There are a few favorite contemporary designers I return to every season to fill voids in my closet, mostly on what I consider the essentials. The price points are right and the quality is pretty consistent. Vince and Theory are the two that usually provide me with most of my basic nondescript pieces, and this season, Helmut Lang joins them. With these lines I gravitate toward the understated pieces that mix and match with other more directional pieces in my wardrobe. Here’s a round up of what I like from each right now…
I’m looking at Vince to update many of my knits this season. Although the color story is not new, there are small details and subtleties that have me eyeing these pieces to freshen up my sweaters. The ribbed upper panel is flattering on this mock-neck turtle in a lightweight cashmere that’s perfect for those almost chilly days. It’s thin enough to layer under jackets too. In an attempt to add color, I’ll make it simple by keeping tones rich and dark. Both the directional rib burgundy turtleneck on the model and olive green slim turtleneck are favorites. And in California, a short sleeve knit is essential or in this case a grey cashmere cap sleeve. It’s the best way to wear sweaters throughout our mild season.
Theory has been back in the spotlight for me the last few seasons. There were several years where everything looked the same, but with new designer, Lisa Kulson, I’m paying attention. For a long time, I have had no interest in a standard tailored trouser, a silhouette Theory is well known for, so I’m thrilled with many of the new options added. I’ve mentioned the Thorene (and similar Korene in leather) before and in my opinion, it is the easiest pant to update any look. I like that it has the comfort of a jogger without a banded hem. I have it in several fabrics and wear them with both sneakers and heels. I’m also loving the versatile crepe separates this season like the tie neck dress that can also be worn as a tunic (above on model) with the Lolka cropped pant. And anything in Theory’s ponte knit fits great for me and travels exceptionally well. This A-line navy skirt might need to find its way in my closet. Knitwear has always been a staple from Theory, and this season I’m eyeing some of the clean basics like the pale grey relaxed short sleeve crewneck and the ivory sleeveless alpaca turtleneck.
Helmut Lang has jumped front and center as a line to pay attention to this season. It should not surprise me that with new designer Katayone Adeli (remember her amazing line late 90’s/early 2000’s?), the line has taken on a more sophisticated edge in lux, draped fabrics. For example, the slim black pant with a bonded hem hangs beautifully. With flats it has that cool, slouchy appeal and with heels, it’s the perfect evening pant. I tried them on with both of these fluid tops, the open placket black henly and the white scoop neck crew. Worn together, I have to say there was a hint of The Row in its elegant simplicity. The sweaters from Helmut Lang are right on mark too. I’m not sure if its the color or the very deep V-neck on this nude rib pullover that appeals to me. The combination makes this more than another basic pullover though. And the three-ply knit olive green turtleneck looks basic but with a split side pointed edge takes on a more forward air. Love it with these wide leg tropical wool trousers that puddle around flat shoes just perfectly.