Wardrobe Pieces that Stand the Test of Time

Last month, I did a post on wardrobe turnover in which I looked at how old the various items in my closet are.  I learned that roughly half of the pieces in my closet were purchased in 2013 or later, another 34% were bought during 2010 through 2012, and the remaining 17% were from 2009 or earlier. In the comments section, a few readers were curious about some of my older items.  They wanted to know what they had in common and what characteristics led them to remain in my closet for so long.

Longtime Closet Pieces

What do your long-standing closet pieces have in common?

In today’s post, I share photos and information about some of my older closet pieces and I look at what has my favorites remain go-to items for years on end.   The information in this post is very personal to my wardrobe, but I encourage you to take on this exercise with your own clothes, shoes, and accessories.  What pieces do you own that have stood the test of time – and why?   It is my hope that some of the lessons I learned from doing this exercise will also be applicable to you even if our wardrobes and lifestyles are very different.

Items from 2011 and Earlier

I started this exercise by taking a look at all of the garments, shoes, and purses that have been in my closet since 2011 or earlier.   I excluded a handful of “on the fence” items that may soon be on their way out and counted up everything that remained, those things that I still really like and wear.  I was left with 44 garments, 10 pairs of shoes, and 3 purses that I’ve owned since before 2012.   Here’s a quick look at those items:

Pre-2012 Clothes

These 44 garments have been in my closet since 2011 or earlier.

Pre-2012 Shoes and Bags

I have owned these 10 pairs of shoes and 3 handbags since 2011 or earlier.

What are the common elements you see among the above items?  Here’s what I see as some of the distinguishing characteristics in brief (I will delve a bit deeper later in the post):

  • Black
  • Jewel tones
  • Grey
  • Knits
  • Cotton/natural fibers
  • Long, fitted coats
  • Short, fitted blazers (mostly in knits)
  • Henley style tops (many of them waffle knits)
  • Short, fitted tanks
  • Black shoes, boots, and bags
  • Metallic shoes and bags

Many of the above elements were also mentioned in my recent post on my 2015 cool weather favorites.  Interestingly, there aren’t many striped pieces among my pre-2012 items (only three).   I guess my strong penchant for stripes originated in 2012 or later (which is surprising, as it seems like I’ve liked stripes forever…).  I used to like animal prints quite a bit, but I’ve moved away from them and toward stripes in recent years.  You can still see some leopard print among the items above, but I haven’t purchased anything in that print in quite a while now.

I have also refined my color palette substantially, such that I only own a few items outside of that palette these days.   The orange knit blazer, yellow tank top, and brown tone leopard print dress are really all that remains in terms of colors outside of my current palette.

Pre-2010 Items

Now let’s take a look at what has been in my closet since prior to 2010.   The numbers are a lot smaller:   just 19 garments, three pairs of shoes, and two handbags, as pictured below:

Pre-2010 Items

I have owned these 19 garments, 3 pairs of shoes, and 2 purses since 2010 or earlier.

You still see many of the common elements mentioned above, including black, jewel tones, knits, long coats, and short fitted tanks.   As you can see, four of my leopard print items were purchased prior to 2010, so that really is a legacy preference of mine.   There are also two floral print pieces in the mix. I haven’t purchased any floral prints in a long time, as that print seems too “girly” for my current style. However, I still like those two remaining tops and enjoy wearing them.

I don’t think most people either go on or off a particular style overnight.  Rather, it is usually more of a gradual progression toward or away from a certain aesthetic.  This is easier to do if we don’t go crazy and buy too much of any style, color, or shape within a short timeframe.  Being the shopaholic that I was for many years, I’m sure I had a number of leopard and floral print pieces that I ended up culling from my wardrobe without their having been worn all that often.

When we find a new style that strikes our fancy, it’s far better to start with just one or two pieces and give ourselves a chance to determine if we truly love them.  I now believe it’s preferable to have less and to wear what we have regularly than to overstock and end up with a bunch of wardrobe “benchwarmers.” I am no longer a fan of the “more is more” philosophy and am now a much bigger proponent of less is more.

What I Own from Before 2008

If I look back at before 2008, there are only five remaining items in my closet:

  • 1 pair of shoes
  • 1 cardigan
  • 1 dress
  • 1 coat
  • 1 tank top

Here’s a photo of those five items:

Pre-2008 Items

These are the oldest items in my closet. All five were bought prior to 2008.

