Before lockdown, when I was still travelling up and down the country on a weekly basis, I was packing my outfits for the week on Sundays. More often than not I was washing the previous week’s outfits to wear the following week. Why? Well… a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear! Can you relate? Let’s talk about the 10 items every woman should have in the wardrobe.
With lockdown and working from home those worries disappeared. I finally had the opportunity to look deeper into what exactly was clogging the wardrobe. Yes – clogging. If it’s full, but all you wear is around 10 different items then something shouldn’t be there! Some things… possibly many things shouldn’t be there. The truth is: with so many articles, videos and blogs telling you what you should and shouldn’t own it’s impossible not to get confused. We end accumulating things we don’t need and don’t relate to and that’s the culprit of wardrobes filled with nothing-to-wear items.
Let me break the news to you: there isn’t a magical list of clothes that every woman in the universe feel confident, successful and conquer the world. There are however items that work for each individual. Items that can help you find your unique style. So, no, I can’t tell you the exact pieces of clothing you should or should not own, but I can help with 10 items you should have in the wardrobe to get you started in defining your your unique style.
A great quality coat
Don’t go cheap on this one. Find something that is appropriate for the coldest days in your climate and has a design that reflects your personality. There’s no point going for a classic cut or whatever is trending that season if it won’t keep you warm and isn’t your style! This is the main piece everyone sees when you’re outdoors – including you! You may have a great outfit underneath, but if all you’ll see is this item, make sure it’s something you’re happy wearing! A good quality coat will last years, so you may make the investment ahead but the cost per wear will be worth it. And given this reflects your personality it’s unlikely you’ll be wanting to replace it on a regular basis.
Clothes that fit properly
This is something that really concerns me and I briefly explored last week. Unfortunately, I feel that as a society we’ve had it wrong for as long as I can remember. Fat-shaming and skinny-shaming have done nothing but direct and indirect damage to everyone over the past decades. Direct damage to the ones who tried to meet unrealistic societal beauty standards. Indirect damage to their close family and friends who impotently saw a loved one suffer and in some extreme cases pass away.
If you think you need to go on a diet or exercise more to look your best in an outfit – stop. There’s nothing wrong with you or your body. You have simply picked the wrong item. Choose a size that fits and a design that you relate to and you’ll always look your best. Otherwise, you’ll end up acquiring another never-been-worn item to clog the wardrobe…
Timeless Summer items
Having lived in a warm country up to my adult years I was oblivious to the concept of “holiday clothes shopping”. What we refer to as “holiday clothes” in the UK is simply “the Summer wardrobe” in Portugal. It contains all day to day item everyone needs throughout the hot season: smart clothing, nightwear, swimsuits, etc.
Holidays are the time to free ourselves from the day-to-day worries and restrictions. Regardless of what colour or style is trending take the opportunity to be the trend you want to see. There’s no dress code during the holidays, unless of course you’re planning on travelling to a destination that has one. Otherwise, wear what you feel like.
Whatever you go for, make sure it’s appropriate to the climate. Under extreme heat synthetic fibres will make you uncomfortable and you’re likely to dehydrate faster. Invest in good quality items in natural fibres that you can easily wash and wear more than once (preferably in lighter colours). Good quality clothes will last longer, and if you buy styles matching your personality rather than that season’s trend, they will never go out of fashion. You’ll save a few pennies as you won’t need to renew your holiday wardrobe each time you take time off. Linen is my ultimate choice: keeps you cool under the heat of the day; keeps you warm in the breezy nights. Just like our Flora Cardigan!
Every blog on this subject will tell you no wardrobe is complete without a little black dress. You never know when you’ll have a fancy event and need something elegant. My mum was never one to wear black. So, one year I decided to “complete” her wardrobe and gifted her this “must-have” item. She wasn’t impressed and it didn’t seem she would wear it. She did though and not long after. My grandad (her dad) unexpectedly passed away a few weeks later and that’s when she wore it for the first time.
