On Shopping New, Old, High and Low

A guide to shopping New, Old, High and Low! www.abeautifulmess.com I’ve recently been putting a lot more thought into how I shop. I’ve been forming my own, personalized strategy that helps me feel balanced. I’m excited to share it with you today and hopefully start a conversation about how to shop more thoughtfully and encourage a balanced perspective on retail. #itsallgood

You see—I’ve already been through most of the extremes. In my early twenties I shopped almost exclusively at Forever 21 and cheap mall stores. I always had lots of clothes, but I noticed I didn’t wear them all, they didn’t last that long, and since I shopped impulsively, I often got sick of my clothes and felt like I didn’t have anything to wear. No good. After that I dove deep into a vintage phase. Emma and I owned a vintage shop in our hometown. My closet was exploding with vintage pieces ranging from true gems to ugly costumes and everything in between. It was super fun until it wasn’t anymore. I got burned out having such a difficult wardrobe to mix and match, and I realized that I was buying lots of things that I was never wearing. No good. I did a major purge and donated and sold all my vintage except for a few treasures. It felt good. Clean palette. And so my next phase began. I started buying black and white, denim, and chambray. LOTS of black and white, denim, and chambray. It felt good to collect basics. But I soon realized it was a little too basic one day when Jeremy asked me to pick a more colorful outfit for a video shoot and I couldn’t do it.

So this past year I’ve been on a mission to create a more balanced, useful, inspiring closet! I’ve talked to my girlfriends about this subject and really analyzed my shopping in an attempt to shop smarter. And I’ve realized that this is a subject that you guys are interested in too. We get lots of requests from readers to feature more budget-friendly fashion pieces. We also get lots of comments thanking us for supporting small businesses and good quality makers. These two types of comments can be contradictory, but we don’t think they have to be. We wear a variety of stuff (new, old, high, low) for a variety of reasons (to find the right fit, to be colorful and unique, to buy quality pieces that will last years instead of months and, of course, to save money). I believe there is a time and place for all of these things. So let’s get into it! 

This outfit is a pretty decent example of how I like to dress. It’s a combination of new, old, high, and low. The scarf is vintage. I collect vintage scarves because they’re an easy way to add personality and color to a basic outfit. My bracelets are new (both from Madewell—they have great, easy jewelry). My tote is more on the high end. It’s Orla Kiely and was a gift from my little sis for my 30th birthday. And my top and skirt are from low priced shops (Target and Forever 21). 

Here’s my guide to making the most of New, Old, High, & Low! 

NewPictured: 1. Forage Lady Bows 2. Gift Shop Brooklyn Shoulder Purse 3. Not Tuesday Necklace 4. Eclu Floral Clutch 5. Gift Shop Brooklyn Georgia Tote 6. Catbird Tomboy Knuckle Ring 7. Pizza T-Shirt 8. Isi Hand Dyed Top (sold) 9. Ban.do Bobbi Set

Let’s talk new

The clothing I place in this category is not designer and not fast fashion. It’s somewhere in between. It’s good quality at a medium price. In this category I tend to favor a few tried and true retail stores as well as small businesses, like Etsy shops. 

My favorite medium-priced retail stores are Madewell (great basics and great sales!), ASOS (I’ve found lots of good, colorful clothing there and the best fitting swimsuits), Zappos (returns with free shipping for a year!), and ModCloth (where I buy a lot of tops and cute everyday clothes). 

I also love to shop Etsy and small businesses! In my choices above, all of the items fall into those categories. I love supporting smaller businesses, and often I find better, more beautiful, or more unique items from these types of shops. I like to keep my bookmarks full of fun new independent shops, since they’re popping up all the time! 

A lot of what I shop for falls into this category. The only things I avoid are extreme trends (those should usually be reserved for the “low” price category) and key pieces that I will wear daily for months and months at a time (like a coat, boots, or a bag) because I don’t mind spending more on items like that.

A few of my favorite recent Etsy purchases are: This necklace from LaMalconttenta, a colorful necklace from Danny Brito, and this Twin Peaks T-Shirt from Burger and Friends. I’m going to order one of these necklaces next. (I love Etsy!) 

VintagePictured: 1.Vera Scarf 2.Woven Clutch 3. 1960s Chiffon Dress 4. 1940s Cat Eye Sunnies 5. Straw and Leather Purse 6. Gold Script “E” Brooch 7. Lucite Bracelet (sold) 8. Flower Brooch

Let’s talk vintage.

I told you above about my love/hate relationship with vintage. This past year I started to get interested in vintage again, but I am far more selective about what I buy now because I consider vintage a collection that I will keep for years to come, not a trend that I will wear a couple times. 

I’m usually not trying to create a head-to-toe look with vintage. I think of it more as a fun way to add personality, making outfits more special and colorful.

I don’t have a favorite vintage shop on Etsy, instead I use the search engine to look for gems. Here are a few of my favorite searches using the category “vintage”—E monogram (or J monogram, or L monogram), cat eye glasses, wool pencil skirt (add size and color), vera scarf, clutch, necklace. 

When you shop for vintage online, try to see past bad photos (there will be a lot of them), but don’t buy things you aren’t sure about because you usually cannot return vintage. 

Prices can vary greatly, more than in any other category. So keep in mind that if you are willing to keep hunting, you can almost always find what you want at a lower price! 

When I shop for vintage locally, I only buy things that I can and will wear immediately. In the past I would buy things that needed alterations or repairs, but with my busy schedule, I’ve learned that those purchases often become burdens. So I buy less now, only things that I am excited to wear immediately and that fit perfectly. 

My best advice for shopping vintage is to find a few accessory pieces to collect that you have always loved (mine are scarves, necklaces, and clutch purses). You can use these pieces to add fun to your outfits without the commitment of a crazy dress or a head-to-toe vintage look. 

How to shop high-end without regrets (click through for more)Pictured: 1. Swedish Hasbeens T-Strap Sky High 2. Phillip Lim Pashli Satchel 3. Frye Melissa Button 4. Marc by Marc Jacobs Purse 5. Rebecca Minkoff MAB Tote 6. Karen Walker Sunnies 7. Rag&Bone Booties 8. Marc by Marc Jacobs Purse 9. Hunter Boots

Let’s talk high-end

Remember that the term “high-end” can mean different things depending on your stage of life or budget. 

So here’s the story that converted me from a high-end “hater” to an occasional high-end shopper! Three years ago I got a pair of Melissa Button Frye Boots for my birthday. They’re expensive, $350. And normally I wouldn’t spend more than $100 on a pair of boots. But my friend Cayt had a pair, and she swore that they would last a lifetime (and she’s a really good salesperson). That was crazy to me because all of the $100 boots I had ever owned were worn out after one winter, and so I would replace them every year. But my Frye boots really have held up better than any boots I’ve ever owned. I wear them a LOT. And this year I’m wearing them for my third winter. That means that next winter they’ll technically be cheaper than the $100 boots I used to buy each year because they’ve lasted so long. 

