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Back to Basics - Tops that you'll wonder how you lived without

Welcome to Part Three of my mini series - The Perfect Wardrobe.

Hopefully you'll have read my first two posts all about finding our your wardrobe personality and how to get rid of the deadwood that's dragging your closet down.

The next few posts are going to give you some handy pointers on the kind of things you need to create a wardrobe that'll make getting dressed in the morning a piece of cake, rather than leaving you feeling like a piece of sh!t (we've all had mornings like that, yes?).

I'm going to focus on the two main factors that affect what you need - business and casual.  If you work full-time you're going to need more business appropriate attire than someone who works two days a week.  But either way, you'll still want casual items for weekends, so it's up to you to decide what the split of your wardrobe needs to be.

Tops and Jumpers 

1. The great white shirt.  You can't go wrong with one of these.  It really is the most versatile piece in your wardrobe - though embarrassingly, I don't currently own one, as I've not found the *perfect* one and my last one ended up in the wash with a stray black sock - sob!

A classic, long sleeved, white shirt can be worn in a huge number of ways - 
  • Tucked into trousers or a skirt for work

  • Loose over boyfriend jeans with heels

  • As the most stylish beach cover-up with a large-brimmed hat

  • Knotted at the waist with a maxi skirt/midi skirt/cullottes for a great weekend look

  • Half tucked into fierce skinny jeans a la Emmanuelle Alt
Emmanuelle Alt

  • Layered under a crew neck jumper/sweatshirt for a cool Autumn look

  • And many, many more
How do I choose the right shirt?

  • Try it on, button it up and stretch your arms out to the sides - if it pulls over your chest, it's the wrong size
  • Ensure the cuffs end at your wrists, not the middle of your hands
  • Choose one that buttons to the neck to add versatility to the way you can wear it
  • Don't choose one with darts - they look dated and only look great on those with absolutely excess around the waist
  • Choose a cotton mix, rather than pure cotton or linen which will be a pain in the proverbial to iron!

2. The stripy tee.  I have a few of these in my wardrobe, probably a few too many but they are incredibly versatile.  They work under a jacket for work, with jeans, shorts, the list goes on and on.

The key, as ever is finding the right shape for you (colour is a no-brainer - you can't go wrong with classic white with a navy stripe) and I dealt with this here.

Here are a few Pinspirations to convince you that you need at least one of these in your wardrobe.

Casually perfect with a black leather jacket and boyfriend jeans

Perfect for work

With skinnies and a blazer

With a maxi and distressed denim jacket

Here are a few of me in my striped tees, as you can see I do love them rather a lot!


3. The Structured Tee.  This style of top has probably only been popular for the past couple of years or so.  It has taken over from the "blouse" in terms of looking business appropriate but works just as well with jeans or shorts.  I have a few of these kinds of tops in different colours and patterns and wear them a lot.  They are flattering because they don't cling like jersey t-shirts and are easily dressed up with a statement necklace and heels.

The fit should be fairly easy as there is no give in the material, you don't want it straining across your chest or back.  They look great tucked, half tucked or simply loose.  Pick a couple of neutral colours, or a bright to add a little oomph to your basics.

A beautiful pop of colour

The more formal shape of a structured tee works great with distressed denim

Choose on in a pattern that works well with your  chosen neutrals


4. The Sweatshirt.  In past years, the only times you'd find me in a sweatshirt is if I wear gardening    but recently they've come into their own.  Unless you're looking for disposable items that you're happy to get rid of in 12 months or so, I'd avoid logo'd ones and choose a more classic design.  In my opinion, these styles below will stand the test of time (they'll also work really well layered over the top of all the three items above).

  • Sweatshirt with leather detail - it may be a current fashion, but leather is pretty timeless and this kind of design will make you want to dig it out every Autumn.
    Leather shoulders give this sweat an edge
  • Baseball style (without the hood!)

Baseball style goes up a style notch with a black leather skirt

  • Embellished/lace or other detail that isn't a logo - choosing a fairly neutral embellishment like the one below means you can layer this over pretty much anything in your wardrobe.
Embellished sweat tucked into a midi-skirt

These are my top four items for creating your perfect wardrobe - of course you will have more tops and jumpers than this, but these basic pieces will probably mix well with what you already have and can be worn together in many different ways.

If you fancy adding a few of these pieces to your wardrobe, I'll be back tomorrow with my pick of the online stores - it's just too easy to order stuff and try it on at home - no more sweating in front of unflattering mirror, ugh!

Do you have any other tops/jumpers that you'd consider a wardrobe staple?

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1 comment:

  1. I just bought a white shirt from the sale rack at Katies for just $14.95, so that gap in my wardrobe basics is now filled :-)


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