When it comes to long haul flights, comfort is king. Trust me, I’ve made the mistake of wearing a pair of tight fitting jeans on a 26-hour journey only to very quickly come to regret my decision.
This time around, I’m keeping things simple, and tying in what I wear on the plane, with pieces that I know I’ll wear while I’m away. For me this means…
A comfortable pair of leggings in a neutral shade – perfect for travel days and also great for hiking or if you can manage to squeeze in the odd run (which I’m definitely hoping to do!).
A loose fitting long sleeved striped tee (my favourites are from T by Alexander Wang) – one of my travel essentials (it’ll go with e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g) and perfect for those cooler days, which I’m anticipating we’ll probably have in San Fran.
A super soft knit sweater – no matter the weather, this is worth it even if it’ll only get worn on the plane. I find it’s great to have something plain just in case it gets cool when you’re heading out in the evening.
A pair of trainers – if there’s one thing you’re probably going to be doing a lot of when you’re away on holiday, it’s walking. Usually a pair of trainers – if you have Nike Roshe Runs like me – can take up a lot of suitcase space, but they’re also typically one of the more comfortable pairs of shoes you’ll have with you.
A scarf or shawl wrap – planes get cold, and usually I find that the blanket the air hostesses provide you with just isn’t enough. I’ll always bring along a scarf or a shawl to double as a second blanket while on the plane, and as a scarf or cover up when at my final destination. This is a great piece to bring with you as depending on your destination, there can be cultural sensitivities and requirements at local temples, churches and the like, so it’s useful to have something to hand that you can whip out in those situations.
An oversized tote bag – I’m always the girl with a carryon suitcase and a bulging tote bag on my shoulder. I find it’s the perfect companion for all your in-flight essentials (think books, laptops, ipods, and beauty essentials) and doubles as an everyday bag while you’re on your holiday.
Lastly, if there’s one thing that I’ve learnt, it’s how essential travelling with a spare change of clothes in your carry on is. After spending 25+ hours travelling, the first thing I want to do is shower, and put on a fresh change of clothes; it’s one of those little rituals I have that makes me feel re-energised, especially in situations when going straight from the plane to sightseeing.
It’s little secret that I have a soft spot for shoes. When it comes to any kind go embellishment, I’m basically sold, and these beaded beauties from Sophia Webster were no exception. These are a far cry from the A.T.P Atelier heeled sandals I’d had my eye on, but they struck me as such a special shoe and when I cast my eyes on them, I just couldn’t say no.
I’ve got a little over a month left on my 5PFW Challenge and this marks my fourth key wardrobe addition since February. There’s one more purchase that I’ve been planning – the Louis Vuitton’s ’twice’ bag – but as I’ll be spending most of July travelling, I think it’s one of those things that will have to wait.
I will admit, I’m looking forward to the freedom of having less structure around my purchases for the season; as a girl who does love to indulge in the odd spot of shopping every now and then, this is still every much as bit of a challenge as it was when I first put myself to the shopping test – French style – last year. And I know exactly where I’m likely to start as soon as freedom sets in, because it’s all about that fancy footwork…
It’s been a good two and a half years or more since I first started talking about Everlane on Mademoiselle that they have to be doing something right. With campaigns that are minimal at heart, to their clean cut and quality design, upfront transparency and no frills approach, there’s little question as to what that might be.
My wardrobe is founded on the basics, and a good proportion of that comes from Everlane. I’ve been sharing my experiences (and reviews) with the brand and thought that a little reflection might be useful for those of you contemplating your first order, or planning to purchase something new.
While I promise that an updated Everlane review is most certainly in the works, I thought I’d share some of the hits and misses that I’ve picked up over the years.
MY TOP PICKS
There’s a lot that I love from Everlane; not a capsule wardrobe has gone by that I haven’t included one of their silky tanks or super-soft cashmere sweaters, so I’m going to try and narrow it down to the bare essentials.
The silk cami OR the silk tank – Sorry, I couldn’t narrow it down, but I don’t think it’s necessary to have both (unless you want to, which then by all means, go for it!). These have worn really well, can be washed gently, and are great essentials when entering the workforce (bearing in mind that cami’s or sleeveless tanks might not be appropriate in all offices). I’ve purchased multiples of each style as they’re an incredibly easy piece to throw on. The quality of the silk is lovely – nice and thick, and not sheer at all (the same can’t be said for the blush shade, though!), and I believe both styles are universally flattering. The silk cami runs on the large side so I’d recommend sizing down, whereas the silk tank you have a little more freedom depending on how loose you like your tanks to fit. Personally, I went for the S, although I’m pretty certain the XS would have fit perfectly too.
