How to shop Basics Part One

Basics deserve their rightful place in our wardrobes, so I’m breaking it down into two posts. Part One will be based around jeans, tee’s and singlets. Part two will cover dresses, shirts plus drop crotch or ponte pants.

Once we nail the basics in our wardrobe(s) everything else seems easier.

I promise.

Trust me when I say I have never been a casual girl at heart.

Instead, I’ve always loved dressing up.

Outfit planning is one of my favourite pass times.

I can sit and dream up the perfect outfit, down to the last detail and then some.

So the temptation when I go shopping, is to continually focus on show pony pieces.

One off pieces that although make a massive impact when worn to an occasion or event, don’t help me get dressed in a rush for a casual leisure day.

I’ll let you into a little secret…until I moved to Australia, I was rubbish at buying basics.

Yes. Even the stylist in me struggles sometimes.

The problem was, my UK wardrobe was extremely corporate and VERY black.

Jeans have always been a passion of mine, so of course this area of my casual wardrobe was normally covered. But when I did wear my jeans, I only ever wore them in fancy-schmancy way.

Think: Heels, silky top and jackets finished with scarves or jewellery.

I struggled dreadfully with buying tee’s and singlets – ok what I really mean is, I struggled being casual.

Never did I wear flat shoes or sneakers – the mere thought horrified me.

My mind worked something like this: “Why spend a huge amount of cash on a few basic pieces when I could buy a fabulous frock or killer heels”

It was ingrained in my brain.

That attitude of mine left me with a very elegant wardrobe which unfortunately didn’t work for me at 60% of the time.

These days I have (at long last) achieved wardrobe balance.

I truly believe moving to Australia has helped my style personality develop to another level.

My casual might not be your idea of casual, but for me its a heck of a long way from where it used to be!

I now only shop for special occasion pieces when I need them – be under no illusion, I still lust, but the must-have is now under control…

The next step is to curb the mountain of heels I insist on buying!

Back to basics:


I’ve touched on this subject a few times here on IMS 10 steps to buying the perfect jeans.

Jeans are so depended on body shape.

As you know I’m a true pear, a curvy size 12 with ample butt and thigh. What works for one, might not work for another. One thing is for sure. Perseverance is the name of the game in finding perfect denim.

These are on high-rotation for me:


How to shop basics

Bohemian Traders Distressed Skinny Jean $129 I wear a 30″ I ADORE these jeans. Total. Gamechangers.

They fit like a dream and are a higher cut on the waist which means no bagging at the back.

How to shop for basics

Bohemian Traders Indigo Distressed Skinny Jeans $129 wearing 30 (but these are tighter on the waist than the ones above, if you struggle in the waist area, my advice is to size up)

These indigo distressed skinnies have only just landed at Bohemian Traders. I was super delighted to get my hands on a pair – these babies sell like hot cakes!


The new kids on the block for SS 16/17

How to shop basics

360 Memory 7/8 jeans $39.95 I’m wearing a size 10 – technically not a jean as no zips or buttons, but super comfy and a welcome addition to my denim arsenal.

Boho Paisley OTS top $49.00 Lee Lou Anne |  Booties: Elementa Mimco


How to shop for basics

Bohemian Traders Indigo Skinny Jeans $129 Wearing 32″ the Indigo come up slightly snugger than the light distressed ones at the top.


How to shop for basics

Frankie & Co Ava Rip Jeans (wearing a size 12) $79.00 | Witchery Crossover Blouse $99.95 | Mimco Boots

I have worn these Frankie jeans to death. They are a slightly heavier weight with a firmer fit. True to size.


  • How to shop for basics

Frankie and Co Stella Wax Jeans $79.00 Wearing 11 (size down as they are super stretchy)

Frankie & Co Laura Knit Top $69.00 Wearing 12 | Mimco Booties

Don’t be afraid of venturing into the Wax coated jeans.

They are so comfortable (lots of stretch) and look amazing when worn with a soft chiffon blouse or top.

These babies work well from day to night.


Finding the perfect white tee is oftem mission impossible (de de de de de de – 😉 😉 ).

