classic series | 6 american classic must-have’s

since the blog’s inception, the cornerstone has been built on classic style. the love affair began innocently enough at the tender age of twelve. it was a cold wintry saturday afternoon spent at the movie theater watching love story spring to life on the silver screen. movies are a wonderful source of fashion inspiration. this movie is proof. when this blockbuster film burst onto the scene in 1970, it sparked my eternal love with american classic style. oh sure, i was moved to tears with the tragic love story. but it was the fashion that caught my attention and my heart. ‘cuz i fell in love with ever. single. outfit. the young heroine wore.
 
when i returned home that saturday afternoon, i relentlessly badgered my parents to go back to the theater. i just had to catch another glimpse of those outfits ali wore! because, hey, i already knew how the story ended. even though i was met with a firm NO from my parents, i didn’t let that deter me. weeks of incessant pestering ensued. please, mother, please! dad? dad? finally, one saturday afternoon, my exasperated parents caved in. victory was mine! i was on my way to the movie theater for the second time which was a pretty big deal. back then we never watched movies twice on the big screen. no, we had to wait for reruns on late night television. lord only knew how long that would take. years and years! on the way out the door, i got a high-five from my big brother for breaking down a parental rule. and the rule had been broken by me! for years he’d been doing all the heavy lifting.
 
 
when i arrived at the theater, i took my seat ready to take notes. there was no going back for a third screening.one by one the outfits sprang to life. i went gaga over ali’s navy blue pea coat, striped knit scarf, and beanie. i was over the moon with her black turtleneck, plaid wool skirt, and black tights. and those ballet flats? perfection. a belted camelhair coat. plaid scarf. white shirt. knit vest. pointy-toes flats. the list went on and on. but my favorite outfit from love story might have been was the outfit she wore working at summer camp. white denim with a graphic black tee. nothing fancy, but boy-oh-boy does it work. it’s american classic style at its best.

to be certain, the american classic look is timeless and trend-proof. at its core, american classic style is all about comfort, tradition, with a little bit of rebellion thrown in for good measure. the all-american look is simple, tailored, exudes a quiet confidence and is incredibly functional. there’s always a balance between practical and stylish. what’s not to love about a two-button blazer, a favorite pair of blue jeans and loafers? how about a simple white t-shirt with broken-in khakis? both outfits are simplicity in motion. but keeps our style game on par.

beth from Style at a Certain Age travels in style in a pinstripe blazer, white button down, blue jeans, and black slides

so what are the iconic american classic wardrobe essentials? if any, you ask? today, i’m sharing six must-have items that are 100% american that has grown into cult status worldwide. these are items that proudly hangs in my closet, and i love to throw on every chance i get. 

blue jeans

ever since levi strauss teamed with jacob davis in 1873 and were granted a patent simply titled xx blue jeans have transformed the way we dress. not only in america but worldwide. how many pairs of blue jeans do you own? and how many times a week do you wear them? at any given time there are at least a dozen pairs on my shelf. and i’m always on the hunt for another great fitting pair.

 

beth from Style at a Certain Age wears items from Rachel Zoe's Spring Box of Style

ray ban wayfarer

this classic sunglass is instantly recognizable and worn by celebrities, musicians and artists alike. founded in 1952 Ray-Ban was a relatively young company when john f. kennedy was elected president. if anyone epitomized american classic style, it was this dashing young president (and his lovely young wife). JFK was regularly seen wearing a pair of tortoiseshell sunglasses. many mistakenly claimed these sunglasses were Ray-Bans. an instant trend started as people clamored to buy a pair of wayfarers. funny enough, president kennedy didn’t own Ray-Bans? his preferred brand of sunglasses was American Optical. it’s true.

leather motorcycle jacket

this is the true symbol of the modern rebel thanks to the movie the wild one produced in 1953. but the first motorcycle jacket was created in 1928 by irving schott co-founder of NYC-based schott brothers. the iconic store exists to this day. the biker jacket featured an asymmetrical zipper that replaced traditional button-down jackets. this one style tweak allowed bikers to lean over their motorcycles with ease. and became an instant hit. brown was the favored color for years. but that all changed when marlon brando donned a black perfecto for his role as leader of the pack in the wild one replete with leather and attitude.

 

beth from Style at a Certain Age wears a floral jacquard sweater, black skinny jeans, black leather moto jacket and pink suede pumps for date night

frye boots

frye boots were founded in 1863 when john frye opened his doors on elm street in marlboro, ma. frye is best known for the harness boot created in the 1960’s inspired by cavalry soldiers in the civil war.

t-shirt

the humble t-shirt is arguably the most popular outer garment in the entire world coming in a variety of colors and sizes. but how and where did the t-shirt rise to popularity? some claim it evolved from the one piece red flannel underwear known in the 19th century as the union street. this garment was a favorite of miners and stevedores that worked in hot environments. but then someone figured out to cut the onesie in half. voila! the tee was born. fast forward to the 20th century. the U.S. Navy issued crew neck short sleeved cotton undershirts that were worn underneath uniforms. it was the perfect item as there were no buttons. there was no need for a needle and thread for the scores of bachelors enlisted in the Navy with limited sewing skills. it wasn’t long until the U.S. Army caught wind of this practical clothing item. in WWI tens of thousands of young men wore t-shirts as part of their uniform. after the war, the soldiers brought the t-shirts back home. it was an instant hit. by the time WWII started the t-shirt was commonplace. but its popularity soared after marlon brando wore a tight-fitting white tee in streetcar named desire.

