Style Bee - Back To Basics

Back To Basics


Style Bee - Back To Basics

Whenever I’m in any kind of style rut I have to consciously fend off the urge to shop. It’s ingrained in my mind that adding something new will magically remedy my lack of creativity, even though I know it’s not a good solution. So when one of these ‘style ruts’ inevitably occurs during a month long shopping fast I try to have a game plan in my back pocket so to speak. I have a set of 4 simple steps I resort to in order to build a look that I know I’ll feel great and with any luck, look good in too.

Step 1: Black. I love the colour black, it looks good on everyone and it’s chic as hell. I start by choosing something from my wardrobe that’s black and go from there. Whether it’s a pair of pants, a dress, a coat or in this case a perfect black tee (more on that below). It always sets the right tone for a sophisticated look.

Step 2: Colour or Monochrome? This is the fork in the road where I must decide whether to build on a monochrome look of greys and whites or play with some other tones. In this case I opted for the latter and paired my black tee with a pair of super light wash jeans and added warm neutrals like brown boots to soften the black.

Step 3: Layer. Adding a layer always helps make a super basic outfit less of a yawn fest and more interesting. In this case I went for a classic structured wool coat and a chunky knit hat to add texture. If it was warmer out I might opt for a big sweater and a light scarf instead.

Step 4: Accessorize Gently. I read once that Parisienne women never wear more than 5 pieces of jewelry at once and ever since that style sentiment has been in the back of my mind when I’m getting ready. I typically go for a necklace of some sort, a watch, a couple rings (although I forgot for this shoot) and always wear my simple diamond studs. This way the look feels finished but never fussy or glitzy.

And that’s it! So next time you’re in a blue funk with your closet options, give these steps a try and test my theory!

Style Bee - Back To Basics


If I had to admit to hoarding one thing in my closet it would definitely be t-shirts (both white and black). I want to try really hard this year to reduce my collection but it’s so hard when I know they’re always good to have on hand. This one in particular is a new favourite. It’s from the new tee collection by Brass and it’s pretty darn perfect. I love the super rich black, the cleavage concealing v-neck (a rarity) and the glorious viscose blend fabric that gives it a beautiful drape. The length is perfect for tucking into a high waist without feeling like you’re stuffing a sleeping bag into a ziploc and the slim fit is super flattering. Safe to say I’ll be reaching for this one again and again. Check out the Scoopneck Tunic and Boatneck Tank for other great basic options.

Style Bee - Back To Basics Style Bee - Back To Basics Style Bee - Back To Basics Style Bee - Back To Basics Style Bee - Back To Basics Style Bee - Back To Basics

Brass Black V-Neck Tee c/o | Bare Knitwear Hat (on sale!) c/o | Jeans old Madewell (love these) | Coat old Club Monaco (similar here and here and here) | Boots Rachel Comey | Bag The Stowe | Necklace Emmy Trinh c/o | Watch Cluse c/o



Leave me a comment here!

  1. Bo says:

    I’ve been following your blog for awhile and it’s my first time commenting! Do you remember the name of those madewell jeans? They’re perfect!

  2. Mun says:

    Very useful. Layering definitely works wonders. Confidence brings it to a new height!

  3. Lizzy says:

    This is such a perfect basics look, and I LOVE the tips here too! I definitely need to work on the accessorising thing, that’s always my weak point!

    Shot From The Street

  4. Elysia says:

    Holy moly. Thank you so much for introducing me to Brass. I have fallen in love instantly and bookmarked it.

    I have a serious stock of black and grey tees. Totally timeless, and I love them all.

  5. Rita says:

    Lovely coat and great tips. I never used to wear black until I moved to New Zealand (probably the strong association with mourning and a lifetime of widowhood in my culture put me off it for many years). Now it’s an essential. I was just about to place an order from Kowtow when I realised the three items were all virtually the same: 3/4 length black tops!! Definitely a bit of shopping I don’t need to do but sure tells me how attracted I am to the colour at the moment…

    • Lee the Bee says:

      Thanks Rita! I think the connotation with mourning puts a lot of people off black but I love it. I actually find the colour quite comforting and it always feels current and fresh. Kowtow is such a great brand! I’ve never bought anything from them but they are on my radar in a major way this year. Choosing doubles is a good indicator of what you’re drawn to for sure, I do the same thing except it’s usually across several shops and then I step back and realize its all really similar haha. xo

  6. echo says:

    Love the tips and ideas! Thank you as always!
    I must admit I would always choose color, because personally, I don’t think black looks great on asian skin tone 🙂 But the idea is go with whatever you feel comfortable with.
    I think accessories are great, even key in this case(at least for me).

    Hope your January is going well 🙂


    • Lee the Bee says:

      Thanks Echo and you’re more than welcome, as always 🙂 That’s funny you say that because I think black looks especially good on Asian skin tones but colour is one of the most subjective things in life isn’t it? Exactly to your point though, step 1 can be any colour, or even denim if that’s your favourite. Accessories can always, and often do, make the look don’t they. xxo

  7. Jodie says:

    Can’t go wrong with black & tan.
    How are you not cold? It’s been below freezing here all week and snowing!

    • Lee the Bee says:

      I knew you’d agree Jodie! I took some creative liberties on this look and skipped with parka and giant snow boots. Not nearly as sartorially appealing 😉 xo