Style

Things I’ve Worn Eight Million Times

Things I've Worn Eight Million Times

Have you done a closet cleanse? One woman wrote about paring down to 10 pieces of clothing in her closet, and rumor has it that Bon Appetit editor Adam Rapoport has only four shirts that he rotates through. So recently I’ve been thinking about the trusty pieces I can’t stop wearing (and I’d love to hear yours)…

Things I've Worn Eight Million Times

Tortoise shell glasses. My head is pretty big (as far as heads go), and it’s surprisingly hard to find cool larger glasses. Warby Parker has a great selection (I have the Bensen), and, thankfully, they’re affordable for people who, like me, lose their glasses all the time.

Things I've Worn Eight Million Times

Perfect striped shirt. Striped shirts are a classic, but they’re not all created equal. This Etsy shirt is the best cut I’ve found over the years. Horizontal stripes can be tricky to pull off, but this shirt has a flattering boxy shape with a pretty dolman sleeve (the “flying squirrel look,” says Caroline). It’s a striped shirt with a twist.

Things I've Worn Eight Million Times

Camel cardigan. A few years ago, while at the Children’s Museum of Art with the boys, I saw a woman wearing a camel cardigan over a grey T-shirt, and she looked so lovely and effortless. Since then, I’ve always had a tan cardigan (with pockets!) in my wardrobe. It’s one of those pieces I’m always reaching for, especially on chilly winter days. (This more affordable one is nice, too.)

Things I've Worn Eight Million Times

Plaid shirt. Plaid is huge this season, and this shirt in particular has such a easy tomboyish cut. It’s also cotton (versus flannel), so it’s softer and drapes more nicely. I’ve been wearing it twice a week and hoping people don’t notice!

Things I've Worn Eight Million Times

High waisted jeans. Ok, here’s the thing about high waisted jeans. They suck your belly in. They don’t stretch out as easily. You never get plumber’s crack! Bonus: This Madewell pair has a faded wash and ripped knees that only get better with multiple wears.

Things I've Worn Eight Million Times

Black jumpsuit. I love seeing cool jumpsuits around, but until recently I felt a little awkward wearing one myself. I didn’t know if I could pull it off. But this menswear-inspired jumpsuit is amazing — the collar is flattering, and the drapey fit is really slimming. When you wear it with flats, it’s great for work; when you wear it with heels and lipstick, it’s sexy enough for a date night.

Things I've Worn Eight Million Times

Pajamas. Oh, men’s pajamas. They’re so cute for padding around the house, cuddling up to watch House Hunters and taking on trips, especially when you’re staying with people. J.Crew makes such a classic version (I have the white), and Target has a very cute set, too.

Things I've Worn Eight Million Times

Black flats. Everyone needs a pair of black flats — they’re perfect for work, play and traveling when you don’t want to look like a tourist. These particular flats have a sexy elegance to them with the d’Orsay cut, and they’re comfortable to walk around in all day.

Things I've Worn Eight Million Times

Magical bag that turns into a backpack! I literally tell strangers about this Swedish Fjällräven Totepack. The army green looks good for work and play, and it’s super rugged, but the coolest thing about it is the straps. You can carry it like a briefcase, you can sling it over your shoulder, or you can slip the straps through themselves to make a backpack. I’ve had it for five years and wear it to work every day. It’s also amazing for travel. I cannot say enough good things about it!

What about you? What do you always find yourself reaching for? Any recommendations?

P.S. My other everyday staple, and the loveliest fall jacket.

(Photo from England vacation last summer)

  1. Anne says...

    I am really late to the party…but I just bought the backpack & the striped shirt, thank you for the recommendations! I really like your style!

  2. High waisted jeans, dresses and tops in red and yellow, ankle boots and black/grey/navy floral patterned trousers are all things I wear on a regular basis and have to have in my wardrobe

  3. I have some items of clothing that just look good on me and make me feel good wearing them. I’ll wear them until they’re threadbare! I like your striped shirt but can’t get into the jumpsuit trend. I imagine being completely undressed in a public bathroom with your whole outfit on the floor around your ankles. I’ll let that trend go by gracefully!

    Julia
    http://www.whenthegirlsrule.com

  4. Your choices look so nice, I ordered the striped shirt and the madewell jeans.
    I love comfy and cute things, and I can’t wait to have my new wardrobe additions!
    http://saudi-iherb.blogspot.com/

  5. I ended up buying the striped shirt from etsy because I am a sucker for comfy things and an even bigger sucker for stripes. It took forever to get to me because it’s made from way far away and it’s made by hand and with love. It was a pleasant surprise when it showed up in my mailbox and now it’s just my weekend shirt. As in, I wear it the entire weekend! Obsessed.

  6. Alexandra says...

    Amazing and inspiring blog! I blog about living with passion and I would love for you to read it!!

  7. I love how you paired the black jumpsuit with a low-flat shoe–I can’t quite tell if it has any heel, but i’m just happy to see a jumpsuit in a played down way, not with like pumps or stilettos. I feel like jumpsuits look too ‘dressed up’/’try hard’ at times, but this totally works ‘casually’.. and i love that.

    Interesting you chose those glasses as you go to pair. Ever tried the wooden ones (I hear it’s been all the hype the past year or two in asia… ).?
    I would love it if you can do a post (maybe an experiment?) on what glasses work well for what face frame and nose. Sunglasses in particular. I always think I look terrible in sunglasses so I end up not wearing any. I find ones that look so cool on others but when I wear it it rarely looks as good. OH maybe a collab with an expert like someone from Warby Parker? That’d b cool! Love to get behind the designers’ minds/insights too ;)

  8. healt capsule

  9. Your choices look pretty good! I’m usually good with shorts, ripped jeans, white/black shirts, black scarf, little black dress, and my converse. Really easy to set my wardrobe when our country only has two seasons! Haha.

