A fashion and style blog for the over 40s covering body shapes, colour palettes, how to wear neutrals, style personality and capsule wardrobes. Come on in!


Building A Workable Wardrobe

I've had so many emails and messages from ladies who have enjoyed recent posts about building a workable wardrobe, that can be worn year after year with the injection of a few seasonal trend items. So, I thought we should explore this further with a few examples of how a small number of pieces can go along way.

Let's talk about investment purchases. What does this phrase mean to you? For me, it's two fold.

1. Items that you pay a little bit more for
Everyone has their own budget and what might be an investment piece for one, may be an every day purchase for someone else. Let's not get too hung up on £££s, it's all about buying the VERY BEST you can afford. You know, those items that you might put on your birthday list or save over a couple of months for. It's worth paying that little bit more for good quality. 

2. Items that are timeless
I touched on this in the introduction. Having a core wardrobe of simple, well cut, timeless items that you can add to with cheaper seasonal trend stuff. They're neither in nor out of fashion but are quality pieces that you can do so much with. Good hardworking wardrobe pieces. 

So to give you an idea of what I'm talking about:
well cut trousers
good quality denim
cashmere cardigans and jumpers
classic shirts
plain dresses cut to flatter your figure
your best skirt shape (eg pencil/fluted hem)

And the colours? Well, stick to your best neutrals from this list:

white/ ivory/cream 

I've worked hard over the last year or two to build up my core pieces. This season I've invested in a pair of leather leggings that I know will serve me well. It's so easy to add a few frivolous fashion items to bring everything bang up to date. Frills, tassels and leopard print, I'm looking at you.

If you're interested in exploring this route, you will need to consider your lifestyle and what you already have in your wardrobe. There's little point in hanging on to a pair of killer heels that cost you a fortune if your lifestyle doesn't dictate these. Sell them on ebay and reinvest in something that you can really enjoy. Also, consider your style personality (find yours here) It would be daft to buy blazers if you're happier in cardis. Be true to yourself. Don't buy into someone else's lifestyle.

Make a list of what you already have and what you need and then prioritise. I'd aim to buy a couple of pieces per season. You'll be surprised how quickly your collection will build up. Don't worry, we're not talking top end designer prices. Just good quality, well cut items. Now prioritise one or two on that list and work towards your goal of owning them. Use your birthday money, payday treat, save, Ebay surplus clothes or nag the husband (I favour the latter). Then when you've reached your goal, put that list away until next season (or even better until the sales when you can pick up bargains). 

I recently came across a brand that I haven't heard of before, Winser London when they invited me to their A/W press day. Sadly, I was sunning myself........in Wales(!) so was unable to attend. But I cheekily asked if I could borrow some items to show you how a few choice pieces can go a long way in your wardrobe. 

Let's talk about Winser London for a moment because you may not have heard of the brand. Founder, Kim Winser has been credited with the turnaround of both Pringle of Scotland (there's little she doesn't know about cashmere) and Aquascutum as well as being associated with M&S and Agent Provocateur (she knows her knickers). Customers are in good hands then! The company ethos is quality and style. Perfect! 

Price point is similar to Me&Em and Baukjen. Like I said, we're not talking oodles of pounds to buy in to quality. And, if you look at price per wear, in the long run, it's more economical to buy one quality item than ten one-season wonders. 

So, I chose four items to showcase.

Ivory is an excellent colour for most skin tones. Pure white can be harsh especially on warm skins. 

There are so many of these around this season but don't let that put you off, you'll still be wearing it next year and the year after that...it's a classic. 

Don't worry, I didn't include these just for lounging in. There is so much more you can do with them.

A stand out piece but one that will work for a long time.

The four pieces lend themselves to quite a few outfit combinations in themselves and I found that they slotted into my own wardrobe effortlessly. Sadly, I had to drag them back out again because they're not mine!

Let's have a look what we can do with each piece (in no particular order).

The skirt is sublime! I loved it at first sight and may have to reorder it. It's 100% Merino wool and feels sturdy (read: holds it all in) without looking clingy. Thing is, cheaper versions will, I fear, give after a couple of hours wear. I was wearing this grey sweater when I did the photos so kept it on. Love the camel/grey combo. As skirts go, it's a very easy wear piece to wear with sweaters, biker jacket and even denim shirts.

It's available in 7 different colour ways, all neutrals which helps enormously when building a capsule wardrobe.

Camel Skirt - Winser London 
Ruffle Jumper - Next
Tote - Jimmy Choo (similar)
Leopard Print Boots - Michael Kors (similar)
Next up, the roll neck jumper. It's described as chunky but actually it's the roll neck that gives it the 'chunk' as it's a relatively fine knit. Which is good news as it means a) we're not going to look like roly-polys and b) it's easy to layer under jackets and coats. Made from a cashmere blend, it's a sheer joy to wear.

