Saturday 20th January 2018
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Week of requests: 20 wardrobe classics, revisited

Nili Lotan shirt

“I loved 20 wardrobe classics,” writes a reader named Shelley. “Perhaps an update?” And why not? As I’ve said before, I don’t believe that there is even one universal item that every woman must have in her closet—we’re all different, with different bodies and ideas about what looks good on them—so what I’ve included here are my classics, the items I return to again and again. It’s almost the same lineup as last year, which surprised me, but of course the choices are all new. First up: there are few pieces I rely on as much as I do a great white button-down. This one is from Nili Lotan and is my absolute favorite, but this one from Madewell is much cheaper, and nicely oversized.

R13 jeans

Without my R13 grey jeans, life as I know it would be impossible. They are spendy, true, but they fit me just right and it’s tough to put a price tag on that. Plus, they have a nice amount of stretch without looking like they’ve got too much stretch, which is key.

Theory blazer

You can’t go wrong with a navy blazer—they are somehow just a little more French girl than black.

Mia clogs

I live in clogs—they’re so comfortable, and make me taller, and since I am convinced I have impossibly stumpy legs, this is very important.

Zero + Maria Cornejo coat

A black winter coat in an interesting fabrication is a good thing. This alpaca blend is from Maria Cornejo and exceeds the GOACA price limit, but it is currently on sale, and I own it and can tell you that it is as stylish and versatile as you please.  Here is a faux fur coat that costs a lot less and is pretty great too.

Madewell tee

A striped tee is forever, and I love them in black and white.

Blundstone boots

The only item I am flat-out repeating from last year are these Blundstone chelsea boots—you could walk forever in them, and they’re reasonably priced. Here is a slightly more refined pair with a bit of a heel, if that’s what you’re after.

Maya Brenner necklace

I am always wearing a few necklaces, and my current favorite is this shark’s tooth that I gave myself for my birthday last year. Here it is in silver, substantially cheaper, but just as chic.

J Crew popover

I like popovers a lot—they’re often more flattering than button-downs, but have a similar put-together look. I think the lace detail on this one is really pretty.

Equipment dress

As I mentioned last year, I dislike the notion of the Little Black Dress, and prefer the idea of the Serious Black Dress. In honor of the cold, I’ve chosen one made of cashmere to show here.

Wommelsdorff hat

Last year I determined that a cashmere beanie was one of life’s essentials, but we are locked in such a deep freeze at the moment in New York that this time around I chose something more substantial.

Jerome Dreyfuss bag

I always come back to a good, grown-up black handbag. This one is from Jerome Dreyfuss, and I want it bad.

Nili Lotan Jenna pants

I wear my army pants constantly, and like the notion of changing things up and getting this pair in blue.

Everlane cashmere v-neck sweater

A cashmere v-neck looks great (and a little sexy) on its own, and preppy-chic layered with a thin button-down.

J. Crew cardigan

A big huggy cardi is good for those days when you’re feeling like camouflaging your entire upper body.

Filson tote

An attractive, sturdy tote is a must-have for travel. I think this one from Filson is meant for men, but I like it a lot.

Manon ring

I’m always looking for new rings to add to my stack.

Everlane puffer

I’m so glad puffers are having a moment, because they’re so practical and warm that I’d wear them even if they weren’t fashionable. This one comes in a few colors, but since I’m all about a red puffer these days, that’s what I’m showing here.

Levi's skirt

A denim skirt is a summertime essential for me.

Ugg hoodie

And finally: I think you know by now how I feel about a good zipper hoodie.

Posted on January 4th, 2018 24 Comments

24 Responses

  1. Elisa says:

    I wear clogs a bunch, too. I find that many of them have not enough padding/rubber on the bottom and then my knees hurt (I’m looking at you, Sven). I discovered Troentorps and they have enough padding to wear all day–and cute styles: https://www.troentorpsclogs.com/clog-shop/womens

    Also available on Shoebuy.

  2. joannawnyc says:

    I know Frye is rally your thing but I have been wearing my decade+ old harness clogs SO MUCH since I moved “upstate”–somehow they fit the vibe so well. Makes me want to check out more slip on possibilities! Also, I really need to think hard about my own fashion essentials–my mom gave me a flannel shirt for Christmas and I am LIVING in it!