  10. Amy says...

    I have so many varieties of the blue and white striped shirt, the LL Bean French sailor being my most tried-and-true. I wear them all so regularly that my husband recently referred to the LL Bean one as a “workhorse” (well, it is about 17 years old). Whenever my children spot someone wearing a similar shirt, they say, “Look, Mom. One of your shirts.”

  11. Theresa says...

    I told my husband about this bag, as I needed a tote/backpack/diaper bag/every day bag and he bought it for me for my birthday! Loving it so far! I hope it lasts 10 years! :)

  12. Cass says...

    I bought the bag on your recommendation: I’ve been on a 5 year quest for this kind of work bag. Thank you! I already feel chic-er!

  13. Sam says...

    Tardy to the party but I love this post and just bought the jumpsuit, breton shirt and plaid madewell shirt – I love those pieces and have been looking for some strong classics – thanks for the tips!

  14. Jacyra says...

    Hi! I am a brazilian/american living in Australia and I love your site. Feels like we have the same taste. I have a tote/backpack from Timbuk2, a California based company and a absolutely love it! It is called Alamo and comes in all colours and patterns.

  15. So funny – my can’t-stop-wearing list is almost identical! After many years of searching, I finally found the perfect striped shirts – from Chance Co! I like mine a little more fitted, and theirs are so unbelievable soft and lightweight. Perfect for layering!

  16. keszter says...

    Hi,
    i’m really tempted to order that Madewell pair of jeans. i am living in europe and never had a pair of these – not available around here, but these look so good that i might just take the risk :)
    if anyone happens to have a pair of these, let me know how they fit. thanks.

  17. I adore that nonchalant, casual style! Timeless style is my most preferable one. Thank you Joanna, You are an inspiration:-)
    Keren Zarka

  18. Sofia says...

    Ditto the bag that turns into a backpack. I have this leather one that actually can be made with a waterproof lining (perfect diaper bag). It is also unisex and my husband carries it too. Shameless plug- the are all handmade in Brooklyn by my best friend!

    http://www.spencerdevine.com/core/fourth-generation-lg-a-line-black

  19. Lily says...

    I am so excited that we wear the same glasses!!!!! I feel 10x more chic now.

  20. Jessica says...

    I second the question about the totepack as a diaper bag- I would love the option to use as a backpack or tote depending on the situation. Does anyone have any opinions/insight?

  21. Prudence Yeo says...

    I live in a humid country so a shift dress with a comfortable loose fit or shorts/flare skirts are staples that I keep wearing! These items keep me cool!

    Prudence
    http://www.prudencepetitestyle.com

  22. is true also if we have closet full of clothes in the end we use almost always the same, so when I started to have a budget for every area I started to do a sort of shopping ban doing shopping direcltly from my closet and decluttering items that I am not going to keep donating them for charity… However that glasses are great!!!

  23. mindi says...

    I pretty much wear a uniform from season to season (it truly does make it easier to get dressed in the morning!) and add crazy jewelry by my favorite jeweler, Buried Diamond. My canvas, for spring, summer, fall:
    – black ankle pants (was J Crew cafe capri, but since they discontinued those and mine are now rags, I look for them on eBay. This season I discovered the bi-stretch ankle pant from GAP, and it’s my new favorite)
    – Marimekko Ilma shirt (3/4 sleeve, boatneck striped shirt. I own this in too many colors, but it’s all I wear from spring through fall!)
    – Birkenstock Arizona in black

    In late fall/winter I wear a black mini over American Apparel super opaque tights (they are SO WARM and truly super opaque!) with a J Crew Tippi sweater. For shoes, I’ll switch to an oxford (Nisolo’s are wonderful!) or a Dansko boot (the Maria is my go-to now). This is pretty much it every day!

  24. Hey Joanna,

    I love having staple pieces, but with a baby in the house I find my clothes often get warped and/or nearly destroyed in the wash and dry cycle. Do you have a secret for keeping your staples “like new” or do you embrace the worn-in look?
    I’d love to know!

    Cheers,
    Ryan B

    • Hi Ryan!

      Stumbled upon your comment and wanted to respond! I have struggled with this issue, as well–and here are my two cents. I wash my clothes as little as possible, dry cleaning when I can afford it and hand washing otherwise, and I try not to over-wear. If I get home from a day out, I will change into comfier lounging clothes to avoid over-stretching/wearing. Also, I have tried to adopt the new staple wardrobe concept and as such, owning a couple varieties of those staples helps immensely (i.e. two slightly different white Ts, two similar long gray cardigans). I used to think it was repetitive but not when they’re always what I grab for!

      :)
      The Pastiche
      thepastiche.squarespace.com

    • tess says...

      I wash in cold water and line dry, really extends the life of my wardrobe,
      I’ve had some favorite clothes for over 20 years

  25. Any recommendations for a black bag!? I am trying to make more purchases that I know I will use for years to come.

    • Lauren says...

      I LOVE my Lo & Sons OMG bag. I’ve used it as a diaper bag/travel bag/ whatever bag and it has held up like crazy. Pricey but my BEST bag ever. It’s like a Mary Poppins bag, I can fit so much dang stuff in there!

  26. This is a beautiful list! Personally, I think it’s important to have fewer wardrobe choices, focusing on quality over quantity. Most CEOs and people in leadership positions are found to have a staple wardrobe they stick to; there’s something called decision fatigue, it makes sense having less clothing related choices frees up energy for other things in life :) Plus, you either save money, or are able to buy fewer nicer items!

  27. Shannon says...

    Would you recommend the Totepack for a diaper bag? I’m looking for a functional, non-cutesy, backpack diaper bag that I can use for 2 little guys under 2. Since you’ve already got 2 little ones, I thought you’d have some insight :)

  28. Alexis says...

    High-waisted jeans should be the standard. I don’t understand why people equate them with frumpy! They do exactly that: flatten your tummy, eliminate the chance of showing anything, no muffin top, and they define your waist. Winning all around.

    • Yes, agreed

  29. samantha swenke says...

    lately I am super into loft + my stan smith adidas! loft high waisted jeans are like butter, by the way.