The silk blouse – When I first heard of Everlane, it was because of their silk shirts. It was a combination of the affordable price point, quality, and online claims that it was a great alternative to Equipment (which as much as I love my Equipment blouses, I think we can all agree isn’t exactly affordable…) that really sold me enough to take the plunge. The quality is almost on par with Equipment, although the style and sizing differs; no pockets on the bust, a closer cut fit, and shorter through the body and the sleeve. As someone who often spills on her silk blouses, I’m of the opinion that there’s no reason not to opt for Everlane over Equipment. Again, avoid the blush silk option at all costs. It’s sheer, and I found that the shade completely washed me out. Also, sizing wise, these fit true to size, for a slightly loose fit through the body.
The cashmere sweater – I’d almost go so far to say that I live in Everlane’s cashmere in the winter time. Super snuggly and soft, the crew neck version is such a classic style that seems to go with everything; a must when you’re trying to maximize your morning sleep ins. The quality definitely surpasses any other cashmere piece I’ve come across – to date – at this price, and while you will notice some wear and tear over time, I’d like to think that mine still look like they’re in pretty good nick. I handwash mine or pop it in a delicates bag on a cold cycle; the shape is still completely intact although I’d say that there’s been a small amount of shrinkage, mostly in the sleeves, which in my books is enough to recommend purchasing your usual size. Definitely a staple I can’t bear to be without.
The trench coat – There isn’t a wardrobe essentials guide out there on the internet that doesn’t include a classic trench among the must haves that you should have in your closet. Everlane’s has that Burberry-esque look, without the tartan, and the $1,000+ price tag, although at $150 USD it’s still definitely what I’d consider an investment. I think the quality of this is great; the cotton really is water-resistant (tried and tested!), and it makes the perfect transitional jacket when it’s not yet cool enough to opt for a winter coat. I love to wear mine buttoned up with a bow at the waist, with a Parisian inspired stripe dress underneath. My only complaint? The body of the jacket isn’t lined, which for the price, I would expect this little detail to be included. The sizing is on the larger side for this style; I picked this up in a size S although if I had my time over I’d purchase it in the XS.
The modern point loafer – I picked these up during a week of international shipping last year, after they had spent months sitting in my wishlist. If there’s anything that I can promise you, it’s that Everlane does shoes very, very well. The style is on point, the leather is thick and sturdy (if not a little stiff), and the quality is excellent. These have been a mainstay of my autumn/winter wardrobe; a modern take on the classic penny loafer. Sizing runs small; I’m an EU40 and opted for the US9 and wish I’d gone for the US9.5 – breaking them in was a b*tch so do yourself a favor and size up half a size. Your feet will thank me for it.
I also have an incredibly soft spot for their linen; it’s semi-sheer, super soft, and easy to care for. Oh, and runs a size large, for those curious!
WHAT I WON’T BE REPURCHASING
There isn’t much that I won’t be buying again. The purchases I’ve made, have been for the large part, to the quality and standard that I’d expected. Mostly, I bought a little on the large side (the perils of online shopping with no returns!), but there was the odd piece which came across as far less lackluster than I’d anticipated.
The boyfriend sweater – In theory, I loved this sweater. The perfect cut; not too slouchy, not too long through the body, and not too thick. But this washed t-e-r-r-i-b-l-y. I ordered this in the XS in black and grey (and I highly recommend sizing down for this style) and I’m not sure if it was the temperature of the water I washed it in, or just the quality of the cotton itself, but after a few washes both sweaters looked like I’d had them at least a year, which was disappointing to say the least. I also think it’s fair to say that my style has evolved since I first purchased them, and a cotton sweatshirt isn’t something that I’d often reach for. So, for those reasons, this isn’t a piece that I will be choosing to repurchase, unless I’m looking to pick up some snuggly wintertime pjs (because honestly, isn’t that what all sweatshirts eventually become?).
The ryan muscle tank – While this was something I wore a lot over the summer, this is just one of those things that I wouldn’t consider repurchasing, even though it’ll only set you back a week’s worth of coffee. This is quite a sheer tank (much more so than I’d anticipated), so it isn’t one you’re going to want to wear to the office, but perhaps most disappointing was the quality of it. Mine ended up with a small hole after the second wash, and a couple more since, the most discerning of which is at the collar. For the record, I’ve always washed mine in a delicates bag on a cool setting which would suggest to me the only way to avoid holes is to handwash this tank, which for an everyday basic piece, is something I wouldn’t expect that you would need to do.
