Layer your winter wardrobe from the basics up

Nikki ParkinsonFashion 25 Comments

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Pinch and punch for the first of the month!

Ahh, March. You bring with you a last blast of summer-like weather and the promise of cooler nights and days ahead.

For me, March, you are the perfect planning month for my winter wardrobe.

You are the ideal time for me to do some editing, pull out my clothes from last winter, find out where the gaps are and think about the looks I’d like to embrace for the new fashion season.

Then the fun bit begins: the shopping wishlist.

Top of my wishlist will always be good quality basics.

There is no use looking at buying new pretty tops without having a decent pair of jeans or pants to wear them with.  And there’s no use having a stack of those pretty tops if you don’t have any good basics to see you through a winter school run, a chilly Saturday morning at soccer or a catch-up with your girlfriends.

Enter wardrobe stage left: Emerson at Big W.

I’ve been talking up the Emerson range at Big W for about a year and now I’ve been pinching myself because for the past month I’ve been working with Emerson for the range’s autumn-winter 2012 campaign.*

The reason for the pinching?

I’ve gotten to know YOU – my Styling You readers – very well over the last few years. And I know that you want to look your best but the dreaded “B” word – BUDGET – often threatens to get in the way. So really, you’re a lot like me.

With Emerson you can stock up on fashionable wardrobe basics and stay on trend – for less.

My hot tip for being on top of your style game this winter is layering.

As soon as you layer even two pieces together, your outfit is immediately taken to the next level. If you don’t believe me, try this little exercise:

1. Stand in front of your mirror in a pair of jeans and tee.

2. Add just one thing to that look: a scarf, a necklace or another tee, cardi or vest.

Ah-ha? Yes? That’s what I’m talking about.  Your outfit is still practical for doing all the running around stuff you need to do in your day but it’s also stylish just with that one extra layer.

At Emerson, you can build those layers with the collection’s two must-have wardrobe items:

1. The $5 rib tee – a fantastic wardrobe basic that comes in either a v or scoop neck; 3/4 or long sleeves. The colour range is extensive but the colours have been chosen to work back with each other, making it super easy to choose. I’ve been blown away by the quality – and how they wash time and again.

2. The $9 jean – ok, so that’s NOT a typo. Yes, you can buy a bootleg or skinny leg jean for under $10. The cuts and fits are flattering. These jeans are definitely your winter work horses.

Put them together and you have what I call my woman-on-the-move look:

Emerson long sleeve rib tee with scoop neck pictured in white and rust $5; Emerson jean $9 (available in boot cut and skinny leg)

Yes, that’s an under $30 outfit.  It’s perfect for weekends, meeting friends for coffee or just hanging at home. I’d just add a tonal scarf and a pair of leopard print loafers or ballet flats and you’re good to go. Looking stylish but still comfortable. The beauty of the $5 rib tees is that the low price makes it easy to have several of these on the go in your wardrobe so that you can layer them as much as you need to as the weather cools down.

Maybe you want to amp up the glam factor in your wardrobe for a night out with the girls?

How about this outfit?

Emerson v-neck cardigan in grey $19.93; zip-back top in black $19.93; black skinny jean $19.93

The black jeans offer a nighttime alternative to denim and by adding a cardi, defining your waist with a belt and adding a few statement necklaces, you’ll be feeling amazing. Dial ahead to have that champagne on ice!

I’d finish off the outfit with a pair of cobalt blue pumps – these are under $20 at Big W – and offer the perfect way to inject a new trend into your wardrobe without worrying about whether it’s one that’s going to be around next year.

It’s those finishing touches – from the jewellery, to scarves and shoes – that Emerson also does really well. And because they’ve all been brought in store to work with the current fashion range you can be confident of putting together a look in a style all of your own.

Big W has women’s fashion covered: Emerson is available in sizes 8-16; and the Avella range caters for sizes 18-26. To find your nearest Big W store, phone 1300 244 999 or head to

*I’m on The Circle this morning as part of the first advertorial for Big W and Emerson. If you’d like to ask me a specific style question about how to create a look to suit you from the Emerson range, then I’d love you to pop over to the Big W Facebook page after the show finishes this morning from 11.30-12.30 AEDST.

What’s on your shopping list for this season?



Comments 25

  1. Getting excited about a trip to BigW. Just wish I lived closer to one. Will definitely be using my day off to head to a BigW on FRiday. Hoping they still have a good range left. Kids need new socks for school so I can use that as an excuse for hubby 🙂

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      Thanks so much – I definitely do the layering thing Rukmini – draped cardis and vests are my wardrobe friends – especially if you create a “column” of colour underneath.

  2. $9 jeans!?! I have given up wearing jeans as a staple because I find them too hard for my skin. Are the Emerson ones soft? Need a pair for OS.

    Great work on your Emerson gig Nikki – you are FAB xx
    I think about how far you’ve come – though I have only been reading your blog for about 18 months – and you have soared, all because of this beautiful blog 🙂 Congratulations!

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  3. I can vouch for the $9 jeans, having worn them a couple of times already. Really comfortable and I feel good in them 🙂

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  4. I’m going to have to make a trip to Big W and check out these jeans!! Definitely need to get back into jeans this winter.

    And that grey cardi is fab. Would be perfect for me at work.

    I am the queen of layering. I love it not only for the warmth factor but also for the number of different looks it gives you.

    Emerson are super lucky to have you as a spokesperson Nikki!!

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  5. I LOVE these ranges…I go between the Emerson and Avella. And I wouldn’t have known about them if it wasn’t for your blog, so thanks Nikki.
    x Marnie

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  6. I got two pairs of the $9 skinny jeans and am finding them great!
    Going back to find some tops and maybe a cardigan, to go with the scarf and bangles I got from Big W.
    Fashion on a budget? Love it!!

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  7. Yay frugal FEB is over and these prices will fit into Miserly march for me!

    I looked online the other day and wasn’t able to buy, I hope I can soon. We are waiting for Big W to get here to Moree!

    Good luck on the Tv show, sadly they have suffered some really bad choices and publicity in the last few days! I will just look for your segment!

    I for one can’t wait to have a real look, but the first chance I will get is at easter time when in Sydney and there will probably be none left.

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  8. I love the black and grey look! Perfect to dress down with a pair of ballet flats or dress it up with some heels.

    I bought a great long black and white cardi from Kmart for $19, going to team it with some leggings and black top for casual Sunday run arounds.

    I have also picked up a fab mustard cardi from Mix (on the recommendation of an oline stylist to check out the collection) that will inject a bit of colour into the wardrobe this winter.

    The best part about these purchases is def the price. Everyone can look stylish on any budget.

    Thanks Nikki for all the great styling tips – keep em coming!!


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