Currently feeling inspired by… raw hemmed denim, voluminous sleeves, barely there camisoles, linen e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, straw bags, buckled sandals, shoes that just slip on the feet, and earthy tones. Can you tell that Spring is here?
I’ve been refining my wardrobe for long enough now, that I’ve identified a pretty strong pattern of which pieces form the true foundations of my style. It’s not a top ten list of classic pieces everyone should own and it’s not a beginners guide to Parisian style (though the Parisian’s do have a certain je ne sais quoi when it comes to style); it’s the pieces that I keep on repeat, and find myself coming back to year after year, season after season – essentially, what I would call my evergreen wardrobe.
Over the past seven years, I’ve found myself in a constant pattern of cutting back my wardrobe to the bare bones, only to find that eventually, it’s bounced back to the full fat version. And, I guess, what I’ve come to realise is that I really love fashion, and I love being involved in fashion – whether that’s trying out new trends, looking for a new piece that exceeds the quality and the fit of my wardrobe staples, or just generally buying an item that excites me.
If you’ve been a longtime follower of mine, this probably comes as no surprise. I’m pretty fickle when it comes to what sticks around in my wardrobe, and I’m not shy about opening up on my most recent wardrobe declutter, or a new purchase (or three) that I’ve picked up recently. Which is where my evergreen wardrobe comes into play…
So, what is an evergreen wardrobe?
An evergreen wardrobe is a collection of wardrobe workhorses that you keep reaching for, season upon season. For some, it might include wardrobe basics like a classic blazer or the humble white shirt, and for others, it may includes a pair of leopard print sandals and a peplum hem cami. It’s the items that are undeniably timeless in your own sense of the term; as I’ve said many times before (particularly when it comes to defining your personal style), this is going to look different for everyone.
What does my evergreen wardrobe look like?
I tend to think about my wardrobe in three categories; workwear, weekend wear, and evening wear. I work in a more casual and creative environment these days, so there does tend to be a little (or sometimes a lot) of crossover between what I consider my work or weekend staples, but for the purpose of identifying my core ‘evergreen’ wardrobe as it was, I thought it would be easier to break them out into separate categories.
A pair of classic ankle length trousers in black; I tend to go on about having a classic pair of black trousers for the office, but there’s a reason why. Whether I’m having a good day or a bad day, I know that I can throw a pair of trousers on, pair it with any top in my wardrobe and a simple pair of black pumps, and I’ll look good (and likely feel good in my outfit too!). There aren’t too many items in my wardrobe that make me feel that way, which is why a pair of trousers will always come out on top. My preferred go to are these from Uniqlo; not only are they affordable, they’re low maintenance, and they offer tailoring free of charge.
A ruffle sleeve blouse in a polka dot print; I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’ve never met a polka dot I didn’t like. And, I pretty much tend to feel the same about ruffles. I have a beautiful white blouse with a black polka dot and feminine ruffled sleeves, which seems to always elevate an outfit. It adds a layer of femininity and effortless elegance to my work outfits – which more often than not can be quite pared back – and the polka dot print helps to break up my typically monochromatic looks. My go to is from Sussan (sold out unfortunately) but I really love this one as an alternative, and this is also a pretty gorgeous choice too.
A silk shell top; And preferably a printed silk shell top that can add some pizzazz to my outfit. My usual go-to is this one from Everlane, and it’s served me well since adding it to my wardrobe earlier this year (and withstood many cold wash cycles in the washing machine!). This is one of the few evergreen items that I find works all. year. round. In winter, I’ll pair it with a blazer or a cardigan, and in the summer, just worn simply as it is.
The Everlane day heel; If you’ve seen any of my outfit lookbooks or what I wear in a week videos, chances are, the day heel from Everlane has made a pretty strong appearance. I love the rounded toe, the incredibly supple leather, and the sturdy block heel – you can walk miles in these without getting a single blister. For reference, I’m an EU40 and I’m typically a US9.5 in Everlane shoes and these fit true to size.
Slim fitting denim with a frayed hem; Who knew that I would be so drawn to denim with a frayed hem? After buying a pair of farleigh mom jeans from ASOS on a whim, I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s coming into summer here in Sydney now, so I don’t have quite as much reason to whip these out at the moment, but they were practically all I wanted to reach for every weekend during the cooler months (and I suspect it’ll stay that way next year…).
A white denim skirt; Chances are, you’ll be pretty familiar with my current favourite denim skirt from J Crew – it’s a white denim, with a frayed hem (again, see, I told you!) with a slim fitting silhouette. It’s a fresh take on the typical blue denim mini you see coming out during the warmer months, and being such a neutral and classic style, pairs well with absolutely everything, and has become one of those I-can’t-live-without-it pieces in my wardrobe.
