If you think styling basics is boring, look to normcore and Parisian style
Let’s face it: Ever since the return to on-site college, the campus hallways have become the new place to experiment with fresh looks. From new hairstyles to daring outfits, college students know how to make the corridors their runway. But beneath the surface of the loud and experimental looks arises the underdog of go-to campus outfits: the basics.
The combo once looked down upon by many is now the raging trend of the season. That’s right; we’re seeing different variations of the white tee and denim pants combo styled with some type of stand-out shoe, a cap, maybe a cardigan and a statement tote. And surprisingly, these looks make campuses feel like you’ve just entered Bonifacio High Street on a busy weekend. But what makes these basics look not-so-basic?
It’s all about the fit
And the fit is personal
We’ve all heard about expressing yourself through your own personal style, so does that mean basic = boring? Not exactly. If you find yourself pinning a good basic outfit on your Pinterest board, it’s not the idea of a white tee and denim pants you’re drooling over; it’s actually the way the garment sits on your body. The silhouette, structure, color variations and dimensions of a basic white tee all need to fit you the way you imagine it to. And trust me, that’s a tough feat to conquer. Finding the perfect white tee and the perfect denim pants is a challenge not many can achieve, which is my point. Finding a fit that meets you where you are makes pulling off the perfect basic outfit difficult—no, impossible!
So, where do you start? I’ve been asking myself the same question for a solid year and have yet to find the perfect basic combo for myself. But to ease into the journey, it always helps to do your research.
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The basics bible
A peek into normcore and Parisian style
If you’re looking for the perfect inspiration for elevating basics, normcore and Parisian style are your best bets. From finding a plethora of white tees that fit differently from one another to analyzing different denim washes and cuts, these aesthetics will send your basics vocabulary on overdrive.
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@louiselhp The essentials you need to achieve a Parisian look ! Shirt + jean from @Revolve #inspo #ootd #fashion #fashioninspo #paris #paristiktok #parisianstyle #revolve #revolveme ♬ original sound – vanessa
But if it’s people you seek to embody, you can never go wrong with a good pin on Jane Birkin and some of her most iconic admirers and followers: Camille Rowe and Jeanne Damas. Pulling off effortless style in their well-fitting basics, they’re exactly the pegs you’d want to save for the kind of basic look that screams elegance and vibrance while still maintaining the white tee and denim jeans formula.
But don’t forget that the perfect basic isn’t up for someone else to decide but up to you! Getting inspiration from normcore looks and the Parisian style aesthetic can help you visualize what a good outfit looks like. Still, it’s only through trying these pieces on yourself and giving them a little twirl that you’ll really understand the makings of a perfect basic outfit. Now, don’t be embarrassed if it takes sorting through 20 white tees; it’s all part of the process!
So, the search is on
Here's where you can start
The process of shopping for the perfect basics is not a simple one, but the best way to begin is to really just start. It can get pretty intimidating as you pressure yourself to find your perfect match, but set aside the idea of finding perfection, and you’ll be surprised how much more you can learn about yourself and your relationship with clothes.
If you’re looking for the best place to start, we've got you covered! For a good white t-shirt, it’s always fun to experiment with different textures, silhouettes and necklines. Depending on the type of look you’re going for, these white tees offer a variety of styles that can help you personalize your look just the way you want it—from loose linen to fitted ribbed, this selection can be a good place to start.
H&M Linen top White Light, P979.02, Lazada
H&M 2-pack cropped T-shirts Grey Dusty Light, P699, Lazada
H&M Ribbed modal-blend T-shirt White Light, P499, Lazada
If it’s denim pants you seek, it’s good to decide what type of wash you’re aiming to rock. From dusty blues to deep darks, it can get pretty overwhelming. But if we’re taking notes from the likes of Jane Birkin, Camille Rowe and Jeanne Damas, the way to go is to get the perfect mid-blue wash for the ultimate basic fit combo. As for what silhouette to cop, we suggest a loose, comfy style that you can wear out for anything and everything—after all, a good basic is defined by its ability to make you look and feel good and comfortable. Check out our recommendations below: an array of slight variations in blue denim and silhouettes to complement different looks, shapes and sizes.
H&M 90s Boyfriend Fit High Jeans Blue Medium Dusty, P1,990, Lazada
H&M Wide High Jeans Blue Medium Dusty, P1,690, Lazada
H&M Curvy Fit Straight Regular Jeans Blue Medium Dusty, P1,990, Lazada
Nailing the perfect basic look is far from boring, but it shouldn’t be intimidating either. Take your time exploring the world of basics, and remember, the perfect piece will always find its way to you.
Have you found your perfect basic combo? Drop your recos down below!
Words Vanessa Tiong
Art Macky Arquilla