Wardrobe Classics: The Forever Pieces You Need in Your Wardrobe

Open (metaphorically) your wardrobe. How are the foundations? You know, the wardrobe classics: the staple, forever pieces which (ought to) form the cornerstone of your style. 

I remember – back in my twenties – hearing talk of these wardrobe classics. The uber-stylish fashion editors I worked with shrugged them on daily as shortcuts to looking good. But I had neither budget, time or inclination to invest in forever pieces- because I was too busy doing lunchtime sprees around the shops (and then living on jacket potatoes and baked beans for the rest of the month).

But the thrill of the new and the disposable wanes as you get older. You start to crave that perfect camel (and/or navy) coat that will pull every outfit together; the trench that will solve all your intemperate weather/between seasons sartorial conundrums; the black trousers that really flatter; cashmere sweaters in goes-with-everything neutrals. 

This season, I was determined to find THE boots. Heeled – but not too high; slightly slouchy; the perfect shade of tan (not too dark, not too light). Yes, I was the Goldilocks of the boot world.

I found The Ones in M&S, who are having – it must be said – a barnstorming season. Kudos to them for signing Holly Willoughby (surely the ultimate UK influencer?) and also, when I came to write this, for assembling pretty much every wardrobe classic you need.

Boots, £120; skirt, £25; cashmere sweater – my own, this is similar, £75

I’ve been carrying this mental list around with me, ticking it off steadily as I go – and I can confirm that it is highly satisfying to score an item on your wish list. Of course, your list might differ from mine – feel free to use it as a kicking-off point.Consider these a face lift for your wardrobe…

  1. A camel coat. Try both single and double-breasted for size – the latter looks chic but can swamp smaller figures (I speak from experience), so opt for a slim cut if you venture down this path. Note: it’s no longer a faux pas for your coat to be shorter than your (midi) dress – nor do they have to match. A camel coat shrugged over a floral midi is a very good look indeed.
  2. A striped jumper. A tweak on the Breton which is just as happy paired with jeans as it is clashed with a leopard print skirt.
  3. A navy coat. Do you need two great coats? Strictly speaking, no. Will a navy coat make you look insanely chic and be more practical if you have young children/use public transport? Possibly.
  4. The cross-body bag. Big enough for all your essentials, not so large it’ll weigh you down. Also, two words: hands free.
  5. A trench. I promise you, a great trench is a gamechanger. You will instantly look 50% more chic (and more French) when you fling one on. It looks particularly good with jeans, a simple cashmere sweater and flats (try something leopard print or a classic loafer). Push up the sleeves and knot the belt at the back.
  6. Knee high boots. Not too low, not too high, just right. These are also available in black – just in case you’re not into the tan. (In which case: can we get on? I’m not sure…)
  7. Cashmere jumpers. Navy, black, grey, camel – get the basics right and the brights can follow later. Size up (always) or shop from the men’s range – I know many a fashion editor who has this in her wardrobe.
  8. Poloneck jumpers. Katharine Hepburn made them her staple for a reason. (Okay, latterly confessing it was to hide her neck as she got older, but STILL). Look great with wide leg trousers; opt for something generous to layer over dresses and leather trousers; go slimmer and wear under dresses.
  9. A leopard print coat. You know how we feel about our leopard print coats. More Kate Moss than Bet Lynch, they look quite frankly fabulous over jeans and stripes, and it’s like wearing a hug. What more could you ask for?
  10. Trainers. Fashion rather than dedicated to sport. Use to dress down anything which might look too formal if worn with shoes.
  11. Blazer. No longer just for the city, the blazer is SO GOOD with jeans and unexpectedly good with a dress (it’s that meeting of opposites that just works).
  12. Jeans. Blue (not black) and your favourite cut. I like straight, slightly rolled up, with trainers or to show off statement shoes.
  13. Black or navy trousers. Nothing too formal, please. Wear yours with pointed flats (to look smart) or trainers (to look cool).

1. Camel coat, £99; 2. Striped jumper, £32.50; 3. Navy coat, £139; 4. Leather cross-body bag, £79; 5. Trench, £99; 6. Boots, £120; 7. Cashmere sweater (also in camel and black), £75; 8. Grey lambswool jumper, £32.50; 9. Leopard print faux fur coat, £79; 10. Leather trainers, £49.50; 11. Check blazer, £69; 12. Skinny jeans, £35; 13. Black trousers, £39.50


This post is in collaboration with M&S, but all words, styling and opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow us to produce W&W! 


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