A good pair of black boots; Another style staple in my evergreen wardrobe are a nice pair of black boots. I’ve been wearing the Acne Jensen boots for a good couple of years now, and more recently, added the Everlane boss boot into the mix. Personally, I prefer the pair from Everlane as I think the exposed silver zipper adds an element of edginess to the boot, and they have a slightly higher heel.
A little black dress; This might come across as a little cliche, but I have a handful of little black dresses that I know I can reach for all year round, if I’m heading out for a nice dinner, or have a special event like a wedding or a birthday to attend. My current favourite is from Bec & Bridge; it’s a slinky little number that’s fitted close to the body, with a rather sexy side slit, and buckle detail.
A pair of strappy sandals; Again, this is a little cliche, but I always feel like a pair of strappy sandals are my safest bet when heading for an evening out. Not only do they look refined and elegant, but the ankle strap means you avoid falling out of your shoe (which has happened to me before…). Always one for options, I have two pairs that I typically reach for: a black braided suede pair from Tibi, and a tobacco suede and white mesh option from Dear Frances.
Some final thoughts
For me, an evergreen wardrobe are those pieces that you continue to look forward to wearing, even when you’ve reached for it five days out of seven. It’s a way of looking at my wardrobe objectively, particularly when it comes to thinking about giving it a refresh as new seasons come and go, and knowing which styles I feel best in (and only seem to get better the more mileage they get). I suspect that I spent more time than most analysing the contents of my wardrobe; thinking about what is and isn’t working, and areas where I’d like to improve. It’s a simple fact that the perfect wardrobe does not exist. Our tastes and preferences change as we age, as we enter new stages in our lives, and as the circumstances around us shift. My wardrobe today looks considerably different to the way it looked 3 years ago, a result of changing the industry I work in, changing my priorities, and changing my lifestyle. It’s not reinventing the wheel by any stretch, but I like the way that this idea of an evergreen wardrobe has inspired me to approach my everyday style, my outfits, and I would imagine, my new wardrobe additions.
Currently on my ‘lust list’? A pair of Aquazzura Amazon sandals. I tend to focus on the basics when it comes to pulling together an outfit, so I’ll often rely on a pair of shoes to step things up a notch – and these do exactly that. I’ve had my eye on these strappy (and incredibly sexy) beauties for a couple of years now, but given I tend to spent about 99% of my days wearing a mid block heel, they’ve never quite seemed to fit my lifestyle in an overly huge way. And then of course there’s that eye-watering price tag… So, while I save my pennies, I’ll be keeping my eye on The Real Real for a pre-loved pair that won’t necessarily break the bank.
There’s a saying, less is more, and what I’ve come to find over the years of refining my wardrobe, is that this is resoundingly true when it comes to style. I may have chosen to give up the capsule wardrobe, but quality over quantity is still at the forefront of mind, particularly when it comes to building a work wardrobe. So today, I wanted to talk through what I call the 12 item work wardrobe; that is, the 12 pieces that combined, make up a versatile and interchangeable collection of outfits for the office (and don’t eat into your budget for more whimsical style additions!).
In addition to talking through each of the 12 items (and why I think you need them for your work wardrobe), I’m also going to pull together 5 outfit examples of how I style these pieces together for the office.
THE SHELL TOP; A luxe silk tank or shell top has been a foundation piece for my work wardrobe for years, in part due to its practicality (perfect for Aussie summers) and in part due to how elegant it looks tucked into a pair of trousers or a pencil skirt, with a blazer thrown over the top. I like to keep things interesting with a little bit of pattern given my closet is fairly neutral, so a nice vertical black and white stripe helps to break up my block colour. As with some of the other items I’m going to mention, this is a great one to do double duty for an evening outfit, or pared back with some denim shorts on the weekend.
A DRESSED UP BLOUSE; Ever since snapping up this white and black polka dot top from Sussan, I’ve been all about the dressed up blouse. This is something that has a little bit of personality, and can inject a bit of fun into your look, which still retaining a polished look and feel. I usually tend to go for a whimsical yet understated print (polka dots are always a winner), and a ruffled sleeve adds that layer of intrigue and whimsy that I’m usually after. Other options could be a mock necked pleated top (this one from Country Road is gorgeous) or an ornately decorated lace blouse (this is a beauty).
