Polish your look

Refresh you wardrobe with five classic additions

Tan coloured trench coat from Michael Michael Kors at Dealuxe


Hurrah, it’s a new year and one of your resolutions is to add polish to your wardrobe. But, where do you start? Think about classic pieces that will refine your current rotation but never go out of style. My motto: buy it once, wear it forever. This may be an easier resolution to stick with than hitting the gym!


The sophisticated trench
In Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Audrey Hepburn only wore a few items of clothing but always looked fabulous. Her staples: a black dress, pearls, black heels and yes, a trench coat. She knew what she was doing. Ranging from expensive to cheap and cheerful, the trench has evolved into a modern-day must-have, complete with new shades and patterns. You’ll definitely get noticed in InWear’s watermelon-green trench (800/463-8127). Feel ultra feminine in Naf Naf’s pretty-in-peach coat (514/287-7877). Those who want to stay true to the traditional beige trench will find cost-friendly picks at Esprit and Winners.

The all-purpose blazer
This item works hard for your money. A flattering style (one to three buttons work best) camouflages a thick middle, adds curves to a boyish figure and dresses up a pair of jeans. The trick is to keep the cut close to the body, regardless of your shape. This doesn’t mean it must be tight fitting or that you need to buy one size too small. The blazer should be snug around the shoulders and stop just a few inches below your waist. Anything too loose or too tight accents your problem area. Also, choose fabrics that last and colours that you won’t tire of. My favourites are durable cotton twill, wool blend (preferably with stretch) or menswear-inspired fabrics such as plaid, houndstooth and tweed. Stores such as Gap, H&M, or RW & Co. offer affordable styles for every season.


The perfect-fitting black pants
These have always been a toughie, but retailers have made shopping for this core basic less frustrating. Both Olsen Europe (800/268-1919) and AK Anne Klein have created the most forgiving black pants for women with curves, while Club Monaco looks best on boyish figures. Although they may be pricey, Theory and Tahari have the most figure-flattering fit around, curves or no curves! The key is to look for pants that fall in a straight line down from your hip. If the fabric pulls around the hip, bum or thigh area, don’t be afraid to put it back or try the next size up. Note: floaty fabrics with stretch are forgiving.


The expensive-looking bag
Remember, it should only look as if it cost a lot. A bag in a rich texture or shade (or both!) easily updates a five-year-old winter coat. Keep an eye out for a luxurious-looking finish such as mock croc or a mix of fabrics such as leather and tweed. Beware of patent leather or light colours, which scratch and mark easily. And if you’ve already got a black bag, why not turn to ruby red, chocolate brown or creamy caramel? Gap and Nine West offer expensive-looking bags, while the leather at Cole Haan is as close to butter as it comes.


The go-anywhere black heels
Black heels come around every season, but only a few styles cross over to become true classics. The pointy toe will always be a favourite because it creates a clean line, especially when you’re wearing black pants. And it’s a must-have when paired with a pencil-thin heel – yes, you can walk comfortably in these! When shopping, keep your needs in mind. If you intend to walk a lot, the perfect heel height is half an inch to one inch. This height also works with a variety of looks – pencil skirt, jeans, cropped pants – making it a true multi-tasker.