By Janet Kelly
FEELING DISGRUNTLED by the time and energy it takes to decide what to wear every a.m., last week we asked readers how they solved the problem of finding something to wear. Did they have a streamlined uniform of interchangeable black Petit Bateau Tees, cargo shorts and Converse sneakers a la Deb Waterman Johns of Scout Bags? Managing Editor Nancy McKeon said her look was black and white, summer and winter. And, although there were a few outliers, most of you who responded concurred that varying combinations of black and white were your go-to solution. And, oh, by the way, so did Jackie Kennedy Onassis, as famous paparazzi photos of the former first lady in a black T-shirt and white pants attest.
So, here’s what you told us about your go-to uniform for summer days.
Alice Kresse of AKresse Jewelry Design, says, “Right now I’m wearing black yoga pants, a black T-shirt and a light gray hoodie. I’ve been on the black and white train for years now. When it gets a little warmer, I’ll take off the yoga pants and hoodie and put on black shorts. I work mostly at home or in an art studio so that’s it. I swim several days a week in the summer. I’ve had the same style Karla Colletto bathing suit since 2009. I really liked the black one I bought back then, so I got a red one too. When the black one died and the red one got a broken underwire, I bought the navy version, then the gray one. I want to wear this style suit forever—imagine never having to go bathing suit shopping ever again!
Freelancer and MyLittleBird contributor Catherine Clifford noted this about her black-and-white penchant. “Very unoriginal of me, I see. White jeans/capris/Bermudas/pencil skirt and black or striped T, or sometimes the same but turned upside down. (See her photo at right.)
“My go-to summer uniform is basic and not really from a designer line but actually from Chico’s, says Joanie Ballard of R. H. Ballard, a gift store in Washington, Virginia. “I work every day in my shop/gallery and need affordable, comfy, easy-care, easy-movement basics while still looking a little pulled together. I open boxes of shipments and do lots of displays, so I need comfort above all. I switch out my white Lia no-iron shirts with blue and gray tops, but always love leggings and slim jeans in either black or white. Why white as a basic? I get asked that a lot as it seems that white would get dirty easily, however, I swear by Oxiclean and stay calm when I accidentally spill my morning coffee on anything. I have several long necklaces and earrings that I interchange to get a different look, all I have had for years. Love my new watch from Taki. And my summer shoes? I found the most comfortable heeled sandal ever just a week ago. It’s from Aetrex, and I feel like I am wearing sneakers.”
“Geez, I sound like everyone else,” says MyLittleBird’s art director. “White pants/black pants and a variety of white/black shirts/tops. I often see women in bright, beautiful printed summer outfits and feel envy, but every time I’ve tried to go that route I’ve felt totally wrong. It just isn’t me. The one thing I do go out on a little limb for is shoes; pink shoes, orange shoes, turquoise sandals, chartreuse slingbacks, purple slip-ons and, of course, a variety of black-and-white styles. For me shoes are the vehicle for variety. I hate having to think about what I’m wearing. I just want to be comfortable.”
For the president of the board of the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company and a shrewd shopper, white is right and so is some black. Her daytime look is white or pastel cropped Paige jeans with either a white or pastel linen or cotton shirt. “I must have at least 15 white shirts—all of which I wear. For evening, I adore my Dolce & Gabbana black jacquard ankle length pants with either a great white cotton off the shoulder top I found at Zara or the chic Lavin white silk charmeuse deconstructed tuxedo jacket I found at a final sale.”
Black and white doesn’t necessarily fit the bill for MyLittleBird ad hoc fashion advisor, who says she’s “a dress girl for the summer. “I used to have this fabulously simple T-shirt dress by Organics by John Patrick that I got at a Steven Alan store (and somehow managed to misplace at the end of last summer) that was perfect. And I like the summer dresses from Cotelac: lovely thin fabrics, fit me well and easy to wash. Also Indian cottons from Roberta Roller Rabbit in the summer, or anything linen. Sometimes it’s Everlane tanks and embroidered shorts.”
The CEO of Alchimie Forever says her usual wardrobe is a black dress, or black pants and a black T-shirt/top/ blazer—with some nice accessories, but all in all, black on black. BUT, “during the summer, I like to wear a bit of color, and more dresses. A bright fuchsia dress that makes me feel put together, elegant and always surprises people that know me ‘the rest of the year.’ Other colors include white, blue, orange. One thing that does not change is my shoes. Four-inch heels always, black, pink or nude. Year-round. And my red lip—a signature. This may not be the most exciting summer wardrobe, but it is my uniform. It’s one less decision to make every day, and helps me get in my ‘work frame of mind.'”
Master gardener Lauren Greenberger e-mailed a pic of herself in her daily work uniform of shorts, a T-shirt and sandals. “Not sure it conforms to what most people will be wearing,” she jokes.