2015 Wardrobe Workhorses


At the end of 2013, I recapped my best purchases and most worn items for the year. Looking back on my wardrobe and purchases in this way was a great critical thinking exercise in what purchases ended up most worth my money, and an examination into why these items ended up being so good for me. At the end of 2014, I tried to put together a similar round up, but I realized so many of my favorite items from 2013 were still sticking around. A post wouldn’t have been very interesting or enlightening for anyone to read, so I decided to skip last year.

Since 2013, I’ve moved to a colder climate, added quite a few new purchases, and my wardrobe workhorses finally look a little different than they did a few years ago. I hope you enjoy this rundown of my current personal favorites, and maybe get some ideas about what may also make a smart purchase for your wardrobe in the coming year.

Classic Leather Moto Jacket

leather-jacketA classic that never goes of out style, a nice quality leather biker has been on my list for a while. When I found this cropped silhouette (for a normal fit on short ol’ me) from All Saints (a brand whose leathers I’ve often admired) in new size 00 and 20% off, I pounced and was pleasantly surprised by it’s petite-friendly fit. Since buying, it has been the perfect toasty topper for chilly nights and a gateway drug to my edgier outfit experiments. I look forward to seeing how the leather ages with time. You can see my fit review of this leather jacket here.

Similar from Banana Republic (in petite!) & Madewell

Classic, Low Profile Loafers

perfect-loafersAs a menswear enthusiast, I have a deep love for loafers. Unfortunately for me, at 4’11”, flattering flats are hard to find, with most looking bulky or visually dragging down my frame. When I found these sleek loafers, I knew I found “the ones”. I love the low profile of these, from the slim silhouette, non-chunky style, to the small tassel detail. I wear these really often, and loved them so much, I bought two colors. The black has been most versatile, but the burgundy has served as a nice pop of color when I want it.

Wear Everyday Signature Jewelry

signature-necklacesI’ve written before about why I love a collection of signature fine jewelry pieces. I’ve collected a few gold rings that I wear pretty much every day, but by far my favorite purchases have been my gold necklace set. All three pieces have been purchased separately, but when I started collecting, I already had an idea of what I wanted the finished look to be. I like the longer length chains because I feel they look a little more modern and edgy (the longest is 30”), and I also feel they help balance my short torso. The pendant is a vintage locket with roaring lion, a symbol that has always resonated with me because 1) I’m a leo, and 2) as a shy introvert, I sometimes need a little king-of-the-jungle-esque nudge of courage in my day. I love pulling these over my head every day before heading out the door!

I’ve found most of my vintage jewelry pieces on Etsy!

Deep-V Crop Top

deep-v-crop-topAs a shorty, I appreciate silhouettes that trick the eye into thinking I’m taller than I really am. Wearing cropped items on top have proven to be a handy way of doing just this. I’ve been amazed at how elongating this mix of deep-v neckline and cropped silhouette can make me look just a tad taller, and even make hard to wear items like slouchy denim a little more flattering. I’ve also found it a non-bulky way to add a little bit of interest to an otherwise plain outfit.

Find similar from Forever21 & Aritzia

Embellished Belt

embellished-beltSince the day this arrived, I’ve reached for it pretty much every day. I’ve found this embellished belt to be such a great finishing piece to an outfit that I feel underdressed without it. I love how the geometric hardware peeks from the pant line for a bit of interest, and especially love the edgy element it can add to dresses, coats, and blazers. For my wardrobe palette and choice of jewelry metals, the black with gold hardware works for most cases, but I am on the hunt for a similar black with silver hardware.

Similar at Linea Pelle & how gorgeous is this one at Otte?

Ankle Booties

perfect-ankle-bootsAs a SoCal girl, I never really needed boots, but after moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, I realized a girl could not live on pumps and loafers alone. My feet were cold, the struggle was real, and these petite-friendly ankle boots saved the day. I like these for their small, narrow fit, reasonable heel for easy walking with just the right amount of lift, and dipped notch in front to help give presence to petite legs. Once I discovered how great these were, I picked them up in both black and grey and have been wearing them nonstop this fall/winter.