  3. Tammy says:

    You are the coolest, Kim.

  4. Mimi says:

    I have the Filson tote bag in olive canvas and in a blanket plaid wool that’s unfortunately impossible to find now. It might not work as well in a city, where a bag with an open top could be vulnerable, but in my Rocky Mountain resort town I use it as my daily handbag. It isn’t so large that it looks like luggage and the exterior pockets make accessing your phone, sunglasses and keys so easy. I get lots of compliments on it, and I love breaking free of the tyranny of the “it” bag.

  5. Nancy says:

    Loved the army pant with the ribbon on the side seam the first time you posted them. Still love them now, but it’s hard for me to justify the price. Any suggestions on a similar pair for someone on a teacher’s salary?

    • Reagan says:

      I love those pants too, but couldn’t justify the price on my salary either. I ordered a pair on Levi’s utility chinos and they might do the trick.

  6. Samantha says:

    I have the Filson blanket tote that Mimi speaks of, and it is the best! I’d love a new one, but won’t part with mine despite the long ago glitter glue stains of kindergartener.

  7. Mary Alice says:

    Popovers are great for us busty gals, too: no buttons straining at the front. ALso, I wear a denim skirt from Mother 24/7 in the summer; cooler (in every way) than a pair of shorts.

  8. Viajera says:

    I wish I were cool enough to wear a shark tooth, real or made. Not there yet!

  9. Viajera says:

    Me again, I have a question. (actually, I think one of the Chelsea boot links might be wrong? bc I got the BL566’s both times.)

    Anyhoo… the ones in the post, above, the BL566s … do we think those are “office-y” enough, or not quite? I don’t work in a super-formal environment, but I like to try to “pass” as presentable whenever possible, bc basically the rest of me is, um … what’s the kind way to describe myself? hmm hmm.. well, let’s say, I have decent taste, but you might not ever know it from looking! wah wah wah

    I’m not trying to criticize, they are very cute shoes!! I am just not quite sure about what “message” they send? I have a debate with a friend of mine who strongly believes there can be no such thing as a cute shoe that is comfortable and also, she doesn’t think it’s acceptable for people to dress badly out of laziness. (Whereas, exuberant bad taste is totally fine. And I agree with that part.) I try to tell her, many people don’t have time to worry about fashion, and they are just trying to get dressed. I often fall in that category myself … but I would at least like to know what the shoes look like to other people. And this, I don’t know, so I ask! Sorry that was so long.

    • Viajera says:

      Actually I think the link is okay, it just opened up a window where I didn’t expect it, sorry!

    • Rae says:

      I work in a creative job so not formal but I too like to look put-together. I wear very similar chunky Chelsea boots all the time in the winter. I think the key is to keep the rest of the outfit quite tailored and clean. For example, I often wear them with skinny pants or denim and an crisp oversized button down or cashmere sweater. They still are clunky but they somehow look “considered” if you know what I mean.

  10. Theresa says:

    Hi- I am getting a 502 – Bad Gateway error on the links in this post. Weird since all links from other posts are working.
    Doesn’t look like anyone else is having the issue..

  11. Sara says:

    I ordered the cashmere sweater from Everlane at your recommendation and I LOVE it. Thank you!

  12. Jen says:

    I am absolutely loving clog boots right now but I’m having a difficult time finding a pair that aren’t too expensive – especially with the current (very poor) Canadian exchange rate. Any recommendations for clog boots on a budget would be greatly appreciated!

  13. Anne L says:

    OK, would someone talk to me about styling winter clogs. I have never been a clog girl (all about the chelsea boots and oxfords) but bought peep toe woven ankle strap clogs this summer and LOVED wearing them with cropped jeans. Since the weather got cold I have been haunting various clogs online on a regular basis but have yet to pull the trigger because I’m not sure how to wear them without looking like a Waldorf early childhood teacher.

    Do you wear socks? What shape jeans/pants look good with winter clogs? How does one avoid the faint whiff of Hanna Anderssen?

  14. Shelley says:

    Wow! How cool to see my name on my favorite site! Thanks so much . for this; it made my day and I’m sure I’ll keep returning to your suggestions.

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