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Jess Cartner-Morley Curates: The forever wardrobe

Love fashion, hate landfill? So does Jess Cartner-Morley, fashion editor of The Guardian, which is why she’s made a pact to invest only in beautifully designed pieces she truly loves. Here, she shares her tips on how to shop more sustainably, teaming her new-season forever buys with love-worn favourites from her wardrobe.

I’ve been a fashion editor for twenty years, and I love fashion as much as ever. Since you’re reading this, I’m thinking you probably love fashion, too. But here’s the thing. Fashion isn’t the land of the stupids. Us fashion-lovers – the leopard-wearers, the colour-blockers, the trend-setters – care every bit as much about the planet as anyone else. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how we can have fun with fashion without adding to unnecessary landfill, and it seems to me that the answer is to combine new fashion that you truly love – beautifully made clothes with real design integrity – with pieces you already have in your wardrobe. The one-of-a-kind treasures you can find at Label/Mix are perfect to buy now and wear forever, mixing beautifully – and sustainably – with clothes you already own.

I had so much fun putting together the looks here. I’ve mixed some irresistible new pieces from Label/Mix with some trusty old treasures. Hopefully there might be some useful ideas here, for how new season pieces can work with clothes that many of us already have, so that you can buy a few well-chosen bits rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater, as it were. These are just suggestions, though. The whole point of making your own favourite pieces a key part of a new outfit is that you can build clothes you depend on into your new-season look. You get to stick with the trousers that flatter your backside or the heels you know you can walk in – and invest your new-season fashion fund in gorgeous, unique gems that you will be wearing proudly for years to come. No landfill, just clothes you love. It’s a win-win.  

Forever piece #1: A mood-boosting print


The best clothes make you feel happy and the hothouse floral of this slim-fit cotton sweater by J.Won is an instant mood-lifter. The cut-out shapes have a touch of Matisse, and the tropical shades sing out against chic black. It would lift any pair of jeans - but why stop there? Hands up if you’ve invested in a midi-length skirt already. Yup, me too. I wore this satin skirt loads to Christmas parties with a slinky blouse, but it will work just as well for spring weekend days with a statement knit. I added outsize drop earrings, because why not?

Forever piece #2: An interestingly detailed jumper


Is it just me, or was last summer about a decade ago? At this time of year I feel like I’ve been living in warm jeans and a cosy jumper for as long as I can remember. Actually, when knitwear is as soft and delicious as this roll neck by Rejina Pyo, I’m happy for the weather to stay cool. But Pyo, an up-and-coming name to watch whose shows are fast becoming a highlight of London Fashion Week, has given this knit an open-back detail which sets it apart - which means I can team this sweater with an out-of-season outing for a rainbow-striped vest by Christopher Kane that is a holiday wardrobe staple. I love the drama of a high neck with a drop earring so my favourite blue tassels get an outing here.

Forever piece #3: A cool denim jumpsuit


Cali-girl cool is a major trend this spring. The catwalks were awash with tie-dye and scuba, but the real-world take on this trend is laid-back, washed-out denim. This tissue-weight jumpsuit by the young Australian brand L.F. Markey is a real investment. Dress it down with white trainers and a ponytail – then switch up to sandals and a silk scarf, and you’ve got a cocktail outfit. I’ve gone with a favourite pair of gold sandals, a vintage Mulberry silk scarf and a pair of skinny gold hoops, which make me dream of sunny days.

Forever piece #4: A re-spun trench coat


Who said beige was boring? Wear it top to toe and it’s pure Parisienne chic. The contrast cuffs on this Rejina Pyo trench inspired me to dig out a long-sleeved polka-dot T-shirt from the back of my wardrobe, to wear underneath. I added more detail with a treasured Burberry scarf that sometimes gets threaded through the belt loops of my jeans. The finishing touch? Huge heart-shaped earrings. What’s not to love, right?

Forever piece #5: A swishy floral skirt


With its ruffles and tiers, this skirt was made for Saturday night on the dancefloor. But dressed down with a bright sweater and clashing boots, it can walk the walk for a Sunday morning stroll, too. One of the best hacks for getting more mileage out of your wardrobe is to relax the rules about which clothes are for big nights out, and which are for tea-bath-bed kind of days. Teamed with a slouchy knit, this dressy Natasha Zinko skirt brings a welcome bit of razzle-dazzle to the everyday. I can’t resist a fruit-themed earring – I’ve got ceramic lemons and sparkly strawberries in my collection - and these glass danglers are the cherry on the cake. They’re not everyone’s cup of tea, mind – we all have our quirks, and they make the wardrobes we build up unique. Me, I love a crazy earring - but you do you. No-one does it better.
 

Jess Cartner-Morley is fashion editor of The Guardian

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