Things I Bought 10 Years Ago and Still Love

Four items I've been wearing for a decade
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!

how to style a petite wool coat

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

how to style a white blazer

Similar blazer), H&M pants xs (shortened), AT top xxsp, DV sandals 5.5 (my review), TDE bucket bag
See original blog post

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!

how to style a feminine blouse

Gap blouse, J.Crew cord pants 24 petite, DV sandals 5.5, AT jacket(old; similar)
See original blog post

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!


Theory trench, Levi’s jeans in “shut up” 24 with hems cut, $30 dolman sweater, SM BOOTS 5.5 (prior year)
See original blog post

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?

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36 Comments

  1. Elizabeth wrote:

    Love this post! Makes me realize how long I have been reading your blog. Such wonderful content for all but especially petite frames. Thanks for all you do!

    Posted 9.20.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thank you for reading along throughout the years xx

      Posted 9.21.21 Reply
  2. Charmaine wrote:

    Thank you so much for all of your detailed posts. I’m a petite 50 yr old and I think you’re the best blogger out there! Keep doing what you’re doing…don’t change a thing!

    Posted 9.20.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      That means so much, thank you Charmaine!!

      Posted 9.21.21 Reply
  3. belle wrote:

    Really loved this blogpost! Reminded me of the early years of following your blog. I completely agree with keeping some pieces that stand the test of time. I have quite a few that I continuously wear despite their age, and brand.

    Posted 9.20.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thank you Belle, it was a fun walk down memory lane!

      Posted 9.21.21 Reply
  4. Megan wrote:

    I got the Mackage Nori 2-in-1 coat a couple of years ago via a Trunk Club trunk and it is the best coat for warmth and style. I live in west Michigan and with the wind chill our temps can be below zero in the winter. My Mackage coat keeps me warm and comfortable all season long. While it’s an investment up front, I haven’t had to buy a new winter coat for years, nor will I have to, so the cost per wear is it quite reasonable.

    Posted 9.17.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Oh I’m so glad to hear that! I love that style (and the name!!)

      Posted 9.21.21 Reply
  5. Mahveen wrote:

    Hi! Do you have a blog post about the Mackage coats? Would love to invest but not sure about sizing and lengths on petite frames. Thanks!

    Posted 9.17.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      I don’t have a blog post on them, but I’ll keep it in mind that that would be of interest to you! The major department stores like Nordstrom, Saks, Neimans all carry the brand so perhaps a local store has them available to try on in store? Also on their size guide page they include a fit guide to explain their different fits a bit more, which is helpful!

      Posted 9.21.21 Reply
  6. KV wrote:

    Jean, I love love love this! Congrats to you and your keen eye on picking out some winners a decade ago. I’ve always admired your thoughtful approach to style, and its always fun to look back and see what we’ve learned/how we’ve evolved. I am always trying for a less is more approach, but it’s hard with the constant bombardment of “new”.

    Some of my favorite items from a decade ago – DVF wrap dresses (I still think they look classic), Burberry trench, and Chanel 2.55.

    Posted 9.17.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thank you! It sounds like you have some classic winners in your wardrobe as well

      Posted 9.21.21 Reply
  7. Charlotte Keppers wrote:

    I have followed you for 8 years that I’m sure of, and this post just demonstrates why you’ve held my attention and revere so long…. I can’t handle all the cookie cutter bloggers who are “obsessed” with a different trendy item each week. Your classic style, and the fun coincidence that we entered motherhood and marriage on similar timelines have kept your blog and social accounts so relevant to me. Thank you for focusing on the staples in our wardrobes that are classic and timeless. I have several vintage coach bags you reccommended years ago, and they are still reached for just as much (unless I need a diaper bag) You are an inspiration!

    Posted 9.16.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thank you so much for such a thoughtful note, Charlotte! I really appreciate your kind words and your support throughout the years.

      Posted 9.16.21 Reply
  8. Jo wrote:

    Love this post and also the range of ages posting comments. I’m 26 here and loving seeing the comments on timelessness by those more experienced!

    Posted 9.16.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      It’s so fun to hear from readers of all ages 🙂

      Posted 9.16.21 Reply
  9. Hanna Berbres wrote:

    I love this! I’ve follow your blog, if not ten years at least seven or eight, and those photos bring back so much nostalgia. I also love that you find so many of your staple pieces still up to date! True classics!! Thank you for being such an inspiration for all these years!

    XOXO

    Posted 9.16.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thank you so much for your sweet note and for following along all of these years!

      Posted 9.16.21 Reply
  10. Karen wrote:

    I bought an investment Doncaster black sheath in 2000 and had it altered to fit perfectly. Midis were in then, and I mean long, way below the knee midis. When styles changed I had it shortened to knee length. I still wear it now 21 years later! I wore it with flat sandals and a scarf to a funeral a few weeks ago and I am planning on wearing it with heels and pearls next weekend. Great post!

