Last year I did a couple rundowns of all the clothing I bought. Basking in the shine of newness, though, I feel like I didn’t really gauge the pieces. Well now, after a few months wearing these pieces day in and day out, I have some opinions. What’s worked for me, what hasn’t. And so I thought I’d revisit my clothes from last year. What was worth it? What wasn’t? I’ll be rating each on a scale from 1 (worst) to 5 (best). I’ll try to note how much I liked/disliked a piece for me versus thought it was high/low quality in general.
Here’s my rough, completely subjective scale:
- 5 = Perfect piece, wouldn’t change a thing
- 4 = Would recommend
- 3 = This is fine
- 2 = Not for me, thanks
- 1 = Never again
In general, let me know if you have any questions on the pieces I list here. My primary goal is to have a reference I can turn to in the future to know what’s been good for me in the past, but I also would like this to be useful to others if I can. So, without further ado…
All My Silk Shirts – 4.5/5
I’m just going to come out and say it: silk is my perfect fabric. Breathable in the summer, insulating in the winter. Light. Appropriate for work and play. Just so good.
Of the shirts I bought, all but the white Boss shirt were of crepe de chine. The Brunello Cucinelli tank was actually a crepe-backed satin which, my god, was just an extra level of decadence I didn’t see coming.
I was surprised that between my Everlane and Equipment shirts, I actually prefer the Everlane pieces. The Equipment shirt is clearly of higher momme silk and the shirt’s design is lovely, but the buttons used for the shirt aren’t great. I love the big thick minimalist gold design on them, but the loop that attaches them to the garment is quite large, which causes it to jut out away from the shirt. This is not so noticeable on the front, but causes the cuffs to hang limply and look a little sloppy. Also, I’ve just been moving away from button-up shirts generally. Short of hunching all day, almost any shirt seems to pucker on me, and I’m only a 34B.
All in all, though, these are some really nice pieces and I’m glad I went the extra mile in getting them tailored. I can really see them being staples in my wardrobe for years to come.
Workout T-Shirts – 3/5
TIL: Workout tees are like regular tees, but more expensive and show slightly less sweat. Fine overall, but not worth the premium in price over a regular old, ratty cotton shirt if all you care about is exercising (though you’d probably look better in these, I guess).
J Brand Jeans – 4/5
These are probably the best jeans I’ve ever had. In particular, the black cigarette jeans are holding up as good as the day I got them. The blue jeans, after a few washes (no dryers) are starting to loosen a bit, but not too bad. The fit around my hips through my thighs continue to be good. Nothing too substantial in the way of fading. Overall, pretty good.
Banana Republic Sloan Pants – 3/5
BR’s Sloan Pants are downright magical for about two weeks. Day 1 I would have rated these a 5/5 hands down. They feel nice and thick but look sharp at the office and are comfy as all get out.
But then you wash them.
Keep in mind, you’re not technically supposed to wash these. They are clearly marked as dry clean only. But, you know, dry cleaning’s expensive and I was curious if I could get away with it. Hahaha, no. The viscose in these stretch out like nobody’s business, including in cold water. They were pretty much ruined after a single wash. Whoops.
Great if you have a dry cleaning budget. Otherwise, skip this one.
Lululemon Align II – 3.5/5
I wear these suckers every time I go to the gym (around 3x/week) and they’re holding up strong. Waist band is very comfortable, no sliding when I’m moving around including for squats which is great. The biggest annoyance for me is that they don’t breathe well, which leads to a little bit of overheating in intense workouts. Minus that, though, these are pretty great.
Dresses & Skirts
Cara Hansen Wrap Dress – 2/5
Like a dress version of the Sloan pants, except it wasn’t marked as being dry clean only.
Ann Taylor Pencil Skirt – 3/5
I’m not really a skirt person. As far as skirts go, this one is fine I guess.
Blazers, Sweaters, and Outerwear
Ann Taylor Blazer – 3/5
It fits. I’ve worn it like three times. Meh.
Vintage Blazer – 2/5
Why did I buy a light cotton blue blazer? I have no freakin’ idea. It wrinkles a lot and doesn’t go with any of my clothing. And the shade of blue is weird in that I don’t even think it matches with black. Is that even possible? Mine isn’t quite the same as the shade of the blazer pictured above, but you get the idea.
Theory Marled Sweater – 5/5
I get so many compliments on this sweater. Really, the picture here doesn’t do it justice. It’s just so nice and the threads are thick and give it this nice luxe textured feel. Very comfortable, just the right level of chic for casual or business casual.
Patagonia Quarter-zip fleece – 3.5/5
Comfy, practical, about what you expect from it. Polyester, so not very breathable once you get to the overheated indoors. Pills like whoa, but that’s par for the course for fleeces.
Coach Lambskin Leather Bomber Jacket – 4/5
I love wearing my bomber jacket. Honestly, I probably wear it too much. I feel badass walking down the street in this, my black jeans, and some shades; the embossed lining feels decadent; and with my Patagonia fleece, I’m pretty much able to wear it down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit if there’s no wind (if there’s wind, all bets are off).
But as much as I love my bomber, it’s not perfect. For one, there are no side pockets. Which, even if it weren’t freezing cold and I wasn’t try to hide my hands away, I’d still want because I’m a fidgety person who can’t figure out where to put my hands when I walk. The torso is a little long for pear-shaped petite folk, which means the bottom will ride up an inch or two to snuggle right above my hips. Also, lambskin is a bit fussy, which I can see being annoying from the perspective of long term maintenance.
