The Lazy Fashionista: How I came to accept my basicness

I have always liked to think of myself as an individual—I was adamant that I wouldn’t conform to the crowd in middle school and high school. Something changed, though, when I came to college.

At Chatham, no one is really going to bat an eye regardless of what you are wearing. If you want to dress up as a chicken every day of the year, go for it. Sweatpants every day? Sure. Nobody is going to judge you for wearing your pajamas to class.

When I came to school, I didn’t have my mother nagging me to put on real pants, so I turned to t-shirts and sweatpants every day. After a semester, it wasn’t working for me, so I started wearing collared shirts and statement necklaces.

After my first year I realized that neither of these extremes were really me. So for the last year and a half or so, I have been honing my style—finding pieces that work for me, understanding what I am comfortable wearing, and building a wardrobe I’m happy with.

Here is what I have discovered about my style: it’s extremely basic.

Not basic in the solid-colors-class-cuts way. I mean in the every-sorority-girl-in-the-U.S. way.

When I discovered that leggings are extremely comfortable and can function in many scenarios as pants, I immediately bought about five pairs.

I have numerous sweaters that I got multiple sizes larger than necessary in order to wear them with said leggings.

And only last week I put the icing on the proverbial cake: I swapped by destroyed black Converse sneakers for brand new, crisp, white ones.

So, sitting here in my oversized sweatshirt and yoga pants, I have to accept my basicness because, let’s be real; it’s not going away.

Honestly, being basic is the best thing I could do. I am comfortable in oversized tops and leggings. White Converse go with everything and add a little something extra to an outfit. Wearing my hair in a messy bun is functional and allows me not to wash my hair every day.

I think the term “basic” has gotten a bad connotation in the last couple of years. Nobody wants to blend in. Nobody wants to be lumped in with everyone else.

But when blending is this comfortable, and lumping doesn’t make me look lumpy, I think I’m okay with it.

And if someone wants to call me basic?

Well, I guess I’ll be the best-dressed basic they’ve ever seen.

The Lazy Fashionista: 8 definite DON’Ts in the fashion world

It seems like every major fashion publication has its list of “don’ts”—you can’t wear this, these colors don’t go together, people with this body type can’t wear this item of clothing. I take issue with these things; I really do.

Who are you to say that black and brown makes a frown? Or that just because I don’t have a flat stomach, I can’t wear a crop top? Or that wearing Uggs with a mini skirt is a complete faux pas?

Because of my dissent with these lists, I have decided to make my own list of “don’ts” in the fashion world.

DON’T suffer for the sake of fashion: if you can’t breathe or can’t walk, odds are, you are going to spend your whole day/night focusing on that, rather than enjoying yourself. Have fun!

DON’T wear something that makes you uncomfortable: if you know you are going to be tugging on a short skirt or high-necked top, don’t wear it! Again, if you are focusing on something bringing you discomfort rather than having a good time, it’s not worth it!

DON’T dress for a climate other than your own: look, I know that it is still 90 degrees in L.A. at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that all of us in PA should still be in shorts. Stay warm, stay cool—whatever the weather is, you should probably dress for it.

DON’T wear something that doesn’t make you feel confident: trust me, I understand the draw of wearing sweatpants every day for an entire semester—I did it, too! But the thing is, sometimes slouchy pants and ill-fitting t-shirts don’t make me feel like a rock star. But if they do for you, go for it! Find what makes you feel hot and wear the crap out of it!

DON’T wash your jeans every time you wear them: ain’t nobody got time for that.

DON’T piggyback on trends you’re not into: I get it that all of your friends may be into the hottest new trend—but that doesn’t mean you have to be! If you don’t like something or don’t want to wear it, never conform for the sake of society.

DON’T be anyone other than you: fitting in is pretty cool, but being yourself is way better! Regardless of what you wear, make sure you are expressing yourself in the best way possible.

DON’T let anyone tell you what you can and can’t wear: even me!

The Lazy Fashionista: The ever-present struggle of Business Casual

Allow me to explain something: when I say I am a lazy fashionista, I don’t use “lazy” ironically. Pretty much anyone that knows me understands that I love wearing cute clothes as long as they involve somewhere around 70 to 80 percent spandex.

The resurrection of leggings was a godsend to say the least. Graphic tees are cute now? Count me in. Wearing a beanie instead of washing my hair is a solid option when getting ready in the morning.

So imagine my dismay when I started having responsibilities that required…business casual. It is heartbreaking waking up in the morning and ignoring my comfy leggings in favor of *gasp* slacks.

One of the biggest problems most people have with biz-cas is that they have no idea what it means. While there isn’t a hard-and-fast definition of what the phrase means, I like to think of it as between corporate and relaxed. By that, I mean that jeans and t-shirts aren’t acceptable, but brighter colors, short or quarter-length sleeves, and flat shoes are acceptable.

Through the weeks, I have discovered a few ways to get ready for big-kid events without driving yourself business-casual crazy.

Embrace the basics: invest (or don’t) in some solid staple pieces. Places like Ann Taylorm Loft, The Limited, and J. Crew are amazing for stylish business casual pieces if those fit into your budget. If, like me, those are a bit out of your price range, check out H&M, Target, and Forever 21 for some low-price options. Pick up a blazer, a nice skirt, a couple of nice blouses, and a pair of nice dress pants, and you’ll be good for weeks.

Pay attention to fit and length: the goal of business casual is to look classy and polished. The goal is not to show off your rockin’ body. Keep skirts to about knee length, nothing should be tight enough to be uncomfortable, and be mindful of cleavage.

Layering is your new BFF: this is especially true for the upcoming winter months. Layering a well-fitting blazer or cute sweater over a collared shirt not only adds some dimension and interest to a plain outfit, but also keeps you warm in chilly weather. And those cute skirts really can work all year round—throw on some thick sweater tights in the winter or a pair of sheer or lace-patterned tights in the fall and spring.

Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize: while a “business” dress code is more limiting to accessories, business casual lets you express yourself through the finishing touches. Throw a statement necklace over that plain sweater, or add some sparkly earrings to add a little bit of personal flare to a potentially boring outfit.

When in doubt, dress up: when going into an unfamiliar environment (interview, new job, important meeting, etc.) it generally better to err on the side of caution with clothing. Keep it neutral and professional for the first day or two until you can get a good feel of the environment you are getting into.

Trust me, you can get used to pretty much anything, including business casual attire. And the best part? You can change into sweatpants the moment you get home!