- Alice Cuffe
As the Christmas sales explode into every shop and Internet browsing window, January is the perfect time to take a step back avoid buying terrible bad fitting discounted clothing while waiting in joyful hope for the coming of the new Spring/Summer collections and focus on building a strong core for your wardrobe.
The capsule collection is like the well-informed woman’s base coat to the decorative masterpiece that becomes their beautiful, innovative wardrobe. With it, those pieces flourish, without it they can be a total mess. Yet, even with the capsule you need to shop smart to find those timeless pieces that work for you. Here’s what you need to get through 2014 in style…
Many women these days have a capsule skinny jean that they buy over and over again. Now this could be a style or a designer, but find a pair that work and hold on to them for dear life. J-Brand and Frame are fantastic brands to invest in throughout the year, whether you are into a straight or skinny leg.
The classic, wet-cut white shirt has seen women through the best and worst in fine style since the dawn of cotton. It should have a strong shoulder, with simple buttoning, a slight taper to the waist, and unless you prefer a full men's Oxford, sit just below the waist.
There is nothing you need more than a good T-shirt. You can either buy cheaper and more often or buy well and buy once. Reiss do a fantastic cotton modal tee at a lower price point, while James Perse and Alexander Wang really do have the monopoly on luxury cotton casuals. The ultra-soft cotton and impeccable cut allows you wear and wear them, and they wash fantastically.
Whether you go for a nautical-style linen blazer, pressed felt riding jacket or masculine silk-blend tuxedo jacket depends on your frame, but find the one that works and look after it. You will always be sat near someone who swears by their Tom Ford for Gucci tuxedo jacket, proving that quality lasts and when you find the right one, you're sorted.
Either a wide leg or tapered tuxedo shape work but a wool-silk mix is essential for luxury that lends itself to any occasion. A simple cut will dress it up or down at the whim of its wearer.
Little Black Dress:
We can reinvent the LBD endlessly through the seasonal trends but lets face it, everyone knows who they go to for their LBD, whether you are a lithe goddess at 5'10" who swears by Helmut Lang's originals or you favour a more bold Vivienne Westwood billowing design.
Simple, comfortable, casual and essential. Once the Christmas jumper hangover has lifted, make sure you are prepared for the real chills of January and February (and every month after), with a cashmere knit. Eric Bompard, J.Crew, Reiss, Saint Laurent; everyone has a ball (of wool) when it comes to producing great knitwear throughout the year. A strong V-neck or casual round neck are two styles to keep well-stocked and well-hidden from moths (believe me, they love cashmere more than you love sample sales).
Black court shoes:
Finally, it seems the pointed court has well and truly stuck its stilettoed heel firmly back into the mainstream, but this does not mean it ever lost its lustre.
Christian Louboutin, Prada, Gucci, Gianvito Rossi, Saint Laurent alongside newer entries Liam Fahy, Sophia Webster and Bionda Castana are all forerunners for investment buys. With classic deisgners you know where you are and what suits your foot, but with the new guard of designers you may need to give them a test drive before they become your go-to.
In terms of style, make sure the toe is pointed, but too extreme and that the platform does not exceed half and inch or they run the risk of entering trend territory. They should always have a black heel and the made of good quality high-shine leather.
You will have to top these up from time to time, but always keep two good pairs in your hosiery drawe. Keep one pair of no more than 20 denier sheer and one pair no less than 40 denier; preferably a wool blend that retains elasticity and has a well constructed gusset. The most important thing is to know your height and buy accordingly to avoid unsightly gusset flashing or awful ankle wrinkles.
It need not be made by Christopher Bailey's own fair hand but find a tan trench that works for you and rain will never bother you again.
Burberry, Aquascutum, Valentino, Belstaff, Daks are a great place to start for a true investment piece, or for a lower budget look at Banana Republic, J-Crew, Reiss and Whistles for a good-cut and a range of lengths to suit all heights.