We talk a lot about ‘cost per wear’. It’s a simple concept. Spending hundreds of pounds on a handbag is justified if you’re going to use it everyday for the next 3 years. If you’re anything like me, once I’ve uploaded the extraordinary collection of items only a woman can hoard into my new handbag, they pretty much stay there until I decide I want a new one, many moons later.
The timeless elements of my wardrobe are unashamedly expensive. Every couple of years I head to Bicester Village with my talented stylist friend, Emy of Bees & Taylor. The trip takes part after a cathartic wardrobe cleanse which has freed up space for new pieces. As I grow older I become more effective at this – more ruthless about throwing things away, and more focused on buying versatile pieces that will never date. One of my more successful buys was a classic white Temperley wool coat – even at half price it was eye-wateringly expensive and I very nearly didn’t. That was 5 years ago and it is still the piece I can’t wait to wear as the chillier months approach (only when it’s not raining of course).
While we would never want to be criticised of taking fashion too seriously, Zoe and I are typically aware of trends, many of which we like and some which we don’t. The problem with a trend is just that; it’s a fad. If you hold onto it long enough (think flares, tassels, velvet etc), sure, you’ll eventually be able to wear it again, but the reality is you’ll probably relegate it to charity or the fancy dress bin before that happens. So with on trend items, whose longevity are threatened by the ever quickening fashion cycle, dive in at the cheap end. Not to say all of the following are fads, in fact I am quite besotted with every single one of them, but at under £50 it’s not the end of the world if you’re not still wearing them in 5 years times.
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1. ZARA Pleated Midi Skirt – £49.99
We’ve talked about the pleated midi skirt a fair bit recently (here and here, for example). They aren’t the easiest to style but they are so swishy and fun to wear it’s worth working it out. ZARA does a killer pleated skirt – I love this metallic pink one. Style it with any combination of pink or red boots and top, either a knit or a bomber style jacket. I love this photo, below, taken by Nabile Quenum at Fashion Week last year. Great colours, great slogan. Killing it.
2. GAP 1969 denim fitted boyfriend shirt – £39.95
Since buying my Acne Studios denim jacket, worn by Zo in her recent post about mixing showstoppers and love worn classics, I’ve become obsessed with wearing denim on the top half rather than the bottom half. The cargo pants really kicked this off – it suddenly freed up the denim role to some other part of my body. The 1969 shirt (in Tall) follows on nicely from the 1969 jeans (in Tall) – in my mind, a successful run from GAP. Wear it with a mini skirt and ankle boots or tucked into non-denim black skinnies with pointy pumps à la Sincerely Jules, below.
3. M&S Pure Cotton Poplin Shirt – £39.50
Do you remember the velvet jacket Zoe styled two ways last summer? It sold out quickly (we’re not saying that’s related of course…). Well, here is another winner from M&S – a cotton poplin shirt with striking trumpet sleeves. From scrolling through the reviews of previous buyers, the only complaint has been that the sleeves are too long. Sounds ideal yes? Style it with tailored trousers for a classic work time look or wear it over or tucked into jeans (see below from Sheerluxe) or a denim skirt for a more relaxed vibe. Get in there quick, it won’t be around long. I’ve already put my order in and it will be waiting for me when I arrive back from South Africa on Tuesday morning. No post holiday blues for me.
4. COS Oversized High-Neck Sweatshirt – £49
This boxy oversized sweater from COS is one you may well be wearing in 5 years. With extremely long sleeves and a high turtleneck for keeping out the chill, this sweater, available in black or light beige – not the most exciting colours perhaps but true to minimalist COS form – will be a very useful wardrobe staple. For a sophisticated look, pair with a high cut skirt and heels as tall as you can bare, in the style of Patterson Maker Miller below.
A tricky colour for a fair complexion but if you’re blessed with naturally tanned skin, this will look stunning and will work perfectly as a summer office dress. The lack of a structured waist makes this ideal for a tall frame and the beautiful cropped, flared sleeves and sharp V-neck are so modern and chic.
6. ASOS T-Shirt with Blondie Print – £20
Statement and slogan t-shirts are all the rage, but if you can’t afford the £300 Gucci one which seems to have featured on every single fashion blog, head to ASOS (or Wildfox, albeit a little pricier) who have a lovely collection of fun, quirky t-shirts. Style casually with jeans or else tucked into a pleated midi with high heels or trainers, as demonstrated below by Florhalmist.
7. Boden Textured Richmond Shorts (9″ length) – £50
We’re totally allowed to start getting the wardrobe in order for spring now (well I am anyway, mostly because I’m in Cape Town). What better way to get in the mood than with a colourful pair of shorts? Nothing says long, carefree summer days like Boden. The smiley, happy people on the catalogue are enough to have me reaching for my wallet – if I buy those shorts that will be me. These come in 3 lengths (and blue or red) so probably best to opt for the longer one in 9″. They are still not exactly modest but you’ll be too busy being a yummy mummy, bounding around gleefully with your beautiful children and black labrador in the sand dunes to notice.
8. ZARA Off The Shoulder Dress – £39.99
The fascination with all things to do with the shoulder continues. Cold shoulder, off the shoulder, drop shoulder, you name it. Moreover, it’s a great trend for tall women, especially off the shoulder, as it breaks up any long colour block. I love this vibrant dress from Zara – it’s a great length and unstructured so you won’t suffer from waist under armpit syndrome. Style with white Superga or other flat pumps, or else dress up with strappy nude heels, as below. Keep minimal accessories and jewellery as this dress does a whole loud of shouting all on its own.