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What are your 100 perfect pieces?

Have you heard of this book called The One Hundred by Nina Garcia (of Project Runway fame)?

The idea behind this little book is that there are about 100 pieces that every stylish woman ought to own, from ballet flats to a trench coat to wide-leg trousers. Nina lists her choices for the top 100, and invites the reader to create her own list.

Now, I have to say, my knee-jerk reaction to anyone telling me what are “must-haves” is to raise my hackles. Why? Because we are so inundated with women’s magazine and television and now blogs telling us what we “must” buy in order to be stylish. But is it stylish to look the same as everyone else? Or to buy things because a style authority tells you to?

Nevertheless, that was just my gut reaction, and it’s really not very fair to this little book. Most of those “must have” columns I’m describing are pushing trendy items, many of which will leave you scratching your head in a season or two.

The concept of The One Hundred is different, because it obviously emphasizes classic styles that last over trendy throw-away items. It doesn’t advocate continually buying more and more. In fact, it’s the opposite: Coming up with a list of useful, classic wardrobe components that you can buy (or make!) over time.

That said, I don’t really understand many of the pieces included in the book. Champagne? Cowboy boots? Havaianas? an iPod? But at the same time, Nina is clear that this is just her list, and that you should feel free to create your own.

I started brainstorming my own list. It’s a bit long to post here, but it really did help me think about what I actually wear and what I should concentrate on buying and making this year. You know, things that I can actually wearing for years and years to come.

Do you think this “100 pieces” concept could work for wardrobe and sewing planning? What would be on your list?

Photos:Ballet Flats, Little Black Dress, Funky Tights, Statement Necklace, Fun/Functional Bag

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On , Miriana said:

If I counted everything in my wardrobe I’m not sure I’d even reach 100.

On , Stephanie said: | star-spangledheart.blogspot.com

I think this is a pretty cool idea! I think my list would be a bit more flexible and include things like a dress that makes you feel like a million bucks, a fabulous pair of shoes that are more comfortable than they look, red (or other brightly colored) shoes, and let’s not forget basics! cardigans, pants, skirts and tops in solids to mix and match with patterns elsewhere.

On , Hannah said:

On his old show Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style, he always took the women shopping for 10 essential items, and I thought that was a fabulous idea (and 10 is a much more achievable number than 100). I think the notion was that the things on the list would form a foundation for the rest of your wardrobe, and if you made sure to purchase quality items, you could keep them for years because they were all so classic. I don’t remember all of them, but he said every woman should own a tailored white shirt, a cashmere sweater, and a trench coat. I just love the idea of having basics to build on, instead of feeling like I’m expected to start my whole wardrobe from scratch every other season.

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

10 seems like a great, achievable number, especially if you’re thinking of sewing some/most of them. I can easily think of 10 basics I’d wear all the time.

On , Becky said: | sew-and-so.blogspot.com

I’ve seen columns like this before too–I read a whole bunch of them a couple of years ago when I was re-evaluating my own personal style. And I always have a knee-jerk reaction of dislike for them, too. I’ve always felt like those lists aren’t “me”…I’ve owned white button-down shirts before and ended up passing them to Goodwill because I never wore them, cashmere sweaters always feel a bit grandmotherly to me (and wool kind of makes me break out in a rash anyway, which is sad), and I don’t work in a corporate setting, or even an office setting at the moment. So I think my “essentials” tend to fall more into the category of concepts than specific pieces– well-fitting jeans, funky-printed tops and skirts, shoes that fit my extra-wide feet comfortably, camisoles that I can layer under things for modesty, etc. And of course, something solid black, because I do need that for the classical musician thing on occasion. ;)

On , paige p @ luxperdiem said: | luxperdiem.com

I’d say the 20 essentials is a much more reasonable idea. To be honest in a regular week I can’t say I wear more than 20 items, not including shoes and other accessories. I really like this list though.

http://matchbookmag.tumblr.com/post/2944060419/our-checklist-of-50-classics-for-every-matchbook

On , Ms.Cleaver said: | mscleaver.com

I think the idea of wardrobe planning in general is a great idea and oft discussed on sewing blogs, but I find most of these lists to be too specific, not to mention generally suburban/urban-professional centric.

