seven easy pieces in three short installments, part II

seven easy pieces in three short installments, part II

hi everyone! here’s installment number two about updating and reducing your wardrobe… hope you’re all having a great week!


along with the personal style upheavals spring brings, i feel like the “environmental awareness” trend has been gaining more and more intensity.
(this is amazing and wonderful and really really awesome.)
more people are thrifting, re-fashioning, re-cycling, buying vintage, second hand, (or hand made) off of ebay, etsy, and all the other small-business-ish sites out there, and otherwise just reducing their fashion intake.  

interestingly enough, it was in the ’80′s that donna karan introduced her “seven essential (or easy) pieces,” which consisted of a collection of seven garments – a bodysuit, a coat, a jacket, blouse, skirt, pants and something a little fancier for the evening – that, when owned as whole, would pretty much cover every basic clothing need.
the pieces were created to work together and could be mixed and matched to take you from day to evening. the collection itself was designed for simplicity and ease in stylish dressing for the modern woman (as donna karan viewed her.)
(i find this particularly amusing since the ’80′s are not really remembered for their minimalist and environmentally conscious approach at anything…) 

donna karan recently re-introduced this concept with her icons collection. (you can also read more about it here.)

icons 1 donna karan 2donna karan 3
donna karan 4  donna karan 5  donna karan 6

these aren’t necessarily the seven pieces i would create my wardrobe with, (and not really in the price bracket i shop in), but i’m in love with this concept. it’s something i’ve been playing around with in my head for a while, and cleaning out my closet has made me start thinking about it more seriously. how nice would it be to be able to open up my closet door and know that almost everything i own is something that not only looks good on, but also works well with the rest of the things i own? how much stress would be eliminated if my clothing options complimented each other, rather than being a clashing pile of ill-fitting prints and patterns purchased in a fit of “oooh! pretty!” rather than “what exactly will i wear this with?”  in order for this to work though, it means adding pieces to your wardrobe that fit with what already resides there, and not just blindly buying anything that sparkles. it takes a bit more thought and planning and less impulse, but i don’t think those are bad things to practice, by any means. i’ve found that most impulse buys have lead to unnecessary credit card bills and a pile of things i realistically won’t ever wear, but feel too guilty about purchasing to donate to goodwill. 

so with all of this in mind, these are the questions i’ve been pondering:
• what exactly would i choose, if i were creating my own “seven easy pieces?”
• would this collection be seasonal, or would i have an entirely separate set of pieces for spring/summer and fall/winter?
• would i limit myself to seven, or would i increase that number a bit? ten easy pieces? even more?
• what sort of trends (personal or commercial) would i follow in creating this collection of pieces, or would i try to maintain a sense of “timelessness?” is that even possible?
i have worn some of my favorite things for years, but i think that’s more of a personal preference than an actual stylistic “timelessness.” i could be completely wrong here, but when i hear the term “timeless,” elastic-waist slacks and shapeless jumpers come to mind, which i feel achieve their title by never really being a fashionable choice to begin with, and therefore eliminate the danger of being given the opportunity to fall from grace.  
please share your thoughts on this with me! i want to hear how you answer these questions.

13 comments to seven easy pieces in three short installments, part II

  • My wardrobe could never be seven easy pieces (unless I was on a vacation!). I have in recent years learned to ask myself “what exactly will i wear this with?” so that is a step in the right direction. Timelessness, I can’t think of much that is: a white collared shirt, stright leg black trousers and an a line dress in black. Sounds to basic for me.

  • wow that’s an awesome concept. I recently cleaned out my wardrobe soon (even though it’s not that huge as I’ve been travelling recently) and totally agree with the ‘less is more theory’ – but now reducing it even more – i’m totally up for it!

    But my 7 easy pieces would HAVE to include a pair of black jeans, a black skirt, a black cardigan a black shirt and a black cocktail dress. Add in a black jacket and a black sundress and there you have it.

    How goth is that!

  • I think Trisha on Bits & Bobbins or Gala may have discussed this exact topic a while ago, but it seems that the 7 pieces changes depending on your job/function + personal preference. But there are always those pieces that seem appropriate wherever you are: formal dinner, work, casual outing. I love base pieces that I add onto. Timeless always reminds me of the Hepburns, Sophia Loren, Cecily Tyson & Carolina Herrera; well tailored, neat + elegant = easy. Body skimming jersey travels well (I think that’s a lot of DK stuff) and keeps its shape. If I had to chose: (1) dark wash jeans, (2) knit jersey dress, (3) lt wt wool pants, (4) collared 3/4 length sleeve shirt, (5) knee length skirt in black/khaki, (6) sweater set, (7) Great detailed coat

  • wow a 7 piece wardrobe…not something i could handle! especially since i tend to layer to extremes…right now I am wearing 5 garments on my top half alone! But as for 7 classics I would say perfect skinny blue jeans, soft loose white teeshirts, grey cardigan, high waisted black mini skirt, some kind of a checked/plaid shirt, big manly coat and a blazer. most of my outfits probably include at least one of those items!

