New Year, Old Tricks: Intentional Wardrobe

Casey of Dressed to Code layers up with the Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Jacket in Birch White and the North Face stretch thermoball down alternative jacket, finished with Madewell 10" high rise skinny jeans in black and Hunter original refined rain boots in a matte black finish.
These staples from my intentional wardrobe are sticking around for 2017 and beyond.

Welcome to the second post in the mini-series I’ve decided to call New Year, Old Tricks. See the first installment here. The year 2016 was disproportionately awful, but there were some personal highlights worth keeping around. Today I’ll be talking about something that has come to be fundamental to the direction of this blog: the intentional wardrobe. I recognized that my free t-shirts and worn out jeans from college didn’t suit my new life or climate. I wanted to revamp my closet in a thoughtful, cohesive manner that would produce a wardrobe I felt great wearing. The latest addition to that intentional wardrobe is a member of my winter layers category: the “Better Sweater” from Patagonia.

Casey of Dressed to Code is cozy in black and white with the Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Jacket in Birch White and Madewell 10" high rise skinny jeans in black and Hunter original refined rain boots in a matte black finish.
While it’s not black, this dappled grey fleece fits right into my color scheme.

Better Sweater or Fancier Fleece?

I’ve had my eye on this fleece jacket for a while, as it seems to be a Pacific Northwest staple. The “better sweater” comes in a variety of iterations, including a vest and 1/4 zip in both men’s and women’s fits. However, I was willing to pay more for the full zip jacket with front zip pockets. Because the Birch White color in a size XS wasn’t availible in stores, I ordered the jacket online from REI. (As you may have seen on my Instagram story, the jacket arrived with its security tag still on, but the store was able to take that off easily.)

Casey of Dressed to Code is cozy in black and white with the Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Jacket in Birch White and Madewell 10" high rise skinny jeans in black and Hunter original refined rain boots in a matte black finish.
Here you can just see the pocket on the upper left arm.

The jacket is a thick polyester fleece with a woven-looking finish. There are three zip pockets: two in the usual positions on the front, and one on the upper left arm. The arm pocket is larger than it looks, and my entire card holder wallet fits inside with room to spare. I haven’t worn the jacket too much around Seattle, as my North Face Stretch Thermoball is usually plenty warm. However, I have room for this fleece under my thermoball as part of my layering recipe.

Casey of Dressed to Code is cozy in black and white with the Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Jacket in Birch White and Madewell 10" high rise skinny jeans in black and Hunter original refined rain boots in a matte black finish.
Here’s the back of the jacket: fitted but not too tight.
Casey of Dressed to Code layers up with the Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Jacket in Birch White and the North Face stretch thermoball down alternative jacket, finished with Madewell 10" high rise skinny jeans in black and Hunter original refined rain boots in a matte black finish.
It may be cold outside, but these layers are keeping me nice and toasty.

Layering Up

My layering recipe for tops is pretty straightforward: skin layer + fuzzy layer + fluffy layer + shell. Everything except that skin layer is optional depending on the weather. I wear anything from a light cotton t-shirt to a wool base layer against my skin, depending on conditions. However, a skin layer with even short sleeves will protect your jackets and leave them cleaner for longer. In other words, sleeveless tank tops expose your jackets to sweat and deodorant staining.

Wearing so many jackets can be annoying when you come inside and start melting. As an upside, you end up with enough pockets to often leave the purse at home. Nonetheless, the different pieces allow for a wider variety of options. You probably compile many of these options without even thinking about it. If it’s warm but rainy or windy, throw the shell on over your skin layer. If it’s cold but calm, the skin layer and fluffy layer might do the trick. A fuzzy layer over a skin layer is great when it’s chilly inside. The possibilities aren’t endless, but there are seven of them, not accounting for different skin layers.

I tend to use my Madewell Whisper Cotton Tees as skin layers, as they breathe well and are pretty thin. This Patagonia Better Sweater will serve as my fuzzy layer, and my fluffy layer is my North Face Stretch Thermoball jacket. While (shockingly) not in the black/grey color scheme of the other layers, I use my Marmot Gore-Tex jacket as my wind and waterproof shell.

Casey of Dressed to Code is cozy in black and white with the Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Jacket in Birch White and Madewell 10" high rise skinny jeans in black and Hunter original refined rain boots in a matte black finish.
Black, white, and silver – an easy everyday combination from my overall intentional wardrobe color scheme.

