The Sartist and ever stylish Xzavier Zulu schools us in the basics he built his steez on
Words: Xzavier Zulu | Photography: Gabrielle Kannemeyer
I'm not even going to bother by stating an expected quote from Coco Chanel or Karl Lagerfeld or any other commonly mentioned OG on style. Instead I'll do one better and share a sermon from my Lord and Saviour Kanye Omari West as it was in the book of Graduation chapter 'Can't Tell Me Nothing', verse 1.
"La, la, la, la
Wait 'til I get my money right La, la, la, la
Then you can't tell me nothing right"
Those words rang no louder as I'd found myself in the isles of Pep buying plain white T-shirts for R39.99 each, wardrobe essentials that would hopefully help lay the foundation towards my future dream wardrobe.
We all have an idea of our dream wardrobe, whether based on our favourite pop culture icon, seen in the pages of leading publications, or the always-on, online moments where we're liking, bookmarking and wishlisting.
Once humbled, the next question is: what to wear until you get your money right? Anyone can tell you that a great wardrobe consists of casual everyday basics, complemented by on-trend key statement pieces, and they wouldn't necessarily be wrong, but truthfully there's a lot more to it than that.
Factoring in accessibility to not just money but even the stores themselves, it's also about personal identity, confidence, your body type, the environments you engage in, your commute and, perhaps most importantly, it's about understanding the importance of a uniform in relation to your own life.
I've always preferred to talk on lived experiences, and the list below is what I've based my own wardrobe essentials on, forming the basis of my everyday style capsule. Over time I've invested in quality pieces that aren't just timeless, but can be easily mixed and matched all year round throughout the seasons. Take a look.
Amidst the resurgence of the waist bag, adidas has released their newest style as part of their adicolor collection and available in three colours: black, mist sun and trace scarlet. This accessory is able to add to your wardrobe essentials, forms part of your everyday style and is as well-priced as it is durable and purposeful.
The Samba in my humble opinion, is one of the most understated classics when considering adidas' classics offering, consisting of the more commercially popular Superstar, Stan Smith, ZX Flux, Campus and so on. Slowly making its way back onto the scene, with a rumoured resurgence in June, the Samba has always served as a sneaker for sub-cultures, and can count Bob Marley as one of the more famous fans of the silhouette. I like to think that like Bob I favoured the Samba for its understated silhouette, comfort and durability.
After some time spent buying t-shirts at a much more accessible price point I've learned, through the art of laundry, is that you get what you pay for. adidas Originals' XBYO tee by renowned pattern maker Satomi Nakamura is constructed from an exclusive premium Japanese terry cotton and is a well-fitting, quality t-shirt and is a good starting point that will stand the test of time whilst you're trying to build the rest of your wardrobe essentials. Nobody can fault you for wearing a plain white tee, and so when you have a wardrobe full of them it means there's one less decision to make in the morning and forms part of an everyday clean look.
A staple in any wardrobe, the Levi's trucker jacket offers an unmatched durability throughout the seasons and the opportunity to style and customize with any and all trends of past, present and future. With all other brands looking to buy into the denim trend, it's important to not only understand the core beliefs and ideology of the Levi's trucker, but the sense of quality the brand looks to stand by and champion in every collection and product. My choice of a single medium stonewash trucker jacket will last you for at least as long as it takes to rustle up enough cash to buy an indigo variations, perhaps this time customizing with one of The Sartists' custom patches, which are available in select stores.
501 Levi's are a cultural icon and have been defining style since Levi's introduced them in 1873. A blank canvas for self-expression, I believe the 501 to be one of the greatest garments of our time, offering an unmatched durability and the opportunity to style, customize, etc. with any and all trends of past, present and future. The 501 jean allows for it be dressed up and dressed down for extra comfort and a single medium stonewash 501 will carry you forever if treated, cleaned and refresh right.
At the very heart of this list is the hope that for anyone who can't afford to drop R2000 on sneakers as often as they'd like to, or be able to buy that jacket from the latest hyped brand, there's alternatives that not only carry the same social clout as select pieces, but are timeless, offering more long-term value as opposed to short-lived trends.
My wish is that you'll learn that its equally important how you carry yourself, as it is what you choose to wear. Perhaps even more so. Once you know that you look good, you'll stand a little taller.