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.
When you’re faced with a serious wardrobe rut what do you do? Well, instead of just giving up on your wardrobe and deciding you need to go on a rather big (and expensive!) shopping spree to buy new things, why not just help jump start your styling creativity? There are numerous sources of great outfits out there and by calling on some or all of them, you could just find yourself feeling very inspired again.
Of course Instagram offers endless inspiration. One way to save yourself in times of “I have nothing to wear” syndrome is by bookmarking outfits that you like so you have a ready to go mood board. There’s really no end to what Instagram can offer so make sure you have a great edit of people whose looks you love.
I know newsletters can sometimes be a bit hit and miss but if you sign up to the right ones you’ll most certainly open yourself up to new looks, styling tricks and possibly a new wardrobe addition that you never knew you always needed. Most fashion sites — blogs (*ahem* this one included), online stores like Net-a-Porter and Matches and news outlets like Who What Wear and Refinery 29 all have newsletters that are often filled with great ideas.
While there’s plenty of inspiration that’s just a click away there’s something that just ignites your styling creativity when you head into your favourite stores to check out what’s on offer. It’s a great time to check out the outfit combinations they’ve got on display to help you with your own looks, plus try on the different pieces in store. Also, things sometimes look really different when you see them in real life and you may find that you’ll end up pulling an ensemble together that you may not have otherwise considered.
Beautiful, glossy magazines have always been one of my favourite sources of fashion inspiration. You’re always guaranteed to get some great fashion forward styling within the fashion editorials, plus they provide a great snapshot into current trends. Also, there’s just something about flicking through a fashion mag’s sleek images and layouts that can really get the styling juices flowing and help you unlock some new looks.
This is a dilemma most women have encountered at one point or another. If you’ve ever stared into your closet, filled to the brim with clothes yet still yielding nothing to wear then you’ll know the frustration it can cause. However all is not lost. Instead of tearing your hair out and hitting the shops to buy yet another outfit to add to the pile, you can employ a few tricks to help you unearth a look you’ll love. These are strategies I’ve used from time to time and I can guarantee that they’ve helped me break out of my momentary wardrobe rut, get dressed and walk out the door in no time.
Look for external fashion inspo
Staring at your clothes for ages won’t magically make a new outfit appear. You’ve got to get the styling juices flowing. To do this have a quick scroll through Instagram to see what your fave stylish ladies are wearing. Alternatively hit up your favourite online stores and check out their lookbooks or ‘new in’ section to see what’s trending. By seeing what’s new, it could ignite an idea or two for a look you could pull together.
Set yourself a theme
Having seemingly endless options but feeling bored of all of them is a major cause of being stumped for an outfit. So why not narrow it down to make it easier? For example you could tell yourself that today is stripe day and that you need to incorporate a striped piece into your ensemble. By giving yourself some parameters to work with it becomes less overwhelming and more manageable.
Work a new colour combination
We all have our favourite colour combinations which is great but sometimes in order to overcome an ‘I have nothing to wear’ situation you need to think outside the box. For example try working an unexpected colour combination like pink and red — by exploring pieces in those shades, you’ll inadvertently force yourself to look beyond your usual favourite items and expand to the rest of your wardrobe.
Help a favourite make new friends
We all have favourite pieces in our closet but we tend to work them back with the same things over and over again. This can exacerbate a nothing to wear situation as you see reliable staples but are also uninspired by them because you’ve already got your go-to pairings in mind. So the next time this happens, take an old fave but make an effort to pair it with something different. It could be that you wear a particular jacket with a certain pair of pants all the time. So instead, why not pop on the jacket over a dress, which instantly gives it a different vibe. This allows you to still get plenty of use out of things you love but overcome your style boredom too.
What are some strategies you use to overcome an ‘I have nothing to wear’ problem?
My ultimate aim with my style is to look classic and polished, mixed with a few on-trend pieces to stay up to date. However if you were to ask me what my style formula is, the one thing that helps shape what I wear on a day to day basis it can be summed up in just one word: balance. Simple, right?
My style isn’t about having to mix certain pieces together in a certain way to create a certain look. Life’s way too busy to have to spend an inordinate amount of time considering what to wear. So I’ve distilled my approach to outfit planning into simply aiming to have balance with everything I wear.
This just means that if I were wearing something with lots of volume at the top I’d have to balance it out by wearing something that is slimline at the bottom.If I was going to show a bit more skin at the bottom, then I would have to balance it out by wearing a more conservative top.When I wear something that is long and baggier I’d need to balanced it by adding a belt to give myself more shape. Once again, it’s all about balance.
As I said I liked to keep my style simple and straightforward. I avoid anything too fussy or complicated because I just want to be able to walk out the door as quickly as possible. The one way I can manage that is to always ask myself if my outfit is balanced. Volume with something streamlined; embellished with something quite understated; long with something short. This gives me the fashion equilibrium I need to always feel that my outfit is on point.
I’m all for experimenting and taking a style risk here and there but there are some things I always make sure to avoid. These fashion sins can often subdue the impact of an outfit by taking away its polish–which is often the last thing you want when you walk out the door!
The below is a short, easy to follow list of simple things that you can do to ensure that you always look great every single day. I definitely swear by them and follow them when it comes to my wardrobe. And I’m always open to new additions to the list so if you have any suggestions let me know in the comments below.
Accentuating too many things
If you’re going to show off a particular part of the body, whether it be your legs or your décolletage make sure to only pick one. For example if you’re going to have a plunging neckline then everything else has to be conservative. It’s one or the other. You can either have a mini skirt then a conservative top like a button up shirt or a shirt with a high neckline but if you do the opposite and have a slightly more revealing top then it’s important to keep the bottoms quite modest. I make sure to adopt this approach with every single outfit.
Even if you’ve spent a fortune on a standout designer garment if it doesn’t fit well then you’ve essentially taken away its wow factor. I think tailoring can really make or break an outfit. If something doesn’t fit properly make sure to get it altered whether it be getting sleeves taken up on a shirt so they are the perfect length or taking a jacket in because it’s a little too baggy on the shoulders. These small things will ensure that you always look sharp.
Not paying attention to detail
They make seem relatively innocuous—a stray thread here, a loose button there but the overall effect is that your outfit will look just that little bit unkempt. To combat this, the moment you notice something is awry with your outfit attend to it as soon as possible so you don’t forget about it. Snip loose threads, fix missing or loose buttons and always ensure that you remove lint and fabric pill.
Worn and shabby looking shoes
Shoes are often one of the first things people notice about your outfit so make sure that they always look pristine. If the soles of your shoes are a bit threadbare make sure to have them resoled. If the heel cover on a pair of stilettos has worn down then make sure to have it replaced so you’re not teetering along on an exposed nail. Also always spray suede or leather shoes with a protectant spray to keep them protected during inclement weather. There’s nothing that will take away from an outfit more than stained shoes.
If you can’t be bothered ironing then avoid buying garments that will most definitely require pressing constantly like silk and linen. If you’re a fun of luxe fabrics, then be prepared to invest a little time in ensuring that everything is perfectly pressed.