Now this is an extreme case, but this is the benefit I see in buying high-end pieces. The quality level is often sky-rocketed. I was raised shopping sales, and when I was twenty-five, I judged anyone who spent a lot of money on shoes and bags, but now I think those things are some of my smarter purchases. I would definitely trade five shopping trips to cheap mall stores or Target for one pair of nice boots or a nice bag because I know I’ll still be using it next year and the year after that. 

The price tags are definitely intimidating, but if you make smart high-end purchases, you’ll use them for years and they’ll become a great value. 

My tips for shopping “high” are to never impulse shop (high end items tend to stay in stores for years, not change over every month like fast fashion, so you can take a month or so to think over your purchases), shop in neutral colors (easier to mix and match), and to read reviews and listen to your friends (I also like to see items in person before I order it online). 

Saving up for things is fun! If you want to justify a bag or a pair of booties, find something else in your budget that you can give up for a few months. Do the math and you’ll be surprised how much money you are wasting in other areas on things that you won’t keep or care about a year from now! 

LowPictured: 1. Faux Leather Shorts 2. Faux Leather Skirt 3. Silver Pleated Skirt 4.Plaid Poncho 5. Faux Leather Dress 6. Fuzzy Coat

OK! Time to talk about low (also called fast fashion). 

These stores are inexpensive with cute, trendy clothes! I shop at Target (mostly for t-shirts and button up tops), Forever 21 (for skirts and dresses), and Shop Sosie pretty regularly and find lots of cute, wearable pieces. Sometimes I even find pieces that last a long time that I wear over and over. Other times I wear a dress for a season and donate it without guilt. 

The obvious benefit of fast fashion is that it’s inexpensive, but that’s not always a good thing. It can be too easy to buy too much from these stores just because it is so cheap. Recently I’ve been trying to buy less and be more thoughtful about my purchases from fast fashion stores. 

Another great use for fast fashion is to try a trend without much commitment. Want a big fuzzy coat or something made of faux leather? Those are great fast fashion choices. 

The things I avoid at fast fashion shops are shoes, bags, and coats (because they usually do not last and the shoes and coats are usually not warm enough). With that said, a jacket that isn’t meant to be your winter coat is totally something I would buy at one of these shops. 

The key here is to be thoughtful. Lower prices might tempt you to buy things you don’t love, so beware of that and you’re good! 

Mix it up!Now, if you’ve made it this far, you’ve pretty much had a tour of the shopping side of MY brain. You’d be surprised (or maybe not?) how much these same categories and guidelines apply to how I shop for my home decor. It’s definitely a combination of new, old, high, and low as well! 

I’d love to hear your thoughts and any tips you’ve picked up through the years. Let’s chat in the comments. xx! Elsie 

Credits/ Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: (top) Emma Chapman, (bottom) Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions

  • This post was really an inspiration. For the past few weeks I have been thinking about how I can streamline what I own and actually wear what I have.. I think that is something most us face on a daily basis. Step one will be to purge- and keep only the items that fit and look good.

    The idea behind your article is great and it is one I haven’t thought about just yet- but I sure will. Makes perfect sense to invest in statement or high pieces that will last you long- like a pair of fancy occasion shoes or a good pair of boots…or a coat. For everyday items like t-shirts, blouses and whatnots I agree with the low/trendy option- we get tired of some items, tend to keep them for “Good” occasions and who knows what else. Having only items I truly like, and can fit into my wardrobe will hopefully make me wear all my stuff.
    And I definitely agree with the changing in mentality in regards to shopping. At some point when I started earning my own money (other than scholarship and part time income) I was also mesmerized by the sales- and ended up having many items I didn’t really like. Trendy or not- if you don’t feel good in it it will show- so no use in buying any more of that.
    Lately I’ve been focusing on items I don’t have, or would go well with the things I already own and are not duplicates of stuff I have- it has brought a nice change in the way I dress.
    Thanks again for your post- it is truly inspiring! I usually keep all the clothes I don’t need and take them to my mom’s…she knows a lot of people who are happy to receive a bag full of goodies to chose from. It makes me feel less bad that the items I no longer need/fit in/keep will have a second life in someone else’s closet:)


  • Great post! I have recently discovered your blog via Instagram and am enjoying it so much, especially at lunch, when I’ve been reading over posts. A few years ago I went 6 months without buying any new clothes! I primarily did this to blog about the experience, and also to push myself to be more creative with my existing wardrobe and finally get around to making all the dresses and tops I had patterns and fabric for! In February, some friends and I are doing another challenge where we won’t shop for anything but food! This is not so much about money because we’re pretty savvy shoppers and don’t really need any items at the moment, it’s primarily about time spent in stores looking at merchandise! We’re dedicating this time to cultural/art based activities and pursuits instead! So I’m getting lots of inspiration from your blog on how to enjoy my existing wardrobe as well as cool fun projects to try!

  • Superb and Classy!!! Though all pieces are upscale and customary, I personally love your new jewelry collection in first and second combos. This knuckle ring and stylish heart bracelet deserve a huge appreciation. You have an exclusive taste in clothing, shoes, and accessories.

    Also, the shirts and skirts in high-end section offer a comfortable fit with standout style. Tempts me to review my wardrobe a bit! Celebrity fashion tips, I learned from the last year’s red carpet appearances, include multi-finger gold and silver rings, massive stone bracelets, and metallic details in clothing and accessories. They flatter from every angle and light up your look on the whole.

  • I love this approach! This is something that I want to adopt into my own shopping style. Mostly saving up for high-end pieces that will last me forever!

  • Shared your post with my readers in a link love post!
    Have a good weekend,
    xoxo Aimee

  • Happy to know that my necklace Zebra has been one of your favorites sales on Etsy.
    Thank you very much !!

  • Such a great post! I recently started thinking more about what I buy. Really great balance.
    xoxo Aimee

  • this is great!! i think this is a really good guideline, thanks!


  • I really appreciate the ways you handled giving advice in this post. Thanks. 🙂

  • Yes yes yes to all of this. I am especially picky with my shoes because I have sensitive feet.

  • I too have just learned the joy of buying investment pieces – coats, boots, sunglasses and bags – because long term they last better for us. But I still love adding into something cheap, that I know I will get bored with quickly.

    Looking for a style icon, The Duchess of Cambridge rocks the high/low combination

  • I’m actually in the same “stage” as you. For the past few years I’ve been buying anything my size that’s cheap (pretty much because I had no other choice), but now I’m trying to make wiser decisions, only buy things I LOVE, and invest in nicer items that will have a longer life in my wardrobe.

    I actually have thought a few times “I wonder what Elsie’ shopping philosophy is”, and now I know!

  • Love this post. I have been doing a lot more high/low with my fashion. Lululemon has been putting out some nice street clothes for my low…and high is always a pair of designer shoes or handbag.