 

beth from Style at a Certain Age wears J.Crew striped tee, chinos, Ralph Lauren navy blue knit blazer, and white sneakers

concho belt

the word conch comes from the spanish word which means conch or seashell. now it refers to the oval disks of silver used to decorate saddles, bridles, clothing, jewelry, and belts. concho belts are a long time native indian tradition derived from the navajo indians. the earliest conchos were silver dollars that were hammered, stamped, edged then slotted and strung together onto a leather belt.

wishing you a very happy easter and a happy passover.

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17 Comments

  1. Bev wrote:

    I love everything about this weeks blog. But it’s how you put them altogether that makes it great!

    Posted 4.21.19
    • Michelle Marie Schmitt wrote:

      Where did you find the raspberry colored sunglasses? Thanks.

      Posted 5.15.19
  2. Julie Mycock wrote:

    Hi Beth, you are so right, the American classic look is just that ‘ Classic’. I have jeans in several colours, I love T.shirts, I have a around three biker jackets in different colours too. I have some boots I bought from a store called ‘Way out West’ here in Florida and they are so comfortable. I do wear my jeans a lot back in England but I’m enjoying wearing my denim skirts that I bought with me with my T.shirts. Probably be back in jeans in England after this week. Happy Easter Sunday x

    Posted 4.21.19
  3. Ann wrote:

    I live in the SW and would like to see a picture how you style your concho belt!
    Enjoy your blogs.

    Posted 4.21.19
  4. Pamela wrote:

    I love the classics. Good post. But I don’t see a photo of you in a conchos belt. I had one and loved it in the 80s and would love to see them again. Are they back?

    Posted 4.21.19
  5. Julie Mycock wrote:

    Hi Beth, I agree the American classic look is exactly that ‘Classic ‘ I have several pairs of jeans in different colours, I love a T.Shirt too. I have a couple of Biker jackets which I love to wear. I have a few pairs of boots which I’ve purchased over time at a store called ‘Way out West ‘ here in Florida and they are so comfortable. This is our last week in Florida so I will probably be back wearing jeans again but I’m enjoying wearing my denim skirts here at the moment.. Happy Easter Sunday x

    Posted 4.21.19
  6. Julie Mycock wrote:

    Sorry I posted a second comment but my tablet threw wobbly so I didn’t think it had gone through. Apologies x

    Posted 4.21.19
  7. Gillyflower wrote:

    I love your history lesson on style! I am a medical-surgical nurse, however, I have loved the fashion world since my first job in a bridal shop that sold ready-to-wear at the age of 18. My boss could leave the store at night and sew a lined, classic boucle’ suit and be wearing it with a pair of heels the next morning at the shop. She went to FIT in the days of Calvin Klein. I love your posts.

    Posted 4.21.19
  8. Karen wrote:

    Summer of 1970 I was 14 years old, white jeans navy short sleeve tee. Mother would not allow me a black one, too old! I was so cool! Badgered my parents for the camel hair coat that autumn which I worn through college!

    Posted 4.21.19
  9. Lisa wrote:

    Loved that movie too, Beth! Love classic clothing with a few modern trends thrown in the mix. Happy Easter and many blessings to you and yours. Thanks for continuing to inspire. Was just explaining to a friend about the history of Jack Rogers sandals (the history teacher in me 😍).

    Posted 4.21.19
  10. Brenda in Virginia wrote:

    You had me right up to the end with the concho belt. I admit I have all of these items, including the belt, but, as far as I know, I’m the only one in my local peer group who has one. I, too, loved the clothes worn in Love Story. My darling husband says dressing like Jackie Kennedy Onassis or Audrey Hepburn is true classicism. He’s right as always! Those clothes never go out of style.

    Posted 4.21.19
  11. Cheryl wrote:

    What a wonderful post! This one made my heart sing. Great classics. Great memories.

    Posted 4.22.19
  12. Alex wrote:

    You look beautiful <3

    Posted 4.22.19
  13. Jane Dripin wrote:

    Hi, I am not American but I love how you’ve put them together!! You make the “torn” jean and humble t-shirt look so good to wear. I am so not a t-shirt woman but what you’ve put together here makes me want to go out and buy all the t-shirts out there that are classy and elegant and put them together like these.

    Posted 4.22.19
  14. Susan wrote:

    I love Sandra Bullock’s clothes in The Proposal. I’m on the hunt for the mustard sweater and scarf combo. I just found your site.

    Posted 4.27.19
  15. Jane wrote:

    You look wonderful, as always. This is why I have been a long time reader, but just started commenting. I have always loved the classics, with a bit of a trend thrown in for fun, whether it’s a shoe or a color. I always “did me” even when I was younger and and my peers followed trends. I’m 50 now and I’m still “doing me” and I’m puzzled by friends need for head to toe trends. No judgement, it’s just puzzling.

    Posted 4.28.19

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