My Best Fashion Buys from the Past Decade

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Many style icons and experts discuss buying wardrobe staples and how they wear the same pieces they’ve owned for decades. As a woman who in the past dozen years had a baby and went from a size 10/12 to a 16 to a 12 and back to a 14/16 and now a 12/14, whose feet increased a half size after having a baby, who began weightlifting, who was a vegetarian and then wasn’t, who did Weight Watchers, Whole30, and a plant-based diet, my body has constantly been in flux. I know many can relate to this. It’s hard to feel good investing in clothing not knowing if it’s going to fit a year from now, even if you’re the same weight or even the same clothing size. But I have several items I bought a decade ago and still rock on a regular basis. Items that worked at different stages of my life and my figure. These are the items I bought that were true investments:

ros hommerson maryland boots

Ros Hommerson ‘Maryland’ Boots

Sadly, these boots are no longer available. And even more sad, these boots are on their last legs. I paid $300 for them, and an additional $65 to have a cobbler tailor the shaft to match the shape of my legs. I have had them reheeled and resoled several times, got new insoles, and had a zipper replaced. Over a decade later, I still wear them regularly. The elastic in the gussets is shot, one zipper pull fell off and I can only pull on the boot, and the lining is crumbling, leaving black leather dust on my legs and white lining occasionally peeking out of the top of one boot. They have been worth every penny, and I wish I could find a worthy replacement.

What makes them special: The boot is sleek, yet also made for an extremely wide calf (20” circumference). The leather is soft, glossy, elegant. The heel is a walkable height and slim, looking chic with dresses or over leggings. The toebox is slim, almond shaped, classic and sophisticated. But what made these boots such a well-loved pair was taking the extra effort to have them tailored by a cobbler. Before, they looked like pirate boots, bowing out on top. My regular cobbler refused to do it, but I found another cobbler who would. That cobbler is no longer in business; if I found a worthy replacement that had the same issue I’d drive an hour away to find someone to tailor them and would pay twice as much if need be. It made all the difference.

ray ban 3025 aviators

Ray-Ban RB3025 62mm Aviator Sunglasses

This year I dropped and broke my gold aviators with the gold lenses; they were 15 years old. I’m still wearing my gold aviators with the green lenses, which are 8 years old. My black aviators with the black frames are five years old. These sunglasses aren’t cheap (they are anywhere from $125-$225 depending on color, polarization, and sale) but they are clearly worth the price. I have a big face and they look proportional on me. As sunglasses trends changed from big black or tortoise frames to aviators to cat eyes to oversized frameless to round to hearts to whatever, these sunglasses remained stylish. They are so perfect for my face and style it has stopped me from randomly buying cheap sunglasses to fit current trends, and has made me far more careful with my sunglasses. It doesn’t hurt that they also fit my husband so we share the pairs, getting even more of a money’s worth.

What makes them special: They’re a classic. Like Wayfarers fron the same brand, Ray-Ban has some sunglasses that are eternally classic and eternally cool. The shape, the weight, the color… I’ve not found an equivalent that is either cheaper or more expensive.

novica clutch

Novica Clutch Purse

In October of 2009, Novica reached out and offered me store credit to buy something from their store and showcase it on the blog.  Little did either of us know that wacky cat purse would become one of the most carried bags in my wardrobe!  The clutch is just big enough for a phone, lipstick, and ID.  It's a crazy hodgepodge of prints, colored leather, and stripes.  It goes with nothing and therefore it seems to go with absolutely everything.