    I love that fjallraven bag, I recently bought the backpack and have been enjoying it. The tote is definitely more mature.

    I want to create a more fine-tuned wardrobe, but have a tough time parting with old pieces. I’d love a post about this process!

    • samantha swenke says...

      Also, I meant a post from you ladies at cup of jo! thanks for sharing the link you did, inspiration!

  30. I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect oatmeal colored cardigan… maybe I’ll have to update to camel. (If anyone is looking for a middle priced one, I just bought the softest black one with pockets at LOFT and I love it already.)

    Every couple of years I find a favorite dress from Uniqlo. They always make ones that are cute, simple and comfy (think giant t-shirt). My favorite from this year got a little worn over the summer, so I’ll definitely be looking for a replacement come next spring. :)

    http://eemmllee.wordpress.com

  31. Raynette says...

    1. black tub top dress that I’ve owned for over 8 years
    2. work out crop pants
    3. workout tanks
    4. lulu lemon sports bra
    5. banana republic skinny jeans
    6. black & grey striped cardigan
    7. banana republic black swoopy blouse
    8. local brand rubber slippers (hawaii thing)
    9. workout shoes
    10. calvin klein long sleeve button up black shirt

  32. Teree says...

    Oh how I love a concise wardrobe:
    Black flats
    Leopard pointy flats
    Leopard heels
    Caramel cardigan
    Black blazer
    Olive tweedy blazer
    Black cropped pants
    Striped tops (always and forver)
    Navy dress
    Gray v-neck tees

  33. Samantha Riedford says...

    Love this post! Other than the backpack and jumpsuit I have all of these items and wear them to death! Madewell also has a striped shirt with dolman sleeves right now which I’m obsessed with-https://www.madewell.com/madewell_category/TEESANDMORE/longsleeve/PRDOVR~E0246/E0246.jsp

  34. LOVE this post! I’m always working on which pieces will be the workhorses in my wardrobe. I’m a uniform girl, but I make it more exciting with accessories. My fav pieces:
    1. skinny jeans
    2. khaki jacket from Marc Jacobs (a lucky hand me down) that’s falling apart I’ve worn it so much. It’s fitted, 3/4 sleeve, and has great pleats in places that really flatter.
    3. Thick, black, button up turtleneck sweater.
    4. Striped long sleeve t shirts
    5. Clarks Brown leather Chukka boots
    6. black leather flats
    7. white t shirts
    8. striped hoodie zip up sweater
    9. Army green skinny jeans
    10. denim skirt
    For accessories, I always have my trusty crossbody, a pair of studs, and a pendant necklace. I’ve got 3 kids under 6 so I need to be practical, everything needs to be washable, and I need to be able to run and/or dance at any moment.
    Looking at this list, I need to add a chambray shirt, an army green parka, and that marvelous backpack!

  35. I love the idea of a capsule wardrobe and all of that, and I do tend to wear the same things over and over (and now that I’m pregnant–forget about it!). I remember when I was living in Europe I loved how people just had a few nice pieces that fit them well and they mixed it up all the time with just those. But when it comes down to it, I still find myself craving NEW things! It’s probably all the advertising I’m exposed to. :)

    One question: Would the Fjallraven Totepack be a good option for a unisex diaper bag?

    • tiffany says...

      I use f-raven backpack as a diaper bag and love it! The handles are super handy ;), but it doesn’t get any better than the backpack style without looking like a hs student rockin a jansport :)

  36. There are definitely items that I wear a little too much, and am a bit embarrassed by it. Need to go shopping again.

  37. I second Warby Parker glasses!

    I want those jeans. I want Madewell to start making petites. I want EVERYONE to start making petites. Right now my go-to pants store is J Crew but it would be nice to have options :)

    • Alix says...

      I’m always buy petite sizes at J.Crew and was surprised to find I can fit into “regular” sizes at Madewell just fine. I actually purchased a pair of their High Riser jeans today and won’t even need to have them hemmed! I’d recommend just trying some on in stores to see how they fit.

  38. KM says...

    My summer uniform consists of Old Navy v-neck t-shirts in a rainbow of colors. (Seriously, I have twelve of them.) I’m addicted, and for just a few bucks a pop per shirt, am shocked they’ve (so far) lasted two summers!

  39. Stephanie says...

    Some people believe that moving towards a uniform vs. having a whole closet of choices simplifies the daily routine. While I’m sure that that’s entirely true, I don’t think I could give up the joy of putting together my outfit every morning! That being said, there are some pieces that I turn to time and time again (casually distressed jeans, chic flats).

    I’m a fashion blogger in NYC. To follow my adventures featuring the best of NYC’s fashion and food, check out sustenanceandstyle.com. Always looking to collaborate with new bloggers, so contact me! See you there xx

    – Stephanie

  40. Emily R says...

    I love all these items! I have a few go-to’s myself, including the Everlane tees thanks to your recommendation a few years ago. I also really appreciate seeing some more affordable alternatives on the list. It’s nice to know the comments are noticed :-) Thank you.

  41. I need in my closet
    * Striped t-shirt
    * White shirt
    * Black skinny pants
    * a pair of Perfect jeans ( thas really dificult!)
    * Little Black Dress
    * Lace white dress
    * Denim shorts
    * Chelsea boots
    * converse trainners

    I think those are my indispensable

  42. Loesie says...

    I actually have what I call ‘shaving socks’.
    They are super soft and a little stretchy and very long. I allow myself only to wear them the day I’ve shaved my legs in the morning. Makes my legs feel super soft all day and makes me feel proud of taking the extra effort of shaving my legs.
    Whaha this must sound weird :-)

  43. LOVE this!

    I love that bag! Question — would it make a good diaper bag? Or is it a better everyday bag?

    • Jenessa says...

      Literally been using that identical bag as a diaper bag for three years! It’s amazing.

