Wardrobe Essentials

Underwear is the foundation of every outfit. The wrong underwear will ruin a look. No matter what size you are, perfectly fitting underwear will enhance your body shape. Be professionally fitted for bra size and style. Keep colour simple – black white and neutral. Avoid seeing your underpants – through clothes, above clothes and below clothes – shorts that are shorter than your underpants are probably not a good idea… at any age. 

You need something to wear to a casual lunch; a job interview; business meeting; a date; a formal…

Keep in mind ‘less is more’.. buy fewer pieces, that are better quality and be discerning. 

Jeans– Take the time to find a great pair that suit your body shape. Spend more on jeans because you live in them. 

Jackets… A jacket is the starting point for so many great looks. Worn with pants, jeans, a skirt or shorts… You can make it casual or formal, depending on your style and destination. Go for a simple cut in fabric and colour and start to build. A denim jacket for summer nights over dresses; and a leather jacket. 

A white shirt, and several white t-shirts. Always make sure they are clean, no stains with careful attention to shirt collars… Whites may have to be replaced seasonally and always keep napi san handy to soak them. 

A selection of simple t-shirts and tops in basic colours – black, grey, navy, khaki. 2 or 3 plain V-neck jumpers in your favourite colours. Keep these pieces fresh. Buy cheaply and replace as soon as they look less than perfect. This includes hosiery (stockings, tights)

A little black dress and another great dress. 

Three pairs of shoes: boots, flats and going out. 

Personalise your basic wardrobe depending on your lifestyle… student, part time work, stay at home parent, work life … You will need hanging around at home clothes also. Be disciplined in buying these items, and remember that less is more. A lot of money is spent on impulse unnecessary pieces that clog your wardrobe. 

Trends are fashion items that come and go so it’s best to buy inexpensive versions of these fleeting styles. Remember this – fashion fans who follow every catwalk trend have an identity problem. Sooner hopefully rather than later, you will realise that dressing from top to toe in the latest look does not work. We aren’t turned on by groups of girls wearing all the same clothes. We admire individuality, imagination and leaders not followers. 

Classics, however, are at the heart of your style. These are investment pieces and where money is well spent. Subtle adjustments will make the difference between bringing your classics up to date and looking dated. This is where ‘trends’ can freshen up your look and help it evolve. The key is striking a balance between the look of the moment and your personal style. Every season, someone reinvents the perfect dress, blazer and shirt. So, when you are thinking about how to make trends work for you, look to the latest versions of the garments you love. Personalising a trend could mean wearing it in your favourite colour, choosing a hem length that works for you, or finding the shape that flatters you. After all, when you look good, you feel good. Blending confidence with personal style is the game aim!

When putting a wardrobe together, if your budget is limited, the most important thing is having the discipline to invest in one or two beautiful key pieces and mixing these with classic pieces like jeans, white shirts, cashmere knits …

In summary, plan your long term wardrobe: only buy pieces you can’t live without, and don’t be controlled by trends. 

Men’s Fashion: How to Keep Cool in the Summer

First published at Wall Street Journal

Even in summer’s sweltering months, there are times when men can’t avoid a tailored shirt. The trick is, how to wear one and be comfortable?

Paul Trible, co-founder and chief executive of Ledbury, a luxury shirtmaker based in Richmond, Va., says there are simple strategies that can help.

For starters, Mr. Trible advises men to take a close look at the fabric of the shirt. “Lightweight yarns with a loose open weave—those are the two things that keep air flowing, particularly on hot days,” Mr. Trible says. He notes that he generally likes a yarn count of 120 in a summery tailored shirt; most dress shirts have yarn counts between 60 and 100. A yarn count of 120 “is incredibly soft and comfortable and lightweight but it’s not too, too sheer. You don’t see light coming through.” Yarn counts of 140 or 180 are definitely too sheer, he adds.

Cotton-linen blends are another one of Mr. Trible’s go-to’s. “People have been wearing linen for thousands of years for the sole purpose of beating the heat,” he says. Linen alone wrinkles too much, though. “Linen blended with cotton gives you the best of both worlds. It manages the heat and absorbs moisture, but the cotton is a great thing because it prevents a shirt from wrinkling up and looks more polished.” A shirt that’s perhaps 60% or 70% cotton, with linen, is ideal, he says.

Airtex, a fabric that has been popular in Europe and has been used in British military uniforms, is appearing in dress shirts now, too. “It’s 100% cotton and has a gauze-like open weave—tight little holes—that allows air to go in and out of it,” Mr. Trible says. “It’s one of the more breathable shirts for the summer and it works really well.”

Royal twills are a big no, as they tend to trap heat. “I wore one to a summer wedding and almost passed out,” he says. “And I would stay away from anything synthetic. Polyesters and rayons will get you in trouble in the summertime,” he says. “They just don’t breathe so you’re going to sweat and your body’s going to heat up, and it all has nowhere to go.”

Chemically treated shirts, such as those advertised as wrinkle-free, are another mistake, Mr. Trible says. “The chemicals make the shirt less breathable,” he says.

If you pick the right fabric, it won’t matter if the shirt is cut close to the body, Mr. Trible says. In fact, he cautions against what some men do in an effort to stay cool in summer—wear baggy, loose shirts. “If it’s too big and you’re not wearing a breathable fabric, it’s going to be very, very warm,” Mr. Trible says. The more fabric, the more heat trapped in. Similarly, he advises against wearing an undershirt. “Another layer is going to make you hotter,” he says.

The cut of the collar can help you in the heat. “Go for a button-down collar or a small spread collar,” Mr. Trible says. “A bigger spread collar is going to be more weight and more fabric around your neck and go higher up on your neckline.” Similarly, for summer he prefers button cuffs, as opposed to French cuffs, so he can easily roll up his sleeves if he needs to.

Most people don’t think about it, but button placement down the front is important as well, Mr. Trible says. “It’s a small detail, but if you’re not wearing a tie, having your second button placed just a little bit lower lets your neck and chest breathe a little bit more,” he says.

If you have a tendency to perspire profusely, Mr. Trible suggests picking light-colored shirts with patterns. “Small checks can hide perspiration at times,” he says. “Larger patterns are great, too, but they’re more of a weekend thing.”

Finally, Mr. Trible sometimes employs this trick to keep himself feeling fresh—especially if he has been wearing a shirt all day that has become soaked, but he needs to wear it at night, too. “Vodka is a good deodorizer,” he says. “Just put some vodka in a spray bottle and spray it on the shirt,” he says. “That will dry it out in half an hour and it kills the odors. It’s a cheap way to do your own dry cleaning.”

Tagged: Louise BernardiImage ConsultantStyleStyle for menDressing for summerSuits in summer