If, for example, you are a potter, or a farmer – your need for black pumps is probably on the low to non-existent end of the scale, while these lists make much more sense if you work in an office-type environment.

But I’m all for making a list that makes sense to your life and profession, be it lawyer, stay-at-home, or deep-sea fisherwoman. I should probably get around to making one myself one of these days.

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Great point. I’ve had jobs that involved a fair amount of physical labor, and pretty much lived in jeans at that time.

Also, I think the number of pursuits you have can influence how much stuff you might own. I like wearing dresses, but I also need cold weather running gear and sturdy, washable clothes for gardening.

On , Kris said:

I actually wear skirts and dresses for almost everything. Over running tights for running and hiking, over padded cycling tights, for day-to-day wearing. I have different skirts for different purposes. Ponte or doubleknit (poly or poly-wool) are amazing for athletics. All I need to find now is a thick, not-too-spandexy wicking knit for summer hiking dresses!

On , Wanett said: | sownbrooklyn.com

I actually love this little book! I borrowed the silver jacket hardcover version from the library and fell in love. The advice is almost as delightful as the illustrations. There are certainly things I would never have a need to wear (stilettos, ball gown) or that I dislike (charm bracelets) and I would never pay $40 for black opaque tights, but I get where she’s coming from.

On , Nina said: | toftsnummulite.blogspot.com

Lists like this always seem to include a whole bunch of things I’ve never owned and probably wouldn’t wear: trench coats, stilettos, smart white shirts… 100 seems like an awful lot of “essentials” – that’s presumably why the author’s had to include blatantly non-wardrobe (and non-essential) items like champagne and an iPod… I completely agree with Ms Cleaver and I would be fascinated to see the deep-sea fisherwoman’s capsule wardrobe! In fact, that would make a great book: lists for a whole range of occupations.

On , Nina said: | toftsnummulite.blogspot.com

Also, I’ve just looked at the contents pages on Amazon. I see “Fur” there… Really? Does the book actually say every woman should own some real fur? I recently read a moving piece about fur in a back-issue of Selvedge magazine. This is a longer version of the same article: http://eprints.brighton.ac.uk/5635/1/harper_fur's_flying_selvedge_2005.pdf

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

I think (if I remember correctly), that she says it can be faux? But she comes down on the side of real. She also recommends purchasing “exotic skins.” Both of these grossed me out.

On , Popbabe7 said: | themagnificientblogofpopbabe7.blogspot.com

Great concept- very inspiring…

On , MissTessaMelissa said: | misstessamelissa.com

Simplicity is key, as well as knowing yourself (the most comfortable with yourself version of yourself). I think every woman (and man) needs to know at least two colors that are perfect for them. I love corals and navy blues on me, and they really work with my pale skin and red hair.

On , Cheryl said: | handcraftedtravellers.com

I am pretty sure that I do not own 100 things, however I am re-evaluating my wardrobe to include only handmade items whether they be knitted, sewn or felted and made from all natural materials. As an organic farmer who doesn’t often get to the city I probably don’t need more than 20 items. But to feel comfortable in clothes that fit just right and are just your style, that is priceless!

On , Tasha said: | blog.bygumbygolly.com

My gut reaction is that 100 items seems extremely excessive for a list of “basics”. I love to shop and sew and knit like the next gal, but I definitely was a little shocked at 100. Ok, if we’re being honest, I was actually a bit appalled. I totally get that it’s her concept and it works for her, and I imagine it includes every little bit like shoes, earrings, separates, etc. But to me the idea of having great staples and classic pieces would seem to fit more in line with having less, better, more functional pieces.

That aside, I also love the idea of wardrobe planning and being more mindful about what you wear. I frequently bemoan not having “the right thing”, and it gives me pause. I would love to spend more time thinking about how my wardrobe does or doesn’t work for me and what I could do about it!

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Well, keep in mind, she is a fashion editor. I think her view of “must haves” and what women’s lives are like might be a wee bit distorted. :)

On , Maria M. said:

Mmm… clothes.
I love thinking about what to add, judiciously mind you, to my closet. While I love what I have in terms of basics, I would love to add – 1) a red coat (A shorter trench, please.) 2) a linen pant suit (Yes, I know it wrinkles.) and finally, 3) a pair of fitted navy/sailor like trousers a la Kathryn Hepburn or US Navy 1940s.

