After four weeks of back-to-back travel this summer, I returned home with a renewed sense of ruthlessness about my wardrobe. I tend to keep my closet pretty tightly edited, but that feels almost impossible in years with a new baby. When my size is in limbo and nothing fits the same way from one month to the next, it feels reckless (too strong of a word?) to get rid of anything, just in case. I think it has been around this time, nine months or so after each baby, when I feel as though enough is enough—editing must happen.
Alongside that burst of energy to get.rid.of.stuff, I have also found myself more sure of my style than ever before. I have been noting outfit inspiration regularly since I was 12 years old, first in a spiral-bound notebook, eventually on Pinterest and a note on my phone. Even so, I still found all too often that I didn’t truly have the pieces I wanted to wear, despite the fact that I have dedicated more of my “fun money” budget toward clothes than anything else for…pretty much ever. More often than I want to admit to myself, I was distracted by this unique silhouette and that pretty print and this buzzy bestseller, opting for styles that were certainly beautiful, but that I tired of quickly or didn’t actually gravitate toward on a regular basis. Do you ever have that feeling—of not being able to stop thinking about a certain piece, only to finally pull the trigger on it and then not wear it all that much? The vicious cycle never seemed to let up.
Maybe it was the fact that I’ve spent less time on social media this year than I have in a decade. Maybe it’s that I’m 33 and growing a little surer of myself (I hope it’s this). Maybe that renewed ruthlessness finally bled into what comes into my closet, not just what leaves it. Maybe it’s because a lot of what has been trendy over the last year just isn’t for me, nudging me to identify what is. Whatever the case, I feel more than ever like I can appreciate something flashy and fun, acknowledge a fashion “moment” for what it is, but then confidently pass it by.
So what has been working? These are a few of the wardrobe staples I reach for so often, I’ve invested in them in multiple colors. While I hesitate to assign myself a uniform, these are workhorses that I have proven to myself I want to wear time and time again.
Ayr The Deep End oxford cotton button-down: I love, love, love a cotton oxford (remember this post?) and wear them multiple times a week, all year long. My first Deep End shirt was a striped version (it looks like they only have one colorway right now, but in the past, they’ve carried way more—check Poshmark/keep an eye on their site) that I scooped up for a Maylis shoot and then couldn’t part with. I’ve since collected two more—one on sale and one as a birthday gift. I love the generous fit, the fact that I can wash and dry them, and the weight of the cotton.
Quince 100% European linen button-front dress: My friend Emily was wearing a Quince dress a few months ago and gave the brand her stamp of approval, so after cleaning out a bunch of things, I placed an order to try a few pieces. Color me impressed! This dress, which I bought first in black and then in white (seen above), checks all of my “easy breezy shirtdress” boxes. A great staple to wear on its own in the summer and layered up in North Carolina’s mild fall/spring.
Mille Celeste dress: I bought this in sky blue for The Southern C two years ago (seen in this post), and ever since, it has been the dress I reach for when I want to dress up, but don’t know what to wear. I’ve styled it for date nights, countless Sunday Masses, work events, and even a priestly ordination, and it always feels just right. When I came across the same dress in dark olive green on Poshmark for under $50, I didn’t even have to think about adding it to my closet. Perhaps worth noting, this is Dave’s favorite dress and he is always super sweet when I walk out of our room in it :)
Ayr The French Fry striped long-sleeve tee: Again, these are often available in more colors, so keep an eye out, but if you’ve been looking for a classic striped long-sleeve tee, this is the one. I have it in a light purple and a mustard stripe and wear them year-round. I prefer my tees on the looser/longer side, so I size up to a large, especially since pima shrinks a little.
Maylis shoes: Admittedly, this one is a little unique to me since I own one of each, but the fact stands that if I’m not going somewhere wet/muddy or to the gym, I’m wearing Maylis. I recommend picking up your favorite style in your most-worn neutral and a pop of color option so you have both of those options available to you. A few of my favorite combinations right now are this and this ballerina and this and this loafer.
And a few pieces I’m considering buying in another color or two…
Quince washable stretch silk tank: I bought this in navy when I placed my aforementioned Quince order, and ever since it arrived, I’ve been wearing it almost off of the drying rack. I tuck it into jeans, layer it under a cardigan or blazer, or pair it with a skirt. Love that the neckline isn’t too low (great for life with little kids), it’s machine washable, and you can wear a normal bra with it. I have my eye on ivory and maybe forest green.
& Other Stories voluminous stand collar blouse: When I want to wear an outfit-making top or am doing a video call (ha!), I reach for the light blue version of this almost every time. A statement white blouse with denim is one of my all-time favorite outfit combinations, so I have my eye on one of the white ones and am delighted by the idea of choosing between floral and butterfly embroidery. The navy version is gorgeous too.