May 24th, 2023
On My Mind

Show & Tell

In a comment on the post Thank You, Helene, RM suggested “a post on where women find great basics. I have a go-to t-shirt, for example, while someone might have a staple crewneck sweater.” Then Yasmin weighed in with “I love to shop but with the lack of brick and mortar stores these days as well as inventory it makes the Saturday afternoon stroll unappealing. It’s great to know where and what ladies of like shopping mind find the best.”

So, I will start off the conversation — using this picture I took yesterday after visiting interior designer Katie Ridder and her stunning Millbrook garden — by sharing two of my tried-and-true basics. My favorite T-shirts are by Petit Bateau. I love the neck on the non-scalloped version. It lays flat and looks great peeking out from under a crewneck sweater. I have loads of them in white and black and have shortened many to wear untucked with a skirt.  No need to go to Paris to snag a few, either.

I cherish a number of pairs of Saint Laurent sunglasses, but for running around, Ray-Bans win the day. They don’t break the bank, and when they go on sale I try styles outside of my comfort zone. Like reading glasses, I keep pairs scattered about.

Slingbacks, clogs, hobos, pleated knee-length skirts, short-sleeved knits, peacoats, Belgian Shoes, Adidas sneakers, and lambswool crewneck sweaters are the foundation of my wardrobe. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few items.

Okay, your turn!

  • Ooh! I love this post.
    My current obsession are the Uniqlo Pima cotton tees. They weighty, soft & cut for an ‘on the body’ fit but not too snug for those of us of a certain age who’s bodies aren’t doing as we ask. My other daily fave is the James Perse mixed media jogger. I have an embarrassing number and while black & French navy are my go-to’s chalk & army green are nice adds. They wash and wear beautifully & are the grown cool mom sweatpant

    Melissa I.May 24th, 2023  7:27 AM

  • I find myself buying a lot of basics from Uniqlo, mostly tshirts and the merino sweaters. The Uniqlo U tees are great as underlayers, they have a nice neck

    JoannawnycMay 24th, 2023  7:57 AM

  • I’m going to switch from fashion to cosmetics.
    I have mature skin on the dry side. After experimenting with many high end face creams that for me cause slight eye irritations. I’ve come full circle back to slathering on $25 Welda Skin Food day and night and my skin is plump hydrated and glowing.

    SusanMay 24th, 2023  8:04 AM

  • Looking forward to the responses! I finally gave in and tried on the Zara Marine jean- in love, bought them in several colors. High waisted, slightly cropped, just enough stretch to let you move, while also giving you a great shape. I’ve found they work with just about everything in my closet, which means I’m playing less of the ‘this outfit would be perfect if I had XYZ’ and more ‘this outfit is so great, I can’t wait to wear it again.’ Still on the hunt for the perfect tee (Uniqlo is too short, PB are very close) but love the gap modern vneck long sleeve. Great knit, keep its shape, buy normal size and one size down for slim fit with the Zara pants above.

    BllMay 24th, 2023  8:15 AM

  • Ooooo so excited for this post! Paper & pen ready.
    After much eye rolling I drank the kool aid and switched to Augustinus Bader a couple of years ago … both The Rich Cream and The Cream. I love it so much. Also you can find it on sale (20% Off) a few times a year on different sites. I stock up at this price. Sephora, Violet Grey …

    Also never giving up my GG Marmont pumps. Most comfortable shoe ever.

    DebMay 24th, 2023  8:27 AM

  • J.Crew – vintage slim straight jeans, in the gardenia wash and the charcoal wash especially. Just bought the Weleda skin food, after reading Susan’s comment. I have the same skin as well.

    KathyMay 24th, 2023  8:47 AM

  • LOVE this!! Grazie!
    I’m in my 40s and recently started adding collagen powder to my morning tea (Vital Proteins collagen peptides). I can’t believe the difference two scoops a day has made in my skin.

    Black tanks are my go-to base. For tennis/exercise I love Year of Ours. Day to day: Toteme and Redone (which runs small).
    Anyone else rely on tanks (vs. bodysuits)?

    KristiMay 24th, 2023  8:48 AM

  • I have to jump on the Waleda Skin Food wagon here. My sister and I use high-end skin care regimes, but recently her skin has been glowing, plump, and firm. I asked her ‘what are you using?” She said she started using the Skin Food at night as she forgot her night cream while traveling and was happy with the results, so continued. I recently switched over to using it at night and some days (both w/and w/o serum). Wow, my skin is so happy, looks and feels great. The only initial downside for day is it’s a bit shiny, but when patted in gently, that seems to dissipate. With a touch of foundation and/or powder, it’s fine. Thank you Preston for this post, it’s such a lovely community you’ve fostered.