What makes it special:  It's one of the first items I not only received free through this blog, but that I could pick out.  I love how quirky it is, how it is a conversation starter, and how it can either blend in to a wacky mix of a look or be the pop a simple ensemble needs.

ramones tee

My Ramones T-Shirt

I know I’ve had this shirt for at least 15 years but I think it’s more like 20 or more. I bought this sometime after college. It was a crisp black t-shirt with the classic Ramones logo on it. I washed it a million times and it still was crisp and black. I cut off the neck and the hem of the sleeves. I soaked it in salt water. I lay it out on the deck to get bleached by the sun. It helped a bit but was still very crisp and new. So I just started wearing it every chance I could so it would break down with sweat and warmth and washings. After one summer, it looked cool enough to take it from aerobics class and working in the yard to wearing it out with jeans. And now, it’s one of my beloved t-shirts. It’s perfectly cut up and weathered and worn and now I’m afraid to wash it for fear it will push it over the edge. It’s been to every single music festival I have attended, and been worn to several other concerts. I wear it under blazers and under overalls, with ball skirts and leather leggings. I wore it when I was a size 10/12 and when I was a size 16. It was worth the effort.

What makes it special: I took the time to tailor it to me. I didn’t follow instructions on trimming it, I did it slowly. I cut off the sleeves just above the hem, I cut out the collar. I put it on, stretched it a bit, assessed. I turned the shirt inside out, folded the chest in half, and trimmed a bit to make the neckline more a u than a crew. I then washed and dried it, put it back on, assessed, and trimmed here and there on the neck to get it a bit better. Stretched, washed, dried, and the third wear I trimmed again. I can’t say this always works, I’ve destroyed my share of fabulous t-shirts, but for this one the stars aligned.


My Silver Cuff Bracelet

In 1997 I had an interview to be a manager trainee for Express. I had a job, but it had become toxic and I needed to escape and soon. I met the district manager in the center court of a nearby mall. She was so stylish, in a belted olive green technosuede suit with a leopard-print chiffon scarf tied jauntily at her neck. I knew I impressed her. I knew I’d be hearing from her. I shook her hand goodbye, she walked back to the store, I walked to Hecht’s department store. I was on a high from the interview, I wandered around the jewelry department. Signs said they were having a sale. I saw this cuff in a display case and asked to try it on. It was sterling silver, I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford it but I wanted to see it on my wrist. I asked how much. “Uh, I’m not sure, there’s no tag,” the salesperson said. He went to talk to another employee and came back. “It’s $35.00.” I knew it was worth more than that and I had a feeling the other employee thought it was from the Monet section, not the sterling collection but I didn’t argue. Almost 23 years later I still wear this bracelet several times a week. Every single one of my friend’s babies has teethed on it. It has been to seven countries and across the United States.

What makes it special: It’s so big and bold, but the shape is comfortable without sharp edges. It’s sterling silver so I can bend it without worrying the finish will crack, allowing the bracelet to mold to the shape of my left wrist perfectly. There is no specific trend to it, it sort of morphs into whatever I’m wearing. And well, I know that it has only increased in value over the years making me proud of such a random bargain on what ended up being a very important day (I did get the job and it launched my career into fashion).

duo boots bern review

DUO “Bern” Boots

I have always had large calves. I walked on my toes as a kid (and still a bit as an adult) and it caused my calves to develop large muscles but also larger muscles in my shins and down into my ankles. Wide-calf boots at department stores were rarely large enough. A little over a decade ago I heard of DUO Boots, a UK retailer that makes custom boots. They had amazing customer service, I was able to call them, share all my measurements, and they told me which styles of boots would actually work for my leg beyond just my calf circumference. I really wanted a pair of Frye harness boots but they wouldn’t even go over my ankles. These boots looked like a similar style. They fit great, and were comfortable too!

Karl hates these boots, he calls them my Forrest Gump boots comparing them to the braces Forrest wore as a child. I didn’t care, I was so thrilled to have tall boots that fit I wore them ALL THE TIME. I thought they were so fabulous. I wore them with shorts, I wore them with dresses, I wore them over jeans. And at some point, I realized they just didn’t look as good as I thought… and while I won’t tell him I think Karl was kinda sorta right.

But they were comfortable even for hours on my feet so I took them with me to Bonnaroo. They did me well, they protected my legs from the sun and dry grass, they kept my feet happy, they were okay with getting mud and beer sloshed on them. And they went from being something I wore to work with sweater dresses to something I wore to music festivals and other situations where I’d get muddy. They’ve been to almost every music festival I have attended, though the last two they weren’t comfortable anymore. While these boots are still in my closet, I don’t know if they’ll make it into 2020.

