Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Readers Questions: My Wardrobe, Specific Points

some of my faves:
(some belts. top left: J Crew, Banana Republic. top right: Martin Margiela. bottom: Marni, Mint, Dries Van Noten.)
(my favorite skirt, Laura Whitcomb of Label)
(honeycomb laser-cut dress by IAN RN)
(one of many silk cami's from Jean Yu)
(my version of a sweatshirt by Dries Van Noten)

I don't have a suggested list of 'must have pieces'. I believe you should figure out how you want to look and find pieces that support that look. The reality is not everyone has the same needs for their lifestyle, desired style, body-type, and not to mention weather!

For my lifestyle, body-type, and location, my personal must have pieces are:
  • jeans; this year they're all skinny black jeans (the 4 pairs I have)
  • nice pants; not worn too often, I have 3 pairs; 2 wool, 1 silk
  • tanks; both loose and fitted (I prefer them instead of T-shirts)
  • cardigans; all weights, all lengths, multiples in same colors
  • trench coats; all weights and lengths, even ones not for the rain
  • flats (though not ballet flats)
  • tall boots; to the knee looks best on me
- I do not own:
  • rubber flip flops
  • sneakers
  • running /yoga pants
  • sweatshirts or hoodies
  • cotton-ribbed anything (universally unflattering and doesn't wash well)
- When I first went through the process, I had too many fancy clothes and shoes I had no occasion to wear, no matter how dressed down I styled them. Rule #1: don't buy super fancy clothes I won't wear...

- Considering the change in seasons, it took me about 3 years to get to the point I really loved my wardrobe, though I didn't consider it 'complete'.

- I live with what I have to see if I need more of a particular thing like cardigans which I wear everyday (I have about 8 black cardigans). I tend to wear the same thing over and over.

- I love J Crew, Alexander Wang, and Rick Owens for simple tanks, J Crew for cardigans,Barneys CO-OP for their selection of jeans, Sigerson Morrison and Loeffler Randall for shoes and boots.

- I don't like online shopping looking for 'bargains'. A bargain for me is something I love and wear time and again, not something that was on super sale. If I do go online, I stick to,, and

- I like designer consignment stores as the pieces are carefully edited and many things look like they've never been worn. My two favorite shops are in Bklyn, and Soho.


jaclyn said...

Okay so now I have to ask, and this is not snarky at all, just plain interest. What do you wear instead of yoga/running pants? Say you're going to spend the day inside and lounge around reading....or workout...or are pms-ing. What would you wear? I would love to ditch the yoga pants for good and am inspired that you have no use for them. Please let me in on your findings!
thanks as always for thoughtfully well written posts, Laura!

laura said...

good question, not snarky! i meant more as not having them to wear outside for any reason. one note: i don't go to the gym, i work out at home, so no need for 'gym clothes' or sneakers.

for my pajamas/lounge wear, i have a few dedicated t-shirts from american apparel, and simple solid color pajama bottoms (from jcrew, and american apparel).

i also have tanks and sweaters originally worn out but are now not nice enough to wear outside but nice enough to hang our around the apt.

jaclyn said...

Ahh! This makes much more sense. So in effect, we're drawing a line in the sand..."not going to be the woman in stretchy running gear doing errands." I can get behind that! Is it wrong that I'm slightly relieved you have 'comfy' clothes to wear in your home? I get the home workout situation and thus not needing 'gym clothes'.
Thanks for the clarification.

laura said...

exactly, even in college, i always wore jeans to class while I saw people in pajama bottoms! my idea of comfortable when i'm outside the apt is much different than when i'm home.

and ha, it's not wrong at all! i get asked that alot.... and don't forget i have 2 cats and don't want their hair or claws on my good stuff...

Abbi said...

Thanks so much for this post Laura. It's really helpful! I have way too many pajama bottoms than is reasonable but for some reason i get attached to them-- even if they don't fit well. My questions is this-- did you get rid of everything that wasn't working for you first (ie bad fit, wrong color, wrong style, etc.) before you bought new stuff? I keep telling myself I should just get one pair of lounge pants that I really like, for example, and THEN get rid of 4 of the crappy pairs.

laura said...

abbi: i edit things out with the thought of having to keep somethings until they're replaced, especially if i know i cannot replace something for a while. if that's the case, i keep the least offensive pieces and edit out what i really don't like...


Joann said...


Came across your blog earlier this month and only ask for more posts. I plan on copying the over-the-toilet shelf you installed for a client this coming week. Love that idea as it always bothered me that the toilet in my bath does not have a tank onto which a few objects could be placed. I've gotten into the habit of wearing old clothing I no longer care for around the house. It feels better than wearing a robe/pajamas all day (unless I'm sick). Regarding your two cats, tell me, how do you keep flyaway hair from being a problem and what type of cat litter do you use? I've tried several and unsatisfied, am considering a cat genie.

laura said...

joann: thanks for joining us! for the cats i have a flat sheet over the bed to keep as much hair out of my bed as possible, and i vacuum the apt every 2-3 days. i use unscented scoop away which is good though i hate how it tracks everywhere...

Marie Lee Carter said...

I truly appreciate this post! I too, don't own sneakers (I exercise - Pilates- in my bare feet) and wear flip flops only in my home. I love that your "must haves" are so specific to you - my must haves do include a suit, cardigans(I only have 3 in black lol) and drape neck/cowl neck sweaters as well as pencil skirts. I am learning to see my triggers to buying something that I don't need and consciously deciding not to buy something simply because it is on sale has been very helpful!

Now, I know this post is about our clothing choices, but do I spy a white kitchen (the cabinets!) and a new chair? When are we going to see pics??

laura said...

yes, i'm working on a few new posts to show you the changes I've made with the apt...good eye!


Marie Lee Carter said...

I can't wait - I love "real life" NYC apartments that are amazingly decorated using more style than cash!

Diane said...

This is inspiring on New Year's Day! My question is, if you had a lot more closet space, would your list expand? In other words, are your wardrobe choices somewhat determined by your storage space or would you do it this way even with a huge closet? I have a medium-sized walk-in closet, and I love clothes. I became self-employed over a year ago and find now that I barely wear some things I used to wear regularly to the office. But I can't seem to get rid of them, even though I usually consider myself good at "weeding out." I have the space, and many of the pieces are high-quality vintage suits and dresses. Even if I don't have occasion to wear them I still love them. What would you do?

laura said...

diane: good questions. about having a larger closet, probably not. i mean, i like to have as much as i'm comfortable having. my limitations are driven more by money than space at this point. i know it doesn't look like i have a lot, but considering i like everything and can wear everything, it's plenty! and i can fit more, but i like my clothes to have space between them to breathe and for me to see everything clearly.

the second question about the work clothes, when in doubt, keep it!! especially if you love the pieces. even though you're self employed, i'm sure there are some occasions you have to wear them again; client meetings, nice dinners, special occasions. and what about mixing them up a bit and wearing them in a different way you did before, or breaking up the suits so you can just wear the skirt or jacket on their own? i kept a lot of my 'office' clothes when i went out on my own and incorporated many pieces in my current wardrobe.

i did finally donate a number of skirts that i haven't worn in years and when i asked myself if i had the occasion to wear them, would i? the answer was i had a lot of other things i would wear instead...

i do think that it's good to keep a few pieces that you may only have an occasion to wear once a year or less as long as they still fit your style and you would wear them if you could.

let me know if this helps!