I’ve been reading Tara Button’s new book A Life Less Throwaway: The Lost Art of Buying for Life. She talks about how poor construction and planned obsolescence affects everything from appliances to bedding to baby clothes. It’s bad for our budgets, it wastes our time, and it wrecks the environment.
I especially liked her chapter on faster and faster fashion, and it got me thinking about my own wardrobe, and specifically about the pieces in my wardrobe that have lasted.
Today I’m sharing eight pieces that weren’t exactly cheap, but have been worth it in the long run. These pieces are right for me and my life so I actually wear them—a lot. They’re well-made, and un-trendy in the best sense. They’re not wearing out, and not going out of style.
I’d love to hear about your long-time favorite pieces—the ones that have worked for you for the long haul—in comments.
Good craftsmanship for a good cause. I have two and will add another to my Christmas wish list because I wear these all the time and they still look brand-new. (One is pictured above, the other is hanging with the blue sweater in the top closet photo.)
I had an experience a few years ago that changed the way I buy jewelry: the metal on my favorite necklace had gotten dirty and funky, and I couldn’t figure out how to clean it. The jeweler told me that, unfortunately, my necklace was not designed to be cleaned, and that’s true for much contemporary costume jewelry (even the pricier stuff!). After a year (or even a few months) of wear, it’s trash.
Now I’d rather spend a little more for the good stuff that lasts.
2. Madewell jeans.
I hate shopping, and denim shopping is the worst kind of shopping. Imagine my surprise when last year—after a friend’s recommendation and some internet research—I walked into Madewell and walked out with jeans I love in twenty minutes flat.
They won’t last me a lifetime, but I bet I’ve worn my favorite pair a hundred times and they’re holding up great.
3. Gold jewelry
Simple gold jewelry goes with everything and lasts for years. I use mine to complete the rule of three, even if I’m just wearing a tee and jeans.
I love my hoops from a local Louisville jeweler, but if you’re not in town these J. Crew hoops are similar. My favorite lightweight pendant (pictured) was a gift from a local shop, but I also own and like this heavier Stella and Dot rebel pendant, pictured below in the boots photo. (Heads up if you’re shopping: years later, my Stella and Dot pendant still looks great, but I bought earrings at the same time that haven’t held up at all.)
I’ve had these white jeans for nearly five years and have worn them a hundred times, easy.They’re my go-tos in warm weather and go with everything. (I got them from Stitch Fix in a rare keep-everything-get-25% off fix)
Hot tip: if you know what you’re looking for, ThredUp is a great place to find pricey denim at a big discount.
5. Neutral sweaters.
For neutral sweaters that won’t wear out in a single season, I love these basic cashmere crews from Everlane. (Although this year I might try the v-neck version, because I need to replace a worn-out, less durable v-neck that wasn’t worth the modest amount I paid for it.)
Last year I also discovered this sweater shaver, which extends the life of pilled sweaters.
It’s no coincidence that several shoes show up on this list, because with just a few pairs, I wear my shoes all the time. For eight months of the year, you’ll find me in Tieks most days. They don’t last a lifetime, but they last a long time. (Those are slate grey croc pictured above; you can read my review here.)
I like the Kork-Ease brand for style, fit, and durability. I was reluctant to shell out the cash for these Natalya boots (although sites like 6pm often have similar styles at a big discount) but when it’s chilly out these are the shoes I reach for first.
When I bought mine seven years ago, discounted at Nordstrom Rack, I wasn’t sure if I’d wear them enough to justify the price. Wow, was I wrong. I’ve been surprised at how often I wear them. I love them so much I got Will his own for Christmas last year (because he was always stealing mine! And yes, we wear the same shoe size.)
What favorite pieces do you turn to again and again? Which purchases have been worth it in the long run? We’d love to hear all about it in comments.