Is there such a thing – in this age of fast fashion – as a working wardrobe?
Donna Karan certainly thought there was a place for it when, in 1985, she popularised the concept with "seven easy pieces", a collection of wraparound skirts, trousers and dresses all worn over that by-now-legendary bodysuit. With summer finally making an appearance, I like to think that my trusty sunshine-friendly stalwarts are just as tightly edited. This is England, after all. It's unlikely to last long. With that in mind, they are as follows...
Skinny jeans, faded bright indigo, Citizens of Humanity, and as good with sandals (MHL) as they are with trainers (Nike) and ballerinas (Repetto). Boyfriend jeans, faded light indigo, Current/Elliott. Long-sleeved black cotton T-shirts (Splendid, James Perse) and vests (just James Perse) are worn with them pretty much at all times.
If, in winter, dresses are rarely on my agenda, in summer, one-piece dressing comes into its own. So footloose. So fancy-free. I have two, both sleeveless, both to just below the knee, by Margaret Howell – one black linen, one navy cotton. And I love them. I also love a heavy cotton taupe skirt by her and am equally inseparable from an oversized grey Rick Owens jersey dress with sleeves reaching down to my fingertips. They get longer and longer as it ages. It surely won't be long before they reach my knees.
When a more dressed-up look is required, an also-oversized (very oversized) Dries Van Noten artist's smock is as chic as it is lovely to wear. New this season is a similarly sack-like affair printed only with a black-and-white 18th-century etching. Get me. I have a heavy black cotton Azzedine Alaia skirt, too, that is now four years old and is cut in a way that makes me look like I actually have a bottom (always a good thing), and long black shorts (Rick Owens again) that make me look like a fireman (also good – manly).
The aforementioned skinnies aside, the common denominator here is looseness – all these clothes envelop the body more than expose it. They're all also crafted in soft, lightweight fabrics that breathe. For me, there's nothing worse than feeling trussed up at the best of times but that goes for this time of year in particular.
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