Summer-clothes shopping doesn't have to be a sweaty, indecisive hell. Know what you want before you hit the streets and the whole thing will be a breeze - that's the theory, anyway. But what do you want? And will it all match?
Here, to save a lot of pain, is the answer: a 10-piece capsule wardrobe designed to see you through the varying demands of the months ahead with as little fuss as possible.
Take a classic white trouser-suit, the season's romantic chiffon dress, a lightweight summer coat, and a pair of strappy sandals. Build up different looks with a blue and white floral-print cotton shirt, buttoned up formally with the trousers or tied at the waist over hot pants for the beach. Then add an asymmetric top worn under the jacket, on its own or with the shirt, and a ballet car-digan to wrap around the dress by day.
The pleasure of owning clothes like these lies not so much in their exclusivity (all the pieces here are, bar two, emminently affordable) as in the endless ways they can be combined. Like those paper cut-out dolls in old Bunty magazines, you'll have a wardrobe that will effortlessly transport you from park to garden party to work and back again. And that's before your summer holiday, when this lot - plus a toothbrush - will be all you'll ever need. MELANIE RICKEY
THE 10 PIECES
Skirt: white straight skirt, pounds 26, from Miss Selfridge (enq: 0181 910 1359)
Top: asymmetric white cotton-Lycra top, pounds 6, from Etam (enq: 0171 494 7732)
Shirt: blue and white floral shirt, pounds 56, from Jigsaw (enq: 0171 491 4484)
Knit: purple ballet cardigan, pounds 32, from Dorothy Perkins (enq: 0171 291 2604)
Coat: blue georgette coat, pounds 270, by Ghost, from Kumagai, 58 Rosslyn Hill, London NW3 and Square, 3-4 The Corridor, Bath
Shorts: white shorts, pounds 9.99, from Knickerbox (enq: 0171 284 1744)
Dress: powder-blue dress, pounds 299, by Nicole Farhi, 158 New Bond Street, London W1 (enq: 0171 499 8368).
Trousers: white linen capri pants, pounds 35, from Wallis (enq: 0181 910 1333)
Jacket: white linen single-breasted jacket, pounds 60, from Wallis, as before
Shoes: white sandals, pounds 75, from Pied a Terre (enq: 0171 491 3857)
Total: pounds 868.99
Without Ghost coat and Nicole Farhi dress pounds 299.99Reuse content