Uniting these style essentials is the quality at the fibre of their being. Cashmere, silk and leather have all built luxury reputations by offering insulation, durability and softness if cared for correctly. Indeed it's commonly held that the look of leather improves with wear - a major plus point when it comes to hardworking pieces such as handbags.
M&S says it has responded to customer demand for quality fabrics this season by increasing the percentage of silk, cashmere and wool used within womenswear collections by 20 per cent, as well as increasing the weight of cashmere jumpers by 10 per cent and improving their softness.
If a piece can work for all generations, then you know it will stand the test of time
Another good test to try when putting together your capsule wardrobe is to consider how many reincarnations of the style you've come across.
The camel coat, for example, has been a firm fixture on autumn/winter catwalks and high streets for decades. Championed by the fashion press for its understated and sophisticated versatility, poster girls for the style range from Ali MacGraw in the 1970 film Love Story to models-of-the-moment Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne. Now that's quite a style CV!
Similarly, if a piece can work for all generations, then you know it will stand the test of time.