Why the Simple White Shirt is Not so Simple

The simple white shirt has remained a classic, staple item for every wardrobe. One reason for this is its flexibility; it can take you from casual, to chic, to professional, because it goes with anything!

  1. Casual: Loosely buttoned and untucked over comfy jeans and loafers or boat shoes.
  2. Chic: Tucked into hot shorts with a few undone buttons, a statement necklace, and fun shoes.
  3. Professional: Tucked into trousers with buttons up to collarbone, a blazer, and classic, modest heels.
This is why our signature is the Leanne Classic White Shirt. It's the ultimate investment.


                                                

Written by Sheri Falk on August 01, 2012 — 0 comments

Basiques' Dress for Success Workshops for Professional Women

"When it comes to businesswomen, we may come in all shapes and sizes and different levels of our careers, but there is one thing we can all agree on -- our need for an investment wardrobe. Sheri Falk, of Basiques, did a fantastic job at the Simmons Women and Leadership conference, where she provided tips and advice on how to pull together a fashionable, yet practical, work wardrobe. 

She focused on teaching the audience about the pieces that are "investment pieces," i.e., they are professional, likely to stay on trend across several years, and can take you from day to night as well as jetting around the world (all in a single carry-on suitcase). As someone who travels 40% of the time for business, I couldn't live without the wardrobe Sheri helped me build.

For younger women, it was a wakeup call as to what constitutes "professional attire" and what pieces are worth spending their hard-earned money on. For more senior women, there were a variety of reactions. First, Sheri convinced them to stop hiding their femininity. She demonstrated how they could be professional, yet celebrate the very curves that make them what they are - women.  Second, she provided guidelines to help them create a "stress-free" wardrobe - one where they would know what mixed and matched and how to tailor them appropriately.

Sheri's workshops and presentations are a must for any busy female executive or emerging leader who feels intimidated or overwhelmed by today's wardrobe choices."

Diane K. Danielson
Chief Platform Officer
Sperry Van Ness International Corp.

Contact Sheri Falk of Basiques to speak at your next conference:  sheri (at) basiques.com or 917.701.4844 for more information.
 
The following workshop was given to the graduating class of MIT in Boston, MA.


Written by Sheri Falk on September 16, 2012 — 0 comments

Not Simply a White Shirt

For decades, a crisp, white shirt has been considered a mainstay in any wardrobe for both men and women. The sophistication of a collared button-down, the freshness of pressed cotton, and the simplicity of white have stood the test of time. 

Sure, a simple white shirt could be found anywhere from K-mart to Gap, but considering its longevity in the fashion world, you should choose one that will last you a lifetime. Here are the qualities that make an investment-worthy, simple white shirt:

  1. It should fit. As a woman's button-down, it should taper in slightly at the waist to allow for some feminine curve. Not only is a trimmer silhouette more flattering, it also looks more professional and less sloppy. It should also be long enough to tuck in and large enough so buttons are not bursting, but the fabric lightly brushes your skin.
  2. It should be crisp. In keeping with the professional, put-together vibe, your shirt should be made of a crisper, stiffer fabric that you can iron. You want a cotton that is smooth on your skin, but not billowing and loose or see-through.
  3. It should be white. This should be obvious! White buttons, white body, white collar and cuffs. Also, no ruffles, tuxedo effects, or embroidery. Simple.



If you are looking for the perfect white shirt for your investment wardrobe this fall, check out Basiques' Leanne Classic white shirt. Besides being tailored, crisp and bright white, it has a special stand-up color that draws the eye up to your face. Pair it with this season's hot lip color and a classic pant or skirt and you've got the perfect outfit to get you through your busy day!

Written by Sheri Falk on August 01, 2012 — 0 comments

Investment-Worthy Carryalls

We all know that briefcases are classic and smart. But, the thought of carrying around a black or brown boxy thing can seem a bit boring with the new relaxed rules of office dressing. As women, we generally have more flexibility in the business carryall department than most men in the professional world. We carry bags, totes, or handbags with us wherever we go. Most of us have split our burden between two types of bags: makeup, phone, wallet, and other day-to-day necessities in one bag, and our files for work in another (often a briefcase). The first bag with our personal belongings tends to be more fashionable and telling of our personalities, while the latter is suitable for none other than holding office papers and resumes. 

Why have we invested in two bags when we can find one that has everything? There are bags that are fashionable, mature, roomy, and of high quality that will carry us and our belongings through the office and out for coffee breaks. 

  • Look for bags that fall under the category of "tote." This will ensure that your bag is roomy enough for files. 
  • For those of you who are able to leave the laptop and files at home and run around with only an iPad, just make sure the bag is more than 10" deep to fit the 1st and 2nd generation iPads.
  • Bags with pockets and pouches will help to serve double duty when concealing tampons and compacts. Outside pockets can be key for stashing items where you need quick access, like phones, or if large enough, bottles of water.
  • Aim for neutral colors, and nylon or leather so they will mix and match with any outfit and be part of your investment wardrobe throughout the year and often for several years if you really find one you love!