Bali Wire Free Bra – 3/5
I’ve never found a bra that’s made me feel like I’m doing bras properly, but this one is comfortable so it’s my usual go to. Unfortunately, like most bras, after a few months they get a little sad. I don’t know. Is there such a thing as a long-lasting, supportive, comfortable bra? Recommendations?
Hanes Cotton Underwear – 3/5
Cheap underwear, doing what it does.
Wolford Hosiery – 3.5/5
I got two pairs of Wolfords– one in denier 50 (black) and one in 20 (nude). They’re definitely less scratchy and more comfortable than your typical drugstore hosiery. And still holding up strong. Not life-changing, but decent.
LL Bean Silk Long Underwear – 4.5/5
Wow, just wow! I was seriously impressed by how these long underwear kept my legs warm. They were very lightweight to the point that if they’re worn alone they’re sheer. But in spite of that they really kept my legs feeling toasty throughout the cold af winter. And they were nice and loose with a comfy waistband which meant they weren’t constantly riding up, riding down, pinching my legs, etc. Not quite as warm as a high end pair of thick fleece underwear, but far more practical for wearing all day under work clothes. My only wish is that these weren’t quite so sheer. I’d’ve loved to have been able to wear these around the house as pajama pants as well.
WHBM Obi Belt – 2/5
Look. This could be a brilliant statement piece for someone. That someone just needs to have a longer torso with fewer curves than I do. Due to the hard plastic siding and the thickness of the belt– a good five inches or so– it doesn’t meld well to hourglass figures. Also, I found little bits of light-colored suede from the other siding kept shedding all over my clothes. Such a shame. This one feels so aesthetically pleasing but is downright impractical in person.
Cambridge Satchel – 1/5
I replaced the low-quality push lock on this bag three separate times and each time the new lock failed within a couple months. There’s a little rod as part of the push lock that seems to be glued in place. Once it comes undone, the whole lock falls apart, bits flying everywhere. Since replacement locks from Cambridge Satchel cost $25 a pop to be shipped to the US, I’ve just given up on this one.
Coach Willis Messenger Bag – 4/5
This bag is built like a tank. The leather is super thick and the hardware is clearly built to last. And after the constant frustrations with my Cambridge Satchel, it is nice to have something with a turn lock that doesn’t look like it’s going to break anytime soon. But from a design standpoint, like most cross-bodies I wish it had a couple more notches higher up for us shorter folk. And with such an old bag, you’re wont to see a little edge fraying on the leather. Nothing deal-breaking, but certainly noticeable up close.
Neck gaiter – 3.5/5
I like neck gaiters more than scarves because they keep nice and close to my body, which helps with heat retention during the most brutal part of the cold season. This cheap one I got from Amazon with reversible fleece lining did it’s job, though probably could have been a little thicker or had some other means of wind protection.
Patagonia Better Sweater Mittens – 3/5
While I like that these convert back and forth between mittens and gloves, frankly they just aren’t all that warm.
Patagonia Beanie – 3.5/5
Not much to say about this one. Nice and thick beanie, generally unassuming. Good for the 30-40 degree range. Does okay but not great in the wind.
REI Silk Sock Liner – 3/5
These helped me not break out while wearing wool socks this winter. Not a lot of give or stretchiness, but not uncomfortable either. They did that job well without wearing through in spite of their thinness. At the price ($10/pair), I wouldn’t buy more than 1-2 pairs though.
Red Coral Necklace – 4/5
Great statement piece though a bit heavy.
Mizuno Wave Paradox – 5/5
The only sneaker that keeps my overpronation in check while running.
Madewell Leather Sandals – 3/5
Okay sandals. Not at all resistant to any of the elements and hurt after walking a bit. But for the price point, the quality is fine.
Tailoring – 5/5
The absolute best money I spent on clothes last year was on tailoring. Hands down, far and away, bar none, superlatives to infinity and beyond. Really, if there’s anything I learned last year: buy less, tailor more.
Any pieces you bought last year you’ve since come to love more? Less?
4 thoughts on “All The Clothes I Bought Last Year, Rated”
Too bad about the Sloan pants! I would have been curious about machine-washing too, though I often end up being too nervous to machine-wash something labeled dry clean-only, unless it’s a fabric that I’ve machine-washed before with no problems.
It’s good to know that the silk tops have been such a good addition to your closet! I buy way too many, but still can’t get into wearing them that often. (I don’t even sweat thaaat much normally, but somehow, even though silk is a light and breathable material, I end up needing to wash most of my silk blouses after the first wear because I’ve managed to sweat into the armpits. Ick!)
I use Tom’s (aluminum-free) so when if I do sweat into the shirts they don’t leave stains or lingering smells. The downside is that it’s definitely a deodorant and not an antiperspirant, which means if I’m walking outside in the summer my underarms will get noticeably wet. Not a big deal for me since the office itself is climate controlled and not all that different from a cotton shirt, but it’s less than ideal.
Whew, thanks for taking the time to lay it all out! I’m differently shaped but this is really helpful, especially on the fabrics. I don’t need most of these clothes in my current life but I do need a few things to make sure that I can present well in those increasingly rare formal business conditions. And definitely thanks for the heads up on the sweater mittens, I would have been seduced by the convertability and sad that it wasn’t that warm.
I feel like I’ll forever be crowing the benefits of silk. It really is so much more resilient than people give it credit for.
Winter gear that looks warm but isn’t makes me so sad. 😦 I will say the Patagonia ones are probably okay going down to 45 degrees if you just need a little something, but out here I rarely break heavy gear out until roundabouts 35.