I recently surveyed my readers to ask what they care most about in fashion. Well, that quickly became irrelevant! Now, what we care about is our health and that of our loved ones. Still, all good – and bad – things must come to an end. The war against this virus and its quarantine will eventually be over. Most of us will be ditching our sweatpants, pajamas, and sneakers and getting back into civilian clothes.
The upside of all this mess is that if you want some well-made high quality things, there are incredible bargains to be had right now. We may never see prices or deals like this again. If you do a little digging you’ll likely find that something you need is on sale.
I’m going to show three fairly classic types items in natural fibers from five different stores and websites. (I’ve included coupon codes for a couple but these tend to change often and may or may not work at the time you read this.)
You can never go wrong with a cashmere sweater. They always look sophisticated, they are often wearable year-round, (especially if you sit in air-conditioned rooms in warmer months) and they last. Although they vary in quality, based on the ply of the yarn, you can still get very good quality cashmere without blowing your budget.
Uniqlo – I like this Japanese manufacturer because they have some of the best quality cashmere at one of the lowest price points anywhere. They offer them in various necklines and many colors (far right photo.) I own two of them and love them. But they tend to run out of colors and sizes fairly quickly, as you can imagine. So if you see something that appeals, don’t wait too long. Try this coupon code for 20% off: D464700
Everlane – This company offers a more limited variety in terms of color, but like most of their clothing, you can expect very high quality. You’ll usually find them in sophisticated neutrals like white, gray, black, oatmeal, tan, loden and then a few seasonal colors thrown in (photo on the right.) This year there are shades of yellow, pink and blue.
Macy’s – Some of their lower-end cashmere sweaters aren’t as high in quality as these others. That’s because they are made from thinner yarn and tend to pill more easily. But they are certainly wearable. I have one in a dark brown crew neck that I wear all the time. When they are on sale, the prices here are unbeatable. Try this coupon code for even more discounts: FORYOU
Last Brand – Here is a newcomer to the market and they offer just a few really nice things at about half the price of, say, Everlane. They have cashmere sweaters, silk tops and blouses, tees, an organic cotton blouse and “conflict free” jewelry. I purchased two of their items – one sweater and one silk blouse – to do a value/quality comparison. The sweater I tried (shown on the left) was well made and had a nice thickness. I only returned it because it was actually a more oyster-white than in the photo. That’s a shade that works well for Subtle Blended (summer) color types but made me look a bit sallow.
Cotton, Silk and Linen Blouses
A great button down white blouse is a perennial for any wardrobe. If your coloring is on the warm side you will want to look for ivory or khaki instead of bright white or for a change, maybe go for one of the colors or striped versions that are popular this year.
Uniqlo: With spring just around the corner you’ll soon be breaking out your linen things. Uniqlo has some really great linen blouses: long-sleeve, sleeveless, short sleeve, tunic length. They come in over a dozen colors as well as three striped versions. The long-sleeve button downs are slightly oversized, as is the popular style now.
Everlane: Long-sleeved silk or linen – you just can’t go wrong with their blouses. I have two silk ones and always feel extremely chic and pulled-together when I wear them. They come in over a dozen seasonal colors and varying collar styles. Here is one of their silk button-downs in a rich French blue. They also have short sleeve linen blouses ($50) as well as cotton long sleeved blouses. ($56)
Last Brand: I tried out their cream colored silk blouse and compared it with an old Equipment cream silk blouse I’ve had for years. In general, it was quite well made. The stitching was fine, the fit was fine, but it was on the thin side. Still, for the summer that could work nicely. (It does say on their site that this is a fairly sheer silk.) For better coverage I would recommend going with one of the darker colors.
Nordstrom: Catch one of their sales and you’ll always find a lot of styles, colors and fabrics to choose from. This one is a linen/rayon blend that comes in white, the rose color shown on the left, and a camo print. (I didn’t find that one very exciting, frankly. If you like camo look for it in a jacket or a t-shirt.) It runs large and is very roomy in the back, again, as is the current trend. But it still reads as fairly classic from the front. This color could add a little variety for your wardrobe.
The fit of pants and jeans is so highly individual that I hesitated to add this category. But since we’re coming up on warmer weather, some of the popular wide-leg pants will likely work for a lot of body shapes and style types.
Uniqlo: This wide-leg, sashed belt style is a fun trend that will let you go casually chic this summer. It’s available here in off-white (shown on the right,) brown, green and navy and is made from a linen/rayon textile. It would look great with one of the new feminine blouses or a buttoned cardigan.
The Gap has been bleeding red ink for a while now, which makes me a little sad. I’ve bought a lot of great tees, tops and pants there over the years. I hope they survive this shutdown. Here is a nicely made striped linen pant they they offer. The nice thing is that it comes in regular, petite, and tall sizes. It also comes in black with a white stripe. The gather in the front – a kind of semi-pleat, will emphasize a tummy, though. So if you’ve been hitting the oreos during quarantine, this one may not work as well.
Nordstrom’s Caslon version (their in-store brand) comes in pure white and is made from 100% linen, shown here on the left. It’s got deep on-seam pockets and some elastic in the back of the waistband. That means it’s going to look gathered in the back. So if you’re carrying a little weight there, check out the Ralph Lauren one that follows instead.
Macy’s: You can always count on Macy’s to have a pretty wide variety of linen and cotton blend warm-weather pants. I chose this one from Ralph Lauren because of the construction. It has darts in the back at the waist instead of just gathers, so it would likely look better if you don’t link a lot of fabric bunching up near your bum. It comes in navy, fuchsia, white, navy, tan and a kind of army green shade.
Thrift Shops and Re-Sale
Finally, once we are back in the world expect to see a tsunami of new offerings at your local thrift or resale shop. It will make the Marie Kondo wave look like a trickle. From everything I read, a lot of you have been doing some major closet clearing during your enforced hibernation. Just one caveat. Germs can stay on clothing for up to 72 hours, so we are told. Although the specific piece you like may have just come from the cleaners that’s not guaranteed for any of the items that were next to it on the rack, or in the hands of people who were in the shop before you arrived.
Still – you are going to be seeing a fabulous assortment of clothing, jewelry and household items that will be available for a song. So if you want to look sophisticated and your funds are scarce right now, you have great options.
Stay healthy and well and I’ll see you on the other side of this pandemic!
[Disclosure: Some of these retailers are my affiliate. I might earn a very small commission when you purchase anything from these links at no additional cost to you.]
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