  • I am having trouble with this concept of weeding out the wardrobe because whenever I try to, I end up regretting throwing something out.

    I recently went home for spring break and REALLY limited myself in terms of packing. I ended up wearing two outfits twice … Something I NEVER do. I guess I need to get more creative and include pieces I wouldnt just wear with this particular outfit.

    Thanks for your post!

  • Realistically, seven easy pieces is never going to happen for me. Ever. I probably have seven pieces that I wear over and over again (dark denim straight leg jeans, grey & black carousel horse t-shirt, black cardigan, black and white striped shirt, vest/s etc) but the really precious pieces to me are the ones that I mix with these ‘basic’ pieces. I may only wear them a few times, but these are the ones that make my ‘personal’ style. However, I am all for downsizing!

  • I am just glad there isn’t such a concept for shoes: limiting myself to 7 pairs of shoes would definitely kill me! as for items of clothing, hmm, there would be a tailored jacket (black), wide leg trousers (grey or taupe), a masculine looking shirt, a very girly dress, the perfect cardigan (still looking for one actually!), a belt to change the shape of any of the above mentioned items, and a black skirt (again, still looking for the perfect one..)
    are we allowed accessories too??!

  • it does seem like a pretty impossible task, doesn’t it? to limit yourself to just seven pieces?
    ha ha! maybe we should up the ante?
    thanks for all the feedback guys!

  • Ouch, seven items. I don’t even know if I could do 7 coats or seven pairs of jeans ect…..

    However, I do think it is a good idea to purge often. I just sold a ton of stuff to Buffalo exchange and got some great new pieces and still got 4 bucks in return. Some of the new items were even designer pieces that I would have never got retail, and they were beautiful.

    Can’t wait to hear the third installment, love the blog BTW!!

    Jocelyne of pretty pirate designs

  • 7 items, hmmm? Tent jumper dress, elephant leg trousers, dress or 3/4 length coat, white tee with design in black or silver, corset top, dress fitted at top with full skirt, and higher waisted dark denim shorts.

    7 items might be enough to cover one of my dressing moods, but I have about 5: Boho/Middle Eastern Inspired, bold/crazy, vintage, rock, sweet. Usually I combine them. Seasonal might help too, since I’d need a heavier coat for winter and light coat for spring/fall etc. However, that would mean I’d get 7 X 5 X 2= 70 clothing items, which might work…

  • jocelyne – ahh, the wonder that is buffalo exchange… or ANY store that will trade clothes with you… beautiful! (and thanks for the blog-love!)

    ivy frozen – i like where you’re heading with the 70 easy pieces… i think we might be soul mates :)

  • No matter what everybody is saying I don’t think that any collection of pieces that is “in” now will be fresh in 2-3 years from now. Fabrics change.Every time something is brought from the past details of it are changed and the whole piece is reinterpreted. Look at the whole 80′s movement that is going on right now.
    Take a pair of matter how “classic” the cut is they will look like mama’s jeans in a couple of years from now.
    It is a nice idea but ….

  • Donna Karan’s icons collection really appeals to me. I believe Yves Saint Laurent came out with a similar concept a few seasons ago specifically geared towards the traveler. I especially like the slim trousers in the 2nd look and the last dress is divine.

    I think a wardrobe needs “essentials” which are the backbone of the wardrobe and also novelty/more unique items as well (so as not to get bored).

    My seven easy pieces generally speaking: 1) Black trousers 2) Slim jean 3) White t-shirt 4) Black blazer 5) Trench coat 6) long black highwaisted skirt 7) a black, as Donna Karan calls them, Cozy (draped cardigan/shawl thing)

    As far as it varying by season, generally there’s no major shift in seasons where I live. My essentials would more vary by where I’m going/what I’m doing.

    If I were to go into shoes/accessories/handbags, the list would increase.

    The things I usually go for tend to have a timeless appeal to them. I also feel tailored looks are an easy way to look put together with minimum effort.

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