  • I sooo needed this. One of my goals for this year is to refine my wardrobe. So much of it has become purcheses of things I don’t wear or don’t like once it gets home, just because it was on sale, or bargain priced. I’m really trying to hone in on quality over quantity from here on out.

  • I don’t ofen comment but really loved this post. I’m 28, and have a tiny wardrobe (for money and not shopping often reasons) and I wear a uniform for work that I don’t need lots of clothes…
    But I want to grow a “style” if that makes sense. I see my 30th birthday as hopefully by the time my style may have developed more. I love the concept here, along with my love of minimalism ideas…
    (Re the high end – I bought a Mulberry bayswater with my golden hello from my first graduate job – and nearly 6 years on – it looks good as new – it’s well looked after and every time I use it I feel so proud I bought it!)

  • Such an enlighting article on shopping! As far as high- and low-priced items are concerned I shop likewise. But I have to work more on the vintage shopping section, as one vintage item can add tons of personality in an outfit. Unfortunately, in Greece, where I come from, there are not enough vintage shops. Perhaps it would be a nice resolution for the New Year to search and buy one vintage item every one or two months! I am glad that you are going to involve more such articles on shopping and building wardrobes!

  • Hi Ambar, here are a few suggestions on good places to donate your clothes. Local thrift shops are always a good option if you don’t like goodwill and that way you are also supporting local businesses. Clothing bin’s are also good as they often go towards supporting disease or disability organizations. And one of my favourites is donating them to the Canadian Diabetes Society as they come and pick up your clothes at your house, you just leave the bag outside your house and they pick it up. Maybe there is something like that where you live? Hope this helps.

  • I am totally with you Elsie!
    It’s fascinating to see how my take on expensive clothing has changed throughout the years. My theory is, think through your finances and then go with your gut! If you know you will love it for seasons to come, and its a need, get it!

  • I’m currently reading this book called Women in Clothes. I think you’d really dig it Elsie.

  • I haven’t seen you guys do this in awhile, but your “Outfits with 7 pieces” were really helpful! I would love to see more of those again.

  • I like this discussion and wanted to tack on another point: that our purchases go beyond how we feel about them and how much use we get out of them. They also affect the livelihoods of the people who produce the clothing and the textiles. It’s another reason to consider investment and vintage pieces.

  • I am right there with you, Dawn! While at the moment we don;t have much of a budget for clothing, I find when I do buy, I buy too much and don’t put enough thought into what I’m purchasing. I also get pretty down when I read all the mommy blogs full of fashion forward, super put-together looking young moms. I think that’s why I love when bloggers to posts on how to style a certain item multiple ways, it makes me rethink what I already have in my closet!

  • I recently moved across the country, and many of my things were stuck in boxes for several months. Once I went through and unpacked it all in my new place, I had boxes of items I realized I didn’t even miss when it was still packed away. It was nice to be able to get rid of so much, knowing without a doubt that I wouldn’t regret it later. At 30, I’ve become more of a mid to high end shopper than I used to be. But I try to bookmark items I think I love, and wait to purchase them until a) I see that I’m still going back to them a month or more later, and b) a great sale or promotion pops up. Sale-stalking for the win 😉

  • Hi!!
    I don’t know any high-end bags that are vegan except our Kelly Moore camera bags, which I love!

    My outfit at the bottom is from Boden!
    xx- Elsie

  • I think this is a really good point, Hanna. Being conscious consumers is very important when we live in such a global village. Unfortunately, there often is not much difference between the “High” and “Low” stores in terms of ethical treatment to their factory workers. All one can really do is research individual stores and brands.

  • Wow! What an awesome post!

    We are literally having a new wardrobe put in right now and the process of designing it to fit ALL of my shoes, bags, jewelry and clothes, oh and hubby’s clothes too, has been really eye opening.

    I have realized just how much I own, and not only that but how little of it I wear. After reading your Post and a few others on similar topics I have decided to start off with the ribbon method and see how that goes.

    I love this new, old, high, low method, it really makes a lot of sense to me and now that I am getting older I find i do want to invest more money in good clothing items, buying from local designers and good quality boots and shoes.

    My main problem is weight, I am trying to lose a significant amount at the moment so do i just live in what I currently have and slowly buy new things when i can fit them?? Fluctuating weight sucks when it comes to clothes!

    Thanks for always being a little pocket of happy inspiration every time I click on the ABM bookmark, you guys always have something awesome brewing and it is awesome to feel a part of it by reading and trying things from your blog everyday.

    From little old New Zealand, you guys rock!

  • I really love learning about the way people shop and their attitudes toward it. Now that I’m becoming more of an adult with an adult job, I have no problem saving up for more expensive items that I will wear often. I also used to judge people on expensive purses, etc. But now I find myself loving my Madewell bags (not horribly expensive, but definitely more pricey than my previous bag purchases) because they hold up soooo much longer. Over the past year, I’ve cut out cheap stores, but I do find myself wanting to try out a new trend every once an a while and I’ve accepted the fact that those stores are good for that. I’ve been spending more on quality items and buying less things than having an overwhelming closet filled with…crap.


  • On another note, just took a look at your blog, and you’ll have to get your man to make you some “milk beer” when your little arrives! 😉 Really dark beer is supposedly great for milk production, though I can’t say I ever tried it myself. 🙂

  • Hey Ambar! Just thought I would chime in on the pregnancy question! I actually found that I could continue wearing a lot of my clothes throughout my pregnancy, even now I am 15 weeks with my second and haven’t had to do the switch yet. So if this is your first pregnancy, I wouldn’t start putting things away until they no longer fit.
    That said, I just stored my clothes in old suitcases and stashed them under the bed (I usually do this with my off-season clothing) but I would like to invest in some of those vacuum bags to really maximize space, we have a tiny house with only one closet, so smart storage is important!
    Hope this helps, and congrats / good luck with your pregnancy!

  • I LOVE buffalo exchange! I went there when I was visiting San Diego recently 🙂 I wish we had one here in Nashville.

  • Great post! I was recently promoted at work (!!) and now that I have a tiny bit of extra spending money, I’ve been daydreaming about investing in a really nice, lasting bag… something I, like 25-year-old-Elsie, would have scoffed at before. Thanks for the perspective! Now, a couple questions:

    1) Does anyone reading this have a good resource for higher-end, quality vegan leather bags?

    2) Elsie, do you remember where you got the items for your outfit in the last photo on the post? I love that skirt and blouse combination!

    Thanks again!

  • How I love this post! Thank you for sharing! It actually went along perfectly with another blog article I was reading on the blog Unfancy. Check it out while planning your wardrobe- great tools for cleaning out. Thanks Elsie :))

  • Wow! I love this concept. I have been working on my wardrobe very intentionally lately. I like the blog into-mind, though I’m not as rigid about capsule wardrobes as she is. I just want to have a remix-able, all-seasons wardrobe that reflects my style and is versatile. I have maybe 120 items in my whole wardrobe (including shoes, coats) because I’ve gotten rid of a ton of stuff that doesn’t suit me. Maybe I’ll settle on more items than that, but I’d rather have items I really love than hang on to things from years ago just because I spent money on them.