    Lisa FMay 24th, 2023  8:53 AM

  • My only regret with PB shirts: I should have gotten more of them on my last trip to Paris. I will stock up next time I go back. THE BEST T- shirt out there, period.

    KDMay 24th, 2023  9:01 AM

  • Love this post! I’m developing an addiction to Birkenstock- all leather black Boston was my to go shoe all winter long (with some hand knit cashmere socks from Etsy). For tees – loving ATM at the moment. Their slab is not as sheer as others out there and super soft. Patti Dubroff posted about Weleda – tried it and loved it too – use it once or twice a week when too tired to do my usual elaborate ritual haha!

    Stella JonesMay 24th, 2023  9:47 AM

  • Weleda Skin Food is a game changer – and I’ve tried it all. They even have a light version if you’d like something less greasy for day. They recently came out with a face line – which is fine, but the classic version in the tube works great and is so easy to travel with. All 3 of my daughters use it too!

    EmilyMay 24th, 2023  9:50 AM

  • I love the James Perse t-Shirts in white and navy. Love the Weleda skin food. I actually switched to it from La Mer. J. Crew has gotten good again! Great basic office clothes. Desperately need basic undergarments – bra suggestions especially!

    Lisa EastmanMay 24th, 2023  9:50 AM

  • Love this post and everyone’s comments. Just did a deep dive on the Zara Marine Jean, and wondering if they are still making it or if it’s under a different name this year? My go to? Sara Happ lip balm and Ann Mashburn poplin shirts.

    KrisMay 24th, 2023  10:10 AM

  • Theory – precision ponte. Blazer, pants, best travel items. Stretchy, packable, chic, understated, a bit more affordable than Max Mara but similar quality and style. Am I the only person who loves Theory? I never see them on social media and the last time I went to a store, they had very few Theory pieces left… My most worn brand for over two decades. I would be sad if they would go under.

    Denise-MyleneMay 24th, 2023  10:16 AM

  • This is a great post, love to hear about everyone’s “basics”. Re the Weleda “Skin Food”, is it the original in the tube or the facial one in the tub that is recommended? Looking forward to reading more “top tips” ❤️

    AlisonMay 24th, 2023  10:28 AM

  • I have extremely dry skin and saw the L’oreal Midnight Cream reviewed on Instagram recently. I was a sceptic but its EVERY bit as good a the department store cream that I’ve been using.

    ChristinaMay 24th, 2023  11:03 AM

  • I am in California where we wear jeans 24/7/365. My closet is full of every brand and fit. But it never fails that I get complimented most on my J Crew Demi Boot Crop jeans (and they are on sale right now). I have them in every wash and color. I’m short and used to spend a fortune having them altered but have now purchased denim scissors (Gingher knife-edge shears) and trim them to just above my ankle, keeping the fray. I’m telling you, my friends and I refer to them as the “magic jeans” because they look good on everyone.

    I also love the Frank & Eileen Barry shirt and have it in multiple colors.

    Heading to Whole Foods to buy Weleda Skin Foods. Thanks, everyone. I would love an alternative to La Mer.

    STMay 24th, 2023  11:07 AM

  • I always come back to Skin food light. Not over greasy but stays on all day or night. Also fantastically effective on dry hands and cuticles.

    ‘Tricia LowMay 24th, 2023  11:25 AM

  • I absolutely love Cerabalm by Danucera at Rescue Spa. It’s a lovely moisturizing balm that removes every trace of make-up after a big nite out. It leaves my skin incredibly clean without dying or stripping.

    LeslieMay 24th, 2023  11:32 AM

  • John Smedley for merino jumpers and cardigans. Fine and last forever. Equipment and Joseph for silk shirts. Joseph for black trousers. Also a Theory lover!

    SundaeMay 24th, 2023  11:37 AM

  • What a wonderful post! After a huge downsizing move almost a year ago I got rid of almost everything in my closet and am slowly rebuilding my basics. Big fan of Uniqlo, I have the white T in all 3 sizes, depends what I need them for. COS for beautifully tailored white shirts that aren’t too expensive, bought one recently with lovely French cuffs. Would love some basic dress pant recs but I find the size & the fit so all over the place it’s something I really want to try in the store, but as you said above nobody has anything in stock these days.
    Have to add my highest recommendation for Weleda as well, been using retinol (late to the game for my early 50s skin) and I read somewhere use the lighter skin food (lighter green tube) over the retinol at night to avoid irritation. Works brilliantly. I use the Bader Rich Cream daily (hate that it works so well) and the Skin Food helps me extend the time between repurchasing.

