January is always one of my favorite fashion moments. We may be between seasons, sartorially speaking (the rush of pulling on fall’s new boots and sweaters is gone, but spring is still several snowy, slushy months away), but it’s a time of across-the-board resolution and reinvention, and fashion is all about constantly reinventing the same concepts in new, fresh ways.
Here are five new staple pieces to rehab your wardrobe for 2012—modern twists on classics that you can seamlessly integrate into what you already own, and that will be on point for the coming year (and for years to come).
1. The Neutral Blazer. A well-tailored blazer is flattering on any figure and has the power to smarten up any ensemble, from jeans and a tee to a floaty chiffon dress. Don’t ditch your black one, but for situations where you feel it reads a little too “business,” the same jacket in a camel or light gray will come across as fresh and more fashion-forward. And this one is a no-brainer—neutral colors play well with others, from black and white to the brightest neons, and everything in between.
J. Crew 1035 jacket, $178; jcrew.com.
2. The Bow-Neck Blouse. In neutrals or bright colors, prints or solids, this vintage style is making a comeback as an alternative to the boring old button-down. Worn under a suit, tucked into a pencil skirt, or tossed on over trouser-leg jeans, it’s equally at home no matter what the dress code. Let the ties hang loose if casual-chic is your thing, or tie it tight when you need to be prim and proper.
3. The Little Bright Dress. “LBD” gets a new meaning. A black dress is still indispensable, but what with daylight savings, isn’t it already dark enough? A great-fitting dress in a bright color taps into the saturated-hue trend, and will definitely put you into the party mood these dresses were made for. Look for a figure-flattering sheath or wrap cut, and prepare to forget you even own a black dress.
Kay Unger cap-sleeve bow-waist sheath dress, $230; lordandtaylor.com.
4. The Not-So Statement Necklace. The days of intimidatingly large bib necklaces are behind us, and the must-have piece of jewelry is a much more manageable reincarnation. More refined, the new necklace is still strong enough to pull an outfit together or add a touch of panache to an otherwise blase ensemble, but without going over the top. Look for ones that incorporate different materials and textures, like this metal-and-crystal version from RACHEL Rachel Roy.
RACHEL Rachel Roy gold-tone glass collar necklace, $70; macys.com.
5. The Lady Bag. The Mad Men inspiration continues, and more refined, feminine shapes are ruling the handbag world. The satchel is a classic shape—make it modern with sleek hardware and unexpected colors like a vibrant green.