I would wear the heck out of each and every piece. Hmm…. A chaise lounge in my closet would also be wonderful, though, given it’s current dimensions, that isn’t going to happen.

On , Lauren said: | lladybird.wordpress.com

Hehe, well, I think cowboy boots are absolutely something every stylish woman should own a pair of :) They need to be real cowboy boots, though, in the kind of leather (or fake leather if you swing that way, I guess) that looks better as it distresses over time. Obviously I’m a bit biased here, though – I live in Nashville :) But I stand by my opinion!

I haven’t seen the book, but I do like the idea of having a wardrobe that is full of “essential” (to you!) items that you love, rather than a big mess of cheap knits & sparkly party dresses from F21 that one buys to wear for a particular event and then throws it away because it fell apart after said event.

On , Jen said: | mommymadebyjen.blogspot.com

The problem with cowboy boots is the ones that look really cute with dresses and skirts NEVER come in wide-widths or wide-calf versions. And the ones that do come in the wide width are just not cute. My feet usually end up fitting best in a boys’ boot, which means they don’t come up high enough on my leg to have the right proportion with a shorter skirt and they look ridiculous with a longer skirt because they aren’t pretty. I’ve had to resign myself to the fact that my cowboy boots are only fit for the barn and trail rides….

On , kslaughter said:

This book sounds very interesting. I really like the idea of collecting classic pieces that will last a long time, even if they are on the pricey side to make/buy. It seems much less wasteful and encourages one to put a little more thought into what we are spending time and money on.

As for the 100 items, it sounds like Ms. Garcia is not just taking about the contents of her closet. Isn’t she including all the things she sees as basics for her lifestyle across the board? I guess then 100 things doesn’t seem quite so outrageous.

Thanks for sharing Caitlin~

On , Elena Cresci said: | seamlessblog.wordpress.com

I had the same knee-jerk reaction… and haven’t really changed my mind.

While I appreciate Nina Garcia is talking about timeless fashion (although an iPod definitely isn’t timeless when you consider the sheer amount of different models Apple bring out…) rather than throwaway items you MUST HAVE in a magazine, it’s still a case of, oh look, here’s a huge number of stuff I don’t actually need.

The fact is, not every woman can afford to own 100 ‘stylish’ items, let alone be in a position to whittle down their possessions to a ‘mere’ 100. It actually kind of frustrates me that 100 is pushed out as the minimum here – no one needs the amount of rubbish they own.

That said, the point you make about sewing could actually work, but perhaps if we downsize it completely. I remember reading something about a woman who only wore 6 items of clothing for a month. That’s probably the kind of ‘must-haves’ I’d be more interested in.

On , Pamela said:

I am so glad this topic is being addressed , b/c I have been giving a LOT of thought to my spring/summer wardrobe, colors and styles that are great for me and are timeless so I do not mind putting the time in to sew,,, and also order /use high quality fabrics ( which makes a huge difference as I see it)

I never wore trendy item~ I stay w/ crisp blouses ,, cotton cardis w/ a matching tank underneath at times,, also worn alone ( buttoned w/ scarf) or w/ a blouse ~
Again,, I cannot believe this topic today, I just ordered a book on creating your own style by ( last name Farr,? I believe that is the author’s name)
She is very helpful in terms of teaching one what to introduce to their wardrobe~, The emphasis is on timeless, well made clothing that fits you wonderfully~
She seems to have a very” French” attitude towards clothing ( more is NOT better ) Quality , fit and timeless is better~ they same attitude w/ foods also!
This helps when developing a core wardrobe for me to sew that I will* actually wear* day to day, or evening ~I love the opera and theater so that is something I have to keep in mind when sewing,,,, I need a few very dressy outfits and just add pearls or a silk scarf ~
LOL! I Just ordered a o pocket template from Nancy’s Notions for 3.99 so I can steam iron ( HOT) over my pockets at different seam allowances and not burn my fingers!!
I am working on shirts for my husband and was tired of burnt fingers from my steam iron~
I am not so sure I would follow what Nina says ( tho she does have good taste) I tend to be more conservative than her think East Coast conservative,pearls etc
My own mother told me in HS (!!) that I should add more color as I had been in pageants back in the day lol!
I LOVE the pocket helper from Nancy’s notions I will use it on everything from aprons ( gift aprons) to my pocket, to DH’s pockets on his more tailored shirts~

