It’s a long-held belief that true style contentment comes not from a bulging wardrobe, but from a streamlined selection of timeless pieces that can be paired together with aplomb. From the cashmere jumper to the white trainer, the T-shirt to the loungewear set, a selection of items should be invested in to achieve sartorial serenity. Here, Wallpaper's well-heeled editors reveal their must-have wardrobe heroes, and the brands to buy them from.
Timeless wardrobe heroes for men and women
Recycled Cashmere cardigan, by Maria McManus
‘Although my quest for the perfect cardigan may be never-ending, this specimen from sustainable fashion designer Maria McManus definitely meets the mark. Cozy enough to lounge around in, yet an elegant statement when worn on its own, this heavy-guage, recycled cashmere beauty matches its eco-credentials with a host of hidden details so that it can be worn throughout the year. McManus is an industry veteran, having worked at New York labels such as Rag & Bone and Edun before she set out to forge a label that uses less water, less chemicals and produces less waste in 2020. Oversized in silhouette with a tactile fisherman rib, the menswear-inspired v-neck cardigan brandishes the label’s signature detail - a discreet slit for arms to slide out of when the mercury rises, to make it a dream layering piece.’ – PRK
Corris Slipper, by Studio Nicholson
‘Studio Nicholson's Nick Wakeman can always be relied on for hard working wardrobe heroes, that subvert fads and trends and will having lasting impact. Case in point, these supple shoes from the London label's debut footwear collection, a minimalist slipper style featuring a V-shape detail on the vamp, that will look equally elegant with a dark denim jean, black tailored trouser or A-line skirt. The silhouette is also available in navy and white, I may not be able to resist all three'. – LH
White shirt, by Another Tomorrow
‘The quest for the perfect white shirt may be never-ending, but the one ticking all my boxes in these new, weird times comes from the sustainably minded luxury label, Another Tomorrow. Classic at first glance, its oversized men’s-style button-down is given an effortless shape with a slightly dropped shoulder and two darts that create a cocoon effect.
‘Elegant, while also suited to concealing a multitude of sins, this organic cotton, Italian-made shirt embodies Another Tomorrow’s transparent, community-focused and environmentally driven philosophy. The brand recently launched a size exchange programme that embraces the simple idea that bodies change – ideal for anyone with grand ambitions during or after lockdown. (It me.)’ – PRK
Casual jacket, by Prada
‘When it comes to making a new clothing purchase, I’m always on the lookout for an item that’s going to stand the test of time not just in quality but beyond the ever-changing face of fashion. This Prada three-button nylon jacket delivers on both fronts. The brand's trademark nylon fabric harks back to the minimalism of the 1990s, while the jackets boxy, relaxed cut references the utilitarianism of workwear. Seamlessly blending form and functionality, it is adorned only by Prada’s triangular insignia, which sits proudly on its chest like a seal of approval. It’s the perfect all rounder – working all day and after office hours too.’ – JH
T-shirt, by Totême
‘Life during lockdown made me realise the distinct lack of everyday, wardrobe heroes I have in my arsenal. Printed T-shirts and patterned jumpers I have a plethora of, but I’ve been a little low on those covetable capsule essentials. My quest for the perfect T-shirt has sent me to a global list of brand websites, where I’ve pored over sleeve style, length and fit through my screen.
