That blah b word…

That blah b word…

I’ll say this loud and clear.  Anyone coming here looking for style advice is just clearly mistaken because I don’t dispense it.  Whilst I share ideas and experimentations of my own, the idea of me doling out advice to people on how to dress is just laughable because I am so seflishly inclined as to write about things that tend to be personally applicable to me.  Trust me when I say that I’m not here to get everyone wearing dip dye tights and PVC pants…  So when I get emails or receive comments asking me how to build/start off their wardrobe, what to buy as a set of ‘basics’ as it were, I’m stumped.  Not because I don’t believe in the B word.  Of course I do.  I’m not going to say tosh like ‘Basics are for blah dressers’ just to sound purposely renegade. 

It’s just that I feel that everyone’s set of basics is different and personal to that person.  The white shirt, perfect blazer, trench, LBD, jeans formula that is often reeled off in magazines just doesn’t cut it with me or more specifically, it doesn’t really work for me.  Those aren’t the sort of things that I wear to death nor are they completely necessary in my wardrobe.  So back to the ‘people asking me question’ scenario, I have to shrug and say I have no concrete answers because (and this isn’t a cop out….) depending on the person, the basic could change dramatically.  So all I have are my own answers that may or may not apply to people.  Not answers in general.  Things that have been tried and tested for a while, an even more basic level of the cogs that I wrote about a while back.

American Apparel headbands – Where would I be with these ¬£2 bits of hair cheer that brightens up the mess of a coiff I have going on… // Silver flats – I’ve been through a rollercoaster of silver flats over the past six years, wearing them out, chucking them away and replacing them.  These Prada ones are serving me well at the moment…            

Bhead Bshoes

Stripy tops – I have many but this blue and white vintage one and the longsleeved Uniqlo top get the most wear for layering reasons // Double layered black jersey top – Again, a layering tool that is made of such heavy jersey that it has gone through many a wash without bobbling. 

Bshirt1 Bshirt2

Skinny belts – I ALWAYS travel with at least two skinny belts.  They’re not really for showing off but for holding up things in a hidden way // Grosgrain ribbon and wide black patent belt – So these are both for showing off and I always need to belt things in/up

Bbelt1 Bbelt2

Black lace slip skirt – Nobody needs to see my knickers so this is v. useful and the lace edge peeking out of things makes me that bit happier //Jens Laugesen trousers, Yves Saint Laurent heels, H&M tank – Really really really cannot live without these trousers because they just happen to be one of the few pairs of trousers that I bothered to try on and fit properly… the tank is a colour that seems to work in many a situation… and the heels are good to snazz up up up as I wish.   

Bskirt1 Bbot2

Grey tights – I have two drawers of tights and it was hard to pick just one that I wear constantly but the grey fine ribbed ones just about trump it // Vintage body-con dress and navy leggings – I don’t wear this by itself usually but mixed with other things, it makes it a dress that I always travel with… one pair of leggings had to make it into the ‘basic’ list but the navy ones have start to bobble at the knee caps so I’m guessing they have gotten a few wears.

Bleg1 Bleg2

Mouldy, crappy grey beanie hides crappy hair pretty well without drawing too much attention to the situation.  I go through a lot of grey loose sweaters bought purposely two sizes up (or man sized) for toning down any one of my fancy schmancy skirts.  The opera-length leather gloves were bought a few years ago and may have been a once ‘on-trend’ item but I still wear them every winter where possible.  Yes, I work in an office so an office skirt is necessary and this black COS one at least has a nice rigid structure.  Let’s not talk about why I love Salvatore Ferragamo bow flats so much again.  I just do.


I have several statement blazers of all sorts and funnily enough, they get more wear than the plain ones but that’s probably something to do with the abundance of plain tops/dresses I have.  Tight grey jumper as opposed to the loose one above is rarely worn by itself but usually under a dress of some sort.  American Apparel black latex leggings made the ‘2nd pair of leggings’ status on the basics list but I now tend to wear them by themselves. 

