3.26.2013

love the old


Saint James breton, Court Shop pants, Prune bag, Sam Edelman suede boots




"If she can’t afford it, she won’t buy it. If it doesn’t fit (or make her feel good, or flaunt what she’s got), she won’t wear it. If she can’t find it, she won’t compromise. If she loves it, she won’t toss it. She reuses it, rethinks it, lets it age."

Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl


I read that quote a long time ago and the last bit stuck with me. The part about reusing, rethinking, letting it age. I love new things (don't we all) and we're inundated by them constantly, but lately I've been having a lot of great moments of putting on things I've had for years and thinking "yes." I channeled that today with this outfit, comprised of things I've had for one year, two years, four years. Nothing new. I've fallen out of love with all of these things for months at a time, years at a time, but I've always come back to them and remembered why they were favorites in the first place. I moved about 6 times in the past year (not counting times of travel and vagrancy and couch-sleeping) so I had a lot of opportunities to think about what I was dragging around with me. This bag almost didn't make the cut once for one split second as I took stock of my belongings (what was I thinking at age 21 with this bag?? Fringe???) but I remembered this quote, tucked it gently in its protective cotton bag, and put it in my suitcase to head to the next destination. In theory it isn't something I would choose from afar or if I thought about it too hard, but one day in Argentina four years ago I was wandering home from a long day of classes and ducked into the fancy leather goods store that I visited weekly. Nothing had yet caught my eye as the one real investment I would make during my time there as a poor college student, but I continued to look. And there it was. The attraction was inexplicable and immediate. I picked it up, looked in the mirror, and marched straight to the counter. It was more money than I had spent on anything clothing-related in my entire life (still a deal compared to American leather prices) and it made me nervous. However, the way it felt in my hands and against my body made the decision easy. It was me. 

Because this bag is beautifully made, high quality, durable (a few pieces of the fringe are still a little wavy from being soaked to the bone when I was caught off guard in a day-long New York monsoon) it has remained a favorite. It's not particularly simple in design or timeless like a Birkin but somehow it remains timeless for me. The investment in something quality was (as it almost always is) worth it, and what was even more worth it was keeping it around until it became a favorite again. This bag and I have been through a lot together. 

Maybe there are some universal "classics," but it is personal classics like these that I find the most inspiring. The old things you invested in and fit you and your life and have traveled with you for a long time because they continue to prove their worth again and again.

Anyone else have something like this?

21 comments:

  1. Mmm most definitely. Love that you have "owned" it and make it work for you. You look great here.

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    1. Thanks, Joy! I've been loving your blog lately. Glad you posted some outfit photos, I always love them.

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  2. I was just thinking of this the other day! I think when you buy something good quality and something that truly stirs you (instead of something you aspire to but isn't really "you") it always pays off in the long run, even if you don't use it for wear for a while. I feel that way about an old denim skirt of mine and a vintage cotton dress printed with flowers that's very out of character for me but it's stayed on for a long time because it always "makes sense" when I put it on.

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    1. I think we must be on the same wavelength because you keep posting about things I've been thinking about! Even as lovers of simple "classics" there are definitely trends within those "classics" so it's refreshing to have something that is just completely flattering and not new and feels good.

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  3. Yes, I definitely agree with you on the whole classics dilema. The personal classics are certainly worth keeping around. Sometimes I feel as if I repeat myself talking about the same classic pieces on my blog haha... I suppose its worth it in the end though, they deserve the recognition.

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  4. Rachel, you're looking great here and so nice to see you looking well and happy. You have a cool quirkiness about you - it's a good thing and a compliment.

    Your bag is lovely and totally you and I'm glad it's survived your culls. I think it's learning to understand why you like something and not looking for confirmation from everyone else about your choices. My tatty day bags are my personal classics and have become quite a part of me. I've picked up some nice good quality pieces over the years, silk shirts for example which have not been in fashion for some time but suddenly had a resurgence and they have come in to their own again. It's a lovely bonus when that happens or just when you somehow manage to re-fall in love with something all over again.

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    1. Thanks, Sue! It feels good to be well and happy...it's been quite a year. I will take the quirkiness as a compliment :) I like your tatty bags too and I admire the fact that you just stick to what works for you and know when to give it up and send something back!

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  5. definitely - I've found that there are some things in my wardrobe which the life span seems to keep going. I might not wear it for a while but will always inevitably turn to it, as it's comforting and something that I always loved. It's sort of how a wardrobe should be isn't it? Or at least how I wish my wardrobe was - while buying new can be fun, the whole process just seems to be exhausting when it's repeated over and over.

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  6. I definitely do this. I have so many clothes that I won't wear for months or years at a time but I can't bear to let them go and then one day I find myself completely in love with them again!
    http://teapotsandbelles.blogspot.com/

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  7. Universal classics and personal classics. I like that distinction. :)

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  8. I love this outfit, and I love the quote you posted. I definitely want to look into this book. I really agree with what you say about old pieces. As someone who yearns to afford St. James, I love that you really can prove that it's worth the price simply because it's a classic piece you will always come back to.

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    1. Thanks, Meg! I did go for the Saint James when I finally had some extra money (there is life beyond college!!!) and honestly it is a nice shirt but I have found some equally as good quality bretons at places like H&M and Gap every once in a while...you just have to be discerning with fabric (which I'm sure as a fashion student and knitter you definitely are). I just got an H&M one from their "eco" collection and honestly I think it is more flattering than St. James. You never know!

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  9. What I prefer is actually the part when I "forget" about the object of my affection and suddenly, it's love all over again...
    The quote you used is brilliant and one of my favorite mantra, it's common sense but with so much endless shopping options, it's easy to lose perspective.

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    1. Yes, I "forget" about things all the time too! I just dug out my summer clothes (a total of 2 pairs of shorts, 4 shirts, a scarf haha) and felt so delighted! It's so great to "forget" about things. You're right - so hard to lose perspective, especially with the internet...

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  10. just wanted to say that you look great - i have that same SJ shirt, it's one of my favorites!

    and i've found that the best classics are the ones that you fall for on instinct. :)

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    1. thanks, sophie! yes, that one was a bit of a surprise - I thought I would prefer a black/white or navy blue/white but this one has remained a favorite! I think I've seen it on you before and perhaps that was my inspiration!

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  11. Lovely bag www.adoramehitabel.blogspot.co.uk

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  12. That certainly is a really good mantra!
    I always think as well, when shopping for clothes, if you see something you like ...walk away and if after a couple of hours you have forgotten it, then leave it. But if it gives you a sleepless night (slight exageration here!)....or goose pimples (that could be the freezing uk temp's) then run back and buy, and love it forever! The pleasure of owning something that has that effect on you will last a very long time! xx

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  13. Don't ever give the bag away! Unless it's to me. :) And I like that quote a lot. Definitely a good dressing mantra.

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  14. I love that quote, too!

    Your outfit is stunning in its simplicity, from the la mariniere top and the jeans to the boots. "Personal" classics are so special.

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