What makes them special: I think it’s sentimental and emotional more than something inherent with the boots. They were the first tall boots that fit my legs, they’ve been on so many adventures with me, they were some of the only shoes that fit me beyond my first trimester when pregnant. I must say the low-contrast color has made them easier to wear with bare legs than the same boot in brown or black.

pave express belt

Express Snakeskin and Pave Buckle Belt

One year when I worked for Express, they had this amazing collection of ball skirts, cashmere twinsets, and dressy accessories. I had no place to wear a periwinkle blue taffeta ball skirt but I bought it and kept it for over a decade in my closet just in case. This isn’t about that skirt, which I eventually sold. It’s about the belt that was leftover from the collection and marked down to $1.99 and I bought it during one of my manager promotions where I got 55% off. I wore it sometimes, but it didn’t really fit my young retail and clubbing persona. I don’t think I really started wearing it regularly until I was pregnant and it looked good dressing up a matte jersey maternity dress (it was skinny enough to fit between my breasts and belly). Go through my archives and you’ll see I wear it a couple of times every year.

What makes it special: It’s the kind of belt that doesn’t need belt loops, and doesn’t have the extra belt stick out beyond the buckle. It’s slim but not skinny, and isn’t a specific trend. It has cinched sweater coats, replaced self belts on dresses, been worn high on my ribcage and at my actual waist. Not leather, not velvet, not satin, it works all seasons of the year and with anything from chambray to silk. And I love that a belt I bought in the ’97 when I was a size 8 worked all the variations I have been from them until now!

ann taylor sweater

Taupe Ann Taylor Cocoon Sweater

I’m not sure when I bought this, but it was before 2010 as all the times I wore it that year on the blog I wrote “no longer available.” I do remember buying it at the Ann Taylor on Connecticut Avenue that I passed every day on my way to and from the office. I remember it was on a rack near the center of the store and also came in gray and while I rarely wear brown and taupe colors I was drawn to it in this color. I remember it was expensive and I used my self-lie of “it will be an investment piece, I’ll wear it for years!” For once, it proved true. I wore the hell out of this sweater. The day I went to the emergency room for my shattered radius bone in my right arm, I wore that sweater both for warmth and moral support. I wish I didn’t because the trauma of that experience made it hard to wear it. Even though I had it dry cleaned, I swore I still smelled hospital on it. But I never got rid of it and this winter I’ve started wearing it again. It seems more itchy and has a lot of fuzzballs on it, but there’s nothing better when it’s cold in my office and I’m in a writing frenzy. I’m wearing it right now.

What makes it special: It was ahead of its time. A decade later, there are cocoon sweaters at every store in chenille, in cashmere, and in thick cableknit wool like this one. The color is an elegant neutral – no heathering, no orange tones, just a cool taupe that is eternally chic. And it’s also practical; one of the warmest layering pieces I know that looks good over a Breton tee as well as a merino turtleneck. It could be worn to work and also be worn when huddled under a blanket on the couch nursing the flu.

fur coat

My Black Vintage Fur Coat

I received the coat from a relative when I was in college. I have worn it at least once a year since. It's my special occasion coat. Since it has bracelet-length loose sleeves and an a-line shape the coat has fit me every stage of my adult life, even when I was pregnant. I love wearing it because it reminds me of my relative and I feel honors the animals that died decades ago to create it.

