When I think about pairing something inexpensive, together with something that makes me gulp when I hand the salesclerk my credit card, I think of Sharon Stone. On more than one occasion Stone has walked the red carpet wearing something that’s changed the way we think about putting an outfit together.
SHE COULD HAVE BORROWED THE JEWELRY OF HER DREAMS AND THE BODYGUARDS TO GO WITH THEM.
In 1998 Stone paired a lilac Vera Wang skirt with a basic white, button-down shirt from The Gap. No one was mixing high and low fashions then, and even if they were, they didn’t have the nerve to wear them to the Oscars. Stone took it one step further by folding the sleeves back to her elbows, a casual look we associate with blue jeans, not haute couture. If that wasn’t stepping outside the style box far enough, Stone resisted the urge to wear lots of bling on an evening she could have borrowed the jewelry of her dreams and the bodyguards to go with them. Granted, her neck was taught and her short hair framed a fabulous face, but her mix of high-low was fresh. She gave all of us permission to rethink the ways we put an outfit together.
Now we’re bombarded with internet photos of women who have chic street style, experts at pairing something precious with something trendy. So what’s the best way to mix high and low fashion, and what pieces should we splurge on?
One of the first things we notice when we meet someone are their “tips.” Are their shoes in good condition, or are they a bit shabby and in need of some polish or a suede brush? What about a woman’s bag? Is it jammed with everything she owns and screams discount store, or is it a quality piece that ties the rest of her look together?
When it comes to mixing high and low, invest in a great, well-made piece you can wear again and again with multiple outfits. Spend on shoes, boots and bags. If you live in a cold climate, invest in a great coat that will keep you warm and stylish for years to come. Buy pieces that look just as good with leggings as they do with something dressier. Style doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but it does require self-discipline.
BEST YOU CAN AFFORD
Don’t settle for any pair of black boots, bag, etc. Buy the best you can afford; one quality piece as opposed to five or 10 cheap ones. Quality is better than quantity.
CHEAP USUALLY LOOKS CHEAP
Cheap usually looks cheap unless it’s something classic like a white t-shirt, or Sharon Stone’s Gap, button-down shirt, paired together with a good pair of pants.
SPEND LOW ON TRENDS
Spend low on trendy street style.An inexpensive sequined t-shirt and a dynamite black pencil skirt can be oh, so chic.
A big vinyl bag with chain link and vinyl straps and a big metal designer logo is too busy to be chic. Think clean lines, minimal details and well crafted.
FIND A GOOD TAILOR
Tailoring makes all the difference. Find a good tailor and hem pants for the shoes you’ll wear and make sure sleeve lengths are right.
Mark Twain said, “Clothes make the man.” Since women were second class citizens in his day, I’ll give him a free pass on that one. If he were alive, today, I’d like to think he would have said, “Women make the man. His clothes are a result of her personal style.”