    I’m trying to buy more quality and shop at F21, H&M way way less. It was fine for college, but since I’m in my mid-20s it’s time for a grown up wardrobe. I love the idea of buying accessories vintage because then the sizing doesn’t matter too much and then you can get a higher quality purse, etc than you otherwise would with your money.

    I am very broke right now but instead of buying everything at Target I’m really asking myself what I need and buy pieces that will really expand my wardrobe and work with what I have. Like saving up for a nice pair of shoes, a purse I need to replace an old one, etc. Buying quality is a game changer. I see blogs where the women are constantly buying 20 items a month at places like Target and selling/getting rid of just as much. The cycle never seems to end and it just looks exhausting to me. If everyone just put a little more thought and strategy into their purchases we’d be better off and get a lot more out of our wardrobe.

  • I’m glad you’re talking about shopping this way. I actually used to work in the unfortunate-yet-extremely-good-job area of fast fashion, and I quit the industry and left NYC because I realized that I was part of the machine making it possible to waste money on cheap clothing. Now, I only buy secondhand and vintage, local shops/designers, etsy, and upmarket – in an attempt to eradicate the demand for fast fashion. It ends up working out, because what I save on buying a lot of vintage & secondhand clothing, i can spend on a really good pair of shoes.

    <3 dani

  • Really inspiring post, Elsie. Good on ya!
    I did a ‘stop shopping’ project in 2013 and 2014 and it really helped me balance what I really need or want to buy and what I should leave.

  • Please do a recap like this for home decor as well!! It’s really useful!
    thanks 🙂


  • Looooooooove this! In addition to bags, shoes & coats, I have also learned to invest in quality bras, undies, hosiery & eyeglasses. If any of these are too cheaply made it can actually make your physically uncomfortable… which is definitely not cute 🙂 Great post!

  • I have a limit of $40 maximum for any garment, with the exception of winter coats and shoes. Dresses have to be versatile enough to wear for two differnt occasions, so either work and parties, or work and casual. You’d be amazed at how much you can find in this price range when you start looking. Asos do great sales and I can often find good quality dresses that are half price. I do like Target for casual stuff, but I refuse to buy cheap fabrics that won’t wash well. As a result, I have a wardrobe full of versatile clothes that can be worn anywhere and that last a long time.

    I’m currently eyeing off a Kate Spade bag because I think this is something worth investing in and every girl deserves at least one high end purchase.

  • This is awesome! I loved Emma’s post about organising her wardrobe too! Lately I’ve started to realise that I don’t need a hundred and one different clothing items but a few good basics and the odd statement item. This makes me so much more satisfied with what I have rather than constantly wanting to keep up with the latest fad. Totally agree about the high-low thing! High end bags and boots last way longer and look so much better!

  • i LOVE this post! such a great way to think about how to shop. I have recently bee trying to get a few investment items and been having some trouble committing to them. Maybe this will help me realize that spending that $100 over and over again is really not better than spending $350 at one time and having something that lasts. Thanks for the inspiration yet again.

    Also, PLEASE do a post about buying home decor in this way! It would be super helpful how to use this method for home decor!

    Thank you Elsie! 🙂

  • Great post! It’s funny how we all go through fashion phases through the years 🙂

    XO Nat
    Nat in Love

  • yes love this! Last year was my first year buying a few out of budget pieces. I bought this one dress in particular that I loved and waited for it to go on sale for months and months. It is a House of Holland dress, and it is on the crazier side. Now that i have it, I’ve worn it once (I’ve had it for almost a year), and don’t ever know how to wear it because it is soo crazy! Once on Manrepeller I read that when choosing how to buy a piece picture three different outfits with it. Now I try to do that, specially with the crazy pieces. The more unique crazy pieces are tempting because they are unique and stand out, but they are also the riskier ones. So now I try to picture different outfits and I try to be more subtle.


  • I don’t think we’re, personally, going to take a capsule approach. For me, it’s too restrictive. I don’t want to clean out THAT much I guess. With that said I am very attracted to the idea of everything in your closet actually fitting and looking good together- so I see the appeal!

    Here’s a great read- http://www.un-fancy.com/capsule-wardrobe-101/how-to-build-a-capsule-wardrobe/


  • http://www.bodenusa.com <<-- it's a great resource for good everyday pieces at medium prices. 🙂 -Elsie

  • This is a great way to get your head around shopping. You look amazing in this outfit! I need to get the top in my wardrobe too.

    Happy new year!

  • Thanks for posting this! So many of your ideas make perfect sense in a way that I’m wondering why I haven’t thought of this on my own. 😉 I am now feeling motivated to go look through my closet and purge! I am a victim of way too many “cheap” impulse buys. I keep wondering how I have a closet FULL of clothes, yet nothing to wear!

    Great tips….please keep them coming!

  • I bought a pair of Frye boots last fall and went through an almost identical thought process. They were significantly more expensive than anything I had in my closet but I am so glad I bought them! Finding he perfect pair of shoes is such an exhausting process and having to go through it every winter when my other boots inevitably fell apart was frustrating. My Fryes have lasted over a year now and are holding up great. Maybe now I’ll start investing in a purse that won’t fall apart…

  • Thank you so much for u Elsie. I totally agree with you that we must be conscious in choosing the clothes that we are dumping in out closet. I am also planning to revamp my wardrobe. Thanks for the suggestions.


  • Buffalo Exchange is my favorite! And getting a little extra cash after a good closet cleaning is great too!

  • i shop in a super similar way, but I’m finding that as I get older, I have less of a need for “fast fashion” clothes… partially because I’m not into trends as much, but also because I have built up enough quality items in my closet that I don’t need to buy constantly!

    When i was younger and had less money, but still trying to have a quality wardrobe, I relied heavily on 2 things: gifts from family members (j crew and anthropologie gift cards for christmas and birthdays go pretty far!) and consignment shops. you can always find high end jeans, nice tops, and purses at a place like plato’s closet for less than half price.

  • This is so much fun and can definitely be applied to other areas too.

    I’ve been as thrifty as can be my whole life, but have recently found the value in good hair conditioner! And good lipstick, and good beer… Basically, don’t go over board, or over budget, but anything worth doing once is worth doing right 🙂

  • The last high-end item I bought was a black wool cloak coat with a collar and no hood, it was amazing until the realisation that I looked like a Victorian policeman dawned on me and now I can’t wear it. Most unfortunate, as I was going for romantic scottish widow vibe.

  • This article was so helpful! I’ve been through the Vintage period, all black and white stage and have been trying to find a balance since about one year ago. These tips will definitely help me finding that balance!