As you can see, two of the leopard print pieces date back to before 2008.  I purchased the cardigan in the fall of 2006 and the dress in the summer of 2007.   I still love both of these items, but as I mentioned earlier, I don’t feel compelled to buy any new items in animal prints.

The black peep-toe shoes are in dire need of replacement, as they are getting worn out and are starting to hurt my feet (my feet have grown fussier over the years).  The purple coat is still a favorite, but I would like to find a new coat in that hue this coming fall/winter because it’s starting to get a bit “tired.”  As for the white tank, I still like it, but I am moving away from embellished pieces and would like to find a plain white tank or one with other interesting details (asymmetry perhaps?) to replace it.

Wardrobe “All-Stars” from 2011 and Earlier

Not all of the pieces shown above could be considered wardrobe “all-stars,” those items that I reach for again and again and really love to wear.  So to derive the maximum value from this exercise, I decided to separate my true favorites out from the mix.

Let’s look at the clothing first.  The 27 garments shown below are my favorite items from 2011 and earlier:

All-Star Clothes from 2011 and Earlier

These are my favorite 27 garments from 2011 or earlier.  I still love and wear all of them today. 

While it was valuable to look at the common elements of my long-standing closet pieces as a whole, it’s even more worthwhile to consider my favorite items from years past. What is it about these items that has had them stay in my wardrobe for so many years?   Here’s what I view as the defining characteristics of the above “all-stars” from 2011 and earlier:

  • Black – Five of the 27 items are black. Black has been my key neutral for as long as I can remember and my black pieces get worn often.
  • Knits – Twenty-one of my longtime “all-stars” are knits. Knits work well for my casual lifestyle and desire for comfort.  They are also easy to care for, which is important to me.
  • Solids rather than prints – Only seven of the items above include a print and several of those prints are quite subtle. I tend to tire of prints more often (although stripes are still going strong for me after quite a few years), whereas solid pieces are more likely to stand the test of time.
  • Burgundy/purple/fuchsia – These tones continue to be favorites of mine and look good with my coloring. Six of the garments shown above are burgundy, purple, or fuchsia toned.
  • Blue/teal/green – I am also a big fan of these colors and 5 of my old-time favorites are blue, teal, or green.
  • Leopard print – While I mentioned moving away from animal prints as a preference, I still really like the three pieces above that have been in my closet since 2011 or earlier.
  • Open cardigans – This is also a style that I’m not as passionate about as I used to be, but my new love of slimmer fit jeans has had me warm up to open cardigans once again. I like the way they look with my straight leg jeans and boots. There are three open cardigans among my long-standing closet favorites.
  • Long coats/jackets – I continue to love the fitted, long coats and jackets that I started buying back in 2007. There are five such pieces included among my wardrobe workhorses from earlier years.
  • Short, fitted tank tops – While I want to purchase a few more fluid fitting tank tops this year, I still like the short, fitted tank tops that I’ve worn for years. The four shown above still get worn regularly during the summer months.
  • Knee-length A-line dresses – I have been wearing maxi-dresses more often beginning last year, but I still really like the three knee-length dresses shown above. They all show off my narrow torso and are comfortable and easy to wear.   I like that they are not more pronounced A-line silhouettes, as I have moved away from that style, which is why I have let go of many of my skirts.
  • Henley-style tops – Five of the tops shown above are Henley style (buttons partially down the front). I like Henleys because they are casual and adjustable.   Standard button-front woven tops don’t tend to fit me, but Henleys are generally in knit fabrics and work better on my frame.
  • Low embellishment – I used to like embellishments on my garments a lot more than I do now. I have very few embellished pieces in my closet these days.   Only two embellished items – one tank and one dress – remain among my long-standing wardrobe favorites.

Now let’s take a look at my favorite shoes and purses that were purchased prior to 2012:

Pre-2012 All-Star Shoes and Bags

I still love and wear these 7 pairs of shoes and 3 purses bought in 2011 or earlier. 

What are the common elements among the seven pairs of shoes and three purses shown above?