What makes it special: The cut works no matter my size. The style is so blatantly vintage it transcends style. And because it's quality and fur, it truly keeps me warm.

hm scarf

H&M Oversized Scarf

They had just opened an H&M in a nearby mall and it was exciting.  I saw so many bloggers in big cities wear this brand I wanted to check out the store.  I was with a group of friends, if I am recalling correctly we went to the mall to go all in on a gift for friends getting married and some of that group had no interest in fashion and rolled their eyes at my desire to check out H&M.  I did a quick figure-eight around it so I wouldn't hold my friends up and I also felt at the time I was too large for any of the clothes in the store.  And then I saw this scarf thrown over a rack.  I picked it up… was it a scarf or a tablecloth?  I loved the colors and the classic paisley print but the ridiculous size and immediately took it to the register.  The cashier shared she broke her arm a couple of months earlier and used the same scarf as a sling since it was more fashionable than the hospital-issued one.  Little did I know several years later I too would break my arm and remember her words as I fashioned the scarf into a sling.  It had already been a blanket scarf, a cummerbund, a headscarf, and yes even a tablecloth.  I haven't worn the scarf on the blog recently but I did wear it this summer knotted to make a cardigan of sorts with a sundress1

What makes it special: Its size.  Seriously, it is ridiculously big yet the same pattern and fabric of a classic square silky scarf.  And now I want to play with it again and find a way to wear it in January!

PicMonkey Collage
I bought these long strands of faux pearls during a Nordstrom sale over a decade ago and they have served me very well!

Honorable Mentions: Jewelry and Scarves

Going through my archives I see so many scarves and pieces of costume jewelry I've worn over the decades. Two strands of very long golden pearls I got during a Nordstrom Anniversary Sale – one a smaller diameter than the other worn as recently as this post. A brown leather O-ring belt that I believe originally belonged to my mom. A red paisley wool scarf that belonged to my dad that I still love wearing from time to time like a bandana. And my red and turquoise bandanas both I've owned since college. There are earrings and belts, scarves and leather gloves, even a rain poncho and packable rain jacket I've had for over a decade. But the ones above, they are the ones that really earned their price and their space in my wardrobe for over a decade!

I asked this question in the WO2 Community recently, but I'd love to hear from the rest of you. What items are still in your wardrobe that you regularly wear and you purchased at least a decade ago?

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. This is so well written! I loved all the stories behind each and every piece. I still have all my old college sweatshirts that I enjoy wearing on the days I want to dress casually! They never fail with a cute pair of jeans! I couldn’t agree with you more talking about how important clothes can last over the years! Thank you for this <3

    XO, Elise

  2. Such a fun post! Love it, especially as I share your passion for buying fewer better things. Here are my top long-lasting hits:
    1. ALSO a Ramones t-shirt. Mine’s grey and I still wear it all of the time. It just got a ton of wear recently while I schlumpfed around the house during the holiday break.
    2. A vintage coat I bought when we still lived in Chicago. It has huge flowers all over it in the most insane colors and bracelet sleeves, along with an enormous stand-up collar. Truly? It’s a bonkers piece of clothing. But I love it the 2-3 times I pull it out annually. And I wore it to an Obama inauguration event and therefore we (that crazy coat and I) can never part.
    3. A huge moody floral scarf I bought super-cheap from F21. Pulled it out just yesterday. I’ve worn it fancy, worn it on flights, worn it couch-surfing. True love.
    Thanks for the chance to share. Now you’ve made me want to see if I can wear all three at the same time.

  3. My parents gave me a black Charter Club crew neck cashmere sweater over 10 years ago (can’t remember when) and I still have it in my closet. I’d wear it a LOT more, if it were colder in the Bay Area during winters. I usually wear it a few times a year. Still in somewhat good shape, even though it has pilled. It’s perfectly light and breathable yet warm. Interestingly, I’ve had it so long, that it kind of went out style (as much as a plain basic could go out of style) and now it could be back.

    Unfortunately, very few other items in my closet are more than 10 years old (aside from a Spiewak wool parka coat that I save for trips to wintry locations).

    I’ve had some great thin and delicate jewelry I’ve worn for over 10 years.

  4. Men’s Drifter Cotton Crew sweaters from Lands End. I don’t think that Drifter Crews are inherently masculine or feminine. I liked the men’s sweaters because of some of the colors they came in and I could get a really oversize sweater that way. These older sweaters are from a time when Lands End manufactured them in the US, rather than offshoring them as they do now. I have some much newer Drifters. Clearly the old, USA made ones are better quality and heavier than the new ones. It’s a shame. So much of manufactured clothing has gone that way.

