Sister Style: The Classics

Elsie LarsonI’ve always read that you should invest your money into staple pieces you’ll wear for years to come. BUT HOW?

No really, HOW?

I truly do not understand how that works. How can you buy a pair of jeans or a jacket that you know for sure you’ll love and wear in ten years? Anything in my closet that I have that’s that old is extremely sentimental.

I don’t get it. But that’s OK. (Feel free to try to educate me in the comments if you know the secret!)

That said, I am kind of loving my routine of cleaning out (one part Kon Mari, one part IG closet sale) my closet in big hauls and attempting to create my version of a capsule wardrobe (not a fan of limiting it to 30-something pieces, but a HUGE FAN of collecting things that mix and match).

It’s kind of my hobby right now. If you guys know any fun, secret (online) shopping places that you think I would like, please share in the comments!!!

Elsie Larson
Elsie Larson
Elsie Larson
Elsie Larson
Elsie Larson Elsie’s Wearing: Dress/Everly (similar), Jacket/F21 (similar), Clogs/Swedish Hasbeens, Necklace/Madewell, Bucket Bag/Oui Fresh

What do you think, sister?

Emma Chapman Crochet cardiganCrochet cardigan Emma Chapman
I don’t know if I’m particularly good at investing in “classics” either, but I do value a pair of jeans that truly fits well, or a pair of shoes that you wear so much they eventually wear out. That I get! I guess to me, it feels like the point should be to spend your money on things that you will actually wear. And not just something cute but random or cute but doesn’t really flatter your shape, and then it just sits in your closet and eventually you sell or donate it. 

But I do kind of think our personal styles are (or should be) as diverse as our personalities. So, what might be a good investment for me, might not be such a good investment for others. I know lots of friends who would not be caught dead in this crochet cardigan, but I’ve had it for years and I still LOVE it. I can definitely see myself wearing this as a grandma someday too—it’s gonna have a long life with me. 🙂

Bow tightsEmma Chapman Crochet cardigan Emma Chapman Emma’s Wearing: Cardigan/vintage, Brunch Club tee/Oui Fresh, Skirt/F21 (similar), Tights and hat/Target, Boots/Doc Martens, Purse/Zara (similar).

What in your closet do you consider a classic? What have been some of the best (wardrobe) investments for you? xo. Elsie + Emma

Credits // Author: Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman. Photography: Amber Ulmer and Janae Hardy. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.

  • Hi, I know it’s been months since you posted this but just in case you are still looking for online shopping gems… I know you are a diehard hasbeens fan but I seriously think you should check out Kitty Clogs

    The reason I say this is because obviously I know you love clogs but also they are a really ethical company – all handmade, and they’re actually made in Sweden (apparently Swedish hasbeens aren’t! Who knew?). Basically, I just bought some and found out all about the company and I’m in love and thought about how you might also love all that this company has to offer. They’re based in the U.K. (That’s where I live) but I’m sure they ship to America ok…. anyway, just thought I’d let you know. ?

  • I love how many times I have seen that sweater appear in style posts over the years. It is a classic ABM piece for sure!

  • I love the idea Emma’s getting at — investing in your personal style! It’s awesome if the crochet cardi was on a $5 rack, but it would have been worth $150 because of your cost per wear (and, more importantly, happiness per wear!). I think a lot of people confuse investment pieces with basics. Which, having basics that you won’t have to replace every few months is great, but spending more on something you’re going to love to wear again and again is where the thought behind an investment piece should be! I’ve totally invested in boots and jackets that I thought were “supposed” to be investment pieces and then never really worn them because they didn’t fit my style. I was investing in someone else’s personal style instead of my own!

  • I’m right there with Marisa. It’s hard to talk about, but companies like F21 and H&M are so inexpensive because they use sweatshop, slave, and/or child labor.

    Personally, I like to make sure that the pieces I buy are well made/sourced and that I’ll actually wear them. Fast fashion retailers make it really easy to buy pieces that you don’t 100% love (or that you know will fall apart after a few wears) because they’re so cheap. When you shop – even just for basics like tees or denim – at a company that’s transparent about its sourcing (Everlane and American Apparel come to mind), you can be confident that the piece will hold up over time. I enjoy thrifting for the fun stuff – it tends to be more unique that way in any case 🙂

  • I just can’t get myself to spend $$$ when women can buy affordable, trendy, pretty decent quality clothes. I also LOVE getting in on the trends and constantly adding and taking from my wardrobe.

