Zero Waste Wardrobe Part II: Tops

I have twelve:
  • 2 white Madewell t-shirts 
  • 1 white American Apparel tank top
  • 1 black Petit Bateau t-shirt
  • 1 black H&M tank top
  • 2 black crop tops, one H&M lace-up, one American Apparel square neck, except I'm extremely short torsoed (I know that's not a word) so on me they are like actual shirts
  • 2 black bodysuits, one American Apparel v-neck, one Reformation turtleneck
  • 1 black Reformation top
  • 1 undyed rib merino wool sweater, from the 80s or early 90s
  • 1 Etoile Isabel Marant plaid button up
So far I've consigned, donated, or sold all the tops in previous posts. I'm surprised anyone even married me, since I can barely hang on to a white t-shirt. I'm bad about picking out tops that look good, because I'm a sucker for a beautiful cut or a lovely fabric, frequently ignoring how shirts actually look on me. Another problem I have is with knit pure cotton or linen fabrics- they stretch and bag horribly, and don't bounce back into shape until the next wash. Since I dread shopping for another t-shirt again (although I objectively admire the deadstock ones at Rawson), I've resorted to tying them at the waist to get the desired fit.


Yes, I only have one sweater even though I live in Cleveland. Thin merino wool is super warm and temperature regulating, especially layered under camel. The material dries fast, so I could handwash it in the morning and air dry (or hang outside to freeze dry, like people in Greenland). Wool is odor absorbing, and doesn't need frequent washes.

I really like Reformation's eco rib, the warmest non-wool, non-silk material I've ever worn. It looks good after lots of washing, I just have to handwash, stop the drain, or use a laundry discharge filter to prevent microplastic pollution. Ribbed tops are forgiving, and the fabric sucks me in so I don't look like a sausage. I gave up on silk (too clammy), crepe (I always caught my fingernails on them), and collared shirts a long time ago, and for the most part, avoid buttondowns. I don't know how Kardashians wear them- I read they buy to fit the bust and tailor the rest of the shirt, but this never worked for me. All the tailors I've been to couldn't adjust the shoulders or waist enough. 

Every summer, I always want one of those white French country style tops, with the pintucking and the lace, either in the Jane Birkin or Brigitte Bardot style. I have yet to find the right one. They're always too sheer, or not bra friendly. Also, to reiterate, I hate shopping, so I'm not really looking carefully enough. Things I look for:
  • Square neck, v-neck, or turtleneck
  • Close fitting
  • Cropped right at the waist- I drown in longer tops
  • Ribbing
  • Pocket t-shirts- I actually use the pockets! I stick food in them
For reference I wear XS or S at Reformation and their size charts are always accurate. XS at American Apparel and Etoile Isabel Marant (although Isabel Marant runs huge- that shirt needed to be taken in and shrunk), the twelve year old's size at Petit Bateau, XXS at Madewell, and I have no waist. I am sounding more and more unlikeable and entitled with each post but, there it is.

Paris to Go


  1. I shiver reading your posts sometimes, as a Californian transplanted to Boston, who almost went to Cleveland. I needed my parka this winter!

    It was interesting to read your older post about sizing. I think we have similar dimensions -- bust and hip flipped -- and it's helpful to have a good comparison of size across brands. I'm probably going to replace a black t-shirt in the next year, and I don't want to have to spend more effort than I need to find one that suits me.

    1. How did you do during that last storm? Yeah you do not mess with a New England winter. I did borrow snow pants from my friend after Stella.

      People in Paris used to say they shivered when they saw me :) they always asked if I was cold. They would be in long parkas and I would have bare legs haha. But I found that in Norway or Iceland, people get me, lol

  2. Loving these posts so much....I am totally convinced that smaller sized folks get the best thrift shop finds...your finds are simply incredible though....quality second to none...well done 😘 xx

  3. This was a super-helpful post! It's so easy to go overboard on the tops...somehow feels harder to pare this down than pants or shoes. Just one tiny thing confused me: I don't get it - what was "unlikeable" or "entitled" about that last part? You only buy secondhand, so it can't be the brands... (Please, please don't say it's your size! NO ONE should feel ashamed to say their size - it's good to spread awareness that "real" women really do come in all shapes and sizes, not just larger ones. The fact that you are built small is in no way a personal insult to someone who isn't)

    1. Aww thank you! I'm not ashamed of my size, I just have been getting a lot of hate lately for putting my size in posts, lol, but many readers are similar in size to me and want to know how these brands fit! And every time I mention a brand or country I've been to lately I feel bad about it, just because I get complaints. The first few years I had this blog, not a single negative comment and now suddenly there are a bunch haha

  4. Haters are gonna hate. Keep up the posts, Ariana! I always look forward to them. They have been inspirational for me to work on downsizing wardrobe. It's also been fun to see how your style has changed. My company's dress policy changed within the last year and it's been a process going from corporate dress to jeans & blazer, without starting fresh with a brand new wardrobe.

  5. As someone who feels the cold like a motherfucker, I'm always deeply fascinated by your (and others' I guess) minimal wardrobe posts. I remember reading how you winterise dresses by putting wool stockings under. I'm like 'yeah lol I do that in spring and autumn and it doesn't even snow in my entire country insert laugh cry emoji here'. For real I would die in my winter in wool stockings. Actual non-Adelaide winters when I travel overseas involve icebreaker merino thermals and a snow jacket. It's been 15-18 degrees Celsius here lately, and I'm thinking of breaking out the thermals soon - I mean, those are short highs obviously:D Also I'm not normal. Sigh, minimal wardrobes are for people impervious to temperature.

    This sounds like a complaint but I'm really just jelly. Minimal wardrobes look different for everybody. Can I please have your super-powers though. :)