  44. Sadie says...

    I keep a 33-pieces or less wardrobe, and while I am no fashion plate, it keeps me looking better than I did when I had a closet full of things I never wore!

    Good pajamas are a must. Recently, my entire building had to evacuate in the middle of the night because of a gas leak (!!!), and I was so embarrassed to be hanging out for hours on the sidewalk in ratty old shorts and a t-shirt (and no bra…. and not-quite-recently shaved legs… and my two-year-old was in just a diaper and tee, also not great). Now I sleep with my shoes by the door and we are always dressed for bed!

  45. emily says...

    I’m in such a transition in every way and don’t know what to buy or wear lately (partly it’s my new mom body – any other women who are, um, “softer” and curvier? I don’t know what to wear anymore!). But I always like lacy white shirts, high waist jeans (lately into the paint spattered or worn look), trench coats, moccasins/loafers/huaraches, and a good leather belt. All I want to wear lately, though, is cozy sweaters, vintage jeans, and knit tees. Basically Keri Russell. Would love to branch out into more creative designer clothes but I don’t have the money (need to learn to sew!). And if I could dress in my duvet and pull it off, I would.

  46. Christie says...

    Love your basics Jo!

    Mine are much the same as everyone else. Over time I’ve learned to adopt a more classic look and really dress to flatter my body shape, rather than what is ‘trendy’. The typical items on my rotation:

    – Madewell high rise skinny jeans (I have them in three washes and wear them every day)
    – Chambray and white shirts with just the right amount of length and drape
    – Neutral cardigans
    – Everlane loafers and pointed flats
    – Neutral sweaters – I’m a sucker for anything with a flattering cut and an interesting texture

  47. I really need to take stock of my closet. I tend to wear my more expensive stuff more often (i.e. the stuff that comes from Ann Taylor/Loft) and my $5 Target t-shirts/tanks than anything else. The rest of the stuff just sits. Never mind the items that don’t fit or aren’t flattering or don’t look good. I am waiting to hear whether I’m keeping my job (it’s complicated), but once I do, I will be taking ruthless stock of my closet and upgrading some items to more classic pieces.

  48. I don’t know if I could ever pare down my wardrobe that minute. Having said that, I lived for a year out of two 2 suitcases and realized how much I didn’t need from my wardrobe. I got rid of half my clothes when I finally had everything shipped to me, but my wardrobe was pretty big to begin with.

    Having said that I do have a daily uniform (a segment of which I’d love to see on your blog–“My daily clothing uniform”, so I rotate through skinny jeans and books, printed pants, and white lacey tops. I also couldn’t live without my ripped jeans lately.

    With little kids, clothes are constantly in the wash, and I would find it waay too stressful to have to wash my clothes everyday for fear of running out!

    Analog House
    http://theanaloghouse.blogspot.com

  49. Libbynan says...

    Leggings with a tunic top (always knit) or a denim shirt. Boyfriend jeans with a tee and cardigan. And always flats! My favorites are a pair of Michael Kors black patent loafers. They are so comfortable! I also have a pair of B. Makowsky pewter ballet flats that are practically like going barefoot, but protected. And in our southern summers, NOTHING is better than a maxi dress and Havianas!

  50. Amy says...

    My friends are very into the “capsule wardrobe” concept. But I like your post because it’s essentially kind of the same thing…I think we all have a capsule wardrobe at heart because we re-wear the same things over and over!
    I’ve tried to buy more neutral colours overall so that things can get paired together more easily. (No more wool turquoise pencil skirts or hot pink silk blouses in my shopping bag, even though I do love the odd pop of colour!)
    As a mom of two wee ones, I just don’t have the budget to change my closet up as often and have to choose wisely. I’m also loving tunics/longer button ups with the American Apparel winter leggings (double thickness!), so cozy.

  51. Laura C says...

    I’ve realized that I have many white t-shirts. I have also a very nice scarf from Zara Kids. People notice if you wear the same clothes, it is true, but who cares?
    Joanna I’m thinking of Anton and his striped one-piece (the one he wears in which a sailor went to sea)… is that his favourite?!
    xox

  52. Molly Amoroso says...

    I’ve recently started the mantra – if you buy something beautiful and well made, at a higher cost – you’ll get more wear out of it. There’s a reason these things cost more!
    My staples:
    1) Brioni black wool skirt – work almost every day!
    2) Crisp white button down shirt – from Shirtini in SC
    3) Miu Miu nude patent leather oxfords – perfect for the commute to work and 3 seasons
    4) Stuart Weitzman dark brown pumps in snake skin – they work with black or other colors and are a little more fun than just plain black pumps at work
    5) Prada trench raincoat – looks chic and effortless and in a burgundy color is a little more funky than just a plain trench
    Not to say I don’t have less expensive items in my closet, which I have plenty of and wear – like gap jeans and Loft sweaters, etc, but the above items find my rotation on a daily basis and they’re great!

  53. i signed up for stitch fix over the summer and every month i request a specific season-appropriate item and let the stylist throw in whatever else. this last month i got an elbow patch cardigan that i have been living in, i love it so much.
    i generally have an idea of what i want to wear, the kind of outfit like, but i have a very hard time going to the store or mall to get said items, i don’t know where to begin and there are so many dang choices!
    my next fix i requested a plaid shirt and maybe a skirt or dress that can be worn with tights and booties.

  54. I did a huge purge after reading the Lifechanging Magic (like everyone else!), and I realized that I really only love 5 colors, which has really helped me shop better and put together outfits much more easily! If you’re curious, mine are hardly colors: black, white, gray, blue, and something in the warm family. This summer it was coral and orange, and this fall more like a cranberry/oxblood/deep red. I usually wear only stripes or dots, but an occasional pattern in different colors is fine, too!

