In most fashion “self-help” books, experts advocate for expensive basics – or wardrobe staples – to be well-dressed. Exhibit a: the LBD. One-thousand-dollars-plus on a little black Dolce & Gabbana is a surefire investment for women at all income levels. Quickly, I envision elegant soirees and entertaining at home in my little black dress, heck I’ll even go to Loblaws in it. Each occasion decreasing my cost per wear like a mathematician who just discovered the cosine law.
One problem: I never met a print I didn’t like. Furthermore, I never met a fashion icon who made it so in a LBD. And lastly, Viviana Volpicella.
Here is a woman who countermands the call to don the LBD on every occasion. She presents the paradox of being well-dressed and insipid at the same time. And she thus poses a lot of problems for my clothing budget. Enter, the statement piece.
Viviana proves that a statement piece will not only render you well-dressed, but you will forever be emblazoned in the minds of all those who possess the faculty of eyesight. That neon yellow dress she wore with a blue purse: unforgettable. The pink and black striped skirt: over and over. The pyjama suit with foxes: committed to memory. They are the criterion collection of OOTDs.
She totally debunks the theory of spending all your money on basics and makes a case for spending an entire paycheque (salary) on this season’s trendiest pieces. If you need a basic white tee, Everlane does a lovely 100% supima cotton version for $15.
And Viviana is not alone. Anna dello Russo is a fellow, basic-eschewing comrade. Both women, however, are not twenty-something bloggers. In fact, their age might have more to do with prints than it does with Botox. This leads me to ask: is one of the greatest (only) pleasures of aging the authority to pile on the Peter Pilotto?
Sounds trivial, right? Now, imagine both women photographed outside the shows in nondescript little black dresses. Ok, maybe they’d get photographed once or twice out of principle, but after a few seasons, who would really still care about two middle-aged women wearing the most accessible article of clothing over and over again.
Instead, as a woman gets older her wardrobe should become a fantasia of trends, decades and prints. A few months ago I started to clean out my closet to replace all my clothes with basic cashmeres and expensive silks. Now I look at Viviana and feel as though I have been approaching my thirties all wrong. I should really just be hunting down a Richard Lindner colour-blocked Prada dress and say adieu to my twenties like no basic bitch before.
NB: the Holt Renfrew Now or Never sale is going on this weekend – if I’ve convinced you to buy outrageous and timely designer pieces, this would be a good place to start.