I often say that I am “the worst blogger ever” because of my lack of linking. I hold on to my clothes and continue to build on a capsule wardrobe. Seasonally I will add in a little fast fashion, but for the most part I have had my pieces for years so they aren’t always linkable. I have never been a fan of the “dupe” or “similar look” posts because personally when I fall in love with something, I want that same exact item. So instead, I am helping you build my closet from scratch.
Some of these pieces I actually own and they are staples with the designer as well. For others, I am linking the season’s version of what I have in my closet.
I get the question often of how to shop by style on a budget. If you missed my Zara spring picks for 2021, you can find that post here. For investment pieces, either take it slowly with adding, or search sites like Saks Off 5th, Neiman’s Last Call, or even TJ Maxx and be on the hunt for the brands. The price of the item doesn’t change the quality, and regardless of the brand if I like an item, I buy it. The majority of my closet is a mix of these brands:
Alice & Olivia
Rag & Bone
Starting at the top and working my way down – blazers, sweaters, button downs and t-shirts.
Blazers are a staple. On a recent trip, I took three blazers and didn’t realize it until I unpacked. A blazer can completely change up an outfit, dressing up a t-shirt and jeans or even sweats. When I checked in to my flight, the sweet Delta agent looked at me and said, “Wow, you look really nice today.” I looked down at myself and said, “I do?!” It was the blazer. The rest of me was joggers, a basic sweatshirt and sneakers. A blazer can change it around.
Most of mine are more fitted, I don’t love being swallowed by a blazer. I don’t mind it for coats, but the varying on blazers in my closet has more to do with color and length. I have a longer houndstooth, a black, a white, and a silk French blue. I don’t know if I would normally go out and purchase a blue blazer, but it was a gifted item and I have loved having it, especially for spring. I have linked my exact white and black blazers below and the rest are similar looks to what I already have.
Why it’s important to invest in a blazer: It’s a classic piece. It’s not going anywhere, and the quality counts on this one. I have tried less expensive options, and the lining bunches in a weird way, I can never steam it out completely, and the sleeves never seem to go back once I push them up one time. Because they are such a staple item, you can find them on sale often. Just stick to a classic silhouette. I wouldn’t go for a double breasted with gold buttons, or a crazy pattern for your first piece.
Coats are a weakness of mine. I love a good coat, and every time I go to Paris, a new Sandro coat is my little present to myself. There is an outlet in Marais that always has a good selection. Three of my coats are Sandro, I love the oversized construction of them. They look very “Olsen twin” to me and I can throw them over anything and it instantly looks more chic. Two others are by Harris Wharf London, a brand I discovered through Hampden Clothing. I was pleasantly surprised at the price point and ended up getting two in the same day because they were so beautiful. They were absolutely “have forever” coats. My warmest is by Moncler, and I don’t think I could go without it. Moncler is absolutely an investment, but it’s often the only coat I take with me up north in the winter. I could be naked under this coat and still be okay. I have also purchased a Moncler rain jacket and love it as well.
Sweaters. This is probably the category where I go to Zara most often. Sweaters can age quickly, especially if they are not cared for, or are poor quality. I love a good sweater, and I tend to want the latest for the cooler seasons. I put about six from Zara on rotation and then I donate them when I am done. I try to make sure they are machine washable so I don’t spend as much on dry cleaning as I did on the sweater.
I still have some staple pieces that are cashmere, and I feel like I got most of them on sale. Vince and TJ Maxx are great places to find cashmere on sale after the season is over. I like a mix of oversized and fitted, but stick to classic colors like camel, gray, and black.
You must have a good button down shirt. This is a necessity for any capsule closet. Throw it on with denim, a structured pant, over a bathing suit, under a sweater…your options are endless here. I prefer one more structured and one linen for different seasons. I also love a softer, silk version that is easy to tuck in to a tighter bottom. You could also do a silk bodysuit if you prefer to make sure there isn’t any untucking or movement during the day.
