Kirstie Clements: Chic comes at a price – a low one if you’re savvy

If you find any of these on sale, snap them up.

If you find any of these on sale, snap them up. Image: TND, Getty

A colleague asked me recently to help her put together a new wardrobe. She is a busy mother of two and a CEO of an NGO, and she sounded utterly exasperated.

“I don’t even know where to start or even what I need,” she told me.

“I used to wear corporate suits, jackets and pencil skirts, and now I think the times have changed, and they don’t seem appropriate anymore. So what do I even wear, and where do I buy it? I’m so confused!”

She’s not the only one. Many women ask me the same question, and I regularly ask it myself. How do you put together the perfect capsule wardrobe without selling the house?

“What’s your budget?” I asked her. She shrugged and replied, “I don’t know. I don’t really care about clothes that much, to be honest, so maybe $2000?”

I took this as a challenge.

Firstly, it may be about wearing the things that are already in your wardrobe in a different way.

“You can still get wear out of that Cue suit,” I told my friend.

I suggested she wear the jacket over a white tank or a T-shirt, with black jeans and loafers, or leggings. Perfectly appropriate in a more relaxed workplace post COVID. Match the pencil skirt with a romantic blouse and high heels for a formal dinner. “Just don’t wear it as a suit anymore,” I said.

I love the shirting trend that is so big at the moment, all those bright cotton long-sleeve shirts with matching drawstring pants. It’s an elevated form of pyjama dressing that is a very modern way to approach a pantsuit. I see them everywhere, from Seed to Country Road to Oroton, at every price point. So, if I were, to take my friend shopping, I would look for:

  1. Cotton shirts, in white, blue, blue stripes, or any bright colour you like, pink, orange, whatever. A blue striped shirt is the perfect Zoom work look. Matching wide-legged pants and you have a cute weekend look.
  2. Jeans.
  3. Relaxed tailored pants, maybe with an elastic waist, probably in black as they can go out to dinner or a formal function. I live in these paired with an oversized white shirt.
  4. Tank tops and T-shirts in neutral shades.
  5. A roomy tailored linen or cotton jacket. A pantsuit is even better.
  6. Tan leather mid-heeled sandals – they go with everything and go anywhere. I bought a pair on sale on Farfetch for $79, and I wear them at least four times a week.
  7. White sneakers.
  8. A black sleeveless sheath dress – wear with the jacket or on its own with a wrap at night.
  9. A silky feminine blouse.
  10. A trench.

This capsule will go everywhere and can most definitely come in way under $2000 from stores such Assembly, Dissh , Uniqlo and Saba ( and stores like Target and Kmart for men’s shirts, or jeans). Then you can add a few special pieces and wintry things when required. But that’s a whole other column!

Topics: Fashion
Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter.
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.