While we’re all stuck at home spending much more time on our screens, the temptation to buy new clothes is ever greater. But do you need to? Combining items you already own is a great way to invigorate your wardrobe and it’s sustainable.
As a personal stylist, I have picked 3 common wardrobe staples we all have, showing different ways to wear them. Even if you don’t have the exact match, you will have your version of them (and if you don’t, then this does need addressing). So, why not take a break from the screen, throw open the doors to your wardrobe and take a look at what you have with fresh eyes.
The Classic White Shirt.
There are myriad ways to wear this national, wardrobe staple. It’s appeal is its versatility, look both timelessly elegant or casual with rolled up sleeves. Depending on your skin tone, you’ll either have pure white (for the cool complexion) or a softer, milkier version (warm toned). Worn open like a jacket, paired with jeans or a full length skirt, layered over or under a dress, or used to cover up a swimming costume, the options this fashion gem gives you are limitless.
What could be more stylish than a white shirt worn with leather (or plether) black trousers. Keep the look sharp by adding a pair of white trainers. For colder days, layer a T-shirt or polo neck sweater underneath.
If you want to protect your shoulders from the sun, wear it over a dress. Knot the shirt at the waist (or empire line which will make your legs look longer) to give you more shape.
Nothing says chic more than monochrome. Understated but sexy and effortlessly easy. Add some heels for an evening out or brogues to take you through the day. Either way, count on this version of the white shirt being taken seriously.
On those days when the temperature dips, pair your shirt with an oversized sweater. Roll the sleeves up (cuffs undone) and turn the collar up to give it attitude.
Think about your formal wear with fresh eyes. This combination gives a new interpretation of the LBD. If this feels too much for you, take it down a notch or two; remove the jewellery and throw on a pair of flats or trainers rather than heels. It’s all about disrupting the perceived and practised view we have about ‘formal’ wear. If you wait for those special occasions to put them on, then like the best china, they will never see the light of day. Which would be a shame.
The Denim Jean
It’s hard to think of a more enduring or more widely embraced garment. What girl doesn’t have at least one pair of denim jeans in her cupboard (you really need to call me if you don’t). I bang on about versatility and timeless pieces but they stand the test of time for a reason while waving smugly at the trend pieces that come and very quickly go.
I’m a big advocate of the blazer. A blazer instantly elevate a pair of jeans by giving the outfit a more put together look. Any number of combinations would work here as the overall tone is subdued. Think about texture too which adds interest. Any easy look for anyone to achieve.
Using a dress as a layering piece breaths new life into a pair of jeans. Here you have the perfect balance of causal and dressy. To avoid looking bulky, stick to either straight or skinny jeans rather than a flare and go for floaty, lightweight fabrics to wear on top. And, unless you’re tall, watch that the length doesn’t swamp you.
Denim on denim (keeping to similar shades) is effortlessly cool and modern. Keep the neckline open as shown here or tie a neck scarf to add a pop of colour.
Add a bit of fun to your jeans with a statement shirt and a pair of brogues. If you don’t have a statement shirt, you can pick one up on the high street for very little money. Brands like Zara are known for them.
Helen Mirren bringing some attitude to her jeans, underplaying the normally formal Chanel tweed.
The Black Blazer
Another perennial favourite, and my third fashion pick, is the black blazer. I will admit to having quite a few myself and they never let me down. That said, I have dark hair and eyes so black suits me. Not everyone does. If you have a softer colouring or feel you’ve reached an age when black casts shadows on your face, go for charcoal grey instead. It’s more forgiving.
Inez showing us that you can so mix navy and black. The polka-dot shirt and scarf marriage bring a whimsical contrast alongside the loafer frill detail.
Who says you can’t wear a black blazer over a summer dress. A really elegant combination.
There’s quite a lot going on in this outfit but it doesn’t look busy. Black and cream are both neutrals so you can afford to add a pop of colour. The red boots provide just enough drama without overplaying it, mirroring the red accents in the T-shirt, and the asymmetrical waistband of the trousers brings interest without being distracting.
Black will absorb bright colours and strong prints. It looks particularly good against a punchy stripe with black as one of the accent colours.
I love the surprising combination of this outfit. There is a frivolity to the skirt and trainers, offset by the formal structure of the black blazer. The overall effect is both youthful and grown up. You achieve a similar look with a tulle or pleated skirt.