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In Defense of Basic Fashion

Little Black Dress illustration on Martha Argelia

Recently, fashion influencer Aimee Song found herself in hot water after making a partnership with Marshall's, shortly after making a seemingly disparaging comment about Revolve's customers during an interview with Business of Fashion (she was promoting her new fashion line AMIYA). The term "basic" was thrown around as a derogatory remark in defense of Song, but let's take a moment to examine what basic fashion really means and why it's far from ordinary.

Basic fashion, at its core, refers to timeless, essential pieces that form the foundation of any well-curated wardrobe. Think classic white t-shirts, versatile little black dresses, and reliable denim jeans. These staples have stood the test of time for a reason – they are easy to wear, comfortable, and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.

In a world where everyone is striving to stand out and be unique, it's ironic that many end up looking the same. The constant pursuit of the latest trends and the desire to be "different" often leads to a homogenization of style. Basic fashion, on the other hand, allows individuals to embrace simplicity and focus on quality over fleeting fads. There's a greater attention to details, to seams, to construction, and fit.

Many renowned fashion houses have built their empires on the foundation of basic fashion. Take Coco Chanel, for example. Her iconic little black dress revolutionized women's fashion in the 1920s and remains a staple in wardrobes worldwide. Chanel understood the power of simplicity and created pieces that were both elegant and functional.

 illustration of Chanel’s little black dress by Main Rousseau Bocher from 1926 National Museum of Scotland
Illustration of Chanel’s little black dress by Main Rousseau Bocher from 1926. National Museum of Scotland

Another brand known for ""basic fashion is Everlane. Known for their transparent pricing and ethical manufacturing practices, Everlane offers a range of essential clothing items that are designed to last. From their perfect-fitting t-shirts to their minimalist accessories, Everlane proves that basic doesn't mean boring.

Uniqlo, the Japanese retail giant, has also made a name for itself by offering high-quality basics at affordable prices. Their AIRism line, which features breathable and moisture-wicking fabrics, has become a go-to for those seeking comfortable and functional everyday wear.

The beauty of basic fashion lies in its versatility. A plain white t-shirt can be paired with jeans for a casual look or tucked into a sleek pencil skirt for a more professional ensemble. A little black dress can be accessorized with statement jewelry for a night out or layered with a blazer for a business meeting. The possibilities are endless.

Moreover, investing in basic fashion pieces allows for a more sustainable approach to style. Instead of constantly chasing trends and contributing to the fast fashion cycle, opting for timeless essentials reduces waste and promotes a more mindful relationship with clothing.

It's important to note that embracing basic fashion does not make one a "basic" person. The term "basic" has been used to describe someone who lacks depth or originality, but this is a separate concept from basic fashion. An individual can have a closet full of classic pieces while still maintaining a unique personality and set of interests.

Basic fashion is far from ordinary. It represents a timeless and practical approach to style that prioritizes quality, versatility, and sustainability. Brands like Chanel, Everlane, and Uniqlo have built their success on the power of basics, proving that simplicity is indeed the ultimate sophistication.

So the next time someone tries to use "basic fashion" as an insult, remember that there's nothing wrong with embracing the essentials. In a world of fleeting trends and constant change, sometimes the most remarkable thing you can do is to appreciate the beauty in simplicity.