From Midi Skirts to Blazers: 11 Elevated Basics We've Tried and Loved
From Midi Skirts to Blazers: 11 Elevated Basics We've Tried and Loved
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From Midi Skirts to Blazers: 11 Elevated Basics We've Tried and Loved

Our We Try Before You Buy series aims to take the stress out of shopping and eliminate the number of post office visits you make each month to return failed online orders. We test new-season buys and styling ideas so you don't have to. Here, we're letting you know what's actually worth investing in or styling tricks you can re-create with pieces you already own. 

We fashion editors love a good wardrobe categorisation. We revel in our partywear pairings, spend years compiling the ultimate basics capsule and approach accessories with military levels of organisation. But just like the seasonal confines of bi-annual fashion collections, our regimented approach to clothes is starting to be brought into question.

With traditional workwear struggling to find its footing post-lockdown and the rapid rise of loungewear to Zoom's shoulders-up styling, there's no denying that fashion has had a bit of an identity crisis over the last two years. Yet on the flip side, it has also encouraged us to be more mindful of our consumption and aware of what we actually want to wear on a day-to-day basis. It's no surprise, then, that 2022 is set to the year of the elevated basic. 

Best basics with a twist

Photo:

Phill Taylor

The essential concept of the souped-up staple is not a new one. However, its current popularity is representative of our communal craving for low-effort, high-impact dressing. It's an aesthetic which is reflected in the rise of It brands such as Raey, Totême and Nanushka, all of which have embraced this clean-lined, high-low hybrid. Even the high street has clocked on to the shift, with stores such as Arket and COS offering higher-priced, premium pieces that pack both practicality and design kudos.

An elevated basic can manifest in any number of ways. Think a boxy leather blazer, a trench with an unusual silhouette or a colour-pop cashmere knit. It really is something you can adapt to your needs and personal taste. It's just about keeping an eye out for those details that make something special. To give you some inspiration, we have picked our favourite elevated staples that are pulling at our heartstrings this season. Scroll down to see and shop our edit, from vinyl midi skirts to striped shirts.

Best elevated basics: Leather blazers

Photo:

Phill Taylor

Hannah Almassi, Editor in Chief

"My mum threw away a lot of her best '70s clothes, and it's still a sensitive subject for me. However, she did hold on to a very swish grey leather blazer which I've loved wearing over the years. It's incredibly neat and form-fitting, though, and doesn't really fit me anymore (at least, not with anything bulkier than a silk shirt underneath). That silhouette feels like it's loosened up a lot over the past few seasons, so I was interested to try out a new variation on a classic item: a leather blazer that's a little boxier in shape and in an equally unusual colour.

"There are lots of black leather jackets out there (this Arket one, is particularly, popular), but with spring incoming, I'm all about upping the joy through colour. A leather blazer can look good over a printed dress, a slip skirt, tailored trousers, jeans… You name it. There are many faux/vegan options out there, but for longevity and since I'm safe in the knowledge that this is a piece I've returned to year after year, I'd consider investing in a more premium, real-leather version like these from Bouguessa or Verheyen."

Best elevated basics: Leather blazers

Photo:

Phill Taylor

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Best Best elevated basics: midi skirts

Photo:

Phill Taylor

Joy Montgomery, Shopping Editor

"Not that the world should have to be divided into 'skirt' and 'trouser' people, but if I had to pick one party to swear my allegiance to, it would have to be trousers. Skirts have always felt like an effort. They're fussy, they require extra logistics, and I can't sprint for the train in a flapping tiered maxi. Despite all this, I have found myself inexorably drawn to the midi skirt this season. 

"Maybe it's a rebellion against the tyranny of lockdown joggers or a vain attempt to manifest spring. Either way, when I saw Gucci's black vinyl kilt (there are two words I never thought I'd say in one sentence) and Raey's layered tulle midi, I couldn't help but swoon. They're totally worth missing a train for. My one skirt styling hack? Stick to a top in a similar colourway. It'll help create a more unified look. Plus, it requires minimal thought. Just consider playing with contrasting textures (e.g., wool against high-shine vinyl), and think about how you want to complement the skirt's shape. With Raey's tulle skirt, I created a softer silhouette by adding an oversized knit—all it needs is a pair of kitten heels to add a refined twist."

Best elevated basics: midi skirts

Photo:

Phill Taylor

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Best elevated basics: shackets

Photo:

Phill Taylor

Emma Spedding, Editor

"I already have a shacket with a fringe detail that I got from Mango three years ago, and I wear it all the time, as I find the fringe detail really helps to elevate an outfit and make it look so much more exciting. So as soon as I saw this & Other Stories shacket, I just knew I had to have it. I love how the fringe trim runs down the arms of the jacket and across the back. The colour and fit look so expensive, and I chose to wear it with my Russell & Bromley suede platforms for an added bit of glamour."

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Best elevated basics: jeans

Photo:

Phill Taylor

Remi Afolabi, Video Content Creator

"One way I like to elevate the jeans in my wardrobe is to opt for styles in colours other than the regular mid-blue or black wash, much like the above pair from Mango. I find that they style nicely with the other everyday pieces in my wardrobe, as the colour is quite subtle. Aside from the colour or fit of a pair of jeans, I also love an interesting hemline, and I think the frayed-slit detail on my H&M jeans (shop a similar style below) in my second outfit elevates my basics by adding an element of cool whilst also creating a peek-a-boo effect on the shoes."

Best elevated basics: jeans

Photo:

Phill Taylor

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Best elevated basics: trench coats

Photo:

Phill Taylor

Maxine Eggenberger, Acting Assistant Editor

"I've always been pretty heavily into trench coats, but even I found the same simple silhouettes became monotonous after wearing them every season. This is why I'm so grateful for the new crop of elevated trench coats that seem to be dominating for spring/summer 2022. The double lapel on this 12 Storeez coat is a simple addition, but it's one that really impacts the style stakes. And if the current leather-coat trend feels a little extreme for your liking, might I suggest you consider this chic trend with faux-leather splices from Jigsaw? This trench coat made me do a double take when I saw it online, and it certainly didn't disappoint when we met in real life. The juxtaposition of fabric is beautiful, and it's easily one of the most premium-looking pieces in my wardrobe."

Best basics with a twist: trench coats

Photo:

Phill Taylor

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Best basics with a twist: shirts

Photo:

Phill Taylor

Emily Dawes, Contributing Editor

"If there's one classic wardrobe item I seem to turn back to again and again, it's a crisp shirt. Since I hit my 30s, it's been such an easy-to-wear basic that always manages to feel super polished. On weekends, I'll wear one with leggings; for dinner, I'll tuck one into jeans; and for work, I'll style it unbuttoned over a vest and wide-leg trousers, which never fails to create a streamlined look with minimal effort.

"What makes The Frankie Shop's style feel really elevated is the interesting khaki brown (it shouldn't work, but it does), which is perfect for creating expensive-looking tonal looks. Plus, it's the perfect cut—not too long and not too baggy. I have plenty of high-street white shirts, but when it comes to making a statement, it pays to invest. The below Victoria Beckham striped style feels so premium in real life. The material is thick and falls in effortlessly cool folds. Neither one would ever let you down."

Best basics with a twist: shirts

Photo:

Phill Taylor

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