Chic Mums

10 Tips on How to Build a Chic, Timeless Wardrobe

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Had enough of decluttering guilt? Konmarie-d your way to wanting to buy less? And most importantly, do you want a timeless wardrobe that is the chicest, most classic and beautiful version you can have?

We talk to The Natty co-founder and master of the chic aesthetic, Nadia Fauzi,  for some tips on how busy and fashion-loving mums can build a stylish, forever wardrobe.

1. Keep Your Core Collection Neutral

Your core collection or capsule wardrobe is going to consist of your most essential clothing items, and they will be the building blocks of your closet. If you invest in high-quality clothing in neutral colours – white, black, navy, brown or beige – it is going to be much easier to mix and match. You will be able to create entire looks based on a strong capsule collection with neutral colours.

When it comes to essentials, Nadia favours a neutral and minimalistic colour palatte.

2. Know What You Like, Know What You Own

How will you know what you should have in your capsule wardrobe? First, make sure you know what you already have in your wardrobe.  A Breton striped shirt? The perfect pair of jeans? Most of us forget what we already own, or do not know what kind of core collection we actually want. Get ideas from Pinterest or the Internet and take a snapshot of outfits you think are classic and chic. Sort what you have, plan for what you do not, and build the timeless wardrobe of your dreams from there.

With her son (and frequent The Natty model) Imran.

3. Buy Better and Buy Less

Do you really want to have piles of fast-fashion pieces that may not last or age well or a few well-made investments that will still make you swoon a decade or more later?  Fast or throwaway fashion is bad for the planet, and let’s face it, may just end up in charity shop or bins.

Nadia said good quality and well-made clothing retain their quality over time even after multiple washes, so “invest in good quality pieces which will also last a while!” The most beautiful clothes may be so timeless and hold up so well that you may even be handing them over to your daughters or granddaughters. Now, how special would that be?

4. Plan to Match in your Timeless Wardrobe

Build a timeless wardrobe that will have pieces that are easy to layer, mix and match and totally versatile. Stylist Tan France certainly agrees. He says that a capsule wardrobe will enable you to mix and match every day for the next few years and feel like you always have something fresh. “Each item in your capsule wardrobe can be worn with many other pieces within your closet, and it doesn’t feel like it’s been seen a thousand times over.”

Nadia with her husband (and The Natty co-founder) Irwan Ismail. She wears her favourite COS jumper here.

Case in point? Nadia’s favourite pieces are her COS blue shirt, some culottes from MUJI and The Natty, and her grey COS jumper. “All of these have seen a fair share of summers and winters – I bought my grey COS jumper in 2008. I truly believe in minimalism, both in terms of designs and the number of items that I own in my wardrobe. With these wardrobe essentials, I am able to create different looks. I layer them up or down depending on the weather, and it’s an effortless choice before I set off for the day.”

5. Don’t Rush: Think (and Save) Before You Buy

Ever regret a piece you bought on a whim, or just after a 15-minutes of scrolling?  To Nadia, people should only buy something that they know they will wear “over and over and over again”. Always remember that if you do not spend a little time thinking about things, it may not work in your timeless, forever wardrobe. Start a fashion savings pot for a major investment piece that will feel even more amazing because you saved up (and thought long and hard) for. And if you find yourself saying ‘Maybe I will fit into it in a few months or save it for the future’, that is not a wise fashion purchase!

Nadia, Irwan and their firstborn Irfan. Seen here with her favourite YSL clutch for special occasions.

6. Educate Yourself, Go For Comfort

There is a staggering impact that our clothing has on the environment and human lives and it is therefore essential that we take our clothes’ lifecycle into account. What it is made out of? Who makes it? Being better educated about clothing materials also brings additional benefits – we know what is more comfortable and what is more practical for our lifestyles.

What are some favourite materials sourced by Nadia for The Natty?  She said she tends to look for high-quality cotton or organic cotton and linen, as she prioritises sustainably sourced fabrics that feel good too. Careful fabric sourcing is also an important aspect for The Natty. “When I started The Natty, I was keen on introducing pieces that my customers will love and cherish for years to come. Its collections are carefully curated, with design elements and materials I would choose for myself and my family.”

Nadia, wearing her favourite The Natty culottes.

7. Monochrome is Your Friend

There is a reason why people make a big deal out of a monochrome style – monochromatic outfits just look so stylish and chic. Monochromatic dressing means wearing separates of one colour – there may be different textures or similar shades of that one colour, but the effect? An overall tonal look that looks so put together.  All black and all white are forever classic, but try your hand at other neutrals (cream, beige) or bolder colours (mustard, red). You can find some monochromatic pieces from The Natty that would make the perfect start to your capsule wardrobe—the culottes and their striped t-shirts are both made of 100% organic cotton.

Nadia is fond of monochrome dressing, accompanied by her staple white sneakers.

8. Strong Capsule Collection, Fun Extras

Now that you have a strong and classic core collection, you can certainly think about fun extras that are a bit more fun and show your personality.  Bold kimono jackets, playful shoes or lush traditional outfits? The sky’s the limit when it comes to unexpected prints, colours or textures!

Nadia and Irwan at the launch of The Natty in London.

9. Go for Minimalist Prints

Who doesn’t love a good print? They add personality and charm to a piece of clothing. But try to go for classic and minimalist prints, as louder or bolder prints can date fairly quickly. “Minimalist prints tend to transcend fads in fashion,” Nadia said, who personally has a fondness for unique and muted prints.

“Some people might be surprised by this, especially considering the fact that I wear a lot of stripes and plain clothing, but I love prints too. I love adding a bit of pattern and prints to my wardrobe. The key is to find timeless prints, such as those by Liberty London’s fabric department, and matching them with your existing colour scheme,” she said. This Eid, The Natty introduces classic kurung in the renowned and iconic Tana Lawn cotton, sourced directly from Liberty London on Regent Street, in their Dari Jauh EID 2021 collection.

Beautiful Liberty London prints and Malaysian beadwork in The Natty’s Eid 2021 collection, Dari Jauh.

10. Invest in Classic Accessories

From handbags to shoes, jewellery to sunglasses, accessories are fun and interesting additions to your timeless wardrobe. They are also often a great conversation starter and can be the first thing people admire about your whole look! But it is good to invest in classics that never go out of style, and even just one good leather handbag and classic piece of jewellery can be something you truly love forever.

Nadia thinks good quality accessories make an instant solution in elevating her everyday, simple look.  “For me, leather handbags are often the statement maker and even though my handbags did not get to see much sunlight in 2020, I still think it is an essential piece that’s worth investing in,” she said.  She does favour bags that are “classics”, and her staple accessory is her pair of Gucci sunglasses, which she has had since 2012.

All photos courtesy of Nadia Fauzi and The Natty

These ten tips for your chic, timeless wardrobe were brought to you by a makchic x The Natty collaboration to promote their Eid collection Dari Jauh. Makchic readers can get a 15% discount by using the makchicxthenatty code – check out the beautiful collection at www.thenatty.co today.

Laych Koh is the editor-in-chief of makchic.