So, you followed my instructions like a good little Shop Me Chic-er, and culled all the craziness from your wardrobe? What’s next?
It’s time to build your wardrobe. (Yes, this means some serious shopping. Husbands, boyfriends, fathers and sons, turn away now!)
Now that that you have edited everything and the only slightly unwearable pieces in your closet are (hopefully) your wedding dress, one ‘I’ll fit into it in the future’ classic LBD, and some blingy statement platform heels that your Great Aunt Mitsi gave you, it’s time to find the gaps.
I will now present you with The Basics List. The Basics List is the utterly fabulous reason that I have so very many pairs of indigo jeans and white shirts.
(Please please do not equate basics with boring. These pieces are anything but. They are more like a canvas, if you will. A canvas that already has shape and colour, warmth and shadow. You can splash some more paint on if you like, but the canvas by itself is still making a statement about the wall that it’s on.)
The pieces on The List range from classics (blazers, tees and jeans) to more eye-catching items (printed scarves, colourful handbags), but they are all designed to play well with each other, and make transitioning from season to season that little bit easier (and cheaper) by only adding a handful of on-trend things. The List is also very subjective. If you’re a busy mother, you may not need the dirt-attracting (read: white!) pieces on My List, but you might stock up on more comfy layers. If you live in steaming-hot Port Douglas, you’d probably only own a light coat instead of a blazer, but you would add a few pairs of bathers and a floaty kaftan to Your List (and then you’d shoot me an email inviting me to come stay with you for the whole winter).
I’ll mention my clothing five faves today, and in a later post will share my thoughts on basic accessories. Let’s get started!
Firstly, and in my humble opinion, most importantly, jeans. Jeans are my best friend in Autumn, Winter and Spring (and even balmy Summer evenings sometimes)! Depending on the climate where you live, you’ll want to judge how important jeans are to you (and yes, I’ll completely allow jeggings – there are no ‘leggings are not pants’ rules here. Make your own damn rules, I say). Also, spend some money on jeans. I’m not saying jump on eBay and buy that insanely expensive pair of Gucci jeans (if you do, say goodbye to $5K!), more like find a pair of jeans that look good on you, FEEL GREAT on you, and splurge if they’re just a little outside your regular clothing budget. You’ll know ‘em when you find ‘em. My faves are from Mavi and NYDJ (Not Your Daughter’s Jeans – cute huh?!), as they hug/hold in my butt, and aren’t too tight on my somewhat muscular calves. Find your own shape, ignore most of the trends (super-skinny and super-flared jeans rarely flatter non-clothes-horse models), and pick a colour that you love.
Next, you’ll need a white shirt, or three. Again, pick what works for you. I’m a huge fan of a slim-line button-down shirt with full-length sleeves, it’s the most practical style for me. I like to add a little polish to more casual shorts and skirts, and a crisp button-down does just that with minimal fuss. It also looks classically fab worn with dark jeans and riding boots, and can be tied at the waist over some of my striped maxidresses for an elegant twist on the latest nautical look. You might find that classic raglan-style Bonds white tees work for you, or perhaps a softer shell-top shape is more flattering. A white shirt in a style that suits YOU is a fail-safe.
That brings me to the third item on The List – maxidresses. Some men just don’t get the maxidress appeal, and if this is your husband/boyfriend/father/son, then tell them that I care little of their opinion. The maxidress is incredible. It is a whole outfit in one item, and often that item doesn’t need ironing. What more could you want? I’m fortunate that my significant(ly handsome) other has no problem with the few (ok, nine!) long tank-style dresses in my wardrobe, and often compliments me on how quickly I am able to get ready. It’s because of the maxidress, people!
When shopping for a maxidress, think of the following: will I be able to wear it with layers? will I be able to wear it during more than one season? and will it wash and wear well? You’ll want a maxidress which works with smart blazers, denim jackets, teeshirts and tank tops thrown over the top, and can be worn with sandals, wedges, ballet flats and boots. I know, it seems like quite the fashion ask, but a little bit of shopping around for a suitable maxi can save you HOURS of what-the-heck-should-I-wear time. You know, the time you spend stressing when you’ve decided that you want to wear that cute skirt but the top you normally wear with it is in the wash? That time. The whole wash’n'wear aspect will be of utmost importance when you discover the perfect maxidress for you, because you’ll end up wearing it more than once a week, just because it’s so darn easy.
My fourth basic is a knee-length skirt – I favour denim here. I have one that’s smart enough to wear to a corporate event with the above-mentioned white shirt and some nude pumps, but can also be worn with a cute printed top, a bunch of fun jewellery and my cowboy boots to a rodeo (I wish wish wish there were more rodeos in my neck of the woods. Ahhh, the beach-town life can be a drag sometimes.)
Last on My List is one of the most flattering pieces I own – a blazer. A classic blazer is on my list because I can wear it with pretty much everything, and even more importantly, wear it pretty much anywhere! I own a mid-charcoal-grey blazer, and it works with pretty frocks to give a tougher edge, AFL jerseys and jeans to ‘dial back the bogan’ when I’m at the football, and even summery shorts and tops if I’m wanting to dress them up a little. The key to finding a blazer that works for you and all your wardrobe is to steer clear of suit jackets – they are generally too tailored and polished to wear with anything other than corporate gear.
I found my wonder-blazer in the Menswear section of French Connection (I bought a size Small) and it’s a brilliant combo of structure, warmth and detail, at a lower price point than the women’s equivalent. Also, men’s blazers are brilliant for ladies who have slightly broader backs or bigger shoulders. Petite women should try the teen boys’ department of stores like Myer and David Jones for flattering blazers which are more casual than your usual suit jacket. Fabrics like twill, linen and jersey are still smart enough for the boardroom, but soft enough for a more casual look too, with the cuffs either pushed or rolled up. Oh, another thing… menswear tends to have more pockets, so if that’s your thing, get thee to Roger David straightaway.
1. 1&20 Blackbirds Always New Depths Maxidress (a complete steal at $49.95!) // 2. Country Road Urban Twill Jacket ($299.00) // 3. Sportscraft Sarah Oxford Shirt ($79.96 on sale!) // 4. Ezibuy Essentials Denim Skirt ($25.00 on sale!)
Did you already have some of these basics in your wardrobe? Is there something that I’ve missed that is a MUST-HAVE? Let us know in the comments below!