I always grab my t-shirts when I travel. If you have the right ones, they can mix and match with any outfit at any level from casual to work appropriate. Again, I stick to classic colors like camel, gray, white, and black. Most of my t-shirts are Vince, Re/Done, Alice and Olivia and Rag & Bone. One paired with denim, or under a blazer is all I need. Layering gold jewelry on top is another trick to dress it up when you want, but keep it simple. Two to three small necklaces at varying lengths.
Denim. One of my followers messaged me a few weeks ago and said that she notices I never wear denim and she thought maybe that’s why I looked so chic. I was flattered, and then thought how often I actually wear denim. Probably less than the average person, and some of my friends are shocked at the lack of denim I have in my closet. I am very picky with jeans because of the way my body is shaped. I have a larger behind and a small waist, so unless the jeans have some give they don’t often fit. And I don’t like jeans that have give, so here lies the issue. I also hate when jeans bunch under my knee and create creases, but I’m not sure if that’s an everyone problem or just a me problem. I have found 2-3 pairs that I rotate out that I love.
My favorite pants are, of course, ones that have elastic in the waistband. I have a hard time finding others that fit unless they have some detail at the waist that allows me to pull them in. Lately I haven’t given up on a pair just because of the fit, and I’ve started to alter items that I fall in love with in the store. My BFF Venita actually encouraged me to do so. I tried on a pair of vegan leather pants that I loved, but the bottoms were a bit strange. She suggested I put elastic in the bottom and make them into joggers. I thought it was brilliant, and now I wear them all the time. Another pair I was actually borrowing for a shoot and straight up RIPPED them because again, large behind and smaller waist. I purchased the pants not wanting to tell the store I had ripped them, and got them repaired and put a zipper in. All problems solved. I’ve started adding zippers to a few items that I struggle to get past my butt but fit me in the waist.
Staples for my closet include a classic pair of black pants, joggers, a pair of white linen, a pair of silk white, and a few more fun elastic waistband options. I splurge on this category, because I love pants with a tighter top. This is my go-to option over a dress. If you prefer dresses or skirts, then limit this category.
Most of my skirts are midi length. I feel like this length is so chic and can be paired with heels and boots in the winter, and easily switch to sandals in the summer. I don’t have any maxi skirts, and only two mini skirts to be paired with over-the-knee boots in fall. With my midi length skirts, I am pairing them with a more fitted, cropped sweater, or something really oversized and tucked in. For the spring, I switch to a button down, or a bodysuit. I also love skirts that come as a set, I think it’s so chic. I have a few, and I mix and match the top with pants.
I wear a lot of shorts in the summer, usually with a drawstring or an elastic waistband. I grabbed a few new pairs for summer, and when I’m in Costa Rica I just pull them over my bathing suit. I also love a good pair of leather shorts to pair with a silk top and a blazer for spring.
Dresses are my second most switched out category after sweaters. I have a hard time viewing dresses as a staple because they aren’t as versatile as separate pieces. I have a few that I will never get rid of and most of them are knit and feel so special. I stay away from patterned dresses as an investment because the ability to rewear them over and over again to me, just isn’t there. I will get a few new dresses each summer, but stick to neutral colors. I think I have held on to my knit options because I can layer a sweater over them in the fall and make it feel new again. I strike out often when ordering dresses, I feel like the majority of them get returned because they just don’t fit me well, or I don’t love them enough, but my recent order I kept two that I received and they are never going anywhere. The first knit cutout dress fits so well, and the button down white dress to me, is a staple dress. It fits SO well, I was shocked. I wore it in Cabo to dinner and this week will wear it to meetings paired with boots and a sweater on top. This is now my favorite dress in my closet.
I have said this before and I will throw it out there again…I don’t own many undergarments. All of my bralettes are Anine Bing and they are investment pieces, but they are so beautiful and special. I love when one peeks out from a tank because it adds a layer of femininity.
Most of my life is spent in activewear. Working out is a must for my mental health, and I love feeling good about what I’m in. My activewear is usually Alo Yoga. I love their leggings, bras, and jackets. I feel like they are one of the most fashion forward activewear brands with a lot of neutral colors. I also have a lot of sweats. All of my sets are by Entireworld. I started shopping this company during the pandemic after I read an article about the CEO. I love what he stands for and how the company was built. I have a few pieces that are Lululemon, including my favorite joggers.
