This week, I’m taking a break from the 2 big C’s…Christmas and Covid, and giving you a useful 5 failsafe winter pieces guide. This idea came from a lovely reader who messaged me to say “Kate, I’ve bought so much tat during Black Friday that I’m now returning. I need your help on ‘Stuff you couldn’t be without’, not quite a capsule wardrobe, but your go-to pieces that make you feel instantly better and super stylish”.
At this point I feel a tiny bit smug as the only things I ordered on Black Friday were presents for others and a pair of Whistles jeans for myself (in another colour to a pair I already own). I did also repeat order a Cashmere jumper from Cos but, most annoyingly, my order got cancelled. That said, I do already have that jumper, so I shall get out the trusty sweater shaver and give it once over so it looks like new.
I’d be lying if this was the exact same 5 things each season, but for winter, I’d say these 5 pieces are all very very useful and can be added to your wardrobe to give it a boost. I’ll go into more detail further along, but the five items I have picked that can be the building blocks of any outfit are: A Cashmere Jumper, A really decent Handbag, A well fitting overcoat, The perfect pair of jeans and an excellent pair of black boots.
Here are the items I’ve picked. You can wear them all together of course, but any one of these items can give your current wardrobe a little bit of a lift. As ever, I have added alternative items at varying price points in the scroll bars below each outfit.
A GREAT PAIR OF JEANS
I’ve been banging on about these Whistles Hollie jeans for a while now. I bought my blue ones back in January (a lifetime ago in world events, I bought them from an actual shop, went to try then on in a changing room and everything, may have even stopped for a coffee and got the bus home…). They have, hands-down, been my most worn jeans of the year. They are slightly cropped, straight leg, exposed button fly, not a lot of stretch. All things I look for in jeans. So I also bought them in black.
I would say take your regular size. Whistles are one of the best shops for true to size clothes in my opinion. I’m a size 12 and a take a 29 waist. For reference, I’m 5’7 and these jeans hit my ankle.
THE PERFECT COAT
Does the perfect coat actually exist? Well I guess that all depends on what you consider to be the ideal. I have this Jigsaw coat in Brown, it also comes in a camel colour. It’s pricey, but look out for deals as I think the sales are likely to start very soon. It’s long, but not too long, fitted, but not too fitted and so soft that it feels like it’s made from cashmere. It’s not, it’s wool. It’s also warm and stylish. This coat literally makes any outfit smarter, in the same way that a good blazer does in warmer months. You can wear this coat with joggers and you’ll still look like you’ve made an effort. P.S. I know these shoes are ridiculous but I REALLY want them!
A CASHMERE JUMPER
The ultimate in cosy, luxury knitwear. The cashmere jumper is a real treat and just as good for lounging around at home as going out and about… going out? what even IS that? but it will return and when it does we shall rejoice and wear our fancy cashmere with pride! I have to say I don’t think the more expensive the cashmere the better. The High Street does it really well. My top choice for this is Cos or Arket, I have some jumpers from Cos that are over 10 years old and haven’t bobbled up to all hell either. H&M also do decent cashmere as does M&S and Uniqlo. Also don’t be afraid to look in the mens section for a great oversized cashmere knit
In terms of care, I wash mine in a cold delicates wash in the machine using a wool detergent. Dry flat if possible, but to be honest I put a towel on a radiator or over the door and put my jumpers on top of that. If your knit does bobble, as mentioned, use a sweater shaver. This is the one I have and it’s served me well so far.
REALLY GOOD BOOTS
I get asked a lot about boots. Boots are my favourite, I like to think I’m a bit of an expert now, so always happy to answer any questions. The most popular question I get is ‘Should I buy Grenson or Air & Grace?’. Unfortunately the answer to that isn’t easy as it all depends on what kind of boot you are after. They are both great independent brands who do what they do very well. The Nanette Grenson will always be my top choice of boot, but I’ve featured them so many times and I know a lot of you are well aware of their benefits. So for this post I’m going with the Air & Grace Jessa Boot.
The Jessa are a simple, classic pair of black leather boots. really really comfortable. Easier to wear than a Nanette if you don’t favour the hiking style. I am sorry to say I haven’t worn mine enough this year as I’m only ever in a field instead of on a pavement. They are not dog walking boots, but they are boots you can wear all day every day for other activities. I also like the cheat zip at the side.
A TAKE ANYWHERE HANDBAG
Last, but by no means least is your smart, take anywhere handbag. I’ve plumped for this Gucci beauty as it’s the most similar in style to one I use the most that unfortunately they don’t make anymore. Of course I know Gucci is not in the price range for everyone, or anyone these days, let’s be honest 2020 hasn’t been kind to the purse strings (neither has the really expensive garden fence I just had to shell out for), but it’s nice to dream even if you can’t buy. A really good handbag, like a really good coat will elevate any outfit. No-one would think your boots were only £20 from Matalan if you’re toting a fancy looking handbag.
I would say if you’re looking for a high street alternative, try & Other Stories, and Mango, they do very decent, stylish handbags. I have listed some more below.
I hope you found this post useful and a welcome break from Christmas and Covid, I will be back next week with some Christmas day outfit ideas, then I’ll be off for a week and back early next year.