The collarless silk blouse – I have to admit, this isn’t a style that I’ve given much of a shot. I ordered this in the ivory about two years ago, and found that unlike the collared silk blouses which are true to size, these ran small. The fabric gaped at the bust – and I’m by no means busty – the fit was slightly off, and the ivory silk was far too sheer for my liking.
The wool coatigan – As much as I love the fit and the length of Everlane’s wool coatigan (I have it in black!), unfortunately this was one of the few things which just hasn’t worn well at all. As you can see from this blog post, the coatigan is a ribbed wool, which looks absolutely beautiful when brand new, but after a week of wear, I found that the merino had rubbed to the point of becoming fluffy, and the sleeves were pilling quite badly. I really do hate to say this about anything from Everlane, given how much I love the brand, but this just really hasn’t worked out. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been wearing this every. single. day. But it just hasn’t worn how I’d expected. I have used a de-piller to remove the pilling on the sleeves and the fuzz from the whole coatigan though it’s fair to say it’s never looked anywhere quite as good as when I first received it.
So, there you have it. For a brand that I’ve bought every piece sight unseen, I’ve had more hits than misses, and overall have found the quality to be consistent, and I’ve been incredibly impressed by their overall ethos, which is part of what keeps me going back (that and the great clothes, of course!). If there’s one piece that I would wholeheartedly recommend above all else, it’s the cashmere sweater. I continue to get compliments on mine and the quality far surpasses what I ever would have dreamed. Definitely an 11/10.
I’d love to know about your own experiences and if there’s anything that I’ve missed, that you think is worth – or not worth – picking up. I for one am really looking forward to a couple of their upcoming launches, and eventually pulling the trigger (read: splurging) on the petra crossbody in black. Heart eyed emojis all round.
As someone who has worked all ends of the spectrum; from check-out girl in my early teens, to the office job I have now, one thing that has always been instilled in me is the importance of having a great work wardrobe to pull from, to ensure that you look smart, professional, and confident.
I’ve always been of the mind that a work wardrobe should carefully tow the line between your own personal style, and any dress codes you have at your work. I’ll admit, I didn’t always get it right (wearing platform sandals on a daily basis in a corporate setting doesn’t quite cut it…), but after years of trial and error, I’ve finally found my sweet spot.
Building a work wardrobe takes time; it doesn’t come together overnight, but I’ve found that there are twelve key pieces which when combined, make up the perfect work wardrobe, regardless of whether you work in a corporate or creative setting.
Regardless of whether your office leans more corporate or creative, a classic blazer is an absolute must. This is a piece that will make even the simplest of outfits look smart, and it’s good to have on hand should any meetings with external clients or contacts pop up. If you can, this is definitely where I’d splurge a little; a good blazer will take you a long way – my Helmut Lang one is still going strong after a solid five years of wear. If your budget doesn’t stretch that far, Topshop blazers are well cut and a great affordable option.
A blouse, be it silk, cotton, or any other kind of button up, is a great essential to have in your closet generally as it’s one of those staples which can really do double duty. White is typically your best option if you’re only going for one (it is called a classic for a reason), but blush and black are also great additions to have in your wardrobe. Everlane make a great silk blouse which wears well even after a few cycles in the washing machine, alternatively if you’re looking for something a little fancier, go with Equipment.
THE PENCIL SKIRT
When I had my first admin job at 17, a pencil skirt was at the top of my list of workwear essentials. I’m firmly of the belief that there is a pencil skirt out there for everyone – for the record, I have a narrow waist but very wide hips – it’s just a matter of stumbling across the right one. Anything in a ponte or stretch fabric is great if you’re worried about fit.
THE SLIM FIT TROUSER
Like the pencil skirt, this is probably one of the few pieces up for debate – not everyone likes wearing a pair of trousers. It took me a few years (and quite a few pairs!) but I finally stumbled across my holy grail trousers at Forever New. They’re comfortable, machine washable, and also make for a great weekend piece too.
THE FITTED SWEATER
I focus a lot on finding wardrobe additions that will do double duty; I want something that I can wear to the office, but also rock on the weekend, albeit more casually. Sweaters do that for me in a big way, and when worn with a statement necklace, are anything but boring.
A PAIR OF HEELS
‘nuff said, right? I keep a pair of heels stashed under my desk so that I can slip them on once I get to the office – they instantly elevate any outfit, and I find that they just look sharp.
THE SILK TANK
During the summertime, a silk tank is e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Temps in Sydney skyrocket to just shy of 40 degrees celcius, and combined with the humidity, anything without sleeves is a godsend. What I love about a silk tank is that it is so effortless – whether it’s tucked in or worn loose – and you can either dress it up with a blazer, or keep it casual with a lightweight knit cardigan.