  • Such a lovely post and an amazing guide on how to achieve this !! It has made me want to have a good sort out and almost start from scratch I have so many things I never wear and having so much stuff is almost more stress than fun! Wonderful post =]

  • where is that top and skirt from in the last photo!? i’m in love!

  • I would LOVE if you gals did a post on a capsule wardrobe. My closet is full of things I hardly wear and I just want to purge and start over again – but with less. I really enjoyed this post though! It made me more aware of my shopping habbits.

  • In the past 6 months i have really slowed down, and putting a lot of thought into what i am buying.. i truly believe in quality before quantity..and always preferred shopping at small boutiques to big malls.. but now that i moved here from India, its hard to find local gems as i am not aware of the city and its craft much yet, but i will soon, its something wonderful about wearing unique things that you don’t find in any of the malls 🙂


  • This is such a cute idea to mix and match. I hope this becomes a regular series!

    xoxo, Laura

  • Amazing post! It’s so nice to know how to pair things and make the overall outfit work well together!<3
    This will for sure give me some new inspirations on to mix and match my clothes:)


  • I really enjoyed this post, and can definitely relate to being “judgey” when people spend tons of money on clothes. I think it has to do with upbringing, budget, etc.
    I think another thing to consider when deciding whether to buy high or low on a certain type of item is how much you will VALUE that item. Not in a monetary sense so much as asking yourself “what will this add to me life?” and “how does this actually FIT into my life?” I’m a mom who only works out of the house one day a week, and it’s at a farmers market. So even though I may LOVE a pencil skirt, and recognize that it’s versatile and flattering, it’s just not worth buying a high quality one if I’m only going to wear it out to dinner (which, honestly happens pretty infrequently!). But, maybe if I found one on the sale rack at Target with a $10.99 sticker on it, it would be worth it for the three times I wear it in a year. So even if I love something, being realistic about your life and what you need from your clothes is pretty important. For me buying jewelry that costs more that $20 is silly because it will most likely be broken or lost within a few months.

  • I need to start buying more vintage pieces, for sure. My budget is super tight but I still buy ‘high’ for me on key pieces, like my fossil bag (outlet) and Sorel boots ($30 off at Costco, necessary for Chicago winter) because the price per wear is key. Also because I don’t really do trends any more, I can buy clothes that need replacing at sales, often at the end of the season. H&M is still my mainstay for clothes but I’m way more selective of quality. Too many shirts with crooked side seams. But I had my old pea coat from them for 5 years and I just replaced it with another. Not the warmest, but for $40 it is well worth the money (I always layer anyway, so having just 1 coat that works from late fall to early spring is wonderful).

  • Totally agree that it’s worth spending more on shoes (and coats and bags). I used to buy nothing but cheap, fun shoes and I ended up with MAJOR leg problems; now, I’ll spend what feels like a fortune on one particularly nice pair of shoes which will last me for years and cause me no pain. I still hate spending that amount of money but it’s absolutely worth it in the long run.

  • Ahhh! Thank you so so much for this post. It’s pretty much exactly what I’ve been feeling about my closet lately, but hadn’t been able to organize my thoughts enough to make any sense of it. I’m still a bit younger, so I feel like I haven’t exactly committed to as much high end shopping (and still think I can justify shopping more than I should at Forever 21) but it’s nice to know that you went through phases as well.

    Thanks, Elsie, because it often feels like many bloggers are sort of secretive about the way that they shop. It’s refreshing to be able to read about the way you shop instead of just seeing awesome outfits!

  • I worked retail throughout college and grad school and collected a lot of clothes because I’d buy anything that was super cheap in the store, even if it clashed with everything I owned. Now I only buy something if I can picture 5 different ways to wear it. If I can’t think of 5 looks, it doesn’t come home with me. There are exceptions-like dresses for events-but for the most part, I stick with this and finally have a closet full of things that I can mix.

  • This was amazing! Thank you so much for posting this Elsie.

    I’m starting to get to a point in my life where for the first time, I can afford to get some high end items. I remember vehemently swearing that I would never spend more than xx on something, but you’re right – there is often such a quality difference. It’s not always the case, but it often is.

    I think another important factor take into account when deciding which items you want to buy high end are your personal habits. For example, I like to switch bags throughout the year and have different ones for different outfits. So these I tend to buy vintage or on the cheaper side – it just wouldn’t be worth it for me to buy an expensive bag and then use it not that often. On the other hand, I’ve spent my whole life buying cheap jeans only to have them rip, sag, etc. and I hate shopping for pants so much, I’ve now decided it is worth it to spend more on a good pair!

    xx Kathryn

  • This is so so great! I love your advice, especially regarding high-end pieces. And I love your picks too! It’s always good to mix some color with those classic, neutral looks!


  • That’s actually a great idea ! Love this post

  • Yessss! I love this post! I have been through similar phases, especially the buy EVERYTHING at Forever 21 and wear 2/3 of it.

    I’ve been taking a similar approach, and I couldn’t help but laugh when you got to the topic of basics. My wardrobe is 90% black. Partially because working in cosmetics, I always get it on me and don’t want to ruin awesome colorful clothing, but also partially because I’m lazy and it goes with everything!

    I loved Emma’s post on the capsule collection and my next goal is going to be to makeover my closet and do this for at least 1 season. When it comes to shopping though I love keeping these tips in mind! 🙂

  • i totally agree on the high end items! the bags, shoes and coats are so much nicer than the cheap ones. but i also put makeup on that list. i figure if i’m putting something all over my face so much of the time, i want to be sure of the quality!

  • Great tips and tricks. I did a “5 piece challenge” past year and this also really helped me to cut back on my buys and closet content! But there’s always something to learn right ;)? xx

  • This was such an awesome post! Thank you for your helpful insight, Elsie. I too feel I’m in the same predicament, especially when it comes to high-end (I love Rag & Bone for tops and accessories, Anthro for dresses, etc.). As much as I love it, the price tag can throw me off a bit. However, to this day I have never regretted one of those purchases, so something has to be said about that. Thanks again!

  • Great post. I have been thinking about this lately. I am going to be thirty in less than two years and I have been purging my closet every season to make sure I don’t have things I don’t want. And I’m in the process of upgrading my wardrobe. Bookmarked!

  • Great post. I have been thinking about this lately. I am going to be thirty in less than two years and I have been purging my closet every season to make sure I don’t have things I don’t want. And I’m in the process of upgrading my wardrobe. Bookmarked!

  • I just wanted to add to the discussion the category of recycled fashion – used clothes that are still pretty new and not yet vintage. In the LA area where I am there are a few stores like this (buffalo exchange and crossroads trading company, for example). Most of my closet comes from these stores, where I get a mix of all the categories (high, med, low) at really cheap prices because they are used. And it is a much cleaner and less overwhelming shopping experience than a thrift store since it is curated by the store’s buyers. If you have stores like that in your area, it is definitely worth checking out!

  • SUCH great tips, I have beens o into investment pieces lately! Basics and then punching them up with fun accessories. Will definitely keep your ideas in mind for my next shopping time!