Continuing On

The biggest reason why I’ll be continuing on with the intentional wardrobe process? It works. I needed to run out the door the other day and dressed in two minutes. The result? A better outfit than I might have put together in half an hour before starting this project. (I don’t think I’ve been clear enough that I haven’t exactly been a fantastic dresser my entire life. So if you’re seeing all these bloggers and thinking you’d never be able to do that, you can.)

The simple act of getting dressed becomes easier when your closet is well stocked. Rather than having a lot of clothing, I focused on cohesive, quality items that fulfill the needs of my everyday life. I’m still adding pieces, but I’m happy* with the items I’ve selected so far. (*One or two pieces haven’t quite lived up to my expectations, but that wasn’t foreseeable.)

Furthermore, the coordinated closet makes travel packing a breeze! Stay tuned on Instagram stories for updates from my upcoming trip.

 

What works for you when it comes to shopping selectively?

Keep in your life that which brings you joy.

-Casey

Find Out What’s on My Intentional Wardrobe Wishlist

Moorea Seal Black Wool Morley adjustable hat with Abercrombie satin bomber, Madewell Quincy Wash 8" Skinny Jeans, Hunter Original Refined Rain Boots from Nordstrom, and Apple Milanese Loop Watch.
In my signature black and denim, this is one of those outfits that feels like a better version of myself.

I made my pledge to focus my purchases on building an intentional wardrobe, and today I’m sharing more of my own process with you, along with two of my recent finds. Many bloggers are calling this a capsule-style wardrobe, but right now I’m more focused on cultivating a more intentional basis for my wardrobe.

If you haven’t read the other post yet, start at the beginning: Start Building A Wardrobe.

0. I put down the card and stepped away from the checkout.

I’m not the most impulsive shopper (I may even be too hesitant to hand over the money) to begin with, so this part was fairly easy for me.

1. I figured out what I like.

Trends may change, but you already know I’m drawn to black and denim looks. I’m also visually drawn to lighter colored clothing, but I tend to default toward black when buying.

Outfits that inspire me tend to contain staple colors: black, white, greys, tans, and denim blues. For accessories, I want to expand to black and cognac. See my vision here.

2. I made a list!

This is the stage that I’m sharing with you today. I’m still playing around with exactly how much I’d like, but I have a good foundational list started.

Note that this is a relatively casual list and does not include business formal workwear.

Tops

  1. Short Sleeve Tees
    • Black
    • White
    • Tan
    • Heathered Grey
    • Black & White Stripe
  2. Long Sleeve Tees
    • Black
    • Heathered Grey
    • Black & White Stripe
  3. Button Front Shirts
    • Chambray
    • White
  4. Pullover Sweaters
    • Black
    • Grey
    • Tan
  5. Cardigan Sweaters
    • Grey
    • Tan
    • Black & Grey

Dresses

  1. Black T-shirt Dress*
  2. Black Maxi Dress

Pants

  1. Dark Skinny Jeans
  2. Medium Skinny Jeans
  3. Black Chinos
  4. Black Leggings*
  5. Tan/Grey Skinny Pants
  6. Flared Jeans?
  7. Tights
    • Black Sheer Tights*
    • Black Opaque Tights*
    • Black Fleece-lined Tights*
    • Colorful Opaque Tights

Skirts

  1. Black Faux Leather Skirt
  2. Black Maxi Skirt

Outerwear

  1. Colorful Raincoat
  2. Black Shell
  3. Black Bomber
  4. Grey or Tan Trench
  5. Black Wool Coat

Shoes

  1. Black Riding Boots
  2. Black Chelsea Boots
  3. Black Flats
  4. Cognac Booties
  5. Nude Sandals
  6. Rain Boots

Accessories

  1. Scarves
    • Blanket Scarf
    • Colorful Scarf
    • Black/Grey Scarf
  2. Bags
    • Black Crossbody Purse
    • Cognac Tote
  3. Belts
    • Black & Silver*
    • Black & Gold
    • Cognac & Gold
  4. Other
    • Black Gloves*
    • Black Sunglasses
    • Black Wool Hat

Therefore, with this list, the total numbers of items in each categories are as follows:

  • Tops: 16
    • Tees: 8
    • Shirts: 2
    • Sweaters: 6
  • Dresses: 2
  • Bottoms: 8
    • Pants/Leggings/Tights: 10
    • Skirts: 2
  • Outerwear: 5
  • Shoes: 6
  • Accessories: 11

Altogether, that’s 31 articles of clothing, 6 pairs of shoes, and 11 accessories. Total, that’s 48 pieces!

