Beyond the classic definition, what does home mean to you? Is it a place you feel secure, somewhere you feel you can most be yourself, let yourself fully go, or restore a sense of peace? For many, a home isn’t just a physical structure, but a place where you don’t have to explain yourself and a place you can always go back to, no matter how far you have strayed.

I came up with the idea of doing a post on home base outfits last week when I had to run a few errands in the middle of the day, which is a bit of a daily routine for me that I use to break up the monotony of working from home and to ensure I don’t spend it completely cooped up behind my computer. Living where I do in Brooklyn, I can accomplish multiple errands in a matter of a two-block radius, and on this particular day, I had to run to the market, stop at the ATM, pick up a pair of shoes at the cobbler, run into the drugstore and grab a smoothie for lunch at my corner deli. I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt and piled on a few layers to wear outdoors on that very mild February day.

Later that evening, I was texting with my virtual assistant, Jess, whose wardrobe is the complete opposite of mine. Among the man-made things that can be seen from space, like the Great Wall of China, Jess’s wardrobe is probably one of them. While we’re both fans of color, she wears color, and I mean, wears color. While I enjoy accessorizing with color, Jess’s closet looks like Lilly Pulitzer chose to memorialize the history of her career in there and Jess finds it unfathomable that I, a ferocious fan of the basic v-neck t-shirt, only own them in navy, white and grey. She insists I need more colors, to which I argue that they would just waste away in my drawers. I know myself, I know what I like, I know how I dress. I also know what I do with my navy, grey and white t-shirts.  I sent Jess a photo of my outfit to explain.

The Importance of These Looks

I think we all have a look that feels like home to us.  It’s an outfit that feels the most comfortable and that we naturally gravitate towards on most days.  If you were to be animated as a cartoon character, this would be the outfit you’d be animated wearing until the end of time.  The second you put it on, it gives you that same feeling of home, that sense of peace, security, and makes you feel like yourself and like you don’t have to explain anything.  For me, it’s jeans and a basic v-neck t-shirt.  This is my home base look.  I don’t know why,  I have no explanation other than when I put these pieces on it evokes those feelings of home.  Almost every day, this will be my look or the base of my look if I have no reason to dress otherwise.  It’s the equivalent of Steve Jobs’ turtlenecks, Vera Wang’s black ensembles, Carolina Herrera’s crisp white button-down shirts, and Mark Zuckerberg’s hoodies.  

Reading about the choices of creative people, it makes sense that I reach for simplicity in my wardrobe.  It cuts down on stress, it limits choices; two things I’m in huge favor of.  I stare at clothes all day, the last thing I want to think about is burdening myself with a closet full of clothes and too many options.  Yet, I assure you, my home base look of jeans and a t-shirt is far from boring.  

Back to my conversation with Jess, I sent her the photo of what I wore that day and showed her the outfit of what I wore.  I layered my grey Quince merino cardigan over my J. Crew Vintage v-neck t-shirt and wore it with a pair of straight-leg jeans styled with a pair of rust pair of Eileen Fisher rust heaven wedges I got resale and a teal Ines de la Fressange crossbody she did for Uniqlo several years ago that I use constantly.  Yes, on days where I am sitting behind my computer for hours, I might just be wearing a tee and jeans with my burgundy Allbirds Tree Loungers.  However, if I want to, I can look stylish in seconds and without an outfit change.

home base look

Your Home Base Look Can Help You Develop Your Style

This is the power of a home base outfit.  While it can be fine on its own, it also provides us with a home base or a starting point on which to springboard other looks that we can build in an instant.  This is not to say this has to be our single and only option.  I have other choices.  I am stockpiling Everlane’s Dream Pants as we speak, I have a drawer of Vince sweaters. Quince is bookmarked on my browser for easy shopping.  I love jumpsuits and have this weird obsession with these linen pants I found on Amazon last summer for $30 and wound up living in.  I wear other things.  But having this home base look is just that, home.  It’s that place I know I can always go to and I can count on, where I know I will always feel like myself, that I will always know will work, will always make me feel confident, and I know I can always change up without effort.  I also know that as I buy other things, I can look to who I am as the person who feels most comfortable in looks based on jeans and a basic v-neck tee and build other looks according to this very class, very timeless structured style.  

