Making Your Wardrobe Work for You - Tops

three women in fashionable street style looks


We're back for part two in our wardrobe series and today we are looking at tops -

From basics such as t-shirts and base layers, to chunky knitwear and shirting, tops are an essential part of your wardrobe and for some may even be the first thing we think of when dressing. When it is cold we reach for base layers and knits, in the summer we are looking at t-shirts and shirts and for a night out, we are all familiar with the popular nice shirt and a pair of jeans trope!

1. T-Shirts & Base Layers

There are certain timeless staples that we swear by day to day - whether layering beneath sweatshirts or cardigans, worn beneath a smart blazer or tucked into tailoring or denim - the simple white t-shirt will do you no harm!

Find the style that fits you just right, focussing on the hemline, neckline and sleeve length. These are stylistic elements that will not only make you more comfortable and thus confident, but can also elevate your outfit.

Personally, we think you can't go wrong with a slightly more relaxed fitting top, with a longer sleeve length which falls to just above the elbow. Once you find your perfect fit, consider other staple colours which will work seamlessly with other items in your wardrobe - black, navy, grey.

Don't like to show off your arms or are looking for a little more warmth? Opt for a long sleeve t-shirt in a heavier cotton - American Vinatge Sonomas tops are our go-to's here and we would size up due to their slightly snugger fit.

Lady wearing a white t-shirt

2. Breton Stripe Top

When the breton first appeared on the new uniform decree for The French Navy in 1858, little did they realise all these years later the breton stripe would be a firm fashion favourite.

Gone are the days where its sole aim was to locate a man who had fallen overboard, it has now taken on a life and colour of its own. Originally created with 21 stripes - a nod to Napoleon's twenty-one naval victories over the English - the breton top is popular in a multitude of designs and colourways.

The thing we love most about the breton stripe top is its simplicity - pair with your favourite denim or loose linen and you are good to go. For a smarter look, place a tailored blazer or wool coat over the top to pull your outfit together and pair with some classic ballet pumps for that french flair!

lady wearing a breton stripe top

3. The Classic Tailored Shirt

lady wearing loose blue shirt
lady wearing loose white shirt

The oversized shirt never gets old. Tailored, with long sleeves and a button down front, we always have at least one white and a pale blue shirt top on rotation. While we all wear them differently - some layered over low-slung leg jeans and stirrup leggings, others loosely tucked into linen or smartly into tailored trousers - the beauty of this wardrobe staple is its sheer versatility. It really does work in every wardrobe! A seasonless favourite is also a structured denim shirt with classic collar and button details!

4. The Rollneck Knit

Chic and perfect for when the chilly weather sets in, it's no secret we love knitwear. An absolute essential in our wardrobes (particularly with our unpredictable weather here in the UK), the one knitwear piece we would definitely invest in would be the rollneck jumper.

Easy to layer over t-shirts and base layers, they look equally as good teamed with baggy jeans and tailoring, as well as beneath tailoring or casual quilted jackets and trenches.

For a truly timeless look, we would advise sticking to neutrals - navy, grey, cream, beige and black - and quality wool yarns and cashmere if budget allows. Again we would opt for a slightly relaxed fit over a figure hugging one and either a funnel or rollneck design.

lady wearing a cream rollneck knit

5. The Feminine Blouse

The phrase 'nice top and jeans' is certainly not new! But more than ever before it has become our go-to for work parties, nights out, dinners and drinks! Not only does it hark back to the Noughties, but it is also something that transcends ages and budgets. 

Pair with your favourite pair of jeans, heels and a clutch and you are good to go. Weather a little nippy? Add a tailored blazer draped over the shoulders or a smart tailored tailored coat or trench.

The hero piece in this look is of course, the blouse itself. With the power to transform the most unassuming of denim, you can go as plain or patterned as you like. It really is personal preference!

This is a great opportunity to play with scale and silhouette - think frill detailing and puff shoulders - as well as fabrics and neckline. There are no rules - a silky fabric looks just as great tucked into denim for a day or evening look. Likewise, washed and worn denim can be a great counterbalance to prim or highly decorative blouses.

lady wearing a blouse and jeans