what’s been in my closet the longest
I talk a lot about about shopping my closet and buying for keeps, which are two concepts I do truly believe in. I have rules for when I shop to ensure that I am buying things that will really add to my wardrobe and I always intend for everything I buy to pass the 30 wears mark. But these are relatively new developments for me.
My look has evolved and gone through a lot of experimental periods, and while I am happy and confident with my style now it wasn’t so long ago that I was throwing open the doors to my overflowing closet and complaining “I have nothing to wear”.
Looking back at the history of my style with perspective and hindsight I can see that there are some very strong through-lines that run the course and are still influencing me to this day. And that not all of my early shopping buys were rash and disposable.
While I didn’t always have the standards and guidelines I have for my shopping now, I have always known what I liked, and have always known when a product was worth hanging on to. So there are pieces that I have had in my wardrobe for a very long time. With all the current talk about sustainability in fashion and how important it is to normalise outfit repeating, I decided to do a deep dive and figure out what’s actually been in my closet the longest.
It had to be an everyday item that I still wear. No event dresses that I held on to for sentiment, and I didn’t count any of the vintage pieces that I have from my parents, because this is my closet we’re talking about. Mine.
It also had to be in my current closet. The one in my home in Copenhagen. Nothing stored in my parents garage in San Francisco, (I’ll sort it out next time I’m home Mom! Promise! This time for real.) and it meant my yellow Doc Martins, which I think are technically my oldest item, didn’t make the cut because they are in storage in London.
This didn’t actually leave me with much. So much of my pre-London wardrobe was fast fashion, or pieces I bought because I worked at Urban Outfitters and had first dibs on sale shit. I didn’t start changing my shopping habits until much later in life, so I have very few pieces left of what I originally put in my two suitcases when I moved.
I have had this “Who The Fuck Is Mick Jagger?” shirt for 13 years. I bought it when I worked in Urban Outfitters on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz. At the time most of the graphic tees we had were $28 dollars, but this one was $37. It was a different brand and a thicker cotton than the usual ones. At the time the higher price seemed OUTRAGEOUS, finally a shirt I really wanted, that I. Had. To. Have. and it was more expensive, typical! But I bought it. I didn’t even wait for the sale. I bought it the day we got it.
I love Keith Richards, my mother loves Keith Richards and it was Keith Richards who originally wore this shirt. I mean not this exact one. The one he did wear would probably be pretty smelly and possibly cost EVEN more than thirty seven dollars. But he wore one just like it. I know because my mom had a framed print of it hanging in the little telephone wall alcove that all San Francisco buildings of a certain era have. It was kinda like a shrine.
I’m telling you this so you understand the history, and know that I was meant to have this shirt. And now looking back on it all these years later I appreciate that it cost $37(!), it is high quality; even after all these years and many washings it is showing less wear and tear than Keith is.
There is something else I want you to know dear reader, it did go on sale eventually, and I bought it again, as insurance. To this day, I rest a little easier knowing there is a back up in my parents garage (Mom, please see above), because 13 years later it is still my favourite shirt.
Of course I cannot talk about this shirt without also mentioning my Frye harness boots, which have been with me even longer. While I have had them longer, unlike the shirt, they have fallen in and out of favour a few times. I only recently rescued them from the garage (see Mom, I am making progress). I have never gotten rid of them because they are great boots and I always know they will come back into circulation. The shirt gets special credit though, because it made the cut when I moved to London and has never been out of my possession.
But the shirt and boots together defined my style for a few years in my 20’s, and it is somehow oddly comforting to know that I still wear them both. Thinking up a way to style them now, with my current style and wardrobe was easy. It is not that different from anything else I would wear. And I the outfit I put together is not me wearing a costume or putting an outfit together for the sake of a post. I would absolutely wear it on any given day, as is. The two pieces still fit seamlessly into my wardrobe, and they still work together; albeit to achieve a very different look.
Good pieces last, and when you know, you know. I worked at Urban Outfitters for more years than I like to say, but this shirt is one of the few things I ever bought full price. The things that I loved about these items are still there. I still love them, and if I saw them in a store today, I would still want them.
Of course you don’t need to keep every shirt for 13 years, or wear one pair of boots for half your life. But there is a benefit to shopping smart and making investments; to really knowing your style and listening to your heart when you love something (even if it is 37 dollars). I really believe that the pieces you really love are not going to go out of style, they will work into your wardrobe no matter what. The things you have the longest will become your through-lines and guide your style, letting you shape your whole wardrobe into what you need it to be.