A Girls Essentials: The Review Edition

Dear Diary,

Now, every girl has wardrobe “staples”. Those items you purchase as investment pieces due to their flexibility within your wardrobe to be worn numerous ways- we love them! Our boyfriends? Not so much. However, we can always justify the purchase of them and seek out to prove how many ways they can be worn and how often!

So here I share with you my wardrobe staples, where I got them from, what their use is to me. I will give you a full review after each item for Price, Value for money & it's staple level- how essential is this in my wardrobe? (i will try rate this as honestly as i can but as a serial online purchase justifier- it will be tough!). Each rating will be out of a total of 5 ⭐.

1) THE LOUIS VUITTON BAG DUPE

I got this bag just before the shops closed and we all entered lock-down and, it saddens me that it has not been taking for enough walks! Early on lock-down I would bring it on the essential shop just to show it off and use it. As soon as I laid eyes on it, I was instantly reminded of a £1,500 Louis Vuitton bag and, considering this bag retails for just under £50… I think I know which one I would rather. The design of the bag is faultless and well designed. It is eye catching, secure, evenly balanced and roomy.


So, lets break the bag down.

The straps: I LOVE the concept of these straps and wish more bags were designed like this. Pull through the extender bag straps can be really flimsy and ruin the overall shape and balance of the bag (we have all had that bag half up, half down experience). This bag has a belt-like strap were you simply put it into the hole that is your desired level making it extremely easy to go from long to short and fool-proof. The bag also comes with the ideal tote-like feel making it a perfect companion for both arm wear and shoulder.

Storage: This bag offers more than I realised when I bought it. It comes with a middle zip-lock section and 2 magnetically shut side sections- so satisfying! When I switched from the bag I was wearing to this; my previously struggling to close bag (and its reached capacity of items considering my boyfriend’s pockets were stuffed with my hairbrush and selfie light..) I put ALL of my items into the RI bag zip section and there was still a huge amount of space! That was not including the 2 handy side bits of the bag for items you want easy access to perhaps, for me that was my phone, my purse and in current pandemic times- my hand sanitiser! This bag really is perfect.

Shape/Design: The bag is sturdy and balances well when placed down like any other tote. It has been well constructed and should be way more expensive than what it is for all it

delivers. The “RI” pattern over the bag makes it stand out and the colours of it make it so easy to pair with items in your wardrobe- it will go with absolutely anything!

To add to this bag's overall lux feel I bought a cheap bag scarf off eBay for under £5 to tie around this all rounder tote and take it up a level- which it definitely has! Bag scarfs are such a good and inexpensive way to instantly upgrade and bring to life an existing bag or add a layer to a new bag and you definitely need them in your life! I can’t wait to make this my new go-to bag when lock-down is over and I’ll never have to ask my boyfriend to pass me my hairbrush under the table dining out when I need to go to the toilet again- bonus!


River Island are known for their high-quality dupes of designer items. It has become the norm for high street retail brands to dupe designer items commercially and for me, no brand does that quite as well as River Island. Since my teens, I was always obsessed with the “RI” logo and the brands ranges of bags and purses. Nobody can deny the quality of a RI bag. From the gold RI branding giving it a more expensive feel, the construction of the bag, how faultless both inside and outside the bag is put together. The overall design of the bag; good and sturdy straps. Secure and strong clips to close the bag whether magnetic or close yourself. The pattern on the front giving it a higher-end feel, the vibrant colours and luxury patterns. It’s a guarantee your bag will be seen from a distance for all the right reasons! RI bags definitely look more higher-end and more expensive than they are/and are priced, their new takes on designer dupes are no exception.


Price: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Value For Money: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Staple Level: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


2. THE NY YANKEE CAP

Once seen as just for just boys and boys alone unless you were a tomboy, I barely ever seen a girl wearing one of these caps… but that is a thing of the past and rightly so! These caps are my ultimate fave and I want any colours I can get. They are comfy unlike a lot of cheaper caps that actually give you a headache (looking @ you Primark!) NY Yankee caps now have ones made for girls however, I favour the ones in the guys section as a personal preference due to the fact they hide your face more on low-key days (essential requirement xo)


They are extremely easy to style and wear. When you are having a bad hair day or are going out au-natural and don’t want to be seen- they’re perfect for it! I have one in black (which I stole off my boyfriend and fell in love with it from there) and my recent edition is the grey.

The grey one differs from the black as it has more of a dome shape, has mesh at the back and also has a clip-like adjuster for easier use as opposed to the black, which is more of a buckle slider. The dome shaped, bigger version of the caps such as this grey one is definitely worth the price. I don’t think I would have paid the same price for the black one as, despite it being comfortable, it doesn’t look that expensive. The grey one looks like good quality upon first glance and, besides the cheaper feel of the adjuster at the back, still looks generally attractive.

These are by far the comfiest caps and are so easily styled, too. I dress it with jeans, leggings, any comfy clothes and also cute dresses and converse! To see both the grey and the black cap featured with my outfits click here to be taken to my lock-down looks video on how you can style yours!

Price: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Value For Money: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Staple Level: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



3) THE MULTI-PURPOSE CARDIGAN

Every girl really does need a staple oversized and/or knitted cardigan in her wardrobe as a go-to piece. This one I got on eBay for around £16 and I was really sceptical due to eBay’s rep for clothes images not being what they appear to be (we all know those images that seem to have been imported from China along with the clothes and sold for double the china price) so I was buzzing when this cardigan arrived and looked just like the picture, apart from being more slightly off-white/cream than the picture suggested, however, when choosing the cardigan it did say cream on the menu so i can forgive. The sizing started at an 8 and is very accurate. It gives that "oversized" look without swamping you and, on the opposite end, isn't too short nor too tight- the sizing is perfect!

