I've already dished about why and how to keep an all-season wardrobe, particularly if you have limited storage space. Today, because you are all so kind, I'm going to make you privy to my very best Spring clothing tricks. These are so effective, cheap and simple I almost hate to reveal them, but I got many of the ideas from my groovy and elegant friend P., so I figure I should share the love for good karma.
Plus, I hate seeing us women being suckered into vapid what-to-wear t.v. shows and poring over ridiculous glossy mags that have absolutely no relevance to our daily lives. Let's stop being suckers and simply look great. We'll cut back on consuming and use our saved bucks for African safaris.
Here's the strategy, and it's simple: Buy one or two of each of these items.
A great little dress. Simple in the extreme, usually flattering and so damn easy. It's a wonder women wear anything else. I hardly do anymore, actually. For work, I buy them in wool or stretch cotton, perhaps paired with a cardigan. I keep a pair of pumps in my desk and wear sneaker-like flats (see below) on the train to and fro. Our First Lady, as you may have noticed, favors this dress/uniform strategy as well.
Hanging around, I buy empire-waisted cotton jersey. I even bought a dress to wear golfing, because those knee-length skorts or shorts make me look even pudgier than I am. I tend to go with dark colors, which don't show the dirt. On the other hand, prints like the one at right help camouflage the occasional pot belly.
Also, dresses are literally almost always cheaper than other clothing options. The reason fashion mags keep declaring dresses are dead, but women keep buying them, is because you can look great in a nifty summer shift for $30 or less. It's hard to put together a comparable ensemble of skirt/pants and blouse for that money.
A knee-length trench. Not one with a hood, because who needs more bulk? Yet one with a belted waist. You can throw that sucker on over a t-shirt and running shorts, if, for example, you have forgotten about the First Grade Art Show and need to look fabulously parental in a jiffy. Even designer Kate Spade has said, "I have worn trenches all day, every day, like a shirt, just over a bra! You never take it off."
Spade makes darling trenches, but there's no need to shell out the many hundreds of dollars one of hers will cost for an everyday-wear trench. Troll your local T.J. Maxx, or hop on over to Target to buy a great coat for only $24.49. You'll never have to wear sweats to pick up the kids again!
Pull that belt a little tighter if you've put on some weight to create the illusion of a waist. Hair undone? Throw on a saucy little hat. Finish with some easy flats or wedges. Which leads me to...
A pair of sneaker-flats. Get some ballet-ish flats, easy available from Aerosoles, Easy Spirit, Cole Haan or Geox, among others, with a rubber sole and some cushion to them. They'll take you comfortably through the entire day, from yoga to wine tasting (or gulping), and will go with your cheap little dresses.
Photo: Riviera dress from Boden, $88.20