  • LOVE this post!! something i am always thinking about and feeling a bit lost about– shopping and personal style. really appreciate your perspective in going through fashion phases and coming to a compromise. would love to see profiles of these etsy makers, so fun to see indie artists creations, gives a lot of inspiration…

  • This was a great article! Thanks for posting! I agree with you on all the points! I’m still in the fresh-out-of-college-not-making-much-money-25-year-old boat so stomaching the high end purchases is a tough one for me, but I know that those pieces are better quality. I’m just waiting and working toward the time in my life that I don’t have to save for 6 months to buy a nice piece.
    I’m teaching myself to sew so one of my goals this year is to wear more handmade and because of my tight budget I am working on my thrifting skills so your tips on vintage shopping were perfect!
    I really enjoyed this post! Can’t wait for more like it 🙂

  • This is fantastic! And very much so the same standards I shop by. However, the one thing I’ve learned recently is that when shopping low-end fashion trends (like Forever 21), a lot of cheaper clothes are made at the expense of the workers making them. But I found an AMAZING website called Free2Work.org which rates all kinds of stores (from apparel to sporting good, etc) on their transparency. But again, such a great way to shop a wardrobe! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • I’m used to impulse shopping! But last year I went for the wow factor, is it something different? will it pop while wearing? I’m looking for a polished look while still having the rock and fun style that I don’t want to lose even when I’ll turn 80! So with that in mind is easier to control what I buy, since not every cool or cute piece can hit the mark.

    It also helps that I use a mohawk, nothing is more rock to me than some denim, heels and great hair!

  • I’d say I’m about the same, but over the past few years I’ve really phased out the ‘low’ and am all about saving for the ‘high’ pieces! I work in live theatre, so I don’t make a lot of money, but I can still save and save until I’ve got enough for that fab pair of boots or tweed blazer!

    Also, I just read Marie Kondo’s decluttering book and had an amazing cull in my closet just a couple days ago!

  • SH for my next pair for sure. I have been eyeing the ABM T-strap in turquoise FOREVER 😉 xo

  • I have recently made my very first high end purchase of a Barbour jacket in honour of turning 40! After years of buying cheap it seems like a good age to start buying investment pieces. Over the past few years I have changed all my shopping habits, including clothes, and try to buy local, independent, good quality, second hand, basically be a responsible shopper. Love this post and the chance for this discussion, more please!

  • Love this post! Everything you said really resonates with me, and in the last couple of years I’ve started purchasing select high end pieces (boots, winter coat, purse). I’m now ready to start buying staple wardrobe pieces( Pants, tops, blazers, jeans) that are more high end. While I agree with reading reviews, sometimes there are no reviews, and I’m nervous to take the plunge because,unlike f21, it could be a really costly mistake. Can you share your go to brands, stores, resources or philosophy for high end shopping?

  • This is a great article. I like that you’ve defined different categories of wear, so you can gauge what you’re doing and why. Definitely food for thought.

  • this is such a great post. I definitely apply this to my home shopping! we spent over $3000 on our bed. but it’s so worth it. while we had a little fun with some of the smaller stuff. I’m still not quite there with clothes yet. but i stick with basics generally, so i still spend money on what i expect to last me years. another key thing is that i get at least 2 wears before anything gets washed, and then everything gets hung dry!

  • Ha no it doesn’t matter but now I have a good excuse to buy some ‘high’ items to balance it out. 😉

  • This is a great post! I agree with so much of what you said and tend to favor a similar strategy. I don’t particularly like buying fast fashion because of the ethics involved, but every other time for trendy smaller stuff I guess it’s not so bad.

    In general I think we should all think more before buying 🙂


  • omg love love LOVE this post!! I needed this. I especially love the vintage talk. so helpful and inspiring…as always 🙂

  • This is a great way to cut back on spending money on clothes you won’t ever wear. I’ve never seen anybody break it down like this and actually make sense. The whole vintage look and shopping vintage are so appealing to me and I wish I had the patience to sit and dig through hundreds and hundreds of vintage pieces until I find that one that I know I’ll love forever. It’s hard to be so conscience about it when it’s so easy to just blow all my money on clothes I’ll never wear

  • Hi Dawn,
    Yes- Emma and I have had conversations about that recently. We don’t want to promote a lifestyle of over-comsumption or make it look like we only wear our clothing once (not true, but blogs make it look that way).
    You definitely have to beware of that trap when reading blogs. I do too! It’s healthy to learn to appreciate beautiful things without needing to own them.
    XX! Elsie

  • I love this post! I have been wanting boots for so long but have a hard time justifying the price – I love your explanation above.

    One big thing that I changed over the past year is to stop buying dry clean only clothing. I work in an office environment and often buy my work clothes in the “high” category because they tend to be more classic, less trendy styles. But – I realized that they were WAY more expensive if they were dry clean only, because every time I took it to the dry cleaners it added $5+ to the cost (and I use a green cleaners making it even more expensive). Boden is my favorite brand for this – even their nice shift dresses are usually machine or hand wash and they are really high quality.

  • You are so sweet, Kristina!!! 🙂
    I loved my Lottas and wore them for a long time. They are definitely the best for the $! The only reason I favor SH is for that one style of T-strap because it is so flattering and comfy to walk on too.

    Thanks for reading!!

  • I really agree with how we should spend our money. Statement pieces such as a classic leather bag, a good pair of boots, are things that you will wear over and over so you should invest. A few tops and trendy pieces are good to buy by season in cheaper places. I get a great thrill about buying a good splurge that I know will last me forever.

  • I just turned 30 and have really been re-evaluating my clothing choices. I definitely see the benefit of high end purchases especially when it comes to shoes, boots in particular. I find that I am really rough on heels, wear them out constantly but the nice thing about buying high end boots like frye’s is that the soles do last longer and if they do wear out after a few years, you can always take them to a cobbler to replace the heel or the sole. So that extends the life of them even further then those 100 dollar boots. They really are worth the money!

    Love this post!

  • This post really hit home for me! I have been noticing more and more how I need to control my wardrobe and start to be more selective on my purchases! In fact my news years resolution is to be more mindful of my closet. I love being stylish but I have noticed I will try something on, only like it, yet purchase it because it was cheap and never wear it! not good.

    Great post Elsie!

  • Loved this post. I find I want to buy new things all the time and it’s largely due to reading so many blogs and seeing fashion bloggers wear new items every single day (that are still available, I just have to click on the link!). I have to remember daily (hourly) that I’m not a fashion blogger and do not need so much stuff. Yet despite the fact that I buy what I consider a lot (and honestly return an awful lot of that too) I never have anything that I love to wear. I just picked up “Women in Clohtes” by Sheila Heti and it’s such a great book. I’ve just started it but adore reading different women’s perspectives on clothing and what it means and how they get dressed. I’m going to hold off buying until I’ve finished reading it and have a new plan to finally create a closet that works for me, that I love. I need to stop over-purchasing from Old Navy, Gap and Anthro. Also Target. !! So many plans…. yay 2015!

