It goes without saying that what we wear plays a huge role in how we feel when we walk out the door. Feeling confident in your clothes is all about choosing the right pieces. If you’re wearing a look that makes you look amazing, you’ll be armed with confidence when you go about your day. Wearing something that flatters is of course key, but I’ve found that there are certain pieces which are just natural confidence boosters. And they’re probably all sitting in your wardrobe already…
A great dress
Not everyone is a dress person, but if you fall into the camp of loving them, then a gorgeous dress, whether it’s a flowy maxi, a polished midi or a fun, playful mini is something that can make you feel polished and put together. The key is finding a style that flatters. So if you don’t yet have that one dress in your closet that makes you feel amazing, then definitely set aside the time to find on this spring/summer that does just that.
A statement piece
I love working statement pieces into a look if I’m feeling a bit blah and need a confidence boost. I’ve found bold pieces help you look and feel better, and are the ultimate pick-me-up.
The perfect pair of jeans really can be the ultimate confidence booster. The key is taking the time to try on several different pairs until you find one in just the right style, wash and fit. Also, denim can be worn back with virtually anything meaning you can wear them on high rotation.
A polished blazer
Whenever I need to elevate my look I always rely on a great blazer. I’ve found just popping a sleek blazer over what I’m wearing instantly makes me look and feel polished, which in turn helps me feel confident.
Feeling confident in clothes also extends to shoes and accessories. Whether you’re a heels girl and love nothing better than a pair of sky high stilettos or you’re more into flats and are all about a gorgeous pair of slides or sandals, I’ve always found wearing great shoes to be one of the best ways to make me feel ultra confident in what I’m wearing.
A matching set
This is honestly the best shortcut to putting together an outfit and looking and feeling polished at the same time. A matching set just looks sleek, plus it’s a no-brainer look for those days when you really can’t be bothered having to mix and match pieces so it’s a win-win option.
If you’re currently trying to navigate the tricky fashion terrain that is dressing while pregnant then you’ll know that it can become quite the style conundrum when you have no idea what to wear and a slowly diminishing wardrobe to boot. Having been through the experience twice, I totally get it!
The thing I found with pregnancy dressing was that I wanted to stay true to my style but I was faced with having to accomodate an ever changing body shape so all my usual go-tos weren’t all going to work. However it was such a finite amount of time that I didn’t want to spend a fortune buying an entirely new wardrobe. So here are a few ways that I managed to do it without spending a lot.
Use a pants extender
Investing in a pants extender or better yet just using a good ol’ fashion hair elastic if you’re wearing a long enough top can allow you to use a lot of your pants (or anything that has a button up waistband) well into your pregnancy. If you can use most of the bottoms you already own that’s half the battle right there.
Shop your closet
Check out what you already own that you can use to accomodate your growing belly. Look for anything with a bit of stretch such as a jersey dress or is a roomier fit like an oversized blouse — these can last you through various stages of your pregnancy.
Use men’s clothes
I borrowed a lot of Luke’s shirts and jumpers when I was pregnant as they were roomy enough and long enough to work with my new belly. If you’re able to grab a few pieces from the resident males in your life such as your partner, your brother or even your dad then make the most of it as these pieces work great during a pregnancy.
Buy cheap basics but size up
During both pregnancies I bought basic tees and tops from ASOS and these lasted me the entire time. As with your regular wardrobe, if you have staples like t-shirts, singlets and stretchy dresses you’ll be able to use these as the core part of your looks but elevate them with the right accessories. You don’t even have to buy maternity specific items, just buy a few sizes up to accomodate your bump.
Elevate looks with accessories
When you’re wearing pretty much the same things throughout a pregnancy it’s easy to get wardrobe fatigue. So enlist the help of some great accessories to inject a bit of new life into your looks. A beautiful scarf, statement earrings or fun sunglasses are all things that can instantly transform your look.