  55. Suzanne says...

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about creating a uniform for myself. Here is what I have been exclusively on the look out for:

    *cardigans in neutral colors (why has this been SO difficult to find?!)
    *plaid shirts in various weights – transition from fall to winter to spring
    *the perfect pair of jeans that fit so well
    *substantial v-neck t-shirts
    *subtle yet sparkly jewelry
    *boots that can stand the winters
    *a fall vest

    I am discouraged to have to shop for clothes with the right fit for my body (curvy/16/XL) and this usually makes me want to run and hide from every store at the mall. Online shopping it is! But there’s nothing more satisfying to my girly side than to go to the store, select beautiful clothes to try on and admire in the mirror.

    • Target for cardigans! They always have everything in a dozen colors – watch for a sale and buy one of each.

  56. Loved the striped shirt! And all the mom’s in Hamburg, Germany LOVE their Fjällräven backpack. Good choice.

  57. Marianne says...

    I’m in the process of seriously minimizing my wardrobe to only what I love and actually wear and filling in missing “key” pieces (I just got a beautiful JCrew Collection gray cashmere cardigan on eBay for $35!). I do a lot of thrifting and second-hand shopping on eBay so don’t feel badly getting rid of stuff since most of what I have I didn’t pay much for. Here are some of my favorites I wear all the time: gray v-neck t-shirt from Target, J Crew chambray shirt, Gap 1969 dark straight leg jeans, JCrew turquoise shorts, white t-shirt, RayBan new wayfarers, tan Vince waffle weave sweater.

  58. Caz says...

    Having moved countries two times in the last 3 years, I’ve had to take many long, hard looks at my wardrobe when trying to pack my entire life into one suitcase of about 25kg (50lb). My tip for a wardrobe clean out: a bottle of wine and an honest girlfriend. Just before I moved the first time, two friends came over and made me show them every single item I was taking with me and justify WHY. It helped me cut down a lot (e.g. “Hmm those last 3 dresses are pretty similar, do you really need all 3?)

    Having said that, in each place I’ve lived I’ve still ended up buying plenty of things because I need variety! However I try to shop sales and secondhand stores so that if the time comes to move and things need to be ditched, it’s not a lot of money down the drain.

    Trusty faves:
    Flat brown leather ankle boots
    Skinny jeans (blue and black)
    Loose black or white v-neck t-shirt
    Grey merino cardigan
    Black crew-neck t-shirt dress
    Chambray shirt

  59. 123 says...

    I’m a teacher so i can’t exactly wear whatever I want everyday although the school I work at isn’t strict when it comes to staff attire and allows us to wear jeans and sneakers if we want to. My white high tops all stars are my favorite shoes ever. They’re such a classic and I love their unisex look. Tops wise, I cannot and will not get enough of loose white and black t-shirts.

  60. Beck says...

    I have way too many clothes but I do wear striped tees a lot. The best by miles are fro uni qlo. They are a thicker weight and last forever. I’ve had one of them for five years and it still looks good. Also vintage tops plus high waisted jeans and then shoes/jacket/bag to make outfit more day/night appropriate always works for me.

  61. My high waisted indigo jeans from Krisp, kimonos, particular pairs of coloured and patterned tights, platform boots and circle skirts

  62. Robin says...

    For me it’s a black v-neck cashmere sweater or long sleeved petit bateau boat neck tees in gray or white with jeans. I love the MIH Paris fit. Straight jean with a little kick flare. On my feet are either ballet flats, short boots or my chucks.

  63. Well, this post got me thinking that I always wear three things! I’m with you about stripe tees (mine are always COS) and plaid shirts (usually ZARA). The last item would be high waisted jeans, because they are the best! I discovered them a year ago and now they are my favourites. I’m pear shaped (terrible thing to say but you get the picture) so low waisted jeans look horrible for me: if they fit my hips and thighs they are super large on the waist. Somehow I thought that since I am curvy (actually I would say fat, but let’s say curvy because it sounds nicer, ehem), high waisted jeans were not for me. But I was wrong! They are the most comfortable jeans ever!
    xx,
    E.
    http://www.theslowpace.com

  64. Sylvia says...

    Inspiring post. I MUST clean out my closet. I’m 27… 28 in January (OMG I’m getting old) and still have clothes from when I was a teenager. I keep these clothes thinking that I can wear them while cleaning or doing something around the house that would ruin my ‘good’ clothes.
    I have a closet full of clothing but continue to wear the same handful of items:
    1) black cardigan
    2) white camis under almost every top
    3) black leather ankle boots
    4) skinny jeans
    5) scarves, scarves, scarves

    I’ve been thinking of cleaning out my closet for the longest time. This post is a SIGN! I’ll do it tonight… wish me luck!

    • Ginger says...

      Sylvia! First: go pick up The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (by Marie Kondo). It will transform the way you clean that closet!

  65. I wear my J.Crew toothpick jeans probably every other day (I have them in four washes!), and a J.Crew chambray shirt at least once a week. I also favor Breton stripes year round. I wear my Everlane cashmere sweater all the time in winter and Madewell and J. Crew make the best plaid button downs, of which I have about a thousand. I’ve tried trends, but honestly I prefer to stick with what works for my body type and lifestyle. I end up feeling so much more comfortable when I’m wearing a few of my favorites, even if that’s more or less all the time : )

  66. annie g says...

    Black Levis. White shirt. Occasionally blue Levis. Blue shirt. Black tops from H&M. Boots. In the summer, simple sandals.
    That’s it. I will probably be buried in black Levis. And a black shirt.

  67. first off, i LOVE that bag, and the fact that it turns into a backpack! sigh! but yes i just love the idea of having the key basics trusty pieces in your wardrobe. jeans, cardigans, sweaters, shirts, tshirt dresses etc. the go to pieces that you can change up with some more trendy or pattern pieces. as i have grown older i have started to cleanse my closet out as well!

    http://www.footnotesandfinds.com

  68. Trish says...

    Here here for the Fjallraven totepack!! Saw yours on another post and loving fabric totes, had to get it. Thank you. I was lucky enough to get it in charcoal last year but I don’t see that they’re carrying that color this year. Totepack No. 3 which just came out is a good one too. It’s a bit lighter weight and the straps work a little differently.

