My Wardrobe


Maybe I can't count but I'm down to 28 items year round (not including socks, lingerie, and accessories). People used to say this was a fantasy wardrobe, that these pieces could not last in real life, or for working full time, or social occasions. They've stopped saying that. I really like my clothes and the freedom they afford me- everything matches, choosing outfits is easy, I can still express myself, and Jaden Smith said I looked like a bad b at Water Bar- but don't feel you have to own such a small wardrobe to be zero waste. I consider my story a cautionary tale, not a prescription. Nobody in the zero waste community will judge you for liking clothes and a few new things here and there- everybody likes that stuff except me, because I am dead inside. In fact, I think the zero waste community is overwhelmingly nice and supportive, so I don't know why everyone talks about the holier than thou attitude associated with the movement. I'm pretty sure I'm the only judgmental one.

I thought my wardrobe would change a lot now that I'm in the US, but it hasn't really. Recently I thought I was too big for my jeans, and the prospect of shopping for a new pair or changing any aspect of my tightly controlled, excessively calibrated closet was devastating to me. I briefly checked a few thrift stores and when I couldn't find anything, willed myself to fit into them again. Also, these items pleasantly surprised me by how well they performed in Cleveland's extreme weather. Also, people need to stop sending me contradictory emails everytime I say something in Paris is better than something in Cleveland. There are lots of things Cleveland does better than Paris- pierogies, dedicated grilled cheese sandwich restaurants, craft beer- but comparing Cleveland to Paris is like comparing me to Karrueche Tran. This is not to diminish one or the other. They just don't compare!

    
   


Tops (all secondhand)
  1. American Apparel ribbed tank top (similar)
  2. Black tank top (not pictured, similar)
  3. L'ecole des Femmes Oui shirt
  4. Reformation navy Lozita bodysuit
  5. Reformation Axel bodysuit (similar but not really. This bodysuit is thicker material than their current ecorib and the snaps are stronger than Lozita. I like both though)
  6. Reformation Piper top
  7. Vintage ribbed merino wool sweater. I don't wear this much anymore though, only when running or hiking
  8. Equipment white shirt
  9. Etoile Isabel Marant plaid shirt
  10. Black American Apparel crop top (pictured below. On me, crop tops are just tops)

   

Dresses (all secondhand)

  1. Dior grey wool dress (silk lining, similar)
  2. Dior navy wool dress (silk lining, similar)
  3. Dior crepe dress
  4. American Apparel foil ponte dress

 

Coats (both secondhand)
  1. Dior camel coat, silk lining. If you go to Paris now, everyone is wearing a camel coat with a beautiful umbrella. I think camel coats are universal, but this is the first year I saw them more than doudounes. Nobody in Paris wears a peacoat by the way, same goes for leather jackets after October (unless you're riding a scooter, according to Caroline de Maigret. Like the Lorax, she speaks for all Parisians). Catherine Baba said a real camel hair coat like this ($19 at a thrift store in NYC, spotted in the window from a Lyft) would cost over $700 today. It's too bad because herds are actually sustainably managed, and camel's temperature regulating properties make it a good choice for extreme weather.
  2. Louis Vuitton rain coat, waxed cotton. The waxing is long since gone and I don't wax it anymore. It's still perfect in torrential downpour. I bought this at the vintage shop that used to be next to Alaia. I came to Paris without a raincoat and ran in during a heavy rain ready to buy anything. So glad this was the first thing I saw- I was not mentally prepared to purchase from BHV

  

Bottoms (all secondhand)

  1. Levi's Wedgie icon jean, Coyote Desert
  2. Levi's Wedgie icon jean, Classic tint (different from the classic tint they offer now, maybe because mine are 100% cotton. My jeans aren't as dark as the current version, so they look more like the kind Jeanne Damas wears, less like Britney Spears in Crossroads. Does anyone worry as much about Jeanne Damas’ cat Charlie as much as I do? He always is crawling in the gutter outside her balcony railing unsupervised)
  3. Levi's Wedgie shorts
  4. Louis Vuitton wool skirt (silk lining)
  5. American Apparel circle skirt (can also be worn as a dress)

  