Layer, layer, layer
I would often wear things like vests, cardigans or blazers over what I was wearing as I felt it helped give me a little extra coverage, plus it just made everything feel a little more chic. I’m a fan of layering in my regular wardrobe so doing so throughout my pregnancies allowed me to feel that I was dressing like my usual self.
The key to elevating your style doesn’t involve an astronomical amount of money or a constant stream of designer purchases. In fact, a lot of it comes not from what you own but what you do. Whenever I look at the people who always present themselves impeccably, I always notice that they have a few things in common. Here’s where you can start if you want to elevate your look.
Know your style
People who have amazing style are always confident in their look. They know what works and what doesn’t and essentially what makes their look their own. If you’re still a little unsure of your style, pay attention to things that you always gravitate towards. Pinpoint the pieces that make you feel and look amazing. You’ll soon be able to distill what it is that defines your aesthetic.
Make sure you have the basics
It’s important to make sure you’ve got the basics covered before you can evolve your style to the next-level. This means everything from having a go-to dress to having the right underwear for various silhouettes and casual staples like t-shirts and jeans. Having reliable pieces already sitting in your closet will allow you to concentrate on how you can give those things your own unique spin.
Have a tailor that you trust
There’s something quite special about having a wardrobe filled with pieces that are perfectly fitted to your body— clothes just sit better when they’re tailored. This is why it’s important to find a tailor that you trust. Try asking around in your social circle to see if anyone has someone good they can recommend or look up online reviews of various tailors in town. Another option is doing your own research by getting something altered and seeing what the result is.
Invest in quality items
There are workhorses in every wardrobe and they need to be the best quality that you can afford. Don’t scrimp on things that you’re likely to use all the time like a work bag, or shoes that you’ll wear constantly on the weekend. Identify these key items and splurge on them. Quality items generally withstand wear and tear a little better. You can then be a little more economical with other things in your wardrobe that won’t get used quite as often.
Make an effort to look after your clothes
To ensure that your clothes always look pristine follow instructions on how to launder them, hang and fold garments rather than just dumping them on the nearest available space, and it seems obvious but always iron or steam garments before you walk out the door. Also store items like shoes and bags properly by keeping them in their dust bags and not piling them on top of each other so they lose their shape.
Avoid jumping on board every single trend
To elevate your style involves looking like you’re confident in what you’re wearing. That means being able to pinpoint knowingly what works and what doesn’t for you and that involves being selective in the trends that you adopt. Experimenting with looks is great, but so is knowing what your style is and not feeling like you have to jump on every single trend to look good.
Wardrobe basics are the lynchpin of your look. I find that owning a few key pieces can in turn make everything else you own just that little more wearable as you can start with the below items and then build an outfit around them. Each person obviously has their own unique style so some of the pieces below might require substituting here and there but overall I think they’re the kind of staples that can be worked in so many different ways. Versatility is key when it comes to a look and having the right wardrobe basics in your closet can really ensure that you are able to take your style repertoire in several different directions. I’ve narrowed down a few key things that I think every woman needs…
Jeans are a key part of my off duty wardrobe
It’s imperative to find yourself a pair of jeans that fit you ridiculously well and are ultra flattering. My go-to styles are skinny jeans or straight leg as they work with my body shape but be sure to find the right style for you.
2. Leather leggings
I’m already looking forward to transitioning to my autumn/winter looks and one of my can’t live without staples is a pair of leather leggings. I can wear them dressed up or down and as a bonus they’re so comfortable. When buying a pair be sure to try on a range of different styles from different brands as the fit can vary.
3. Comfortable t-shirt
A plain white t-shirt is the kind of piece that will be in constant rotation. I love a crew neck style and wore one here, however a v-neck tee is equally as good. Start with white, however shades such as black, grey and navy and a good stripe are also a great addition to any wardrobe.
4. Button down shirt
There’s a reason why a classic white shirt is at the top of most wardrobe basics lists — it’s just so wearable and can add a stylish touch to any look. One styling trick I like to employ is opting for a slightly looser fit when it comes to shirts as visually it can make your frame appear smaller.