Contrasting Neutral

contrasting-neutral-bagAccessories in vibrant colors can be fun, but from a versatility standpoint, neutrals win every time. While this bucket bag’s lovely tan color is technically a neutral, I’ve found it serves as a pop of color against my wardrobe of mostly shades of grey. For this reason, it’s been an easy contrasting accessory to just throw on and go. Add to this the ease of a cross-body length strap and rich suede texture, and you’ve got a quick way to add interest to an outfit.

Super similar (but smaller) at J.Crew Factory

Bold Stripe Button Up

stripe-shirtIt’s no secret I love a good button up dress shirt, and the classic white never goes out of style. However, I continue to find a white striped shirt even more versatile than it’s plain counterpart. I love this bold striped version and find it can easily replace a plain white shirt while kicking an outfit up a notch.

Similar from Forever21 & Madewell

White “Bookend” Accessories

white-accessoriesEver since this white fedora and white pumps joined my wardrobe, I’ve really enjoyed wearing them as fashion bookends to round out an outfit. They also pop against my wardrobe of mostly dark colors, which has been great for a little variety. The white pin, when worn high on a lapel, visually rounds out an outfit similarly to the white fedora, and I switch them out depending on my mood or by what works better for a particular outfit (sometimes a hat is just too much). When not worn together, they also round out outfits by tying together items that have white stripes or graphics.

Similar white pumps at Nordstrom

I’d love to hear what wardrobe workhorses you had in your closet last year. Were there any pieces that made you think, “thank goodness I picked this up!”? Share in the comments!

Join the Conversation


    1. Ahhh…striped shirts! You can never go wrong with those! And I just ordered a huge blanket scarf I’ll try to wrap like a coat/poncho thingy. We’ll see how that goes. ;)

      PS…I got your email…still mulling it over. I’ll get back to you soon!

  1. says: Yael

    My wardrobe workhorse is definitely my beloved Camper low heeled ankle boots. They are several seasons old and I have them in cool brown leather and black suede. The newest workhorse is a long, high-waisted ponte pencil skirt.

  2. says: Sarah Kristen

    1. Leggings! It’s been a leggings kinda year for me. So comfy, cozy, and go with so many things.
    2. I hesitated but finally purchased a lacy tunic. I’ve been layering it under shirts that are just a tad too short to wear with leggings. I love how it adds the length I need and adds some interest to the outfit too!

    1. Thank you for sharing, Sarah! Your lacy tunic sounds like a great idea for a layering piece! Little idea for you…have you tried ruffle/peplum bottom tunics/tanks yet? I picked one up from Zara a long time ago & I’m not sure it’s my style (I love them on others though!), but the ruffle hem looks really cute peeking out from sweaters and shirts. Something like this: http://altsneed.co/1JXK4mC or this http://altsneed.co/1JunZRL

  3. says: Lorraine

    Banana republic petite sloan slim fit ankle pants in black & in navy, my rag & bone Preston jeans (thanks to your blog Kelly!), a pendant made from a vintage Chanel Button which I picked up in boutique Nadine in Florence, my snow leopard print scarf, my Maje navy blazer and Nine West ankle boots have been my hardest working wardrobe items this year :-)

    1. Thanks for sharing, Lorraine! So glad you love the Preston jeans as much as I do! They are one of my favorites & I find the perfectly placed fading to be really flattering to the ol’ legs. ;)

      Your vintage button pendant sounds so cool!

  4. says: Michelle

    I definitely want to try out the Margot booties, but for now, I can not live without my Rachel Comey Mars booties- perfect for a short gal! Also, Citizens of Humanity Rocker crop are my favorite jeans, and perfect length for my 5″1′ height so that I do not need to get them hemmed!

  5. says: Kim

    I love this post Kelly. Thank you so much for doing it. I remember your wardrobe workhorse post from a few years ago. 2015 was a tough year for me so I am living my fashion dreams vicariously through your wonderful blog. Thanks so much for doing it. Your blog looks better than ever, and even though my style is much different from yours, I enjoy your creativity and thoughtfulness. I’ve learned a lot from you over the years! That leather jacket is so delicious. The perfect aged leather jacket is my sartorial holy grail. I trust I’ll find it when the time is right and then be able to enjoy it forever. Crossing my fingers…

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