Bout1 Bout2

Finally, the coat that keeps me safe from freezing to death had to make it on the list just simply because I can’t really step outside the house without it on these days.  I don’t buy new ones that often and this vintage Balenciaga one will hopefully last me a few years. 


Oh actually, that isn’t the finally as I have LOST my grey cardigan with gold buttons and I’m already sort of quietly panicking.  It is afterall on the B list and thus has some sort of importance attached to it.  Where the hell is it….



Leave a comment
  1. aussieborn

    2008-02-18 at 1:19 AM

    love !
    lol – you are too hilarious !
    I love that people write to you asking you to give them advice – I suppose the way you put things together is inspiring enough to want to do it themselves.
    nothing short of a compliment, but all the same – it is you .
    xoxo from canada

  2. Ayesha

    2008-02-18 at 1:22 AM

    You are a genius =)
    xxoo. also from canada

  3. selina

    2008-02-18 at 1:23 AM

    ooo sometimes it’s just fun to look at the inner workings of the SB world! i think it’s about broadening your shopping patterns- if you only shop highstreet you can only achieve highstreet basics. like in your mixture, you have vintage stuff and then designer stuff. i guess if you mix it up your basics will be mixed up! all marvy.
    in another note, i think people ask you questions because you’re very aspirational. at least for me, i read here and think i’d like to be totally expressive with my dressing too without hold backs. i’d love to know (maybe in a post?) how you deal with stares/comments/remarks or if living in london, or simply because you just always look stunning, means you don’t get any? i often hold back mainly because of the places and clubs i go to are so generic. you seem to have no fear, how do you do it? sorry to sound so weird, i’ve been a bit too thoughtful lately and am trying to shake off the self conciousness that i’ve gained since starting uni.

  4. Noel

    2008-02-18 at 1:31 AM

    Haha I loveeeeee your ‘basics’!
    I used to read those “How to dress well with basics” books but realized that teenagers don’t really need long pencil skirts or ‘office basics’ x___x. I never learned how to build a wardrobe out of simple basics, actually :[.

  5. Margherita

    2008-02-18 at 2:37 AM

    ADORE the ribbon belt.

  6. K-Line

    2008-02-18 at 2:53 AM

    Susie: I love this post so much, I’m going to do a similar outline of basics on my own blog (with credit to you for the idea, natch). Thanks for the inspiration. K

  7. enc

    2008-02-18 at 3:25 AM

    Basics as you see them—perfect!

  8. Bianca

    2008-02-18 at 4:03 AM

    what a great post!!
    i have those matte’ leggings, and i love the way you have worn them in all your posts!
    i have only worn them once so far as i just got them 2-3 weeks ago, but i plan to find some cool things to wear them with
    i also just bought the yellow/gold headband today!
    I don’t know if it was simply for the purpose of showing them all at once, but i quite like the way it looks with three of them worn at a

  9. Tina

    2008-02-18 at 5:55 AM

    So genius! I love the way you wore the leggings, and the headbands are so cute. I can’t live without skinny belts either!

  10. meg

    2008-02-18 at 6:35 AM

    wow, canada is hitting up this blog big style! First off, I just saw the post on the brittique blog about you buying for them – congrats! Can’t wait to see what you’ve picked out. I really especially love the last two looks you posted with the black leggings and the grey tops. But then again i always love when you refine down. Your legs look seriously killer in those leggings.

  11. Linda

    2008-02-18 at 9:57 AM

    aww..U look gd in leggings!!!!um..think u lost a bit of weight actually!!!

  12. buttonsandstars

    2008-02-18 at 10:01 AM

    This has been a really interesting post, Susie! I liked seeing what you would consider to be basics. You’re right in saying that it’s completely different for different people.
    Btw, I ADORE that blazer. I’ve seen you wear it in a lot of your outfits, and I really really like it.

