Wardrobe Basics | Starting from Scratch | Part 2

Apologies for the delay between my two posts. I was busy climbing mountains and trying on endless dresses. But I'm back with the second part of my Starting from Scratch series. I should say here that the list is in the order that I wrote it case you were wondering if there was any logic to it. There's not.
Starting this part off with a huge wardrobe must have for me though it's one that took me a LONG time to get on board with. Now I can't be without them....

11. White Trainers
They work with SO much - dresses, flowy skirts, jeans, culottes...I could almost wear them every day. AND they're a year round footwear choice too, just add some pretty ankle socks or hidden socks (see 'hosiery' below) in the cooler weather.
I could share white trainer options over several blog posts so I've limited myself here to 5 - 1 affordable, 3 pricier leather pairs and my ultimate designer pair. Starting with these Office ones. Lovely nod to the embellished style but not too in your face. Nice rose gold detail and well priced:
Next up, investment and these Veja are so stylish and understated. I've had a pair on my wishlist for a long time. There are a few lovely styles on their website but these are the simplest:
Russell & Bromley have won my heart this summer for their designer inspired leather trainers. More expensive than Veja but still a fraction of the cost of a designer pair and the quality is beautiful. Leopard lovers brace yourself...
and if stars are your thing, these come in silver and gold:
And now for the proper splurge has to be YSL. The brighter Gucci ones that have dominated over the past couple of years are no longer my favourites:
but it's never going to happen....more likely to crack the black sharpie out on a plain pair :)

12. Grey Ankle Boots
Every autumn I'm asked about grey ankle boots. While black ones are undoubtedly the wardrobe basic, grey ones are so versatile and will work well with browns and tans and they are also useful in spring time when black starts to feels a bit wintery. This is a great time of year to pick up a bargain - it's definitely worth paying as much as you can as a good pair will last for years:
More real suede in the sale (so limited sizes), this time from Shoeaholics:
and a slightly lower pair from Office now with a black heel/detail, again limited sizes left but less than half price at £35

13 Flat Sandals
Heels and me don't get on for daytime and since trainers became a staple in my wardrobe, they're even harder to tolerate on my feet. So all summer long, I rely heavily on my flat sandals and mostly my tan & black ones. Loads of inspiration on the high street at the moment - Topshop have the best range this season of affordable leather flat sandals. These are my current favourite in black:
and in tan:
and you will have seen me rave about the hermes dupes from Dune which are back in stock in all colours online but they are also back to full price again...
I had to size up in these to a 40 as they seem to come up small.

14. A Classic Loafer
I wear my loafers so much and I've just one place you need to get yours. For the best Gucci dupes that are made beautifully and are so comfortable, it has to be the Dune Guilt Loafer. They're available in a few different colours but black is the classic. I sized a 39 in these so they're true to size.

15. Camel Coat
Thankfully the weather is heating up so I know it seems funny to talk about coats but a great wool camel coat is a staple in every woman's wardrobe and believe it or not, this is the best time of year to snap up a bargain. I looked for years to get the right shade of camel - also important - and finally found the perfect one in the Jaeger top tip for the life long classic camel coat of your dreams.
Limited sizes available on Brand Alley at the moment (sales do not last long though so this link may not work)
Also some available over on the Jaeger website (sale section) on this link
However, I'm mindful that it took me several years to find my perfect camel coat so a Jaeger one is out of your budget for now or you can't find your size, a great charcoal coat will fill the gap in the meantime. This ASOS one is a complete bargain:

16. Scarves
You know I love my scarves and wear one most days - even in summer. Let's face it, they always fit, they can brighten up the plainest outfit and are generally inexpensive - at least the ones I buy are.
At the very least, think you need a plain black and a plain grey one, one with black/white/denim blue in the pattern and a fabulous leopard one (also love this one). All those links are to Zara or H&M - the best one stop shops for scarves. 

