It is without doubt that we live in a 'disposable' society. Every season there's a new trend and always something to lust after or buy. We are driven by the urge to update ourselves, to be modern and fashion forward. It hardly comes as a surprise that shops like Primark have exploded on to the highstreet - we are constantly searching for catwalk copies and budget knock-offs! Besides, if Christopher Kane puts a crocodile or a gorilla on a t-shirt, you can just about justify buying something in the same vein for a tenner and not feel too guilty when you realise you've been scaring little children for weeks every time you've worn it out! ;)
However, when it came to my 21st birthday, I came to the realisation that Coco Chanel had actually hit upon a concept of paramount importance; fashion comes and goes, but only true style remains a constant. With this notion in mind, I decided that it's important to invest in items that will become wardrobe 'staples' and be versatile and well made enough to withstand the passing of time (...and the change of personal taste!)
A wardrobe staple should be treated like a blank canvas and acts as a 'building block' for an outfit. A staple can easily be added to and updated with other items from your wardrobe.
Here are my top 10 of timeless wonders:
1. A pair of gorgeous court shoes - In an ideal world: a pair of Louboutins!...but if not, then something in a similar style in black or nude. This style of court shoe can be found in most highstreet stores and are perfect for any occasion - day or night. Black heels have always been a classic - timeless, sophisticated and sexy all rolled into one! Nude heels are also a great investment, as they go with almost any outfit, are great for inter-seasonal looks and give the illusion of lengthened legs!
2. Fitted jeans.
Every woman should own some - especially a black pair! Many women find jeans one of the most difficult and frustrating things to buy, but it's worth shopping around and trying on different styles in order to find the pair that most flatters your body shape. Investing in a pair of well-fitting jeans is an absolute must for creating a beautiful silhouette. Black skinnies are, in my opinion, the pinnacle, as they are the answer to every wardrobe dilemma and can easily be dressed up or down. The only problem is, once you find the perfect pair, you won't ever want to throw them away!!
3. A 'hold all' bag.
This should be the bag you can carry around all day and that will store anything you could possibly need! The Mulberry Bayswater is a perfect pick as it comes in some great shades - Chocolate and tan being my personal favourites - and it is very versatile and roomy! If it's good enough for Kate Moss, Alexa Chung and Ferne Cotton, it's good enough for me! There are plenty of great lookalikes of this bag, so if you don't fancy splashing the cash, there are an array of highstreet lovelies waiting to be snapped up!
4. A Chiffon blouse.
What's great about a beautiful chiffon blouse, is that they're perfect for work and for going out. Look for classic colours like black, grey, nude, peach, white and brown, as they will go with everything and are easy to dress up with a coloured cinch belt or bow to give your outfit fashion impact!
5. Smart knit or cardigan.
A smart knit or cardigan can instantly finish off an outfit, so it's important to find something well made and versatile. Cashmere cardigans are a great option, but a chunky knit or elegant knitted cardi can do the same job! Black, brown, navy, nude and grey are ideal colours - do buy cardis with detailing, but it should be kept minimal so as to maximise its versatility.
6. An LBD!
...Because every woman should own one! The little black dress has always been a wardrobe favourite because it forms a great base for an outfit. An LBD should be chosen carefully - it should be complementary to your body shape and enhance your best assets. The key word is structure. The LBD should be a classic cut - there should be minimal (if any!) detailing and it should not incorporate too many different fabrics. I have chosen an Alexander Mcqueen fitted bust dress, which will cinch in your waist and enhance your cleavage. It's a great length - sexy without being tarty. It might be an idea to buy a dress that has detachable straps so that you can wear it with the straps or as a boob tube dress. This gives the dress great versatility as you can pop bodies, camisoles or long sleeved tops underneath it! The other dress I've picked out is a simple black shift dress. The little ruffles on the arms give the dress a feminine look and the cinched in waist again is great for defining your figure. When you've chosen a great LBD, all you need to do is throw it on and accessorise! It's a winner every time!
7. Leather jacket or blazer.
Depending on your taste, a leather jacket or blazer are a must-have. To make a leather jacket a classic, you need to pick something that will be good for day wear and evening. I would personally suggest steering away from anything overly 'biker' and masculine. I think for a leather jacket to endure the years, it needs to be fitted. (My leather jacket is gorgeous - it's a soft, buttery leather and is feminine yet modern!) With blazers, you can't really do much wrong - pick a style in a bold colour, that flatters your figure and complexion. If you're extra clever, you could even buy a blazer that has a coloured lining, as you can turn up the sleeves for a different look! Black is always a good choice for a blazer - it looks great thrown over anything and you can wear it to work and to the bar!
8. A pair of ballet pumps/flats.
...because heels can be impractical! Sometimes a pair of comfy ballet pumps can add the finishing touch to an outfit and stop you looking too high maintenance! Pick classic designs (e.g. dogtooth, lace patterned, two toned, plain patent) that will last you through the seasons - and try to choose a waterproof pair! I'm sure we have all experienced 'damp foot syndrome' after traipsing around town in flats in an impromptu rain shower!
9. A pencil skirt.
Oui, oui - The pencil skirt is the embodiment of parisian chic and will instantly make an outfit ooze pin-up glamour. For day time casual, pair it with a simple ribbed vest top..for work, add a ruffled blouse..and for going out, be as daring as you like! (A corset top would get my vote!) When buying a pencil skirt, black is the ideal colour. The pencil skirts I have featured are slightly high waisted, as I think the perfect pencil skirt would be one that nips you in at the waist and accentuates your curves. Look for body contoured designs to streamline your silhouette, skirts with slight ruching to make boyish frames more curvy..and if all else fails, buy a plain black satin pencil skirt! Parfait!
10. A quilted chain handbag - Preferably a Chanel 2.55, but if not, a highstreet copy will do!
Of course, every girl dreams of owning one of these beautiful quilted Chanel bags, but luckily for our credit cards, there are some lovely Chanel-inspired numbers waiting to be snapped up on the highstreet! The bag pictured on the right is a Marc B bag and it channels a similar classicism and elegance to the Chanel bag on its left. The combination of the quilting and gold hardware makes for a timeless piece of arm candy that you will just love forever!
That concludes my list of 10 wardrobe must-haves! How do you think I've done? Is there anything you think I've missed out?
What's for certain, is that we underestimate the value of classics, because we're blinded by the constant bombardment of adverts telling us that we need another pair of designer 'it' shoes..just because Kate Moss wears them! If you find yourself saying "I have nothing to wear", maybe it's actually a sign that you're missing a wardrobe staple. No matter how big or small your wardrobe is, if you've got the staples, you've always got a polished outfit!