Fashion Items I ‘Ought’ To Own... And Don’t.

I’d have to change my personality, lifestyle, body shape and the contents of my wardrobe to accommodate these ‘staples’. What a shame, as some of them are really lovely.
Publish date:
April 1, 2013
shoppables, fashion, bad fashion editor, wardrobe essentials

As well as being a baaaad beauty editor, did you know I’m a bad fashion editor too? It’s mostly because I’m deeply suspicious of fast fashion and ‘trends’ as well as having a certain truculence about being told what I ‘ought’ to own. Instead I prefer to cheerfully plough my own, Breton-lined furrow. Talk about physician heal thyself.

But I really do believe that ‘fashion’ – or more accurately style – stems from knowing yourself, understanding what you love (and hate) and what suits you – and if you happen to love something that really doesn’t suit you, having the confidence to say “sod it” and wear it anyway.

I’ve pretty much made peace with the fact that I am probably never going to own the items that glossy magazines tell you are ‘wardrobe essentials’ or ‘must-haves’ (shudder) but every once in a while I think “ooh, could I...?”, longingly stroking a butter-soft biker jacket in Jaeger, or pondering pencil skirts in Zara.

But no, they’re not for me. I’d have to change my personality, lifestyle, body shape and the contents of my wardrobe to accommodate these ‘staples’. What a shame, as some of them are really lovely.

Leather jacketA leather jacket is one of those ‘forever’ pieces that I genuinely wish I could wear, but I must confess it’s so anathema to my normal style that I’ve never even tried one on. I like the idea that a leather jacket only improves with age, as it softens and acquires the odd scuff and scratch, making it worth the extra cash you have to expend to get a well fitting one.

This is the Jaeger one I mentioned – it’s unbelievably soft, a neat, streamlined shape without any fiddly buckles or tabs and they style it on their website in a very grown-up, elegant way. But it wouldn’t go with anything I own – I like full skirts and cropped trousers and preppy, English-casual style. I fear if I chucked a biker on top I’d look like John Travolta in Grease. £399,‘Le Smoking’ is one of those timeless looks, first introduced by Yves Saint Laurent, that in its minimalist androgyny actually enhances a woman’s femininity. I actually bought a man’s tux in Oxfam once and used to have a lot of fun wearing it to parties with heels and a camisole, but I don’t know where it is now.

Even though I enjoyed wearing it, I knew deep down the mannish cut didn’t flatter my hourglass shape. This season there are tuxes and trouser suits everywhere, and they have a softer, more womanly cut, so I might be tempted to try again. This one’s a 'maybe'.

Leather trousersWhen I was 15 I tried a pair of leather trousers on in Topshop for a laugh. It was hideous – I looked like a wretched Shania Twain wannabe and for a brief moment that felt like eternity I couldn’t extricate myself from their sweaty embrace. I don’t care how many times Donatella sends them down the catwalk, trying to get me back into a pair of those would be like attempting to put a cat in a bath.

Pencil skirtAnother item that triggers an avalanche of annoying outfit tweaks – you can’t wear a pencil skirt without heels (unless you’re Alexa), and I personally think it looks better with bare legs or flesh-coloured tights. Now when on earth would I go to all that trouble? Nope, sorry pencil skirt – we could have made a good team, but until I do the sort of job that forces me to wear ‘office attire’, this one’s not going to happen.

Denim jacketNow what, you may be thinking, is she making such a fuss about a sodding denim jacket for? They’re so easy and breezy and you just throw one over your maxi dress or flimsy summer frock or whatever and off you go! But no.

The only denim jacket I own is an indigo-blue Levi’s number from the mid-‘90s, and while I’m painfully aware that the ‘90s are back in fashion, this is one item that needs to be allowed to rest in peace. It’s the wrong colour, it’s too boxy (more ‘Pat Sharp in Funhouse’ than ‘Winona Ryder in Reality Bites’) and obviously I can’t wear it with jeans because, Canadian tuxedo.

Is there a particular item of clothing you'd love to wear, but just doesn't fit with your style and/or life? Or any 'wardrobe essentials' that you wouldn't wear in a million years? Share!