Classic wardrobe staples have always battled with iconic statement pieces. And more often than not, they’ve won. Whether that’s down to the sheer strength found in a beige trench or just because those statement pieces appear easily exhausted and are often to be found curled up at the back of your closet after only a handful of wears. Either way, classic always seems to come out on top.
And no wonder when we are inundated with repetitive wardrobe advice that proclaims white t-shirts, black denim, a trench and the all important little black dress are among the necessary items one must possess. The advice comes with the underlying message that classic is always best and those statements you might be fond of making are best made with shoes, bags or accessories. In other words, leave the loud to Anna della Russo.
But what happens when those classics suddenly become statements in their own right. Take the now ubiquitous camel coats, white kicks a la Stan Smith and skinny black denim with perfectly placed rips at the knees. You know the ones I’m talking about.
These pieces have infiltrated out wardrobes and sartorial desires (I’ll admit to a hankering for a camel coat that makes my desire for an EU passport look like a flight of fancy) to such a degree that their ever present nature now makes a statement in its own right.
But it’s the kind of statement that freewheeling fashion folk might not be too enthused to hear.
Because I have to wonder if adhering to the classics, if stripping your wardrobe of the sublimely ridiculous does, in fact, make a statement about statements. Or more to the point, about not making them.
Do these pieces, the white button up shirts and black pumps among them, contribute to a shrinking of our personal style?
Do these pieces tell the world that we’re happy to play within a strict sartorial playground, with a uniform of sorts? And that discovering half the people you follow on Instagram are wearing the same shoes as you doesn’t even make your heart flutter, let alone stop.
It almost seems like an inevitable evolution when people like Emmanuelle Alt, Christine Centenera, Kate Lanphear and Carine Roitfeld are revered, and consistently emulated, for their personal style.
But I have to wonder, when this sartorial world of ours is dripping in black and white and shades of grey, is there a point where classic loses its appeal?