17. Handbags
I'm all about the cross body as you'll know if you've followed this blog for a while. I just love having my arms free and find I don't accumulate the same amount of rubbish with a smaller bag. Black is the colour I use the most and always try to get a leather one. Sorry if you're vegan but leather ones last longer and get better with age. I was impressed with the leather range at Biba when I was in House of Fraser the other week. This one is in the sale:
Biba Mini Frances Crossbody Leather Bag 
next one is a bigger version - very gucci-esque and comes in a few colours:
Always nice to have a pop of colour handbag though to brighten up a neutral outfit and here's where I'd say leather is not necessary if your budget is tight. This bag from M&S ticks so many style boxes this SS18 and it comes in 4 gorgeous colours. It's as lovely in real life too:
Faux Leather Cross Body Bag - M&S
And leopard print is my favourite pattern for a handbag. They are notoriously difficult to find though so if you do ever see one, buy it! I can only find one online that I like - this leather one from Zara. But do an eBay search and you'll find some - I've spotted a couple of lovely Boden ones on there.
Leopard Print Crossbody Bag - Zara

18. Underwear
Getting down to basics now - where to get underwear if you need to start again? It's M&S for me and I stick to a simple black/white/nude combination. I love these briefs and get the plain black pack and the mixed pack. Black bras last a year but I buy a new nude & white bra every 6 months or so. For something a bit more special, I have a couple of these from Boux Avenue and can highly recommend for a bit of a boost!
Meanwhile. I have it on good authority from a larger busted reader that Wonderbras are wonderful. Apparently they are the best for keeping big boobs in check for a long day and fit really well.

Oh and it goes without saying...ALWAYS match your briefs. It's a slippery slope if you don't. Before you know it, you'll be wearing tracksuit bottoms...and I don't mean the trendy ones  🙈

19. Hosiery
If I had to start my sock drawer out all over again (and I feel like burning the lot some days as it's OVERFLOWING at the moment) I'd recommend opaque black tights, good flesh tights, these soft cosy socks for wearing in boots, sports socks and my holy grail of hosiery....a pack of Converse Chucks trainers socks. THE only trainer socks that genuinely don't show and are comfortable to wear. They're hard to get though I usually see them when I'm in TK Maxx. You can find them on eBay too.

20. Gym Gear
Finishing with some gym gear. Whether you wear it to the gym or not is your choice - it's perfect for lounging about in. No matter where you wear it, don't ever pay full price. Outlets are great for this.

With leggings, you get what you pay for in terms of how good they look and how long they last so look for good brands on offer. Black is always a winner.
Moving away from traditional sports brands, I love the Biba active range at House of Fraser. I've not tried and tested it ever but I have seen it in real life and it looks and feels good. 
When it comes to tops, I don't spend as much and in fact, the top I've worn the most and rate the highest is from the Souluxe range at Matalan. It's a few years old now but do check them out if you have one near you. This one is similar and would work well with black leggings.
Space Dye Zip Sweatshirts - Matalan
I've also got a couple of New Balance running tops like this one, picked up in the NB Outlet shop.
Finishing with trainers. Now if you're a runner, don't buy these online. Go to a local (preferably not a chain) sports shop and have your gait analysed to get the best advice on trainers. I currently wear Asics and they've been great for me - really seem to suit my foot and accommodate my orthotics perfectly. I wear a quite well cushioned Asics called Gel Nimbus and I had mine fitted at Sportique in Magherafelt, which I can highly recommend as a family owned sports store with LOTS of knowledge.

And there you's fitting I finish with endurance wear as I'm exhausted! It reminds me how much effort I've put into my wardrobe over the years, curating something that works together quite well, that has just enough of everything (ok,'s got too much in places) but most importantly, is not going to be easy to replicate should I lose it all overnight. Nor will it be inexpensive.

But this post has also been a good lesson in understanding what's important in my wardrobe....and what I could do without. Apt as I'm currently trying to change the wardrobe over for summer and this 'starting from scratch' process has made me much more ruthless about what I keep.

So tell me, have I left anything out? 

Disclaimer - some (not all) of my links are affiliate links which means that if you  click through to a brand's website, they will know you came from here and may pay me a tiny commission (typically between 1% & 5%) if you buy and keep an item. This does not affect the price for you and the modest income I make from this helps to cover some of the costs of running this website.

1 comment

  1. Hmm, you might have given me a new leather crossbody to consider 😉 Thanks


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