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Crucial Update

Why ‘Wardrobe Essentials’ Are BS

We’re walking to the elevator and Racked’s style editor says to me, “You’re certainly getting a lot of wear out of that jumpsuit.”

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It’s my fourth week, and I’m thrilled to have encouraged such sass so soon into my tenure as editor in chief. The night before I started this job, I bought a strapless, wide-leg jumpsuit from Rachel Comey. It’s black, textured like pebble leather, and so completely unnecessary to my wardrobe (to anyone’s, really) that I didn’t even try to justify it by scouring the horizon for a formal event. I loved it, so I bought it.

And then something weird happened — I found a way to wear it every day. Because I’m a sane person, I restricted myself to once per week (except that now I’m on a train to our DC HQ and since no one there knows that I wore it on Tuesday, I’m wearing it again for Friday).

For my first day on the job, I threw it over a blue and white striped button down from J.Crew’s mens department. Paired with white pumps, it elicited a, "very Carrie Bradshaw season 5" from my friend Kate. That weekend, I layered a grey cashmere t-shirt (also J.Crew) underneath, and pinned on a white Chanel camellia before lacing on black suede flats.

The next week, fashion week, was freezing. Like actually 1 degree. So I put it over a long-sleeved wool sweater and stepped into a pair of Nikes. On Tuesday, a red and white vintage ringer tee earned the place of honor underneath the item I’ve realized has replaced my faded black Acne jeans as my number one wardrobe staple: a bustier sewn on top of a pair of culottes. I challenge you to find something less essential.

I was flipping through a fashion magazine (which one is unclear) and a woman was wearing a silk Rochas evening gown over a white T-shirt from Everlane like it was NBD, a much fancier version of my new favorite outfit. Something ridiculous over something so basic works so well, rendering every story about wardrobe essentials and must-haves before the age of 25, 30, whatever ridiculous. In fact, of all the things I bought in the swirl of excitement surrounding my new gig, the only thing I haven’t worn is my blazer.