  • It’s a great idea to be more conscious of our closets and spending habits, but I don’t think fast fashion stores should really be included without full disclosure on their business practices. Fast fashion stores have cheap and trendy clothes at the expense of men, women and children working in inhumane sweatshop conditions. The reason why we can buy a shirt from Forever 21 for under $10 is because someone was paid less than a dollar to produce it. I used to shop at Forever 21 and H&M before understanding how terrible there practices are to humans and the environment. The quality of clothes is so cheap as well that most items from fast fashion stores don’t last too long and get dumped in already full landfills. These clothes are so bad for the environment because they are laden with toxic chemicals that don’t decompose easily. I get that it is cheap and convenient, but maybe we should take our consciousness one step further and think about who made our clothes.


  • THESE are the kind of lifestyle posts I look forward to 😉 Thank YOU!
    And on a semi-related note : really looking forward to trying the ribbon in the closet trick Emma mentioned the other day so as not to repeat the SAME outfits over an over ((‘they’ say we wear 20% of what we own no matter how much we own!))

  • Thank you for this post ! It’s really great to know you’ve gone through the same things that seem to happen to me. However I’ve recently joined the expat life and my husband and I have committed to buy once buy right. Because of our current lifestyle we have to be very simple and small in our wardrobe, but before we left we got rid of over twenty bags of clothes of just fluff! It’s so hard to find a balance!

  • Elsie!

    This may be a little creepy, but all of my friends and family (that read ABM) seem to tell me how similar our style is! And as I read through, I found myself shouting (ok – shouting in my mind):

    I have that.

    Or: I need that!

    You have always been my biggest creative inspiration. But I never realized just how much you have inspired me (over the years) to experiment with clothing. And I did! Until I found my fashion niche.

    I have similarly struggled immensely with vintage. That red furry hat I bought three years ago has had so much wear… (not.)

    In honesty, this post helped re-ignite my passion for clothing and accessories. So thank you. 🙂

    Ps. you recommended lotta from stockholm for affordable Swedish Hasbeens a few weeks ago, and I have a pair on the way (YAY)! (Only downside: they don’t offer the sky high T-strap…)



  • This post came at a great time since I’m trying to purge things in my closet this week. Now I’m faced with the problem of having too much stuff from my early twenties and wanting a more sophisticated wardrobe. There are waaaay too many Forever 21 labels! Thanks for the tips!


  • Great post! I really liked how you turned dressing into a sort of formula. I’m definitely ready to re-vamp my wardrobe this year and I think your explanations will help me along the way!


  • Ditto to all the enthusiasm about this post! I’m glad to hear that I wasn’t the only one whose family taught her to raise her eyebrows at anyone buying high-end pieces! Thanks for sharing!

    I love your recommendation to avoid high-end impulse buys. Something I started doing about two years ago was trying to prevent myself from impulsing buying ANY new item (I make an exception for second-hand and vintage). I keep a “Wish List” note on my iPhone, and whenever I find a wardrobe essential I’m lacking or a trend I want to try, I add the item onto my wish list. Then when I’m out shopping, I can focus my energy on finding the pieces I’ve already identified as something I’d actually wear! And then once I find what I’m looking for, I can snatch it right up, without second-guessing whether it was a foolish impulse buy!

  • Very interesting to stop and think deeply about how we shop! I’m loving your insight and tips – your outfits and style are always so on point! I definitely spend more money on shoes and bags so that they last seasons – as I mostly buy timeless pieces.

    Warm Regards,

  • I loved reading your thoughts on curating your closet, friend! So interesting. You made me think about my own strategy. We will see if I can put it in words, as you did…

  • I love this post because it really echoes my own clothing struggle! I have the same love/hate relationship with vintage. I go through phases where I build up my vintage collection to hundreds of dresses that I’ve thrifted (I love vintage dresses!) and then I run out of room and tire of not having enough modern clothing … so I clear out and add in things I love that are in style now. I get excited in Forever 21 and other inexpensive stores …but it’s all too true that the clothes don’t hold up. I recently moved from a house with four huge closets to an apartment with one. It absolutely FORCED me to go through and keep only what I really love and wear. I’m enjoying what’s left : ) Sometimes I feel like it’s funny that I go through phases with my clothes .. but then I remember that’s part of the fun of being a girl!! Anyway … all that to say that I enjoyed this post and related to it.

  • This is seriously such an interesting and inventive post/way to think about fashion. Thanks for a great and unique post! Really fresh. I love the idea of combining all of these different types of fashion. I tend to be very conscious of being environmentally friendly and ethical about what I buy, but it can go to extremes where we never treat ourselves which is not right. Being able to combine everything in moderation still allows for some nice pieces but also wouldn’t make me feel too guilty.

    Rae of love from berlin

  • This post has just inspired me for a new make up series on my blog! I don’t think that there is anything greater than bloggers inspiring other bloggers.

    Thank You!!
    Sophie xxx

  • Your post made me realize how your style really has evolved over the years!! It has been such a fluid transition!

    I feel like I’ve evolved with you but tend to stay a few steps behind – I am so in love with buying/wearing vintage but definitely feel a little costume-y every now and then. It’s hard to be brave sometimes with clothes! I am still interested in knowing more about how you styled your everyday looks with vintage pieces and how to combine vintage blouses or skirts with new pieces… Maybe it’s just me but I sometimes feel out of place (with my friends or boyfriend) when I am all decked out in vintage but I soo badly want to wear it anyway! Such a first world problem.

    Thank you for your daily inspiration. You rock. xoxox


  • I could have written this myself, as far as the phases go. (Although my early 20s were the super extreme boho hippie years.) I love how you’ve created balance in your wardrobe. Very inspiring for this (too many) basics-wearing lady!

  • I could have written this myself, as far as the phases go. (Although my early 20s were the super extreme boho hippie years.) I love how you’ve created balance in your wardrobe. Very inspiring for this (too many) basics-wearing lady!

  • Excellent advice. My wardrobe is a mix of new/low with a little “high” sprinkled in! My most treasured high-end piece is my LV purse. I have carried it for two years straight now and have no hopes of stopping. I have always had expensive tastes, but I think it’s fun to try to find smart ways to be fashionable while also not breaking the bank. One shift that I have made in the past couple of years is to splurge on nicer traditional pieces that I know I will wear a TON, like GOOD flats (I have two pairs of Tieks!), GOOD slacks, and GOOD cardigans.

    Always love hearing your take on trends and fashion <3

    Sarah Alves

  • I rarely comment, but I must let you know I loved this post! I am in the middle of my black/gray/chambray phase. I kind of hate my clothes from the pre-b/g/c phase (fast fashion) and am in desperate need of an overhaul. Thank you for putting so many of my current thoughts in print!

