Know your basics. – The Handlers

Know your basics.

And no, we are not talking about chemistry or substandard girls.

In my training as an Image Consultant (yes, like Chata Romano. Can we continue now?) I was taught all about body shapes, colours to suit your complexion, face shapes and the dreaded “7 basics for every wardrobe”. The latter included things like “the tailored black trouser”, “the classic white shirt” and more such offensive generalisations. With every consultation I would be ready with my list of basics and even added some daring deviations like an array of cardigans. This gave the client clear must-haves for their wardrobe and off we went on our merry way to find these items that will save them from any future fashion emergencies.

Now, having a clear idea of what you need for a manageable wardrobe is a wonderful thing. That way you won’t end up with another velvety fringed kimono with the price tag still hanging from it, taunting you for buying such a hippie item when you know your style is more downtown London. In theory it’s supposed to give you clear direction and allow you to effortlessly glide over such pitfalls. In theory, that is.

Ever since I left my strict teachings behind and opened my mind (read: wardrobe) to “whatever makes you happy” I would cringe when a client asks me for the basics of a good wardrobe. I’d tell them to forget the rules and take whatever makes them feel good, mix and match, go wild! The bewildered expression I saw on their faces I interpreted as awe and enlightenment, while I went on preaching my new found fashion freedom.

I think it was around the time I bought that kimono when I realised I might have lost sight of my wardrobe goals. I read a very insightful article on the website where the biggest fashion rebel of them all, Leandra Medine, owns up to having her own set of basic must-haves. The only difference between her basics and those of someone working in the corporate industry, for instance, is that Ms Medine’s is dictated by her personal taste and includes such things as denim shorts - which would be heavily frowned upon in an office situation. What I’m saying is, yes we all need the basics sorted to have a solid foundation on which to build our utopian wardrobe. But these are not cookie cutter basics, it should be tailored to your industry, personality and taste. So, if you’re a fashionable young mural artist who paints children’s hospitals for a living, by all means consider a distressed dungaree one of your must-have basics! Whatever works for you, as long as you keep your eyes on your goals and your hands off that fringed kimono.


Author | Annamé Kleynscheldt

Annamé started her career in fashion as a personal shopper for Stuttafords, before landing a gig as fashion columnist for the lifestyle publication, The Month. Following a successful tenure in freelance fashion styling, working on both local and international publications, she has returned to her roots in personal shopping. Based at Topshop’s V&A flagship, she can be found saving one fashion victim at a time. |  Annamé on Twitter

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