WIW: The Power of Basics

I am finally realizing the power of basics in my wardrobe and today's outfit really demonstrates that IMHO.

I'm wearing a pair of simple fluid black trousers paired with a heavier knit tank. I've added fairly simple black insulated shooties and a black leather belt. These items fit how I want them to and provide a classic background with an updated silhouette. I'm then free to top it all with one of my fun jackets - and today I chose my cobalt with black leather trim cropped moto. 

I will also always be a blazer girl - I have many and am always on the lookout for another fab fitting option. I wear one almost every day at work and on weekends, even pop them on with a tee and jeans. They are the backbone of my style.

When I head out the door today, I'll be wearing my knee length red Lands End puffer coat 'cause it is -40 Celcius with the windchill…brrrrr…….

So what do you think of today's outfit? Are you also realizing the beauty of basics? As always, all comments/suggestions welcome.

Moto jacket: Vince Camuto
Tank: Sears
Trousers: Attitude by Jay Manuel
Shooties: Clarks
Puffer: Lands End
Handbag: Danier Leather

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Neel replied 6 years ago

    I am loving the pop of color over a column of another of late. And this is no exception. That jacket is seriously stunning! You look beautiful and put together.

  • replied 6 years ago

    Really nice, Shannon!

  • El Cee replied 6 years ago

    You look stunning in your cobalt jacket over simple column of black. Lovely outfit! I agree with you about the beauty and importance of basics. I think having good basics is even more important this time of year when it is all about staying warm and being weather-appropriate. Who has got the time to fuss over outfits when snow needs shoveling? Great basics + killer jacket is such a great looking and fuss-free combo.

  • Sveta replied 6 years ago

    Hear, hear! I also realized the power of simply cut and beautifully fitting classic pieces not that long ago. This outfit is a perfection and the cobalt jacket really shines with the support of the classics.

  • Windchime replied 6 years ago

    This looks classy and polished and was easy for you to pull together because you have the needed basics. As others said, the neutral black background lets the gorgeous cobalt stand out.

    Another Lands End puffer! Angie wrote about them yesterday AND they come in tall lengths; I may have to put one on my ever-expanding shopping list.

  • donnat replied 6 years ago

    The blue looks sensational! I also am liking the red puffer, its shape is much like my black columbia puffer. I am thinking i may need a red puffer.

  • shevia replied 6 years ago

    Love this - you really do have the best jackets and your basics form the perfect backdrop to let them shine.

  • Mochi replied 6 years ago

    What a fantastic minimalist jacket, Shannon. Yes, there's something about the purity of a basic, streamlined look. Unfussy and allows your vibrant self to shine through. You look great.

  • Ornella replied 6 years ago

    Nodding happily. Great outfit Shannon. I love the strong colours of the blazer and OMG - red puffer. *plonk* :-) 
    You look so great AND happy. I'm always smiling back when I see your smile.

  • Sam replied 6 years ago

    Shannon, this outfit is wonderful! I love the look of a bold jacket on a column of black and you're pulling it off so well. :)

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    You look terrific. Strong, simple, and happy. 

  • shedev replied 6 years ago

    The basics really let the jacket shine.

  • Beth Ann replied 6 years ago

    You had me at cobalt!  You look sleek and fabulous.  Thanks for illustrating Angie's puffer post, too! 

    We're with you in the deep freeze today!

  • DizzyLizzy replied 6 years ago

    Nodding head in agreement...this is much the same as I dress in winter - basics as the base layer and swap out the topper for whatever my mood - or the weather - dictates. I LOVE the cobalt jacket on you. YLF

  • Alexandra replied 6 years ago

    I hear you on the power of basics. I think basics form the majority of my wardrobe at this point. I add a touch of color with scarves.

    You look wonderful!

  • Elizabeth P replied 6 years ago

    Love, love, love love.

    Did you hear anything about the job? 

  • carambola replied 6 years ago

    That cobalt jacket is amazing on you! You look great.

  • Sara L. replied 6 years ago

    Fun jacket in a great color! I agree that great basics are the building blocks of a wardrobe. I'm having some problems with that right now since a lot of my basic tops don't fit and it can be very frustrating when trying to put an outfit together.

  • Angie replied 6 years ago

    I love you in a Chanel-esque style jacket. Suits you to a tee and so does cobalt. Who would think you could look so insanely put together for -40 degrees. You are inspirational in many ways. Do you wear snow boots and swap back into regular boots indoors? 

    Divine puffer too. xo

  • MuseumGal replied 6 years ago

    This is gorgeous!  You are so right about the power of basics.

  • unfrumped replied 6 years ago

    I agree! They help us "get out the door". I focused on some basics (or "essentials"--still not sure what to call them--will review Angie's posts) this fall.

  • Jenava replied 6 years ago

    Basics look exceptional when they are good quality and fit well like this.  You look fab!!

  • sarah replied 6 years ago

    You look gorgeous. I really like the silhouette of that jacket on you! 

  • AviaMariah replied 6 years ago

    You just looks beautiful and this demonstrates so well why good quality, well fitted basics are a must!