    Posted 9.15.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thank you Karen, what a bonus that something you’ve had in your closet for so long can still be styled in several ways for different occasions

      Posted 9.16.21 Reply
  11. Rachel wrote:

    I bought a pretty cream-colored cotton/linen cardigan from LLBean 23 years ago after my first daughter was born. It is currently in Europe studying abroad with that baby’s younger sister, who keeps stealing it away from me claiming it’s vintage, which I suppose it is, literally from the last century!

    Posted 9.15.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Oh my gosh, how fun that your girls are now enjoying it. I can’t wait to see which pieces in my wardrobe Nori will be drawn to as she gets older 🙂

      Posted 9.16.21 Reply
  12. Sarah wrote:

    Fantastic post soooo useful! My taste has also evolved to midi length coats and oversize trenches

    Posted 9.15.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thank you, Sarah!

      Posted 9.16.21 Reply
  13. Heather wrote:

    Jean! This was so fun. I’ve been following you since the beginning of your journey, and even though I’m older (48) come back to your blog time and time again for wisdom 🙂 This was great timing, as I’m considering a good winter coat and was tempted to buy one in a color instead of Camel! Thank you! I won’t invest quite as much since I’m in CA and live in cotton dresses most of the year, but really appreciate the reminder to stay classic with the color, and not to hem above the knee. Beautiful to see your past photos compared to now!

    Posted 9.15.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thank you Heather, I’m so grateful that you’ve been following along all these years!

      Posted 9.16.21 Reply
  14. Ann Marie wrote:

    Really enjoyed seeing this! I buy clothing because I like it and hope to wear it for several years, not just because it’s in style at the moment so I have quite a few coats that I purchased 10+ years ago – all the way back to a classic black leather jacket I bought in college (late 90s). I’ve always been willing to spend a bit on nice wool and trench coats as I live in the midwest and I’m always cold, so I’m usually wearing at least light outerwear about 3/4 of the year.

    Most of my long-term favorites are classic 3/4 length coats or longer. They just seem more lady-like and sophisticated – which I appreciate more the older I get!

    Black is my favorite color to wear so most of my coats are black – which never goes out of style. I love ivory, but I find camel color ones get more wear because I’m less afraid of getting them dirty. The more colorful coats I still wear a lot are deep reds and moss greens, which both suit my coloring very well. I keep the brighter magenta, turquoise, emerald, etc. but I don’t wear them nearly as much. Sometimes they set for a couple years before I pull them out again (and then everyone thinks I got a new coat).

    Posted 9.15.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Black is always a safe bet!

      Posted 9.16.21 Reply
  15. ZS wrote:

    For me it’s a classic J. Crew denim jacket that I received as a birthday gift in high school, about 20 years ago. The fit, style and quality have held up over the years. Thanks for continuing to produce original and thoughtful posts!

    Posted 9.15.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Oh yes, a good denim jacket is definitely one that can live on for decades!

      Posted 9.16.21 Reply
  16. Tiffany wrote:

    I wholeheartedly agree with your list. I also invested in Burberry outerwear 10+ years ago that still feels relevant (and comfortable!) – I often say they were some of my smartest purchases. Leather purses and Prada nylon in classic shapes with minimal hardware have also stood the test of time over the past decade.

    And funny you should mention having a new appreciation for trenches below the knee! Mine extends below and many times 7-8 yrs ago I thought “this is matronly, I should’ve gotten the super fitted/short coats!” But now I love it!

    I also have h&m blazers still kicking. Some don’t fit quite the same way post-children 😅 but the blazers themselves still stand the test of time.

    Posted 9.15.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      How funny that we have several similar pieces in our long-standing wardrobes 🙂

      Posted 9.16.21 Reply
  17. Jane Lassner wrote:

    Oh Jean, what a fun post. I’m 72 and completely retired, so my needs are totally different than they used to be, but some things I still love and just can’t get rid of. I’ve got two long sweater coats that I bought (each for $19!!) from a Jones NY outlet probably 30 years ago, and I pull them out every spring and fall. I’ve got Eileen Fisher tops that I’ve collected over the years (petites have to be careful that their boxy style doesn’t overwhelm, but you probably know that). And I’ve got a black cashmere sweater dress from Neiman Marcus that works for any dressy occasion from October through April. (My Eileen Fisher System dress works for May through September!)

    Posted 9.15.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thanks so much for sharing, Jane! It sounds like your longstanding pieces also vary greatly in price. You always hope your investment pieces will stand the test of time, but it’s satisfying when more affordable finds do too!

      Posted 9.16.21 Reply
  18. Oh what a fun post! I’ll have to do this when my blog hits 10 years old in a couple of years. 🙂 I honestly can’t think of anything I still own from 10 years ago (I was in college and don’t think I own the majority of my clothes from college, haha), but I do still own quite a few things that I bought 7-8 years ago. It’s so interesting to see how our style and tastes change over the years but some things still work year after year!

    Posted 9.15.21 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      I think a transition in style after your college days is pretty common, I don’t think I still have many pieces from before I was a young professional!

      Posted 9.16.21 Reply

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