Spotlight On: The Classics

A rundown of some absolute must-haves: any one of these items will instantly perk up a look, and they’re perennially stylish…making them perfect places to splurge a bit.

Red Handbag: More interesting than your standard black, red (like this incredible Philip Lim) also goes with everything, and…it’s red. Which is fantastic. (Go for gold accents for bonus points). I wear my red purse constantly, and it makes even a loose t-shirt and jeans look instantly fashionable.

Pearl Earrings: Paired with a matching necklace they’re classic Good Girl…but mixed in with a slightly more rambunctious outfit and piled-on, mismatched jewelry on your neck and wrists, they’re unexpected and chic. I’ll do the former on occasion (above), but I’m obviously slightly more disposed towards the latter.

Rugged(ish) Ankle Boots: The only time of year when you can’t wear these is in the dead heat of summer. They look gorgeous in the winter with a chunky sweater and denim, in the fall with patterned tights and a skirt, and in the spring with bare legs and sailor-style shorts.

And they’re everywhere right now: go for a lace-up pair with a chunky heel and some rugged detailing (but not too much…the point is to look like you’re maybe open to the idea of camping, not like you’re actually planning on embarking upon a woodland adventure right that very moment).

Oversized Sunglasses: Some people say it’s pretentious to wear sunglasses when it’s not summer. I say shush, mama has bags under her eyes and needs to find a way to look presentable and still get her brunchtime Bloody Mary. And while trends come and go, when it comes to an investment pair I like the idea of going for a classic shape with a little bit of a twist. For example, an oversized style with a tiny bit of a cat’s eye like the pair pictured above, or a Wayfarer shape with interesting detailing, in tortoiseshell or burgundy rather than black.

For some perfect takes on classics-with-a-twist, keep an eye out for GANT’s Spring 2012 offerings (launching in February) – I’m a huge fan of the line, and the stuff they have coming out is seriously awesome.

Perfect Nude Lipstick: When you find the one that works for you, buy a zillion, because the perfect pink-brown looks right for virtually any occasion, and will never fall out of fashion. Wear it out at night with a smoky eye (click here for a navy-and-gold eye tutorial), or during the day with just a swipe of mascara for a finished (but not fussy) look.

Well-made Pea Coat: I say “well-made” because if you pick up the right one you’ll wear it to work, to cocktails, and even over formal evening dresses…and there’s nothing sloppier-looking than a cheaply-made pea coat that has lost its shape. This has little to do with price – I had a gorgeous Trovata pea coat that quickly started looking lumpy all over the place, but because of the price tag I held onto it for years after it should have gone into the donate pile.

A good way to figure out if the pea coat you’re considering is good quality: check the lining. It should be free of lumps, bumps, and uneven stitching. Also, polyester blends are cheaper, but they may not last as well, so if you’re looking for a good investment piece go for wool or cashmere.

For more winter coat ideas, click here.

Unique Perfume: Women fall into two camps when it comes to perfume: those who have a signature scent, and those who play around with various things depending on the season and their mood. I have a handful of fragrances that I keep in rotation (although I always defect to Bond No. 9 Nuits de Noho, pictured above), but I literally never leave the house without a spritz (well, except for lately: I don’t want my perfume to bother the baby, so I’ve been sticking to lavender water spritzed in non-baby-touching spots like my back and legs these past couple of weeks).

For more on classic purchases, check out Wardrobe Basics: Finding Your Style.

Full product info after the jump.

From top:

Handbag: Alexandra Satine Rio Limon handbag

Pearls: Pearl earrings c/o Mikimoto

Ankle Boots: Geox Trish ankle boots; Steven by Steve Madden brown ankle bootsDKNY Mary ankle boots; See by Chloe tasseled ankle boots

Sunglasses: Guess; GANT Spring 2012

Nude Lipstick:  Vincent Longo Fleur de FlirtShiseido Perfect RougeCle de Peau 129 (a fortune, but an absolutely gorgeous shade if you’re looking to spoil yourself a bit).

Pea Coat: Burberry Oversized Lapel Coat; Sonia by Sonia Rykiel Pea Coat; Ted Baker Double-Breasted Pea Coat

Perfume: Bond No. 9 Nuits de Noho

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