  5. I bought an interlocking bangle bracelet from Tiffany to celebrate a promotion back in 2008. It’s sterling silver, which is what I could afford back then (and frankly, still an expensive splurge!). I’ve worn it at least 50x/year since then, so more than 500x. Sterling silver is so easy to care for; I have since bought a gold bangle but honestly prefer the ease and durability of silver.

    I also have a wool trench style winter coat from Burberry, purchased around New Year either in 2009 or 2010. I bought a size up to accommodate heavy bulky sweaters, and it still fits a decade later (although not so much with bulky sweaters). I wear it probably 25-30x each winter and it has held up remarkably well. I’ll never understand this, but Burberry wool trench coats are always a good 25-35% less expensive than their classic gabardine coats. I’ve never seriously considered a classic trench from the brand because I tend not to wear lightweight coats, opting usually for a cardigan or just a heavy wrap. I think their winter coats hit the sweet spot for being more “affordable” while also wearable for a good chunk of the year.

  6. What a lovely, thought-provoking post! The fashion items that have been my best buys from the past decade:

    1. My first pair of expensive Athleta compression leggings helped me take my fitness and weightlifting so much more seriously and have thus improved my life for the better so much more so than anything else.

    2. A beautiful pair of Theory wool dress pants I thrifted after the birth of my second child, when none of my clothes fit but I had to go back to work and baby #2 wouldn’t take a bottle or sleep at night and baby #1 was not yet two and it was the 2016 election and my body kept falling apart because I wasn’t taking care of myself and my heart was broken. Now three years later, the pants are three sizes too big (actually four sizes right now because I just had the flu) but I can’t stop wearing them.

    3. My collection of Old Navy vintage v-neck tees. Still haven’t found a t-shirt I love as much: the drape, the low v-neck, the length (bought in Tall so for once they are long enough) are all perfect! They’ve been demoted from casual wear to gym wear to pajamas but I can’t give them up.

  7. Love this post! I have the same Ramones shirt and it’s more than 10 years old. Other old favorites: 2 J Crew wool v=neck sweaters from 1989. I wear them every winter and they’re still in good shape, although they have gone from being “oversized” to a “slim fit” due to my increased girth with aging. I wish I could find sweaters of that quality today…I was just mourning that the 3 (not super cheap; J crew and Gap and Macys) sweaters I bought last year are all falling apart already.
    I also have a pair of cashmere-lined leather gloves from Lord & Taylor in Chicago that are 30+ years old. Living in LA I rarely wear them but they come in handy once in a while.
    Black lightweight London Fog coat I got in the mid-90s, still looks good.
    You never know what you buy that will become an “investment” piece. I have a $10 Old Navy leopard scarf I wear all year long that’s several years old. Yet some more expensive pieces I “invested” in never get worn. I also have a cabi sweater coat that I agonized over buying, it was so expensive for me at the time. But I’ve worn it for years so it turned out worthwhile!

  8. One of my most beloved and long-lived purchases is a pair of Wilson cashmere lined leather gloves that I purchased in the Atlanta airport in December of 2001. I was flying to PA from Florida for a job interview and had almost no winter clothes. Those gloves are still going strong and I have never found another pair that fit, look, and feel as perfect. They were a stretch to purchase in 2001 when I was a single parent of two, but they have become a vital part of my winter wardrobe. (Side note: I also have a pair of polar tech gloves from Walmart purchased in January of 2002 for shoveling snow after we moved to PA. They are not as fancy, but are still my go-to for hiking, snowy activities, and messy stuff.)

  9. I have an inexpensive, reversible windbreaker jacket (one side red fabric; the other side navy nylon) that I have had for at least 20 years. It’s been a go-to grab jacket for casual wear and I take it everywhere. Light enough not to make me break a sweat; warm enough for cold weather (especially when layered). I have a Lands End “Extreme Squall” coat, purchased online when it was reduced for clearance, at least 13 years ago. That coat keeps me warm even if the temperature dips below zero here in NJ. Some winters I haven’t needed it, but I will be keeping that coat forever.
    Looking at my closet, I have quite a few things that I’ve had for a decade or more. I have to wear certain clothes for work, so I don’t often get a chance to “dress up” so many of these pieces look just as good as when first purchased!

