Wardrobe Items I’m Grateful for in 2020

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wardrobe essentials Im grateful to own 2020

I know I am not the only one who looks in her wardrobe this many months into the ‘demic and sighs. Oh the items I have no reason to wear anymore, the clothes that no longer fit, and also the items I bought out of desperation/frustration/boredom/desire for newness that hardly get worn because they were bought on impulse without really considering lifestyle, body, and needs. As I was putting away clean laundry yesterday, I was thinking about the pieces I have that I wear over and over. The ones I yank out of the laundry basket before I even put away the clothes because I want to wear it again. The pieces I put on when I want to be comfortable, when I want to be cute, when I want to feel strong, when I want to feel comforted. So I started making a list, a bit as a reminder of what I already have, and a bit to remind myself of what works and if I need to shop, need more that works with these personal wardrobe essentials. And then I thought, as this exercise was helpful for me, I should share the list to show what wardrobe items I'm really grateful for in 2020 to all of you, and invite you to share what items in your closet you find you're really grateful for this year!

Glad It's In My Closet

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. Ooh my pandemic must wears!
    – Lou and grey joggers
    – feminist scientist t shirt from The Outrage! Same cut as yours
    – everlane Pima cotton ranks (purchased 2 years ago and still going strong!)
    – old navy activewear open front hooded sweatshirt
    – GRRL leggings and brooks running sports bra

    I feel like that stuff tops the list! I’m back working in person so my wardrobe has changed a bit.

  2. Thanks for this, Alyson. I’m thinking it’d be a great exercise to do for my own wardrobe.
    I’ve pretty much worn nothing but Old Navy leggings for several years. I will say I liked their quality better 5-8 years ago. I have leggings from then and they’re still good! I’m still working out in them. I just miss the slightly thicker, but softer touch, but still good-hold, foldover crop leggings. They don’t really move and I just have to tug them up a bit maybe 1-2x every workout. They’re versatile for both training sessions and for yoga and walking. They don’t make them anymore. Their current leggings feel cheaper and more synthetic, even if they’re stating the same proportions of cotton to polyester and spandex on the tags. Having said that, I still think they’re the best deal and continue to buy them or once in a while, I’ll pay a bit more for some Gap leggings on sale.
    Those US turtlenecks sound really good. I feel exactly the same as you about turtlenecks. Very difficult to find one that I don’t feel choked by later.
    I’ve been intrigued by their Elbe shirt — seems like the perfect comfy work shirt for home and office. Anybody try it yet?

        1. Thanks, Alison!
          Yes, that’s where having a petite option would be helpful — with sleeve lengths and shirt lengths.

    1. I looked at the size chart and wouldn’t even know where to start. I must have extremely short arms to go along with full hips and bust! :- (

  3. On your recommendation I went and bought a J Crew striped shirt. Just wow. I love it and, since I am a woman of a certain age, I am always hot — so it’s been my go-to even this fall and when it’s a little cool. I am built like you (short, curvy) and it looks great with jeans and joggers, and under a cardigan or even a jacket for an outdoor dinner date. Also, love all your selections in this post. I’m thinking about the clothes I’ve bought during the pandemic and have been very happy with them, because I’m all about comfort, even with clothes I plan to wear to the office, whenever that happens.

  4. OMG–I came back and made the mistake of looking at that handbag. The petrol color (teal) is fantastic! I sprung for a J.W. Hulme Excursion bag a couple years ago when I landed a new job, and I love it and would recommend it. But it’s the goes-with-everything camel color (right now, they only have it in a darker reddish brown) and I love bags with some pop. The Maxwell Scott is definitely going on my wish list!

  5. Thanks for all the product recommendations, Allie. I’ve bought inexpensive workout wear from TJMaxx/Marshall’s but recently bought leopard striped Capri leggings and a black T from Zyia Active. Any one have experience with this company?
    I’m wearing Chico’s Juliet Pants nearly every day (I have 6 pair). They are comfortable and warm while working from home. I add a long sleeve striped shirt or colorful T (Chico’s or Talbots). A light weight long cardigan, fleece vest or jean jacket is the third piece. Leopard, wine, navy or black slip on sneakers complete the look. Add earrings and perhaps a scarf and I’m ready to Zoom.

  6. Thank you Allie! This is exactly the kind of post I love. Full of great stuff to look at, dream about, and file away for when I need it next, along with super writing. I’ve loved 90% of the items on previous posts and this puts all your favorite practical items in one place.

  7. The Universal Standard turtleneck is amazing. I can’t get over the softness of the knit. I didn’t expect it to feel as good because it’s ribbed. My most frequently worn item during the pandemic is the Brooklyn Ankle Pant from Athleta. They are so comfortable, have pockets, and are easy care. I now have multiple pairs just in case they stop making them.

  8. The Soma joggers are EVERYTHING. I just purchased another black and the new color which is kind of light grey/beige. Absolutely love them. I have 5 pairs of the black ones, and I sent my sister a pair, and now she has three pairs including the new color which she told me about. Love them!!

  9. I am somewhat new to your blog and am so happy I found you! We are close in size and that helps tremendously! I am excited to try the joggers and workout pants – they are on order. I love that sweater jacket but have to watch my spending with the holidays upon us. Thank you so much!!

