I can get downright emotional about fashion if you let me.
There are items I’ve added to my wardrobe over the years that remain dear to my heart â€” they remind me of a milestone, a turning point, a first date, a new job. I believe some pieces truly have the ability to transform a person: they give you a momentary high, a raised self-esteem and a spark of optimism.
Below, I pay respect to four of the best staples a woman can own.
Have you ever pulled on a pair of jeans, turned to look in the mirror, and thought damn, I look good? Jeans have the uncanny ability to make a big butt look small, enable short legs to rival a model’s, and can be worn a ridiculous number of times while still looking good.
There have been a lot of great jeans wearers out there – Cameron Diaz, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Bosworth – those fashionistas that have mastered the high-low look and understand the versatility of denim.
The first pair of premium denim I bought was a pair of A-pocket Seven for all Mankind jeans. I remember trying them on in the dressing room at Bloomingdales, amazed at my transformation. Definitely worth the money: I remember the party I went to that night, I remember the compliments and I remember how happy I was. And I ask, how can that be a bad thing?
Since then, I’ve had my share of Blue Cults, Rock & Republics and Citizens, but nothing has compared to that first pair. They signaled I was living on my own, making my own money and proud to buy a pair of jeans that made me feel like a million bucks.
My love affair with tall boots began with a black leather, slightly military pair that I purchased the first winter I lived in Chicago. Besides the obvious advantage of keeping my feet warm and dry, I soon noticed that they transformed me into a powerful, independent woman capable of anything.
I call this Boot Complex and I’m guessing it has played an important role in history – think Napoleon, Custer and Winston Churchill. Boots make you feel like you can overcome anything that comes your way, whether it’s an army or simply a puddle.
When I studied in Spain during college, I bought a khaki trench at H&M in Barcelona. For a while, I couldn’t go anywhere without it. It evoked a similar feeling to my tall boots – I felt strong, yet slightly incognito, and although it was a far cry from Burberry, I hoped I appeared as mysterious as Kate Moss. A trench can empower you, it can hide you, and it’s always in style.
I have been obsessed with big bags for as long as I can remember. A dinky purse just has never done it for me. I mean, I have a lot of things. At all times, my handbag holds my wallet, engagement calendar, the latest WWD issue, my umbrella, Nano, mobile phone, nail clippers, a pen, chapstick, sunglasses and keys.
My first oversized handbag, which I love dearly, was a Francesco Biasia, purchased for $99.99 at TJ Maxx. Constructed of soft black leather and silver hardware, it had long shoulder straps and was perfectly functional. (Size reference: it could easily hold a MacBook Pro, several issues of CS magazine and/or work shoes if sporting commuters that day.)
My mother and sister frequently chided me, as in, “Andra, don’t forget your suitcase!” but my Biasia never let me down, save for the one time I swung it over my shoulder, shattering a water glass at Scoozi.
Regardless, a big handbag, that beloved carryall, is a microcosm of one’s life – it represents you and what’s important to you.
And hey, if ever stranded on a deserted island with the big bag of the moment, I’m confident you could MacGyver something better than the man himself.
And so I’ll sum it up –
More important things in life? Of course.
Is it materialistic? Maybe.
Can it lift your spirits and make for a brighter day? Absolutely.
1. The â€œAâ€? jean at 7forallmankind.com.
2. 575 denim antique black stretch low flare jeans at bluefly.com.
3. Betsey Johnson Voyage boot for $370 at piperlime.com.
4. Loeffler Randall â€œMatildeâ€? flat boot at shopbop.com.
5. Lambswool trench at Laredoute.com.
6. Burberry double breast trench coat at burberry.com.
7. Francesco Biasia Bowler Bag at Nordstrom.com.
8. Chloe Paddington leather shopper at net-a-porter.com.