The foundations of a great wardrobe are strong basics, so it’s worth taking the time to find out which stores sell the best-quality pieces at the best price. It’s tedious having to replace essentials too frequently. They should last well and anchor your wardrobe so that each season you can build around them with florals or prints, or whichever particular trend you want to buy into. This is my definitive list of where to buy T-shirts, jeans, white shirts, knitwear and blazers – the building blocks of my wardrobe year round.
Finery London for T-shirts
Starting from just €24, the quality of Finery London T-shirts is the best I’ve found on the high street. They can be thrown into the washing machine on a standard cotton cycle but they never fade or wind up misshapen. The brand is very trend-driven, but it also offers wonderful staples too, so alongside a fuchsia frill-front tee sits a classic Breton stripe. My absolute go-to for T-shirts.
Seymour striped jersey tee, €36.50 at finerylondon.com
Zara for Denim
If money were no option, J Brand (available at BT2) and Paige Denim (available at Seagreen) would be my choice of denim brands. But for about one-sixth of the price, Zara jeans come pretty close. They have stretch, but not so much that I feel as if I’m wearing leggings, and the denim fabric used is strong enough to give me a firm and structured silhouette. They don’t sag after a couple of wears and they feel as good on after two years’ worth of wear as they did the first time you pulled them on in the changing room. Quality jeans at a brilliant price.
Mid-rise straight-cut jeans, €39.95 at Zara
Cos for White Shirts
The best selection of white shirts is always at Cos. They offer standard button-front if you want to go ultra classic, as well as a variety of slightly quirky takes on this wardrobe basic. I love this 100 per cent cotton drape-front version. It has an extended hem at the back, which is perfect if you want to layer it beneath a sweater, while still showing off the stylish detailing, and the drape front creates a nicely fitted waist, which contrasts beautifully with the boyish grandfather neckline and traditional cuffs.
Shirt with tie drape, €79 at Cos
Dunnes Stores for Knitwear
Over the past two years, Dunnes Stores has become my go-to for luxurious, good-quality knits. Paul Costelloe’s Living Studio, in particular, has exceptionally beautiful pieces (many with a cashmere mix), from ponchos to oversized chunky knits and neat twin sets. But Gallery is also a hidden haven of chic knitwear, and is available for about half the price of Costelloe’s better-know range.
Camilla cape poncho, Paul Costelloe Living Studio, €60 at Dunnes Stores
Whistles for Blazers
Fabulous outerwear is where most style savvy women put their money. There’s no better place to invest in a blazer than Whistles. The quality is exceptional, but it’s the clever design details that mark them out as something special; they’re classic, but with a twist. This white boyish blazer has a flattering longline fit and an asymmetric hem. You’ll never tire of wearing this beautiful piece, and as long as you drink white wine instead of red, it should last you for years.
Crepe boyfriend blazer, €188 at whistles.com