You see, your home base look doesn’t just give you an outfit, it also inspires your style beyond it.  Obviously, I can’t wear jeans and a tee to all things, but it does say a lot about what I gravitate towards.  A person who gravitates towards something so clean and simple likely wouldn’t go for things either super trendy, super frilly, overly colorful, or incredibly embellished.  Your home base look is intel into a much bigger picture about your style.  By paying attention to your home base look, you not only create something simplified that you can always go home to, but you can also create something that can tell a much bigger picture about who you are and what your style is.

Other Ways I Have Changed Up My Home Base Look

To show you how I used my home base look this past winter, here are some more ways I changed it up.

home base look

This was on an extremely mild January day. It was humid and I had come home from an early morning where I was dressed up. My family was coming by and the humid weather and long walk home had me throw on my trusted jeans and white v-neck tee to cool off and to be comfortable and casual. When we headed out to dinner, the weather was that weird humid but still cool temperature where layers were smart. I layered a v-neck Vince Cashmere sweater over the t-shirt, added a navy blazer, wound a scarf I knit around my neck, put on my Aquatalia loafers, and slung an Everlane cognac bag across my body. I have worn a t-shirt and navy blazer minus the sweater more times than I can count.

Everything except for the jeans and tee I either got resale or made myself.  I only wear J.Crew’s vintage v-neck t-shirts.  I can’t speak for everyone, but they are perfect for me.  I have multiple white, navy, and grey tees in my drawer.  For jeans, again, J.Crew jeans fit me very well and this is their slim boyfriend style from their Factory store that wear like straight leg jeans.  The blazer is by Stella McCartney that I finally tracked down after years of looking to replace my current one. I got the Aquatalia Sharon loafers on Poshmark, I knit the scarf and the Everlane Form bag has a funny story behind it.  A client of mine was getting rid of it.  Another client of mine was looking for this bag in cognac so my client happily gave it to me to give her.  When I reached out to this client to send her way, she told me she had already tracked the bag and didn’t need it.  Noticing the bag would be useful for me but not wanting to keep it under false pretenses, I bonused my client for the cost of the bag in time with me, and have used the bag quite regularly since. I wear it as a crossbody.

home base look

This is a look I wore where the day started out warm but got cold and then I had to run out.  It started with the grey t-shirt and jeans from J.Crew, I added the green cardigan for warmth, also from J.Crew, and when it was time to run out, I threw on my camel wool/cashmere coat from Uniqlo, which I got resale, zipped up my grey Aquatalia boots (again resale) I wear for stomping around the neighborhood, added my hand-knit cable slouch hat, used the same hand-knit scarf, was wearing my glasses I got for a song on Zenni and grabbed that Everlane bag.  

home base look

I will cry in my pillow if J.Crew ever discontinues their Vintage V-neck tees,  but I’ve been disappointed in their long sleeve crew style because they seem to shrink after washing.  For home, it’s okay but for beyond the house, they’re only good for layering.  Over this tee, I added this super soft sweater that J.Crew did last fall and I wish I bought it in another color.  So while you can’t see much of the tee, I am still counting this outfit because I loved the way the sophistication of the camel on camel looked this winter.  I finished my outfit with brown flat Aquatalia booties, my Everlane bag, and my glasses.

home base look

Looking ahead to spring, admittedly, once it gets super hot, my home base look takes a bit of a backseat.  It gets way too hot to wear jeans and if I do, my jeans get way roomier and relaxed until it’s sweltering and then I forget about jeans until the first cool day comes around again.  On hot days, my jeans get subbed for easy pull-on pants but the tees remain.  This goes back to my point about a home base look still being inspiring and informational when even when you aren’t wearing them.

For cool early spring days, this is a look I wear with these relaxed jeans, my navy merino cardigan from Quince, a white v-neck tee, Everlane bag, and my new M.Gemi Felize driving loafers.  Quick quiz. Know why they call them driving loafers? Click here to find out. Next week I will be doing a review post on them because they are absolutely the most amazing shoes.  As someone who has always loved driving loafers but I have never been able to find a pair that didn’t make my feet look like I was wearing old man slippers, I was thrilled to have found a pair that not only looks good but feels good to wear.  

Do You Have a Home Base Look?

Do you have a home base outfit?  If you don’t, I bet you do and you don’t even realize it.  I think we all have those familiar outfits that we gravitate towards.  Chances are it’s currently an outfit that is boring you to tears.  It doesn’t mean the outfit is wrong necessarily, it may just mean you haven’t figured out how to keep changing it up enough so it always feels fresh and interesting.  My hope is that today, you’ve learned the power that a home base look can have.