The perfect pair of denim jeans ... a fashion staple. Photo: Getty
Fashionistas no longer need to follow strict fashion guidelines slavishly. Because of the proliferation of clothes - both cheap and pricey - consumers are faced with endless choices, designs, cuts, lengths, colours, textures and ensembles, 24/7.
The hard-and-fast rules of tailoring and matching your lipstick to your handbag have all but vanished, and you can be a different person every day of the week, if you so desire.
Fashion magazines, shows and blogs don't make the choices easier, either. Whereas one mag can tell you that minimalism is all the craze right now, another will rave about the beauty of pastels and the importance of matching your pants to your shoes. Embellishments, prints, 1950s, '60s and '80s fashions are all in, as are pastel colours, tussled hair and bright lipsticks.
Most importantly, today's fashion is all about defining the essential styles and mixing them up according to who you want to portray to the outside world. So, we have compiled a list of some items that will suit any fashion trend - no matter how exotic - any time, anywhere.
White business shirt
There is nothing more stylish than a crisp, white shirt. Chic, simple and flattering for every skin tone, the white shirt can be paired with any type of jean - dark wash is universally flattering, but light-coloured, high-waisted denim looks amazing with the white shirt tucked in - a pencil skirt of any shape, or tucked into work trousers. Getting one in cotton is a start, but silk or satin can make anyone feel like a princess.
The it bag
Yes, yes, the phrase may be completely overused by 15-minute celebrities but, honestly, that one amazing bag can really change an entire outfit. Big and shiny or small and slung across your chest, just find one that makes you want to die rather than go without. Chances are, it will have the same effect on others.
An evening dress
Preferably make it sparkly, sleek and below the knees, and you'll fit in anywhere. There is no point in giving more advice than that: the fashion market is absolutely saturated with party dresses, and particularly before the Christmas period. So, go crazy.
A tailored blazer is possibly the most versatile item of clothing in the world. It will take you from work to play, and can be used to cover an evening dress, or as part of a two-piece power suit. Usually, playing with the texture (velvet, satin or anything in between), colour (such as silver, white or black), or even the length (such as cropped, three-quarters or longer and tuxedo-like), can change your look. Either way, keep it structured and you can't go wrong.
That perfect pair of jeans
As a general rule, dark-coloured, heavy fabric jeans are more flattering than their lighter counterparts, and should definitely find their way into every woman's wardrobe. However, if you entertain a weakness for light-coloured denim, go for it: the only requirement is that you feel good and comfortable in what you wear. And, really, denim is denim; it will go with anything.
Chunky and classic, a man's watch on a woman's slender wrist is the epitome of chic. Today, even men's watches have variations in size, so if you are truly tiny wristed, go for a smaller make. Still, keep it masculine for that cool appeal.
An evening coat
A light-weight - preferably in silk or satin - full-length coat can go a long way when dressing up for an evening out. If you want something safe, go for silver, black or gold, otherwise, play with colours and textures to stand out. For those who live in colder countries - or states - consider faux-fur for that touch of evening luxury.
Never underestimate the allure of this slim-fit, womanly creation. Today's pencil skirts come in so many prints, colours, textures and lengths, it is easy to find one for every woman's shape and height. For the adventurers, why not try something more out there, such as digital prints featuring landscapes and photographs, or eastern influences, such as CUE's pencil skirt in “Mandarin fan”.
For those who like a bit of edge, this season's penchant for asymmetrical styles certainly brings a modern edge to the classically cut pencil skirt. Get one in satin or leather, and just watch the street cred come rolling in. Or, if sexy is what you're looking for, why not go with a lingerie-inspired pencil skirt, such as the one featured by the Wheels and Dollbaby collection? Made from luxurious fabrics with panels of lace, velvet bows and silk, the mint-green pencil skirt is extravagant and just amazingly … roar.
Cut out, patterned, knotted at the midriff or spiked, a denim shirt can be worn tucked into a mini-leather skirt, as a jacket over a white T-shirt or buttoned by to the top flowing over white three-quarter jeans. Of course, there are many more ways to wear denim, but a jean shirt is just universally flattering and needs to be in every woman's - and man's - closet.
Preferably in leather - or faux-leather for those more environmentally conscious - the black pump has withstood the test of time as a great pair of heels for both work and play. A great-looking and professional addition to a work outfit - whether it be a skirt suit, pant suit or a pencil skirt and silky blouse - you really can't go wrong with the black pump. Whether they are pointy or round, patent leather, suede or just plain leather, have fun with heel heights and sizes to achieve the perfect look for you.