hop over to Marsha's new web shop, lots of goodies for you & the holidays

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Basic Black

As promised, this is the 1st part of what I
would recommend for your "all grown up" lady's
basic black wardrobe components.

I don't think too many young girls read my
blog, and so this is not intended for people who can wear
anything and look fabulous (because they ARE young).

Instead, it's what I would recommend to a woman who
might have been my client at Sak's 5th Avenue, when I
worked there.  We are going to begin building a serious
wardrobe of collectible, seasonless, long-lasting key pieces.

This is called investment dressing.

Don't be afraid it's all gonna cost too much.
At first, it will seem like it.

But, when we amortize our apparel over the X's worn
and the year's worn, it will prove a worthy investment.

This is St. John.
The jacket is a knit.
The black will always be black.
The jacket will always be perfect.
It is care-free, looks polished & sleek always.

The pants are also St. John, but they are not
the old Santana knit. They are a new modern fabric
of wool & spandex, so they don't wrinkle...ever.

Neither of these attract lint.
This 4-letter word is the most horrible of all
when applied to our apparel.
Don't be afraid of St. John now.
It's being designed in an entirely new updated way
and does NOT look like your mother's or grandmother's.

Look at the cut of the jacket with it's Mandarin collar.

If you leave it open, with a white silk or cotton blouse under,
add piles of pearls or other beads, or even a single chain,
you have a professional look.

Worn like it is shown can be a wonderful cocktail look
with this large silk flower, glitzy underpinning, high heels,
sparkling little clutch.

You could wear jeans, like Ralph's black ones.
wedges, huge shoulder bag, big jewelry

You can wear a maxi skirt, black or printed.
worn closed with a wildly printed skirt,
big floppy colored flower, cute sandals,
black straw handbag

You can wear a suit-length skirt, leather or silk.
sleek black leather shoulder bag
black pumps

Please don't tell me you will get tired of the piece.
You won't.
Because it will always look different.

If you're a young mother, a working woman, a
world traveller, or a lady who lunches,
this is a vital piece of a well-built wardrobe.

No, it's not a trend-setting Gucci bomber,
nor a Balmain huge big statement piece which
will last only 1 season,
and it's not a fluffy ruffled Valentino,
or a piece of fast-fashion's knockoffs,
which will also last only 1 season.

It's a wardrobe staple, it costs $1195.00,
unless you find one on sale, or at an
 outlet mall, or EBay,
which is entirely possible.

If you're travelling you could absolutely wear this
every single day, in Seattle, San Francisco, New York,
Chicago, London, Paris or Venice.
Maybe not in Houston because in summer it is so
hideously hot...that's WHY we travel.

So let's say you wear it 1X a week,
that's 50 X's a year.

You could do this with
Armani Collezioni,
or Escada
just as well.
Depends on what you like the best. 
But, ONE perfect black jacket is where to begin.

Black Slacks
Black Jeans

Back Flats
Black Boots
Black Pumps
Black Casual Sandals
Black Wedges
(ok ok, you can go to DSW for the shoes,
I know how much fun it is)

Black Summer Handbag
Black Leather Shoulder Bag
Huge Black Satchel

Black Cashmere Tee
Black Silk Tee
Black Silk Blouse
Black Silk Camisole
Black Turtleneck, the best you can afford.

Black Sheer Stockings
Black Matte Stockings
Black Textured Stockings
Black Leggings
Black Socks, ones you can wash by hand

Black Pearl Studs, big ones

This group of clothes can take you to any capitol in the world,
to any event at any time.

There have been many posts about the basics of
wardrobing.  My take may be a bit different because I'm
not going to tell you to go to Target or Talbot's.
I wish everyone could understand the actual value of fine apparel.
It's looks fine. 
It stands the test of time.

Blacks stay black after washing or good dry cleaning
(which should be minimal).
They don't lose their shape.
They don't go out of style.

And, please, look at all the professional people in
the business of fashion...the editors, the stylists, the
art directors, etc.
They ALL wear black to every single fashion week's events.

Love to you all...




  1. I love black. But they say black is to Fall and Winter what Navy Blue is to Spring and Summer. I love both. Hugs Anne

  2. Ooohh- I can tell I am going to love this series! It is just what I need.
    Seriously. Need.

  3. Sweet!
    I love basic colors.
    Black, pewter, white.
    But St. John likes tiny woman...
    I am tall....but no size 4..... still in the single digits...but I always think their clothes look better on petite woman.... ummmm... perhaps I should dress up more and get out of the scrubs..
    Have a great weekend...

  4. About size: St. John fits everyone, big or small, short or tall. Go try some of the pieces on and you will be pleasantly surprised.

  5. Love these basic black in my wardrobe too! They're classic and chic! Enjoy the fabulous weekend, Kellie xx

  6. Ahhh....BLACK. That is about all I wear in winter but with different textures, accessories and styles!!! HOW THERE DEAREST! Yes, you are on my list of links for NEXT SATURDAY; I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with. My husband is even in on it!!!

    Have a lovely week and see you next Saturday! Anita

  7. This is my kind of post Marsha. My wardrobe consists of black, black and more black with a little bit of white, grey, burgundy and, I do have a skirt and, just recently purchased, some wide legged trousers, in a ditzy print. Quite an achievement for me !!!!
    I am going to a wedding in June and will wear black but, with a stone coloured hat !
    I'm not familiar with St. John but, I'm sure that we have similar. I'll have to look out for it.....not sure if it's in the UK. XXXX

  8. Marsha, sounds like my Mama's word.
    She worked at Neimens and never had a packed closet, but what was there was the best. She used to ask me when styles change look at hems and collars.. buy accordingly. Her cloth's were timeless.

  9. This is one wonderful post! I'm a firm believer in investment pieces. They will last forever and versatility is key. And I'm black all the way :)

    Hope you're having a lovely weekend, sweetie! xoxo

  10. I hear you loud and clear!
    Superb advice!!
    Perfectly laid out...
    Thank you!!!

  11. Lovin' this! I so agree with you about investment pieces. Years ago my husband and I took a trip to Sweden to visit a good friend. Every day we passed a ladies clothing store that we were told only sold "quality" items. A blouse in the window caught my eye. Mandarin collar, jewel tone swirls on a black background, long sleeves, silky material. Finally I went in to have a closer look. But the price scared me. They actually had a size 2 and my husband encouraged me to try it on. Felt so good. Again the priced scared me because I had never spent so much on any item of clothing but my husband insisted I purchase it. 25 years later I am still wearing that blouse, loving it and receiving compliments. Yes, price tags do shock but if you love the item it is so worth the money. Thank you for doing this series. It is soooo needed!

  12. Dear Marsha, I really like St John. In the early days of Ebay I got some amazing bargain price jumpsuits and dresses by them.

    I have so much black but often not the basic piece I need. Great list.

    Hope you're good. I will check out the Paris blog, thank you. Much love, C xx

  13. I love this post Marsha ... and I am a strong believer in investment pieces.
    I was never a real fan of St.John, when I was living in the US, but I'm sure it has changed ... you cant go wrong with classic black pieces!
    Love your honesty ...

  14. What a smart post. I agree completely. I feel good when I buy staple pieces and would rather spend my money there. I prefer to save on the "in" items for the season... A fun color that i can enjoy for the season and then let go... Im not a saver, except for the staples! Can't wait for more!

  15. Oh indeed! Black is black and so beautiful!!! I love black! I have some black dresses that I love to combine with white or more vivid colors! Depends!


Thank you so much for your wonderful comments, each of them mean so much to me. After all, the interaction is the reason we blog. xx's