew the dinner would be fairly casual. Friends pointed out that the proportions of the boots with the hem weren't great. I'm going to get it hemmed to knee length, I think - as in the photos from Zara:
Should I try to hit just at the top of my kneecap?

My guy looked sharp in a black fitted buttoned shirt, black jeans (with the perfect real black denim, not overdyed solid black, so they had some visual texture), and his Fluevog boots. Wish I had a photo!

Bonus photo: A week or so ago I posted about a jacket that I love. I decided it was too big and returned it, but here's a photo of it. It could have worked but at the price, I didn't want to risk it.


Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →