Buy and Hold: Finding "Current Classics"

Somewhere, I read that we tend to dress in a way that reflects the time in our life when we felt best about ourselves in terms of our appearance.

Vanessa Friedman expands the notion: "...our style is often formed by the ethos of the time in which we came of age, started buying our own clothes, and had to figure out what it meant to navigate identity in the outside world." 

In my twenties, I saw certain elder women in their tight perms, prim lady coats and structured handbags, and thought, Why are they still in those things? Why don't they get with the times? Now that I'm their age, I wonder what I expected—that they would buy go-go boots? But the world has changed, clothes have grown more informal. Who wears short white gloves now?  

I want it both ways: the informality of now, but in fabrics from the time before I came of age, before the first flood of polyester hit—plush woollens, fine cottons, supple knits unacquainted with acrylic—but in the less-constrained shapes of the present. That's what I mean by "Current Classic."

When you find a such a piece, you feel wonderful in it: it looks modern and yet there's a reverence for the past. As Mr. Buffet says, "The fundamentals are solid." He just joined me, in my imagination, and is peering at these clothes while he enjoys a danish.
The Current Classic: A denim overshirt 

Timeless as it gets, this Banana Republic shirt in ecru (also available in blue) is available in regular and petite sizes; price, $CDN 130. As if they sat up and said, "We have to fill this Gap", BR has embraced this aesthetic.  (Mr. Buffet grimaces, he dislikes puns.)

Photo: Banana Republic

What could you not wear this with? And it's washable! 

If you're looking for a lighter piece, here's another Current Classic, the "Laurel" cotton shirt with a cut reminiscent of Claire McCardell. Sale price (limited sizes), $CDN 80.

Photo: Banana Republic

The only danger with classics is that without current accessories, one can look bug-in-amber. Let's find some tweaks!

Updated from tip to toe

Dora Nola is a new brand designed by Montréal artist Manuela Jarry; when we met at jeweller Pilar Agueci's studio, she told me her story as I tried on the scarves. They are quality silk pieces with an unabashedly feminine flourish, made to last. (Available via the Dora Nola web site, and at Pilar's boutique among other retailers.)

Photo: Dora Nola

This is the "She/Her" silk scarfDora Nola; sale price, $190.

Massimo Dutti is sometimes called "the Italian J. Crew" and for my money, delivers more refined  classic design. (Unfortunately the sizes are not as inclusive, topping out at US 12.) 

This necklace delivers soignée style for $CDN 99. It's made of brass and many tones of genuine tigers' eye.

To inject currency into the most conservative classics, choose cool shoes. Maguire's sky blue Mary Janes just beg to skip down the street. Price, $CDN 245.
Photo: Maguire Shoes

Can you believe Mr. Buffet is suggesting a good bag? (He calls it a "handbag".)  He says that it should be approached as a long-term purchase. We found this:

Photo: Elvis & Kresse

Elvis & Kresse camera bag; shown, Sunshine Yellow; price, $CDN 278. Their line is made from salvaged Burberry leather off-cuts and repurposed fire hose. Mr. Buffet wonders if the company is publicly traded. (Not yet.)   
He makes one last comment: that maintenance is essential, so if you can avoid the cost of drycleaning, do it, because drycleaning is what investors call a relevant cost, that is, a necessary cost incurred in the future. I told him I successfully handwash my silk scarves, and he nodded approval.

Even a fantasy nod from Warren Buffet bucks me up!




Jay said…
That bag is delish!
Here in India we still have access to handwoven
Cotton without spandex ( called khadi). But
my hypersensitive skin finds the texture to rough.
Fritinancy said…
I'm curious about the McGuire shoes! Alas, the link is broken.
Duchesse said…
Fritinancy: Works now. Thanks!
Fritinancy said…
Thanks! So it's Maguire, not McGuire, then.
Leslie M said…
The Laurel shirt hit the sweet spot of modern yet reverence for the past. It reminds me of camp shirts that were so popular when I was coming of age, or a little later. The one you posted though has more modern touches in the collar and the placket. Also, the absence of breast pockets that I remember, which did me no favors. It's a balancing act; wearing styles that I loved in my 20s vs styles that I should not again wear in my 60s. No hard and fast rules, except maybe hot pants and mini skirts. I, too, long for the wonderful fabrics. Hard to afford, even if one could find them.
Jane in London said…
I love that first shirt! Totally versatile and the high-low hemline that I love... Thinking back to my 20s, we all wore Sloane Ranger type styles and I'm still a sucker for a turned-up shirt collar under a nice cashmere jumper 🙂. I had a beloved terracotta Guernsey that I bought in Cornwall in about 1980, which I finally got rid of around the millennium only because I was tired of it by then and it had become a little snug around the hips. It was still in great condition and went to a new owner - I doubt one could do that with a jumper these days!
Allison said…
You got me…I read Mr. Buffett eating a danish and thought indignantly that the LATE Mr. Buffett would have been sipping a Margarita …..haha of course you are referencing the very much alive Warren not the late Jimmy!!
That bag is a beauty! Yes I wash my silk scarves by hand in a gentle soak cleaner roll up in an absorbent towel, lay out to dry and lightly steam as I find ironing affects the sheen. Do the same with cashmere only it goes in a laundry bag into the wash on gentle cycle with cold water. Yes it gets a spinning then laid out to dry. Again the steamer is called upon to remove any wrinkles. Never had a problem. I read the big enemy of cashmere is abrupt temperature change ie warm to cold water or ( god forbid) a hot dryer from a cold wash. I make sure they are thoroughly dry before gently applying the steamer. The steamer also freshens them up between washing so find I only launder once or twice a season but ALWAYS before storage which I do in big zip lock bags to keep moths away. I take them out of storage periodically and give them an airing. No problems over the years. Only time I lost a wool item it was packed in a supposedly moth proof box. Zip locks work much better.
Duchesse said…
Allison: Both Mr. Buffets have displayed remarkable financial acumen! But Jimmy only wants to look at swimsuits.

Thanks for the detials on washing silk and fine wool; this blog has led more women into trying it. (For cashmere I use baby shampoo, and cold water, low spin. The delicates program on machines keeps the rpms for the spin low.) And I also store sweaters in ziplocs, the kind with the little red zipper tab is best, IMO. Moths can get into a 1mm crack so the kind that close by pressing the tracks with your fingers is scary because it can separate easily or it's easy to miss a tiny section.

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