Building a capsule wardrobe that works for your body shape and colouring but also your personal style is an ongoing process. There are some pieces that as you add them you know will become forever signatures that express you.
This happened recently with a dress found in the sale at Fenwicks in London at less than half price. It’s no surprise that the dress is from one of my new favourites Eileen Fisher (I wrote about here) a very simple tank style, calf length dress in black silk jersey. Since buying it has been worn at least once per week. Dressed down with flat sandals on a hot day and dressed up with another favourite piece a cashmere bead edged ballet wrap cardigan for an evening out. It’s the kind of dress I can layer a thin T shirt under and chunky cardigan over and wear with boots in the winter or pile on jewellery and sparkly shoes for a party.
Here are some of my other forever pieces – and why they work for me, hopefully it will inspire you to find yours.
Ballet Wrap cardigans – these work perfectly for me, either tied under the bust – the slimmest part of me – or worn hanging loose. For winter I have several from Ochre Cashmere which I used to stock in my shop, and are now some 6 or 7 years old. Made from the softest cashmere and trimmed with semi-precious stones they work both day and evening. The picture on the left shows the semi-precious stone detail. Ochre is run by two lovely brothers, they have a shop in Chobham – they don’t appear to have a website but you can call them on (0)1276 855 555, as they do have stockists around the country.
For the summer or warmer days Phase Eight used to do a jersey version with sequin trim – they also made matching camis and I have several of these “twinsets”. Sadly they seem to have stopped making them now, but they will stay in my wardrobe until they start to suffer from wear by which time I hope I will have found a replacement.
It’s not just clothes that go into my “forever” collection I also include favourite accessories and makeup – all things which I believe reflect your personality.
I love costume jewellery – especially necklaces and have pieces in many colours, but I only have a few pieces of precious jewellery that I wear regularly that mean something special to me. These include my engagement, wedding and eternity rings obviously, which never come off. But there are 3 other pieces that I love and that are special to me.
Firstly a pair of simple diamond stud earrings, the first piece of “special” jewellery my husband bought me.
Secondly something I treated myself to when I had my first really good pay packet (remember those!) my Cartier watch. I think a person’s watch says so much about them and I fell in love with mine and dreamed about buying it for sometime before the day came when I walked in to Cartier and bought it. Aren’t things you save up for so much more special? The style of my beloved watch has been discontinued so it’s even more special to me and some 25 years later it’s still going strong and I still absolutely adore it!
The last piece of jewellery is my Links of London Sweetie Bracelet which over the years my children and husband have added charms to – all with a special meaning, including an L and S for their names, handbags, shoes, and a four leaf clover. One additional special charm came from my best friend, who knowing I was never without my Panda as a child bought me a panda charm (much less embarrassing than carrying a panda around!)
My sweetie bracelet and watch on another of my forever pieces.
I probably don’t need to tell you that a scarf is another forever piece. I have mentioned this one before – bought in Harvey Nichols about 20 years ago a fine silk chiffon scarf from Emporio Armani. It’s a huge square which can be worn many ways, but I just adore the muted colours and it goes with so many pieces in my wardrobe.
Compared to the two previous pieces something that is a fairly new addition, only about 2 years old. A black clutch bag – but not just any black clutch bag. This one is patent with a chain that can be used to wear it on the shoulder and a large Mulberry badge on the front. The perfect size for phone, money and lipstick it’s elegant and understated but much loved.
Bobbi Brown makes my favourite red lipstick – Burnt Red – and my favourite cream blusher – pot rouge.
And finally you may have noticed that I have a bit of a thing for Chanel nail varnishes. My favourites this year include Paradoxal, April (shown left) and Delight.
Do you have forever pieces that you really on? If you’d like some inspiration on how to find your style here’s an article I wrote on the subject a fee months back.