Loungewear, accessories, and lingerie (secondhand except the socks)
  1. American Apparel ribbed henley dress
  2. Pact Apparel leggings 
  3. Pact Apparel socks (I like my leggings, but not these socks. They're already wearing out). I like what Pact Apparel stands for, but their branding and packaging is obnoxious. The plastic windows are unnecessary!)
  4. London Undercover umbrella. I originally wanted a waxed cotton Filson one, which they apparently don't make anymore. This is beautiful, surprisingly lightweight, fits in my purse, and made from 100% recycled materials. The handle is fully biodegradable.
  5. Longchamp bag. I use this as a carry on, for groceries, etc. It's washable and lightweight- when I was walking around Paris carrying my stuff all day, that was crucial.
  6. Agent Provocateur Jet and Felinda sets (Jet is the best one they ever made, I feel like a comic book villain in it and I don't really like anything with lace) and two silk Stella McCartney sets that haven't fit me in awhile, thanks to my sedentary American lifestyle. When they truly can't be used anymore, I'll get Araks 100% cotton sets. Nobody should wear only wear silk underwear, it's not healthy.
  7. Swedish Stockings. I gave my nude pair away a long time ago because I felt like J Lo wearing Leggs in the 90s in them. So for over a year now I've worn the Stefanie Seam stockings only. They are more delicate than any of their current offerings yet managed to avoid snags, runs, or rips. My nails snagged people's ARMS before so this is amazing. I like that the factory is solar powered and they recycle any stockings sent to them for a customer discount.
  8. A Wool Story hat, mittens, and socks. People in Paris and Cologne were crazy for these, especially Germans- they all want to visit Detroit. Most knits are too feminine or boring to me, but these fit my sort of industrial style, match everything, and are extremely warm. The socks are my favorite for boots, but I have worn them in sneakers before. 

 

Shoes
  1. Stuart Weitzman patent leather boots. I walked all day in Paris and New York in them, wore them on the beach in Iceland, and to shovel 6 inches of snow five times already this year. It's not even winter 
  2. Ferragamo Vara- my go-to walking shoe.
  3. Louboutin Simple pumps- these aren't as well constructed as the Decollete- I've resoled them already, and I've only had them two years. They're a lot more comfortable than the Decollete or Pigalle though, and good for wide feet and walking. I used to walk from Rue des Grands-Augustins to Rue Joseph Granier or Rue de Rochechouart in them and back, rain or shine.
  4. Nike wedge sky highs (not this color). On principle I'm anti-wedges but I have no integrity and love these. They match everything and make me feel like Destiny's Child-era Kelly Rowland crawling on the beach in camo.
  5. Nike Air Force 1's, low flyknits, because that Nelly song had a very formative influence on me. 

Paris to Go

41 comments:

  1. I love your blog posts! And the wardrobe ones are my faves.

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    1. Thank you for sticking with me through all the craziness (and the lack of posts) 😘😘

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  2. Mine too. Although I did love the apartment ones as well. How are you?! I miss your blog.

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    1. 💕💕💕 I’m going to do an apartment one in February or March! You are so sweet

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  3. Jealous of your pared-down closet. I was just around 30 items for about 4 years and then I moved to my new tiny Indiana city which is apparently home to all the gorgeous 1940s/1950s silk shirts, wool skirts, and cotton dresses that no one loves anymore. The struggle.

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    1. That sounds amazing! Hmmm I think I’m going to have to thrift by you... honestly I think there’s no reason to have a certain number of items in your wardrobe as long as you love what you have. When people have a ton of things they hate and never wear and that bothers them, that’s where it starts to be necessary to pare down.

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  4. I'm obsessed with your wardrobe!! You're SO effortlessly chic. Right now I have a more seasonal capsule thing going on, but I'm trying to transition to something that works year-round. Did you get rib of your Louboutins?

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    1. Whoops, sorry. I meant Louis Vuittons! I thought you had some pumps from them as well?

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    2. I did! I sold them a few years ago. I loved them but I really needed walking shoes and a wider rounded toe not the pointy ones 😞

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  5. I love your paired down wardrobe it gives me a thrill to read the simplicity of a capsule wardrobe in action - but I'm a sad weirdo like that. Great post keep sharing!