Depending on your bust size you will probably either be team ‘v-neck’ or team ’round neck’.

I’m a full on v-neck girl myself but I never say never with a round neck either.

Finding tee’s that are good quality can be tricky though.

One of the things that I focus on is colour. Yes some whites just don’t cut the mustard for me.

I want the white to be fresh and crisp not with a blue twinge, that looks like you’ve mistakenly wash it with an odd black sock!

Comfort factor must be high. The cut has to be flattering and not too clingy.

Yep, I’m very particular.

Step forward Ruby and Lilli.

I’m guessing most of you have already purchased these fabulous tee’s if not, I urge you to take a closer look.

What I love most about these three tee’s is simple – they can be basic, but when the need arises they look just as fabulous dressed up and glamorous.

Which is as perfect as a tee in my eyes.

Basic does not need to be boring.


For me I love a sleeve, so when Ruby and Lilli launched this new range – I instantly fell head over heels.

The scooped shape is flattering and not at all clingy. The additional velvet flocking/stripe is what makes it special.

How to shop for basics

Simplicite ‘Blanc’ $69.00 Ruby and Lilli | Boots Liz Ankle Boot  $299.95 FRANKiE 4

This black tee has blown me away with its versatility (I also love a tee that offers ample butt covering possibilities).

Wear this one tucked in, or high-low for maximum effect.

How to shop for basics

Simplicite ‘Noir‘ $89.00 Ruby and Lilli  | Jeans Frankis and Co (link above) | Sling back booties Mimco (try DFO)

How to shop for basics

Pssssst – I also have the Bordeaux which I can’t keep off my back either!

All three tees are a slightly different length. The white is the classic t-shirt length, the bordeaux slightly longer and the black is full on hi-lo.

Country Road also did a fabulous v-neck, short-sleeved linen tee last year which I had to buy in every colour.


How to shop for basics

Bohemian Traders Stripe Long Sleeve Tee $63.20 (on sale)

No wardrobe is complete without a good stripe tee.

This one from Bohemian Traders has been a huge success for me. The length is perfect and the fabric is divine. It washes like a dream too!

This one has long sleeves and a round neck BUT its the cut that makes it work on a fuller bust.

No clinging either!


These days, because I worry about my arms being on full show (not a pleasant sight – and yes I could exercise them, but I’m too lazy) you would think I would disregard singlets.

No way. They have a huge place in my wardrobe.

If the cut of the singlet is perfect, it can showcase even my 53-year-old arms and shoulders, in a very positive light.

Note: For me, singlets with narrower straps are much more flattering on my wider shoulders. Try on both thicker and thinner straps to see which works best for you.

These two from Bohemian Traders are total winners the fabric is just right, with a touch of stretch for great bounce back:


How to shop for basics

Bohemian Traders Classic Singlet in White $59.00


How to shop for basics

Bohemian Traders Stripe Singlet in Navy $59.00 |

A great singlet can be worn so many ways, layering on a chilly day under jackets and cardigans is the perfect place to start while we wait for the warmer temps – no QLD I’m not talking about you.


How’s your basic collection? Do you begrudge buying basics? Give a shout-out to your favourite brands for jeans, tees and singlets – sharing is caring after all


This post features items sent to me for editorial consideration in accordance with my disclosure policy. This post also includes affiliate links, which in a nutshell means, if you click-through to purchase, I may earn a small commission. But don’t worry, you won’t pay any extra!



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  • Harriet

    Love all these basics – great advice!
    I think your basic outfits would go great with a unique necklace – why not make your own name necklace at I love mine!

  • I have such a similar attitude to basics. I have to actively remind myself to buy them and I now try to buy quality basics that last. Such a great post Bev. x

  • Alison Williamson

    Love this post Bev. Having young kids I was living in my gym gear until I made an effort to get properly dressed each day. Now I’m investing in good basics and look forward to getting dressed each day.

  • Katypotaty

    I’ll never forget you wearing jeans on hot days in Noosa, because they are such a staple for you!