  10. A Gap stripe long sleeve t that’s at least 15 years old and still looks good. An Ann Taylor beige cropped jacket that makes everything look chic and my legs a mile long. A cheap Target blue and white scarf I’ve worn a thousand times. A plain black boiled wool jacket that works under coats and alone. Black knit elastic waist pants that work chubby or skinny. A Target Isaac Mizrahi leopard print sweater from long long ago.

    1. Forgot my tunic length white jacket with stand up collar I got from Coldwater Creek before they opened retail stores and were catalog only. It’s permanently part of my dressy capsule. I changed out the buttons and I love it over dresses or silky pants or dark rinse jeans.

  11. Great story! I have very little clothing left that is a decade old because I went from size 4/6 in 2003 to size 16 in 2016, now a 12/14, and went from 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 in shoes.
    I wore the heck out of what little clothing I acquired after going broke in the recession, and had to start from scratch for a work wardrobe. But I still have a scarf I bought in the late 80’s at Pier 1! And a pair of cotton knit pj pants from Target that are so soft after 10 years.

  12. I appreciate all the love you’ve given to your boots. I have a few Aquatalia brand booties that I know I will have until they are REALLY out of date or falling apart; I’ve never found anything that lasts as well. Oldest are 6 years. My favorite items from 10+ years ago are a black cabi wrap (outerwear) in a substantial knit material with faux fur on the ends (circa 2005/6?), a cashmere camel coat purchased in Italy in 1999 that could use some re-shaping but has worked for my body changes since it’s an oversize style, and a Barbour waxed jacket that I’ve had for 11 years; it will last a lifetime. Like reader Ann Marie stated, I have my first LL Bean fleece purchased in 1990. It’s purple with green piping. My 22 year old daughter keeps trying to steal it.

  13. I absolutely love this post. With all the talk of sustainable fashion these days, it’s a great exercise to look at our wardrobes and see what has stood the test of time. I think this will be a great exercise to do this January. One that comes to mind is a pair of waterproof Cole Haan oxfords that I bought at least 25 years ago that I still receive compliments on. On a rainy or snowy day I often plan my outfit around them. I find it hard when people talk about cleaning out closets and getting rid of clothes that haven’t been worn in a year. I have many classic pieces that even though I don’t wear them often (because of my lifestyle and because I bought/invested in them when I was working FT and making more $$) I love them and know they stand the test of time.

  14. This was a great post. Loved all the outfits and the stories behind them. The oldest piece of clothing I have is a leather jacket, I bought from QVC. There have been many times I couldn’t wear it because of my weight. I can wear it this year, because I lost 30lbs. When’s I wear it, I always get compliments on the jacket.

  15. This was a fascinating look back through the history of your blog and it makes me curious whether I have any best buys of the past decade.

  16. Aviators: Suncloud makes high quality, polarized aviators at a fraction of the price of Ray-Bans. I’ve found them at ski shops and REI. Zappos usually has some in stock, too.

    Itchy sweater: If you are willing to risk hand-washing it, I find sweaters are less itchy after washing with the Laundress stuff than sending to the cleaners. And I recently “unshrunk” a sweater with hair conditioner, so that is another way to battle the hospital scent.

    Items that have endured: college sweatshirts, various boots, some jewelry. I still use the Coach purse that my mom gave me in 1985. We go to formal events several times a year, and I have had some of my gowns since the late 90s. Some fit, some don’t (about 20 lbs heavier now, but some of that is muscle). But going with a more classic cut and color means that I can still wear them without looking out of place. Shoes, jewelry, and hair style vary the look.

    Thank you for pointing out what qualities have made each of these pieces enduring. As many of us are trying to focus on quality over quantity, it is helpful.

