How To Make Your Staple Pieces Work Harder |

How To Make Your Staple Pieces Work Harder

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The building blocks of a great wardrobe lie in those capsule pieces you can dress up or down with a few simple styling tips. From classic Bretons to a leather biker, everyday skinnies to a smart pencil skirt, up your cost-per-wear with these failsafe tips and breathe new life into your wardrobe.


Dress It Up: A black blazer is the easiest way to quickly elevate a look. Team with everything from a glamorous evening dress for a masculine edge to a tee and skirt for cool twist on night time dressing.

Dress It Down: Harness your blazer to make an otherwise causal edit look pulled together, even when dressed down. Pairing with boyfriend jeans and smart flats puts an elegant spin on the informal look – just add accessories like oversized sunnies or a top-handle bag for a grown-up finish.


Laurent Super 100 Wool Twill Blazer, £445 | Joesph

Ruched Sleeves Blazer, £59.99 | Mango

Reed Shawl Lapel Blazer, £245 | Reiss



Dress It Up: Bet you didn’t think you could put a glam evening spin on your Breton, but simply adding an elevated texture – think leather, feathering or embellishment – gives it an immediate lift. Perfect for day-to-night.

Dress It Down: A staple casual piece, the long sleeved Breton gives you instant French girl cool, so team with everything from skinny jeans to oversized shearling coats to show off Paris-worthy fashion credentials. Avoid teaming with pumps, sticking to sneakers for a contemporary look.


Striped Jersey Top, £12.99 | H&M

Mariniere Striped Cotton Jersey Top, £125 | M.I.H Jeans

Striped Long Sleeve T-Shirt, £65 | Whistles



Dress It Up: The most classic look for evening, no stylish wardrobe is complete without an LBD. Leg-lengthening courts or a statement new pair of earrings will transform your most trusted of black dresses, no matter how many times you have worn it.

Dress It Down: It’s been all about the casual dress in recent seasons, so layer your LBD with relaxed pieces like a white tee or beaten up biker for a pared-back spin. Stick to flats or ankle boots for an understated finish.

Sheer Sleeveless Blazer Dress, £30 (was £55) | Topshop

Frilled Black Dress, £69 | & Other Stories

Briar Cutwork Dress, £250 | Whistles



Dress It Up: A leather jacket doesn’t have to be reserved for off-duty – layered over a feminine dress it adds the perfect amount of edge to a smart look. Keep your beauty look soft to balance out the tough girl touch.

Dress It Down: An absolute staple for an off-duty look, make sure you have a decent leather jacket in your capsule wardrobe for casual days. Consider what length is most flattering for you – whether you want cropped to team with high-waists or long to lengthen your torso – and add a masculine coat over the top for a winter-ready, fashionable spin.

Ryder Leather Biker Jacket, £995 | Joesph

Leather Jacket With Zips, £99.99 | Zara

Black Agnes Leather Jacket, £330 | Whistles



Dress It Up: Don’t reserve your pencil skirts for work, dress up with peekaboo lace or sulty chiffon for a date night-approved look. And if you’re coming straight from the office, simply add a structured jacket à la Olivia or a crisp white shirt for an easy day-to-night look.

Dress It Down: The quickest way to give your pencil skirt a casual twist? Add trainers. Avoid anything too corporate – that means no blazers or tailored shirts – and stick to a neutral palette for a look that says ‘I’m not even trying’.

Ramos Pale Gold Sequinned Pencil Skirt, £375 | Alice + Olivia

Panel Detail Pencil Skirt, £29.50 | M&S

Faux Leather Pencil Skirt, £99 | Karen Millen


Dress Them Up: Skinny jeans are your best friend when it comes to easy dressing. The most versatile piece out there, just add vertiginous heels and a going-out top for a cool party look. Topshop gets our vote for the perfect evening cut – spray-on tight with a high-rise makes for a for glam look and flattering cut.

Dress Them Down: The styling options for your skinny jeans are endless, but the easiest method for achieving a cool look off-duty is to apply the rule of three. Whether it’s a white tee and chunky cardigan or slub vest plus oversized trench, teaming two casual pieces with your skinnies will give them a pulled-together look on the most effortless of days.


Le Skinny De Jeanne Mid Rise Jeans, £235 | Frame

Carolina Distressed High-Rise Skinny Jeans, £230 | J Brand

MOTO Rich Indigo Jamie Jeans, £40 | Topshop



Dress Them Up: A pair of black work trousers can be easily transformed, and the most versatile foundation is to team with a pretty white top. From there you can add whatever necessary – from statement jewellery for a night out to a sensible blazer for that big meeting.

Dress Them Down: The cool girl way to do off-duty trousers, add white sneakers and a chunky knit to subvert your smart work look. Either flash some leg in a cropped style or keep extra long for a modern, androgynous finish.


Cropped Stretch Gabardine Slim Leg Pants, £225 | Joesph

Stud Detail Capri Trousers, £115 | Karen Millen

Wool Tailored Jogger, £120 | Whistles



Dress It Up: As simple as it might be, the white shirt has the ability to smarten up myriad looks. Pair with leather trousers and they instantly look sophisticated or team with wide-leg culottes to make them more wearable.

Dress It Down: The easiest way to make your white shirt more casual is to team with denim. Whether it’s tucked into boyfriends or worn loose over skinnies, adding blue jeans into the mix will transform even the most structured of white button-downs. 

Stretch Cotton Blend Shirt, £205 | Theory

Long Sleeve Shirt, £35 | M&S

Oversized Shirt, £55 | & Other Stories


Inspiration Credits: DeboraBrosa,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
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