Fashion: The seven style swaps you need right now

Somerset by Alice Temperley Dahlia shirt dress, �99 at John Lewis
Somerset by Alice Temperley Dahlia shirt dress, �99 at John Lewis
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It’s time to declutter to make room for new key seasonal investments. Stephanie Smith has tips on replacing and re-investing in style.

Moving into a new fashion season is all very well, but what happens when it’s “in with the new”, but not yet “out with the old”?

Romy paper-bag waist trousers, �98; Texturecraft jumper in white, �78. Both at Anthropologie at Victoria Gate Leeds.

Romy paper-bag waist trousers, �98; Texturecraft jumper in white, �78. Both at Anthropologie at Victoria Gate Leeds.

Chaos and over-stuffed wardrobes, that’s what, as jumpers and winter coats fight for space with pieces in lighter colours and fabrics, because at the moment, we need them all.

Well, something’s got to give and so a declutter is needed before making any further fashion investment.

Here’s what I do. I empty the contents of my entire wardrobe and my chest of drawers onto my bed and I try, very hard, to be realistic as I sift through all the items.

What do I actually wear? Black tops, cardigans, dresses and skirts, mostly, with a smattering of grey and navy blue, plus a few bright, metallic, nautical striped and printed pieces that I mix in when the mood takes me.

Coralyn jacket, �179; Philippa loafer, �149; Paige trousers, �79; Wimbledon tote, �189. From Hobbs.

Coralyn jacket, �179; Philippa loafer, �149; Paige trousers, �79; Wimbledon tote, �189. From Hobbs.

I make four piles: 1. Keep for continued use; 2. Store until seasonally appropriate; 3. Give to charity shop; 4. Throw away.

Obviously, anything tatty gets thrown away, although this does tend to mean that these are pieces I actually wear quite a lot, so I make a list of what I need to replace.

That’s long sleeve cotton tops, T-shirts in seasonal shades, leggings and jeggings and long light cardigans, in my case, because these are the staples I wear for doing day-to-day activities at weekends and when I don’t have any events, meetings or occasions for which I really ought to look smart and reasonably well turned out.

Perhaps I’m in a bit of a rut but I tend to buy my basic jeggings from M&S and leggings from Mint Velvet (take a look at what they have to offer and you will soon see why – great quality, great price and lovely little design touches which lifts them above the ordinary). For basic tees and long sleeve tops, I go to Gap, and then for lightweight knits, I favour Oasis at the moment, for quality, shape and fit at a reasonable price.

Blush tie cuff blouse, �28; grey belted high waisted trousers, �30, from Next.

Blush tie cuff blouse, �28; grey belted high waisted trousers, �30, from Next.

And then comes the rather more exciting task – indeed, duty – of buying a few new key pieces to revamp my look, and see me through the coming season (and, if I choose well, rather longer, although I don’t mind buying an obviously one-season piece as long as it doesn’t cost too much). And for these, I like to keep an open mind and trawl the High Street and independents. Here are my suggestions for new season investment pieces:

1. A statement sleeve blouse in blush pink (see Next). I know it’s all about the white shirt this season, but blush pink is kinder to wear and always looks elegant. Look for volume, billowing and tie-cuff sleeves.

2. A sleek leather jacket – keep detailing minimalist and leather high quality. Try cropped styles over this season’s full long shirts and blouses – ultra wearable.

3. A jumpsuit – this season, try one with wide cropped legs in a printed floaty fabric, for a great way to introduce colour and pattern to your look.

Jaipur print silk jumpsuit, �349, at Whistles.

Jaipur print silk jumpsuit, �349, at Whistles.

4. A printed floral shirt dress – I’m not one for a riot of colour, so I’ll be going for an elegant two-tone print, like the one featured here by Somerset by Alice Temperley at John Lewis. Dress up with a blazer and heels for a wedding, or down with trainers for any time.

5. Paperbag waist trousers – bascially, ones that gather at the waist, pulled in with a belt. Choose from wide or slim fit, long or cropped, depending on what suits you best.

6. A white blazer – this instantly smartens any look, adding timeless chic and elegance. A tuxedo style, gently tailored with slim lapels, will work with anything and won’t date.

7. A new purse – I’m going for a metallic textured version this season for an on-trend injection of bling. And it has to be large enough to hold bank notes and all my cards.

Gold snake-print purse, �35, at Dune.

Gold snake-print purse, �35, at Dune.

Pure leather edge to edge jacket, �249, Autograph at Marks & Spencer.

Pure leather edge to edge jacket, �249, Autograph at Marks & Spencer.

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