  • Black – Five of the seven pairs of shoes are black. While I’d like to branch out a bit and wear more colored shoes, I’m sure black shoes will remain a wardrobe staple for me.
  • Metallics – Two of the shoes and one of the bags are in metallic tones. I started to move into buying metallic accessories back around 2008, when I purchased the bag shown, and I now have close to as many metallic shoes – and more metallic bags – in my closet than black ones.
  • Boots – I am a big fan of boots, especially black boots. One of the pairs of black boots shown above used to be brown (the ones in the second row) and have seen far more wear since I dyed them. I probably don’t really need three pairs of ankle-length black booties, but they are all worn often and remain closet favorites.
  • Solids rather than prints – Almost all of the bags and shoes shown above (8 out of 10) are in solid tones. While I am not against printed shoes and bags, I find that solids are more versatile and better able to stand the test of time.
  • Leopard print – The bag and pair of shoes that are printed are both leopard print. The shoes are actually becoming quite worn out. While I am not as fond of leopard print as I once was, I am still strongly considering replacing the shoes, as they have been worn quite regularly and I continue to really like them.

Conclusion

It was both interesting and valuable for me to look at the long-standing clothes, shoes, and purses in my closet and identify their common elements.   While I don’t necessarily want to keep buying more of the same when I shop, it’s good to have an idea of what has continued to work for me over the years and why.   I do want to evolve my style (I still plan to do Imogen Lamport’s program by that name), but I also want to buy less overall.

Understanding my enduring preferences will help me to shop smarter.  Even if I want to incorporate a new style, silhouette, or color into my wardrobe, knowing what makes things last in my closet will help to steer my buying decisions so I don’t end up out in left field in terms of what I buy.   For example, if I opt to buy a new silhouette, it would probably be a good idea to select one in a color I truly love and in a knit fabric.  Or perhaps I may stick with a tried and true silhouette but experiment with a new color or pattern.  If I don’t change too much at once, I will have a better chance of loving my new pieces.

Your Thoughts?

I hope that reading about and seeing photos of my longtime wardrobe favorites has been interesting and helpful for you, even if my style and life is very different from yours.  I hope you will take the time to do this exercise in your closet. If you do and would like to report on the defining characteristics among your longtime favorites, I’d love to read about your findings and I’m sure others would as well.

  • What has clothes, shoes, and accessories remain in your closet for many years?
  • What items from yesteryear do you find yourself reaching for again and again?

I invite you to share your insights about your wardrobe (and mine, if you notice anything that I didn’t write about) in the comments section of this post.  I would love to see a lively discussion of what has closet pieces endure over time, especially since we have seen such a dramatic reduction in quality in recent years.  If the new items on offer are so often sub-standard, we would all do well to hold on to the pieces we love in our closets.  I’m sure the feedback you give will be appreciated and valued by many, so please chime in!


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Comments

  1. Fascinating! I will have to look! Four pieces pop into my head:

    1. A pair of reptile embossed flat black leather over the knee boots I bought in Jan 2011. have stomped all over London, Paris and Atlanta in these. I didn’t wear them last winter because they need resoling desperately, which I plan to do in the fall.

    2. A silvery-grey-pale aqua brocade cropped jacket from anthropologie, bought used in eBay. It looks like something Valmont would wear. I bought it in 2009. I don’t wear it as often as I should, usually to the theatre, with black or a light turquoise skirt.

    3. A black wool zip jacket, vintage Ann Taylor, again, via eBay, bought in 2008 as part of a large lot of clothes that I paid around $150 for. I have worn this jacket as a top, a blazer, a middle layer for warmth, to dress up and go out in with heels, and as an athletic cover up. I wore and eventually discarded the rest of the lot, but this jacket alone was worth the $150. The cpw must be pennies by now!

    4. The last item is from 2005 or 2006, a shirt sleeve shyer black lace button down blouse. It reminds me of the stuff Tom Ford designed for YSL back in the day. The lace is heavy and sturdy and pretty. Although it says dry-clean, it is polyester so I always put it in a lingerie bag and washed it on a gentle cycle. It still looks great, and it is actually in the laundry right now! I layer it over leotards for dance classes, with thin camis + shorts/espadrilles, for summer casual, and with pencil skirts or jeans/heels for dressy or club stuff.