3. I can now check off what pieces I already have and are in good condition.

I’ve starred (*) the pieces that I’ve already checked off my list above. You can see some of those pieces in prior posts:

  • Black short-sleeve tee, dark skinny jeans, and nude sandals here
  • Rain boots and black and grey draped cardigan here
  • Medium skinny jeans here
  • Black leather skirt and black crossbody bag here
  • Colorful raincoat here

4. Now it’s time to be patient and keep looking!

Moorea Seal Black Wool Morley adjustable hat with Abercrombie satin bomber, Madewell Quincy Wash 8" Skinny Jeans, Hunter Original Refined Rain Boots from Nordstrom, and Apple Milanese Loop Watch on Casey of Dressed to Code.
This new favorite outfit ecompasses several elements on my wardrobe wishlist, which is a good sign that I’m headed in the right direction!

The Morley Hat

I finally made it over to Moorea Seal’s gorgeous store in Belltown. If you aren’t in the vicinity, you can still shop her store online here.

Because I have a pretty tiny head, I’d all but given up on checking the wool hat off my wardrobe wishlist. Cue the Moorea Seal store, where I couldn’t help but try on this Morley hat. Imagine my delight when I was informed that it was adjustable!

The Morley hat comes in five colors, including grey and burgundy. There is a ribbon inside the brim of the hat that you can tighten and secure with velcro. However, I pinned mine with a small safety pin for extra security, and it’s nice and snug. I wouldn’t want this beautiful, handmade piece to blow away!

Moorea Seal Black Wool Morley adjustable hat with Abercrombie satin bomber and black shell from Banana Republic on Casey of Dressed to Code.
The best part of this gorgeous hat is that it’s adjustable. That means that I don’t need to hold it on.

Satin Bomber

This satin bomber was an Abercrombie piece that I initially tried on when I bought my faux leather skirt. However, I watched and waited until it went on sale before pouncing. Score!

This is more of a juniors’ fit, so the jacket is very petite-friendly and would be cropped on someone with a longer torso. I’m wearing a size XS for reference. This is not, by any means, a winter jacket, as it has the thickness of two layers of satin. That said, I’m enamored of the luxurious feel and dressed-up, dressed-down combination of the satin fabric and bomber shape. The cuffs are a thick, soft knit.

My biggest complaint by far about this jacket is that the pocket zippers are upside down! That’s right, they zip up to open and down to close. While it doesn’t sound like a big deal, it has been throwing me off. The pockets could also be bigger – I don’t think an iPhone 7 would fit! I also think that the jacket would have a cleaner look if the main zipper had a sleeker zipper.

Moorea Seal Black Wool Morley adjustable hat with Abercrombie satin bomber, Madewell Quincy Wash 8" Skinny Jeans, Hunter Original Refined Rain Boots from Nordstrom, and Apple Milanese Loop Watch on Casey of Dressed to Code.
One day, I’ll find my replacement pair of black leather riding boots. Until then, I’m wearing these Hunter rain boots.

Top

This top is my shell from Banana Republic. Find a longer description here.

Jeans

These are my Madewell 8″ skinny jeans in Quincy wash. Read more about them here.

Rain Boots

These are my Hunter Original Refined Rain Boots in black, which I snagged during Nordstrom’s annual sale. Find a glossy version here or read more about mine here.

Moorea Seal Black Wool Morley adjustable hat with Abercrombie satin bomber, Madewell Quincy Wash 8" Skinny Jeans, Hunter Original Refined Rain Boots from Nordstrom, and Apple Milanese Loop Watch on Casey of Dressed to Code.
Your wardrobe should put a smile on your face and help you stand a little taller (high heels optional).

What’s on your wardrobe wishlist? Let me know in the comments below!

To quote Albert Einstein, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

-Casey

 UPDATE: I will keep an updated version of this wishlist, complete with links, here.