5. High waisted skirt
A high waisted skirt is a go-to when it comes to office wear but it can also easily transition to your off duty wardrobe. Opt for a simple black or a fun print and pair with a tee or shirt for an easy, out-the-door-fast look.
6. Quality knit
Invest in at least one quality knit in a quality fabric (cashmere is luxe, but oh-so long lasting) and opt for colours such as grey or black as they’re easily paired with multiple items in your wardrobe.
You can wear a blazer to work or out to dinner on a Saturday night and is such a must when it comes to wardrobe basics. Popping one on can easily dress up a look give it a stylish touch.
A scarf is the ideal trans-seasonal piece to add to your wardrobe. I have one that I like to wear when I’m travelling as I can use it as a wrap when the temperatures are slightly chillier.
Tell me—what are some of the wardrobe basics you can’t live without? Have I missed any on my list?
Wearing white is one of the best ways to freshen up a winter look. While it’s expected we gravitate towards dark tones during the cooler months, there’s something fresh about incorporating crisp white into a look—it’s unexpected and one way to brighten up an outfit.
Also, one of the great things about wearing white denim is that it plays well with virtually every kind of print and pattern you can think of. You can wear it with a neutral palette like I have above, or work it against a classic print like spots or stripes, or pop it on with a tee and a coat. The options are pretty much endless. It’s also a great trans-seasonal option, being able to go from winter knits during the cooler months to slips and tees once summer is upon us. You can also layer it really well given the ease in which in can work back with different colour palettes, also it works beautifully with different textural elements.
If you’ve yet to introduce white denim into your wardrobe you’ll be pleased to hear that there are plenty of shapes and styles to work with this season. From straight leg jeans to old favourite skinny denim and cropped styles, there’s definitely an option to size every size, shape and budget.
While it can sometimes feel like a daring feat to wear white during the day (particularly when you’re a mum encountering sticky/an or dirty hands almost constantly!) there’s something so polished about incorporating white denim into your casual wardrobe. It’s easily becoming a fave in my own wardrobe and I’m sure it will be the same with yours. Go ahead and add a little lightness to your winter look, I promise you won’t regret it.
Shop my edit of great pieces to wear back with white denim below.
Stylist Lana Wilkinson has styled the likes of Megan Gale, Rebecca Judd, Anna Heinrich and Zoe Foster Blake, and in 2019 she launched her eponymous shoe brand—so, if anyone knows the key to great style it’s Lana. With the launch of her second shoe range this month focusing on versatility and multipurpose styles, I thought it was a great time to catch up with Lana herself to share her tips on how to achieve the one thing most women want: a truly versatile and functional wardrobe.
What’s the key to ensuring versatility with one’s wardrobe?
“My number one tip for ensuring your wardrobe has versatility, is to buy pieces that you can integrate and pair with three items already in your wardrobe. It makes the styling process far less overwhelming.”
What should women keep in mind when shopping if they do want a wardrobe that has longevity and versatility?
“If you want your wardrobe to stand the test of time, I recommend buying classic investment pieces that don’t go out of style. Staple items like a blazer, classic black pant or LBD and denim are always great go-to pieces, no matter what the trends are for the season. My wardrobe formula is quality over quantity, 80% classic / 20% trend-based.“
What are the most versatile style staples every woman should have in her wardrobe and why?
A Pump Heel. They create the ultimate leg-lengthening effect, making you look feminine and elongated all at the same time. Total boss vibe too!
Blazer. A Blazer is the ultimate wardrobe staple and has the power to make any outfit look more styled and put together. Blazers designed in a classic colour way (black, grey, camel or white) will always be a great investment that you will wear time and time again.
Denim. Jeans that make you look and feel amazing will be one of the most essential pieces in your wardrobe. They can be worn casually with trainers or styled up with a signature pair of heels.
