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I’ve always thought of Paris and New York as the fashion capitals of the world, but after my recent trip to Florence, I’ve added the Renaissance city to the list. Florentine women buy fewer clothes than we do, but they buy the best they can afford. They take good care of their things and buy new pieces with the old ones in mind, which is what I do. I had another topic planned for today’s Fashion Friday post, but decided the clothes I wore today would be a great way to illustrate this point.

The oldest thing in my closet–and I still wear it a lot–is the blue and white striped, French Cuff, dress shirt I bought when I was in my early 20’s for my first husband.

My color palette’s always been black, white, grey and taupe… I don’t consider blue jeans a color. They’re a way of life! Today’s outfit contains the only “brown” clothes I own.

In chronological order, here are the brands and how long ago I bought each piece. Some of these pieces were the only thing I bought that season.

When I left the house this morning it was in the upper 40’s. I knew my sweater and cashmere wrap might not be enough, so I reached for the brown, suede, Worth jacket I bought 13 years ago. Not only did it tie everything together, it was the perfect choice for layering.

My brown, Brunello Cucinelli sweater is six-years-old. I LOVE Cucinelli, but can rarely afford it. I think my friend, Tanji Patton, and I were going through our Cucinelli “on sale” phase. I remember wearing this sweater when she and I went to lunch one day. (Men always freak out when women can remember what they wore!) The bottom of the sweater has an asymmetrical hem, which keeps it modern.

Here’s a photo of me and my friend and NYC hairstylist supreme—Juan Carlos Maciques—just after he gave me this fab haircut! I’m wearing the same Brunello Cucinelli sweater with a different pair of pants… olive/grey suede, also Cucinelli… on sale.

Speaking of Juan Carlos, FYI, beginning November 14th, he will be at the Marie Robinson Salon New York. As part of their “collaboration,” he will also be doing a six-to-eight-week rotation at her new Miami Salon. There’s a reason why the celebs and the magazines go to him… HE’S THE BEST! I’ve gone three months without one of his haircuts, and my hair still looked great! It was just longer!

The brown Elie Tahari pants I wore, today, were the first skinny pants I bought. I love their “waxy” texture. I bought them five-years-ago. My tan, suede, ankle booties are Saint Laurent—one of the few brands that carry narrow widths—and my silk blouse is Theory. Both about four-years-old.

Now for the new stuff!

My tan cashmere and racoon wrap is from Falconeri, and my black leather, antique cameo bracelet from Anna Porcu. Both I bought in Italy this fall. I JUST CAME FROM SEEING ANNA!! She’s in San Antonio, November 9-12th, for a trunk show at AnArte Gallery on Broadway and Sunset. Can’t wait to catchup with her, tomorrow, for margaritas! Her pieces are one-of-a-kind beautiful.

Today’s outfit is a great study in buying good pieces, over time, in a harmonious color palette. I’ll still be wearing some of them in 20 years! Not to sound like a broken record, but if you buy one nice piece in the spring and the fall, and amortize the cost over the lifetime of wear, it’s a smart way to buy wonderful clothes you’ll have forever.

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  1. Go to Eastern Europe, so happy to see the average age of women in their late 20’s early 30’s walking with confidence everywhere they went in very fashionable style – rarely saw jeans or tattoos! All in beautiful tights, scarves, short jackets and tall/short boots!

    • Great news, Betsy! My good friend, Anya, is from Poland, and we were just talking about that. I think of Poland as this poor, war torn country that never recovered from WWII and the Communists, but their economy is booming, and yes, the women are well dressed. Anya watches Polish TV on cable and talks every few days to her mother, who still lives there, so she’s well informed about Eastern Europe and Vlad’s dirty tricks. Are you back from your trip? xoxox, Brenda

  2. You look smashing! I agree with your approach to shopping. The other key that is necessary to make this work is to stay the same size. My mom used to say she maintained her trim weight because she couldn’t afford to buy everything in different sizes.

    • Mithra, Your mom was right about maintaining her weight. I also think buying a size larger, instead of remaining trim, gives ourselves permission to gain weight.. For 25 years I had the same pair of blue jeans from my early 20’s. They were my only scales. If they didn’t fit, I backed off what I put in my mouth and of course exercised. Don’t know what happened to the jeans, but I still do the same thing. xoxo, Brenda

  3. Love this – great advice that I will keep in mind as I shop now. I love how beautifully it all works together!

  4. Thanks for the fact about Saint Laurent carrying narrow widths. I have a tough time finding fashionable shoes that stay on my feet.

    • You have narrow feet as well, Paula? At least it keeps me from being a shoe hound because I rarely find shoes to fit me! Stewart Weitzman, Marni/online carry shoes that fit me as well. Thank you, Brenda

  5. Such a gorgeous chic ensemble! I love all the soft shades and textures. Buying one fabulous item a season is great advice! I’ve tried to maintain the same weight for years too so I can fir in all my fave pieces for years to come.

    • Thank you, Jill! You and Hildie know all the great brands! Is there a look or a color palette she hasn’t tried? What about understated chic… taking advice from her fellow 1010PP Fashion Blogger? xoxox, Brenda

    • Hi Helen, Are you from another country? I can’t tell from your comment. The women of Italy and me–forever–have shopped this way. I have a hard time getting into fast fashion. Thank you! Brenda

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