How to

The Two Outfit Rule: make your spring investments go further

Versatility; it's one of our favourite words. Why? Simple: because when you're spending your hard earned cash on your wardrobe, the pieces you buy should work hard for your buck. (Side note: we could also get into how buying less but making what you do buy work harder is also better for the planet, but we'll save that story for another day.) It's not just about how many outfits a piece can go with, but how many ways can you style it? Take a trench coat, for example - a classic piece, yes, but what happens when you remove the belt and add a wide waist belt to cinch it more dramatically? We'll answer that one for you: it's a different coat.

Often, when we shop, we like to think of the two outfit rule: can this piece pull together two outfits in two completely different ways? If the answer is yes, then you can bet your entire wardrobe on the fact that it's going to work damn hard for your money. NB: this rule doesn't work every time, but how tricky or easy it is to put it into practice is a pretty good indicator as to whether or not a piece is worth the investment. We teamed up with one of this season's most hardworking collections - French Connection SS19 - to show you just how effective it can be.

Doubled Up

One of our favourite ways to amp up the impact of a single piece is to double it. Not literally, of course, but by identifying an element - be it the print, fabric or silhouette - and finding pieces that make those elements even more impactful. It’s a good trick for when you’re struggling to get an outfit together.

The Check Trouser, by Anna:

Outfit 1: There’s nothing I love more than a pair of trousers that could work with anything from a blazer to a cut up tee, so you can imagine my joy at finding these plaid print pants. With an oversized jumper and knee high boots, they feel smart but vaguely street-wear inspired, and I love the utility style pockets on the side.

Anna wears Camel Cashmere Jumper and Check Trousers both French Connection


Outfit 2: You can see the immediate impact of swapping the jumper for a trench with a contrasting print, which only brings out that of the trousers more. A low-heeled mule makes the whole look feel much more grown up and keeping it tonal means that although there’s a lot going on, it still feels super wearable.

Anna wears Check Trousers, French Connection and Trench, French Connection

The Wide Leg Jean, by Florrie
Outfit 1: High waist, wider leg jeans are a staple in my wardrobe and always have been. Denim can be incredibly hard working if you know how to dress it for different occasions, and this pair worn with a t-shirt and a tunic slung over the shoulder say easy, breezy Spring day.

Florrie wears Denim Wide Leg Culottes, Cotton Shirt dress (worn around neck) and White t-shirt all French Connection


Outfit 2: Double denim, but not the American way. This jacket has a subtly tailored feel to it and, worn together, this feels almost like a denim suit, particularly when belted at the waist to create more of a silhouette. 

Florrie wears Denim utility jacket, French Connection and Denim Wide leg culottes French Connection

Utility

One of this season’s biggest trends, utility-style pieces will be some of the most useful in your wardrobe. This collection includes some of the pieces we believe to be most worth of investment: boiler suits, trench coats and really, really good trousers, all of which are exactly what we want to be wearing this Spring and beyond (actually, most seasons, to be honest.)

The Boiler Suit, by Anna: 

Outift 1: I know a good boiler suit when I see one, trust me - at the last count I had seven in my wardrobe that I’ve been wearing for years and years - and the drop waist of French Connection’s off-white version meant I knew exactly how I could make this work more than one way. I love boiler suits for meetings - they’re casual but still feel polished - and with this perfect tan knit thrown over the boiler suit and tonal accessories, it felt like the perfect daytime outfit. 

Anna wears Camel Cashmere Jumper and Carpenter Boiler Suit


Outfit 2: To know me is to know my love of waist belts, and adding one to this boiler suit transforms not only the silhouette but the entire feel. With a couple of contrasting accessories and a rolled up ankle hem, this is an outfit ready for a chic Spring luncheon.

Anna Wears Carpenter Boiler Suit, French Connection

The Cargo Pants, by Florrie:
Outift 1: I love all the pockets on these trousers, so I’ve mirrored that with this beige tunic that has been tucked in to give the illusion of a shirt (just on the subject of versatility, I’ll probably wear it alone as a dress later.) Summery accessories emphasise the Spring-y feeling of these lightweight but beautiful quality pieces.

Florrie wears Cargo Pants, French Connection Cotton shirt dress (worn as shirt) French Connection

Outfit 2: Comfortable trousers with cool detailing is my daytime go-to, and a white t-shirt and trench effortlessly complete these in an easy but pulled-together way.

Florrie Wears Cargo Pants as before with Trench and White t-shirt both French Connection

 Produced as part of a paid collaboration with French Connection
All images by Rosalind Alcazar