The 'key' to a perfect wardrobe

Hands up  . . . if you have a special event coming up and you literally only shop with this in mind. Perhaps even panic buying your outfit - and then only wearing it ONCE !

We are all guilty of over focusing on getting the perfect outfit for that one big occasion, and although I think we will always impulse buy (forgive yourself, I do!), instead of shopping with one event in mind, pause, breathe and think of longer term versatility and wearability. The good news is this doesn't have to mean playing safe with 'classical pieces'. Carefully selected WOW key statement pieces also stand the test of time and can be easily re styled with accessories for both everyday and glamorous events. The trick is to identify 'key' pieces that will suit you and your lifestyle. Then when you see it (and let's face it - it is always when you are looking for something else) - if you can afford it - buy it. 

  Together these pieces say contemporary and edgy - but worn separately with your wardrobe essentials (pair the cardigan with a black leather skirt or trousers) or the trousers with a neutral cream jumper - they can re styled and re worn many times . The shoes are a statement - and will wow on their own with a midi fitted or flowing black dress or cream top and pants. All looks shown are from MacBees Killarney (as seen on RTE Today. Model Ina @ upfrontmodels)

Together these pieces say contemporary and edgy - but worn separately with your wardrobe essentials (pair the cardigan with a black leather skirt or trousers) or the trousers with a neutral cream jumper - they can re styled and re worn many times . The shoes are a statement - and will wow on their own with a midi fitted or flowing black dress or cream top and pants. All looks shown are from MacBees Killarney (as seen on RTE Today. Model Ina @ upfrontmodels)

So what exactly we are talking about when we use phrases like wardrobe basics, neutrals, timeless classics, new season trends and key pieces?  Honestly I don't think there is an exact definition, because it depends on a lot of external factors including your lifestyle, age, body shape, personal style and cultural influences  - however I hope the following is a useful overview. As always please PM me on Instagram or Facebook (@orladiffily) if you have any questions.  

Wardrobe Basics
These are items you wear almost every day and are the foundation to your look. 
Black trousers (length and fit depend on your own body shape)
White crisp shirt or blouse, fitted white t- shirts
Black tailored skirt or leather skirt
Well fitted demins
Black and block coloured dresses (red, navy, nude)
Tailored jacket (to the waist or thigh depending on your shape and preference)
Black & Nude Courts, Pumps and Knee High Boots
A silk scarf (in a colour or print that suits your skin-tone)
A leather tote and clutch (black or tan go with everything)
Black or Camel knee length coat
Good underwear ! (and not just because you could be in an accident  . . . or get lucky  . . . well made seamless underwear and correctly fitted bras are essential to looking good.  Also consider investing in good shape-wear - Irish brand Atir (www.atir.ie) is a miracle worker and will refine and enhance your silhouette regardless of your size.)

Neutrals
These are fashion items that can easily be matched with anything in your wardrobe, as they 'go with everything'. If you are out and about and want to buy yourself something, picking a neutral shade - such as cream, tan, black or white, is essentially playing safe and increases the chance of you wearing the item long term. To put it in context - non neutrals are strong primary colours (such as Yellow, Pink and Sky Blue) bold prints and complex textures. (I personally think red has its very own category - and special power - and there is a shade of red for everyone. But this is another blog post). Normally you wear non neutrals with neutrals (ie a pink jumper with a pair of black pants) - but if you can pull it off - clashing prints and block colours is amazing - it just takes practice (and confidence)!

  Heidi Klum clashes colours with confidence! 

Heidi Klum clashes colours with confidence! 

Timeless classics
Certain wardrobe items have transcended time and trends. Good examples would be the 'little black dress', palazzo pants, twin sets, pencil skirts, pussy bow blouses, jumpsuits, etc. The idea is you can wear these and neither be 'in' or 'out' of fashion (if there really is such a thing!). As you can see there is a cross over with your wardrobe essentials. 

 A timeless classic and a wardrobe basic- the Little Black Dress (Photo Credit: John French. Circa 1950's)

A timeless classic and a wardrobe basic- the Little Black Dress (Photo Credit: John French. Circa 1950's)

New season trends
Each season brings new colours, shapes, textures and stories - which when consciously mixed with a lot of clever marketing - combine to become a trend - or 'in fashion' (or course, if you are around a while, you will know that fashion is mostly a circle).  If you are a dedicated follower / slave to fashion - it's natural you will want to acquire a few of the new season trends. So do.

  Kendall Jenner rocks last season's transparency look. Probably best not worn in real life head to toe! Remember like all trends it will fade, so it's best to buy high street knock-offs than invest lots of money in a look that won't age as beautifully as you do. 

Kendall Jenner rocks last season's transparency look. Probably best not worn in real life head to toe! Remember like all trends it will fade, so it's best to buy high street knock-offs than invest lots of money in a look that won't age as beautifully as you do. 

Ultimately fashion as well as being functional, is art and a visual form of self expression, so playing with trends allows you to have some fun with your look. However, trends pass ( . . . fashions fade), so I suggest you shop the high street instead of making any big investment purchase. 

  The white Michael Kors cut out (cold shoulder) jumper is very much a trend, but the cigarette pants are timeless (think Marilyn Monroe below) - and together with silver shoes they make a statement ! (Look by MacBees Killarney as seen on RTE Today)

The white Michael Kors cut out (cold shoulder) jumper is very much a trend, but the cigarette pants are timeless (think Marilyn Monroe below) - and together with silver shoes they make a statement ! (Look by MacBees Killarney as seen on RTE Today)

  Fashion icon - the very beautiful Marilyn Monroe

Fashion icon - the very beautiful Marilyn Monroe

 

Key Pieces
All of the above, with the notable exception of trends, are going to be inherently 'safe' . So your key pieces are there to add some 'pizazz' to your look! Key pieces are your 'wow' or statement pieces, and again what these are will be mostly depend on your own personal style.  They could be investment purchases such as a Shearling coat, embellished collar, faux leopard fur or silk scarf. However, it's not all about investments - two of my most worn and treasured key pieces are a faux fur from Topshop I got over 10 years ago and an amazing tartan pair of trousers from H&M. So price is not the deciding factor - it's your taste - and how you wear it  !

Key pieces are mostly worn with your wardrobe basics, timeless classics or neutrals (are you keeping up . . . bet you didn't know fashion was this complicated !). 

  This navy silk culottes suit by Michael Kors at MacBees Killarney effortlessly breaks the rules  . . . as it is both timeless and a key piece. (Modelled by Maeve at Upfront models. Remember rules are meant to be broken ! 

This navy silk culottes suit by Michael Kors at MacBees Killarney effortlessly breaks the rules  . . . as it is both timeless and a key piece. (Modelled by Maeve at Upfront models. Remember rules are meant to be broken ! 

 

What key pieces suit you - depend on your body shape, personal style and to some extent, your age. More than any other element of your wardrobe, your own 'key pieces' communicate your own personal brand which in this visually obsessed world is becoming increasing important.

Last week on Ireland's top afternoon TV show, RTE Today, I showed 6 looks featuring key pieces from top boutique MacBees in Killarney, Kerry (www.macbees.ie). This award winning boutique, which opened in 1984, stocks a carefully curated selection of both Irish and international labels and is home to your wardrobes essentials, the latest trends and so many wonderful key pieces. Pop in the next time you are in Killarney or shop online at www.macbees.ie

Please PM me or email me (details on my contact page) if you have any questions. I would love to hear from you.