    3 of 4 items are black, have texture and/or dark chrome hardware, and are multi-purpose chameleons that take on the overall effect of the other garments, and have held up well to hundreds of hours of wear. The brocade jacket is theatrical and reminds me of my absolute favorite film, ‘Valmont’.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      You did a great job with this just off the top of your head, MaryBeth! Your four longtime pieces sound great, especially the Valmont jacket (I loved that movie, too). I love the way you described your items and the enthusiasm you seem to feel about each of them. I was able to picture them by your descriptions and I can tell that you dearly love all four. I really like the idea of having multipurpose chameleon items. How creative you are with ways you’ve worn the black wool zip jacket!

  2. I have quite a lot of clothes I bought 8-10 years ago which I still wear. These include a good quality cashmere jumper and 2 black jackets, a couple of silk dresses and Prada shoes. I paid around $800 at the time for each jacket but they are still going strong and are good examples of design, quality fabric, cut and finish. I wear them every year and love them. The common element with all the clothes that have been in my closet for a long time is that they are all neutral colors, beautiful fabric and with design details that are interesting but not extreme.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      How wonderful that you still have some pieces you love and wear from 8-10 years ago, Carolyn! I think a lot of people who scoff at spending so much money on a jacket, but it seems to have been well worth it in your case. We often really do get what we pay for… I think the common elements among your items would contribute to wardrobe longevity for most of us. Good for you for making such wise purchases way back when!

  3. The only item coming to my mind that has stood the test of time is an Eddie Bauer “Stine” black leather coat that I bought in 2007 or 2008. It’s a nice, thick leather but buttery soft, and wears like iron. I love it even though I rarely wear black these days. I soften up the black by wearing scarves in more flattering to me colors. Now that I’m thinking of this, I’m sad because now I see how transient my wardrobe has been. Also sad because this black leather coat may now be too big for me since I’ve lost weight.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Your leather coat sounds nice, Kim. I think I may know that one you’re talking about because I’m a big Eddie Bauer fan. I can imagine being sad that the coat doesn’t fit well anymore, but it seems it has served you well for many years. Congrats on your weight loss! I know what you mean about a transient wardrobe. I can only imagine how many hundreds of items I’ve passed on over the years. I was actually surprised that I had as many long-standing items as I do. For you, a good exercise might be to look at the favorites you do have (regardless of when you bought them) and determine the common elements among them. That can help you shop smarter and increase the likelihood of having longtime pieces down the line…

  4. Fun to consider the ‘oldies’.
    Some of mine: wine jacket 2006, snow boots 2004 [looking for replacements], hiking boots 2004, teal down winter jacket 2006, black linen dress 2005, black patent mules 2001?, brown zipper pumps 2002?, bronze shorts 2007, floral skirt 2007, rust suede skirt 2008, wine cotton sweater 2003, paisley velvet T 2005, black lace button down shirt 2005. There are more I am sure.

    These fall into two categories: things I wear, still love, and seasonal needs that are very useful for a limited part of the year. Classic styles. I hold onto the things I love or need that last because it does seem like quality is slipping. This is one of the reasons I thrift also.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      I’m impressed that you have so many long-standing items, Mary! Some are close to 15 years old, which is definitely a long time. I agree that buying classic styles increases the likelihood of things standing the test of time. I also agree that quality has been slipping in recent years. I know that some people have a lot of luck with thrifting, but the stores where I am seem to have more recent “fast fashion” pieces than classic items. It really does make a difference where one thrifts, plus patience is key. I’m glad it’s worked out well for you, though.

  5. I have very little clothing left from 5 years ago which also makes me feel a bit sad. Interestingly, the things that are older are part of my casual wardrobe, things I bought for fun, not for work. But in analyzing those few things, I found some common threads – soft apple green, fitted close to the body, vertical lines, all cotton, crinkled texture. I have incorporated those qualities into my style revision (which I embarked upon 3 years ago). For work, I now wear straight skirts, sheath or shift dresses, skinny jeans, and ankle pants. It will be interesting to see where I am few years from now. I bet I will have a lot more oldies but goodies.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      You seem to have learned a great deal about what you love to wear, Anne. How great that you’ve been able to incorporate the elements from your casual wardrobe into your business wear. I think it’s highly likely that you will have many more “oldies but goodies” down the line. You have done what I am hoping to do with this exercise and what I hope others will take from it, too.

