Basics are the bread and butter of a wardrobe – the white tees, the black or navy pants, the co-ordinating work-worn shoes. They are the clothes you end up wishing you had bought five of so there is always one clean, ironed and ready and waiting at arm’s length.
While neutrals and safe shades like black, white and blue are versatile, the same garment in a slightly less common shade – like nude, red, or your favourite colour – an also do the job, with a cherry on top.
When you plan to layer pieces, you don’t want any tricky giant puffed sleeves, frills or excess volume. These pieces make the biggest impact on your wardrobe when they are simple, but considered. Basic shapes in goodquality fabrics are a dream to own and wear.
The downside of favourites is that heavy wear eventually starts to show on a garment. Take note of what the garment is made from and how best to care for it. If in doubt, most fabrics respond well to a cool hand wash. You could go the full Marie Kondo approach for favourites. Wash them by hand, with a nice-smelling soap, observing and appreciating them for their service.
Speaking of laundry, block soaps for hand washing and/or stains are the latest trend. Make a mix, blending a little soap till you have lightly sudsy water. More is not more when it comes to soap use. Don’t apply the soap straight onto a stain unless it’s major. I’ve been using a Penny Sage x Sphaera Laundry Bar ($18). It’s lasting a long time, smells wonderful, and seems to work.
Wool and hair fibres like cashmere are slowly damaged by normal laundry detergent. Most detergents are alkali and affect wool, making it slimy to the touch. Mild acids like lemon juice, on the other hand, can help retain the handle of wool. I’ve been using The Laundress New York wool and cashmere shampoo, which Max stocks. It smells amazing and means I don’t waste my actual hair shampoo, the other kind of soap you can use on woollens.
1/ Max Lisa linen layering jacket, $140 2/ Workshop Denim Lia a high-waisted pants, $298 3/ Nom D vector jumper, $445 4/ Heidi eidi Klum Stripe Mesh and Papertouch briefs, $17 5/ Juliette Hogan n linen tank in fern, $179 6/ Dr Martens Chelsea boots, $299
7/ Rachel Mills Facile pants, $379 8/ Salasai Gorilla shirt, $300
9/ Marle Dean tee, $200 10/ Kowtow Monument jacket, $329 11/ I Love Ugly waffle tee, $59 12/ Paris Georgia Cotton x standard issue sheer turtle, $290 13/ Nom D socks, $28 14/ Shjark Nile pants, $319 15/ Flash Jewellery Haze hoops, $169
16/ Chaos & Harmony Seek slides, $299