Classic of all classics. Mine is a grey-blue and ancient.

A wise woman – Lisette Oliver of Sorted! – once said that investing in basics was never a waste. I wholeheartedly and enthusiastically agree!

You use your basics every day. It makes sense to me that the things that you surround yourself with the most should be the things that you love and value the most, and the things that will do the best job for you. This doesn’t mean spending a fortune; it just means making sure that your most-used possessions are also the ones which are least likely to break, most likely to work, and happen to give you a little frisson every time you use them!

I am a very ‘basics’ wardrobe girl. I like to rotate favourites that I know make me look and feel good, and once I find something that does that I am a multiple-colour buyer! Here are some of my favourite basics that make each day a little bit happier.


Bettina Liano Curvy Fit Skinnies

What is better than a great-fitting pair of jeans? Just about nothing I reckon. They’re my all-time wardrobe staple and my latest loves are Bettina Liano (hope the administration doesn’t lead to bankruptcy) Curvy Fit Skinnies. Don’t be fooled by the Curvy Fit name; it just means not a waiflike teenager. These jeans are a little higher in the waist than I’m used to, but the backside is stupendous and when you are short-waisted like me, a little bit higher in the zip doesn’t visually stumpify you as you’d expect, but actually enhances the length that you do have.

Bardot jeans with trademark curvy butt swirls.

I’m also having a teenage moment with Bardot. For $80 they’re a steal and I find they sit really nicely. Put me down for two!


My name is Rachel and I am a recovering shoeaholic.

I used to have a serious addiction to shoes, and working during uni in the largest shoe reserve in the Southern Hemisphere did not help.

When I went vegan I no longer wanted to wear leather or suede, and suddenly all my lovingly collected footwear became … just stuff. I had no shoes and started again.

I’ve since had to satiate my ongoing shoe obsession with non-animal materials, and although it’s not easy to find decent quality (I admit I’ve mostly given up on great quality) shoes I have had some small successes and amassed a carefully curated collection.

I don’t think you can go past a good pair of Havaianas. Cheap, comfortable, versatile and by far the best thong (stop sniggering US and UK readers; it means flip-flop) on the market, I have hiked up the island of Capri to Anacapri in them, wandered around New York in humidity and freakish storms in them, and traipsed across three continents in them – and they never missed a beat.

Rubbery goodness.

A perennial favourite that has seen me through my grungy teens, student 20s and professional 30s is the ultimate sandshoe, the Chuck Taylor. These shoes are both the archetypal runner: classic, ubiquitous, pedigreed; and the anti-runner: lo-tech, cheap, just the same as they’ve always been. I love white and low-profile, and that I can dress them up or down (and that I can replace them for under a hundred).

My Con of choice: Optical White Light Lo.

A more recent discovery is Melissa, a Brazillian company that makes fun, enviro-friendly shoes and often collaborates with designers including Vivienne Westwood (ooh!) and Jean Paul Gaultier (eee!). The Ultragirl style fits my wide feet perfectly and they are a cute comfy flat for running about and going out.

Vivienne Westwood Anglomania for Melissa - love the gold bows! These ones are old trusties.


My new purchases for going overseas - the pattern will hide the dirt!

Now do we see a pattern here? I like a white shoe. I used to think they were the very end of all tackiness, but now I like something a bit bright on my feet. Must be getting older. It’s not even after Labour Day.


I couldn’t find a picture, but I live in a series of cheap, replaceable cotton-lycra singlets from Target. Under anything they keep away the chill, add a peek of colour, and provide a little structure underneath. Best bought in bulk and on sale as they’re not great quality, but they are cheap’n’cheerful and worth keeping a stack of.

I have also recently re-discovered Kookai and their excellent basics. Great quality cotton, on-trend colours and reasonably priced – we’ll see how they last now!

Not these ones – no wool for this little vegan! – but prettypretty anyway.

I love, love, love a good blazer. Maybe it was all those years at a girls’ school, and my tendency to school-captain it up, but a blazer makes me feel pulled together and ready to go anywhere. My favourite kind has a slight stripe, involves some navy (school again!), and is cut for women with a nipped in waist and maybe a little shoulder action. This is where it really is worth splashing some cash – good tailoring is always worth the price. Current wardrobe loves come from Jigsaw, Cue and Guess (of all places!).

Love the white endging, and the overall darker colour is great if, like me, you tend to end up wearing at least some of each meal.


Your basics will ensure you always have something on hand that you know makes you feel just a little bit spesh, and if bought carefully and treated well, will provide you with years of faithful service. Surround yourself with what you love!