  • Transcona Shannon replied 6 years ago

    El Cee - "great basics and killer jacket" - EXACTLY! 

    Sveta - you look gorgeous in your new cobalt jacket. You're going to love the color for brightening up darker outfits in the dead of winter.

    Windchime - this puffer was one of my best purchases in winter 2012. It's warm, bright colored to bring some cheeriness and not too puffy. You wouldn't regret purchasing one, trust me.

    Mochi - it's funny how I'm reaching more and more for "unfussy". And to think I used to love ruffles and more layers!

    Elizabeth - yes, I got offered the position and have very happily accepted it. That's probably why I look so happy in my pictures - 'cause I am!!!

    Angie - yes, I do wear snow boots for my commute and then switch to shoes when I get indoors. A girl's gotta be practical when it's that cold out. I'm really glad you posted about the Lands' End puffers - it has been just a fantastic coat for me.

    Thank you all :)

  • Angie replied 6 years ago

    I am all for the practical commute and swapping out pieces when you're at your destination. It's a brilliant idea, and allows us to continue having fun with fashion. xo

  • kkards replied 6 years ago

    love this--this is how i dress most days.

  • Transcona Shannon replied 6 years ago

    Exactly. I would hate to have to put away my pretty shoes and booties and just live in winter boots for four months. How boring would that be? I have a lovely bag that I pop my lunch and shoes into each morning when I leave the house and then they come back home with me at the end of the work day. No hassle at all.

  • minimalist replied 6 years ago

    Congrats on the job, Shannon, and hurray for fabulous wardrobe essentials. Leaving the house when it's -40°F sounds heroic in itself, and you do it while looking terrific!

  • Elizabeth P replied 6 years ago

    Congratulations Shannon, I'm thrilled for you!

  • Vicki replied 6 years ago

    Your column of black and beautiful blazers are powerful basics full of style.  Then, you brighten up any landscape with gorgeously happy puffer.  You've got it down.

  • qfbrenda replied 6 years ago

    I love how simple and yet how perfect that outfit is on you.  I really want to pop a warm charcoal gray hat on that head of yours to keep you warm.  Do you commute in hats?  I'm not generally a hat wearer but I think -40C would convince me!  I love how your salt and pepper hair plays with the colors you wear.

  • Sona replied 6 years ago

    Congrats gorgeous woman on the new job!
     Love the pops of color. As Angie has said previously: color, pattern, texture, sparkle. While I often do more than one element in an outfit sometimes less is more. And the foundation of any great outfit is always great fitting basics.

  • Caro in Oz replied 6 years ago

    YLF Shannon & I love me a good blazer too. 

  • Susie replied 6 years ago

    First, congratulations on the new job!!! That is so exciting and I am very happy for you.

    I agree that having great basics is key. Have you read the "into mind" blog? She describes several methods of dressing- modular approach, uniform approach, neutrals + statement pieces approach, and set outfits approach.

    Regarding the neutrals (basics) + statement pieces, she writes:

    What you need:

    a collection of basics that go with everything (denims, tops and jackets in neutral colors, etc.) and several bolder ‘statement pieces’ and accessories. The idea is to start with a foundation of basics and then choose one or more key pieces to be the focal point of your look. The neutrals + statement pieces approach is all about balance. When you put on red lipstick because your outfit just ‘needs’ a little extra oomph or when you swap your heels for flats because heels would be ‘too much’, you are trying to find the right balance between dressed up and dressed down, between boring and too bold. There is no universal ‘ideal level’ of course, it depends entirely on your own unique personal style. A lot of people would consider most of my outfits as being too ‘plain’ but for my style they are just right. What you consider to be a statement piece because of its colour, shape or material, might be a neutral for someone else. In the example above, I included white denim jeans and black leather pants as statement pieces because I would always want to wear them with a more neutral top, but for you they might be ideal basics to balance out brighter tops and accessories.

    How to make it work:

    Your neutrals are your workhorses, so focus on building a strong foundation of durable basics that will last you several seasons and suit your body shape. Include a variety of shapes (longsleeve tops, t-shirts, simple skirts, denim, etc.) and neutral shades (black, white, heather grey, dark grey, ivory, navy, and so on).


    I think you've nailed this method! I've come to realize that I am probably happiest when I have a statement item paired with a good basic. So having those good basics really is important!

  • Deborah replied 6 years ago

    Shannon, fab outfit and I love the what you are saying here.  Our wardrobes need to work for us and clearly this is what yours is doing.  I think it also helps when we understand our needs and wants.

  • MsMary replied 6 years ago

    Honestly, I cannot even begin to imagine venturing out in temperatures like that!!  But you look amazing!!  And I'm waving at my red puffer twin!!  :)

  • cheryle (Dianthus) replied 6 years ago

    It was a nasty day today.  It was even colder coming home and I had to stop and get gas on the way.  Brrrrr.

    Shannon, I think you have hit the nail on the head with this one.  Good quality basics in neutral colors to set the backdrop for a few great pieces to shine.  I love that cobalt jacket on you.  Your skin looks gorgeous against that shade of blue.

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