  • Thanks! I live in the San Francisco Bay Area now, but I grew up near Tampa. I find that I do WAY better vintage shopping in Florida when I go back to visit my parents. Things are less expensive and less picked over. In SF, vintage is super trendy, and people tend to sell their vintage clothes rather than donate them. If you venture out of the immediate Miami area to the suburbs or smaller towns and hit up thrift stores, I bet you’ll find some good stuff!

  • Emma – love that cardigan!!!

    Els – reminds me of an article idea you gave me way back when… 😉


  • You guys have had that crochet cardigan forever. I remember seeing Elsey wear it a long time ago. Do you guys rock, paper scissor for it before she moved? ?

  • Swedish Hasbeens!!! Not until I got my first pair (after drooling over them from your pics Elsie) did I truly see why a well made pair of shoes is such a great upgrade. I now own two pairs of sandals and one pair of boots. It’s great wearing such quality. Now to do the same for the rest of my wardrobe…

  • I am a big fan of investment pieces. Even though I earn an average income, I save it up and buy something i know I will treasure for years to come. I stir clear of Primary etc if I can help it. As I am not keen personally on the “throwaway fashion” etos. I have a few staples such as a real leather jacket, Burberry pea coat, Maelene Berger dresses and good quality shoes. These come out every season and even though some of them are 8 years old, they have stood the test of time. Ethically I feel better for it too ?

  • Sorry for the length, but I am overly passionate about this topic!

    It’s funny … when I went from sharing a small (barely) walk-in closet with my husband to my very own closet that is the size of a room (like I have serious fainting couch and chandelier plans for this room in the future), I found myself wanting a more carefully curated wardrobe. I used to like bold prints and bright colors and prided myself on having hundreds of garments, but that’s changed.

    I think you’ve mentioned this in your interior design posts, Elsie, particularly the one about your gorgeous living room … I am now more focused on interesting detail and *texture*. And every now and then, the clothing equivalent of your turquoise floors comes along, just for fun, or when I feel like being really expressive.

    I definitely invest in stylish but comfortable shoes. Since you like Swedish Hasbeens, try Coclico, No. 6, and Joie (a local shop procures samples and prototypes of all these at a third of the price, so that’s my secret). I love Danskos too. My love of clogs is bordering on unhealthy. I adore that necklace you have from Madewell. I have something similar and it goes with everything.

    For clothing, FIT (next to fabric quality) is the most important thing for me. For example, I’ll go into Anthropologie, try on 50 things and walk out with one (regardless of current budget). I am that picky. Also hard to size (short and hourglass).

    Recent Woody Allen movies have fantastic styling. In Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine, the characters wear beautiful pieces and repeat them throughout the film (never mind that one of the characters is on vacation and the other is essentially homeless lol.)

    In summary, I’ve grown fond of being known for signature pieces (that do mix and match) rather than accumulating an endless amount of stuff. Ok, maybe with the exception of an endless amount of shoes … 😉

  • I’ve always shopped with the motto of “If I pay $1.00 every time I wear this would I pay myself back”. It keeps me from buying more expensive trendier pieces and spending money on things I know I’ll wear for years. So something like jeans I’ll probably get 100 wears out of so I’ll spend $100. That’s what I’ve always done and it seems to keep my shopping budget in check and keeps me from impulse buying (most of the time).

  • I do not invest in classics. I tend to get bored with my clothes after a while. I do however have a pair of boots I have had for years and stil like, the rest goes after 2 or 3 years usually. I don’t have a big wardrobe so everything has been worn a zillion times after that.

  • Love your outfit Elsie, especially with that touch of pink!

  • I like investment pieces a lot as i think this whole “fast fashion” thing with constantly buying new clothes is really bad for our environment. And you should always consider the circumstances under which the clothes have been produced, means how are the working conditions in the garment factories. Often, they are really bad and the workers who make our clothes don’t even get minimum wages. Watch “the true cost movie”.

    But this shouldn’t be criticism at all. That’s just my opinion.
    By the way: i truly love your blog.