  1. Longchamp Le Pliage Tote 
  2. Longchamp Le Pliage Cuir
  3. Tory Burch Bombe Burch Tote
  4. Meli Melo Thela Bag (also check out the Didi Bag)
  5. MARC BY MARC JACOBS Quilted Bag

Written by Sheri Falk on July 25, 2012 — 0 comments

Three Dresses Every Girl Needs

When you wear a dress, it lends an air of glamour to the everyday. People often think "Wow, she looks nice today," while really, slipping into one dress is easier than planning an entire outfit. There's no need to match pants or skirts with a top, just choose one dress and add accessories. Their simplicity and utility make them investment worthy-pieces, especially if you find one that can be worn in both fancy and casual settings.

Finding dresses that suit both the office and holiday parties can be a bit tricky, but with these three, you'll be able to conquer every venue from family gatherings to corporate events.

  1. The Wrap Dress: Probably the most versatile dress, the wrap dress serves as your more casual option. It can take you from an office party to a family turkey feast. The v-neck also lends just enough sexy to also consider it date worthy. You can pair it with either flats or heels. Choose a cotton wrap and cork wedges for spring/summer, or dress it down with boots in winter. And change up the look by adding our Jackie O Scarf. For a true classic wrap dress, check out Diane von Furstenberg, the creator of this lovely piece, for an online investment. 
  2. The Shift Dress: The shift dress is another alternative to the wrap dress. Since it is sleeveless, it will have more use to you in hotter months. This look is also a classic when paired with a cardigan or classic jacket for the office or a winter cocktail party. When wanting to dress it up, the high neckline can play off statement necklaces. White is perfect and crisp for spring/summer, but for all year round, choose a bright, primary color. 
  3. The Bell Dress: This dress, when accompanied by some high class accessories, heels, and an up-do, is fit for Cinderella. When left to its bare-bones self and some ballet flats or sandals, it can be worn at large cookouts and other gatherings where you want to feel a little more polished. Just make sure to buy a solid color such as red that can carry you through all seasons.

Written by Sheri Falk on June 29, 2012 — 0 comments

A Wardrobe with Longevity

“Buy what you need, buy things that you love, and take care of what you own.” – Elizabeth Cline

As you will discover throughout this site, Basiques is all about investing in classic clothes that are of high quality. We encourage limiting your cheap and trendy, as money is wasted replacing those pieces year after year, or even season after season. We've found that our time and paychecks are better spent searching for quality fabrics and flattering cuts, and owning mostly basic items ("Basiques") that can carry us from work to play. 

Author Elizabeth Cline seems to share our mission. In her book, Overdressed, she talks about cheap, mass produced clothing and the effect it has on our bank accounts and the environment. Yes, that's right, the environment. Cheap clothing moguls, such as Forever 21 and H&M produce their products in foreign factories where they pay their workers far too little, and purchase their fabrics in bulk, leading to waste. Even though we recommend purchasing small accessories from such stores, it is hard to find a quality basics, such as a blazer that is well made and would last for years to come. 

A wardrobe should be centered around a few quality pieces. Initially, these pieces may seem like splurges, but if chosen correctly, they will last you a decade. Cline's book lists strategies to getting the longest wear out of such pieces. For example, she explains how learning to sew or visiting the tailor's can ensure your clothing's longevity.

To learn more about Cline's book, check out this article on Fashionista.

If you would like to learn more about our philosophy, download our eBook on Stress-Less Dressing. Shop smart!

Written by Sheri Falk on July 07, 2012 — 0 comments

Transitioning Dressing - from Work to Play (and all the Errands in Between)

Leaving the office and entering life in the outside world can be a bit of a challenge when you don't have time to go home and change in between. This is why it's crucial for today's working women to be master the art not only of investment dressing but also of transition dressing. Here is a list of common scenarios with helpful outfit alterations that will make your transition much easier.

1. Attending your fourth grader's school concert or last minute gift shopping for holidays, baby or bridal showers: 
  • Instead of heels, wear flats with trousers today.
  • Swap your button down for a cabled sweater.
2. Meeting the girls for cocktails:
  • Wear heels with a pencil skirt and a sheer black blouse.
  • Pack a fun eyeshadow with some glamourous earrings and a trendy clutch. 
3. Fancy dinner with the prospective "one":
  • Wear a conservative, yet figure flattering dress with a traditional suit jacket and hose at work.
  • Pack a pair of higher heels, and take off your hosiery before leaving. 
  • Wear hair soft and down, and pack some red lipstick in a black patent clutch. 


