March 12, 2011

My hardest working garments

Excuse the dour face I'm making in this older photograph of me in my Old Navy leather jacket. Someone on Fashionism pointed out around the time that this piece was coveted that it is a pretty direct reference to a Mike and Chris leather hoodie. I managed to track one down on ebay after they had sold out in stores. And I've worn it to toughen up girlie dresses and skirts ever since. So despite my mixed feelings about knock offs, this leather hoodie from Old Navy makes the cut. It's a basic piece that was released in late 2006, if I remember correctly.

I wish I had bought the gray or oatmeal colored versions of this Casch Copenhagen sweater from Anthropologie. I wear my raspberry one as often as I can. It doubles as a  jacket in the spring and fall. And it makes an interesting topper when paired with jeans or skirts. On the left is a photo from October 2007. On the right I am wearing it three years later in October 2010. Hard working clothes combine versatility with longevity. I haven't lost interest in this sweater even though I bought it four years ago for my birthday!

This Levis denim jacket has been in my life for longer than Chris! I bought it from Gabriel Brothers for $9.99 when I was still an undergraduate. I estimate that it is over 10 years old. But it never goes out of style. And despite fluctuations in my weight over the years (I've never blogged about it but my weight has shifted by approximately 30 pounds), it has always managed to fit me.

I realized when I compiled this list that layering pieces dominated it! I guess that makes sense because as much as I adore my dresses, you can't wear and pair them with everything. The above work with corduroy pants and t-shirts as well as they do with dresses and skirts. The denim jacket in particular has outlasted everything else in my closet (save for a few sentimental t-shirts I've kept but not really worn). It has survived, edit after edit as I've tried to weed and reduce what I own. The most costly of the three pieces was the sweater, which was still purchased on sale. The least costly was the denim jacket.

I admit that I was surprised to be unable to rationalize the inclusion of any single dress. As dedicated as I feel to my dress collection none of them combined longevity with frequency the way these pieces did. If this was a list of my most treasured pieces my selection would be different.

What this has taught me: Hard working pieces aren't always the most glamorous or beloved. They see a lot of daylight because they're reliable, versatile, and most importantly simple enough to match many outfits and styles over time. Do you have any hard workers that go against my theory? Are any hard workers of yours are also unique and treasured? Am I wrong to assume that mostly basics will dominate the hard working lists of others? To read more about the hardest working pieces of a few fellow bloggers, go here.


dajana, all kinds of lovely said...

I like your bevy of hard workers. That raspberry sweater is sick good on you! I have a Joe Fresh (Canadian line) dark denim jacket that I bought for next to nothing five years ago that's been a solid fashion friend to me. I'm looking forward to wearing it in the spring - which can't happen until three feet of snow melts. yipes.
p.s. I've enjoyed your blog for a while now & am finally commenting. I guess I was a bit blog bashful. :)

Camilla said...

Hi Jess,
My hardest working piece are certainly not my precious silk dresses and wool skirts/dresses. In the past six months my hardest working piece has been my brown and black tights, my basic full sleeve tee and cardigans. I am cold most of the time (outside in the winter, inside with bone-chilling A/C in the summer) so cashmere, wool or cotton cardigans are all a must for me.

Steph said...

Where I live a coat is needed roughly 6 months out of the year. I own several coats- j. crew, banana republic, elevenses, kimchi & blue, diesel- that I love and would consider them the hardest working pieces in my closet. A few of my coats fall into the unique and treasured category and do get regular wear.

I adore your outfit- with the Old Navy leather jacket and vibrant dress- and your glasses, you pull them off so well.

Thirteenlbs said...

Jess, I love the moto jacket above- I can see how it'd be a keeper. My hardest workers are jackets too...

Carol said...

This makes sense, Jess. Sometimes the things that we reach for the most are the not the "centerpiece" items, but the layering pieces/accessories. Nice post. =)


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