Brilliant Basics

With the right color palette and a few modern details, it’s easy to punch up a classic look

  Click here to watch Michelle’s makeover journey. 

Who: Michelle Arulfo, project manager.

The Story: Michelle likes basics, but doesn’t want them to be boring. She wants separates that are professional but also transition between work and fun easily, and can be easily interchanged with pieces she already owns.

Style Inspiration: “I try to be classic while still being a little on the trendy side—without getting too risqué for work. When I’m relaxing, I like clothes that are stylish, but also comfortable.”

Our Stylist’s Take: “I focused on layering. I wanted to find perfect layers that didn’t bulk up, and that added versatility and would work from season to season. This is practical knowledge meeting fashion edge.”

Word to the Wise: These coordinating neutrals are very of-the-moment. While they are muted tones, the blend saves them from being boring. They convey sophistication for the workplace, and the flattering cuts lengthen and define Michelle’s silhouette. Plus, the fun details make this outfit appropriate for after hours, too.

Michelle Arulfo

Where to Get it

The Outfit: Via Spiga trench coat, $230; BCBG Generation blouse, $89; Michael Kors belt, $129; all @ Bloomingdales, Mall of America, Jones NY pants, $29 @ Second Debut, 4300 39 1/2 St., St. Louis Park, 952-922-9640, Steve Madden shoes, $99 @ Steve Madden, Mall of America, 952-876-0370. Makeup provided by Sonia Kashuk, Hair and makeup by Fatima Olive,


Michelle’s separates and layers were obscuring her petite frame, and needed a refresh.


A great blowout is a chic scene-setter.

The necktie on this blouse adds interest to the outfit, but doesn’t come off as overly trendy.

An asymmetrical cut and grommet details put a modern spin on a classic coat. Adding a contrasting belt defines shape.

A wider toe box and platform make these nude stilettos more wearable.

  Click here to watch Michelle’s makeover journey.