Key wardrobe pieces

Isabel Marant Etoile singlet, T by Alexander Wang t-shirt, LOCAL breton top, J Brand skinny leg jeans, Burberry trench coat, Helmut Lang blazer, T by Alexander Wang leather skirt, Topshop shoes

Over time, key pieces or what you would consider classics are bound to change, but for me there are always a few key things which seem to have staying power that others might lack. It wouldn’t surprise me if I’ve mentioned wardrobe staples, or classics in a past blog post. The backbone of every wardrobe is always supported by a few key pieces; you know, the ones that you reach for the most, and that seem to go with virtually everything. Key pieces vary from person to person depending on their style and what they favor, but I think there are some pieces that could quite easily find a home in any wardrobe.

The loose-fitting singlet or t-shirt: One of the things that has had a consistent place in my wardrobe over the last 10 years at least, has been a looes-fitting singlet (or t-shirt) in a soft fabric. White, grey, or black, or perhaps all three colours if you are so inclined, this is just one of those things that goes with everything, and is a great base when you start layering in the colder months. After my T by Alexander Wang singlets stretched out at the armholes, I’ve been trying to find a suitable alternative, and am only just getting there on the t-shirt front after recently discovering the soft marle options at Country Rd.

The breton striped top: If you asked me, I would tell you that as far as I’m concerned, stripes go with everything. I’m sure I don’t need to explain why this deserves a place in every girl’s wardrobe, what with the prolific resurgence of the breton the past year, the top which just oozes Parisian chic. ‘Cos, you know, those Parisian girls always look so darn good, and so effortless at the same time.

The tailored blazer: More often that not when I’m ‘finishing’ my look, I opt to throw on a blazer, which, when well-tailored, has the ability to instantly escalate any outfit. The result is always polished and refined, even if you choose to wear jeans. My current favourite from Helmut Lang, which I purchased in LA last year has been worn countless times, and I can’t really imagine my wardrobe without it.

The leather skirt: Probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m convinced that there is a style out there for everyone. I’m still hunting down my “perfect” ideal leather skirt, high-waisted and sits an inch above the knee, and I am of course ever hopeful that I will stumble across it soon. I think the leather skirt has gotten a bad rap in the past, but it is essentially a timeless piece, and can quite easily be toned down with a soft blouse or an oversized jumper, and depending on the style you choose, go with virtually everything.

The perfect ‘XX’ jean: For a long time, I just didn’t wear jeans. Nor did I wear trousers for that matter. Winter consisted of me wearing thick tights and either a skirt+jumper combo or a dress – I think I was going through a period where I wanted to focus on my more feminine/girly side. I also once proclaimed that I would never wear skinny jeans, which have over the years become my jean of choice. Jeans get a place on the list because they are just one of those things that you can throw on and do virtually anything in – from going for a walk, to running errands, to going out dancing at night after throwing on a nice top and some heels.

The trench coat: The trench is one of those items that seems to top off every list of classic pieces for your wardrobe, and until recently, was one of those things that I felt rather indifferent about. Then Spring happened, and I realised that a light coat was the perfect antidote to those days where a winter coat is too heavy, and a jacket just didn’t seem quite right. My own personal preference is in a classic beige/camel tone, although a trench in navy or a dark khaki is equally stunning.

A pair of black shoes: With or without a heel. There’s that saying, that black goes with everything, and while I find that there are often exceptions, this is never true when it comes to the black shoe. Depending on your style, you might prefer a flat ankle boot, ballet slippers, loafers or chelsea boots, but invariably these tend to be one of the major workhorses of every girl’s wardrobe. I’ve upped my quota this year, where I once had perhaps one (if that) pair of black flats, I now have two or three, with plans for another, as regardless of climate, they can easily be worn year round. And if not black, I tend to go for navy, which is just as classic as it is versatile.

What I like most about any one of these pieces is that not only could you pull one out and quite simply make any number of outfits from what you have lying about in your wardrobe, together they also form a small capsule wardrobe which work together seamlessly.

My reality of key pieces extends a little bit further than this short list, but I think that’s where the variations in style tend to present themselves more. Do these register for you as key pieces or is your own list a little different?

PS. As an aside, if you haven’t checked it out already, you may be interested to know that Shopbop have a discount code (BIGEVENT12) running where you can get a minimum of 20% off any order over $250 USD. I have to admit, I have definitely been tempted, especially with all the new sale additions!


  1. Mary November 21, 2012 / 10:23 pm

    I love your list! I agree with pretty much everything (the only item I’m lacking right now is the trench coat). I’ve also been looking for basic t-shirts, and I love the shape of those T by Alexander Wang ones so thanks for pointing them out! x

  2. Marlene @ chocolatecookiesandcandies November 21, 2012 / 8:51 pm

    I found myself nodding my head in agreement over everything you’d pointed out. I’ve finally put a stop to my breton obsession. My husband was gobsmacked when I was contemplating on buying another French made breton top while wearing one and had a suitcase full of them (I was on a vacation).

  3. Closet Fashionista November 21, 2012 / 10:41 pm

    I agree, all of these are definitely key pieces! I have most of them, except for a trench coat, leather skirt and a classic striped top (I have weird versions)
    My key pieces are blazers, jeans and sweaters… 🙂

  4. Theresa November 22, 2012 / 12:24 am

    I totally feel the same way about the items you listed as key pieces because they are items that are for the most part very versatile and work pretty much year round. Great post! 🙂


  5. Maria November 23, 2012 / 12:50 pm

    Your perfect leather skirt sounds like mine too, let me know if you manage to find it!

    Maria xxx

  6. T. S. Swedish November 24, 2012 / 1:26 am

    Those are all very key essential pieces of a grown woman’s closet…that is the thing I am facing now. Letting go of all my undergrad hoodies was so hard dude! WOW! We’d seen a lot of all nighters together! I wanted to pop over and say thank you for your awesome comment on my guest post on Vanisha’s blog. I never paid attention to blogs until I started to blog. I was just always a book reader and to be honest I never used the computer past looking up businesses and writing papers. So much has changed in seven years! 😉


  7. Tesa November 23, 2012 / 5:47 pm

    great post!

  8. Kristin November 24, 2012 / 8:58 am

    I haven’t visited your blog in awhile and there are some great new posts!

    My key pieces would probably be a little different. It’s funny that we have so many crossovers in our wardrobes but quite different overall styles, but I think to a certain degree it’s because of the lifestyle/ climate in the places we live. I still admire your style though and would love to share your wardrobe hehe.

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