  13. Helen

    2008-02-18 at 10:12 AM

    I love teh Balenciaga coat

  14. rosie

    2008-02-18 at 10:13 AM

    ugh just the word ‘basics’ makes me feel ill.
    nothing is exciting about basics but i like you selection of ‘alternative basics’!

  15. lecapponcine

    2008-02-18 at 10:30 AM

    Perfectly pretty and practical.
    xoxo from florence, italy

  16. all.things.spiffy

    2008-02-18 at 10:57 AM

    I really agree with you about what you said about how your basics == other people’s basics. In fact, I think your ‘basics’ are highly quirky and not too basic at all! I love them a lot 🙂 Thanks for showing us your blah b words!
    Btw, I absolutely ADORE Uniqlo tees. They’re not really a well known brand/store around here, and I’m surprised, because they sell the most amazing tees for the cheapest price!:)

  17. *flora

    2008-02-18 at 12:16 PM

    cool, clear & witty post.
    thx for the insight into the bubble world.
    greets *FLORA

  18. Anna V

    2008-02-18 at 12:56 PM

    you seem to shop alot in charity shops – so was wondering which ones you would recommend in london? x

  19. decadentdiamond

    2008-02-18 at 1:29 PM

    EXCELLENT post!!
    When I read fashion magazines, and they have a section for the basic ‘must haves’ i.e perfect fit jean, perfect fit blazer, white blouse etc etc … I just can’t relate at all, because I don’t wear any of that. I only wear dresses, wool tights, cotton leggings, good pair of black boots, mary-janes, a black cardigan and a damn-right chunky scarf!

  20. NonchalantMod

    2008-02-18 at 1:46 PM

    im totally with you on the b word. its different for everyone.. btw isnt that the vintage Blenciaga coat you got from e-bay really cheap cause the seller had mispelled it?
    yes, i am an avid reader..(except if I’m wrong)

  21. miau

    2008-02-18 at 3:42 PM

    those flats you are wearing on the last picture – are those usual ballett-flast (like the ones they actually WEAR doing ballett?)?
    (I am thinking about buying shoes like that but I also considered they might be too fragile)

  22. miss woo

    2008-02-18 at 5:03 PM

    I totally love those AA headbands too, perfect for bad hair days. And anything grey is technically a classic for me!

  23. Anonymous

    2008-02-18 at 6:01 PM

    Those Prada shoes! I have a really similar pair, only a little bit crazy…patent “crunched” silver with a little orange vinyl bow 😉

  24. lady coveted

    2008-02-18 at 6:23 PM

    oh my gosh, i love it! every one does have different basics… that’s for sure… i love yours..
    i’ll have to give those aa headbands a go… although i’ve never been much of a person for head bands, they look so cool on you.

  25. Virginia

    2008-02-18 at 7:54 PM

    speaking of basics…I just wrote a post about the little black dress, which, generally speaking, seems to be a mandatory basic for nay wardrobe (it’s such a broad concept- it can take on a wide variety of shapes and interpretations)…

  26. Thom Wong

    2008-02-18 at 8:31 PM

    I would have thought this is exactly what people meant when they wrote to you. A very interesting look into your wardrobe.
    (Must now set aside an hour to catch up on the rest.)

  27. susie_bubble

    2008-02-18 at 8:57 PM

    Glad ppl got a kick out of looking into my b list… a boring necessity…
    Selina: You know what, after all I’ve been through on this blog, I can finally say that I don’t really give a fuck (sorry for swearing…) about what people are thinking when they see me on the street. At least they keep it to themselves… on the internet, it’s like claws-all-out…
    Thanks for the compliments on the leggings… once again, I haven’t lost weight… I’m scoffing chips as we speak!
    Anna V: I don’t have distinct faves as I pop into one wherever there is one… I like the ones on Kensington Church Road for their not yet inflated prices and then my local ones in East Finchley just coz they’re local…
    NochalentMod: Indeedio it is…. gold star for you 😉
    Miau: Yes they are real warm up ballet flats but they’re REALLY not for wearing outside…more like to mooch around the house in…
    Thom Wong: You’d be surprised how many Trinny & Susannah esque emails I get…

  28. Renée S. / FashionFillers

    2008-02-18 at 10:06 PM

    I always plan to buy some ‘basics’, cause I don’t really have some. But well, the problem is I never get home with the things I intend to buy. I always seem to pick out the most extraordinary things in a shop, haha.

