Whether it’s a go-to LBD, a leather jacket that always adds a little edginess to an outfit or a statement handbag, there are some wardrobe staples we can’t seem to do without. This season classic cuts and silhouettes are getting a shake-up, giving everyday essentials a fresh new feel. Want to look seriously well put together? It’s time to upgrade your existing core pieces with some exciting modern twists. Here’s how…
1. The Dressed-Down LBD
The ever-useful little black dress frequently morphs to fit the season’s fabric trends, but its latest style reincarnation is more drastic; fitted, tailored lines are making way for softer, more casual styles. It’s smart-casual personified.
What are you looking for in this new LBD?
- It’s loose. It’s longer. And its low-key silhouette works around the clock.
Look for sportier details, such as a drawstring waist, to ensure your new little black dress has a relaxed, modern feel.
- It’s genuinely versatile: you can give it a soft, luxurious feel for evenings out – just add statement heels and a relaxed clutch – or opt for casual street-style comfort with slip-on sneakers.
2. The Fun Faux-Fur
First there was the faux-fur coat, then the upmarket gilet. Playful pompoms made a brief appearance, but the new way to wear faux is far bolder: classic neutral shades are being replaced by statement pieces featuring a jazzy patterns, varied-width stripes or bold dyes.
The ‘rules’ of a fun faux-fur:
- Don’t be shy! Eye-catching is good. Look for patchwork styles in bold colours… honestly, you won’t be able to miss them in the shops.
- They make you smile and feel fabulous at the same time. That instant feel-good factor comes down to the fact that not only will you be seriously cosy, but you’ll simultaneously look insanely chic.
- Keep the rest of your outfit neat to ensure the look is fun, rather than funny. Understated separates will ensure that smart finish.
3. The Super-Sized Bag
After progressively decreasing in size (from cross-body bag to oversized clutch and then right down to the micro-bag), the handbag is back to reclaim its place as the arm-candy of stylish women everywhere. And yes – you guessed it – it’s bigger than ever. In the case of these essential daily accessories, when we say ‘upgrade’ we really mean upscale.
Hot tips for bold bags:
- Time to put your compact crossbody into storage for a while. The trend is for either mini or maxi sized bags… (but to be truthful, we’re going to work both.)
- If you’re going to invest in anything, then make your bag your first blowout. It will last a lifetime and will up your fashion game on every outing.
- Studs, snake details, super-sized – this tote ticks all the boxes.
4) The Statement Skirt
Every wardrobe needs a skirt or two, and there are plenty of styles to pick from. If you want to be up there with the new classic though, you want to try the Crossover. Much like the the enduring pencil skirt they’re tailored and sexy. Where this style differs though is that it’s far less restrictive – especially for walking in.
To dial up your skirt style:
- Go bold or go home. Forget a subtle pin stripe – nothing is as straight-talking as strong stripes. Modern and minimal, they make a big impact. Tuck in an understated top for a look that’s effortless and elegant.
- Look for easy pocket details; they always create a more relaxed silhouette.
Roll-neck, £89, Hobbs (Coming soon). Skirt, £222, Sportmax. Bag, £79, Kin by John Lewis (Coming soon).
5) The Luxe Leather Jacket
It’s widely accepted that the right leather jacket can pull an outfit together: it adds polish to a casual look or brings edginess to eveningwear. Choose your leather wisely and you’ll wear it every day for years. Up the ante with a clean (not big or boxy) silhouette, complete with some serious fringing or extra detailing.
How to wear it:
- Don’t assume that detailing detracts from a luxurious look: here fringing still looks expensive, as long as you keep the rest simple. Small buttons and a collarless cut are key.
- Leather jackets are not restricted to being worn with trousers. Sling one over a girlie dress for a little rock-and-roll bite.
6) The Over-The-Knee Boots
No shoe collection is complete without some serious boots. Ankle boots are great, but they’re not the only versatile design out there. Be brave and embrace a reworked Seventies classic: over-the-knee boots are key to making your look truly up-to-date.
Heighten your sartorial style:
- Suede versions always look more sophisticated than raw leather and, if you’re ready to experiment with colour too, try berry tones that you can mix with your black basics.
- If you’re feeling the focus on your legs a little too much, adding another Seventies classic to your outfit might help. Drape a silky printed scarf gently around your neck – no fussy knots – and get that print on show.
7) The Contemporary Cashmere
Twinning knitwear has a bad name. But, believe it or not, there is a contemporary alternative to the ‘classic’ twinset, and not only is it stylish, but it’s incredibly comfortable too!
The new way to wear it:
- Knit on top, knit on the bottom. Pick a tone – neutrals do work best here – and knock yourself out with knitwear.
- Hang loose. It doesn’t all have to be skintight. Push back your sleeves for a more casual finish.
- Make sure you update your accessories. Mix in high street versions of our designer heroes, so every outfit looks styled to perfection.
8) The New Knit Dress
Many a style dilemma has been solved with a well-styled jumper dress. But ditch the baggy knits and perhaps sidestep the skintight styles: this winter’s most flattering and enduring versions nip in at the waist and taper out gently to the hem.
What to look for:
- Highlight your waist – add a casual rope-type belt if you want to emphasise it more – and let your flippy skirt swing.
- This classic relies on the structure of the neckline; the higher the neckline, the smarter your finish.
- Pair with retro boots with a chunky heel for an up-to-the-minute look. Sumptuous burgundy will work with your matching textured bag… try to keep that continuity top to toe.
9) The Sleek Black Trousers
Bored with your black trousers? You won’t be now. Go all out with the
shiniest versions out there. You may not be able to get them off, but
hey, why would you want to?
Make a statement:
- Keep the focus on the trousers and avoid fussy details. A slimline silky white blouse will tuck in perfectly for the ultimate streamlined silhouette.
- Want your legs to look longer and slimmer? Then call in the stilettos… Yes ladies. It’s time.
10) The Reversible Coat
A great coat can elevate even the most casual outfit up to a new level of stylishness. But why restrict yourself to one coat, when you can have two… in one! Now we’re talking. At their heart these new classics still have the key core ingredient: versatility. Work reversible pieces one way or another, depending on your mood.
Flexible solutions mean you can:
- Play with your proportions. Yes, your coat can be shorter than your skirt. Or it can skim your ankles. Rules were made to be broken!
- Make your outerwear as much a part of your layering as your knits: layer up pieces in similar tones. Here, a roll-neck, a low V and a leather skirt offer texture as well as subtle volume. So simple, but so spot on.
Coat, £298, Jigsaw (Coming soon). Funnel-neck jumper, £145, LK Bennett. Pink jumper, £345, Helmut Lang at Selfridges (coming soon).
Hair & make-up Pernell Kusmus for Dior at House of Orange. Fashion assistant Samantha Rnic. Digital Artwork Jackie Williams at Happy Finish.