  • I hear you Hanna. It’s hard to group all stores in one with these types of issues, but you definitely make some very valid points.
    Thanks! -Elsie

  • I too, often find that the stuff I buy impulsively and cheaply I get really bored with quickly too. It’s usually my more expensive pieces which I wear years later, and love the entire duration. I definitely think it’s worth investing in particular items- such as boots. I spent £150 on some Dune boots this winter, but I’ve worn them so much, they’re amazing quality and I know I’ll love them for years to come – so it’s definitely worth it. Low-end is definitely the way to go with trends though, you’ll probably hate what you’ve bought a couple of months later! x

    Pillarbox Post

  • Thanks so much! If you have any specific struggles or questions I would be happy to tackle them in a future post!
    xx- Elsie

  • Hi Ambar,
    I haven’t done a lot of re-selling (mainly due to time) but if I did I would probably do an instagram sale. Seems easy and a good way to sell a variety of things!
    Oh and I’ve never been pregnant, so I’ll have to get those tips to you later on. :))

  • I don’t make enough clothes by hand to have a category for them (haha) but if I did I would probably place them in “new” with the Etsy stuff- not that it really matters.

    Cheers to getting organized!!!

  • Thanks so much Deborah! I’m so happy this was helpful. I can totally relate with how you feel re. needing more clothes, but having too much already!
    xx- Elsie

  • This is a great topic and couldn’t have come at a better time. The start of a new year is a fantastic time to re-think your closet and the overall budget for clothing… or at least it is for me. Now I can’t wait to go home and de-clutter my closet.


  • Fabulous post! I’ve been thinking a lot about slow fashion as of late, and saving up for those staple items like a good winter coat, purse, sweater, shoes, etc. Although the stage of life that I am at right now doesn’t really allow me to be able to purchase items like this (still growing both budget & height wise, lol ;), it feels good to start thinking them over now so that I am prepared in future to make these purchase.


  • I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and gave me a lot of helpful, organized insight! Thanks!

  • I loved this post! This last year I’ve tried to purge my closet and resist the impulse buys that resulted in a ton of things to wear and nothing to wear. Thanks for explaining your process for purposeful shopping. I’ll definitely be making use of these tips.

  • This is such a great post!! As someone who struggles with clothes shopping (I tend to swing between bouts of impulse shopping where I spend way too much on “fast fashion”, and going whole months without finding ANYTHING I like) this is a really helpful way of looking at my wardrobe. Thanks!

  • Great post! I too have started buying more high end pieces over the last several years. At first, my sister thought I was crazy. But now seeing how well these pieces have worn, she has come round to my way of thinking. Nice to have a few high end reliable pieces in one’s wardrobe.

  • I love all kinds of ABM posts. I’ve made the DIY projects and love the recpies, but this is a really great and relevant subject I hope to see more of in the future! Especially given the new year, which begins with resolutions and budgeting, this is a great time to think about cleaning out and organizing. I’m really terrible about giving much thought to my wardrobe and this has really inspired me to break it down and figure out what kind of collection I’d like to create. Thanks!!

  • So helpful! I’ve been waiting for the boost to sort my closet and this may have been it!

  • Okay, I love this post!!! I also checked out the unfancy capsule wardrobe link from the other day. Between that and this the gears in my head are turning. I usually get pretty overwhelmed with shopping, but I am trying to minimize and make smart purchases and I think that will help. 🙂


  • Hello! i would like to know a few tips on donating and selling some of my items. in your experience what is the best way to sell some of your gently worn clothes and which are your favorite companies to donate? I’ve heard mixed reviews on donating to goodwill. Also, how to do manage storage for different seasons, such as winter coast in the summer. And any tips on saving/storing some of your clothes during pregnancy? Any suggestion will help! thanks for the great post 😉

  • Thanks for sharing how you shop. My shopping days are limited right now so I’m really selective with my purchases. I need to get back into my vintage accessories, I have put them on hold with a toddler. Those are my favorite vintage items.

  • Amazing post – and so helpful! I spent my 4 years of undergrad buying piles of clothes from cheap cheapy clothes shops – I spent a fortune because I bought so much and half of it didn’t fit properly or had stitching that was falling apart from the first wear or use. I had so much clutter in my wardrobe it made me really frustrated and I could never find anything to wear despite how much I had! Now I’m back at university studying for my doctorate and money is a lot tighter because I’m paying for all my own home expenses for the first time (rent, utilities, food and all the trimmings). I’m trying to be a lot more selective with what I choose in terms of quality but also being thankful for small cheap pieces like tshirts and basics that help to piece together my nicer things in a put-together way!

  • Perfection. Between this post and Emma’s post about being content with your closet, you girls really read my mind (or maybe my survey 😉

  • Love this post! Now I just need to convince my husband that buying high-end things every now and then is worth it 🙂 Also, my mom has been wearing her FRYE boots for 25 years! She doesn’t wear them all the time and takes them in to a leather shop for a “tune-up” every once in a while. but the leather has lasted and lasted to the point where she swears by FRYE boots! I can’t wait to get a pair myself!

  • Honstly I don’t care that much about the prize and name, as long as I like it, I’ll buy it x.


  • I really like this post elsie…it made me laugh cause we shop exactly the same way for EVERYTHING. Also we apparently went through the same steps to finally find a way that fit us (for now)! There is maybe just one point where we do differently, dont know about you but i ALWAYS check what kind of fabric, the garment i want to buy, is made from. I am even a bit obssessed about it. And no matter how much i love the item, i will never buy it, if there is more acrylic than anything else!

  • Hi Elsie! I am also this way with my home decor. Clothing though I usually have a hard time going expensive. I like Target and Forever 21 because they are affordable and so cute! But once in a while I will splurge a little on myself. This past Christmas I bought my first pair of Hunter Boots (thanks to you for introducing me!) and I love them! Thank you all for being such an inspiration everyday in my life everyday, I definitely need it, especially in the blues of winter. Love you guys!!

  • I am a HUGE FAN of your way of shopping and try to do a lot of the high, low, new, old in both what I wear and what I purchase for my home. I can totally agree with the fast fashion you talked about to. In my 20’s I lived in a much more metropolitan area (Chicago) now I don’t so that tends to help with those impulses too. Great post!

  • This is a great way to get your head around shopping. I love to plan and have just had a major wardrobe clear out (literally in the last hour). I make lots of my own clothes, which category would you fit your DIY clothes? Or does it depend on item to item? Thanks Elsie. Zoe

  • Amazing post! Makes me wants to re-plan my closet for this year.
    I was trying to do this last weekend, but i wasn’t sure if i was doing it right and organizing everything as I wanted.
    I was feeling that I needed more clothes and at the same time that I already had too much.

    I totally agree with you in finding a balance for shopping. I’m trying to find mine, but never thought about this “New, old, high & low” theory. Actually I never thought about any theory.

    But it cleared my mind. Now I kind of know what to do.

    Tks Elsie.
    Really helped.

    xo, Deborah

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