As far as trench coats, I do have one in black(, we travel a lot) and it is something I wear ALL the time~ I hope the references help anyone trying to start a wearable core wardrobe,~ This book,,,plus your words in your book got me to thinking very seriously about what I love to wear, what is comfortable, and what looks good on my body tupe The Jasmine blouse fits ALL those categories for me,,I am even sewing one from a cotton knit now, still cut on the bias,,,it looks pretty so far~ I will re fit if necessary
This is why I love your patterns,,,they fit all the categories that are important to me~ ( I hope this wasn’t too long but I had just been thinking about this as I pulled fabrics for summer wear~ Great minds think alike,,,,yes??

On , Amy said: | clothhabit.com

I love this book and started my blog on the concept after reading it (although I’m totally sidetracked now). I know it’s easy to have reactions to style lists, but I like to think of books about classic dressing (ipod excepted!) as something of a French grandmother giving me grooming and style guidelines… not necessarily rules. But if anyone LOVES fashion illustrations, the Ruben Toledo illustrations on every page are worth the price alone.

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Agreed, the illustrations are so so charming!

On , Sky Turtle said: | skyturtle.net

I feel the same about what people call style. And think most women magazines are boring. the photography is nice, the advice is crappy and the “styling” is always trying to hard. And it shows.

I am reading the Amazon excerpts from the 100 hundred. The list is curious for me. A brooch, cocktail ring, exotic skin bag? But I do like how she writes about garments.

Do you recommend the book?

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

I think it’s worth taking a look at, if you take it all with a grain of salt.

On , Alessa said: | farben-freude.blogspot.com

Huh, I’m not quite sure what the deal with the trench coat is. (Mostly because it’s totally wrong for both my figure *and* my complexion – at least the classic tan one…) I like the idea of basic wardrobe pieces, though. The little black dress (although I’d rather go for navy, after having read a nice treatise on color types), the sundress, the cardi, the ballet flats, the perfect pair of red pumps, the pearl necklace… Not sure if I’d find more than 20 essential items, though. *g*

On , Emily said:

I saw this book in the store and I am with a lot of commenters – a list like that is determined by the kind of life you lead – family, children (or not), activities, job….
When I was childless and teaching at a university, my wardrobe was almost all dresses, tights, lots of big jewellery and dress shoes. Now I am an adoptive mother to two school-age boys and my days at home are spent writing, chasing after the kids and playing street hockey with them. My list now is very different than my list 2 years ago.
While some things remain the same – flat boots, my silver Haida/Kwagiulth jewellery, great fitting jeans – the rest of my “classic” items encompass things like a comfortable backpack for day hiking; stretchy, durable pants for mountain biking; tunic dresses to wear with jeans (and that allow me to bend over and move and play goal at a moment’s notice without revealing anything embarrassing) and a good lightweight nylon purse (instead of my very nice, but often heavy collection of leather sacs) for hauling the mountain of stuff I seem to accumulate as a mom.
I think you’re right – a list of classic must-have items is very personal. It also changes over your lifetime – a list you make at 25 is going to be different from the one you make at 42. Or 65 for that matter.

On , Latrice said: | sewtell.wordpress.com

I am working on my essential handmade wardrobe this year (hopefully). I even have some items started.

I think cowboy boots are good items to have on the list. Several years back, I would have looked at you crossed if you told me that, but I got some (fake) cowboy boots shortly after moving to the west coast to be funny. They became one of my favorite shoes and I got a ton of compliments on them.

On , Janice said: | meladori.com

I’ve read The One Hundred and it’s a great book. I was thinking about using it to inspire some of my SWAPs in the future.

On , Jenn said:

I agree that 100 seems a bit excessive, and I too bristle at the thought of someone else telling me what my “essentials” should be (you don’t know me!). I do think however that there is room for some across-the-board advice that everyone can use no matter the life they live. For example– every woman should own at least one pair of dress shoes and a skirt in a solid neutral color, if only for attending funerals, lol. And I have come to the realization that my wardrobe requires more attention in the planning stages so I can make it more classic and coordinated.

