In the days when I worked, my wardrobe was easy to put together. Set.
Wardrobe X = [(tees x jackets) + Armani pants = formal work] + [(tees x jackets) + nice jeans = casual work] + casual jeans + house trashwear + exercise gear + little black dress. (Not to mention the old ball gown waiting in the back of closet for some imaginary event).
Now that I’m mostly at home, well, let’s see.
Wardrobe Y = [yoga pants x tops = in house and actual yoga] + [casual jeans & khakis x tees = can leave the house at least] + nice jeans + even nicer jeans + little black dress. (Old ball gown still waiting in the back of closet for you know what).
Here’s the problem with Wardrobe Y. It is topless. For all intents and purposes. My old tees used to look good only because a) I wore a jacket over them b) I was younger and my waistline more defined.
Time for the next step in Wardrobe Y optimization. The wardrobe for a life where you have lost your job may be lost, but not your wish to look pulled together. Standalone tops required. Jackets become sort of a pain in the neck. How do I know? Because I’ve been wearing this, every time I have any desire to make a showing of any sort.
Because until it got hot I wore my Naracamie shirt all the time.
What is your favorite standalone top? The one you can throw on over jeans to go shopping, for lunch at a good restaurant? For an early dinner, outside, with white wine, goat cheese and honey? For me, it’s a tunic. I’m tired of holding in my stomach. If it’s going to thicken, okay, I suppose. I concede. But I don’t have to parade that little pudge all over the known universe.
I went hunting for tunics online. We have the <$100 contenders from J. Crew and J. Jill. Not quite enough panache to carry off what I'm envisioning.
We have the $100-$200 contenders from the Tunic Queens, Lilly, Milly (was $245, on sale down to $145), and Tory (was $345, on sale down to $162). I’ve liked pieces from these designers before, but this year, not so much.
Various other contenders in this price range, include Tahari, a line called Johnny Was, and my favorite, Geoffrey Parkinson. (Was $225, but on sale down to $129).
And yes, net-a-porter has a host of tunics to look at, but they were all either too froofy, too long-sleeved, too expensive. or the wrong color for me. Women in their 50s should not wear anything named “baby doll.” Even if it’s just a silhouette. You may find something perfect.
I found perfection online at Brown’s.
A little houndstooth for ironic classicism, a little global sophistication, some navy. What could be better? For £295, or $430. Ouch.
When the answer to an online quest is Dries van Noten, most of us have to switch strategies. If the envisioned solution doesn’t exist, we have to enter the real world. One thing I’ve found is that dreaming is the stuff of, well, dreams, but you have to be prepared to throw everything aside and deal with what is. Keep your vision in mind, sure, but focus on a solution.
Lace tunic, Laundry, by Shelli Segal. And all this time I thought it was Tory Burch:).
J. Crew striped, belted, J. Jill White, buttoned
The Tunic Queens, Lilly Pulitzer, Milly via Nordstrom and ShopStyle, Tory Burch,
Tahari flowered via Saks, Johnny Was multicolored via Neiman Marcus, Gregory Parkinson low-necked via Barney’s
Dries van Noten via Brown’s