Looking through my post archives from way back in the day, there’s no shortage of cringe worthy pairings (so many shorts over tights…), but I was pleasantly surprised to see that several pieces I purchased over 10 years ago are still ones that I reach for now!
It got me thinking about the types of pieces that have the most longevity. Ones that can withstand changing trends and personal tastes. After going through my closet I wanted to share a few examples of pieces I still reach for a decade later, and elements I look for when shopping for timeless pieces!
1. “Investment” Coat
Several of my earliest blog posts were actually on Burberry coats and Chanel handbags, which is a little unusual considering I was a recent college grad working at an average entry level job. While the majority of my clothing purchases were probably under $30, I budgeted and spent carefully on a few select pieces that were timeless, high quality, and brought me joy each time I reached for them.
I also made sure to pay for necessary alterations like sleeve shortening, because there’s no point in splurging on something that doesn’t fit well. Coats were my thing – living in New England you spend what feels like 1/3rd of the year in outerwear, and it’s the first and outermost piece you see on someone when outside!
Now not all of my splurges have withstood the test of time and evolving tastes. I have two in a color and a plaid, which were fun at the time but not pieces I ever reach for anymore. My black and camel ones though still feel as classic now as they did 10 years ago, which is why I have a hard time straying from neutrals!
What I’d buy now: For an investment quality coat, my choice these days would be Mackage coats (like their chic Nori style!) which are beautiful quality and a pretty slim fit for much less than Burberry! Petite ladies may just need to get sleeves shortened.
Fit wise, I’d go for a slightly longer below the knee length (like my Ted Baker coat, which is up there in terms of all-time favorite coats) rather than above the knee, and not get it altered to fit so snugly in the torso and waist. My tailor always used to say “it’s a coat, not a dress!” when I was in my early 20s and wanted a very snug fitting coat … and now I finally get it!
2. Tailored Blazer
Another example of how timeless and durable pieces do not necessarily need to be costly. H&M actually has great blazers for the value, and I still own almost all the ones I’ve acquired from there over the years!
With blazers (and any jacket or outerwear), I recommend finding a good shoulder and torso fit, and then spending the money if necessary to get the sleeves tailored. Sometimes I spend more on the sleeve alterations than the item itself, but it’s worth it because it makes such a difference.
I also wanted to share a quick tip on how I preserve my white garments. As soon as I see a potential stain or sweat mark along high friction spots like the collar, underarms, or the sleeve cuffs I will spot clean with The Laundress stain bar and warm water, so far it’s worked well for my white jackets and button ups!
What I’d do differently: I will say most of my blazers from 10 years ago are more fitted and shorter in length, and these days I’ve been loving slightly longer, boyfriend style or relaxed cuts. But when wearing an outfit where I need a shorter layer to visually draw the eyes upwards, my trusty old H&M blazers still look great!
3. Feminine but not Overdone Blouse
There’s actually a surprising number of blouses I still reach for that joined my wardrobe nearly a decade ago. Looking at the keepers compared to the ones I’ve gotten rid of over the years, the ones that are still around have:
- Easy to maintain fabric. This does not = expensive (i.e. real silk) but rather just easy to clean. Ann Taylor and LOFT blouses in machine washable synthetic materials have been major in this category!
- Good drape. My drapey blouses have proven to be more timeless over crisper cotton shirts or tops that have a defined cut. For example, my relationship with button up shirts over time have evolved from “Tailored / slim” fit when I first started working, to a slightly looser “Classic” fit, to now when I even opt for “relaxed” cuts. Meanwhile, my blouses that are a standard cut with good drape still look as flattering on me as they did many years and 2 kids ago.
- An interesting detail that is not overdone, whether it’s a neckline, textural or sleeve detail, unique color or subtle pattern or print. But not so prominent of a feature that it would be too trendy or dated a few years later. This blouse below for example, I loved the nude pink color and tie neck detail, and still do!
What I’d do differently: This is another piece that I had altered to be pretty slim fit. But thankfully I left the seam allowance in so I was able to take it back out for a more relaxed look. I always recommend asking your tailor to leave in a reasonable seam allowance in case your body or tastes change down the road!
4. Neutral Trench
Trenches were one of my style obsessions in early blogging days, and remains a wardrobe essential for me many years and life changes later! There’s just something so London chic and polished about a good trench, and can help pull together even the most basic everyday outfits.
My first trench buys were above the knee, tailored and fitted a la Burberry style, before evolving to more draped, fluid fabric midi trenches in recent years, and now more oversized ones are catching my eyes. While I do prefer fluid and longer lengths now, I will say almost all of the options in my trench collection are still pieces I reach for and don’t look too dated!
What I’d do differently: One of my biggest style regrets is shortening this trench from its original below the knee length. I used to think it was most flattering to have a hem hitting above my knees, but have since discovered just how elongating midi lengths can be and how it can actually feel more chic across a range of age groups.
What is an item you got over 10 years ago that you still love now?