Basic T-shirt. A good T-shirt is often overlooked as a key wardrobe staple. They can be worn in so many different ways and can be dialed up for day or evening. Again, in signature colour ways like black, white and grey – you can’t go wrong.
What are the 3 most versatile pieces in your wardrobe and why?
“I’m a sucker for a cool midi-dress. Pair it back in winter with a chunky knit, trainers, pump or boots or in summer with a pair of sandals or flats.
A must-have for me is a black blazer. It sure gets a big workout in my wardrobe! It is so versatile and perfect for layering, I can wear it with jeans and a t-shirt, or pair it with black trousers for a power suit look at work.
A good fitting pair of jeans are another versatile piece that serve me through the week and also on weekends. You can pair them with a knit for an off duty look or with heels and a structured top to go out at night.”
When it comes to shoes, it seems there is always an endless array of designs to choose from. What should women look for when it comes to picking shoes that will go the distance?
“I’ve found that shoes are such a personal fashion item, so I have a hard time advising women on what they should and shouldn’t wear. My main advice is usually to have fun with them and make sure you are comfortable. The aim of my shoe collection is to give women multiple options and fashion forward staples that they can wear again and again.”
What was the inspiration behind your new range? Why are they the kind of shoes that can be worn time and time again?
“My aim in designing my footwear line is to create versatile, fun pieces that you will feel great wearing. I have been inspired by utility and want to make sure that my customer can wear the pieces time and time again, not just for one season. The new collection features classic styles in versatile colours to make sure that my customer can get the most out of each piece.”
If you had to pick, which style in your new collection would be your go-to shoe?
“It’s always so hard to choose! At the moment I’ve been wearing the “Megan” (pictured above) to death as they go with everything and the heel height allows me to wear them all day.”
What should people scrimp on if they do want to ensure that their wardrobe is functional and wearable season after season?
“I always advise people to scrimp on basics like t-shirts and shirts, as these are the building blocks of an outfit but won’t add any wow factor to them. Uniqlo and Zara always have excellent layering pieces at an affordable price.”
Where do you think women tend to go wrong if when they look at their wardrobe they constantly think “I have nothing to wear”?
“I think we need to aim to reinvent our wardrobes more than we currently do. Instead of thinking that you need a completely new collection of clothes, try taking out your essential pieces and play around with them to find new and interesting ways to build an outfit. Styling my garments and accessories in different ways gives me extra wear out of pieces. I try to make my wardrobe habits more sustainable which results in less stress when I get dressed in the morning!”
What’s the key to classic, timeless style?
“Everyone has their own version of classic style as fashion is so subjective, however wearing tailored silhouettes and timeless pieces will ensure that your look has longevity. Try not to follow trends too closely as these tend to go out of style more quickly.”
What’s one thing you wish more women would do when it comes to their wardrobe?
“I wish that women would feel more confident wearing pieces more than once. This is something that we were told was a big ‘no-no’, however why shouldn’t we wear items that we feel great in all the time? If you invest in a piece that you absolutely love and look after it, it can last for decades, instead of just one season.”
There’s nothing worse than being faced with a wardrobe full of clothes and feeling like you have absolutely nothing to wear. The answer isn’t jumping online and ordering a new outfit to arrive by lunchtime (although that can sometimes be fun) it’s about learning to accessorise or rework items in your wardrobe to give them a fresh new feel. If this sounds familiar, here are some of my super quick styling tips to help you pull together a “new” outfit quicker than you can click add to cart. Your bank balance will certainly breathe a sigh of relief!
Choose a bold accessory
If my outfit is feeling a bit flat I find a great way to inject a bit more energy into it is by adding a bold accessory. You don’t always have to opt for a bag, you could also try a pair of eye-catching drop earrings or a layering a few necklaces (all faves of mine) to breathe some new like into an outfit you’ve worn time and again.
