Fashion: Every wardrobe needs ... so welcome to the stylish new you

The Little Black Wrap Dress: This week Marks & Spencer introduces its Curve for M&S Collection of more than 100 pieces designed to fit and flatter sizes 18-32, available online and in selected. This dress is �59.
The Little Black Wrap Dress: This week Marks & Spencer introduces its Curve for M&S Collection of more than 100 pieces designed to fit and flatter sizes 18-32, available online and in selected. This dress is �59.
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With clever planning and updating, there is a stylish new year ahead. Stephanie Smith has tips on key instant wardrobe-enhancing buys.

Each and every one of us has our own style, an individual look that we have developed to suit our personality and lifestyle. Yet there are some pieces of clothing and accessories that most of us need, those staple classics that look after us from season to season and, in many cases, from year to year, possibly even decade to decade.

Waffle midi skirt, �65; Theory stripe jumper �55, both available from this month at Oliver Bonas.

Waffle midi skirt, �65; Theory stripe jumper �55, both available from this month at Oliver Bonas.

These are the pieces that form the basis of the modern woman’s wardrobe and, without them, getting dressed undoubtedly proves to be a far more tricky business than it needs to be. We might have hundreds of clothes in the closet but nothing to wear for many of the daily and special occasions that make up the style year.

There are a number of reasons why a wardrobe can suddenly look bare, even when it’s bursting. Trend, for starters. Fashion evolves and suddenly those once statement-like design details – a pocket, a sleeve shape, a collar – now look dated and awkward.

Or perhaps the colours are all wrong. That particular pastel shade or bold bright looked season-perfect a few months ago, but now it’s jarring, as sickly as a painted old fairground ride, with none of the charm.

Then there’s sizing and fit (which are not the same thing). Size, for many of us, fluctuates, mostly up but down too as diet and exercise regimes become ever more compulsory. We may well have clothes which, although timeless and lovely, will never fit again. They need to go – if in good condition to the charity shop or, for higher-end, barely worn clothes, try selling on internet auction sites.

High waist cropped jeans, T-shirt and boxy jacket, all coming to Marks & Spencer for spring.

High waist cropped jeans, T-shirt and boxy jacket, all coming to Marks & Spencer for spring.

Fit, meanwhile, can vary over the seasons and years, from tight and cinched to neat and close, and right through to loose and seriously oversized. Right now, tight for the most part looks dated and uncomfortable, as fluid and oversized styles reflect the current mood of easy confidence.

A wardrobe edit gets rid of no longer wearable pieces and can rediscover items you can work back into your new look. Then it’s time to replenish, with grown-up, versatile, wearable, reliable pieces that will elevate every outfit as well as pull together and maximise the wear of all the pieces that remain in your wardrobe. Key items to invest in include the following:

An easy-smart blazer. Choose one that suits your shape – longer line if pear-shaped, mid hip and boxy if apple, fitted and neat if petite, but all should still be easy enough to wear with a cashmere sweater beneath. You will wear this blazer with your jeans and over office and party looks so choose something simple and smart. Black or navy tux styles work well all year round, weekends to weddings, while a grey tweed style is great for work and daywear.

Softly tailored trousers in a wool or fluid fabric. This year, go for wide-ish leg and slightly slouchy in a style that works with heels and trainers.

Double-breasted blazer, collarless shirt and wide-leg tailored trousers, all coming to Marks & Spencer for spring.

Double-breasted blazer, collarless shirt and wide-leg tailored trousers, all coming to Marks & Spencer for spring.

A midi skirt. Again, the style depends on what suits you best, but a plain, dark, textured, neat option, like the Oliver Bonas one here, will work beautifully with white blouses, sweaters and under jackets.

High-waist cropped jeans. Go for frayed, ripped and flared for trend, but a neatly tailored, straight to wide leg in a classic blue denim will be wearable for longer.

A white blouse or shirt. Choose either a classic tailored style, slightly oversized, to wear over jeans and tucked into your midi skirt.

A cashmere seater (or two). Preferably crew neck or V-neck in a dark navy or black or camel shade. Soft pink and cream are also good choices. A semi-fitted style will work with jeans and skirts under jackets.

Frilled white tie blouse, �26; trousers, �26; heels, �25, all at Dorothy Perkins.

Frilled white tie blouse, �26; trousers, �26; heels, �25, all at Dorothy Perkins.

A camel trench coat. Highly on-trend for the coming season, with statement details but, as with all staple styles, keep it classic and simple if you want it to last.

For more fashion and beauty tips, bargains and what’s in the shops now, check out https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/lifestyle/fashion

Off the shoulder jumper, �55; relaxed boyfriend trousers, �65, due in this month at Oliver Bonas.

Off the shoulder jumper, �55; relaxed boyfriend trousers, �65, due in this month at Oliver Bonas.

Leather bucket bag, �89, Autograph at Marks and Spencer.

Leather bucket bag, �89, Autograph at Marks and Spencer.