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We all need a staple diet
6:00am Saturday 14th September 2013 in Lifestyle
Strip your wardrobe down to the bare essentials. Lisa Haynes rounds up the staples that everyone needs in their closet.
Trends aren't for everyone. If you find the autumn/winter catwalk-influenced looks taking over the high street right now too faddy and fleeting, go back to basics.
Every wardrobe needs good foundations with hard-working staples that go the distance, whatever the season.
"Staples are the solution to take away those stressful morning wardrobe decisions," says Charlotte Pettican, buying director for Dorothy Perkins, which has just launched a Style Essentials capsule collection.
"These pieces should work with your current wardrobe to make you feel like you have a whole new outfit."
Versatility is paramount: the beauty of wardrobe staples is that they can be dressed up or down effortlessly.
Take the short cut to a closet with long life by making sure it contains these eight essential items:
The white tee
Every wardrobe needs the perfect white tee, whether you're rock chick, prim 'n' proper or somewhere in between.
The first thing to consider is your body shape when you're surrounded by a sea of white T-shirts that all look the same. Those with bigger busts can benefit from a fitted V-neck T-shirt, while those with tummy concerns should opt for looser-fitting styles in longer lengths.
Change up the look of your tee by wearing it tucked in for a smarter take or loose for casual nonchalance. For evening, a chunky bib necklace will instantly give any white tee a touch of glamour.
The biker jacket
There are countless variations on the biker jacket available right now, from Aztec textured to Crayola brights, but the safe option is always classic black leather. It will go with just about everything in your wardrobe, from pretty dresses to casual jeans. If you feel black is too harsh, dark grey is just as versatile.
The fit of your biker is all-important to ensure it has pride of place in your wardrobe for years to come. Try on different styles to find the most flattering silhouette for your figure. This season's longer length biker is ideal for those who want some coverage around the bottom and hips.
The versatile knit
Let's fact facts, UK heatwaves and Indian summers are pretty infrequent so a knit that keeps you cosy from autumn to spring is a must.
Reserve the zany prints for Christmas parties. If you're going for an investment jumper, look for a plain knit that washes easily to add texture to your outfit. Bear in mind that the more textured you go with fuzzy mohair or cable knits, the more it can add bulk to your frame if you're conscious of your curves.
Team with leather for a stark contrast in textures and to give your woolly some instant sex appeal.
The day-to-night dress
Forget the concept of dividing your dresses between daywear and evening. The best dresses work for both.
A multi-tasking dress will look smart by day but become instantly after-dark-appropriate with a quick switchover of statement accessories.
Avoid too much detailing like frills, pockets, peplums or collars that might date it after a couple of seasons. A simple but elegant frock that's streamlined with subtle panelling will outlive any trends and work way beyond the 9-5 shift.
The skinny jeans
They started out as a fad but now even men have adopted skinny jeans as a wardrobe staple.
Many denim brands are placing an emphasis on the skinny offering 'magic' jeans with in-built shapewear, high-tech fabrics and eye-tricking designs that create the illusion of slimmer bottoms and thighs.
For the most flattering skinny, opt for a classic dark blue, or try jet black if you want your jeans to look more like trousers.
The transition from day to night in skinny jeans is a cinch. Kick off your ballet pumps or loafer flats and switch to towering heels for killer pins.
The savvy shirt
Blouses and shirts shouldn't be confined to officewear. They work equally as well with a pair of trusty jeans as with a pencil skirt.
If you prefer a smart look, seek out chiffon or silk blouses in soft tonal colours like cream or blush pink. Design details like pussy bow necklines and billowing sleeves will up the feminine factor.
For a more androgynous feel, you can't go wrong with a white shirt in crisp cotton for a more structured aesthetic. Switch things up by wearing it buttoned up to the collar and layer a statement necklace over the top for some unexpected sparkle.
The smart blazer
No matter what you're wearing (dungarees, overalls and PJs aside), a blazer thrown over the top will instantly make an outfit chic and smart.
A dark blazer in black or navy has effortless French sophistication written all over it.
Avoid fancy lapel details and keep the look clean, classic and timeless. If you want a slight quirky variation, try a tuxedo with contrast silk lapels that will add a luxe element to eveningwear.
Give your blazer serious fashion kudos with some 'shoulder robing' - skipping the arms and wearing slung over shoulders like a cape.
The leather skirt
It's the new kid on the block when it comes to staples but leather skirts have untold wardrobe potential.
A leather skirt is an investment piece so choose a neutral colour that mixes in with the rest of your wardrobe effortlessly; black, brown, navy and burgundy are no-brainer classic hues. If you're not convinced, experiment with a leather-look skirt before taking the plunge.
Pick a skirt style that you know works for you, whether it's a minimalist A-line number or sophisticated pencil shape.
Get the look
Vanessa White from The Saturdays gallops ahead in the style stakes with a horse print shirt. Back a winner with her French Connection Hatched Horses pocket shirt, £67, from www.amazon.co.uk
Buy it now
What better way to showcase a new bag collection than on a supermodel's shoulder? Erin O'Connor is the new face of Radley's AW13 campaign, with bags starting from £10 for a canvas tote to £329 for a Grosvenor work bag. Available now in Radley stores nationwide and online at www.radley.co.uk
:: Shoe shame
Are you a member of Shoe Addicts Anonymous? The average British woman only wears a quarter of her entire shoe collection regularly. We're a nation of heel hoarders with 86% of women admitting to owning at least one pair of shoes that they've never worn, according to the survey by VoucherCodesPro.co.uk. The average woman own 20.1 pairs of shoes worth on average a total of £490.
:: Recessionista alert
Put the Victoria's Secret order on hold. PJs have trumped lingerie to be crowned 'sexiest nightwear' by blokes, according to a recent survey by Ergoflex, the UK mattress specialist. Despite their frumpy reputation, 37% of males revealed they found a full pyjama set the most attractive bedwear for their partner. Lingerie came in second with 32%, followed by a negligee at 27%, borrowed men's clothing 22%. The classic birthday suit was favoured by just 16%.
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