  69. Lindsey says...

    I work from home. The most important item in my wardrobe is my pair of LL Bean “Wicked Good Moccasin” slippers. I just realized they had that dumb name, ha. They’re great though.

  70. Amanda says...

    I wear practically the same thing to work every day:
    1) sheath dress (I go to therealreal.com and get designer ones for much less…)
    2) black Theory jacket (with the sleeves rolled 1/3 up)
    3) Wolford stockings (they last forever)
    4) Manolo Campari pumps. Black patent, every day

    It makes getting ready in the morning super-easy. Commuter shoes are nude J Crew flats. :-)

    And at home it’s AG Jeans, a Vince t-shirt, and a cashmere cardigan if it’s chilly. Love the uniform!

  71. Love this post! While I love having variety in my closet but I do tend to wear my favorite pieces over and over again. I would love to know where most people get their favorite tees and tanks (I think it could be an entire post really). I love Everlane’s but as a busy Mama I always forget to take them out of the wash and dry them laying flat and inevitably end up with shrunk tees in the dryer. I’ve been wearing Marine Layer tees and love them but would be excited to hear other people’s go-tos as well.

    • The Mom Edit has some great posts about tshirts!

  72. Julie says...

    I bought a red Fjallraven Totepack last year after seeing yours in another post and I love it! It’s so durable and can be worn so many different ways. Since my girls are almost (!) out of the diaper stage, it’s perfect for carrying a few extra things without having to haul a diaper bag around anymore!

  73. Ingrid says...

    I retired from teaching two years ago. I started substitute teaching this fall, and recently subbed in the middle school where I had some of the students who were in my last regular class. They welcomed me to their class, and then told me I was wearing the same outfit (black pants, black and white striped top, white jean jacket) that I had worn the last day they saw me in fifth grade. If you are a teacher, a minimal wardrobe doesn’t work. Students really do notice if you wear the same thing all the time, and they tell you. Are adults just too polite to mention it, do you think? Or is it that they don’t really notice or care?

    • CeeBee says...

      I think adults don’t notice because they have so many things going on, and keeping tabs on other people’s wardrobes does not top the list of important things.

      I can see this with kids though. They’re in school to learn and make observations. And they also have very simple things to worry about (hopefully!). I remember clothing choices feeling stressful because of how much it’s noticed by your peers. But on the flip side, I endured two pregnancies through hot desert summers in an all-male start-up with no central air, and came to realize I had no idea what my co-workers wore day to day, nor did I care. And then I assumed that thought was mutual. So I’d wear my nice purple blouse two days a week because it looked/fit well and was comfy.

    • Emily says...

      Kids care because they are at a very self-conscious stage in life and dressing is an important part of kid self-expression. Adults don’t care because there are other things to care about.

    • It’s really interesting you mention that. As an adult I notice when people where the same clothes again and again but I don’t think anything about it and I do really find it great to repeat the same outfit because it seems to express a great sense of style. But reading your comment I could remember that in school to see the constantly repeated outfits from teachers was something I didn’t enjoy, and it wasn’t a fashion thing or anything. Why is that? I wasn’t an annoyed teenager or picky (but I always was a very visual person!).

  74. jen says...

    haha. stripe shirts yes. high waisted pants no. i will never go back to those. i think it all depends on your body type. i have a very short torso so any high wasted pants, basically the pant waist lands right below my boobs. a real urkel look for me. i’m big on tunics and leggings. they are the ones i constantly pull from my closet.

  75. Julie D. says...

    I saw you on the streets two days ago (I nanny in Carroll Gardens) and you were wearing the plaid shirt and the backpack! (Sorry if it sounded creepy ^_^). My go to is a marinière and black high wasted jeans!

  76. Stuck on those thighs in the top photo! Just want to squeeze them.

    I have a pair of rag and bone jeans that I wear nearly every day for most of the year. The pair I own is over two years. Love them.

  77. funny, I always picture you in exactly this outfit- glasses, striped shirt, jeans and flats :)

  78. Nicolle B. says...

    I live in Honolulu, so my essentials are a little different than the typical NYC women. That said, I am originally from Los Angeles, so fashion is important to me:)

    1)EZNA COSTA tank knee length fitted dresses with Linea Pelle Belts
    2) Chanel Gloss in Giggle
    3) Dior clear gloss coat on nails, always
    4) AG Jeans with James Pierce Black Tees
    5) 7 Rose Gold Bangles (locally made on the Big Island)
    6) Tory Burch flats
    7) Stuart W. Wedges
    8) Mara Hoffman Maxis
    9) Chan Luu Scarfs
    10) Frank and Eileen Button down shirts with leggings.

    • Mary Beth says...

      We will be visiting the Big Island next summer! Where can I buy locally made bangles?

  79. I just moved with my family to NOLA for only a year and most of our stuff is in storage. It was liberating (and scary!) to narrow down my wardrobe to come here. I basically wear a midi skirt with a white tank or t-shirt every single day. It feels funny to have a uniform, but it really helps make mornings easier, I’m finding. (Although I’m loving the look of all the high-waist flare jeans I see popping up everywhere…I might have to splurge on a pair once the temps here dip a bit more!)

  80. Julia says...

    I noticed the other day that I basically only wear white t -shirts. I have so many but definitely know my fav’s. If I find one of a good weight and length that doesn’t shrink I buy a lot of them. I’m now pregnant so looking for a tighter version since loose tops just accentuate the bloated look instead of making me look pregnant. Other than that its jeans or in summer patterned mini skirts. I REALLY need to branch out!

  81. Tyler says...

    Striped Zara tee and black high waisted madewell jeans. I have multiples of each and they’re my uniform!

  82. My top item in my closet: a chambray shirt that I wear a minimum of once a week. I wear it tucked into skirts, with my black skinny jeans, or tied over a dress. I also adore my green cargo jacket from the Gap Outlet that I wear all the time. I too wear striped shirts all the time.

