In our January content series How to Get Dressed Again, Who What Wear UK is all about the idea that it's not about a “brand-new you,” but a “best you—full stop.” Emerging out of hibernation and back into normality only to own every room, we're looking at the methods, ideas, tricks and inspiration that guide you into 2018 in the softest, calmest and kindest-to-yourself ways. Forget fads and racing to the finish line. This is all about one clever step at a time and setting yourself up for an entirely stylish year.
Try to imagine what you’ll be wearing 10 years from now. Difficult, isn’t it? However, I do know what I wore 10 years ago and still covet today. There are many fashion classics one could call upon: Breton tops, skinny jeans, ballet pumps and so on, but a few investment pieces stand the test of time better than others. Some can, quite literally, run out of steam: We’ve all worn a great pair of shoes to death.
There are a few style essentials that straddle every kind of personal style, and most often, these stem from a core, iconic archetype at the very centre of the movement. Take luxe black leather handbags, for example: That world wouldn’t exist without the classic Chanel 2.55.
So I had a good, long, hard think about what really is a fashion classic in my book, and I’m sharing them with you below, along with shoppable options for the here and now (should you not have such vital garments and accessories in your closet already). Keep reading to see the three items you’ll lean on time and again.
FASHION CLASSIC #1: A BLACK LEATHER BAG
Where black leather shoes may get scuffed beyond repair over a good year or so of wear, if you look after a black leather designer handbag, it’s very likely you’ll be able to carry it around for decades. Nowadays, there are a million and one iterations available, but if you’re going to invest in Chanel, let’s break down the costs:
• purchase 1 x Chanel Flap Bag = £2770
• wear 1 x weekly for 10 years = £5.30 per wear (and it will still be worth a lot of money should you want to sell it on!)
FASHION CLASSIC #2: A WHITE VINTAGE-STYLE BLOUSE
This trend is less about spending the big bucks and more about finding something that feels unique and authentic. A white Victoriana-style blouse will always come back into fashion, so it’s worth having one that is just the right fit and in a decent state. There are new versions around right now (my favourite one is below), but I’d usually recommend buying a piece from the 1970s, when Victoriana was huge and these were everywhere—and, of course, it will be in better condition than a piece from the 1800s.
Whilst you don't have to spend a fortune on this key piece, a quality version will go the distance. So, to invest in my current favourite, the CPW goes as follows.
• purchase 1 x Chanel Flap Bag = £795
• wear 10 x summer for 10 years = £7.95 per wear (and don't forget you can take this on holiday too).
FASHION CLASSIC #3: A CAMEL COAT
The camel coat became popular almost 100 years ago and has remained a wardrobe staple for both men and women ever since. These days (and for the past few decades, in fact) the holy grail has been a Max Mara piece of outerwear, but designers and fashion brands across the globe have found many ways to perfect the idea for their in-house aesthetic. This means you have more selections than ever to choose from, but choose wisely, you should: I know women who have been wearing them same camel coat for well over 20 years. Keep it dry-cleaned, stored well and repaired when required. Should you want to consider putting down the big bucks on a Max Mara style, here’s a little mathematical persuasion:
• purchase 1 x Max Mara Manuela Coat = £1305
• wear 2 x weekly (at least!) every autumn/winter for 20 years = £1.25 per wear