  17. My “special occasion coat” is a vintage black wool cape from Madrid, Spain that I bought at a thrift store 20+ years ago. It’s almost ankle length, A-line and always makes me feel chic and elegant. The best part is that the leading edges are lined with red velvet about 12″ wide. *** Alison, can you post a more detailed photo of the “cat purse” and it’s dimensions? My evening bag collection is too large! I’m searching for a magical unicorn that can “go with” much, much more…like the one you’ve found!

  18. Alison, you are a woman of a thousand faces! This is the most interesting column I’ve read in a long time — love the photos, the concept, and the personal stories.

    I have an indigo and white, block-printed cotton jacket I bought on my honeymoon in Hong Kong 33 years ago. The jacket has an ingenious a-line kimono shape that can be wrapped and tied, or left loose and open. It saw me through three pregnancies and multiple occasions. I still wear it today, a few times a year, as my lucky jacket — and I always receive compliments as it is truly one of a kind.

  19. Love that a Ramones t-shirt was on your list. I have a Coloratura jacket I bought on lay-away in the early 90s. I’ve had it relined multiple times and it’s threadbare, but I still wear it. It’s become a signature, with my friends calling it my Coat of Many Colors.I only bought them a few years ago, but another staple are Coach Pauline black booties – they are simple enough to go with everything but have just enough detail to not be boring. I think they are all leather, too. and molded to my feet (I love shoes with leather soles — so comfortable!) There is also a happy ending story. I lost the boots earlier this year (I think I left them at a hotel and by the time I called, it was too late to get them back), but I found them on E-Bay, a display pair that was never worn.

  20. Most of the things I have and still wear that are at least 10 years old are hand-made. I have a beautiful handpainted tee made for me by a colleague/friend that I am still nursing along after 30+ years of wear. . . I also have a number of things I knit for myself that are 10 years old or more, though some of those pieces get fewer outings at this point. Some are in regular use, for sure. I know I have a few old belts in my collection, and also necklaces; most of my earrings and some of my necklaces were stolen about 4 years ago when we had a house burglary. I have a white summer sun hat that I still adore and wear. I probably have some shoes and boots that are that old too, but not many that I actually still choose to wear, or at least not often. I also have a few really warm coats I keep in my closet for when I have to go back to the upper midwest in winter for a family event (which may be the case this week, with a funeral in Milwaukee.)

  21. Ah…that Ramones shirt! Nothing better than a well loved band tee.

    When we travel I always buy a scarf. I have expensive scarfs from department stores and inexpensive scarfs from street vendors. Every weight and fabric you can imagine. In one of the most random moments ever, I saw a four year old photograph of myself the other night. I’m wearing a jewel toned large scarf. A scarf I bought in London 14 years ago from a street vendor because I was cold from the rain. I’m still wearing it. Flipping through my scarves is like a scrapbook. I have a skinny scarf picked up at Lerner New York when in college. It’s a mix of fall colors. I wear it tied in my hair. And have been for more than 20 years. And the huge tapestry sized scarf from the hippies that would set up on the quad every Spring. I still tie that into a skirt for summer days. Plenty of things about me have changed. My love of scarfs (and great band tees) of all kinds hasn’t.

  22. I still have an LL Bean fleece I bought in 8th grade (I am now in my late 30s). I also had a J.Crew sweater made of Shetland wool that I bought in college and had to retire a few years ago. (Remember when J.Crew actually sold quality sweaters at reasonable prices)? Most of the things that have lasted the longest though have been accessories. I hate when bloggers/influencers try to say you should buy something (usually a sweater) because it is investment piece you will wear forever because it is likely not true. Our bodies change – we gain weigh, lose weight, things shift and sag. Styles change. Tastes change. Clothing moths come along unexpectedly. Life happens. Recently I tried on a J. Crew sweater I bought in high school that my mom had saved. Back then oversized styles were in, like today. While the sweater still fit, it didn’t look right. The shape was off. And the brown color did my 30-something year old skin no favors. So the sweater was destined to be taken apart and the Shetland wool yarn used for a knitting project.

    The older I get, the less I am willing to buy things for the future because you never know what the future holds for your body or you life.

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