I love a trend-driven piece as much as the next girl but I also believe that there are some key pieces that are the building blocks of a great functional wardrobe. Having a good foundation from which to build a look is something I’ve learned over the years and it’s something I’ve made sure to embrace. Having the foundational pieces in my wardrobe also helps to minimise wardrobe dramas as I know I have the right pieces from which to style a look.
Interested in sidestepping style meltdowns in future? These 10 key items help make pulling a great outfit together all the more easier. Before you start stocking up, it’s important to remember that while you don’t have to spend a lot, do try and get the best quality that fits into your budget. Investing a little more at the beginning means you can get more longevity from what you buy, so all you have to worry about is pulling together a winning outfit!
1. A leather jacket
I’ve had my leather jacket for many years and I think it’s the kind of wardrobe staple that you’ll have for a lifetime. It can be dressed up or dressed down and the older and more worn it gets the better it looks. You can get all different styles but I’d go for a simple biker jacket, something that’s really clean and classic – you don’t want to get too tricky with too many studs or buckles as it will date very quickly. Once you’ve found the perfect jacket you’ll wonder how you lived without it as it’s the kind of piece that can be worn with a cocktail dress just as easily with jeans.
2. A black tailored blazer
For me it’s a must-have item. I wear mine all the time either as a suit jacket, draped over my shoulders, over a dress at the races or with a great pair of jeans. It’s a multipurpose staple. When it comes to blazers, tailoring is key. It really has to suit your frame. I like a bold shoulder and a nipped in waist, I don’t like it too boxy. I think a tailored blazer can really accentuate your figure. If you find a blazer that isn’t quite right but you love you can always get it tailored to fit you perfectly.
3. A great statement bag
I don’t think a bag needs to be designer to be great. Just look for good quality leather – something that’s durable. I also like to have the option of having two strap lengths so if I’ve got my hands full with the girls I can just swing it over my shoulder, but if I want it to look a little more elegant with a dress it’s got handles so I can wear it on my arm. I love embracing pops of colour like pink and orange at times but I think you can also have a standout piece in colours like black, tan, grey and white. The key is considering how it works with the rest of your wardrobe.
4. A clutch
You can’t use your day bag for all attire as a big bag doesn’t generally work for cocktail events so a great clutch is important. It doesn’t have to be expensive but just a smaller bag that you can put your wallet and keys into and can be worn back with different items and looks a little more elegant than your usual day bag. Also try to keep the design quite minimalist to ensure you get more wear out of it.
5. A great pair of jeans
A great pair of jeans doesn’t have to be expensive but you really need to take the time to make sure they fit right. I have trouble finding jeans because they’re always tight around my hips but loose around my ankles so when I do find a great pair I make sure to snap them up. You don’t need to invest a lot of money but you do need to invest the time to find them. If you’re like me and are in jeans all the time, try and get good quality denim because you don’t want them to be too baggy once you’ve worn them a couple of times. Jeans obviously come in different washes so choose the most flattering fit for you. I can’t go past faded denim or a white pair of jeans.
I think that white sneakers have really earned themselves a place on my wardrobe staples list. I honestly spend most of my life in white sneakers and they can work back with everything from jeans to a pleated skirt without missing a beat. Invest in a pair that are quite simple in design and you’ll find it gets plenty of outings.
7. Ankle boots
Ankle boots are a must for winter. Once you find a great pair you’ll have them for years to come. I still have a pair of YSL boots that I’ve had for many years and I bring them out every winter. If you want your boots to be an everyday shoe it’s important to make sure they’re comfortable. For me, I like a bit of height so I opt for a platform heel which always helps with comfort. Walking around all day long in really high boots is not the best!
8. Leather pants
You don’t have to spend a fortune on leather pants but you do have to find a leather that won’t give. It’s about investing the time to finding one that won’t stretch after the first time you wear it. A skinny leg leather pant is my go-to item in winter and I think they’re great for travelling as they’re so comfortable. I find Helmut Lang does some great leather pants, so does Scanlan Theodore and ASOS. You can find a pair that fits into your budget but the most important thing is finding the right shape and a great fit.
9. White t-shirts
Granted they don’t last forever but it is important to find a great white tee. I wear white t-shirts with everything whether it’s to the office or just to the beach or with a skirt.
10. A great coat
Make it your mission to find one really great winter coat that you can throw on over everything. I like my coats in neutral colours but a statement coat in a pop colour is also fun. Just choose something that works back with your wardrobe. I’m a big fan of a tailored coat but a big oversized coat can look fantastic as well. If you are going to go oversized keep everything else you’re wearing slimline.
Do you have any other wardrobe staples that you think should be added to the list?