I think a lot of women struggle with the concept of what their ideal wardrobe should include… it’s a question I get asked over and over… not only by customers but it is a recurring theme in the press. When I design I like to think about an evolving capsule wardrobe… those lovely pieces that help build the foundation of our wardrobes… while remaining mindful of the “buy less, buy better” mantra that I have always worked towards… Believe me, it is not an exact science… but nor should it be… we all have different body shapes, lifestyles, tastes and budgets… but particularly in this era of WFH a TOP has never had more importance in our lives… I really believe it is the moment of the TOP.
So what does my TOP wardrobe include?.. in the ideal world each one of these is the ultimate version… so it has longevity.
The perfect crisp WHITE COTTON SHIRT… there is nothing more timeless and flattering… and for me this is inspired by a man’s dinner shirt… collarless with a piquet bib front and generous double cuffs… I love the romantic notion that we have pinched our man’s shirt (maybe from the night before… it makes me think of the iconic Peter Lindbergh 90’s black and white shot of the supermodels in mens white shirts on the beach)… in fact, I love this style so much we did a more practical option in black.
The SILK BOYFRIEND SHIRT building on this image of easy oversized men’s shirts I love to re-invent this style… needless to say its not just a question of taking a man’s shirt and re-fabricating… the devil is in the detail… our boyfriend shirts may be inspired by our boyfriend’s shirts but they are cut beautifully for women… with a wrapped and slashed back giving extra movement and a subtle hint of skin…. The colour blocking of the silk crepe de chine takes it to another place… adding a strength and a modernity… the elasticated custom cufflinks are chic and stylish yet super comfortable (I have been guilty of using as a hair tie)
The BOHO BLOUSE – easy, breezy and oversized – a slightly bohemian vibe that says “I am completely relaxed in my skin and in what I am wearing…” (I call that enviable ease)… as gorgeous worn with denim cut offs in the summer as it is with a crop pant or floaty skirt…
THE AIR SHIRT – the understated midi wrap shirt – this is an iconic Wakeley staple for me and the length makes it both standout cool as well as sensually glam in the way the silk crepe de chine moves… wrapped and cinched worn over a skinny jean or a wide leg… tied loosely and worn almost coat-like over a jumpsuit to add a soft layer… belted over a bikini for lunch on the beach (yes dreaming at the moment)…
The SEQUINNED T-SHIRT – as our lives have become inevitably more casual I believe we still want an opportunity to wear a bit of sparkle… so what better way to do this than a sequinned T-shirt… sports luxe inspired with contrast sequin stripe and a knitted trim neckline… (secret – I have put a stitch in mine to close it at bra level)… but thinking ahead we cut it so its fully reversible… ultimate versatility
The BLACK LACE TOP – I love a black lace top… there is something super sexy in a covered but sensual way that nods back to lingerie… they really are wardrobe classics… just watch it isn’t too Goth or Victoriana prim…. a great top is as powerful as a dress… remember when you are sitting eating dinner it’s only your top half that’s visible!
The CAMI – the right silk cami is a FOREVER piece – I always think that it works to catch a glimpse of lace bra underneath adding a layer of texture and luxury… but also super cool worn over a little T-shirt… just a thought…
And last but never least… The WHITE T-SHIRT (and a pebble grey one while you are at it)… with a neckline that reveals the collarbone. When worn with jeans it’s a classic but also great to dress down a tux suit (I love)… However, please remember when it’s no longer pristine white it’s time for a re-think… have some fun with tie dying or a machine dye (I particularly love a good khaki)… greyed off white t-shirts fall into the same category as scruffy underwear… time for a change! Our organic Peruvian Pima cotton ones were produced in Colombia in collaboration with the Paloma and Angostura workshop employing former combatants with the dream of rebuilding social fabric and promoting reconciliation… a collaboration with purpose.
And don’t forget those gorgeous pieces of superfine cashmere with cold shoulders or “garter” slash sleeves that double up as a great sexy evening top but are a little cosier especially in those (sometimes) chilly country houses.
Having spent the last few months cocooned in cashmere my focus is now firmly on shedding the “winter coat”… mmm… including the few pounds that inevitably creep on during the chillier months(I honestly think I was a bear in another life)… so for the last month I have been back to my intermittent fasting (I cannot recommend it more highly… it really works and is apparently incredibly good for you too… check out the 5:2 method if you are interested)… I can feel the summer me emerging.
Anyway, it’s the weekend and its feeling quite summery so I am hoping to be in our midnight chevron print boho top with my favourite jeans…eating copious Chocolate Orange Cupcakes…. my Chocoholics Anonymous recipe this weekend is from my friend Natasha Corrett who is the most brilliant young cook with numerous books under her belt… she is a genius at using alternative and unexpected ingredients and I, for one, love her chocolate orange cupcakes.
Wishing you a sunny, safe and chocolatey weekend
PS… I am going to share a bit of a guilty secret… during some of my Zoom calls I have found myself customising my cashmere… obviously while being highly attentive… I requested some cashmere yarn before lockdown as I had this little idea brewing… anyway I have finally started… and its fun and easy… and if you don’t like it you just pull out the yarns and start again… better yet… it doesn’t have to be perfect… surely that’s part of the charm?! I think I can feel a bit of a bigger project coming on… talk about re-inventing your old favourites…