Don’t get us wrong: we love a little flash and fanfare (here’s looking at you, Lady Gaga). But when it comes to our closets, to buying clothes we’ll wear and love forever, there is also something to be said for subtlety. That’s why we’re so intrigued by Basiques (172 Newbury Street, Boston, 857.445.0144), the quietly chic new shop full of classic essentials that opened in November. When we finally peeked in to see what the Basiques concept is all about, owner and designer Sheri Falk enthralled us with the promise that we too could be as timelessly stylish as French women - and maybe, just maybe, have a hint of their ultra-elusive je ne sais quoi.
Tell us about the inspiration behind Basiques. I’m from Texas, where women own a lot of things, but there’s no real sense behind it. Then in my 20s, I lived in Paris and fell in love with the lifestyle and the wardrobe, which is simple, classic, and elegant.
Well, we don’t know a single woman who wouldn’t want to look like Brigitte Bardot. What is it that makes French women so impossibly chic? They don’t have a lot of things - but they have a few really great things. They accumulate timeless pieces, and they build a wardrobe over the years. When they’re shopping, they pick out things that are classic but that have shape and elegance. I think the key difference between basics in the States and basics in France is that over there there’s a curve and femininity to it. Here there’s a lot of function but not a lot of shape.
So is that what your designs are all about - simple pieces with great shape? Exactly. Women tend to go back to the same pieces in our wardrobe again and again. We wind up wearing 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. I think most designers get carried away with the latest trends, when in reality what women really need in their wardrobe is that 20% core to build on. And I don’t care what your style is - who doesn’t need a perfect white shirt, a great-fitting black pant, and a flirty little skirt? My pieces add new life and sophistication to what’s already in your closet, and then they build on themselves as well. What I want is for people to notice you, not necessarily the clothes. So you can take a black bustier, wear it 85 times with jeans, then give it a completely different look coupled with a skirt, and no one ever puts together that they saw you in this last year or last season or at the last function. They just notice, oh my gosh, you look stunning.
What do you think is the one essential that every woman should have in her closet? It all starts with the perfect white shirt. When you’re in college, it’s great with jeans; when you’re going to the office, it goes with a great classic black ensemble. We have so many different facets of our lives. When you buy things, they should be able to transition through every area. It should be appropriate for work, but it shouldn’t be limited to work. The whole idea is versatility.
We think you should come full circle and open a store in Paris. Give a little chic back to those French women who inspired it in the first place. Exactly! That would be fantastic. The day I open a store in Paris, that’s when I know I’m successful.