    Marisa from switzerland

  • Off topic. Just wanted to say that while I’ve been a fan for awhile, the last few weeks reading and looking at your pictures has been a distraction I need. While I’ve been trying to keep informed with what’s going on in our country, ABM, and a few other blogs have been my quiet, pretty sanctuary when I need a rest. It hasn’t been entirely easy to keep moving forward. Thanks for pressing on in the work you do to make our messy lives a little more beautiful.

    On topic: I’ve been contemplating going to a simpler, less full wardrobe made of better quality items… while still somehow staying true to my love for style. What that looks like, I haven’t figured out yet…

  • My favourite “investment piece” I guess you could say, is my Sam Edelman booties! I wanted a pair for so long and then finally got them. I wear them almost everyday throughout the Fall/Winter!

  • Elsie I’m in love with your outfit! Love love love!

    I’ll be interested to see what your capsule looks like because I know you like color and fun! That’s the hardest thing of seeing other wardrobes…it’s all black, white, and grey with some occasional blue and that’s not how I roll. I’m attracted to prints, patterns, details, etc.

    I love each piece of my closet the same whether it was thrifted for a dollar or from a fancy place if I regularly wear both items. Since I’m drawn to print and details I’ve noticed that if I don’t have some solid classics to mix and match with, it can be hard to pair my “fun stuff”, so there is definitely a place for classics. They help fill out the gaps in our wardrobes.

    That being said, as a big gal with inner thighs, investing in a $100+ pair of jeans for example would be silly because thigh rub makes holes over time. I think it’s better to invest in shoes, coats, quality jewelry, and purses as “classics” because they get the most wear and will be used the most so they might as well be solid pieces.

  • I’m so hard on my clothes and shoes! Nearly impossible to keep anything for longer than a couple years. Closest things that I have to investment pieces in my closet are a skirt and pair of wedges that I bought from Gap when I was 18 (15 yrs ago what even???). They’re still beautiful and I still love them!

  • Amanda, I love your idea of wearing colorful tops for underneath your suits!
    Also, wearing vintage on your days off… I have yet to find vintage clothing. I live in Miami and have never been vintage shopping but I would love to wear something from the 50s.
    Visit my blog A HINT OF LIFE

  • Classics for me, meaning pieces in which I invest moer money are things that will not go out of fashion. For example, leather jackets, blazers, jeans, purses, a nice silk blouse with no pattern. Luckily, my mom instilled this ideology in me since I was little so I still have pieces from high school and it’s just nice to know a piece of clothing can have a story. It’s the reason why I’m into fashion.
    Visit my blog A HINT OF LIFE

  • I found that the pieces I’ve worn the most in my wardrobe (apart from winter gear) are not necessarily the most expensive ones. Some come from thrift stores or stores like F21 and Joe Fresh (Canadian brand). My most worn pieces are probably a striped dress from Gap and a thrifted jean jacket and I hope to keep them forever! The oldest clothes I have are mostly statement pieces that are either vintage or a bit higher quality, however.

  • I have a job which requires lots of suit wearing and slightly dressier clothes (I’m an attorney for foster kids.) For those kinds of things, I find it’s super easy to buy lots of solid colors to mix and match (blazer and black skirt is always a winner.) I have a lot of work clothes that I’ve had for years, they get a ton of wear, and I’m always pretty happy with them.

    For non-work, I tend to invest in sweaters and cardigans in solid colors to wear with skirts and jeans, but I also love novelty prints. I try to buy clothes that are cut in a flattering way for my body…I find that if I buy things that look good on me, I’ll wear them year after year, regardless of whether a trend has gone out of style. If I still feel confident, it stays! Also, I wear a lot of vintage from the 30s-50s. If it looks good 70 years after it was made, I figure I can keep wearing it for a while longer, regardless of current styles.

  • Emma, slow clap for this amazing 90s look. It’s like a mix of Mallrats and 90210. And I mean this in the sincerest way. Love it.

  • I think investing in a high quality bag and wallet are good investments! I tend to not switch my bags out very often. Also a good pair of boots! I’ve been slightly obsessed with Lularoe for online shopping. Best leggings ever!

  • I don’t invest in classics either. I get so much wear out of every piece in my wardrobe that I get tired of it after a while so there’s no use in me getting investment pieces.

  • Ladies,

    I LOVE your site and have followed you for years! Do you know when you will be looking for contributors again? I have an epic idea that would work perfectly here!

    Talk to you soon!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.