A couple of years ago, Laura Cramer, an art director, and Starr Hout, a stylist and fashion designer, were on a road trip in West Texas. As they drove through the stark landscape, they started fantasizing about simplifying their lives — starting with their clothes. “I said, ‘I have this idea,’” Cramer recalls. “It’s about a streamlined, reduced wardrobe, something you could put in a small suitcase and just be happy about. A wardrobe worth wearing. And Starr just completely agreed.” Apiece Apart was born.
The concept behind the line is tantalizing: Eliminate clutter and confusion in your wardrobe and you will be happier. “I feel like women have this secret stressful time — that 15 minutes in the morning when they have to get dressed and out the door,” says Hout. “We thought, What if we could help to eliminate that? What if your clothes could support you and help you to have a higher quality of life?” To that end, she and Cramer have created what they call a modular uniform: fluid, easy-to-wear pieces like column skirts in different lengths, and drapey silk blazers that eschew trendiness for versatility. Everything is designed to mix and match, so that if you buy an Apiece Apart blouse, you can rest assured that it will go with every skirt and pair of trousers in the line.
This kind of dressing, says Hout, requires a shift in thinking. “Women tend to buy emotionally, but then they end up with a closet full of clothes that don’t relate to each other. But if you think about what you’re going to buy in a more focused way and you get your staples, then you can add your novelty items and your jewelry. It’s freeing to have a codified closet.”
Freeing, yes. But is there a risk that it can get a little dull? Not at all, says Cramer: “Simplicity is a great challenge. Each season we set ourselves a different one. For spring, it was color, because we discovered that women really love color. For fall, we’re adding skins and texture. If you want to have the best wardrobe you can, you have to push yourself a little.”