C is for classic: Classic looks for your wardrobe

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Every woman's wardrobe should include a classic "little black dress."

"A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous." - Coco Chanel

You may have heard the saying that everything old is new again, but there are some things that just never go out of style. But what is "classic style" - and how can you incorporate those special touches into your every day?

Jane Lilly Warren, Katie Armour and Fallon Hogerty are the creative forces behind www.MatchbookMag.com, an online magazine that serves as a "guide to a charmed life." The women of Matchbook delight in a variety of classic styles and icons - from Chanel and Jackie O to contemporary style - makers such as John Derian and Jemma Kidd. Here, they share the basics about classic style for home décor as well as for the wardrobe.

What defines classic style?

"A classic is something that has stood the test of time and proven to be the best in its class," said Warren. "It's of high quality and is meant to last to be passed on through the generations." Warren says that while you might invest in an H & M shirt that will last a couple of seasons, a Lacoste polo will be around - and in style - long enough to hand down to your kids.

"There's definitely a timelessness to these things," said Hogerty, "they have an ability to transcend eras."

Modern takes on vintage designs are cropping up all over the place. From the clothes modeled on fashion runways to the paint colors in your local hardware store, there seems to be a bit of a retro revival going on. Armour isn't surprised.

"The world is changing faster than ever," she said, "and we have seen such instability over the past few years in a vast array of sectors, that I think people are embracing the classics, in part, out of the stability and comfort that they provide."

The women also noted that as budgets have tightened, people want to shop smarter. This means investing in items that won't go out of style and won't break the bank.

How to incorporate classic style into your life

If you'd like to bring some freshly vintage style to your home or wardrobe, the Matchbook mavens have these tips:

- Study the classic tastemakers, such as Jackie Kennedy Onassis. By studying, one can get an idea of what classic pieces will stand the test of time.

- When buying that new coat or pair of shoes, think about what is well made and will last through the years - those will invariably be the classics in your wardrobe.

- When it comes to color, black is always in style and can complement any outfit. Black slacks, ballet flats, cardigan or coat - you can't go wrong.

- Short red nails, black mascara - sometimes it's the simple things that add a classic pep to your step.

To get some classic style on a budget:

- Rummage through flea markets for under-appreciated, timeless gems at a steal.

- Visit consignment shops for wardrobe bargains.

- Spruce up what you have - a coat of paint on a piece of furniture can do wonders.

- A little pizzazz goes a long way. Maybe you can't afford the yards of lavish fabric you want for curtains or a sofa - but try using some for a throw pillow.

Top 5 classic pieces for your home:

1. Monogrammed towels

2. Good china (Finish your set with pieces from www.replacements.com or www.chinaandcrystal.com.)

3. Fine art that speaks to you (Some resources for inexpensive art: www.art.com, www.20x200.com, www.ugallery.com.)

4. Fresh blooms - they'll brighten up any room

5. Unique, over-sized coffee table books (about your favorite artists, vacation destinations, fashion designers, etc.) can take a coffee table from boring to spectacular

Top 10 classic musts for every wardrobe:

1. A crisp, well-fitted white oxford

2. Black cigarette pants

3. A trench coat

4. A cashmere sweater (Land's End is a great resource for cashmere, both inexpensive and high-quality.)

5. Black ballet flats

6. Little black dress

7. Flattering pair of dark wash denim jeans

8. A black pencil skirt

9. A wrap dress (they're flattering on nearly every figure)

10. Invest in one trendy piece per season which you can add to your classic wardrobe.

Classic jewelry and accessories:

1. Pearl studs (high quality replicas are just as good as the real thing)

2. A pearl necklace

3. Yellow-gold charm bracelet

4. Dark sunglasses

5. A silk square scarf (to tie around your hair or your handbag)

Living a Stylish Life

Embracing the spirit of classic style is about more than what you wear or how you decorate your home. The creators of www.MatchbookMag.com say it's about approaching life with certain joie de vivre that celebrates even the little things that make life a bit more stylish. In their eyes, that Matchbook-type girl:

- Views the world through rose-colored glasses.

- Loves to throw dinner parties, but has been known to burn the roast.

- Is the first to laugh at her own bad jokes.

- Paints her nails bright coral when she's feeling blue.

- Is infinitely curious and always up for a grand adventure.

- Could happily live off of red velvet cake.

- Has a signature shade of lipstick.

- Pens hand-written notes to her grandmother.

- Has a skip in her step and a twinkle in her eye.

Visit www.MatchbookMag.com for fashion and décor inspiration, interviews with the hottest style makers, as well as glimpses behind the scenes of some of your favorite style icons.

Courtesy of Family Features content