I have also said before that I only own a few handbags, and it’s true. I purchased the Prada Pionniere a few years ago, and it will never leave me. This bag is such a classic crossbody, and I switch out the strap often so it feels new. I think it is so versatile and beautiful, and it goes with almost everything. It’s not too big and overwhelming, but I can actually fit things in it as well. I also have a Chanel crossbody that can also be used as a clutch in a neutral beige. The Prada bag is sold out, and the Chanel I got from Vestiaire. I just sold my Louis Vuitton never full, I have had it for years but want to switch to something vintage that is my everyday, larger bag that I throw a laptop in. I am not sure what I want it to be, but I’ll know when I see it. Something Birkin shape, but not Birkin price.
Where bags are not my weakness, shoes are. Specifically sneakers. Sneaks outnumber all of my other kinds of shoes combined. I have some serious issues, but I wear them the most often. My sneaker brands include:
Maison Sarah Lavoine (sold at Paula Rallis Home)
Stella McCartney for Adidas
I dress up sneakers as often as I work out in them, and most of these are my dress up pairs. If I am working out, I am in Nike or Adidas. No one is over here sweating in Balenciaga. My most worn are my Stella McCartney for Adidas. The four pairs I have are so different from one another and they are the most comfortable. Sizing runs large on these. With Nike, I have a range of high tops and athletic sneakers, most of my athletic pairs are the “fly knit” version. Isabel Marant are most of my high tops, I love the wedge style that is so visible to her brand. Sizing is usually spot on with Isabel Marant. I probably wear my Golden Goose the least these days. My first pair (Ballstars) is still my favorite, and the most comfortable. Not all Golden Goose are made the same. That first pair has been soft from day one, and others I have had to return or sell because I can’t move my feet. I also wear my athletic GG’s more than the high tops, etc. I also love my Yeezy’s, I get that question often. They are very comfortable and I have a neutral, beige pair. The sizing is WEIRD, be aware. I have a 5.5, and I am usually a 7.
My investment flats are my black Gucci loafers (I think I’m on pair four because I run through them so quickly) and my Chanel classic slides. The Gucci’s are more versatile and I wear them more, but the Chanel flats can dress up a look in a second. I always get the Gucci mules in black because I have seen friends damage their lighter colored versions on the first wear. For sandals, I have the Hermès Oran sandal and the rubber sandal (this is the latest season’s version of mine.) I wanted something that I could wear to the beach and pool that wouldn’t get ruined, and I have been surprised how much I wear these sandals. For a fun new addition, I grabbed these for summer that remind me of a pair of heels I wear often. I also have my eyes on these that look like an older pair that I had to part with because I had worn them so much.
I have a serious love for boots. Most of mine are combat style, with a few over the knee. I wear Rag & Bone and All Saints most often, but have loved the Tory Burch over-the-knee from this past fall as a different option than the usual Stuart Weitzman. I like that the logo is more hidden, on these and not her usual gold. I like when a brand is more elusive on my clothing, and it looks different and unique. I tend to steer away from the branded tees or anything that screams a certain designer. I rather someone just appreciate the style and not the name.
My jewelry has been the hardest to link, because most of my pieces are vintage or heirloom. I love hunting for jewelry specifically, I like pieces that are older and one of a kind. Two of my rings are estate pieces from Croghan’s here in Charleston. Rhett does a great job acquiring beautiful shiny things. For new pieces, I recommend good quality over something that you’re only going to wear a few times before it turns. I literally never take my jewelry off and it never changes because of the quality. Some of my new pieces are from Stephanie Gottlieb, Aurate, Anna Sheffield, Kate Furman, and Jennifer Fisher. The watch that I always have on is Panerai.
And last but not least, a few accessories. For hats, I stick with Janessa Leone. I have four or five from the brand and I love them all. I also started collecting Hermès turbans a few years ago, but have to search a bit for them since they are all vintage. My most asked for link leads to my sunglasses. I have four pairs and they are all Krewe and the same style – St. Louis. Once I found a frame that looked good on my face I stuck with it.
Is that it? If I missed anything or you still have questions about how to build a style similar to mine, then feel free to ask below! Phew!