Seven Days, Seven Pieces

A wedding. A work interview. A weekend away… Is there really a wardrobe for all seasons? And can it really consist of just seven items? Read on for advice on sensible shopping from the experts including buying director at Browns, and head of fashion at Matches.com. Capsule collections can, apparently, be done. 

1. The Evening Gown

“Every wardrobe should include an eveningwear dress,” says Annabel Buchanan, buyer at ON Motcomb, the glamorous boutique making waves in London’s Belgravia. “Essentially, a great evening dress is something that makes you feel really, really special. It is all about finding a silhouette that works for you and your body. You can never go wrong with a simple column gown which can be dressed up or down to suit multiple occasions – but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a full-length dress; eveningwear is becoming more free and open-minded.”

11-12 Motcomb Street, London, SW1; 0207 235 4146

 2. The Little Black Dress

An icon in its own right, the little black dress differs from the evening dress: “It can take you from work to cocktails to a birthday party and beyond,” explains William Banks-Blaney, a renowned stylist and vintage clothes expert at William Vintage in London. “It’s a go-to when you’re in need. All of our customers ask us to help them find ‘the one’. I always say; once you’ve found the perfect LBD then that job is done and you can start experimenting with colour.”

2 Marylebone Street, London, W1; 0207 487 4322

3. Statement Shoes

For Laura Larbalestier, buying director at Browns in Mayfair, choosing a wardrobe must-have is easy. “For spring/summer 2014 shoes will continue to be the biggest investment piece as this still remains to be the best way to update your wardrobe whether it be with a flat, midi or high heel,” she explains. Laura’s personal favourite? Valentino’s rockstud leather heels (£600) with their eye-catching neon finish.

24-27 South Molton Street, London, W1; 0207 514 0016

4. The Up-and-coming Designer Piece

“We have had great success with relatively new designers,” says Natalie Kingham, head of fashion at Matchesfashion.com, who champions fashion with a feel-good factor: “It’s always exciting to discover a new designer and even better when a piece gets a great reaction.”

 87 Marylebone High Street, London, W1; 0207 487 5400

 5. Tailored Black Trousers

It doesn’t matter how enamoured you are with the avant-garde ideas seen on the runway; black trousers will always have a place in your life. Case and point? In 2012, British Vogue’s fashion director Kate Phelan took the creative helm of one of the high street’s best-known stores and started by mastering the perfect pair. “I think it’s about mixing up and down,” she told interviewer Karen Dacre at the time – “mix your casual with your posh and you get a really confident result.”

 6. A Great Skirt

 Another pre-occupation of the style-savvy Browns’ team, Laura Larbalestier also told us: “Skirts are definitely a key item for S/S14. We expect the category to be purchased for everyday and not just dressed up.”

 24-27 South Molton Street, London, W1; 0207 514 0016

 7. A Tuxedo Style Blazer

What do you throw on over your outfit in a spring breeze? A smart jacket according to Ana Canadas, Fashion Editorial Co-ordinator at Farfetch.com. “A tailored blazer lends an easy elegance to any outfit. Perfect for business or pleasure, it is the perfect piece to pair with cropped trousers and brogues, or to refine a summer dress. Eye-catching metallics and bedazzling brocade prints are essential for this season; wear your choice unbuttoned for a ‘downtown’ finish.” Saint Laurent is a good place to start for such a find.

 ..And because we can’t resist a key accessory

 Finishing touches always work well and for Canadas, arm candy is mastered by Fendi. Asked for her accessory of choice, she reveals: “A classic and timeless leather tote is an investment piece that will never leave your wardrobe. A neutral shade is essential, perfect for pairing with any look; black, brown, caramel, navy blue or grey will work with any colour. Splurge on a larger style, perfect for all your outpourings from the office, or essentials for a weekend away.”

Gabrielle Lane

Gabrielle Lane is a London-based lifestyle journalist who writes across premium fashion, beauty, well-being and culture. She is currently deputy editor of luxury lifestyle magazine Vantage and has contributed to Pomp, Instyle.co.uk and The Kensington & Chelsea magazine. Her interview credits include leading figures from the worlds of business, the arts and entertainment.