Fashion Essentials: 5) Leather

Leather-Essentials-StyleOnTheCouchFor this part of my Fashion Essentials series I am talking about a great love.  I have an on-going romance with leather; no longer a fashion luxury but a fashion staple (faux or no).  The three key items I want to focus on for your capsule closet are the leather jacket; the perfect leather pant and the unique leather accessory.

To begin with, the leather pant.  Whether it be slouchy or skinny, the leather trouser is a model-off-duty favorite with its classic meets luxe fashion stance.  My own pair of leather pants are from Joseph; a lovely mix of sleek and chic texture with contemporary detailing (unfinished trouser cuffs).

Leather-essentials-trousersPlenty of other leather pants options are around.  If you are looking for skinnies, I recommend any of the Joseph versions plus this leather and jersey mix pair from DKNY .  Again, lottery winners need to head straight to Net-a-porter for this pair by Saint Laurent.  For those who prefer their leather a little looser fitting, try this relaxed style from Warehouse or try these gorgeous Hallum Pants from Australian brand Viktoria & Woods.

Leather-Fleet-IlyaI am not sure many days pass on my various social media feeds without me mentioning Fleet Ilya,  a London-based leather fashion brand.  Producing creative accessories season after season, to satisfy your leather craving for a kick-ass accessory find, look no further.  You can find a selection of bags, belts, cuffs and harnesses on their website.  A clear sign that leather does not need to be black to have impact, their blush pink clutches for Fall are an unexpected leather touch.

Leather-essentials-jacketFinally, the holy grail of the essential leather family, the jacket.  My own leather jacket is from Helmut Lang, a wonderfully draped style that layers and cocoons with Lang’s typical cool and urban vibe.  I’ve worn it countless times since I purchased it about four years ago now, with no signs of this stopping. My top leather jacket suggestions are as follows:

1) Iro Ebeyna Biker Jacket: slim and structured fit; pair with skinny denim and silk or chiffon blouse underneath

2) Helmut Lang Wither Fitted Jacket (you can find some steals on Lang’s jackets on The Outnet)

3) For a cropped style, try this Xana jacket from Christie Nicole

Finally, proof again that coloured leathers also have impact, take some inspiration from Rick Owens (blue) and Iro again (red) when you go a-shopping.

For those of you with ethical questions, check out this well written page by the Stella McCartney brand on leather usage.

I’m wearing: Zara faux leather top and Reiss trousers.

Fashion Essentials: 4) Denim

William Williams style on the couch-31Next up in my Fashion Essentials series is denim.  Originally only for manual laborers because of its durability, Levi Strauss popularized denim in the 19th century, manufacturing overalls or ‘jeans pants’  as they were known, for coal miners in the USA.

“By the 1930s, cowboys in the United States had also adopted this seemingly indestructible pant. The rise in popularity of Western movies in the U.S. introduced the general public to jeans and soon every boy and man wanted to imitate their screen idols and get a pair. The rugged lifestyle of jean wearers helped to create a jean identity.”- from the History of Denim

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In the 20th century, jeans were transformed into a pop culture fad: think bell bottoms in the 60s and 70s.  Currently, denim sales are skyrocketing.  The metamorphosis of jeans from a commodity to a fashion item happened during the 90s; when jeans evolved into a number of various other items such as jackets, shorts, skirts etc.

How many denim items do you own?  I bet it is more than four, maybe even over ten.  I counted that I have nine: two pairs of boyfriend jeans; two ripped pairs, three skinny.  I have one denim shirt and one pair of denim shorts.  As my own capsule collection of denim has evolved over the years, I am now sharing with you my favourite denim essentials (for which I always stick to my rule: keep denim below the waist):

A) Boyfriend jeans

a. ACNE pop trash boyfriend jeans 260.00 GBP

b. Paige Denim Callie / Naomi deconstructed 229.00 USD

c. Shop Wasteland awesome baggies 145.00 USD

B) Essential skinnies

a. Paige Denim Colette super skinny legging 179.60 GBP

b. Current/Elliot The Ankle skinny 198.00 USD

c. ASOS Ridley high waist jeans 30.00 GBP

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C) Shorts

I am a complete sucker for shorts with the pockets that creep out below the hemlines, as if a little DIY-ed happened at home before you stepped out the door.  Remarkably hard to find online (is there more DIY going on than I thought?) here are some of my best finds:

1. Paige Denim Jaxx knee shorts (not since Carrie Bradshaw appeared in pedal pushers in Sex and The City will I ever look back wearing this shorts style.) 138.00 USD

2. TopShop Moto high waist denim shorts 28.00 GBP

3. Levi’s rolled hem shorts 40.00 USD

D) Overalls (okay, okay so I am breaking my rule just a little bit here.)

Since I spied one of my blogger favourites Style Heroine in her Stella McCartney denim overalls I had to go try out the style myself.  I prefer something slouchy for dungarees, and Frame Denim have this slouchy pair you might like. Alternatively, here are my top picks:

1. ASOS overalls (as in my picture) no longer available, but closest match here, 45.00 GBP

2.  Paige Denim Sierra Overall 279.00 USD

3. Shop Wasteland LA overalls 145.00 USD

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Want to know more? Check out my two favourite denim-centric sites Eat. Sleep. Denim and Donna Aida.  Or see additional ideas on my Pinterest.

Fashion Essentials: 3) Lace

Lace-Essentials-Fashion-StyleOnTheCouchLace may not at first seem an integral part of an Essentials series.  But bear with me, Blog Reader, as I want to explain that a few vital pieces of lace can make you feel like fashion royalty.

The trick with lace is to mix it with more tailored pieces or heavy accessories for a cool contrast.  Fashion really has fallen in love with lace recently; from pretty day dresses to sensual see-through gowns and tops there is a lot of choice on how to add this fabric to your capsule closet.

1) Lace top

a) Lover the Label Valentine Bodice

b) Vanessa Bruno top 419.00 GBP

c) French Connection Vaity lace top (on sale) 25.00 GBP

Pair with the perfect trouser or wool blazer; (choose your undergarments carefully!)

Lace-Top-Lace-Essentials2) (Speaking of which…) Lace undergarments

Lace has the quality of intimacy.  Although I am running a separate ‘Essentials’ post for lingerie, lace undergarments deserve a mention of their own because to me they form the basis of my capsule lingerie collection.  Lace can be exceedingly alluring in that effortlessly sexy kinda way.  Sheer stretch lace is my favourite for lace lingerie basics – lightweight, comfortable and very pretty.

a) Hatsumi’s Laundry flowerbed lace overlap bra and brief (coming soon to the webshop) – so much to love about this brand.

b) Zinke Daisy lace romper 132.00 USD

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3) Simple broderie anglaise

Louis Vuitton pulled off this type of lace spectacularly for their SS12 catwalk show.  There is something very humble and honest about broderie anglaise; it is simple yet stylish, decorative yet subtle. What could be more perfect for an essential wardrobe item.

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a) Freda Emilia broderie anglaise dress 525.00 GBP

b) Traffic People Tulip dress at ASOS 55.00 GBP

c) Christopher Kane cotton skirt 550.00 GBP