The Chic List: How to boost your basics

As well as elevating my social life from its nonexistent Covid status, I’ve been elevating my wardrobe basics too. It’s exhausting all this elevating!

This jumpsuit from Cefinn’s new collection is simple but standout

Ever since lockdown began lifting, I’ve been bursting to be sociable. OK, half the time I’ve been freezing because someone else was hogging the outdoor heater, the other half I’ve been sitting directly under it and it feels like my make-up is going to melt into my dinner. But after four months of nothing, I’ll happily take it.

In fashion terms, the words elevate and basic fit together like good friends and good wine. So what exactly do I mean by elevated basics? And why are they the beating heart of a chic wardrobe?

They are clothes that may be simple in terms of style or colour but have lovely details or pinches of drama that set them apart from being, well, just basic. For example, these gorgeous Mary Janes from Jimmy Choo (below) which have been elevated by their crystal strap.

Elevated basics are functional but high-quality. Practical but beautiful. Tailored but understated. And they all have a twist of interest – perhaps an exaggerated sleeve or eye-catching buttons – which make them stand out from the crowd. The beauty of basics like this is the fact that everything goes with everything. And it provides you with a grown-up signature style.

I also have an arsenal of styling tricks that can be deployed to elevate an entire outfit, no matter the season. Here are a few examples…

Unleash the sequins

Add a little bling to dinner and drinks. Wear sequins on your shoes or in your ears to go with your cashmere. Or find a pair of your favourite sparkly Christmas trousers and pair them with your blazer.

Try a shoulder drape

This is the oldest trick in the book and always works a treat. You don’t need to be Superwoman to pull it off either. Simply drape your jacket or coat on your shoulders or tie your jumper at the neck.

Wear sunglasses, always

These provide the finishing touch to any look.

Be clever with colour

Some like to clash their colours but you have to be brave and own it. An easier option is to pick from a palette that sings in synch. Or, my favourite fall-back – just wear all black.

Buy less, buy better

Shopping doesn’t need to be all about buying new. Why not browse preloved destinations Designer Exchange or Vestiaire Collective for that elevated designer cut? I recently found a new Phillip Lim khaki blazer for the same price as one on the high street.

The men’s department is often hoarding the best cashmere.

Jeans, £69,

White jeans are the perfect basic for any summer wardrobe.

Trousers, £430,

These cargo pants with their elevated details are just perfection.

Hat, £74,

This wide-brimmed fedora will go beautifully with your summer dresses.

Top, £55,

Never underestimate a basic like this vest top with its asymmetric neckline.

Necklace, £35.99,

A simple chain necklace will lift any outfit.

I’m swooning over these Mary Jane flats, the must-have shoe of the season.

Follow me on Instagram @thestylistandthewardrobe