  6. This was really interesting. The oldest thing in my wardrobe is a tropical print summer dress which I bought in a charity shop in 2008. It’s originally from H&M so not particularly high quality – in fact the pull tab has come off the zip, which I assume is why it was donated in the first place. I only wear it a few times a year since the weather is rarely warm enough where I live, and it’s fiddly to put on due to the zip problem, but I love the colour, the pattern and the fit. It also has happy memories attached, since I bought it on a sunny day in Edinburgh (remarkable in itself!) while I was there for a Tom Waits gig.

    Since I drastically cut down on my clothes shopping a few years ago I find I have more and more clothing items which I’ve had for several years, and I really enjoy getting my old favourites out again year after year. It’s much more rewarding than just replacing them with a high turnover of new things like I used to do.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      I agree that it’s more rewarding to get our old favorites out each year, Rachel. I can’t believe I’m saying that now because I used to always be about the new and the different, but I’m happy that I have changed. I think having happy memories attached to pieces can make them favorites even if we don’t wear them all that often. Your dress sounds nice, but it’s a bummer about the “fiddly” issue. I have some garments like that, too, and it’s not always possible to discern such issues when we’re shopping. I’m glad you still enjoy wearing the dress a few times per year in spite of the zipper issue, though.

  7. When I married 34 years ago I bought a leather handbag and shoes instead of a wedding dress. The shoes wore out a few years ago but I used the bag again on Sunday for a family celebration. Tomorrow I fly to Prague with the grey trousers my sister passed on to me over 20 years ago. They are lightweight, don’t crease, dry quickly and are great for travel. I wear a cardigan purchased 25 years ago at least twice every week . Probably 50% of my occasion wear, smarter clothes, footwear and accessories are over 10 years old. Some are not worn often, but are just right for the occasion when it arises ( e.g. my standby funeral dress, over 20 years old). I tend to hang on to clothes that are in reasonable condition because the modern clothes cut is too big on the waist and long in the body for my figure and it can be impossible to find replacements that fit. If they start to look dated I decide whether to ‘archive’ for a while in case they come back into fashion, or get rid of them.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Wow, you have quite a few long-standing items, Lynn. Good for you! I’m very impressed that you have pieces from as long as 34 years ago that you still love and wear. I think it’s great that you got a leather handbag and shoes instead of a wedding dress and that they lasted for so many years. I wonder what you wore to your wedding, though… I know I only wore my wedding dress once (like most people do) and I still have it 14 years later. I think I’m going to donate it before it’s so out of style that it will never be used again. I wish I would have had shopped smarter years ago when the quality was better because I don’t really see today’s pieces lasting nearly as long as what you have. You’re right that many pieces will come back into style after awhile and some very classic pieces don’t “date” at all.

  8. Five years ago 3/4 of my wardrobe was corporate business wear. When I left the corporate business world in 2010 (and never looked back) and began working as the director of volunteers for an animal shelter assistance program, I let all of my excellent quality business wear go, and it was one of the best decisions in my life. At that time I also discovered project 333 and my life got even better, and I’ve continued on my journey with less clothes. What I decided to keep from back in those days is: black western-style roper boots (about 15 years old) and I wear them regularly for powwows and ranch wear. I have a leather Longchamp bag I use all the time, in great condition, and also about 15 years old. The majority of my small jewelry collection (all silver and natural stones) with the exception of three pair of earrings, is at least 15-20 years old. Everything else is from 2011 and 2015. But I haven’t bought much this year thus far.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      I didn’t include jewelry in my analysis, Terra, but perhaps I should have. Maybe I will do a part two on this about accessories, as I know I have many pieces of jewelry that are over 10 years old. Since your lifestyle changed so dramatically, it makes sense that most of your clothing is on the newer side. It seems you are making very wise decisions there, though, so I would guess that you will have more long-standing garments in years to come. How great that you never looked back after leaving the corporate world. The same is true for me…

  9. This is an interesting topic. My oldest item is a a Longchamp backpack I bought in Paris in 2000 and still use now when I travel. Other than that, I have several items of clothing and some handbags that are about 8 years old, from before kids when I was working in an office and wore dressier clothes (and had much more disposable income!). I don’t get much chance to wear them now, but when I do I’m always grateful for them because with my current casual lifestyle I can’t justify spending a lot on dressier items anymore. What these items have in common is that they are high quality and relatively classic designs in neutral colours. Most of them were impulse purchases and cost quite a bit more than what I would usually pay for that kind of item but “sung” to me in a way that I had no hesitation spending the money.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      I’m glad you liked this topic, Kayla, and thank you for adding your input here. Longchamp was mentioned a few times, so their pieces must have good longevity. I think the common elements you’ve found among your longtime pieces are probably true for many of us – high-quality, classic designs in neutral colors tend to be a lot more timeless than other types of items. What I liked most about your comment was that your longtime items “sung” to you when you bought them. Impulse purchases are not always a bad thing if they speak to our hearts and souls.

