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WEAR IT // Back to the Basics (February)

Friday, February 22, 2013

On my first business trip, I brought along a white blouse that I L-O-V-E-D. I'd bought it at H&M a few weeks before and I was excited to look both professional and stylish while courting my clients. However, when I went to iron it the night before my meetings, the glue that was holding it together melted and my shirt was reduced to a few strips of white fabric. Talk about a buh-mer.

After that night, I vowed to avoid throw-away fashion for good. I had every intention of treating my wardrobe like the Europeans: less stuff, better quality. But when push came to shove, those cheap prices would draw me back in! And my wardrobe continued to be filled with clothes that never fit quite right, sweaters that would ball up after one wear, dingy fabric you could spot from a mile away, and dress shirts that melted when you ironed them.

So after the chaos of moving to SF, Zach and I sat down and made a New Year's Resolution: no more cheap clothing. We decided to only buy things of solid quality that could be worn for longer than one season. Then, we ordered Indian takeout, identified all the basics that a solid wardrobe needs, compared that list to what was already in our closets, and voila!:

Workout Pants
Casual Sneakers
Jeans (to wear with flats)
Black Leggings
White T-Shirt
Fitted Blazer
Ballet Flats
Black Skinny Jeans
White Blouse
Leopard Print Scarf
Nautical Striped Shirt
Pleated Skirt
Classic Black Pumps
Vibrant Blouse
Flat Leather Sandals
Leather Jacket
Black City Boots
Oversized Watch
Leather Fedora
Black Cardigan
Puffer Vest
Colorful Pair of Heels
Rain Boots

For the next 12 months, our goal is to not buy anything unless it's found on our lists (for the record, Zach has a separate one.) And, none of these things can be purchased at a notorious throw-away fashion vendor: Forever 21, TJ Maxx, Old Navy... you get the idea. It's kind of scary! With our current budget, that means we'll only get to buy one, maybe two, items each a month.

So, what did I buy for my first month? A new pair of workout pants to inspire me to go to the gym (so far, it's working) and a solid pair of casual sneakers.

Oh, and if you want to read more about the perils of cheap fashion, check out this book. I haven't read it yet, but it's next in my queue.


  1. This is an excellent list! Great idea.

  2. I love this idea! If you're a shopaholic like me, you end up just rattling through the sale racks at Nordstrom, Macy's (impulse), Bloomingdales, etc so you can have high quality items at a discount :D Also, I tend to buy a bunch of mid-range quality clothing to cycle me through 2-3 seasons (like ASOS and Gap). If you ever need a shopping pal in the city, let me know!

    1. Good ideas! Sales on more expensive items are always an option! I just don't seem to have much success finding good stuff on sale. :/

  3. I love this idea. And come to think of it I've already started to do change my buy cheap habits already this year. Ultimately it feels good to invest in my wardrobe, knowing the pieces I bring home will last me for years instead of months.

    1. You're right, it feels reeeeeally good. The few expensive pieces I have are my favorites anyway - so it makes sense to get more of those! :)

  4. hi alison, i'm visiting you from the alt summit class we took on wednesday... your blog is so cute, and i love this idea! definitely going to employ it myself!

    1. Oh you're so sweet! Thanks so much for stopping by. You blog is lovely as well! So nice to meet you. xoxo

  5. I really love this idea. Personally, my favorite pieces are the ones I've had for years, and when I wear them I feel like such a smarty pants for buying something I still like five years later.

    For quality basics (super soft tees, silk blouses, etc) that are made in the USA and won't break the bank, I think Everlane ( is pretty great.


    1. Oh yes - I just discovered Everlane. And, I've definitely bookmarked it for future purchases. Their silk blouses look amazingly soft. Thanks for the tip! And, if you think of any other clothing stores that I'd like, let me know!!

  6. Hi Alison,

    In the spirit of transparency (and to address Lora's recommendation), we just wanted to let you know that these Everlane items are made in the U.S.: Tees, Ryan Tees and French Terry in LA, Totes in Texas, Belts in San Francisco, Bow Ties and Ties in New York. Our other items are made abroad and soon we're going to be releasing a factory map so you can see exact cities and locales.

    Let us know if you have any questions. We think your idea is amazing as our motto has always been Buy Less, Buy Better.

    Bravo to you and Zach! And thanks Lora for mentioning us.

    Eva Goicochea
    Social Media Manager / Everlane


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