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

To be fair, she does recommend making your own list, so I think she recognizes that her list is not for everyone.

I guess that, if the list is simply meant to give you ideas, it makes sense to have it be 100 items and not, say, 20. How much can you write about 20 essential items? It sounds more like a magazine or blog article than a whole book. :)

On , Jenn said:

I think that’s the idea that makes this book different, as you said– making your own “top 100″ or top 20 or whatever, because it does encourage you to examine your lifestyle and needs before plunging into wardrobe purchases. This is something I think we all need to start considering more, if we haven’t already gotten there. We’ve been living in the era of throwaway fashion for a long time, and I know it was a bit of a wrench for me to part with it. Nothing more frustrating than buying an outfit for an event and realizing you have something in there already that probably could have done the job just as well, if only it had been better quality or more carefully considered before buying.

On , Katherine said: | sewblooms.blogspot.com

I love reading these books. I went through a stage of reading them all and I think it helped me to re-evaluate my style and work out what suits me…I think as sewers we need to work this out because taking the time to create a garment and then not wear it is not well spent sewing time.

I live in the tropics, so of course these lists never suit my lifestyle. I did create my own list a while back which you can read about
http://sewblooms.blogspot.com.au/2011/05/shirt.html

On , Maddie Flanigan said: | madalynne.com

You are so, so, very correct. I have slowly realized recently that no matter how many trends I follow, I always resort back to a certain look, my look. No matter how many times I try to follow someone else’s lead, I resort back to me. If this is true, I only need a few key pieces in my wardrobe. If I have developed a wardrobe that is completely me, those pieces within my wardrobe will go with one another seamless, meaning my choices for outfits is far greater than the number of pieces I own

On , Sara C. said:

I have to admit that I love this book. I read it at a time in my life when I needed a bit of “fashion guidance,” if you will. The biggest thing that I took from it is to search out classic items that are high quality. A well made item that can be repaired will pay for itself in the long run.

I feel like it’s sort of anti-fashion to talk about buying a quality item once rather than a throw away item every season. I think it’s a refreshing point of view. And one that I’ve been seeing in many areas of life lately.

This book combined with visualizing mini seasonal wardrobes (thanks for that idea, Sarai!) and their color palates has really encouraged me to be more focused with myself and what I buy and make. And it’s helped me buy less (and obviously spend less!).

On , StephC said: | 3hourspast.com

Ooooooh I like this concept… I react against the “you must buy this in order to fit in” culture in the same way you describe, but BUT I like the concept of a “master list” of what I wear… I never thought to write it down.. I’d probably end up with very precise descriptions rather than 100 more generic terms… Like… “Patch pocket front pleated wide leg trousers” rather than “wide leg trousers.”

On , Melanie said:

Thanks for sharing the review of this book. Though 100 pieces seems like a lot to tackle right now, I’m definitely in a place where I need and want to build a long term wardrobe. I really need to figure out what works for me now. I like the Tim Gunn idea of 10 essential items too. Must look them both up!

On , Cynthia said: | adressmaker.blogspot.com

I love the 100 list. As someone who works, has three kids, runs a household, and LOVES to sew… I love to make and follow lists. Since I admire Nina garcia’s style, love, love to see her top 100. I might not follow but I get great ideas and I thought her list was great! For instance, never thought about a motorcycle leather jacket but it would be a great, classic addition. To sum, I love to see everyone’s lists and recommendations…you never know !

On , Catherine said:

Hi Sarai
Off subject, but do you know what the fabric is in the Truffle dress in today’s image? It’s exactly what I’m looking for. It’s georgeous.
Thanks!

On , Kristen said: | smithanddaphne.blogspot.com

I was wondering the same thing!

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Caitlin made that dress for herself, and says it’s a black sueded silk. :)

On , Amanda said:

Going back to your “Simplicity and Style” and “Fashion Icon” posts, wouldn’t it be interesting to hear from Audrey Hepburn or Natalie Wood on what their 100 items would be? I’m sure their list would only be 5 or 10. They would scoff at our materialistic society for thinking that women need 100 items to begin with.. ;)

I think if you think about this from their perspective, this is such a wonderful idea! Maybe incorporate this into the spring wardrobe challenge? What are you 5 – 10 essential classics, and make them?

