La Belle Vie: Just pick one

By Isobel Markham | 2/18/12 2:19pm


Any­one else feel­ing the pinch these days? I'm about a week away from call­ing my dad for a loan.What with the re­cent Win­ter Car­ni­val fes­tiv­i­ties and sav­ing up for spring break, it's no won­der our wal­lets are feel­ing a lit­tle on the light side right now.

Un­for­tu­nately, this is also the time when the beau­ti­ful brand-spank­ing new spring col­lec­tions hit the stores. Bright and fresh, they ef­fort­lessly out­shine the drab, life­less rem­nants of last sea­son that are still lurk­ing on the odd sale rack here and there — those very same rem­nants we were all drool­ing over less than two months ago. Oh fash­ion, how fickle thou art.

For those of you — like me — who are un­able to hold off until the bank bal­ance is look­ing health­ier, here is my ad­vice for avoid­ing se­ri­ous credit card debt (and we all know where that can lead). Buy ONE thing (and one thing only) and make it re­ally, re­ally work for you. Here are my top five key pieces to tide you over:

The Ankle Boot



The per­fect piece for this time of year. Work them now with skinny jeans or wooly tights, then rock them with bare legs and a skater skirt or denim shorts in the warmer weather. They're not the cheap­est out there, but I love this pair from Zara — I can't think of any­thing I wouldn't be able to wear them with.

The Trench Coat




A trench coat is a great way to in­ject a bit of spring into your wardrobe while still think­ing on the prac­ti­cal side. It's a real in­vest­ment piece — chic and un­der­stated, and you can wear it with every­thing. This one from Zara is stun­ning and will sharpen up your look in­stantly.

The Bre­ton Stripe




Nau­ti­cal stripes are al­ways a big hit for spring/sum­mer, and there's no rea­son to be­lieve this year will be any dif­fer­ent. There's some­thing so Parisian-chic about a Bre­ton stripe; it man­ages to make you look el­e­gant and pulled to­gether with­out look­ing as though you've tried too hard. This one from H&M will look great now tucked into jeans or a high-waisted skirt and with white or denim shorts in the sum­mer.

The Color-pop Bag




A great way to brighten up your look, a color-pop bag in­stantly up­dates your wardrobe and is a real at­ten­tion-grab­ber.Be pre­pared for a bom­bard­ment of ex­cla­ma­tions along the lines of “I love your bag! Where is it from?!” Play it cool and say you had it shipped from Eu­rope. This asos bag is a good op­tion — it makes me happy just look­ing at it.

The State­ment Ring




The more out­ra­geous the bet­ter, these are al­ways great talk­ing points at par­ties. Let it be­come your sig­na­ture piece. I love this dra­matic knuckle-duster from Top­shop. Wear it on your index fin­ger for max­i­mum im­pact.

Isobel Markham