                         

Written by Sheri Falk on June 25, 2012 — 0 comments

How to Soften Up a Suit

Over the decades, men have traditionally commandeered the corner office; and as modern women, we may feel the need dress in a more masculine manner to offset this convention. The pantsuit, symbolic of power, defies the curve-hugging dresses a la Joan Holloway from AMC’s Mad Men. We traditionally adorn ourselves in greys, blacks, and whites rather than florals and pinks. Our hair is modest, and our earrings aren’t the size of Manhattan. It’s true, the phrase, “think like a man,” sometimes makes us feel like we have to dress like one to achieve the full effect in the corporate world. And, who can argue with the fact that a pair of trousers is much more comfortable than a tight dress and Spanx.

Yet, must we abstain from all traces of femininity? The answer is, no. We can add pattern, color, and softer shapes and fabrics. The accessories and blouses we wear over our tailored pants and under our black blazers can bring out our femininity in the most flattering way without making us look weak. For example, a colorful, flowing blouse in sheer or silk, is a great way to soften up your look, not to mention accessories like scarves and statement necklaces. Note: Necklaces are a better choice in fashion statement over rings and bracelets because they don’t get in the way when you’re shaking hands.

                      

High Fashion Inspiration: If you take a look at Stella McCartney’s Resort 2013 collection, her blazers and suits are the definition of flower power. Of course, most of us wouldn’t dare show up to work decked out like these ladies, but we can implement some of these floral patterns and bright colors into our more traditional office attire.  



Written by Sheri Falk on June 17, 2012 — 0 comments

Invest in a Wardrobe so You Won’t Sweat It this Summer

 

Back in the doldrums of winter, from time to time we would drift off at the desk to imagine an early summer: no more vitamin D supplements, a walk to Starbucks sans extra layers, maybe a beach day sprinkled into the work week, but did you picture yourself and what you were wearing? In an ideal world, we would be wearing a flowing cotton maxi dress or short shorts and flip-flops, but we need to flash back to reality and remember that we are at work -- in an office.

How can we balance looking professional while also heeding summer’s call to celebrate the sun and avoid overheating? It’s simple.

  1. Build your summer wardrobe around a few lighter colors such as white, ivory and nude; and fabrics such as cotton.  These can mix in with your year-round investment pieces, yet also go with this year’s bright color trends.
  2. Nude, patent shoes are a fresh staple when is comes to dressing nicely in warmer months. They go with blacks, greys, whites, bright summer colors, and even other nudes.
  3. Cotton trousers and a cotton pencil skirt can also keep you from over-heating. When choosing colors, black is one way to keep things “basique,” but opting for nudes can be classic as well.
  4. When appropriate in your office, ditch the blazer and wear a simple white shirt.  A crisp cotton shirt will keep you cool and looking professional even in the heat.
  5. Lighten up your hosiery. Nude and sheer will work with most summer outfits and are generally required in more conservative offices.
  6. Finally, pick up a few lightweight summer scarfs on the cheap. Where can you find them? Try escorting your daughter or niece to the mall and following her into Forever21. A summer scarf does not have to be an investment piece. It actually brings longevity to your investment pieces by drawing the eye’s attention away from them and giving the effect of a whole new outfit each day you wear a different one. J.Crew also makes some lovely, medium priced scarves that have just the right amount of fullness and also come in tasteful patterns. Don’t know how to tie a scarf? Check out this fun video.

Enjoy the sun shining through the windows opposite your cubicle, and remember to keep an anti-frizz serum in your desk drawer! Happy summer.


 

Written by Sheri Falk on June 13, 2012 — 1 comments

Too many cooks can spoil your image




The fashion industry churns out trends at a lightening pace. With changing influences from designers, celebrities, and the media, how are we expected to keep up without becoming overwhelmed?


Too much choice means you'll become your own nightmare. Ever leave your home excited solely for the shopping excursion ahead of you? Maybe you're looking for a new blouse for work, or a date dress with your (future) Mr. Right. Maybe you're just itching to browse. You'll walk into one store of nearly dozen identical storefronts, hopeful for what you might discover.  You see something colorful and suddenly, it's just what you're looking for peeking out between layers of fabric. Then, you see the next rack of clothing. And the next. Now you're roaming the aisles frantically, eyeing other women as they claw through racks where you think you see yet another piece perfectly made for you. Yes, you're hallucinating. Your patience thin, you shove past a woman who stands between you and your prize, snatch it up and scamper away to the fitting room. You've claimed it. And since you've spent so much time and effort trying to attain that "got to have it" piece, you buy it, even if the fit is slightly off and the color not quite complementary to your skintone—even if you've got five tops, tees, skirts or dresses just like it at home, sitting in your closet collecting dust. 


Just say no. Like a daunting menu at the Cheesecake Factory, too many fashion choices also means you'll be left feeling unsatisfied. A simplified system of dressing is that much easier to digest (pardon our pun).


Get your style together. We believe it's important to invest in timeless pieces that flatter you. Your look—and the time you'll save—will be yours. Besides, trends are for kids.

Written by Sheri Falk on March 14, 2012 — 1 comments