Styling my Oldest Clothes

Styling my Oldest Clothes, J Crew Lady Coat, Madewell Boyfriend Flannel, Madewell Transport Tote, Nine West Tassel Loafers, Everlane Cheeky Straight Jeans

I’ve been doing some thinking lately…

about ethical clothing/shopping.

And I’ve come to the realization that being an ethical shopper does not automatically make you a sustainable shopper.

You can be buying 100% of your clothing from ethical shops, but if you are buying too much of it, or getting rid of it after every season then you are still stuck in unsustainable practices.

I’ve found myself falling prey to these unsustainable shopping methods lately.

Even though I’ve switched to making most of my purchases from ethical shops, I haven’t been doing a good job about making purchases with the long haul in mind.

Part of the problem is that (some) of the ethical pieces that are in my price range simply aren’t my style. But I found myself settling on those pieces because I needed (or let’s be real: wanted) to fill a hole in my wardrobe.

Part of the problem is that ethical shopping isn’t the fix for a shopping habit.

So as I’ve been doing some inner reflection I’ve realized one thing:

I need to become a more sustainable shopper.

But I don’t just need to make a decision to become a a sustainable shopper, I need to actually put that decision into practice.

So I’ve come up with three practical action points that I’m going to implement:

First: I’m going to shop for longevity. No more settling. This still needs some parsing on my end, but my ultimate goal is to make purchases that I’m 100% comfortable with, and know will stay in my wardrobe for as long as possible.

Second: I’m going to wait 30 days before I pull the trigger on a purchase. If I see something I like, I want to give myself plenty of time to think it over.

Third, I’m feeling pretty content with my wardrobe right now. As in, any purchase I would make at this point would be superfluous.

So I’m going to do a bit of a spending freeze. My goal, as of this moment, is to take break from shopping until my birthday (March 14), but I’m giving myself permission to adjust if need be. However, even if I need to adjust I’m still planning on severely limiting purchases until then. I will still participate in brand partnerships, but I’ll keep my actual purchases to a minimum.

So with that massive intro under my belt, let’s talk about today’s topic.

Styling my oldest clothes. I wanted to do this post for a couple of reasons:

First, it’s nice to get use out of the pieces in my closet that don’t always get a lot of love.

Second, it’s helpful to notice what pieces have had the longest staying power in your closet… those pieces are actually super informative. Those pieces are a clue as to what you really actually love, and not just what you’re drawn to based on current trends.

I was feeling a little restless with my closet (hence above self reflection) so I decided it was time to pull out all of my old favorites, and style them into a more current outfit.

This is what I came up with:

Let’s break it down:

I’ve probably had the Madewell Transport Tote the longest out of any piece in my closet. I bought it shortly after they released it, and it has remained one of my most reached for bags ever since. It’s such a classic style, and it’s worked for me through various life stages. Plus, it’s made of the type of leather that gets better with age. It’s not going anywhere, anytime soon.

The J. Crew coat is a close second in how long I’ve owned it. I bought it shortly after college after I got my first 9-5. It’s a coat I still reach for, and I honestly haven’t felt the need to purchase another black coat since I bought it. The classic cut, and the color make it a piece that will transcend any trend. The lining has started to rip a little bit (but this is after wearing it constantly for over 10 years) so I plan to get it fixed after this winter.

I debated on which pair of shoes to reach for. I bought these Nine West tassel loafers the same year that I bought my L.L. Bean, Bean Boots, but I liked the way these loafers looked with the outfit. These were another purchase that I made after I started my career. I had them in storage (I keep a tote of my business formal clothing for when this stay at home mom stage is over) up until about a month ago. My style has started to lean towards a more classic bent lately, and they fit back in with my wardrobe.

The flannel is almost 6 years old, and I have reached for it more times than I can count. It’s been the perfect piece through my winter pregnancies, for camping, and for when I’m in the mood for a cozy layer.

And finally, the jeans. I actually don’t have a lot of older jeans simply because my weight has fluctuated. But these Everlane Cheeky jeans are the oldest pair of the styles that currently fit (they were my first denim purchase from Everlane!). The style is perfectly in between a skinny and a straight leg. They are, hands down, my most worn pair of jeans.

And there you have it! I love this outfit now, just as much as I would have 10 years ago and that’s why these pieces have been in my closet so long. And this is why I want to be more intentional with future pieces. 10 years from now I want to be able to style pieces that I bought now.

Wasn’t this fun? I think so! What’s your oldest piece in your closet? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to know!

The Details:

Madewell Flannel Button Down. No longer available in this print, but you can find a similar print here (and 40% off). An ethical option in a more similar print is available here.

J. Crew Classic Lady Day Coat. Limited sizes available, but it is still available (and 29% off).

Nine West Tassel Loafers. No longer available, but similar here (and $20 off)

Everlane Cheeky Jeans (See Review Here)

Madewell Transport Tote


Hi there! My name is Karin and I am a lifestyle blogger with a focus on mindful style, clean beauty, and joy filled motherhood. I hope you find some inspiration here!

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  1. Rebecca B
    December 18, 2019 / 11:42 am

    I have some REALLY old stuff in my wardrobe. Still in regular rotation, I have a pair of Cole-Haan loafer mules from c. 1998, and a pair of Green Arizona Birkenstocks from c. 1991/1992. I’ll never part with either.

    Love this out and this approach. Slooooooow fashion. šŸ™‚

    • Karin
      January 24, 2020 / 12:57 pm

      I love that! The oldest things are usually the best things anyway. šŸ™‚

  2. Lindsey R
    December 22, 2019 / 12:28 pm

    I really resonate with your introduction. I absolutely have an issue with an ethical wardrobe that is excessive. In 2020 I hope to take time off from accrual, and look forward to checking in on your progress with the same goal. I realize this is a problem afforded by my privilege. Nonetheless, I am looking forward to the challenge. It already gives me a sense of relief to release myself from keeping up.

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