Playing for keeps
When is it cool to hold on to what you've got? When what you've got are stone-cold closet classics, says Kim France
Kim France (Handout photo by Todd France, Chicago Tribune / August 13, 2012)
This applies equally to manuscripts and closets, which is why Kim France has no use for edicts calling for an annual ditching of all clothing that hasn't been worn in an obligatory (and rather arbitrary) year.
"I don't know who invented that rule, but I would be filled with regret if I followed it," says France, 48, who launched her fashion blog, "Girls of a Certain Age," at the end of a decade-long stint as editor-in-chief of Lucky Magazine.
"I subscribe to the Jeremy Lin theory," France says, giving props to the former New York Knicks player whose rise from backup's backup to starting-lineup star prompted a global wave of "Linsanity."
"You never know what's going to come off the bench and be a real performer. You have a hunch you'll wear things at some point, you just can't figure it out now."
If that sounds like the wisened perspective of a tastemaker who went from a clothing allowance and midtown meetings to blogging in her yoga pants — well, it is. But it's also the keen sense of an old-school gal.
"I've definitely got an old-school/new-school hybrid aesthetic."
Which means honoring her girl-of-a-certain-age classics, even as she warmly embraces (some of) fall's freshest trends.
"A perfect black blazer will always be in my wardrobe. The black blazer I have now is different than the black blazer I wore in 2001, which is different than the one I wore in 1995. I just went out and bought an orange one. Everyone looks so cute in their bright little blazers and I thought, ‘I can do that without looking like a real estate agent.' It's taking something that's a classic and having fun with it, but not making a massive investment so if it doesn't get a lot of wear, it's not the end of the world."
"When you get jeans that fit you well and make you feel great, hang on to them. Jeans are very close to swimsuits on the list of most stressful articles of clothing to purchase."
"A classic white shirt and a thin, thin chain? There's nothing sexier"
A TRUSTED DESIGNER
Above all, know who you love. "I wear a lot of Helmut Lang. They don't take huge risks, but you don't look like a total bore because they find a way to take something simple and make it interesting by giving it, say, a certain drape, which is good for a girl of a certain age trying to hide stomach junk. Rag and Bone is really smart at taking classic shapes and doing something updated that moves well and is feminine."