I am sure you have read lists of items that you ‘should’ have in your wardrobe in the past. And whilst it’s good to have some of the classics, not all of them are relevant for all of us.
For example they usually include a white shirt and a trench coat, neither of which would be in my top essentials. My white shirt would more likely be cream and it would have to be a soft draping fabric, with a generous bust stiff cotton would be a disaster. For the same reason a double breasted trench coat is a no no and I wouldn’t want to belt the waist.
So it makes sense to me that everyone have their own individual list which works with their colouring, body shape and importantly their personality. What are the heroes in your wardrobe that save the day for you? If you aren’t an office worker they would likely be very different to someone who is. It’s worth really thinking about what those items are and making sure that as they age or get too worn you replace them. They should be timeless pieces that you can wear in a variety of ways, but still reflect who you are. And it doesn’t matter if your list has 5, 7 or 10 items – it’s what’s right for you that matters.
So to get you thinking here are mine and my reasons why:
Long Sleeve T-shirts
In black, navy, red, cream and a fashion colour of the season. I use these to layer under tunic style tops both summer and winter. They need to be long, with a smooth knit and must wash well, no twisted seams. My favourites are from Isabella Oliver
(I wrote about their perfect T-shirts here)
Wide Leg Flat Front Trousers and Leggings
The flat front is the best style for my body shape. A smart black pair medium weight that can be worn all year except the hottest summer days. These are for business meetings, smarter day wear and for dressing up in the evening.
For summer, linen trousers in a light neutral, navy and/or black.
Leggings are great both summer and winter for wearing with a ballet pump or sandal and for tucking into boots, with a long top. I have a couple of pairs of black, brown and navy in full length and crop for the summer.
I am a great fan of Masai which is a Danish brand. It’s mainly stocked in independent stores, Sahara or in my case I buy in Fenwicks in Windsor. The reason I love their clothes is that they are feminine a little bit quirky and are great for those of us who want to disguise the tummy area. I wear the tops with leggings and trousers and some are long enough to wear as a dress. Another good option is Boden who always do a range of tunic style tops or Kaftans both summer and winter.
Pictures below from Masai
Preferably cashmere in winter and cotton or linen in the summer. I like a longer length so that I can layer it over the tunic tops and when very cold over a T-shirt and tunic, or a ballet wrap style that ties under the bust, which works well for my body shape. I have a variety of neutrals and colours and will even get the same style in several colours to mix and match in my wardrobe.
I am on the search for really good quality summer weight, as I have had several of the jersey cardigans from Phase Eight but they have bobbled and I would like to replace them. I have found some lovely linen and summer weight cashmere cardigans at Pure Collection (pictures below) so I am sure one will make it’s way into my wardrobe. I also fell in love with the Eileen Fisher range in Fenwicks the other day. They are an American brand who now have two shops in London and an online store and I will definitely be making a visit to one of their stores and reporting back.
Confession here – I have overdosed on cami tops and have them in a huge variety of colours! However, I feel justified for two reasons. Firstly they make a low cut dress or top more wearable and secondly they are a great way to add colour to an outfit. In the winter of course they also add another layer for warmth. My favourites were made by Phase Eight but sadly they don’t seem to do them anymore, so I will be on the look out for a new supplier next time I need to feed my cami top drawer! Possibly from the ones below at Boden.
The easy wardrobe solution. I wrote previously about how versatile a dress can be and I like to have a least one black that can be dressed up or down, a pattern and a colour. In jersey they can be worn in winter with boots, thick tights and a cashmere cardigan and in summer with sandals or flipflops and a cami top or piece of jewellery to pick out a colour in a patterned dress or liven up a plain colour.
Shoes – Flats and Wedges
Gone are the days when I could wear high heels – so frustrating this season as I have seen several pairs that I would love. My every day shoe is either a ballet pump, low heeled or for summer a wedge, which adds height but won’t find me falling over or twisting an ankle – the trials of getting older! In winter it’s a flat riding boot or a low heeled ankle boot.
Just because I no longer do heels doesn’t mean they can’t be fun, so this season I have my eye on a fabulous red patent pair from LK Bennett and a jewelled pair from Boden which will be great for evenings and summer days.
Accessories – Necklaces
I absolutely love costume jewellery and will more likely than not be wearing a necklace. I now have quite a collection of colours, lengths and styles. I think they just finish of an outfit and can add a pop of colour close to the face. Also good for drawing the eye up and away from any areas you aren’t so keen on.
My must have accessory – I’ve always loved scarves, back in the ’80s I was the person who knew a million ways to tie your scarf! I have a selection of gorgeous soft pashminas from the days when I had my shops and a collection of silk and linen scarves that have been collected over the years. My most treasured are my 20 year old silk Armani scarves, still going strong and still loved and worn, if that’s not an argument for investment buying what is?
In winter they add warmth and a splash of colour to your winter coat. In summer I love a long length scarf with linen trousers, they add a touch of style to any outfit.
It’s OK I haven’t forgotten the handbags – how could I? Like any other woman I love handbags but this is one place where I do show some restraint. I have a favourite winter tote, black patent from LK Bennett, a smaller summer tote in a mustard yellow from Cocinelle (but in need of replacing) a large red patent DKNY shopper and a black patent Mulberry clutch (bit of a patent theme going on here!) These are the bags that get used constantly, that’s not to say that there aren’t others laying dormant at the top of the wardrobe.
On the shopping list for my next bag purchase will be a neutral tote for the summer. Some of my favourites are below – form Pure Collection, Michael kors and LK Bennett and no patent – which would you go for?
Finally just to indulge myself in a little online window shopping I’ve put together a few wardrobe essentials updates I would like if money were no object. Including a gorgeous red Anya Hindmarch clutch, a pair of woven Burberry pumps, a silk jersey dress from Eileen Fisher and a light weight cashmere cardigan. Ah well I can but dream.