As we were completing on the sale of our house a few weeks ago, packing up our entire lives was obviously a priority.
Our chain didn’t quite work out as hoped so we don’t actually complete on our new property until the end of October. In the meantime we are in a cute (albeit small) holiday let cottage near the pretty village of Henley-In-Arden.
Having to pack away yet essentially retain enough clothing and accessories for 6 weeks in unpredictable weather (anyone else think that late September and October have to be THE most difficult months to dress for?!) was unequivocally challenging. But it did give me the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate what I actually wear in general. What have been the best investments? What are my wardrobe staples rather than frivolous throw-away pieces that I probably wear once and then forget I ever bought them in the first place…..
I lost my style mojo when I tuned thirty (Am I even allowed to go in Topshop?!) again when I had my daughter as my body didn’t feel like my own, and then more recently in the summer. However, things are looking up folks – I’m firmly back in the proverbial fashion drivers seat. Or at least I think I am, especially when I look in the mirror after a few glasses of Sauvignon and the light bulbs are uber soft focus.
Mix And Match
I always try and buy pieces that will definitely work with other existing items already in my closet – and I don’t mean a top that will look ok with one pair of jeans, I mean as many mix and match items as possible. I’m not ever going to own a “capsule” wardrobe per se. And neither would I want to, I love to while away the hours looking for online bargains – but at least my palette of grey, navy, black and white allows me to choose an outfit fairly quickly of a morning.
You probably need to buy this chunky knit cardigan by the way – only £22 in the sale, I sent the link to my best girls (we went out to celebrate a birthday on Saturday and it drew much admiration for it’s warmth and ability to look non frumpy)…and now six of my friends are also proud owners. We should probably get together and have some kind of matchy matchy party with volouvents and crudities. Or maybe just really extravagant cocktails. Hmm, cardigans and cocktails… that sounds like the start of a new blog.
Invest In Quality Basics
I am a big advocate of The Outnet for designer basics. Everything is usually 50% off RRP (if not more, I’ve bought many pieces at 80% off in the past) and I sign up for email notifications of brands I love and that fit true to size so I’m aware of new stock, rather than having to trawl/check on a wing and a prayer.
I like Isabel Marant and Helmut Lang in particular – the white long sleeved top and the fine knit in the header image were from these brands respectively. I have worn both numerous times which means price per wear has been about 50p. I also have a few amazing going-out dresses from Alexander Wang, both which cost me less than a posh frock from French Connection.
There is currently 15% off if you spend over £150 at The Outnet by the way, the offer ends on the 30th September.
Find A Dress Shape That Suits
For me there is nothing simpler than a pretty dress, black tights and ankle boots. Dresses make me feel feminine and as though I have made some sort of effort – whilst remaining fairly casual. For my petite frame and long body a tea-dress style that is fitted at the natural waist and slightly flared in the skirt is always a winner. I favour floral prints and a mini length that isn’t so short you can see my bum when I bend over.
For luxe I love Reformation. For every day I recommend the aforementioned Topshop (I do go in, I just avoid the crop tops and shiny lycra). I have this cute little number in a few different colours and flowery patterns.
If You Have Short Legs Try High Waisted Skirts
I was a little late to the high-waisted party, I think because high-waisted jeans don’t suit me at all, thus I avoided every other item for years. A skirt however – that’s an entirely different story it would seem. They elongate the appearance of my legs like nothing else. Not to mention the fact if you find one that is fairly form fitting without making it difficult to actually breathe, you can even hide that giant bowl of pasta you consumed at lunchtime (happens.)
I have quite the selection from Freepeople – both in denim and pleather that work with a variety of vest tops, T-shirts and blouses.
Size Does Matter (but not how you might think)
It’s immensely frustrating when you order “your size” from a store only for it to be distinctly on the large or small side. I tend to stick to brands that at least for the most part, don’t seem to deviate too much as returning online purchases isn’t one of my favourite pass times.
And NEVER buy a piece from a brand you haven’t before that you can’t return – I found out the hard way with a second hand yet never-worn pink dress from Sandro via Vestaire Collective. The fit just wasn’t quite right and even though the colour is lush, it looks ruddy awful with my sallow complexion.
What my fashion buyer friend Naughty Maria taught me though is to try on different sizes of a piece that you love the look of, but for whatever reason just doesn’t seem to hang quite right. Sometimes I go a good few sizes up, to create a different look to perhaps what is intended. With jumpers in particular, I like them bigger so I can layer, and with “oversized” pieces, sometimes I find a size smaller is more flattering.
Pretty Lingerie Deserves To Be Seen
More Maria advice, sometimes the strap of a lovely colourful or lace bra or detailed body suit gives a subtle nod to sexy. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
As per the larger sized jumpers as mentioned above, I like it when they fall off your shoulder slightly and you can glimpse a peek at a beautiful undergarment.
I buy all sorts of pretty bras from H&M but have recently discovered amazing brights from French brand Undiz.
Buy Back Ups Of Pieces You Adore
This goes without saying. Every since I realised my favourite grey faux suede boots from a trip to Paris were on their last legs and I had no way of replacing them with something similar (believe me, I tried) I vowed to ALWAYS purchase a back up of anything particularly paramount to my personal style. Shoes in particular – I find if I discover a pair that are both comfortable and suit various ensembles, I will wear them for years.
Do let me know any of your wardrobe tips and tricks in the comments box below, and if you would like to join our cardigan and cocktails shindig. I’m well up for making it a “thing”.