I get a lot of questions about where to buy the best *insert item here*, so I thought I’d put together a post for you on this very subject. I’ll have to split this into two parts, so do not fear if the particular item you are after isn’t here this week as I’ll continue this on next week’s post. Then we can put it all together in two weeks’ time with another 15-piece capsule wardrobe for autumn. I think that’s probably the best order in which to do this.
At this point, I should add the caveat that this is obviously just MY opinion and I’m sure everyone has their own thoughts about which brands do the best T-shirts/jeans/sweatshirts etc. We all have our favourite shops that we gravitate towards and I haven’t tried everything, but I do pride myself on being a good shopper and I’m quite particular about what I spend my money on. Ideally, what I look for in my basics are good, classic designs that don’t date too quickly, quality fabrics that wash well and a fit that works for me.
PLAIN T SHIRTS
My first port of call when it comes to classic plain T-shirts is always Uniqlo. They do a plethora of styles so you are bound to find the one that suits you best. Personally, my favourite is the oversized half-sleeve T-shirt because I like my Ts to be on the baggier side so there’s enough room for me to do the ‘French tuck’ with them (see belly post for more details on that), but all their T-shirts are excellent quality and they wash really well. I have T-shirts from Uniqlo that are over 10 years old and still going strong. Great price point too. I also really like the range at & Other Stories. My top favourite is the boxy-fit crewneck, but all their T-shirts are good quality and available in lots of colours.
Now, this one is tricky. I have a LOT of jeans and all of them have their plus and minus points. I had to think – what if I was forced to choose just one pair to keep, which would I pick? Which pair do I wear the most? Which pair goes best with the rest of my wardrobe? If you think I could choose just one pair then you obviously don’t know me very well. I LOVE jeans and I cannot pick just one pair, so let’s go for a range of prices. For loose-fit boyfriend jeans at the higher end of the scale, I pick the Raey Dad jeans (size DOWN on these). For mid-price straight legs, I would go for either the Hush Agnes washed-black jeans (true to size) or the Whistles Hollie jeans (size up) and for a really good pair under £30, the H&M vintage high jeans are v good value (size up).
Outright winner here for consistency and choice is COS. Also, some of their tailored trousers have those elastic bits on the inside of the waist (like on school trousers if you’ve ever had to buy them for your ever-growing offspring) so you can adjust the fit accordingly. It’s such a simple yet effective extra. As such, I tend to size up in Cos trousers so I can still wear them on bloated/non-bloated days. This wide-leg pair are my current favourites. Runners-up for trousers are YMC at the higher end and Finisterre for flattering chino styles.
I tend to buy most of my dresses from smaller, independent brands these days. They are more expensive but I’m happy to pay extra when I know my money is going direct to the designer. My personal favourites are Justine Tabak, Johanna Sands, Seraphina, Kemi Telford, Faith-Rowan Leeves, The Well Worn, Beulah, Iris and Tallulah & Hope. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some. Check out the Daily Dress Edit for pop-ups and more info on small brands like these. On the high street, I think Albaray, Warehouse and ME+EM do the best ones. I’m also partial to a bit of Ganni too, especially when it’s on The Outnet at a discount.
I still reach for my Anine Bing sweatshirts over almost all others. They just feel like a cosy, warm hug. They never go out of style, wash really well and look great with jeans. I tend to size down as they come up big, and I would buy from Selfridges or other UK retailers as the exchange rate for the Euro is so rubbish and you may get stung with customs from Europe these days. For more budget-friendly alternatives, H&M do a good range of graphic sweatshirts, as do Free People.
As with jeans, trainers are my weakness. How can I pick the best brands? Well, I kind of can, insofar as the best place to buy trainers is from actual sports companies. Fashion trainers are nice and all, but they’re often not high on the comfort factor and what trainers should be over anything else is comfortable. For me, this means Nike and New Balance are my top choices. I tend to take my regular size in Nike and size up by half a size in New Balance.
I hope this was useful. Next week, I’ll do boots, coats, jackets, knitwear, tops, bags and maybe socks and undies. Then we can put it all together for the 15-piece capsule wardrobe.