    LauraMay 24th, 2023  11:37 AM

  • I also love Theory. I’ve been stocking up on their pants for work. Simple and easy to wear for work.

    SiobhanMay 24th, 2023  11:38 AM

  • Thank you, Preston, for the post and starting the conversation. I can’t help noticing your diamond studs. They look perfect for everyday. If you don’t mind, can I ask what carats (ctw) they are? I’ve been thinking about buying a pair for everyday wear but can’t decide on the size.

    EllenMay 24th, 2023  12:19 PM

  • Wow! Am I the only person not using Weleda? I’m stocking up now.

    My tip, the tank top at Target- brand is A New Day (for $6) to be my new favorite….. I got sucked in last year and bought a pricy Loewe and for $6 these tank tops are amazing.

    ToniMay 24th, 2023  12:21 PM

  • Hi @kris! Confusing, they go by Marine on the inside tag but the site calls them HIGH-WAISTED ZW SAILOR STRAIGHT JEANS.

    BllMay 24th, 2023  12:48 PM

  • What style are the sunglasses features in the image? Thanks!

    EmMay 24th, 2023  12:50 PM

  • My basics are: J.Crew Billie Boot jeans, I have them since 2016 and they are the perfect pair. Rayban Square 1971. get so many compliments everytime I have them on. My manolo BBs in suede, I have been wearing the same pair for almost 5 years alsmost daily to work (we never sent home and still work in the office daily). I have gotten a Maysal sling back and Okkattos, but the BBs are by far my most favorite work shoes.

    ameeMay 24th, 2023  1:10 PM

  • Bioeffect skincare has made the most dramatic difference in my dry skin. The EFG Power Serum, Power Cream and Eye Serum are game changers. Also, the Max Mara technical vests/jackets to wear under trenches/coats. They are chic, add warmth/versatility, and are lightweight/easily packable for travel. Investments for sure. They will be in rotation for years to come.

    RobinMay 24th, 2023  1:17 PM

  • Amee, the Billie jeans are now called the Demi Boot Cromp. LOVE THEM!

    STMay 24th, 2023  1:41 PM

  • I love Ann Mashburn’s ribbed 3×3 half sleeved Georgina sweaters (×3-rib-half-sleeve-georgina-sweater-black-cotton-silk-s70365) and half-sleeved Georgina sweaters ( Their Natasha polo sweaters are also terrific ( They all wear so well. Btw, I learned about Ann Mashburn from my great friend Terri and this website and am very grateful for all of the above so thank you!

    Laura Zinn FrommMay 24th, 2023  2:32 PM

  • Someone asked about underwear. I’d like to share. This is only bra I wear. They stay on my shoulders (I have narrow shoulders). They are very comfortable and look good under everything. They are wacoal-la-femme-underwire-t-shirt. I buy from Nordstrom.

    EllenMay 24th, 2023  3:37 PM

  • What a helpful post! You look sooooo good in those sunglasses!!!!

    KateMay 24th, 2023  3:44 PM

  • Thank you for this conversation, Preston! I am going to disappear into a John Smedley search. For crewneck t-shirts, I default to Vince. The cut is flattering: armholes are high enough, torsos drape beautifully. The thin fabric is perfect for summer days or layering. The shirts are also longer, which I like with pants, although some are almost tunic length. Vince lists shirt lengths online.

    For a casual button-down shirt—white, cotton, susceptible to life—I like a shirt that feels replaceable. Sezane’s Tomboy Shirt is flattering tucked or untucked. They’ve sold this cut for years.

    Laura, you might look at Boss for tailored pants. In the past, I’ve liked how their wool pants fall.

    Because we’re looking at summer, I will add that I am partial to Ancient Greek Sandals! But for cushioned flip flops that can handle water and wear, nothing beats Havianas.

    RMMay 24th, 2023  4:02 PM

  • We wear shorts most of the year here in Florida. I like them a bit longer now that I’m in my 60s. I must have 8 pairs of Wit & Wisdom Ab Solution denim or stretch twill shorts. They have nice stretch but don’t look like it. So comfortable, and run pretty true to size. Nordstrom carries them.

    GingerMay 24th, 2023  4:30 PM

  • Preston, I agree with Kate. Those sunglasses are amazing on you! Do you know which Ray Bans they are? Thanks so much to everyone. This is a fabulous post!!

    STMay 24th, 2023  4:38 PM

  • Another Tomorrow makes a perfect tee shirt. The right length and refined neckline which shows just the right amount of clavicle. Buy on sale at Net-a-Porter.

    SusanMay 24th, 2023  4:57 PM

  • Here are the sunglasses.

