The clothes you wear again and again – three style staples worth investing in

— by Alyson Walsh

Photos: Claire Pepper


As the decade comes to an end, are there any clothes you’re wearing now that you were wearing 10 years ago? Of course there are. For me, everyday essentials such as jeans, jackets and, at this time of year, ankle boots are the items that keep on giving. These style staples, clothes I come back to again and again, are what I like to call Wardrobe Glue. I’m not one for virtue-signalling – but the tuxedo jacket and coated jeans, together with a pair of J.Crew earrings, a grey marl t-shirt and Stan Smith trainers, are what I wore to the launch of my first book Style Forever, in 2015.

The Once-in-a-Lifetime Céline tuxedo jacket was a complete splurge. This was (and still is) the most expensive item of clothing I’ve ever bought. I’ve always been very careful with money  – never having had much of the stuff – but the superb quality of the fabric, the beautiful fit of the-only-tuxedo-left-on-the-rail-that-just-happened-to-be-in-my-size and the impending book launch propelled me towards the cash desk. I knew this would be one of those items of clothing I’d wear over and over again. Designed to last, the Once in a Lifetime Tuxedo Jacket has definitely earned its keep. With a sprinkling of events, posh meals and awards ceremonies to go to this month, it is the first thing I reach for when putting a Casually Glamorous outfit together.


Three of my favourite style staples


One subject that’s come up in That’s Not My Age podcasts – particularly in the episodes with Baroness Lola Young and Patrick Grant – is taking care of clothes. Keeping items longer, repairing things and not washing them too often is good for the bank balance and the environment. There’s a great feature in the Guardian about slow fashion and looking after your clothes HERE. I was surprised to read that the average lifetime of clothing in the UK is shockingly low at 2.2 years. My rarely washed coated jeans from Eileen Fisher (style staple number two) are around six years old and still going strong; they’re no longer available but for similar styles try Hush and Reiss – or Frame’s dark grey mid-rise jeans are 50% off at the Outnet.

The third style staple worth investing in is a pair of sturdy, black leather ankle boots. On  my feet are new Shit-Kickers from Grenson (a very generous gift). The chic hiking boots take the tuxedo jacket and coated jeans in a different direction. In the olden days it would’ve been Dr Martens boots, a second-hand men’s jacket and black denim Levi’s 501s. I love re-visiting styles I have worn before and having the confidence to wear them again. These items may not be the oldest clothes in my wardrobe but I have been wearing a version of this look for many years. And once the essentials are in place, the uniform perfected, then I’m ready for action.



Chic hiking boots

Oh and before I forget – That’s Not My Age is now an award-winning blog! One of the events I wore the Once-in-a-Lifetime Tuxedo to was the Vuelio Awards where TNMA had been shortlisted for the category of Best UK Fashion Blog. Whoop.

And the award for the Best UK Fashion Blog goes to….(me, my award and comedian/host Jen Brister).

Here are the style staples I’ll be wearing for the next decade:

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  As the decade comes to an end, are there any clothes you’re wearing now that you were wearing 10 years ago? Of course there are.