Roll it, tie it or cuff it
You can totally rejig an existing outfit with a few simple styling tweaks. For a tired pair of jeans try cuffing the bottom and pairing with a pair of bold flats or heels for a look that feels instantly fresher. You could try tying a button down shirt and pairing it with everything from a pair of shorts and skirt for an outfit that takes a classic look and makes it feel a little more undone. Or experiment with rolling your sleeves whether it be on a shirt, a dress or even a jacket to create an entirely new silhouette.
Add a touch of colour
Having fun with colour is one way to make an outfit feel new again. The best bit about this is that you can do it in so many different ways. You could work it into an outfit in a small way such as a pair of shoes in a standout shade. You could go all out and layer multiple hues of the same colour family like this, or choose one ultra bright colour to take centre stage such as the above look and keep the rest of your outfit a little more subdued to really let it pop.
Enlist the help of a scarf
I wrote about how scarves have become a favourite accessory of everyone from celebs to fashion and beauty bloggers late as they’re so versatile. You can fashion it into a headband, tie it around your neck or use it as a hair tie. Find one scarf in a vintage print and you’ll be able to revive many tired looks with it. Alternatively it also serves the extremely handy purpose of hiding dirty hair in a stylish way when you really can’t be bothered to wash it!
Polish your digits
It requires a bit more effort but painting your nails in a really bright colour can often make any outfit feel new. It also has the added benefit of giving you a more polished look overall. Give yourself a mani at the beginning of the week and watch it elevate your outfits for the next few days without you having to do anything at all.
Try a belt
You’ll be surprised at the sartorial power of a belt when it comes to reworking an existing look. An easy one is wearing a belt with an oversized buckle with jeans or a denim skirt for a look that plays into the current 90s trend. You could also try Olivia Palermo’s favourite styling trick of belting a jacket such as a blazer or coat.
What are some of your styling hacks for getting out of a wardrobe rut?
This neutral Givenchy Antigona bag is still getting a major workout a few years on from when I bought it
You’ve no doubt heard me talk about investment pieces here on the blog and also probably heard the term bandied around in fashion magazines and websites. However are they really worth the splurge? In a word: yes. And I think it all comes down to cost per wear.
Cost per wear is that magical equation that allows you to not freak out quite so much about the fact you’ve dropped a significant amount of money on just one piece! It’s basically the cost of an item divided by the number of times you wear it. The more you wear it the cheaper it becomes. I’ve always tried to save for the big wardrobe staples that I know I’ll wear season after season.
When it comes to things like a great blazer (I searched high and low for a Balmain one that’s still one of my favourite buys), a good quality handbag and classic coat, I need them to last as I wear them all the time. That’s why I’m prepared to drop a little bit more money on them simply because I know that years down the track I won’t need to replace them and they’ll still be there, kicking on and looking good. This helps me to justify the significant investment as it works out to be just a few cents each time I wear those pieces. The key however, is already knowing which items you’ll be wearing constantly. There’s no point in buying something that you think you’ll wear all the time only to find that you really don’t. Cost per wear flies out the window then!
That said, there’s definitely a lot to be said for a quick fashion fix — I’ve done it because it’s immediate, it’s easy and always guaranteed to be on trend right that minute. I’ll often hit up chain stores for things like t-shirts and lounge wear as they have a short shelf life and I’m not really looking for too much longevity when I buy them.
I think wardrobes are all about balance. My approach is to buy the best quality I can for the cornerstones of my look and then skimp on those that are fun to have, but not a long term addition. That gives me the best of both worlds in that I can always add current cheaper finds with those pricier investment pieces that have been in my wardrobe for years.
Tell me—What are some investment pieces in your wardrobe that have been worth the splurge?
