Classic outfits: How to do timeless elegance

For enduring style, look to our fashion icons

For some, classic style seems to be effortless; they step out the door looking elegant and sophisticated every day. But for the rest of us it isn’t always that easy and a little help wouldn’t go amiss. Here we take a look at the ladies who seem to get it right every time – from past icons such as Audrey Hepburn and Lauren Bacall to present day fashionistas like the Duchess of Cambridge and Helen Mirren.

What is the key to classic style?

How can we hone looks that withstand the test of time?


Imagine a promenade along an Italian seafront in the 1950s, with everyone impeccably dressed. The women are sporting classic A-line skirts – below the knee of course – dresses that are cinched in at the waist and cut to perfection. Shapes that emphasise natural curves without revealing too much will always produce an elegant and ladylike look. Timeless fashion icons have the ability to look incredibly feminine without showing too much skin.

And our love affair with retro glamour hasn’t faded. TV shows like Mad Men and designers like Dior and Alexander McQueen have rejuvenated these looks and made us long for past sophistication.



At Patra one of our favourite cuts is the A-line, flattering and easy to wear. It’s a look we keep coming back to year after year: perfect for this summer, our Jersey Dress with three-quarter length sleeves can easily be styled up or down to suit any occasion; our Linen-Cotton skirt offers easy elegance as well as comfort.

Conservative colours

Owning some staples in black, navy, cream and white make expanding your wardrobe simple. Cardigans, blazers and trousers in these colours can be mixed and matched with a wide variety of shades and patterns. Classic colours never go out of fashion but you can update an outfit instantly by teaming them with modern trends.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 16.15.28Added accessories

A good way to brighten up the basics is by adding a scarf. Generations of style icons have set themselves apart by accessorising. A colourful scarf can lift an outfit and give your look a chic twist. Belts are also a simple addition that can transform a dress or pair of trousers in an instant. Try to co-ordinate colour schemes – pick out a colour from a scarf and match it with a top. Pick a bag, shoes and belt in the same tone – it can really bring an outfit together. Patra has a wide range of pure silk scarves that will add colour to your outfit.

Our elastic braided belts, available in five colourways, are an inexpensive way to bring a look together.

Timeless summer florals

Every year as the flowers start to bloom, florals appear on our fashion radar. This perennial trend instantly brightens your wardrobe and adds a touch of colour to those neutral staples. From pretty peonies to lovely lilies – there’s bound to be a beautiful bouquet to suit your style. And you don’t have to go full throttle in a floral dress; a delicate hint of flowers on a scarf or top can bring a little sunshine to your summertime outfit.



We’re not talking about head to toe masculine fashion, but a crisp white oversized shirt and jeans or a waistcoat will always look fresh and stylish. Famous for her androgynous chic style, Katherine Hepburn wore wide palazzo pants and stunning tailoring to great affect.

A white shirt, be it pure silk like this, or soft cotton is a wardrobe must-have – it can be matched with so many items and is perfect all year round.


The little back dress keeps coming back year after year. It embodies everything about classic style – simplicity and refinement. Choose a style that you’ll want to wear in years to come, don’t go too short and steer away from sleeveless – three-quarter or capped sleeves can be very flattering.


Iconic style (from left to right): The Duchess of Cambridge, Audrey Hepburn and Helen Mirren


Classic Patra outfitCut and quality

When you really love a piece of clothing, you’ll find yourself coming back to it time and time again – so it’s always worth investing in quality and take care of your special pieces. In the long term you’ll save money and your clothes will stay looking their best for longer. Cheaper items that look tatty after just one wash can be incredibly disappointing.

For elegant dressing it pays to opt for the best; a few well-cut, all-natural wardrobe staples are worth a dozen synthetic bargains. They’ll fit you properly, keep their shape, last longer and feel fabulous.

If there is something we can all take away from style icons of the past and present it is that less is definitely more – stick with a few beloved key pieces in neutral tones and then accessorise with colour. Don’t compromise and you’ll always look your best.

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