There have been times when I looked at items in my closet and thought: “what was I thinking?” Especially recently, when I took a really hard look at what was in my closet compared to my personal style. With every garment that got listed on Poshmark, thredUP or sent to donation, I could pinpoint exactly where I was and what I was thinking when I bought it. Usually, it went something like this:
YES. THIS. This will be my new go-to. I will wear it with EVERYTHING. I’ll feel as fabulous as Blake Lively’s hair on the set of Gossip Girl and I’ll wear it for EVERY occasion.
I speak with a lot of emphasis, even in my head, so don’t mind the captions.
But what about those times when we look at what’s in our closet and think: “hello old friend, I’m so happy I found you.” I strive to have this feeling with every piece in my wardrobe, but while I work on it, I thought I would share with you the best additions to my wardrobe that I’ve ever made. (and here’s a hint; they’re not the most expensive or chic!)
If you watch the channel, then you KNOW. In fact, you may have purchased your own convertible backpack from Canadian craftsman JMB Canada. I’ve had this convertible backpack for 6 years and it is by far my most worn bag. It’s a bit heavy because the leather is so solid, but it fits so much (when I travel it carries my wallet, ipad, dslr camera and laptop. No joke) and looks incredibly chic. The last time I was in Italy a local leather artisan asked if he could take a picture of it so he could copy the design. When the Italians want in, you know it’s good. (I said no, in case you were wondering – gotta support my local Canadian!)
Click here and use Alyssa10 for 10% off. (They ship internationally!)
My vintage camel coat is probably the best $39.99 I have ever spent at Value Village, or perhaps ever. I bought it years ago before truly understanding the versatility and longevity of a camel coat, but my older and wiser self is constantly giving past me high fives. This one is part cashmere, fully lined, and a classic length that never goes out of style. It’s minimal with just the right amount of detail. I’ve never been able to find anything exactly like it but there are a few beautiful options!
Chic Winter Boots
Sadly, these are no longer available ANYWHERE and I believe the brand has even gone out of business. By some miracle I found my size half price at a local boutique at the end of the winter season. At full price they were $415. Yikes. I’m glad I waited and SO glad I shelled out the big bucks for these. In fact, I have NO problem paying higher prices for high quality winter gear that doesn’t look like I’m on an arctic expedition. These are shearling lined all the way down to the toe, have an appropriate stomping on snow heel and are 100% waterproof. I die. For a Canadian, these are gold. While I won’t wear them on long commute days when it’s -20, they are perfect for mild to average winter days where I am in and out of meetings and need to buzz around the city looking nice. I’ve found some pretty impressive alternatives here!
An Oversized Button Down
Button downs are the only item I have copious multiples of in my closet, and rightly so. They are flattering on my frame, and are a seasonless basic that I can incorporate into my outfits all year round. I’ve paid as little as $10.99 for my button downs to as much as $185, and through my work, I’m lucky to receive some as gifts. No matter the price, when the cut and tailoring is right, each of my shirts feel invaluable because I feel so darn good in them when I put them on. And I don’t think you can put a price on that. My best investment has been Power of My People (use ALYSSABELTEMPO for 25% off) after being gifted one of their shirts several years ago, but I also like a good button down from the men’s section at my local thrift store.
Faux Leather Leggings
Ok, I may be jumping the gun here because it’s only been a month but HOLY do I like my secondhand faux leather spanx leggings. After researching heavily which faux leather leggings had the best reviews (and having an unsuccessful time with the Wilfred free leggings – unfortunate, as I love the matte sheen on those), I FINALLY took the plunge and found a pair secondhand on Depop. I swear, I don’t know what I had been doing without them. As someone who loves her legs, I love that these highlight them while keeping me comfortable. I wear them with oversized knits, and if I need to leave the house, a pair of tall boots and a killer overcoat finish the look off. I know they’re very 2016 and LEGGINGS (I’ve never been a fan – UNTIL NOW) but honestly I don’t care.
This is another one of those investment items that I didn’t realize were so powerful and valuable until wearing them for close to 5 years. My Dior classic cat eye sunnies have become a signature piece for me. I’m pretty sure when I die, my spirit will house itself in these sunglasses. Sunglasses are deeply personal, but these are definitely my favourite for their elusive mix of glam, edge and class. They work with everything, look fab in every season, and there is really something to be said for developing a signature with your style. It brings confidence on the daily, and I have to thank my friends at Merivale Vision Care for introducing me to these all those years ago.
A Classic Black Blazer
Mine happens to be double breasted with gold buttons, but this is a ubiquitous piece that can elevate any look. I’ve turned to this blazer more times than I can count when I want to feel sharp and pulled together without being too much. I’ve had this blazer for four years and am still loving it, but there are some wonderful options out there now. I’ve included some below for you.
A Chunky Knit Sweater
To clarify: any chunky knit. As someone who is cold all the time, I find myself reaching for these regularly. My best chunky knit has actually been a synthetic mock neck I found secondhand. I’m shocked at how much I love to wear it, as my preference is normally for natural fibres.
Similar to chunky knits, merino is a life saver for someone who is always cold, ie; me. Any merino piece I’ve added to my closet has been well loved and worn. Thermals, socks, sweaters, tuques. You name it. If they made merino undies, i’d probably get my hands on those too. I love it especially because it doesn’t have to be chunky to keep you warm. Even the most basic pieces feel and look luxe, so you always look and feel your best in it. My BEST merino piece is a Club Monaco sweater that is fitted (it was a gift from a long ago collaboration). I love it so much I purchased the cream version when I found it secondhand. Here are some gorgeous merino pieces I’m currently oggling…
As always, thank you so much for reading!