THE BUTTON DOWN SHIRT; One of the standard wardrobe classics, a simple button down shirt is a must when it comes to building your work wardrobe. It’s entirely effortless (pair it with pants or a skirt and you’re good to go), and if you go for an oversized cotton shirt, this can also work well for a relaxed weekend outfit. Personally I tend to prefer a cotton shirt just as it’s incredibly low maintenance, but if you’re after something that is a little more elegant or that will ramp your outfit up a notch, then go for silk (Everlane is great and I also love Equipment for their silk shirts).
A SLIM FITTING SWEATER OR CARDIGAN; If you’re a regular visitor on my YouTube Channel, then you’re probably already sick of hearing me talk about Everlane’s cashmere sweater, but it’s such a good staple to have for work and for play. I’ll throw this on with a skirt, or as a layering piece over a shirt during the colder months – essentially, it’s become an indispensable part of my work wardrobe. A fitted style is best, particularly if you’re after a more tailored look, but if you’d prefer a cardigan, this particular style from J Crew is perfect as it can be worn open, or buttoned up like a sweater.
A WELL CUT BLAZER; If there’s one work wardrobe staple that’s worth investing in, it’s a good quality blazer. About six years ago now I bit the bullet on a rather spendy purchase, a classic single breasted black blazer from Helmut Lang, and I haven’t looked back. In an age where trends seem to come and go in a matter of months, this has been one of those timeless wardrobe investments that has held up over the years, and is yet to look ‘tired’. While you don’t have to spend quite as much as I did on a blazer, it’s worth considering the cost-per-wear of what is a quintessential piece for the office.
A KNEE LENGTH DRESS; One of the things I love most about having a dress in my closet, is the fact that it’s an entire outfit in itself – just add accessories. I might work in a more creative industry these days where the dress code is quite relaxed (read: denim all day every day if you really wanted), but I feel like you can’t get past having a chic sheath dress, even if it’s just to wear for important client meetings or events. To keep it looking smart, tailoring is key, and I think knee length is usually a safe bet – you never know where your career will take you, and this allows the piece to have serious longevity in your wardrobe. J Crew is usually a good place to start if you’re looking for something that is tailored and well made, otherwise I’m also quite smitten with this heather grey knit option from Forever New.
A KNEE LENGTH SKIRT; Like a white shirt in your work wardrobe, a classic skirt is not going to be groundbreaking, but it’s such a good staple to have at your disposal. Whenever it comes to making a few new additions to my closet, future proofing my wardrobe tends to be front of mind. I want to go for something that I’m still going to love in the years to come, that’s generally relatively simple (though this doesn’t mean it can’t be fun!), and that will work for a multitude of situations – or workplaces. My current favourite is a little more fashion forward than I’d usually go for, but I feel like it balances out the simplicity of the rest of my choices.
THE SLIM FITTING TROUSER; Stumbling across the right pair of suit trousers for you can be a little like finding the perfect pair of jeans – an absolute punish, but rewarding when you find the ones. Personally, I like a trouser that has a little bit of room, with a slightly cropped length and a tapered leg that nips in at the ankle. It took me quite a few years to find the right style that work for my body shape, but I’m a huge fan of the smart ankle pants from Uniqlo; not only are they affordable, but they’re easy to care for, and look a lot more expensive than they actually are. These have been a total gamechanger for my work wardrobe – in addition to becoming a key piece for my weekend wardrobe too. Rather than just relying on skirts or dresses, having a pair of trousers that you feel great in really opens up the window of opportunity when it comes to having a versatile work wardrobe. Plus, it feels a little Parisian to wear a pair of trousers with a blouse tucked in, and a killer pair of heels, non?
A SMART JACKET OR COAT; Your wardrobe’s core colour palette will be a huge factor in what styles you opt for, but I think a smart light jacket such as a classic trench for spring and autumn, or a pared back wool coat are the perfect finishing touch to your outfit. It’s going to be one of the first things that your colleagues see as you step into the office for the day, and the last thing they see you wearing as you leave, and you know what they say about first impressions… I’m always one for a neutral colour palette as it tends to be more classic, so my options of choice are usually to go for anything in beige/camel, navy, grey or black – anything that I can tie back into my core wardrobe and will also want to reach for during the weekend too.
THE EVERY DAY HEEL; Again, this is another one of those classic pieces which are generally worth just having in your wardrobe. The type of heel that you go for is going to come down to the dress code where you work, but after years of teetering around on 10cm high heels, the mid heel has become a firm favourite of mine. I love a good classic black pump as is nude (the day heel from Everlane is my shoe of choice), but if you really want to inject a bit of personality, you can have some fun with this, whether it’s a subtle bow detail like my poppy heels from Isabel Marant, or a marbled patent finish.