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    1. Thank you! Oh I love it too. You’re not alone. I love peeking into people’s closets but the coveteur is just too excessive for me

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  6. Would you mind posting pictures of your outfits? It’s helpful to see how these pieces work day to say. I know you don’t like posting pictures of yourself, but I’d love to see how you incorporate each item!

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    1. Ok I’ll try! On my Instagram and this blog I think I have pictures of all my outfits except one of you click on the wardrobe tab!

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  7. What size Longchamp bag do you have?

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    1. The small shopper. There should be a link to the exact size above!

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  8. Serious umbrella envy - but I know that even if I could afford one of those, I'd be guaranteed to leave it on the bus within a week... Am amazed you can live in Cleveland with no warm sweaters! You mentioned running and hiking; what shoes do you wear for those activities?

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    1. I wear my nikes, it was funny, in the Grand Canyon, page, and jabal Akhdar the guides said they were great hiking shoes (at first I thought they were being sarcastic but they explained they protected the feet and prevented blisters lol). I barely run though that was misleading. I do hike pretty seriously, in Cleveland it’s flat but elsewhere I really enjoy it.

      My sweater is warmer than it looks though... surprisingly the eco rib is so warm, it was 13 degrees F and below zero with wind chill and I had to get rid of my coat, I was burning up! In the Arctic I realized that thin layers were so much better than big bulky ones. I remember being surprised at the thinness of their coats in winter- of course, they had three layers on, but they chose materials well, warm but not too thick.

      Oh the umbrella I linked is more expensive than mine is full price, that was my bad. I got mine secondhand but it was $64 full priced Matches. In Paris everybody carried these really nice umbrellas from Monoprix that were priced about the same (48 euro) and I said that was high and they said at that price they refuse to lose them! But when I think about how much I spent at h&m over the years for umbrellas that broke, $64 is pretty reasonable in comparison !

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    2. Wow, I wish I never got cold like you...where I live the coldest it gets is 50-60F and i'm walking around in wool socks and boots. Does it make sense wearing the same pair of Wool Story socks every day? won't they wear out? Also I've been debating getting nikes once I have saved up some money, but I've always hated wearing sneakers with my nice jeans/tops, and i love ankle boots but none of them are anywhere near as supportive as I need.

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    3. I have pact Apparel socks for every day of the week, so the Wool Story socks get a rest :) I love them on cold days though! I was never interested in Stuart Weitzman but their boots seem well constructed with proper soles for snow / wet weather without looking like a winter boot. I can walk for days in them which is rare, like you it was impossible to find decent ankle boots for walking. Took me years

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  9. Ach, so different being plus size! Purses and some shoes will work, depending.

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    1. Can you recommend some brands you like? I’m Reformation has plus size offerings I really love! But I know Reformation isn’t everyone’s style... I actually don’t like a lot of what they have this season

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  10. I'm so happy to see a new post! I always try to check here, since the Instagram algorithm rarely shows me your 'grams :(

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    1. Ugh that algorithm! I don’t even know why I hashtag anymore. Also... thank you 💕

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  11. What is this magical thrift store with Dior and Vuitton coats? Done right, Vuitton monogram can be quite cool.

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    1. I agree. I like that they’re bringing it back in little doses. When it’s unexpected I like it a lot

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  12. You are not the only one concerned about Charlie! LOL.

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  13. I'm a little puzzled - if you're so down on Cleveland, why are you staying here? I've lived here all my life, with some extended sojourns abroad, but I honestly do not feel as negative towards this city as you seem to do. It's not perfect, but then no city is. And please, it's not as dangerous as Beirut. Bad things can (and do) happen anywhere, but Cleveland, although it admittedly can't compare with Paris, sure comes in way ahead of, say, Tripoli. Just sayin'. Maybe you should read some American Splendor comics to feel better about where you live. Harvey Pekar sure like this place.

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    1. She travels so much (just follow her Instagram stories for a while and you'll see...constant trips) that it probably doesn't matter that much where her home base is...

