Saturday, March 1, 2008

The JF essentials

Everyone has those few things in their wardrobe that they wear way, way too often and would be devastated if they ever lost. Here' s mine.

I've only had my tall leather boots for two months, but they're already the light of my life. I wear them constantly, to work and school and parties and shopping and errand running-- the only things they're bad for are working out (obviously) and shoe shopping, because it's a hassle to put them off and on again each time you want to try on a slingback.

But any other time, they're great. And also sort of magical, because they can make any outfit look either more casual or more fancy. Want to wear a fairly nice dress to dinner but don't want to seem like you're trying too hard? These boots make it seem like you just threw it all together without a second thought. Want to wear jeans but don't want people to think you're a slobby college student? Tuck those jeans into the boots and you're instantly a girl of taste and style. Also, they keep your feet and legs nice and warm in the winter, but I don't think they'll get too hot during the summer if you wear them with bare legs. I'm looking forward to wearing these boots four times a week for the rest of my life. They're from J.Crew but are unfortunately all sold out, and since it's spring J.Crew isn't selling any new leather boots. But look around and find your own pair of boots to love; they're expensive but so worth it.

The next item is very cheap, I promise. The essential featherweight cami from GapBody, $14.50 or $10 each for 2 or more, is hands-down the best camisole I've ever owned, and I've had a lot of tank and camis in my life. I bought the grey one at the end of the summer, and since then I'd say I've worn it over a hundred times. I wear it under cardigans or sweaters, under low-cut dresses, under thin t-shirts, to sleep in, by itself to hang around the house in-- it's been 6 months and I'm still in that stage where I never want to take it off. I'm wearing it right now! I bought the black one as soon as I got back from Prague, and I'm tempted to get the white one, along with extra black and grey ones. I'm also praying that come spring GapBody will make them in fun colors like navy or light blue, maybe some pink. I'll be honest and say that the grey one does seem a little stretched out, and the fabric isn't as soft as it used to be. But I've gone days without taking it off except to shower, and it underwent the abusive measures of Czech washing machines, so I think it's excusable.

So why do I love this cami so much? It's soft but not overly thin, so it feels great against my skin but I can also wear it out of the house. It's also a really great length, a little bit longer, so it never rides up and gets scrunched around your waist. The gray is an incredibly versatile shade, and there's not really any color I can't match it to. Also, I'm usually really into v-necks but the slightly-scooped neckline makes it a little more modest, but it comes down low enough that you don't feel like a Puritan. It really is the best cami on earth, and it's $10! But word of warning: don't get distracted and go into regular Gap and buy their camis. Despite the bright, fun colors they have, the shape is not even close to as good as the GapBody one. Trust me.

My next essential is my flattened pearl necklace form Anthropologie. I firmly believe in having a signature necklace, because most of the time I'm too lazy to take it off and pick a new one, and also it's a lot harder to lose something that's constantly around your neck. I'd say that I wear this necklace about 80% of the time. It doesn't really match any earrings that I own, so I have to take it off when I want to class it up with other jewelry, but for day-to-day wear it's perfect. Not too flashy, but I get compliments all the time. You can sort of see it on me in this photo (I'm the farthest from the camera, and too lazy to crop the other two lovely ladies out. Also, doesn't it look like this might be a still from a movie if I didn't have such a dumbass half-smile on my face?).

I deeply believe in wearing a watch-- I have a heard time taking anyone seriously who doesn't. And while I wish I wore a dainty, silver, fancy and cute watch, one with roman numerals and whatnot, I just don't roll that way. First, I like all my jewelry to be waterproof because I never remember to take it off when I shower (and also, when you're washing your hair, don't you want to check what time it is?), and also because if someone wants to throw me in the pool I'll be able to kick and scream girlishly instead of having to screech terrifyingly "Do NOT ruin my $3,000 Tiffany watch!" But more importantly, I've worn a digital watch for so long that I'm really, really bad at reading analog faces. When I took Italian freshman year, part of our oral final was to look at clock faces and tell the teacher what time it was. I did awfully, not because I didn't know the vocab but because I kept reading the clocks wrong.

So I need a sporty, hardy digital watch. I'm a fan of Timex because while they're not the cutest in the world, they have all the tools (stop watch, alarm, timer, light) I want without being really bulky. I have the Ironman Triatholon watch, $60. Probably my favorite thing about this watch is how it tells you the day and date; I have no memory for that sort of detail, so every time I have to date a piece of paper I look at my watch.

It seems that every time I buy and start using a new day-to-day purse, I go bigger (not counting when I switched from a backpack to a purse back in high school). About a year ago I was using a fairly cute tote bag from Old Navy to carry my books, but it had a small hole in the bottom that I knew wouldn't get any smaller. So, one day when wandering around the West Village, I decided to gather all my courage and go into the Marc by Marc Jacobs store. The bravery wasn't needed, since that place is like an accessories candy store-- all these cute plastic things for $7 with "marc by marc jacobs" plastered on top. And then I saw this canvas tote bag, for $12. It's the perfect size-- I could fit my Complete Shakespeare, plus an American Lit anthology, plus a notebook, plus a wallet. It also has a nice long strap that stays on your shoulder, and extremely sturdy construction. Plus, you get the name with a sense of humor. describes it as "stylish yet unobtrusive, and demonstrates a sly sense of humor about the myriad diffusion lines that designers are busily spinning off." I loved it for months-- until I started seeing all these other people wearing it. And not just trendy girls, but annoying boys too! I took some comfort in the fact that, since I had washed it, the color was fairly faded and you could tell I had my for a long time and wasn't one of those girls who jump on a designer name-driven trend as soon as everyone else did. But then, in November, I took this bag with me to Krakow and my passport fell out somehow, and I had to spend an extra two days visiting the American Embassy in Poland and then Auschwitz (to retrieve the lost passport). At that point I knew it was time for a new bag, so I went into the Polish equivalent of Forever 21 and got a big, brown leather purse with a little zipped pocket inside the perfect size for my passport. It kind of looks like this $400 J.Crew purse, except mine is brown and cost like 80 zlotys, which is the fake Polish money. I still use the marc jacobs tote for when I go to the gym, and it's also good for buy groceries since it holds about 10 square yards worth of stuff. You can only buy it in stores, I believe, but you shouldn't because then I'll get annoyed at how everyone is biting my style and I need to wait until the next big thing comes along before I can wear it again.

What items are your essentials?


Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan said...

As a runner who has abused his fair share of digital watches, I am not a big fan of timex...they just can't compete with my favorite casio.
Though I can't find the exact model right now, here's a close one:
Casio Sports watch

Yes, I realize it's a ladies model. I have thin, runner's arms so men's watches are too big. deal.