5 MUST-HAVE WARDROBE STAPLES FOR OVER 40's
High Fashion as we all know is extreme and tends to go out of fashion before it has left the catwalk – mostly because it only looks good on models who are a UK Size 4 or less - and 5’ 10” or taller. Clearly there are not too many of us that fit that particular spec!
However, the designers would say that their extreme creations for the catwalk give their creative juices the opportunity to fly. In fact it is only much diluted options that actually reach the high street – and let’s face it nothing is new!
So with that in mind I am going to give you my FIVE MUST HAVES for any wardrobe for Anytime, Anywear!
1. A good-fitting pair of jeans
If you are old enough, you will see a vast number of fashion trends regurgitated on a regular basis. I loved the 70s – very much a hangover from the 60s fashion of icons like Bardot – who really did more for denim and cigarettes than anyone before or since. Denim has been re-invented so many times that we have lost count. It has come a massively long way from the original pair of workmens’ dungarees made in 1873 by Levi Strauss through to the explosion of denim in the Hippy 60s and then to our most recent Boho look. In fact – not masses have changed in the look – just the styling.
We recently launched our own denim style in homage to the great Bardot – our hot to rock, on-trend Bardot Flare Wizard Jeans styled here with our Animal Print Ruffle Polo Neck Sweater. So you can see that not a lot has changed. Don’t you wish you had kept your original pair? The biggest problem is, that if you are like me, it is very unlikely that they will still fit. So there is always a good excuse to buy another pair of jeans.
A 2010 poll revealed that the average woman has at least 7 pairs of jeans in her wardrobe.
So my first wardrobe staple is without doubt a good fitting pair of jeans – whatever your age. When it comes down to it – it is the cut that counts.
Then of course the problem starts – which style, which size and which colour?
For style you need to take into consideration the leg shape (skinny, boot cut, flare, straight cut, cigarette cut, boyfriend) and also the rise (the measurement from the middle of the crotch to the top of the waistband) – so low rise, mid rise, regular rise or high rise.
My article - How To Measure Jeans - describes all the cuts in detail to help you through the minefield.
As far as style goes – you really need to be brutally honest with yourself (you can always cut the size label out if it offends too much!). Whatever you do don’t get seduced by the unrealistic, stupid and downright dangerous sizing of USA as they major in ‘vanity sizing’. Even in many of the UK chain stores like M&S they have started to embrace vanity sizing. It won’t change the reality of your body – it will just mean that you have been lulled into a false sense of security. It is best to invest in a tape measure and measure yourself and then measure the jeans in-store or email online retailers for the exact measurements of the style you are interested in.
The colour – well that’s up to you of course!
2. A chic white shirt
The other wardrobe staple that has remained in fashion for probably the last hundred years is a chic white shirt – again looking fabulous on Bardot. There is nothing better as a fashion statement than to mix demure (the shirt) with a very sexy image. Bardot could do this effortlessly.
The great thing about white shirts is that there is usually a style that will suit you and they are so flattering to the figure. There are so many styles to choose from - the classic tailored style, wrap shirts or my personal favourite, the very feminine ruffle shirt. They all look great and even the plainest style will give you a timeless chic look. The fabrics range from 100% cotton to polyester and Lyrca mix. When it comes down to it they are just downright, effortlessly sexy – which is probably why they have never ever gone out of fashion. Think Marilyn Monroe in the Misfits.
"Just like jeans – a woman can never have too many white shirts in her wardrobe"
Even borrowing a boyfriend’s or husband’s shirt works too because oversized white shirts are now spot on trend. The simplicity of a white shirt looks like you are not trying too hard to look fabulous – even if it may have taken you hours in front of the mirror trying to mimic the Meghan Markle half-in half-out of the top of your jeans look.
3. A Great Jacket or Blazer
We all need a great jacket or blazer – for wearing with our well-cut jeans or to go with a favourite dress. It can lift an outfit from a casual daytime look to a special occasion or cocktail party and everything in-between. Again Princess Diana had form in getting this casually fabulous look down to perfection and our favourite look of Diana’s has to be the way she makes denim look the ultimate in elegance. She may not have ever been the monarch, but she was certainly queen of the blazer-and-jeans combo. The trusty '90s blazer made its initial comeback a good few seasons ago, but, as Diana proved, its ability to make any outfit look put-together has kept it at the centre of most fashion girls’ capsule wardrobes to this day.
Equally, the ‘Chanel’ jacket is the ultimate coveted wardrobe ‘must have’ ever since Coco Chanel first designed it – but sadly not too many can afford to own one.
Our own 'Chanel-inspired' knitted jackets are easy to pack and consequently brilliant for holidays to keep the chill off your shoulders in the evening. [Find out more]
We all need a cover-up and it can come in many, many forms. Cardigans, ponchos, pashminas, shrugs and so on – but we all need at least one.
Anything that is loose and skims the body is good, as it is not all about keeping warm. Again it can either dress up an outfit or keep it casual and low key. You can get evening ponchos with diamante stones all over them or ones with fringes and others that look like you just came off the prairies! All are fabulous.
The same goes, as far as casual or evening goes, with all the other options. Cover-ups are probably the most versatile and fun garments to have – you can wear them anywhere and you will always look stylish and fabulous.
5. The LBD
Of course we all need a dress and no wardrobe is complete without a Little Black Dress. Long or short they are an absolute necessity in any woman’s wardrobe. Who will ever forget Audrey Hepburn rocking Givenchy or Princess Diana in ‘that dress’.
They will both always be remembered in their special LBDs because the dresses are simple but soooooooooo effective, fabulous, chic and stylish. Whatever your colouring, black is always a winner and, very importantly, it is never out of fashion plus black is very flattering to the figure and skin tone. LBDs are sensational whether you are tanned or interestingly pale – just look at the catwalks. As with all things clothes-wise it will all come down to cut and fabric.
The great thing is that LBDs come in all shapes and sizes and all price points. So if you are seriously flush you can buy yourself a wonderful Chanel, Armani or Givenchy LBD or if you can’t stretch to this, maybe one of our easy-care one size Audrey Anytime dresses – which are definitely ‘champagne taste on a fixed budget’. Either way, you can’t do without one!