On , Awfulknitter said:

Sarai, I would love to see your list! Maybe something for a forum post? Then we could all join in…

I have a similar reaction to somebody telling me that I absolutely must have something and that it’s stylish: it irks me, and I get the urge to be contrary. I don’t mind these lists when they start an interesting discussion, but so often they’re rules that are completely unbreakable – until some hot designer breaks it, at which point he’s a brilliant visionary iconoclast, the broken rule is the biggest new trend, and anybody sticking to the rule is an old fashioned fuddy duddy…

As a disclaimed, I should say that I haven’t read ‘The One Hundred’, but I have read one of Nina Garcia’s previous books, ‘The Little Black Book of Style’, which covers quite a few of the same elements, and I wasn’t very keen on how inflexible she is. For example, the only time it’s “acceptable” to wear flats is when you’re running for a plane or when you’re pregnant. Well, how about when I’m running for the bus – does this count? (This is me practically every day.)

A helpful reviewer has posted the whole list as part of their review on Amazon, so I had a look to see what I already had. Interestingly (and only counting the actual clothes items, not daft things like a valid passport and quality champagne), I have 42 out of 91 items. But but but out of those 42 items, I reckon there are 13 that I rarely wear: my denim jacket is just not very me, the man’s white shirt is totally not me, I’m terrified of losing my real diamond studs (they were a 21st present), the evening gown had one outing (nearly ten years ago, and alas I think it now has a moth hole), my pearl necklace looks terribly old-fashioned, and as I’ve said, it’s really quite tough to run for the bus in stilettos.

There are some things that I strongly disagree with on the list (leather trousers?! is there another wardrobe item more likely to cause an epic style fail), and others that are just a bit duh (cosmetics bag? well, I actually find that my mascara stores better in a hollowed out gourd). I prefer lists when the items give you a bit more room for variation – so knee boots yes (not my thing, but I could reconsider), Frye harness boots no (I just think they look terrible on me). I much prefer something along the lines of commenter Katherine’s list: eg, pull-on dress (no fussing required), swimmers in which you are prepared to be seen in public, one dress that makes you feel gorgeous (and matching heels). Maybe I am revealing my practical streak here! But surely these kind of recommendations are better than telling you to get a cashmere sweater, shelling out £200+ for a top end one, and then realising that it attracts cat hair like crazy, is sitting in the ‘handwash me’ pile for 80% of the time, and then is too warm to wear most of the rest of the time?

On , Lisette said: | vintageorbust.blogspot.com

I didn’t expect to like this book either since I find Nina Garcia rather grating. However, the idea is really brilliant. Kate Spade did a similar book called Style that I found a bit more to my taste. It explored other aspects besides just clothing, like music and movie influences. While it still sticks to just Kate’s style it is a good guide and it is all hand-illustrated rather than photographed, which is very sweet.

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

I didn’t know Kate Spade had a book like that, sounds interesting! I’ll have to check the library.

On , Ledys said: | lecsmiscellany.wordpress.com

Sarai, I *love* this version of the dress– have to make it! It’s the perfect LBD. Would you please share more about your fabric choice, etc? Thank you so much!

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

It’s Caitlin’s dress, and she says it’s black sueded silk. :)

On , Benedicte said: | tippiella.com

What a strange list that is (I got curious and found it posted online). I don’t quite get the mix of highly personal and brand specific picks (like Vans, Converse, Frye, Pucci, Missoni, L. L. Bean, Minnetonka, Havaianas, Blackberry, etc) with the super-general ones (like #93: Vintage ). I suppose they make more sense in the context of the book though, as I assume she expands on each item on the list?
That said, I am a sucker for lists like these. I am in the process of building up a wardrobe of classic good quality staples and am working on my own list of essentials (which is nowhere near 100 pieces, but definitely more than 10.) I am probably one of the odd ones out here who tends to agree with a lot of the items commonly listed. Trench coat? Cashmere cardigan? Black pumps? Yes please. :)

On , Jen said: | mommymadebyjen.blogspot.com

I think Nina uses the brand name because that’s what she would buy and what she can afford to buy. But if you like the style of a particular brand (Frye, Converse, whatever) what’s to stop you from buying it at a price point that you can afford? Of course, the quality may not be the same and there is the whole issue of buying something more frequently because it wears out faster when it’s cheaply made.

