Classic Fall Fashion for Men & Women
/A few years ago, I read Betty Halbreich’s book, I’ll Drink to That: A Life in Style, With a Twist. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this 80-plus personal shopper in New York’s famed Bergdorf Goodman, she’s a legend. Betty knows a thing or two about fashion across the decades.
Written in between the lines of some salacious life details, I found her echoing some of the same principles I’ve heard from other veteran fashion mavens and icons: keep it simple, purchase classic pieces that will carry you through the ages, and drink dirty martinis when life gets hairy. As you can imagine, it was love at first read…and sip for me.
I’ve adapted this list slightly to include men… because the same rules apply to our male counterparts and arm candy, right ladies?
The crisp white collared shirt
A staple for a century, this timeless fashion essential has been omnipresent in each decade — and despite some serious fluctuation in trend and style, it remains. An essential wardrobe piece for men and women, the neutrality of it makes it so versatile. Pair it with your favourite jeans for a casual weekend look or with a dressier pant, pencil skirt for ladies or a trouser suit. It is a classic that is both elegant and effortlessly chic. Trick to keeping it white; don’t drink red wine while wearing it!
While denim has changed and evolved over the decades — including colour trends, cuts and style — nothing beats the feeling of a great fitting pair of jeans. A classic fitting, body (or booty) hugging pair of denim pants that you can slip into for a casual outing or dress up with heels/loafers and a dress shirt — that’s how you know they are “keepers.”
Who says the word cashmere with a fake British accent? I’ll never stop! Everyone deserves cashmere in their closet — yes, everyone. Nothing says autumn quite like a cozy, soft to the skin neutral coloured cashmere knit. If you’re into “twinning” with your mate, you might as well do so looking posh and keeping warm.
Ladies — “LBD” / Gents — Staple Black or Navy Suit
Bring back the days when cocktail hour called for suits, dresses, leather loafers and heels (at least three inches). The little black dress is a wardrobe must-have and a classic cut can carry a woman through the decades if tailored properly and made of quality fabric. Fast fashion need not apply here, ladies. Invest wisely the first time and save your dollars long term. Men, the same rules apply. Nothing is more obvious than an ill-fitted suit, and please for the love of fashion — flat front pants.
Talk about standing the test of time! Maybe it was my obsession with Columbo as a child, but a double-breasted trench coat always captured my attention and gave off an heir of mystery, class and… cigars. Clearly too much Columbo! Be picky when choosing a tailored trench coat; make sure you completely and fully love the colour, cut and length. It should fit like a snug glove and last a lifetime.
Plain white sneakers
Versatility trumps when it comes to footwear — unless you’re me and attend “shoe-aholics anonymous.” But that’s between me and my therapist. Plain white sneakers have been on the “trending” list in some shape or form since the 1930s in the US (seriously). Though many adaptations of the “classic” white sneaker have been taken over from various brands, we have to admit they make any casual outfit look smart, fresh and polished — for both men and women.
Black leather jacket
Who immediately pictured John Travolta from Grease or Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing (also swoon and drool)? My favourite style — a classic moto biker jacket on both men and women and bonus if it is vintage and happily a little worn. This style of leather jacket never gets old and can be reworked decade after decade into one’s wardrobe. If you are buying new, keep it simple and skip all the noise with extra zippers, shiny studs and bedazzled mayhem. That’s completely unnecessary. Make sure the fit is spot on; that’s all you need to carry you through the decades with this staple piece.