  83. you totally sold me on the Fjallraven tote. just bought it ;)

  84. I recently did some sort of a capsule thing in my closet. I was inspired by the 333 project that a friend told me about. Basically you have 33 pieces of clothing to wear for 3 months. After researching it on Pinterest some closets had 33 pieces including belts, scarves and shoes! That seemed crazy to me. However I did meticulously go through my closet sorting out anything I didn’t LOVE and got down to 33 pieces of clothing. It has made getting dressed for any occasion such a breeze because I’m only ever looking at outfits I really love and never wasting time on things I’m so so about, used to love, which fit me better, etc.

  85. Kerry says...

    I have those Target pajamas and the are SO soft and comfortable and they look great! 10/10 definitely recommend :)

    • Teri says...

      I also have the Target pjs. Soooo soft and comfy-best 20 I’ve spent recently. Highly recommend!

  86. I’ve been contemplating another closet overhaul (mostly pinning ideas…). I never really gave much thought to a minimalist wardrobe until I lost 60lbs and realized I needed new of everything! I’m not kidding it’s so expensive to all of a sudden need a whole new wardrobe. About 30lbs down I got rid of the majority of my clothes & cried my heart out to my husband. It’s an emotional roller coaster. Now that I am settling into a weight I am comfortable with I am trying to avoid buying a bunch of crappy clothes!

    I have a mix of clothes I no longer wear or no longer fit me and a Some new stuff. What I wear over & over again:

    1. Old navy jeans (comfy& cheap for transition weight)

    2. Grey cardigan

    3. Chambray dresses (I have 2 & I love both! I do need to replace them now with a smaller size.

    That’s about it…I I just realized I really really need to let go of all the other clothes in my closet! My girlfriend suggested I buy a bunch of single colored blouses and use necklaces as the pop of color so I don’t feel like I’m wearing the same thing over and over again. But I prefer dainty jewelry so that method didn’t work! This is long…maybe tonight I’ll pour myself a glass of wine & clear out the closet. I really need some loyal girlfriends so I don’t write a book on here! Haha! Love ya Joanna cuz you always make me think! I need a Caroline in my life too (no kids, loves books & lipstick)!

    Xo ~Lendy
    http://www.twoplusluna.com

  87. mishpoole says...

    White jeans! All year long. Always feel fresh and put together & they go with everything!
    And I love a stripe tee….or maybe 12 ;-)

  88. Trish O says...

    I have tried a capsule several time, but just can’t seem to get rid of the stuff (or stop getting new stuff) oops. But I do tend to wear the same stuff:
    JCrew Matchstick jeans dark wash (I am tall and these make my legs look so long)
    Madewell black ankle boots
    Old Coach brown leather men’s messenger bag
    JCrew light denim shirt
    Madewell short sweater dress blue/black from last fall
    Black Boden tights (they are the best tights ever! For tall girls)
    Lulu black pants
    JCrew off white t shirt
    Gray Madewell midi skirt
    JCrew burgundy cashmere cardigan
    Classic Ray Ban aviators
    Gap men’s pj

    I guess I could get rid of the rest. 90% of the time I am in ^^^
    Plus, now that I catalog my clothes that I wear, it seems I tend to shop at mostly JCrew brands. What would I do without Jenna Lyons as my stylist?

  89. breezy says...

    I think those striped shirts look good on everybody!! Not tricky to pull off at alll…though obviously each person will prefer different fits and cuts. My favorite is one that is slightly boxy (but really more of an A line shape) with a boat neck (aka what people call a Breton top). And most importantly, it has to be the right weight! i find that the best ones have a thicker, almost canvas-like fabric that hold their shape but are still comfy. i have a great one from lands end that i got at a second hand store and have been eyeing everlane’s new version!

  90. jenny says...

    I love this post. I’m currently pregnant (6 weeks to go!), but once I’m back into my regular clothes, my goal is to create a thoughtful capsule wardrobe. I’m so tired of that “full closet but nothing to wear” feeling, so I plan to really concentrate on buying fewer, higher quality pieces that I love and will last. Question- do you think the Totepack would make a good diaper bag? I’ve struggled to find a functional bag that doesn’t scream “diaper bag!” and this looks like it could be the answer!

    • jenny says...

      Also- those Target pj’s are my everything right now! I have three pairs and have worn them every night since I hit about 5 months pregnant. The waistband isn’t tight at all and they’re so soft. Plus they make me feel a little fancy, especially compared to my usual “ratty shorts and t-shirt” pj’s :) Hoping they make a long-sleeve/pants version for colder nights!

    • KC says...

      Another option: I don’t even have kids and I wanted the diaper bag Kate Baer has (but for my laptop & books & water bottle & all): https://www.lily-jade.com/designer-diaper-bags-p/m1-brandy.htm

      More expensive, but it’s leather (and, for diaper bag use, contains a stand-up insert to hold all the odds and ends).

    • Trish O says...

      I always found. A backpack to be the best diaper bag. Sits well when holding baby in front. Hands free when they get older and you are chasing them around. You can get inserts to turn any bag into a diaper bag. Congrats.

    • Amanda says...

      Best diaper bag ever? The Easton Batpack. It’s a backpack for baseball, but the side pockets to hold bats are perfect for bottles. And the front opens up wide to hold plenty of stuff. Very comfortable, even for dad…our favorite diaper bag by FAR!

    • jenny says...

      Thanks, ladies! So many options to check out!

    • Allison says...

      My favourite “not a diaper bag” is the Le Sport Sac Deluxe Everyday Bag. Not too huge, plenty of different pockets, not heavy material (so bag itself doesn’t weigh much), not too “girly” or purse-like for Dads if you choose the pattern with that in mind (I have a blue/black stripe).

    • Emily says...