    PrestonMay 24th, 2023  5:12 PM

  • Hanro invisible cotton briefs . Game changer worn with jeans . No riding, no bunching ,no visible line, no pulling at my jeans . I will burn at the stake, any pair of thong I find in my undergarment drawer from here on .

    JoMay 24th, 2023  5:54 PM

  • What a fun topic! I just posted on how I have (finally) found skincare that works for me, but now I am down a Weleda rabbit hole.
    As a work-from-home mom to a 15-month old, my everyday clothes need to be ‘susceptible to life’, as RM beautifully stated. It can be hard to find workhorse clothes that can be purchased in multiples while also making the everyday feel chic. I’m usually in a black straight or flare pant (Athleta or Uniqlo but eyeing High Sport) and an oversized button down (Everlane or Old Navy or Cos) or Gap tees (short sleeve or long sleeve). I’m not precious with my clothing and need to be able to throw everything into the washing machine. I try to stay on the lower price point for items that get so much wear and tear and have been impressed with Quince.
    My everyday uniform works for me and it allows me to indulge in shoes and handbags.
    Marcheline Isabelle

    MarchelineMay 24th, 2023  9:04 PM

  • Marcheline, I love what you’ve written about your everyday uniform. As a mother, I don’t want to hesitate even a split second when a child runs to me for a hug, and washable clothes help with that unhesitating embrace. 🙂

    And Laura, in case you happen to be interested in some Boss pants, it looks like the Boss website is having a 40% off sale on women’s clothing!

    RMMay 24th, 2023  9:56 PM

  • Living in a colder climate most of the year, chunky la ligne sweaters are warm and soft and a basic for me. Love Weleda also, but am most devoted to La Roche Posay for moisturizers and sunscreen for my mature skin. Comfy Chloe flats, Barbour barn jackets and Tretorn tennis shoes complete my day to day basics. So reliable, so enjoyable.

    MelissaMay 24th, 2023  10:23 PM

  • Oh wow. This could be a problem with all these great basics to purchase that are clearly tried and true!
    I recently discovered the Cos Clean cut t-shirt. I love that it is a great weight and blousy- not fitted like the wonderful PB tees. I also just order the oversized t-sHirt from Cos and I am looking forward to seeing if that a good and fun alternative. I am also a nut for my Birkenstock Arizona big gold buckle slides in tan. I always get so many compliments from people who typically would not even consider wearing. Birkenstocks!! Thank you for such a great “show and tell!”

    heleneMay 24th, 2023  11:40 PM

  • Wow, this is all fantastic information! Tee shirt conversation is SO timely – although I am a decades-old (in many ways) fan of Petite Bateau classic tees in white and black, I was told they no longer ship to the US. I would love to know where to order! Preston, I notice yours doesn’t fit so snug as mine. Is there a particular style I should look for? I will definitely try Uniqlo as well! I love these practical suggestions! Probably my current favorite item in the wardrobe that is pretty basic is my Loro Piana Traveler jacket. It’s an investment piece to be sure, but it is so functional and I feel pulled together whenever I put it on. Love it so much, I bought a second one. I never leave town without it! Thank you, Preston, and to everyone for sharing these wonderful suggestions!

    PaulaMay 24th, 2023  11:45 PM

  • I’m wearing a small in the picture above. Mostly I wear xs and xxs.

    PrestonMay 25th, 2023  6:14 AM

  • Just ordered the sunglasses in blue with dark grey lenses. Thanks! Also love AB Rich Cream…unfortunately…but I also take advantage of the occasional sale.

    SharonMay 25th, 2023  8:34 AM

  • Great post! The conversations are so informative! I kept going from your post to searching on google for the recommendations love it!

    Alexndra Perez HalperMay 25th, 2023  10:33 AM

  • Loro Piana cashmere t-shirts. I bought 1 or 2 every year and now have a collection in a range of soft colors. They are light weight, close fitting, not tight, great layered under jackets, or thrown over shoulder on cool summer evenings. An investment that lasts a lifetime. I hand wash. Kelly Andreoli at Nieman Marcus SF is my source.

    CatherineMay 25th, 2023  2:34 PM

  • Any recommendations on 100% cotton sweats, tops and/or bottoms? I absolutely hate anything that pills. So disappointing. Also, has anyone purchased 100% cotton tops at the Gap as of late? Are they as good as they used to be?
    Will be trying that skin food! Great post!

    AprilMay 25th, 2023  5:24 PM

  • Silk Laundry do lovely washable silk slip dresses that are properly cut on the bias. Boden crew neck cashmere sweaters retain their shape and do not pill.

