How To Rebuild Your Wardrobe

Teo van den Broeke on the essential items you need to buy should your house ever get broken into – and they make a beeline for your wardrobe

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I was broken into last week. Aside from the standard feelings of violation, anger and indignation that any of my fellow Londoners could be so rude as to kick the shit out of my front door (if any of you are reading this now, which I very much doubt you are, I wouldn’t try it again – it’s like Fort Knox. Even I can’t get in, and I’ve got keys), I also can’t help but blame myself. Flouncing home with fancy carrier bags (which I nick from the fashion cupboard) filled with worn gym kit and discounted bagels from Lidl probably sends the wrong message.

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The thing is, the poor fools made a terrible mistake. I have no money. Literally none, as anyone who has ever worked as a journalist won't be surprised to hear.. I’m not saying it’s tough, just that I’m not worth burgling (please don’t do it again).

Predictably enough, being a person who works in fashion, when I received the call that the locals had invaded my house, my first thought was not for my ten-year-old laptop, nor was it for my refurbished 1st generation 16GB iPad (both of which were nabbed). No, it was for my clothes. My midnight blue hopsack blazer with mother of pearl buttons, my Wooyoungmi crepe and silk track pants, my bespoke Turnbull and Asser Sea Island cotton shirt. 

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Then my mind spun to my shoes. The shoes! My heart pounded for my beautiful – if well worn – Cos Chelsea boots and that beaten up pair of Lanvin driving shoes. And what of my cream four-slice Dualit toaster?!

What I failed to realise, reader, is that no one wants to steal another human’s clothes (let alone their household appliances). For a start, you’ve worn them; they smell and carry evidence of you, which immediately decreases their black market value. Secondly, clothes don’t sell quickly enough on ebay – ever tried to shift a perfectly fine Sandro pea coat you’ve had for a few years yet hardly worn? Tumbleweed doesn’t begin to cover it. Even a ‘VERY RARE EXCLUSIVE MAGIC COAT’ headline won’t get it out the door.

You may know that your double-breasted Brunello Cucinelli blazer contains five per cent Vicuna (the fibres from the beard of an extremely rare camelid) but the burglar who’s looking for an extra fifty quid for the weekend doesn’t give a monkeys.

It’s a heartening thought, which I urge the sartorially astute among you to remember next time you get to the tube and realise you’ve forgotten to double lock the front door.

That said, should the day come that some natty villain decides he’ll make light work of your wardrobe, I’ve pulled together the ten basic items you’ll need to get your newly emptied rails back to working order – and it’ll cost you less than a grand to do so (unless you’ve had your cash nabbed too, in which case, God’s speed).


1 | The loopback sweatshirt

A plain cotton sweatshirt in a dark shade can be worn under a smarter jacket or with a pair of trackpants, more adaptable, cross seasonal and wallet friendly than a woolen equivalent.

Orlebar Brown Sweatshirt, £135, mrporter.com


2 | The jeans

A good pair of jeans which you can wear everyday, which won’t loose their shape and don’t require any weird tricks when you wash them, are essential. This is the pair I swear by.

Levi’s 511 Rain Shower Jeans, £90, levi.com


3 | The shirt

Opt for a long sleeved button down, brushed cotton shirt, which you can wear under a jacket or with your jeans. It’ll look smart but will also keep its shape, wash better and last longer than its poplin equivalent.

White Oxford Button Down by GAP, £33, gap.co.uk


4 | The T-Shirt

A high quality T-Shirt is an absolute essential. In fact, you should probably get two. One white, one navy blue one, just to give you time to wash the other.

Navy/White Crew Neck T-Shirt From Sunspel, £55 each, sunspel.com


5 | The Throw On

Uniqlo’s baseball shirts are flattering, thanks to the shoulder-enhancing raglan sleeve, easy to wear, and a bit more interesting than a standard Tee thanks to the three quarter length sleeves.

Slub cotton baseball shirt, £9.90, uniqlo.com/uk


6 | The Smart (but not too smart) jacket

A deconstructed navy jacket which you can wear collar up at the weekend or with a shirt and tie to the office is a year round essential, French brand AMI’s is one of the best.

Unstructured Cotton and Linen blazer by AMI, £340, mrporter.com


7 | The pick me up

You’ve had everything stolen, so buy yourself something nice, like a solid pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers. This way you can also hide your tears.

Ray-Ban Wayfarers, £120, mrporter.com


8 | The sneakers


A good pair of white sneakers will only get better with age and can be worn with almost anything (one of this season’s biggest trends was sneakers teamed with smarter tailoring, so it’s win win).

White Chuck Tailors by Converse, £45, mrporter.com


9 | The smart trousers

A good quality pair of smart trousers that won’t loose their shape, you can wear to work but also wear at the weekend if you want to will get you by until you get the chance to buy a new suit.

Straight Leg Wool Trousers by Cos, £79, cosstores.com


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