The Power Of The Statement Piece

Statement Piece

Recently, I shared the story of my friend who cleared out her wardrobe and started again. Yes, you read that right. She created a brand new wardrobe from scratch – one that absolutely represents the woman she is today.

While I know scores of women who would love to follow her lead and make that kind of investment in themselves, I also know a great many who are pretty happy with their wardrobes.

These women have generally spent years curating their clothing, investing in classics when they can. The closest thing I ever hear to a grumble from these women is the fact that sometimes they can get a little bored with their look.

And this is where the statement piece comes in.

Statement pieces bring something new and different to your wardrobe. They allow you to create fresh looks from items you already own – switching things up and eliminating boredom all in a single purchase.

Somewhat akin to an investment piece, but offering more flexibility because they are not always super expensive and not necessarily classic, you don’t have to commit to a statement piece forever. Having said that, while a statement piece can be seasonal, it can also be more enduring (and if you adore it, you may as well hang onto it for as long as you love it).

Statement pieces also come in numerous forms. To get you thinking, here are a few ideas.

The Power Of The Statement Piece


Depending on the cut, real or faux leather clothing can bring a classy edge to your wardrobe. Slim fitting often looks better than skin tight when it comes to pants, skirts and jackets and it is usually the more comfortable cut. However, steer clear of anything too big or bulky, especially when it comes to jackets – tailored leather pieces are often more versatile.

I recently purchased a black leather pencil skirt and I’ve found it incredibly adaptable. It’s been on high rotation both at work and on the weekend, as it easy to dress up and down.

If a whole piece crafted from leather is too much for your taste, touches of leather – think panels, cuffs, collars and the like – can do the same job.

One last thought on leather – unless you are super keen, I’d recommend avoiding ‘double leather’. Like ‘double denim’, it can be notoriously difficult to get right.


There is absolutely nothing like the tactile qualities of velvet. If you ask me, when it comes to fabrics, there is just nothing more luxurious. And as a result, a velvet garment makes an ideal statement piece.

Jackets are probably the easiest for most of us to wear. That said, velvet trousers can look great, as can velvet shirts. And velvet coats and capes can be simply stunning.

Velvet colour choices are often rich – black, burgundy and navy spring to mind – which of course adds an extra dramatic dimension to your look, especially when the weather cools down.

Leopard Print

I’m not entirely sure why but many women avoid leopard print, Maybe it is for some ethical reason, or perhaps they’ve seen too many poorly done prints (and there are lots out there). However, if you can find the right shade, a touch of leopard can add a playful element to your everyday outfits. Look for shirts, scarves or shoes that allow you to add a feline feel to neutral outfits.

And if leopard doesn’t work for you, don’t discount other animal prints. A friend of mine has a fabulous cowhide clutch that elevates every single outfit she chooses to pair it with.


No surprises here. Adding a statement shoe is one of the easiest ways to inject sparkle into an outfit. Look for interesting elements, which could come in the form of colour, fabric or just plain quirkiness.

My only other tip – make sure they are comfortable, otherwise you could end up making a statement of a different kind when you just can’t wear them a moment longer.

Parisian Statements

French women, particularly those who live in Paris, seem to get the statement piece just right. From shiny red ballet flats, through quirky t-shirts, to deep emerald velvet jackets, I’ve caught myself admiring many ‘stand-out’ items on my travels that have taken an everyday outfit from just ok to something fabulous.

If you’re feeling a touch ‘ho-hum’ about your wardrobe, you might like to take some inspiration from the streets of Paris and consider whether a statement piece could be something you need to consider.

One final thought. If you are a fan of different eras, you will often discover unique statement pieces in vintage clothing stores. While it is not part of my personal look, I can certainly appreciate the number of statement pieces you could acquire via a little vintage shopping.

Have you invested in a statement piece recently? Do you already have a favourite item that has sparked up your wardrobe. If so, I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

And until next time – au revoir.

