Best Summer Uniform

Jackie Kennedy in her uniform of black t-shirt and white jeans with Valentino and Giancarlo Giammetti
on the Island of Capri

Blame it on the advent of summer, the constant barrage of fashion shows and collections (and images that can only be best described as TACKY and TASTELESS), but I am really feeling for a chic, fuss-free simplicity right about now, and the idea of streamlining, and affecting a uniform, is particularly appealing. Who wants to spend hours getting dressed, especially this time of time year? If I had to write a book about fashion (especially summer fashion), the title would be, “It’s not that complicated” because it really isn’t (with age comes wisdom).

For me, there are no more enduring images than the ones of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis on holiday on the Isle of Capri (a personal favorite of mine) from 1969 – 1973, looking ultra glamorous yet ultra-relaxed in her uniform of white jeans and black short sleeved tee. In some pictures she is wearing flat thong sandals (made on the island), her hair obscured by a printed scarf, and her ever-present Hermes “Trim” bag in natural Toile and Barenia neatly tucked under her arm. But my favorites are where she has kicked off her shoes, her hair is worn straight, parted in the middle and pulled back in a low bun, and she has accessorized with the aforementioned bag, gold hoop earrings, and oversized shades. What more do you really need? Nothing. It is the epitome of easy glamour, chic simplicity and quite frankly, it is a look that you cannot improve upon.

In addition to being forever obsessed with white jeans, I am always on the hunt for the perfect black t-shirt, which is the ultimate wardrobe workhorse. It is much more versatile and easier to keep clean than white, works for day and evening, can be worn on its own or beneath a tailored blazer and is the perfect year-round layering piece. Of course, what is perfect for one, may not be perfect for another and even I will admit that I need a wardrobe of black tees in a variety of cuts and sizes because fashion is all about proportion. In a recent search, I found a number of good choices, priced from $9.90 to $556.50 (for those who just can’t bear to save their money lol).

Click images for full-size views:

You can’t get any more basic or do better for the price, than Uniqlo’s crew neck short-sleeved cotton jersey t-Shirt, $9.90. More info/purchase

J. Crew’s Slim Perfect T-shirt is aptly named if a slim cut is what you are after, $29.50 More info/purchase

Theory’s black Slub Cotton Tiny Tee, with its bound neckline and double-needle topstitching on the collar and sleeves, is as close to perfection as one can get, $85. More info/purchase

If you want something with a lower scoop neck, Vince is offering an Elbow Sleeve Scoop Neck in black Italian jersey, $125. More info/purchase

If you want basic, but not THAT basic, and need a designer label affixed somewhere (for everyone to see), you can splurge on this Saint Laurent made in Italy appliqued soft cotton jersey t-shirt, cut for a loose fit, $490. More info/purchase

Balenciaga’s slightly slouchy black cotton jersey t-shirt is appliqued in back with blue designer lettering which is frayed for a DIY feel, $450 More info/purchase

And for those who absolutely need to express themselves and make a statement with a slogan, there are, of course, slogan inscribed black t-shirts. Double Trouble Gang ‘s black cotton-jersey t-shirt is embroidered with ‘Trouble Maker’, $42.50 (reduced 50% from $85). More info/purchase

This Ashish cotton-jersey t-shirt top has long sleeves and is imprinted with, “Life is Exhausting and People are so Annoying” in Swarovski crystals, $556.50 (30% off $795). More info/purchase

One slogan loving customer who I assume we won’t be seeing these on is the First Lady!

– Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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