      Pregnant here too and did a capsule maternity wardrobe (by necessity, didn’t have the funds for a round the pregnancy shopping so I went to the local consignment and dropped $100 for about 15 pieces.) Anyway, go backpack for diaper bags all the way. I had a regular diaper bag my first time and even though it was stylish and great, I NEVER EVER used it. I got a big jansport backpack full of pockets and I use that sucker every day even now that my daughter is 3! handsfree is the way!
      also, thanks for the target pjs recommendation, I’m in dire dire need!

  91. I love this post. In my dream world all of your readers would share their magic ten too! So fun and helpful (also appreciate when you provide affordable options). :-D

    My must haves (this fall):

    1. My gingham/plaid shirt from Loft.
    2. Black ankle boots
    3. Lipstick (plum!)
    4. Skinny jeans
    5. High waisted Anthro skirt
    6. Madewell black “vintage” jansport backpack
    7. A striped scarf
    8. My oversized watch (from The Horse)
    9. Target PJs (they make me feel like I’m in an Audrey Hepburn movie!)
    10. A light pink pull over (which my boyfriend lovingly calls my “churro” sweatshirt)

    Have an awesome weekend! Hope to read others’ 10!

  92. I have a similar-but-different pair of tortoise shell glasses from Warby Parker, and I love them!

  93. I sooo can’t get on board with the hight waisted pants. Even though you make reasonable point. Must be my body type? -I am miserable in them
    That tan sweater’d lady’s look would have caught my chill but style eye too!

    • Trish O says...

      I am not a fan of them. They sit over my unfortunately large c-section puge and make me look pregnant. They are sooo cute on some girls.

  94. Carly says...

    I have that fjallraven bag and I LOVE it, too. Did you ever use it as a diaper bag? Thoughts?

    • Deb says...

      I was wondering this too! Looks like a good choice that dads could also pull off (i.e. Not be embarrassed to carry)

  95. Thanks for the tip on the glasses…I’m always looking for new glasses!
    Here’s my list for fall
    Skinny jeans
    Ankle boots
    Madewell tote
    Red – white striped boatneck
    Black button up shirt
    Navy striped apron
    Navy blazer
    Grey v-neck tee
    Puffer vest
    Glasses

  96. Love all the madewell shout outs as I think they’re killing it this season! I adore their high rise jeans too! I have to say those flats are cute, but I totally disagree about comfort. I had nasty blisters on my heels and front toes from 1 wear. :(

    • Jenna says...

      I had to BREAK. THESE. IN. but after many wears, blow-drying them, and wearing them around the house they are super comfy now!

    • Also agree on breaking them in! The first few wears were rough, but now I LIVE in them.

  97. I’ve been looking everywhere for a cute tote that turns into a backpack, since I started walking home from work a few days a week. Thank you for sharing this one!

  98. Toby says...

    I started a capsule wardrobe this year and keep about 35 pieces in my closet (shoes and jackets included) at any given time. It has made my life so much easier and I feel like I actually know my style. I even got my mom on board with the idea!

  99. Anitra says...

    I wear a tank top, black leggings, and a long cardigan every. single. day. and I love it!

    • Me too! In winter I add a big scarf and sometimes a second (!) sweater :)

  100. I’m literally in the process doing this now!

  101. Lauren says...

    I have broad shoulders and a fairly ruddy complexion, thanks to Scottish ancestors. So many of the pieces I admire on others — beige cardigans, flowy dresses, black-and-white striped tees — simply don’t work on me. The result? A wardrobe full of navy blue sheath dresses!

    • Anna says...

      Omg! Lauren!!! Me too :) ruddy ruddy (maiden name is a shortened version of McGinnis) navy blue till the end! I always buy beige and have to give it away in the end. Sisters.

  102. Nicole Mueller says...

    Love so many things in this post! I also swear by my tan (J Crew) cardigan, but will have to try the grey t-shirt underneath. Your breton t-shirt (love!) reminded me of tops I see often in one of my favorite style blogs, C. Style. Check out her site for even more daily-wear pieces. Thank you for some great new ideas!

  103. Nina says...

    so after I graduated from law school I decided instead of suits/blazers I would wear brightly colored silk blouses with print pants or skirts. that lasted as long as it took me to realize
    1. I hate ironing
    2. dry cleaning is WAY expensive
    3. silk shirts, large chest = really hard to keep the chest-scape clean!
    now my goal is washable/wearable. but I do have certain items I wear again and again – and I usually now just wear bright shoes. my job is more relaxed than a typical law career so I wear shoes that sparkle or have flowers…they make me happy. that’s my goal with my clothes! ;)

  104. It’s all about the basics! I definitely rotate about 20 items in my closet that can be mixed and matched with one another. That’s when investing in quality pieces becomes key :) or so I tell myself.

  105. My husband just bought a camel cardigan for himself after feeling jealous of how versatile mine is :) Now the trick is for us to avoid wearing them on the same day…

    I really enjoyed reading this post. It’s interesting to see what other ladies count as their faves!

  106. Alix says...

    I love the idea of a capsule wardrobe and have been trying to practice this myself for years. I finally realized that if you only wear classic basics, no one really remembers at all what you wear, so 3x/week is totally fine!

    On a side note, I bought those exact same black D’Orsay flats from Madewell, but unfortunately they don’t work for my extra-wide feet. They’re practically brand new (just purchased last month), so I’m looking to sell them if anyone is interested (they’re size 6).

    • Nina says...

      I had a co-worker that wore the same clothes over and over. and yes, we noticed. could be that they were none-too-clean and he smelled. but when we saw the same stain days in a row…we noticed!

    • Alix says...

      @Nina, I should clarify that I have multiples of all my basics (e.g., 5 black Gap long-sleeve shirts, 5 white Everlane v-neck tees, 3 pairs of identical AG jeans) and definitely wash them after wearing!

  107. I have great friends who organize clothing swaps, which I love. I’ve been doing really well paring down and donating/consigning things, but am slower on finding new, affordable favorites. I’m hoping to move past Everlane tees and leftover maternity cardigans this fall (my son is 16 months old!).