THE SHEATH DRESS
I’ll admit, a close fitting dress isn’t usually one of the first things that I would generally reach for, but I love how classic, sleek, and put together a sheath dress will instantly make you look; with, or without heels. Tip: opt for something in a stretchy fabric – you want to be comfortable while you’re working!
THE BALLET FLAT OR LOAFER
Let’s be real, a pair of heels isn’t going to cut it everyday. Sometimes you just need to give your feet a well deserved rest, and I find that a cute pair of ballet flats, or a masculine loafer is the best way to look sharp on those days when you aren’t reaching for a pair of heels. Personally, I prefer a ballet flat – it’s flattering and elongates the leg – and my go to brand is Porselli, hands down.
THE OVERSIZED TOTE BAG
This one is pretty self explanatory, but I find that a large tote is much more appropriate for day to day in the office than a mini bag (even if the mini bag is the cuter option). Regardless of whether you’ll be taking your laptop home at the end of the day for a bit more screen time or not, I’ve found my tote bags have been indispensable over the years. Depending on the size, you can fit a home made lunch in there, gym gear, your heels for the day, a scarf… the list goes on. My Cuyana tote has been serving me well the past few years and it makes a great option for a more casual setting; if you’re in a corporate office and are looking for a bag you can invest in, the Prada saffiano lux tote definitely ticks all the boxes, and it comes in a few different sizes to boot.
THE DRESSED UP TEE
This one might seem a little out of place, but it’s a personal favourite of mine to wear with pencil skirts or my slim fitting trousers. My Karen Walker frill tee definitely gets a lot of wear time; the ruffles are such a playful element (this ASOS version is a great dupe!), though if you’re into something a little more conservation (read: wearable) a languid silk tee is incredibly versatile and works well with a pair of jeans for the weekend.
While this is definitely more of a seasonal piece, a well made coat is a must for your work wardrobe; it’s the first thing that people will see you in when you step foot into the office, and tops off your whole look. Anything fairly neutral is going to be your best bet, so think black, navy, camel and grey, or if you’re wanting to spice things up a little, a blush pink is also a lovely option.
I’ve found that regardless of setting, these pieces epitomise the backbone of any work wardrobe, and their sheer simplicity allows you to effortlessly intertwine your own personal style into the mix. In the coming months, I’ll be sharing on my YouTube channel how I would wear these pieces in both creative and corporate settings, so make sure you keep an eye out. I’d love to know what your work wardrobe essentials are!
It should be pretty obvious by now that anything and everything in the colour black is a mainstay in my wardrobe. But, as with wearing anything over and over again, wearing all black all the time can quite quickly start to look a little stale and one-dimensional.
It’s become a little bit of a uniform of mine; partly due to years of working in hospitality as university student, and partly because, let’s be real, black goes with e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Over the years, I’ve picked up the odd trick to make all black look anything but boring, so today I thought I’d share my top five tips to keeping an all black wardrobe looking fresh.
TEXTURE, TEXTURE, TEXTURE
It’s so easy to look flat while wearing all black, and one of the easiest ways to switch things up is to mix a few different textures into your look. In winter, tweed is a great option, but usually my go to is leather, ribbed knits, cotton and suede.
IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS
An otherwise simple piece can really elevate your look but it has to be all about those details. A little ruffle with a bit of white for contrast, a subtle sequin strewn through a knit, a ponte side panel in a pair of leather leggings or a frayed hem on a structured jacket. When you wear the basics, it’s important to focus on those minor details that can really make your look.
PLAY WITH YOUR PROPORTIONS
I’m typically a loose on top and either loose or fitted on the bottom kind of girl, but I find that mixing up the proportions of your outfit can make it look a lot more interesting. Play around with different silhouettes – it can really make a difference!
MIX IT UP WITH YOUR ACCESSORIES
Personally, I think the only real accessory you need – aside from a great pair of shoes – is a bold red lip. When you’re wearing all black, it really stands out and adds a bit of elegance to your look, even if you’re just in jeans, a tee and a pair of sneakers.
While black definitely complements more black, I find that a coloured mini bag adds that sartorial pop of colour; your outfit can make for a relatively black canvas, and a cute blush or cobalt blue mini bag will really stand out. And if coloured bags and bold red lips aren’t your thing, a great pair of sunglasses – whether they be patterened, an interesting shape, or have metal details – are also a great option.
WHEN IN DOUBT, PUT A HEEL ON IT
I’d say that this last one is pretty self explanatory… But, when in doubt, throw on a pair of heels – it’ll make you feel like a million bucks and as far as I’m concerned, it’s a fail-safe solution to any (and I mean any) fashion conundrum.