Curating the Classics


For the last few years, I’ve been making a concerted effort to be more European in my shopping habits. Instead of running to Forever 21 for a quick, cheap trendy item, or eternally scouring the J. Crew sale rack and buying anything I could afford even if I didn’t love it (ahem, orange cashmere turtleneck), I’ve been asking myself a different set of questions before I buy:

Do I love this item?

Is this the best quality?

Will it be dated next season or will it always be on-trend?

Does it look fabulous on me?

If the answer isn’t yes to all of the above, I don’t purchase. Instead of buying, I am finally curating, applying thought and effort into what comes into my closet. Already, this has saved me from several sartorial near-disasters: cat loafers (cute, but overly trendy. Also, I’m not a Japanese teenage girl, so it’s questionable whether or not I could have pulled these off anyway), bensimon sneakers in a bright coral (do I want them because I love them or do I only want them because they’re French? “Because it’s French!” is actually a reason I do way too many things) and yet another cheap scarf (or twelve) while abroad.

This new way of curating has also led to a series of purchases I couldn’t be more excited about: a beautiful, petite pebbled leather cross body bag from Calvin Klein. A small but sturdy umbrella in a classic red. And a fitted black blazer with a whimsical, yet subtle, polka dot lining. I smile every time I turn up the cuffs. And…that’s it. The euphoric highs of finding a bargain, and the accompanying lows when cheap clothing falls apart and I hate everything I own, are slowly being replaced with the knowledge that I will always look polished when I have the right foundations: a classic trench coat, beautifully tailored black pants, dark skinny jeans, ballet flats with a hint of shine, a soft, sky blue pashmina.

There are so many blogs that encourage, subtly or not, the idea that we should always be shopping, buying, consuming and replacing. Not only is this a waste of money, time, and resources, but ultimately, most of us don’t really look that great in the crap that we buy (myself most firmly included).

To help me stay the course (because let’s be honest, those cheap necklaces and sunglasses are tempting and fun) some inspiration and help are below:

Matchbook Magazine’s 50 Closet Classics

Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl

Frederic Fekkai’s A Year of Style

What do you consider a “classic” item that you have to have in your closet? I’d love to know!

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