The Capsule Wardrobe: plan it, find it, style it (3): putting it all together

provence 2009

My grandmother was a stickler for style and possessed it herself in abundance. So I share with you her timeless and priceless advice to me.

Never underestimate the impact of a hat. At one time she worked as a milliner and throughout her life rarely went out without wearing a hat. She favoured a cloche, but the point is that it should frame the face, accentuate your best features and make something of a statement itself but without overwhelming the wearer. Tricky at first but easy when you know how.

Be fearless with accessories. She had an eclectic eye and loved highly unusual and statement-making jewellery but she held everything together with tonal colour combinations. Even though she was tiny and slightly built, this approach enabled her to wear some very eye-catching accessories without being engulfed by them.  If one element of the outfit is really attention-grabbing, make the rest the supporting cast.

Always dress for the occasion. Once, when she was taking me out to the theatre as a child, I emerged wearing a pair of tartan trousers with an utterly mismatched top. She sent me straight back to change, on the basis that my horror of an outfit was not sufficiently respectful to the performers on stage. She was right: not only does dressing for the occasion respect others around you, it also raises your own game, so win-win all round.

Never leave the house without: handbag, sunglasses; heels; your make-up on. You never know when George Clooney might appear.

So that’s it. Go forth and knock ‘em dead.

marseille 2009


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