I have never been one to follow trends or plea to ‘buy’ every designer bag going because ultimately I am a high street girl at heart. I live in Primark, Topshop and Miss Selfridge with the occasional ‘Zara’ buy but that dosen’t mean that I don’t like designer clothing, because I do. I have never been in a position where I would be able to ‘afford’ a designer bag because every penny, every pound that I work for is spent on rent, bills and travel. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I struggle with finances most months because my income fluctuates but I have always dreamt of having enough money to afford labels like Ellie Saab (haute couture gown realness) , Valentino (floral mania) and Aquascutum ( Girl Boss Realness) and not for the reasons that you think either. I couldn’t care less about its ‘designer label tag’, rather the reason I feel attuned to these ‘premium brands’ is more about the unique nature of their brands aesthetic. While Valentino is known as a designer label that creates fantasy clothing inspired by nature, Ellie Saab’s designs are often rooted in fairytale culture and Aquascutum is a ‘cheaper Burberry’. Not to say that Aquascutum is a ‘cheap knock off’ because it’s not but rather that it adapts this notion of a working man or woman’s wardrobe and develops it into a collection can exist both in the workplace and ‘for playtime’.
The Shift Dress
As women who like to multi-task, having a wardrobe that can be suitable for any occasion-whether that be informal or formal- is almost a given prerequisite of what we expect from modern designers. When we choose a-line dresses, we pair them with an 80’s power blazer in a striking shade of cobalt or pillarbox red to demonstrate authority in the boardroom but that all changes when the office lights go out. The blazers come off and the dresses are paired with luxurious faux fur shrugs, while the kitten pumps are paired with sleek stilettos with a daring edge. The hair comes tumbling down and the makeup becomes deeper and darker, more intense. Thanks to Aquascutum this transition from boardroom politics to ‘clubwear etiquite’ couldn’t be any more simpler. Take this glorious ‘Tuka Print Dress‘ emblazoned with this seasons must have ‘Birds of Paradise’ print. Inspired by the infamous photographer and contemporary artist Nobuyoshi Araki, the a-line shift dress is made from 100% silk, while the cap sleeves stops the dress from being a ‘re-model’ of 90’s lingerie esque dresses that were so popular on the red carpet. Instead the printed design lends a more sophisticated vibe to the Tuka shift, while creating a merger between ‘tropical beach-esque wear’ and ‘power shift’. While the shift might be ‘tropical’, the straight shift cut makes it more appropriate for the boardroom. That being said, the Tuka Shift is more versatile than you may think and the styling possibilities are endless. Whether that be by pairing with a power blazer or knee high boots, a shift dress is a powerful component of a ‘capsule wardrobe’.
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The Woman’s Trench Coat
Speaking of capsule wardrobes, shift dresses might be the creme de le creme of the ‘dress world’ but it is a trench coat that truly has the most incredible styling credentials. Flashback to 2009 and I was 15; having just discovered fashion a typical uniform alternated between a ra ra skirt, leggings and 90’s crop or a neutral beige-ish grey military button trench coat, patterned tights and wedges. While eight years has seen a great transformation in my personal style, looking back at past photos make me nostalgic for my ‘trench coat wearing days’. Women’s Trench Coats are sophisticated, timeless and best of all suited to both ‘work and play’. Although trenches are available in a variety of colours a classic neutral trench is greater suited to a capsule wardrobe because the muted ‘colour’ means that it will go with pretty much anything in your wardrobe, even if like me you wear bright and pastel colours. Aquascutum’s double breasted ‘Trafalgar Trench’ in the shade ‘camel’ is a prime example of a coat that works hard for your ‘buck’. Worn with a suit, the trench softens the harshness of the ‘workroom aesthetic’ while worn with a dress or ‘night-time playsuit’ lends sophistication and elegance to a ‘party look’. Ultimately a trench is inspired by the Blair Waldorf’s of the world, kept closed Blair is prim and proper, all the attributes associated with the archaic archetype of a ‘powerful woman’ but left open, there is danger and endless possibilities. Question is which side will you choose?
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The Man’s Trench Coat
But it’s not just women that can have all the fun, after all men are entitled to their own ‘capsule wardrobes’ and a large proponent of a working man’s wardrobe is once again the classic trench. A working mans trench is shorter than a woman’s trench and features a set in sleeve, with military-inspired epaulettes to the shoulders, a double-breasted front with a button fastening and a waist belt which creates masculine elegance. Aquascutum’s Richmond design skims the upper thighs and its short length means that it can be worn with suit trousers without looking too ‘stuffy’ or equally worn with chinos and boat shoes, the coat is just as versatile as any boardroom blazer. It might not be Chuck’s version of boardroom or even pleasure attire ( but then again his style was questionable at the best of times),but a trench coat is a classic unisex look for both sexes. Plus women or men can wear either the Trafalgar (women’s) or Richmond (men’s) and still look just as flawless in both.
An Oxford Shirt
Traditionally Oxford Shirts are seen as ‘prim and proper’ and designed only for boardroom etiquette, yet the styling possibilities are far more vast. Available in classic white or light blue, the Aquascutum Lloyd Oxford Shirt is crafted from pure cotton and features a unique mother of pearl fastening. Oxford Shirts might be typically seen as a ‘workwear staple’ but the truth is they can be worn with anything, even at festivals. To really step outside the box, pair an Oxford shirt with a pastel tennis skirt, a longline printed duster jacket and layer a bralet over the top, before finishing off the look with a novelty tote, fishnet pastel heels and a wide brimmed floppy hat. Equally if the Oxford shirt has been brought to wear in the ‘work-room’ then a pair of slacks, power blazer and sleek black heels will work to create an illusion of power.
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A Power Tote
Tote bags come in a variety of shapes and sizes but a medium size in a neutral or cognac hue is best suited to creating a ‘capsule wardrobe’ that works for you. Whether that be faux or real leather, a day tote bag can easily replace a briefcase in the boardroom and double up as a handy bag to go clubbing with, After all, its handy zip compartment means that there is a separation between your working life and what you do after hours, making it a bag that is happy to do double duty. Plus because it is titled as a ‘day bag’ even the most ‘casual outfit’ will be lent an air of much needed sophistication, which is ideal for days that you are rushing around and want to be comfortable but still command authority.
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What Would Be In Your Capsule Wardrobe?