  10. My oldest item must be my heavy snow jacket, which is bright red and has the logo of a French hockey team on the back (a wolf holding a hockey stick in its mouth). I think I’ve had it for at least 11 years and it was my sister’s for 2 years before. When I first got it it was way too large on me (I was 11 at the time!) but I still enjoyed wearing it. My mom had to replace the zippers during the first years but other than that detail, it’s in excellent condition. My current coat was purchased 8 years ago, it’s plain black with a classic cut so it goes with everything and I can wear it in every situation. I also have a pair of navy Kickers I’ve had for 7 years and that were my eldest sister’s before for at 5 years before. They’re in excellent condition and I haven’t had to do any repairs despite the fact that I’m wearing them several days a week. I think my backpack is also 7 years old and in great condition even if I’ve been carrying it fully loaded everywhere with me and haven’t been particularly careful with it (“it’s a backpack, not a Kelly!”).

    All those items are the only ones of their types in my wardrobe and got used almost everyday when in season and none of them cost more than 100€.

    • I didn’t count jewelry in this inventory because I inherited most of my favorite jewelry from my grandmother and is at least 30 to 60 yo.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      I didn’t include jewelry in my inventory of older pieces, either, Cedrique. I may do a later post on that, as I have quite a few jewelry items that have been around for a while (no family heirlooms, though). Your longtime items sounds quite distinctive. I could almost picture 11 year-old you in that bright red snow jacket. It must be very well made to still be in good shape this many years later, although I know you are still quite young. I love what you wrote about the backpack – “It’s a backpack, not a Kelly.” How wonderful that it’s held up so well even though you haven’t exactly been gentle with it. I wish everything were made so well!

  11. I have some very elderly but still in great shape and still fashionable clothing; quite a lot actually. One is a gorgeous designer sweater that was given to me, oh, 20 years ago by a very fashionable elderly friend — I suspect it’s about 25-30 years old. I have my mother’s alligator purse which must be 70 years old and still is style; I don’t use it much (it’s brown and not my color). I also have a wool red plaid hunting cap (complete with ear flaps) that was my father’s as a young man — so maybe from the 1930s or even 1920s. I wear it every winter when I shovel snow because I find knit or fleece toques too hot for shoveling — my specs steam up. I also have a lot of well-tailored trousers, classic silk blouses and cashmere sweaters that are 8-20 years old. And so on. Not much new stuff that I buy these days will be around in 80-90 years (nor will I!!!) or even 10 years.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      I know you have some older pieces that have stood the test of time, Dottie. I remember you sharing some photos of them in your guest posts. But the alligator purse and hunting cap are downright vintage! How great that you still have these wonderful sentimental pieces. I agree that not much that is purchased today will last for even 10 years. For a lot of it, even three years would be pushing it, sadly…

  12. Deborah (Deby) says:

    Most of my clothes today date from 2013 when I did the great purge and revamped my wardrobe entirely. However, I did keep some older pieces, such as basic cashmere sweaters from the 1990’s (although one is a Schiaparelli pink Dalton cardigan that over 50 yrs old!), plus one-of-a-kind wool cardigans (some vintage), and 3 silk skirts that are 10-25 years old. I like to include a vintage piece in an outfit sometimes.

    The Coach briefcase I currently use to carry my laptop around in is the original briefcase I purchased in 1983 when I achieved my first salaried position in the corporate world. I collect vintage Coach cross body bags, which I have in several colors, from the 1990’s because they are perfect for today’s errand running without carrying a big tote. They just don’t make Coach bags in that buttery thick indestructible leather anymore, and its really amazing to me how these classic styles have stood the test of time with regard to functionality. My handbag accessories are also Coach pieces that are 3-25 years old. I polish them up all the time so they don’t look worn.

