Janine Jellars and Cassandra Twala unpack their wardrobes

Words: Foyin Ogunrombi | Photography: Supplied

Building a stylish wardrobe is something you never quite stop doing, no matter your life phase. There’s always a new trend on its way in (or back), a can’t-do-without pair of jeans that you need to replace or a classic Sindiso Khumalo print you just have to own.

Cassandra Twala and Janine Jellars are two fashion folk with an inspiring understanding of a contemporary-cool aesthetic, without caving into fads. Having professional experience in mainstream media, branding and publications, they’re not new to the ever-changing-yet-cyclical nature of fashion. They also happen to make dressing well look like a regular feel-good moment. Naturally, we’re curious to know more about their individual versions of classic style.


Cassandra Twala is a Johannesburg-based brand manager and content producer who constantly strives to create the life she loves to live. Between being part of Coach’s 2019 campaign to launch the brand’s first Cape Town store and curating the Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Art Fair for a few years, it’s clear that Cassandra has an eye for beautifully designed items and the track record to prove it.

My style is classic with an edge.

My favourite piece of clothing is my black MANGO blazer, because it’s versatile and timeless.

If I could only pack five items to last a weekend, I’d pack a white linen shirt, black jeans, a black midi dress, a white T-shirt and a pair of white sneakers. I’d pair the jeans with the white T-shirt, the midi dress and sneakers, and the jeans and the white linen shirt.

To me, timeless style says a lot without saying anything; it’s subtle, it’s intentional and it’s the perfect expression of “enough”.

If I had R50 000 to spend at any store it would be Net-a-Porter or The RealReal. I’m really into bags and shoes right now, so I would probably buy Bottega Veneta leather heel sandals, a Dior saddle bag, The Row’s bindle leather shoulder bag, Tod’s Gommino suede loafer or a Dion Lee silk slip dress.


Cape Town-bred, Johannesburg-based writer, editor and author of a soon-to-be-released novel, Janine Jellars is a storyteller by nature. Her career spans 15 years, from building content strategies for corporates to being the editor-in-chief of the former Seventeen magazine. An on-the-go lifestyle of globetrotting and meeting the likes of Rihanna and Michelle Obama for work means that Janine needs a flexible wardrobe in tune with her signature style.

My style is simple, sophisticated, and – above all – practical.

The best fashion advice I ever received wasn’t something that was said to me directly, but legendary Sex and the City stylist Patricia Field once said metallics and animal prints are neutrals and I’ve lived by that advice ever since. Having a more classic style doesn’t have to be boring – I love colour, prints (leopard isn’t seasonal, it’s always in) and I’m definitely not scared to shine.

My favourite piece of clothing is the Alma BB in Damier Ebene. It’s my favourite day-to-day bag. This year I discovered that Country Road makes really great jeans. Besides those, I’d say my favourite buy this season has been a pair of white leather ankle booties from Zara. They’re more versatile than I initially thought when I bought them.

To me, timeless style is having a clear understanding of who you are and what you’re trying to convey with what you wear. That’s the easiest way to make sure you always look yourself and aren’t a slave to the latest trend. I’m not necessarily anti-trend, I just know which ones work for me. Animal print? Prairie dresses? Yes, please. Athleisure, 90s looks and cycling shorts – they just don’t work for me. My priorities are also different now. Quality has become essential, so items have to last longer and work harder. I’ve started thinking about the environmental impact of fast fashion and supporting more South African designers and those from across the continent. I prefer to buy pieces I can wear for multiple seasons and occasions – can I update with shoes, bags and jewellery? Can I go from work to dinner to drinks? Am I comfortable in this?

If I had R50 000 to spend at any store, I’d do it at Prada, because I’m a handbag and shoes person. I have my eye on a monochrome Saffiano bag in black. And then I’d run across Sandton City’s Diamond Walk passageway to pick up a pair of patent nude Anouk heels from Jimmy Choo with the change.

sole mate