I had been searching for a cardigan for quite a few months but with no luck,.

They were either too expensive, knitting wasn’t great, sizing wasn’t great and colour is way off in comparison to the image on the model or doesn’t look right when worn and sometimes, you just simply find one and it is out of stock in your size (we know that rage!). Finding that right cardigan for you can be a bit of trial and error but when you find yours, It’s definitely worth the wait. I have now purchased this one in black and, whilst it came with a few loose threads which was frustrating, they were easy to cut off and avoid the hassle of eBay returns. Colour, sizing etc is all just the same.

Wear it with: denim shorts and converse, lounge wear, black jeans and a crop top, grey joggies with a grey bralette and, to really make this multi-purpose, dress it up for a date night look with black jeans and a pair of heels and with this particular cardigan, put it off the shoulder and make it into a Bardot style wrap top! Perfect.


Price: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Value For Money: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Staple Level: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

4) THE OVER-SIZED CHECKED SHIRT

Checked shirts have long been around and known for adding a casual/cool vibe to an otherwise simple outfit. Most checked shirts are standard fitted, to be worn over a vest top or buttoned up for that geek-chic look. However, over the past year or so, oversized “boyfriend” checked shirts have really been making a play in the fashion ranks. They are extremely versatile and look just as trendy tied around your waist as they do wearing it- they could even be considered an accessory tbh.


I bought this particular one from Boohoo’s man range for under £20 and i was extremely pleased with it. I have struggled to find a checked shirt that is oversized without swamping my figure or being filmsy and this is perfect. I had been looking on Boohoo as a whole for an oversized checked shirt when down at the very bottom this ombre one appeared. I bought it in a “Small” as for the guy model, this wasn’t too oversized so figured on a girl it would be looser and I was so happy to discover my risk paid off.


I wasn’t sure if I would suit the colours, and, with it being a guy’s shirt, if it would look silly but we steal our boyfriend’s clothes for a reason girls, and this kind of shirt would definitely be one of ‘em! If like me you have been struggling to find an oversized checked shirt, I would definitely recommend checking out the guy’s section on the website next time. They tend to be better material and a more realistic "oversized" appearance. I gotta give it to this shirt tbh, the material feels way more expensive than it actually is and is thick but without being too warm, it's the ideal cover up!

Wear it with: cycle shorts, denim shorts, tie round the waist of cycle or denim shorts as an “accessory”. Dress it up with jeans and a bralette with heels, with a mini dress and heels or converse (like the above pic) and like the cardigan, slightly off-shoulder with it wrapped over!

Price: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Value For Money: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Staple Level: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


and lastly...


5) THE GOES WITH EVERYTHING JACKET

Now, who doesn’t love a denim jacket? They became popular in the 80’s, as did the hard to pull off “double denim” look and they have never stopped being a firm fixture in Spring/Summer style releases since. Anyone who personally knows me knows how much I love a denim jacket and when it becomes Spring/Summer so I can finally wear them all again- or without a hoodie underneath! They are just so multi-wearable and, since black is my go-to colour for jeans and leggings 9/10, easily paired at that!

Out-width lockdown circumstances, I normally have around 6-10 denim jackets and I am not even apologetic- you really cannot have too many! Besides, they all have different uses.

You have your oversized/boyfriend type denim jacket to give an otherwise fitted outfit that oversized edge. You have the crop denim jacket to draw attention to your waist and booty! You have the fitted denim jacket that just looks too good with dressier outfits. There are the zip ones as opposed to buttons, borg ones, plain black ones. We also have the stretchy denim jacket that fits well when worn alone but has enough stretch to wear hoodies underneath (my favourite kind, like the Zara one pictured at top) and then there is the bold denim jacket, like my coveted neon green one that yes, is admittedly probably brighter than my future but it is absolutely stunning with a (fake) tan, ok. You get the point though, there really is a denim jacket for everything and for every outfit- My wardrobe is proof of this, just look at some of my coveted collection ➡

My new favourite is a denim jacket I got just before lockdown from Zara which retails at around £25. I had actually never shopped in Zara previously to this as I always thought it was quite fancy wear and expensive… not taking time to explore it’s more every day range hidden in the depths of the store (or, upstairs if you visit the Edinburgh branch)! I usually go for a “small” in my denim jackets however, as I was wearing a hoodie this day I found a “medium” fitted me far better for sole wear and when paired with something cosy underneath meaning i can take this denim jacket far into Autumn and, pushing it, Winter!


Lockdown has made me sad in that I can not enjoy my favourite wardrobe staple of all time however, I am determined to wear them on essential shops, exercise walks and even defy the cold later in the year so they serve their purpose! My natural gravitation towards a denim jacket (possible addiction… but we aren’t at AA so I ain’t gonna stand up and declare it for nobody) has even rubbed off on my boyfriend. Who, after feeling like denim jackets may not suit him or be essential… now absolutely loves his (top girlfriend me, sharing shopping addictions as well as feelings xo) denim jackets really are for EVERYONE!


Price: Mostly 5* but it depends where you purchase from.

Value For Money: Again, like price, it depends where you purchase from.

Staple Level: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

"When in doubt, throw on a denim jacket and strut it out, huns." Much Love,

XOXO

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