    I have one pair of shoes that date from 1993–smooth leather lace up oxfords in a golden brown with leather soles. I don’t wear these very often today because I haven’t embraced the man tailored look this time around, but they are comfortable shoes that fit perfectly and look good with trousers and jeans. And with me being a mood dresser, they hearken back to a pleasant time in my life, particularly an enjoyable autumn vacation I took to the northeast where I wore them every day!

    Today it rained in torrents just as I had a business meeting to go to. From the ankles up I looked great–got compliments on my outfit. On my feet? The ubiquitous understated black rubber Croc sandals I spoke of in an earlier comment…and I am glad I had them because my feet got so wet I would have ruined the beige leather shoes I’d originally planned to wear. Fashion perfection once again sidetracked by the weather! LOL.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for sharing about some of your longtime pieces, Deby. I think it’s great that you have a cardigan that is over 50 years old that you still love. I had a few Coach bags in the 90’s that I wish I would have kept because I agree that they aren’t what they used to be. I love your story about the rain and the Crocs sandals. I’d love to see what they look like. I know that Crocs have come a long way since they were known solely for the “gardening clogs.” Yes, the weather can certainly impede our fashion perfection sometimes! Can you send some of that Ohio rain out to parched California, please?

      • Deborah (Deby) says:

        The sandals I keep referring to are currently available on the Crocs website for 29.99. Style is called Cleo. There is also a Cleo2 which has a different strap arrangement. My Cleos are solid black but they come in other colors.

        • Debbie Roes says:

          Thanks for sharing the style of your Crocs, Deby. I have seen those before. They are very basic but nice. It’s great that something so inexpensive has worked so well for you. I was happy with the Crocs I used to have (slide wedges).

  13. Margaret says:

    Hi Debbie,

    I have a couple of quite old items from my wardrobe that I still have in there. 5 of them are from Stewart + Brown (one of the very first sustainable clothing brands ever created) and the last item is a pair of organic pima cotton denim jeans. Keep in mind that I am currently 25 years old so it’s unlikely that I would be keeping things that I wore in high school! Honestly the Stewart+Brown clothing were just sitting in my closet not being worn until just this year when I joined Evolve Your Style and found ways to style them for my lifestyle and style personality. These 5 pieces were the 5 pieces that I didn’t donate; the rest were good quality and fabrication but did not suit my style or best colors at all (their aesthetic is very casual California style). The oldest Stewart+brown piece is probably 5 to 6 years old. The pair of jeans which I purchased in freshman year of college (about 9 years ago!) had been unworn for awhile due to holes until I found a jean re-weaver in NYC that repaired denim holes by reweaving and reinforcing the denim in hard-worn areas. I recently in the last year was able to find the same pair actually on Ebay for $25 and just need to hem and make slight repairs for fall wear. 🙂

    • Debbie Roes says:

      I had never heard of Stewart + Brown, Margaret, but maybe I should check them out, as I live in casual California. I’m glad you are able to wear pieces that had previously been sitting in your closet unworn for quite some time. I had also never heard of a jean re-weaver, so I am learning some useful stuff from you! How great that you were able to rescue the jeans so you can wear them again. I don’t think enough people consider repairing their clothing, but many of our pieces can have their lives extended by doing so. Good for you for being so eco-conscious at such a young age!

  14. I have a wonderful cap sleeve printed blouse that I bought at H&M probably ten years ago. This was way before H&M had opened stores in either Washington or Oregon (where I live). I purchased it on the east coast. I wear it every year on the first day of school because it gives the right impression and I feel confident in it. I’m an elementary school teacher and I want my students to see me as friendly and younger than I am! Last year, about two weeks into the school year, one of my students wore the same blouse to class. She must have borrowed it from her mother since I bought it before she was born! Needless to say, I didn’t wear that blouse to work again that year. I never asked, but I do wonder where my student got that very distinctive blouse. That’s the first time that’s ever happened in 36 years of teaching.

    • Debbie Roes says:

      How great that you have a first day of school blouse, MARS. I think it’s always a good idea to wear things in which we feel confident and that make a good first impression. Very interesting that one of your students wore the same blouse to class. I’m surprised that an elementary school student would wear an adult blouse, but perhaps she felt very confident in it, too!

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