Have you ever bought something only to find that you wear it once and it ends up collecting dust in your wardrobe? It’s easy to fall into this trap when we’re flooded with options and an impulse purchase is so easy to make. If you’re in the situation of having an overflowing wardrobe with absolutely nothing to wear then it might be time to rethink your shopping strategy. I’ve managed to hone mine down over the years to pinpoint the purchases that I know will have multiple outings. If you want to avoid buying something that’s a one hit wonder it pays to keep a few things in mind—it’s what I use when I’m considering buying something and I guarantee it works…
Stick to neutral tones
I always try to keep items like dresses and staples like coats in neutral tones. With dresses I’ll always opt for a little black dress, a white dress, denim or khaki. And with a staple like a blazer or coat I always opt for black because it’s a colour that’s really versatile. When it comes to basics (my everyday wear such as t-shirts and jumpers) I always stick to neutrals. Whilst a pink t-shirt is fun I’m guarantee to get more than a few wears out of a plain white tee. Also if you want to add a bit of colour to your wardrobe it’s easier to work back with a simple muted colour palette than try to work with multiple bold hues.
I think separates are always a really good option because you can mix and match them. It’s much easier to wear something like a quality silk blouse or a great skirt in various ways as you can just switch out the top or bottom when you want to change up your look. One thing I’m loving is that more and more labels are releasing matching separates which not only look chic when paired together but are great when worn with other pieces too.
Keep statement pieces on top
If you find something that’s a bit of a showstopper, find something that sits on top such as a jacket or coat, which you can throw on over an outfit. Everyone remembers if you wear a really bold dress but if you wear a striking jacket you could mix and match it and nobody would really even notice if you wear it multiple times. I’m a fan of pieces that have a bit of personality and are a standout piece but if I want to guarantee maximum wear out of it then outerwear is the best way to incorporate it into my look.
Don’t be a slave to trends
There are multiple trends each season and while it’s fun to try them you don’t always have to wear a trend from head to toe. You can incorporate a trend into your look with a really great jacket or small accessories. For example if you want to get into the 70s, buy one trend piece such as a pair of flared jeans. It doesn’t mean that you have to look like you stepped off the set of Saturday Night Fever. Exercise a bit of restraint when it comes to trends as invariably they will come and go.
Avoid too much embellishment
If you want certain pieces to last season after season avoid having too much embellishment on it. Having a lot of detail on a particular garment makes it more difficult to work back with other items in your wardrobe. Not only that, it also it makes it easily identifiable so it’s harder to have it be a chameleon piece that can be worn for multiple occasions. If you look at the celebs who tend to outfit repeat, they’re always wearing a classic piece that’s simple and streamlined.
What are some ways you get more wear out of pieces in your wardrobe?
We’ve all been faced with days where we find ourselves just staring into the closet and thinking that we’ve got absolutely nothing to wear. If you’re in a rush it can be particularly stressful trying to pull a look together as you try one look after the next with little success. So this is why it pays to have a few outfit combinations that you know are guaranteed to work. I like to keep a few of these mentally filed away to call upon whenever a wardrobe crisis hits. Here are a few key pairings that will ensure you look amazing when you walk out the door.
This is an easy outfit to turn to and will always look chic. And the best bit is it’s comprised of things we all have in our wardrobe. All it takes is having a pair of go-to jeans and a great white t-shirt and you’re set.
If you’ve got a few fave dresses in your closet that are feeling a bit tired, you can change up their entire vibe by adding a blazer over the top. A black blazer is one of those pieces that will always be a lifesaver and can instantly make any look dressier and more pulled together.
A midi skirt in any length paired with a top such as a t-shirt or a sweater is a shortcut to looking chic and stylish. If you’ve yet to add a midi skirt to your closet, try a pleated style for an on instantly on trend look.
A trench is a wardrobe addition that will go far. It’s a topper that can work with myriad looks ranging from the super casual to dressy. Consider it a lifesaver whenever you’re stuck for what to wear — just throw it on over the top of any of the looks you’ve seen so far and avoid unnecessary style dramas.
A pair of skinny pants or jeans, teamed with a gorgeous blouse is one look that will take you from work to drinks without skipping a beat. Great for those days when you’re not entirely sure where the day will take you.