THE DRESSED UP FLAT; Even if you’re a heels every day kind of girl, I’d recommend also having a pair of dressed up flats that you can reach for, even if it’s just to give your feet a break every once in a while. A chic ballet flat is always a go-to; it’s feminine, classic and generally looks good with most silhouettes, alternatively a modern loafer is a good go to if your style leans a little more on the androgynous side (or if you’re just a fan of masculine tailoring in general!).
THE TOTE BAG; If years of working in both corporate and creative work settings have taught me anything, it’s that the only bag you really need for work is a smart looking tote, preferably something with a little bit of structure to it. I want to have space to carry all my essentials, in addition to my lunch, and still have room to take my laptop home if I need to. It’s also a classic option and will keep your whole outfit looking professional. My preferred bag of choice is the soft tote from Linjer, though if you want to go a little higher end, the lux tote from Prada is another classic option.
FIVE CLASSIC OUTFIT COMBINATIONS
What I love about this tightly edited selection of 12 items is that they’re incredibly versatile, and can have the potential to build on top of each other to create a number of different looks. In addition to having some layering options (like throwing a shirt or blouse underneath the sheath dress), having some strong separates gives you a lot of options – something I love a lot about mismatched suiting. So to start you off, here are five classic work wardrobe outfit combinations that you could reach for, starting with…
OPTION #1 – Dress + Trench + Heels
A classic combination if there ever was one, and I just love how the grey tone of the dress softens up any structure in the jacket. As I mentioned before, a dress is essentially a whole outfit in itself, all you need to do is add accessories.
OPTION #2 – Fitted Sweater + Skirt + Flats
I like the juxtaposition of pairing this longer length skirt with a pair of flats, rather than opting for the easy choice, AKA the pointed black pump. This is one of those effortlessly easy outfits that would be perfect for a more relaxed day in the office.
OPTION #3 – Shirt + Trousers + Blazer + Heels
This has always been one of those go to’s for me; a bit of an office uniform if you will. It’s simple, but it’s undeniably chic, especially when paired with a bold red lip.
OPTION #4 – Shell Top + Skirt + Blazer + Heels
I like the fact that there are some stripes to break up all the solid colour, yet it’s still very sleek given the darker colour palette.
OPTION #5 – Blouse + Trousers + Trench + Flats
The spotted blouse with the ruffled sleeves makes a real statement with this outfit, and pairing it with a nice pointed toe flats helps to offset the look and give it a bit of balance.
So there you have it; the 12 item work wardrobe. I’d love to know, what are some of your workwear essentials? x
I’m all about those subtle statements; small accents that help to finish off a look, whether it’s a classic watch you reach for everyday, a simple wedding band, or a delicate diamond necklace that sits on your décolletage just so. Depending on how much of a rush I’m in before heading out the door, it’s not unusual to see me just sporting my wedding bands (or if I’m in too much of a rush – not even at all!), so when I got the opportunity to play dress ups with Pandora’s newest collection, I couldn’t really say no.
As someone who not only works a full time ‘9-5’ job and also spends about 99% of any spare time working on my YouTube channel and blog, I’m always on the hunt for inspiration, whether it’s a new concept for a blog post, a new trend I want to incorporate into my otherwise ‘classic’ wardrobe, or a new creative idea. Perhaps without surprise, it’s often the little things that I find myself drawing inspiration from; the promise of a new day, the excitement of a new adventure, or the sparkle of a pretty pair of earrings.
#DOSEETHEWONDERFUL serves as a reminder to see the wonderful in the subtle details of every day, recapturing that magic and wonder with which a more youthful eye would take in the world around them.
Taking inspiration from the essence of Pandora’s new campaign, I wanted to play around with some – new to me – jewellery styles, keeping everything else paired back and minimal. A slinky black slip dress and a make shift studio in our living room set the scene, while trying to play off the light streaming in through the windows that frame the front of our home.
Unlike 95% of the photos you see of me online, I self-shot all these photos – something that takes a hearty dose of perseverance, combined with trial and error just to get the perfect shot, and i couldn’t be happier with how they turned out – I mean it’s hard to complain when you’re working with a generous selection of dainty, sparkly jewels.
I’ve narrowed it down to some of my favourite picks from the new collection, so if there’s anything in particular that catches your eye, I’ve provided details of every piece I’m wearing above. But if I could only pick one piece? Hands down it has to be the cascading glamour small hanging earrings; not only are they incredibly elegant (and comfortable to wear), but they have this timeless old world feel to them which I am absolutely smitten with! x