I kept the skirt on, truth be known, I didn't want to take it off (lol) and dressed down the outfit with trainers but threw in a leopard print bag....just because.

Roll Neck Jumper - Winser London
Camel Skirt - Winser London
Honey Lo Trainers - Adidas
Chancery Bag - Boden (similar)
So this is the ivory jumper (there are 3 other colours) and for this look, I paired it with a pair of coated skinnies, Toga Pulla boots and a khaki bag. If I ever had a trademark, this would be it. The rolled hems and cuffs edges give it a relaxed feel without feeling scruffy. In the depth of winter, it's so easy to add a camel coat or oversized blazer.

Roll Neck Jumper - Winser London
Coated leggings - Next
Ankle Boots - Toga Pulla (black here)
Bag - Marks & Spencer (love this one)
Say hello to the glorious Merino Wool Wrap Coat. Burgundy is a great neutral. It's also the colour of the moment but fear not, I predict you will still be wearing it for years. There's also a midnight black version for those of you who need your black fix. It's a heavy creature this little coat and that's a good thing because oh boy does it hang. I guarantee you'll feel a million dollars. I've added to the outfit above for a smarter look.

Merino Wool Wrap Coat - Winser London
See above for other links

Apologies for the dog action - he needs to feel a part of this blog! Shame he's wearing (almost) sludge brown

Trainers - Adidas Gazelles (similar)
See above for other links

And then a quick change of footwear to show you how it can be dressed down too. There's a belt but I tied it at the back whilst wearing it open. Love the idea of teaming the coat with jeans and a navy and white Breton top too.

And finally, the Casual Luxe Lounge Pants though there's nothing casual about the way I wore them today. I'm always looking for pieces that can be styled up and down, it makes for a very versatile wardrobe. I wore them with a hint of a sporty shirt (well it has a shoulder stripe) and heels.

Casual Luxe Pant - Wiser London
Shirt - French (love this)
Cage shoes - Marks & Spencer (prefer these)

And oh boy are they comfortable. Merino/Silk/Cashmere blend, think of your softest 'jama bottoms and then some more....they're the ones that you dress up with heels, gorge yourself at the local curry house on a Saturday night and come home to veg out on the sofa watching Match of the Day without getting changed. 

It's a bit difficult to show you the fabric. Black is shocking to photograph unless you have a full on studio. Or touch vision. I have neither. Just me and my little tripod. 

I'm also thinking white t-shirt, blazer and ankle boots or white shirt and v-neck jumper. Or just throw on the coat and enjoy both.

So, with just three pieces of clothing from my own wardrobe, a few pairs of shoes and a couple of bags, we've created a few outfits that cover a multitude of activities. Happy days. There's nothing too high fashion here but I hope you will agree that there's nothing old fashioned about it too. And of course they're pieces that will be worn and updated for years to come.

What investment pieces are you coveting this season? After seeing for myself the fabulous quality that Winser London offer, I'm thinking maybe this beautiful ivory chunky coat may be on the list.

Anyway, we have our very own VIP discount code that Winser London has provided. Use IWWSBVIP to receive £25 off a spend of £150 or more until 15th October (one use per person). Whoop whoop.

Thank you to Victoria at Winser London for allowing me to style the clothes. I did not receive payment for this post but was gifted the roll neck jumper as a thank you. It was a complete pleasure to work with such beautifully crafted clothes.

6 comments on "Building A Workable Wardrobe"
  1. So now I want to buy everything at Winser!!!! Gorgeous items and loved how you styled them. Particularly adore the coat! Great tips re wardrobe basics too and very well timed as I'm planning an overhaul imminently!

    1. Me too Helen. I did an overhaul yesterday and don't really have any gaps in my wardrobe (jeans, I need new jeans) so it would be an indulgence to buy more wouldn't it?????

  2. Hi Donna, i enjoy your blog but haven't commented before. Great post, I need to take a look at this brand as the clothes look fab. You have to buy the burgudy coat!

    1. Hi Claire, thanks for taking the time to comment. I'm always happy to receive feedback. It really is a fabulous brand and I think will fit very nicely in to the new 'grown up me' that I'm planning. I'd love the burgundy coat and the skirt and the joggers (lol) but can't justify putting anything else in my wardrobe at the moment. I've promised myself that if I can get rid of 20 items, I will treat myself to 1 new thing. That's a good deal yes?? xx

  3. I could happily live in those 4 items for the next few months - so stylish yet so wearable. You look amazing in the burgundy coat. I hadnt heard of that brand before either but the jumper is going on my wish list. I've been keeping an eye out for one that will work with pencil skirts as well as jeans and that one looks a perfect length and colour to go with everything. Will be keeping this post handy as I try to get my wardrobe sorted for the coming months Xx

    1. Hi Elaine, I'm so happy to have this company on my radar. It's exactly what I've been looking for. And if it's good enough for Yasmin Le Bon......