The Best of the Best
I like to shop smart, strategically and with consideration. Sure, I occasionally branch out and buy a special piece driven by emotion and love it forever but in general, I'm pretty organised when it comes to my wardrobe. If you want to know more about this you can check out my guide to creating a 'Capsule Wardrobe' by clicking here.
One way I use my time well when shopping is I have a total 'go -to' list for key categories. Brands I know work well for me and for the vast majority of people because they are great at a particular type of product. Nowadays most brands will have diversified their ranges to a wide option for their customers but it still remains there's certain products that they know gives them edge.
Below I've summarised my picks when it comes to my favoured categories in my wardrobe: Workout Wear, Coats, Jeans, Ballet Pumps, Knitwear and Leather Jackets.
WORKOUT WEAR: LULULEMON
Lululemon are masters of their art when it comes to workout wear. Their fabrics are engineered so well that they perform when you work out, retain shape, allow stretch and wash like a dream. They also guarantee all of your purchases so any issues in the first 12 months all you do is go back....I've never needed to. For me as a yogi I love the fact their range extends to mats, towels and even underwear. Great post-workout loungewear too.
Undeniably famous for their signature trench coat, Burberry is a fine, British maker of all things outerwear. Their peacoats and overcoats are also beautiful and since these items are often bought for longevity and repeated wear, I advocate investment. For an added personal touch, Burberry are also offering a special monogram service in their own stores so you can have your initials embroidered on your coat - I'm a huge fan of that!
There was a time when I was all about my designer jeans - I loved Paige in particular and saw no issue with £250 on a pair of classic denims. Fast forward a few years later and I still have them and they're great but we are blessed with a High Street that really does denim well; in particular Topshop. I love them! I love the fact that you can get numerous fits in lots of colour options and fabrications in many lengths and sizes, with or without trend details (rips, frayed hems, embroidery) and they last really well. They tend to be £40+ and I think that's perfect. Here's my favourites.
Ballet Pumps: French Sole
I love ballet pumps....always have and probably always will. I live in them with jeans, trousers, dresses and shorts. I have a range of colours and styles but my most treasured, long lasting and special ones are from French Sole. Celebrating 30 years as a brand this year, owner Jane Winkworth has carved a niche as the 'queen of ballet flats' and for excellent reason. Any colour, any shape for any occasion - I can guarantee you'll find something.
Knitwear: John Smedley
Being Scottish I have a bit of a natural affinity for knitwear. I was treated to a new Pringle jumper every easter from the St. Andrews Woollen Mill as a child, I sold knitwear in Jenners, formerly the old's oldest independent department store (based in Edinburgh but now owned by House of Fraser) and then created a cashmere Childrenswear range when I a buyer for Harrods. Theres lots of brands I love and admire but in terms of width of offer, quality, craftsmanship and fashionability I find John Smedley to come out top. Born in Derby in 1874 this brand has retained it's roots (still in the same factory) but grown and blossomed over the past 143 years. They are proud that their ranges are made in Great Britain and also remain a genuine family business (now 8th generation). John Smedley manages the challenge of blending heritage with modernity and craftsmanship with fashion. Here's my top picks from their Womenswear line...
Leather Jackets: All Saints
Leather Jackets are vast in choice when you're on the hunt. Faux options from the High Street are improving in quality and style and Designer brands such as Acne and Rag & Bone produce beautiful pieces year after year. However, it's All Saints of Spitalfields that wins the category award on this one for me. Why? Many reasons....they use beautiful skins, noteably super soft sheep leather and have a huge range of styles, colours and cuts all at a good price from £318.00 to £455.00.