I own a little black dress and love it, but needless to say I haven’t recommended one to anyone since. The important thing is: find a fancy item that reflects who you are. One that you’ll feel comfortable in and will get you in the right party mood as and when the opportunity presents itself. Whatever colour or pattern, your choice. That’s it!
Although society is far more accepting of fashion preferences, you’re still required to abide to certain standards and rules under certain circumstances. First impressions matter! And first impressions may help you secure a job or totally ruin it for instance. I know, it’s unfair, but it’s the reality! If you’re a fan of a more casual look don’t worry. No need to own expensive suits or anything like that. But a classic cut blazer or jacket can help you achieve a smart or “interview-ready” look even when paired with some basics. Definitely worth having at least one smart piece you can rely on.
Transitional Dressing items
In line with the above, neutral basics (like our Moira top) can help convey a relaxed look when paired with jeans. But underneath a smart dress or blazer you’ll achieve a completely different and more sophisticated look. When it comes to basics, you can choose from a range of different colours and sleeve sizes, so it’s unlikely you won’t find something matching your own style. You can even buy a small bundle in different colours to pair up with different pieces for different occasions. Just make sure basics don’t make up all the 10 items you have in the wardrobe.
A good bag
Who doesn’t love a bag? But more importantly, who doesn’t need one at some point? I own two good quality bags that I use regularly: a classic Tote and a small Gladstonette from Mackenzie Leather Edinburgh. They serve me well for every occasion and will last me a lifetime.
This is of course personal preference. If you fancy one according to the occasion then be it. But investing in a good bag (the preferred bag!) that fits everything you need in it and goes well with any outfit will save you a lot of time and money.
I make the most of the shoes I own. I wear them until the soles come off. Literally! One December when wondering around the Edinburgh Christmas Market the sole of my right suede boot came off. Not the heel. The sole. At the front. Picture a boot as a cartoon trying to talk… Luckily in December the Princes Street shops stay open until late (or used to) and I was able to get a rather cheap pair… in fuchsia! Why not!
They don’t need to be flats or trainers. In fact, any of my high heels are far more comfortable than a pair of these army-style boots I bought purely because they’re iconic. Simply can’t wear these boots for any length of time or walk kind of distance. Expensive, only bearable from home to car to home – not worth the money! You don’t realise how much you stand and walk until you wear uncomfortable shoes. So, make sure whatever your style you invest in something that is also comfortable to wear for a long time. After all, you’re not you for just a few hours and then swap to a “slipper” version of yourself, do you?
A truly personal accessory
On what accessories are concerned, provided they’re not something offensive, there are no rules. A smart outfit will still be a smart outfit with a more colourful or eccentric accessory. So invest in a piece that truly reflects your personality and that you can pair up with any outfit any time you wish!
I love the accessories from Palenque, especially this adjustable ring. Under extreme heat my hands swell so having an adjustable item ensures I get to wear my beautiful accessory any time of the year wherever I am!
A perfume that reflects your mood/personality
To complete your unique style, nothing like a drop of the fragrance that best reflects your inner self. The aromas that make you reminisce of the best moments in your life. Some people have a favourite for all year-round. Others have a Summer favourite and a Winter go-to. Some have a day perfume and a night perfume.
Whatever your style, complement it with a fragrance that makes you comfortable all day long. If anyone will have to sense it, it’ll be you from the outset. So nothing that will be too much and cause a headache, or that will fade away the minute you step out the front door.
There you have it. My (unconventional) 10 items every woman should have in the wardrobe. Long go the days when fashion was dictated to women. Yes, we’re still heavily influenced by it, but every woman – in fact, every person should use fashion to express their own personality, not the other way around.
Next week I’ll be joining two fantastic professionals to how you can prepare to face the face2face again, now that lockdown restrictions are easing. Gin Lalli will explain how you can mentally prepare, Eloise Leeson will help you get your face-to-face chat ready and I’ll be providing guidance on how your post-lockdown wardrobe can help boost your confidence. Interested to join us? You can book your place here.
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