    • Still adore my jeans…even if it means sweating like a pig while I’m wearing them! xx

  • I’m a massive fan of distressed denim and you have nailed it! I would love for you to link this post to my weekly fashion blogger link up if you get a chance.

  • Suzie

    I’m very much like you in the dress up /casual fashion stakes but we are twins after all! Love a T, jeans and blazer with HEELS and at the ripe old age of 55 have finally found my perfect jeans for my hourglass shape . And there’s not one bit of stretch in them! I’m finding a slim midrise boyfriend is perfect for me and I love how they look dressed up with said heels. Distressed, destroyed, blue, black, white, I’m collecting them like they’re the last ones on the planet. Not doing flats though… No way

    • Suzie you have impeccable style. I adore everything you wear BUT jeans and a jacket (with obligatory heels of course) look DDG on you. I totally understand why you are stocking up on your favourites – I would too. Keep being your gorgeous awesome self my fellow twin, with not a flat pair of shoes in sight! xx

  • It can be hard to part money for really good quality basic pieces but so worth it as you get so much use out of them. Jeans and a white tee is one of my favourite outfits but I too struggle with flats or shock horror sneakers ?. I say this as I sit here in my Frankie4 ELLiES – they have made cross over to the dark side of sneakers and I’m loving it. R & L tees really are the best tees quality and fashion all rolled into one

    • We are so the same Karen. Jeans have always been my casual – but that’s where is stopped. I would always dress them up with a silk shirt or a fabulous crepe cami and a jacket (with heels of course). Tee’s were not my thing unless they were something special. These day I hunt down the perfect tee…yep Ruby and Lilli have nailed the brief, I simply adore their range and the quality is super duper too xxx

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    Great post Bev,love all your basic looks,you always nail every outfit you wear In my opinion,I am probably the opposite being an Aussie we are quite casual,so have lots of casual and not so much dressy clothing ,though I do have what I need! I do need a white tee that’s not too big in the neckline on me and black jeans are missing,but I have grey,so maybe I don’t need black? I love NyDJs,a few seasons ago Katies jeans as now the 8 is a bigger cut and they are too big?I have enough singlets ATM.
    Thank you Bev for sharing your basics with us it’s important to have the basics first I think Xx

    • Thanks my gorgeous friend you’re so kind xxx
      I love your style Lisa. You do casual in a very crisp and elegant way. Always nailing your everydaystyle looks. Grey jeans are fabulous on your figure (on me they tend to emphasise my rather large butt and thighs too much) I rely heavily on black jeans instead. You should give the wax coated jeans from Frankie and Co a try (they are super lightweight) Beckie and Sophie have them (so hopefully they will be small enough for you too) the comfort is indescribable – and they look great when dressed up or down. Hope you’re enjoying every second of your grand baby xxx

  • Jen V Peek

    Wow you always look stunning. Definitely inspired by your style. I’m a curvy size 12 and would love some of the Bohemian Traders distressed jeans but don’t buy online really as am still liking to try on first. But in this case may have to bite the bullet.

    • Thank so much Jen for your lovely comments. Us curvy gals need to stick together! The BT jeans are by far my favourite jeans. I truly get the issue with buying online although I’m such a big online shopper myself (its the lazy ass in me). It’s not very often I need to send anything back at all. Fingers crossed if you go for the jeans you’ll love them as much as I do! xx

  • Im the same, for the longest time I would only shop for show ponies and have nothing to wear on casual weekends! Im all over the Ruby & Lilli tee’s adore them! Jeans are still my ultimate Holy Grail, as a true apple its pretty hard to find a pair that fit my waist but don’t sag and bag over my lower legs…. I generally have to get them taken in a bit and then im ready to rock. Looking lovely Bev, great basics!

    • So glad to hear I’m not alone Caitlin. Show pony pieces seem to drag me in by the scruff of my neck and make me hand over my cash! Like you I just can’t go past a good jeans and tee combo though. The R&L tees have restored my faith that the perfect tee can be found. The white is my favourite, its so perfect on the neckline and the sleeve is the best! Thanks for the love Cutiepie xx