On , Lavender said: | threadsquare.wordpress.com

My initial reaction to any of these sorts of things is the same as yours. Stop pushing me to buy stuff! Stop making me feel incomplete if I don’t own A, B, C! That said, there are essentials/classics that can be worn a lifetime, styled interchangeably, and become part of a signature look. That’s why a trench has been on my to-sew list for ages, but I still haven’t made it!

I do LOVE my cowboy boots, though. They were worth every penny :)

On , Hannairina said:

I really do think that everyone should write their own lists based on what they do and where they live. Even though I live in a city and work at an office I wouldn’t know what to do with most of the things on Nina’s list. The last two months I’ve been wearing wool sweaters (+wool coat outdoors) with jeans, wool socks and rubber boots because of winter, snow, more snow, melting snow, more snow and -20 °C. In general, dressing more lightly than that has been off-limits since September but for some reason my wardrobe concists of tons of t-shirts and 4 wool sweaters.

But yes, I’ve been thinking of making a list that would serve my dressing needs in real life.

On , Sarai said: | colettepatterns.com

Excellent point about the climate. Here in the rainy pacific northwest, one of my best-loved items is my cherished pair of Hunter rain boots. I never even thought about rain boots when I lived in Los Angeles.

On , Kate said: | sincerelyyours-kate.blogspot.com

I LOVE this little 100 book from Nina Garcia. She leaves lots of room for personal style in there. She suggests every woman should have an A-line dress, but she doesn’t tell you the material or the color or the embellishments. In fact, I think she openly encourages you to make sure you are true to your own style and aesthetic and that you personalize your pieces to speak to you! And let’s face it, we all need more than 10 items in our wardrobe. 100 classics – especially when some of those are black tights, a pair of pumps, bangle bracelets or a good bra – is not that many pieces to aim for in lifelong wardrobe (especially if you live in a diverse climate that requires summer and winter clothes). I am a big fan of the book and the concept in general.

On , Chris F said: | stitchwitch-chris.blogspot.com

100 pieces seems rather a lot to me, but then if you include jewellery etc, perhaps its not that many. I’m taking a look at the book though – wouldn’t want to miss out on a good thing!

On , jenny said:

reminds me of the Chic Simple series. There’s something like this every decade. The CS series is looking tired now – still tossing up whether to… toss them!

On , Elin said:

I get that Nina’s a fashion editor and that her list is likely to be a) longer, and b) way over the top for the average reader. But, she lost me at Caftan. A caftan? Really? Isn’t what makes a caftan special is that hardly anyone wears them?? Hardly an essential.

I know, I know, what with fur, exoctic skins, and wellington boots, I get put off by a caftan. But really, who wears them???

On , Jen said: | mommymadebyjen.blogspot.com

An interesting book about style is the novel “Elegance” by Kathleen Tessaro. It’s about a woman whose life and wardrobe sort of evolve at the same time, while she reads the book “A Guide To Elegance: For Every Woman Who Wants to be Well and Properly Dressed on All Occasions” by Geneviève Antoine Dariaux. Dariaux was at one time a director at Nina Ricci. Anyway, the fictional book is a fun read and I understand Dariaux’s book is still in print. People call it “the original What Not to Wear”. A reviewer on Amazon noted that ever since she started following the ‘rules’ laid out in the book, she’s gotten more compliments on her appearance, much to her chagrin. Now I’m dying to read it.

On , Beth said:

Jen – I was thinking of Genevieve Antoine Dariaux’s book as I read this post. I have it it’s brilliant – I would definitely recommend it. She advocates a very simple, well thought out, elegant wardrobe. Her tips are classic.

On , MsGuinevere said:

I don’t think 100 items is excessive at all!
Think of it like this –
10 – knickers
10 – bras/other underthings/hose/socks
10 – tops
10-bottoms
10- top layers (sweaters/jackets/capes)
10- pairs of shoes
10-items for cold weather climates (coats/mitts/etc)
10-accessories (including jewellery/scarves/hair flowers)
10- occasion/activity specific items (work-out/bathing suit/ski-pants)
10-lounging and sleepwear
That’s pretty small really – I’ll bet everyone has more than that in their closet – what about our cute vintage hats/floaty summer sundresses/etc?

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