    SusanMay 26th, 2023  5:59 AM

  • I second April’s request for 100% cotton sweats. I have several sets from Mate the Label, the organic terry slouchy jogger. While I like them, I wish they were a little softer. I’m contemplating trying their relaxed fleece set but they seem so oversized. They do have a sale right now, so, probably the time to try them!

    StacyMay 26th, 2023  10:20 AM

  • A few years ago, Preston, you did a post on Petit Bateau t-shirts which prompted me to count how many had – fifteen!
    I absolutely love everything about them and once I discovered them (bought my first one in Barney’s) I started buying them
    in every color that looked great on me – even duplicates in some colors!
    I treat them like they’re cashmere – launder them by hand – no heat in the dryer and wear them only when I leave the house
    to do errands, etc.

    Then there is my smaller cache of black ones – seven – which, when you did that post, I had already some of them for consignment – especially the smaller ones.
    Re- thought that after reading your post and now in cooler weather I wear the black ones all the time – including the smaller ones!
    Am wearing a short sleeve black one as I write this post.

    My questions to you: Is it possible to find P.B. t-shirts in colors? If so, where /how?
    Also, I need to replenish my white ones – have seen them on AMAZON – good source?
    And size – when I was acquiring them I bought the children’s size -18 ans – best for me (like the long length for tucking in)
    What would be the equivalent in a woman’s size?

    And Loro Piana cashmere t-shirts – am in Catherine’s lane with those!
    I don’t think I have as many as she does, but I have two in gorgeous colors I covet and a black one; in turtlenecks, have two black one and two in different shades of grey.
    Agree with everything Catherine wrote about them – plus they feel so luxurious against the skin and I love the long length for tucking in.
    Every time I go to the Loro Piana boutique I shop at, I always ask what new colors do they have in the “Piuma” t-shirts or turtlenecks.
    Am always disappointed when the newest colors aren’t right for me!

    Lastly, what soap do you recommend for hand washing cashmere?
    Loro Piana’s cashmere soap – while excellent, – has gotten very expensive.

    Happy Memorial Day to you, Preston, and to all of your loyal fans! : )

    JaniceMay 26th, 2023  10:32 AM

  • After all the talk about PB tees, I went to the store in London after ages! They now do three fits; iconic, straight and boxy. I bought a V neck in the straight as it’s not as deep as the iconic and the arms and body are looser. They were a few colours in all the types (red, light blue, grey etc.) and stripes.

    MMSMay 26th, 2023  3:40 PM

  • April and Stacy, I’m a huge fan of James Perse’s Supima Cotton Jersey track pants. They’re not fancy and tend to get a little saggy, but they’re so comfy. Oddly enough, the last time I checked, they were all sold out on the JP web site so I got mine on NAP. Polo/Ralph Lauren makes some nice ones too, but they do run small as well as short, still they’re a nice heavy cotton. Preston, this was a great idea. Thanks! Was happy to hear from so many people that J.Crew is back in a good way.

    KimMay 26th, 2023  5:09 PM

  • Uniqlo and James Perse both have 100% cotton sweatshirts and sweatpants.

    RMMay 26th, 2023  10:19 PM

  • Joseph is good for work. I really like the Allude sweater that was in a post. I wasn’t sure if it would work for the office but it goes great with my Theory pencil skirt. I like Theory but lately it seems the skirt/dress hems have gotten shorter.

    Has anyone tried Salie 66? By way of the Air Mail newsletter post, I now have my eye on their long sleeve polo and a cardigan.

    CBMay 27th, 2023  6:41 AM

  • I love your blog and have been following it for years, but am writing for the first time. I too love Petit Bateau shirts, but also Majestic and St James stripped long sleeve shirts. I always go back to those for quality and classic cut and feel.

    Zorana ColomboMay 30th, 2023  11:45 AM

  • Kim & RM,

    Thank you for the tip on the cotton sweats! I will be checking them out!

    StacyJune 1st, 2023  12:02 AM

  • I love this post! Mine are: Brooks Brothers boy’s dress shirts – they are the perfect narrow shoulder and sleeve length, can take a beating and travel well, and they can do a tiny, tasteful tone-on-tone fishtail monogram on them. Suede Tods, LL Bean and Muji canvas totes, Falke socks are amazing and they do a great compression one for travel, white Lacoste tennis skirts, Native Sons sun and eyeglasses, and APC dresses.

    GeorgieJune 1st, 2023  9:12 PM

  • Have stocked up on Uniqlo U white t-shirts. Simply
    perfect and better than PB in my opinion.
    Also have a series of the Tara Jarmon Patti pants. Team them up with sneakers or the Gucci horsebit pumps.

    marionJune 11th, 2023  8:25 PM


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