This recap is coming in a bit late, but is always an enjoyable one to work on! Elevated casual was the common thread across this year’s winners, with several good flat shoes in particular. In addition to reader bestsellers over 2023, I added a list of my personal closet MVPs that didn’t make the main list.
I love looking at prior year recaps and seeing which items have proven their longevity, and which ones I might’ve fallen out of love with. Most items in the past 3 years of roundups are still happily in my rotation, though one style that I barely reached for last year is over-the-knee boots. I own several pairs but have been strongly favoring ankle or knee-high boots instead, despite the latter being notoriously hard to find for petites. Another former favorite is the mid thigh length cardigan jacket, which I’ve replaced in daily outfits with either cropped or longer midi length layers.
What about you guys? What old favorites are you still excited to wear, and what types of pieces have you found yourself shifting away from?
2023 EP Reader Top 10 Favorites
The wide crop was silhouette was such a welcome & practical addition to my wardrobe! I usually wore it really simply with flats and a tank, as pictured below, but the cut kept it feeling fresh and chic.
I wore these so much in 2023 and am happy to see them back in a new wash, which you can see on me here in size 24 Petite (fit TTS). I’m 5 feet tall and can do petite sizing for a cropped look, or regular sizing for full length to wear with flats. J.Crew has a very comparable, flattering slim-wide jean that runs a tad bigger at the waist (see them on me).
Read more below on my personal MVP list about these gold sandals!
These linen blend pants are the definition of elevated casual, and a “forever style” that I can see myself wearing for years to come. The textured fabric is good quality and very breezy and lightweight. The length is petite-friendly and the elastic back waist is so comfy. My friends living in hot climates especially loved this purchase for going from work to weekend! The XS is a little loose on me at the waist, and the pant shrinks a little in length if you machine wash & dry it.
Second to the Lady Day coat, this is probably my favorite J.Crew piece to have come out since I started shopping the brand 10+ years ago. The quality also reminds of vintage J.Crew goodness. Most of the time I dress this down with a pair of jeans and love the French-chic, elevated casual feel.
I have solid black too, and have been trying hard to resist more colors like red and the new contrast edge Emilie that just came out… so good!
This is a stunning, chic bag that my friends describe as the marriage of an Hermes Kelly and Celine Trapeze. The quality and design of Demellier is solid for the price point, and they ship free worldwide which is pretty rare these days. The “luxury quality without the designer price” category seems to resonate well with EP readers, and I hope to find more brands that are delivering this!
I’ve been wearing Ann Taylor for a very long time and their fluid crepe collection feels elevated, Theory-esque, and with a wide variety of different blazer, dress and pant cuts to mix & match. In particular I like the clean, sleek lines of the collarless blazer and side-zip trouser. Heads up for the very petite ladies, though: AT runs big and for someone my same size, the blazer sleeves & pants were long and the pant waist were loose.
A sweater jacket typically makes the annual hits list, and 2023’s winner reflects my gravitation toward longer lengths and looser cuts. Read my review here – I bought mine when size Small was the smallest option and really like the slightly oversized fit! I haven’t tried the newer size XS, but several petite ladies around 5 feet or under have shared with me that the XS is perfect for them.
This slim ankle cut surpassed the wide crop as a fan favorite, and was by far the most popular piece I shared in all of 2023! I do find this cut to be most versatile for year-round wear and all different shoe types. It comes in multiple inseams and the 24 Short works so well for me (I’m 5 feet tall). Also available in Curvy sizing starting in size 23 Short with a bigger waist-to-hip ratio.
An alternative that I also love with the same cut is the Levi Wedgie Straight – differences include a slightly thicker, more rigid denim, a button fly, and a slightly more “shapely” rear view on the Levis.
Versatile, flattering, comfortable, practical and on trend – I couldn’t ask for more in a wardrobe purchase. For 2024, the colorful versions of Adidas sneakers are gaining popularity. Even when these fizz out with the trendy crowd, they’re a retro style that have already proven their ability to circle back. I do find these to be most comfy with ankle socks, like these Hanes (I get the kids size M) or thicker Alo socks.
Size-wise, I find they run a little bigger than the conversion on Adidas’ website. A mens 4 feels like a women’s 5/5.5, and a mens 4.5 feels like a womens 6 to me. A few of the many ways I’ve worn mine:
The warm reception for the narrower sister of our popular original Edited Pieces belt blew us away! While the original width will always have its place in my wardrobe, the mini is so good when you just want a finishing accent piece. We just got a restock in, so for the first time ever both the mini and the original width belts are available in all sizes!
One of the best petite-friendly pants out there that I’ve gotten so much great feedback on. If I still worked in an office setting, these would be in my rotation every week. I was already a fan of the cotton version, and fell more in love with the 4 season stretch fabric version.
Kids: Gap Disney Princess Dresses (sizes 0-5T)
These were a VERY well loved purchase that apparently many of you snapped up too for your little ones and for gifting. Aside from being being adorable, these are comfy for my kid for a full, active day at school. They also wash well (I machine wash inside-out in a mesh laundry bag) and are solid quality, made with a 100% cotton sweater knit and cotton lining on the skirts!
My personal MVPs that didn’t make the list
1. Sezane gold sandals (just restocked!). The analytics tell me regularly that Sezane is an EP reader fave brand (the Bianca blouse was quite close to making the bestsellers list), and these sandals were a clear winner for me. A timeless flat that I can wear everywhere while on mom duty, that also feels luxe and elevates simple outfits. The metallic color will surprise you with how versatile it is. I enjoyed wearing these more than my Hermes Oran sandals, and can’t wait to wear them again this year!
Sizing: My local store only had size 36 and they surprisingly didn’t feel too big on me (I’m usually a 5 to 5.5), but my true size might’ve also worked. The ankle straps run a little short to me and I’m on one of the latter hole settings. They took a little breaking in, and have been very comfy since.
2. Songmont Medium song bag – this minimalist, easy bucket bag made frequent appearances last year. I do wish the “creamy white” color was a little more white rather than off-white.
4. Quince $50 Cashmere Crewneck. I haven’t really talked about this because of how plain it is, but its been a wardrobe workhorse! I owned it for years but really gave it more love in 2023 as part of my “return to quality basics” mode. Their Fisherman Cashmere sweater is a thicker, rib-textured option that I also love for cooler weather.
5. Madewell clean pull-on shorts (sold out). Looking for a similar, currently stocked “elevated yet comfy” short for those who missed out. Please share if you come across any!
6. Uniqlo Heattech Leggings & Black Turtleneck. I’ve been living in this duo for the past month! Their other Heattech items are fine, not amazing. But after trying their “Ultra Warm” collection with the soft, fleecy interior…I can’t get enough.
7. Gentle Souls bootie – some sizes still left at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, or Amazon. After a long bootie search, these were not exactly what I wanted in terms of toe shape, but the comfort exceeds most of my others shoes and makes up for that. I’ve worn these walking all over Boston and NYC!
Most Saved Reels / Tips and Tricks
I loved making more short videos last year on all sorts of topics. These were some of the most saved!
- How to Tie Your Shirt Perfectly Each Time: Video // blog
- No-Sew Short Girl Hacks: Video // blog
- How to Build a Classic Work Wardrobe: Video // blog
- How to Build a Spring/Summer Capsule Wardrobe: Video // blog
- Bra Hacks for Different Necklines: Video // blog
- The Best Levi’s For Petites: Video // blog
- Make Dumplings With Me: Video – can’t wait to make these for Lunar New Year (Feb 10th)!
Do you own any favorites from the 2023 hits list?