  10. I just started working with a personal trainer again—only exercise regimen I have ever really seen a benefit from—and I tried some new leggings. I really like my Sweaty Betty one, but it was $85 on sale! My least expensive pair—Reebok at $28– is OK but oddly baggy some places. So I will definitely check out Old Navy.

    I have had a bad habit of staying in my PJs far too long during the day, so I need to get some more cozy pieces that are still stylish. I am used to wearing suits to work so my casual closet is pretty bare. I tried the Soma joggers and I seem to fall between a medium and a large—I have the larges and they are comfy and cute, but baggy in my hips. The mediums just seemed too tight.

    One of my issues is I’m a 10-12 and almost all retailers are 8-10 medium and 12-14 large. QVC is one of the only places that does 10-12 medium but I feel their quality has diminished in recent years. Lands End is another, and I do like their pieces for basics like Ts, turtlenecks, fleece, etc.

  11. Are the Athleta leggings too warm to wear inside? With a toddler and winter coming, I’m trying to establish a wardrobe that will let me go in and out easily.

    1. It depends on how cozy you like to be. I think they’re no heavier feeling than thicker sweatpants, the difference is the wind resistance which makes them great for outdoor activities as well.

  12. This is such a great idea and interesting post–thank you! Those SOMA joggers—oh my word, they are AMAZING! I put off buying them for many months after you first shared them on here. Stupid; should have gotten them at the beginning of the pandemic. Finally got a pair and they are just the softest, most comfortable pants ever. I’ve slept in them more times than I can count. They are so, so good. Bombas socks–got hooked on those b/c of you too! I love wearing the ankle socks for my daily walks although I only have a few pairs. There is a difference when I’m wearing those “other” socks! Ha! This makes me realize that I will put Bombas on my Christmas wish list. I have a few of my own favorites in my closet (which, truthfully, has way too many items in it; I need to purge!): a pair of Madewell Roadtripper Jeans in a super dark blue. They are so comfortable that it’s hard to believe they are jeans. I am lucky I can wear them to work and I certainly do. I also picked up a waffle weave sweater at Madewell and finally wore it this past weekend. It’s super soft and feels good on; looks very casual; just a great weekend type sweater. I napped it in on Saturday so that’s how I know it’s destined to be a favorite this year.

  13. Excited to try the Old Navy leggings in some fun prints. Just placed an order.

    By the way, as an AXO, I’m tempted to buy the Hera necklace just on the name alone! 🙂

  14. Zella plus size leggings, Barefoot Dreams and JJill Pure Jill cardigans, Talbots microfiber tanks, Talbots authentic tee (thick, old fashioned tee in many nice stripe combos), Talbots jeggings, Jjill indigo pants, Darn Tough Vermont socks, Coma Toes lounge slippers (top looks like a puffy jacket, can be worn outside, excellent quality and quite a bit of support for a lounge shoe).

  15. Old Navy leggings? Might have to check those out, especially since they have talls What size do you wear in them?

    LOVE my Bombas! Just ordered a multipack of the calf-length since my trouser socks are retired for the next six months of working remote…

    1. Love my Old Navy leggings–far better than my lululemon ones that slide down all the time!! And Bombas socks are the only ones I wear now–just bought some additional tie dye no shows. Feeds my desire to be fun without overstated! LOL Keep up the good work. May have to check out that bag you mention. I am pairing down the size of my daily bag and have been going to my older ones at this point.

  16. I’m obsessed with Old Navy’s leggings! They wear and wash so much better than my lululemon ones….I find they always stretch out at the waist after a while and then slide down or look weird and my Old Navy’s have kept their true shape for years!

    1. Andrea — how do the Old Navy leggings run, size-wise? I am generally a Medium at Old Navy, but I don’t like my leggings too snug…

  17. LOVE this post!! Thank you so much for taking the time to describe your experience with these items, it’s very helpful. That necklace caught my eye; on in-office days I’m finding I have to keep my earrings to simple studs or my masks get caught up in them so I’ve been looking into fun necklaces to make up for that!

  18. >>It is incredibly luxe, it’s the kind of sweater you see celebrities slip on at their Hamptons house when the temps get a little low, or what a character would wear in a Nancy Meyers movie with cashmere joggers as they sit out on the back porch sipping coffee and thinking about what transpired the night prior.

    Perfectly worded! MM LaFleur should thank you with another free item, LOL.

    Loved this list — mine includes three different EF cotton tunics (one with hood, one with funnel neck, one with boat neck), some black leggings from a variety of retailers, and an ancient gray Polartec vest from LL Bean. Comfort rules!

    To dress up, I add a colorful scarf. That sums up my wardrobe. It’s kind of pathetic, but I’m loving it.

    Now, what to do with the hundreds of items hanging in my closet, waiting…

  19. I agree 100% with the Soma Joggers – I reach for them week after week & they wash like a dream! And my Bombas socks… is it possible to have “too” many? I also have the graphic tee “More Than Your Average” and have been wearing that like crazy too. Thanks Alison! Stay healthy & well! 🙂

    1. I say no to having too many socks! I treasure my good socks now and am so sad when they’re in the laundry! And I love that you also have that tee, it’s such a great one!

      1. My Bombas socks go in a special bag when they have been worn. Then I wash them without anything other than Bombas socks (small load!) because I cannot imagine losing one!

      2. I just today found your post and love it! Re number of socks– I feel like I have enough for 10 people, yet always reach for certain ones. I guess that means the others should find a new home…

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