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Basics & Classics

Chic and elegance are more often associated with a simple, refined look than to, say, yellow faux fur and sparkly cowboy boots (I will let you be the judge of that!).

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In theory, this makes it easier for anyone to achieve a classic, timeless look;

All you need is to know your basics!

In your quest, you’ll find that a short well curated list of brands that make the staples that work for you is your best allie to be classy without breaking the bank.

Want examples?

Take jeans : nowadays, “good” jeans can easily be $300 to 500, and maybe it is your monthly shopping budget.

No name and cheap or even high-street jeans, if they can sometimes be good surprises, will more often not pass the test of time and loosen or shrunk after only a few washes.

So ok, they were “only” $69, but they are now heading to the “donate” pile.

My solution?

I personally have loved and trusted Levi’s for over 2 decades : the brand has been around since…1873.Here’s to being a “valeur sure”!

They make all the current styles, the quality is perfect and they last forever.

AND they will cost you only around 100 bucks!

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Even Levi’s famous 501 got the contemporary treatment!

+ if you are a little bit of a brand snob -which I admit to be at times, the Red Tab on your butt will hold up to any 7 or Lucky recognizable details, easy!

I apply the same philosophy to a lot of other of my wardrobe staples :

Sunglasses?

Ray Ban, duh!

Classic, not to say iconic, of irreproachable quality, and highly coveted by, well, everyone.

And all this for about $150 for a pair of the all time best sellers Aviators (versus anywhere between $300 and $500 for a pair of Chanel or Miu Miu sunnies!).

Ray Ban

If they are good enough for Scarlett, Victoria, Drew and…Well, Debra Morgan, I bet they’ll do!

The perfect T?

No reason (unless you decide you cannot do without it) to spend over $100 for an Alexander Wang everyday piece!

Stick with Petit Bateau (about $50 (*) to own a piece of French chic), or even Everlane ($15 for their basic The Cotton V model).

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I LOVED Petit Bateau campaign from a few years ago…SO cute and fresh!

Flip flops for the beach?

I’ll think havaianas before thinking Sam Edelman (Don’t worry though, Sam, I think of you A LOT when it comes to more daring designs!).

Sandals that go from relaxed to trendy?

I’d invest in a basic pair of Birkenstocks (**), maybe a tad pricier than the fast fashion replicas we’ve seen flourish everywhere these past seasons, but still WAY cheaper than their Prada counterpart, and…I have had mine since…2009!

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And the list of high-quality-high-iconicity-(low(er)-price brands or coveted items can go on and on and on…

Of course, I stay open minded to some high street or speciality brands, as Zara or Gap, but I must admit that I have been burnt a few times by poor quality, and I now tend to stick with brands I know will do me good.

Discovering or rediscovering iconic simple brands will help you build your perfect wardrobe base, and will allow you to splurge on those right now pieces you have to have or the designer bag no knockoff will compete with.

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Louis Vuitton 2015

A last advice?

When shopping those simple brands, stay focused on their classic, timeless pieces, which are often better than their attempts to bolder styles!

And of course, resale havens and online or brick and mortar private sales are a must, too.

And YES : being a good shopper IS a full time job! 😉

(*) A tip for you travelers : Petit Bateau is slightly cheaper…In France!That is why I always stock up on their basics, as well as underwear and pajamas for my son, when I visit my family!

(**)PLEASE, no Birkenstock on less than stellarly manicured feet.EVER!

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