‘For me, something oversized, luxurious and soft is essential, and luckily Swedish label Totême’s T-shirt style ticks all my boxes. Formed in soft organic cotton, its slouchy, long-sleeved and straight-hemmed silhouette skims the body and feels utterly easy. It also features a twisted seam as a subtle design detail. The shape is available in white, grey, beige and black, all shades wonderfully suited to teaming with denim, a tuxedo suit or simply your favourite sweats.' – LH
White sneakers, by Nike
‘A good white sneaker is the perfect outfit booster. It’s one of those items that can simultaneously elevate an outfit while grounding it in a fuss-free fashion. I’m a fan of Nike’s classic Air Force 1 high top sneaker for its historical weight and faultless design. I recently embraced the brand's customising service where you can personalise the style to your tastes. A whole host of options are available, from multiple colour choices to different material combinations. If you're a steadfast minimalist, go all-out white with a natural translucent sole and team with other classic wardrobe building blocks – A.P.C. jeans or a Jil Sander black suit. Outfit elevation complete.' – JH
Loungewear set, by Ven Store
‘I know, I know, surely loungewear is running aground by now? Not exactly. Ven Store’s cashmere tracksuit is irresistible, and manages to make something ‘everyday’ feel totally luxurious. Quite a feat right now. An easy crew-neck sweater and trousers – cropped perfectly at the ankle – is relaxed without feeling sloppy, and will happily pass muster for a Zoom call. In beige, it blends effortlessly with so many existing pieces in your wardrobe. Ven Store’s founder Charlotte Lewis produces all her considered items in small quantities, and the London-based label is a little bit of home-from-home for me in New York. Plus, when we can actually travel again, what could be a more cosy way to go?' – TMS
Tote bag, by Toogood x Porter Yoshida & Co
‘You only really need one good bag. Something that can carry all you think you need. Something that hangs neatly on a hook at home and doesn’t call too much attention to itself. Cheap Chic (1975, a handbook for personal style) asserted: ‘Today the size of your bag seems to matter more than variety or expense’, and the same is true today. We aren’t carrying around ‘portable offices in our purses – address book, note pad, appointment calendar, magazines, some letters, bills, make-up, Instamatic, small electronic calculator, checkbook [sic] and wallet’ because they’ve been swallowed up into the iPhone. However, a good canvas or nylon tote is still a bag full of possibilities.
‘Porter-Yoshida & Co’s latest collaboration with Toogood is, really, too good. Their twin-strap Editor tote suits the principles of our multi-hyphenated times. It’s designed to be worn either over the shoulder or held by the handles. It is padded. Has internal pockets. It is in a hardy soft twill fabric. It will transport potatoes, pears, passports and pocketbooks with an easy, discreet swank.' – DC
Jeans, by Goldsign
‘I’d heard about the magic of Goldsign’s denim before I was lucky enough to pop on a pair of the LA-based brand’s jeans myself. The label was relaunched in 2016 under the creative directorship of Karen Phelps, with a focus on relaxed 1990s silhouettes. I favour a flattering mid-rise boyfriend fit over any other style, and for me Goldsign’s Relaxed Straight jean is a style essential. Timeless and infinitely versatile, this pair in a washed blue denim is perfect for teaming with a cashmere pullover, a black tailored jacket or an oversized white shirt. There's also enough stretch in the styles to ensure you can sit at home in them all day, without wishing for a looser waistband. – LH
Cashmere jumper, by Loro Piana
‘I was seduced by Loro Piana as early as 2003. My first piece for this publication was on the brand’s transformation of noble raw materials. Today, my most loved sweater is its Silverstone, and the fit and proportion is fantastic. It’s the little things that make all the difference, and the Silverstone has a raglan sleeve and visible seams that give it a slightly sportier look, but without the V-detail of a cashmere sweatshirt. I alternate between navy and grey versions, the latter made in a heather melange yarn.
‘I always leave the sweaters a day to rest the fibres between uses. In terms of the quality, you can’t really top it. After being washed and checked in Loro Piana’s own plant in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, the raw cashmere travels to Roccapietra in northern Italy, where the fibres’ purity and shape are examined under a microscope, and UV light is used to count the number of ”acceptable” black hairs – no more than five for every 10g. The cashmere is then washed and dyed, twisted into yarn and then knitted into a fully fashioned sweater. I adopted my “quality maniac-at-large” moniker after meeting Pier Luigi Loro Piana in 2014, when he explained that his clients were “quality maniacs” – something I can totally relate to.' – NV
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