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  14. Exactly what do you mean, dangerous as Beirut? Beirut is a popular and safe tourist destination known for its beautiful coastline and cultural and religious diversity. Not all Middle Eastern cities are the same. We’re not all running around with turbans bombing everyone if that’s what you’re implying. You cannot equate Tripoli and Beirut. They are not the least bit alike. Different cultures, different language, different government. Take a break from watching Fox News for a minute and look them up. Maybe you’ll learn a thing or two. It sounds like you desperately need to.

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  15. How do you clean your white sneakers? Do you use use a little olive oil and buff with a clean cloth?

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    1. Castile soap! Keeps them very white. You can put them in the machine too.

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  16. I like the bookshelves in your photo. I'm hoping somehow that they are Ikea (they've really stepped up their game in recent years, everyone in Vancouver-CA has there house decked out in it!)
    -Patricia

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  17. What an ideal closet! I've been on a shopping ban for almost a year now, and while it has definitely helped me to assess what I own and appreciate my favorites, it's also made me realize what I do need: dresses. I'm trying to buy secondhand (IRL - so avoiding online options) and given the limited options where I currently live, I just have to be patient. It's a bit frustrating at times, but also fun to figure out alternatives based upon what I have.

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  18. wow i'm so flattered at people in paris and cologne love my funky recycled knit style :-)
    I feel like every year I want to have a capsule wardrobe and I slowly inch closer to getting rid of items I don't wear and paring things down but having a true capsule seems out of reach. Maybe it's just not possible for me and I'm chasing a fantasy or maybe I'm just being a baby and not being honest with myself on what I truly wear. Did you struggle at all to get to this point? I absolutely love the concept of having a capsule wardrobe but currently I'm at like 60 pieces for each season!

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    1. I used to struggle a lot with this too, then I read Archana's latest post at touniversewithlove.com, which has excerpts from a post on ethicalunicorn.com. It basically explained that from a sustainability standpoint, if you are taking care of your clothes, and not constantly buying new ones, it is okay to have more. I don't think I'm getting the point across properly, but do read the post.

      So I took parts of this and some of Ariana's advice and have reached a place where I like all my clothes, but I'm not worried about the numbers.

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    2. I love your style Meghan! As long as your clothes aren’t overwhelming you and you really like everything there isn’t a need for a capsule wardrobe, except for vacations. I think they can be a useful tool but I myself don’t have one- I just get overwhelmed by stuff so for me I like to keep just what I use and love, but I don’t try and get it down to an arbitrary number.

      You did get the point across- I love Archana and the excerpts she posted, the whole Ethical Unicorn post was very moving, I like how every item in her wardrobe shows where she’s been and has a story behind it.

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    3. Oh and in high school I would rather die than repeat outfits! I constantly needed new things. It wasn’t really until I moved to Paris that I realized I didn’t care about wearing something new every season, maybe because shopping was so frustrating for me there- it was hard finding stuff that fit, all the women were taller than me

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    4. Thank you for sharing Francesca's article. It's refreshing to finally see someone in the zero waste movement realize that a minimal wardrobe is not necessarily a sustainable one. I think zero waste bloggers would be much better off if they realized their glass jar of trash and colorless, homogeneous lifestyles are not suited for the general population. If you all focused on giving more realistic options to people trying to reduce their waste, your message might be more effective.

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    5. I haven’t seen the uniform imagery among zero waste bloggers that you describe- everybody has different values and different concepts of zero waste, and everybody uses different things. I think the majority don’t even use the jar. I actually haven’t seen a single zero waste blogger that hasn’t said “it’s not about perfection” or “you have to find your own personal level of zero waste.” Going Zero Waste has a whole list of options for people trying to reduce their waste who might not want to go water only or make stuff (as does this blog). And I was trying not to say this, but I write the same sentiments as in the linked articles as early as three years ago on this blog- some of the wording in both of your comments is actually exactly the same as my posts (under the wardrobe tab) from 2015 and 2016. I repeatedly said that I dislike capsule wardrobes, not to worry about numbers, and not to conflate minimalism with sustainability- I even say at the beginning of this post that not everyone should have as small a wardrobe as mine. This is just how I live, and it’s not a personal affront to anyone else. At the same time, I don’t need 28 articles of clothing, nobody needs that much- I want that much. Waste is a symptom of an attitude problem, one wherein people don’t distinguish the difference between needs and wants.

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