  29. jennifer

    2008-02-19 at 1:43 AM

    I love the black chain necklace you’re wearing in the photo with the latex leggings. Is it plastic? Do you know where you got it? Fabulous outfits…even your basics show your own personal style!

  30. joanna goddard

    2008-02-19 at 3:16 PM

    this was so hilarious. and I LOVE THOSE BALLET SLIPPERS in the last post! you look like you are in breakfast at tiffany’s! gorgeous.

  31. Iheartfashion

    2008-02-19 at 3:30 PM

    Fantastic post! So fun to see your list of “basics”.

  32. Kate Cavendish

    2008-02-19 at 5:04 PM

    I adore silver as a neutral. But my favorite is distressed silver. Barneys had a gorgeous pair of Miu Miu sandals last year–alas, not in my size–and there’s just something about their worn-in quality that’s romantic.

  33. sophie b

    2008-02-19 at 6:49 PM

    to miau:
    actual ballet flats are pretty cheap although i would recommend leather rather than canvas if you want to wear them as normal shoes.
    also, places like Bloch or Freed (dancewear shops) are now making really nice street flats that are sometimes fairly inexpensive. at the Bloch store in NYC you can get nice leather street flats for $30 – $50. hope that helps! 🙂
    susie, i love your blog – i take inspiration and feel like i can be more creative just from looking at the great ensembles you put together!

  34. emily

    2008-02-20 at 4:27 AM

    You make such a good point. We all have our own basics that we return to for pulling together our daily looks. Where would I be without black opaque tights, a black mini skirt, and my fav tailored black tuxedo/ riding jacket? It’s amazing how many outfits I wear that wouldn’t be complete without one of these essentials.

  35. Anonymous

    2008-02-20 at 5:32 PM

    six toes?!

  36. susie_bubble

    2008-02-20 at 5:34 PM

    Nope… just bashed up toes with plasters over them…

  37. Rebecca Amir

    2008-02-21 at 1:48 PM

    B-eautiful list of b..essentials…
    I sometimes refuse to leave the house unless I am wearing some kind of gold head piece.
    Metallic flats forever! I have worn gold ones since what seems like the dawn of time…
    I shall never foget the first pair – I wore them in the Barcelona rain, the Yorkshire snow, stitched them together when they fell apart. All before me nanna threw them away!

  38. miau

    2008-02-21 at 7:58 PM

    sohie b: thanks a lot!!

  39. ambika

    2008-02-26 at 11:02 PM

    Fantastic post and perfect captures how I feel about the LBD/trench/jeans spiel that always gets reeled off.

  40. Jillian

    2008-03-12 at 5:11 PM

    I loved this post it inspired me to do my own basic’s post! it was so fun!
    p.s. you have AMAZING legs (especially in the coat photo)
    I love your blog!

  41. Kate

    2009-07-24 at 4:06 AM

    Love, love, love it. I have to say this is one of the most inspiring things I have ever read about fashion. Style is so f***ing personal, you nailed it!!

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    2009-11-09 at 9:48 PM

    HI great blog nice pictures those flats you are wearing on the last picture – are those usual ballett-flast (like the ones they actually WEAR doing ballett??
    I am thinking about buying shoes like that but I also considered they might be too fragile
    thanks for the blog really nice

  43. susie_bubble

    2009-11-09 at 10:31 PM

    ^Wow…. really old post to be commenting one… but yes, they are real ballet flats…from Bloch….they’re not for wearing out but good as slippers

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