About Janelle

I believe that everyone can bring French elegance and inspiration to their life, no matter where they happen to live in the world. They only need to learn a secret or two to be on their way. When you join the Distant Francophile community, you’ll have access to the secrets that allow you to bring the best of the French lifestyle into your everyday life. I’m talking about things like style advice, recipes and book reviews. And you’ll also receive regular doses of French inspiration, as well as travel and packing tips galore.

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7 thoughts on “The Power Of The Statement Piece

  • Alisa

    Hah – you read my closet!
    Black lamb skin pencil skirt: check!
    Leopard calfskin mules with kitten heels: check!
    Leopard calfskin ballerinas: check!
    Leopard print silk scarves in two sizes: check!
    Burgundy velvet tunic: check!
    Black velvet ballerinas: check!
    Brown suede stilettos with satin ribbon ankle wraps (to wear with rolled-up jeans): check!
    In return for that great validation, here are some observations from the 6th in Paris:
    Structured bucket bags look like an item for fall. (Think LV petit noé) Small to medium size, not too big. For big, go with a tote (and the pliage is still ubiquitous). The LV neverfull never really goes away but tbh I am not seeing LV that much. Brigitte Macron loves LV, though, so we may see it come roaring back.
    Black jeans seem to be having a moment.
    Jeans of blue or black have high waists and one store even markets them as ‘mom jeans’ 😳. Very slim legs still.
    No more bare shoulders/cold shoulder tops, which is really too bad because it was very flattering – and almost all women have pretty shoulders.
    Birkenstocks, but not the clunky ones, are surprisingly evident in store windows.
    It looks like quarter straps could be replacing ankle straps.
    More sandals than ballerinas and espadrilles this summer, which surprised my French friend when we arrived in Paris.
    Those are my observations from the front!

    • Janelle Post author

      Ok, let me start by saying that I didn’t stalk your wardrobe as part of my research for this piece. But I’m thinking maybe I should have. It seems to me that you have the whole statement piece idea well and truly perfected!! And I love the sound of those stilettos!!
      Thank you so much for your ‘on the spot’ report. Your bag observations are really fascinating – I’ll be interested to see if there is a real LV resurgence. I really struggle with that high waist v mom jeans thing. It’s interesting that higher waists actually flatter many figures…but for years, due in part to leg cuts and some dubious washes, higher waisted jeans became a fashion outcast. I’m wondering if the marketing campaign will work??? I’m surprised too by the Birkenstocks….they weren’t in evidence in Paris when we were last there, although I did see a smattering of sandals. Have an amazing time in the 6th, and please do keep us all updated on what you are seeing. Take care, J.

      • Alisa

        Well, all the jeans I see on the street do have the higher waist going on. I just bought two pairs but you are right, the cuts and washes in the past were the problem. Slim high-waisted jeans, especially the “7/8” (ankle) jeans, paired with ballerinas have a very
        Audrey Hepburn vibe.
        A surprising pant silhouette is, heaven help us, the very wide-leg above-ankle silhouette. This is very tricky to pull off and I don’t plan to try but it is lurking in the wings for fall.
        In a related vein, there are very wide-leg shorter jeans with slim high waists that look like (shudder) the gaucho pants of the 70s.
        (BTW those stilettos are MaxMara and they were $2 – never worn – in a thrift store. 😁 Thrift stores can be good places to hunt out statement pieces for little financial risk/investment.)

  • Barbie Beaton

    I love this! I recently bought (off-season at half price) a designer leather jacket in a neutral shade of greenish brown. It is form fitting and so very soft. I am really excited to wear it this fall, both as a classic and a statement piece.

    • Janelle Post author

      Barbie – your jacket sounds gorgeous. Just the kind of piece that you’ll wear forever – and get stacks of compliments on! I hope you get a huge amount of enjoyment from wearing it.

  • Olivia Brooks -Pendlebury

    Where do you start?….I had a lady to help declutter…but seem unable to buy anything to replace…!!! Just keep reading…….Ivianna..x

    • Janelle Post author

      Always such a good question! I recommend mood or Pinterest Boards to start to understand what you are drawn to or even love. Then you can start incorporating those sort of pieces into your wardrobe. Good luck!