The Rich Life On a Budget

How I Wear My: Most Cherished Wardrobe Item

Since Jill and I have been on a spending freeze for February (a break from all that buying and shopping and the mentality of more, more, more), it was a great time to look in our closets and find one thing we love above all others for this month’s “How I Wear My” post.

It was a breeze for me to decide which piece to feature today. Not only is it my most cherished, but it’s also one of my oldest pieces of clothing hanging in my closet.

I bought this leopard jacket at Nordstrom back in 1995 when I was 28-years-old.

At the time, I was working in San Francisco for a small personnel placement company. My co-worker and I used to occasionally – okay, frequently – spend our lunch breaks shopping.

Back then, Nordstrom offered a free shuttle service. All we had to do was give the concierge a call and ask to be picked up. Ten minutes later, there would be a white van idling in front of our office building, waiting to deliver us to our favorite department store.  Those were the days!

My co-worker, who was 15 or 20 years my senior, was an expert shopper; had a very keen eye. And she had no qualms whatsoever telling me what looked great on me and what looked horrid.

When she saw this jacket she grabbed it off the rack, put it on me, then demanded that I buy it. At $200.00, it was not an easy purchase for me to make. Animal prints were not big back then like they are today. But she was right. Seventeen years later, I am still wearing it and still loving it.

I can wear it dressed up with a pencil skirt…

or a sheath dress and Hermes scarf.

And I can wear it with jeans as I did last Friday night when Bill and I took my girlfriend out for dinner on the spur of the moment.

I brought this jacket with me to Paris twice. Once in 2007…

Hard to tell, but I really am wearing the jacket. 

and again in 2010.

Sporting my best deer-in-the-headlights expression. 

It’s so old, I don’t know who made it; the lettering has worn off. But the “Made in” tag is still intact and it reads “Made in England”. England! I don’t know that I have seen that before on any of my clothes. Italy and France, yes – sometimes – but England? To think I never bothered to notice that before now.

I guess you could say that that was the best $200.00 I’ve ever spent on clothing. And now I think I should make a date to go shopping with that friend and former co-worker of mine. Someone call the Nordstrom shuttle!

Let’s see what cherished wardrobe items everyone else is wearing.

Jill from Everything Just So is wearing her cherished and much loved U.S. Navy peacoat of her father’s, circa 1964. He and her mother gave it to her as a Christmas present about 10 years ago. What a treasure!

Carrie, from Expressive Style, shows us her Glossy Red Hunter Boots that she received as a Christmas gift. Aren’t they sassy?

She tells us, “I had been wanting a pair for a while and I am glad I waited for this color. I wear these boots with everything: jeans, leggings, skirts, and a dress as shown. These are great for spring, fall, and winter with the awesome inserts they made.”

Catherine, who writes the blog Not Dressed as Lamb, cherishes her coral-colored brogues. Aren’t they  lovely? She bought them in San Francisco. Too bad I didn’t know her then. I would have begged to meet her there.

She tells us, “They were a total impulse buy in the summer sale last year and I was really unsure about whether I’d actually wear them or even if they’d go with anything in my wardrobe. However, they surprisingly go with almost anything and they always lift an outfit. They’re such a talking point – whenever I wear them I get so many comments about them (on my blog and in person)!”

She has also worn them here, here, here and here. They really are so versatile.

Should you want to find a pair similar (but unfortunately more costly), Catherine gave us a link to check out.

Pam has a story to tell us about her graphic and colorful tunic. Click over to her blog, Over 50 Feeling 40, to read all about it.

Amy’s most cherished wardrobe item is this fantastically chic Ferragamo purse her husband bought for her on their honeymoon for a wedding/birthday present.

Amy tells us, “Everytime I use it, it reminds me of the wonderful time we had in Capri and Florence, and I will treasure it forever. I used it so much when we got back that the cream color got some stains on it from denim, so I sent it to Bag, Borrow, and Steal and they made it look like new fortunately. Now I only pull it out for special occasions when I’m not wearing jeans!”

We hope you’ll join us on April 4 for “How I Wear My: Colorblocking.” It’s everywhere, those bright colors put right next to each other in solid blocks, and we are giving it a go as a way to welcome spring. Won’t it be nice to have a break from all that navy blue and gray and brown and black?

Tell me, what’s the most cherished item in your wardrobe? 
XO, 
Adrienne 

42 thoughts on “How I Wear My: Most Cherished Wardrobe Item

  1. Jodie (aka mummaducka)

    That jacket is a treasure indeed! I think my most treasured things would be my jewellery. The clothes can come and go and go up and down in sizes, but my own and inherited gold pieces are always going to be there and be used! I also have a pair of tall boots and a hide handbag that I am incredibly fond of and will keep repairing until they are worn through!

  2. Pam @ over50feeling40

    your jacket is fabulous and you just showed us the mileage someone can get from an investment piece. I loved the story of the van picking you up…Nordstrom’s is still great in the service area…but not this great. I wish the other stores would realize SERVICE is what makes the difference!! You look gorgeous as always!!

  3. Ione

    I absolutely love your jacket. What a find! Imagine having a piece of clothing that can be worn in so many different ways and for such a long time and still look stylish!

  4. Leigh Powell Hines (Hines-Sight Blog)

    It looked great with your jeans. I’m kind of mad at myself for getting rid of some of my animal print, but I didn’t have anything that expensive so it was probably good that I did. I had a lot of animal print in my closet in the 90s, but I was a cat nut. :)

    Enjoyed your post.

  5. kathy peck

    Have been waiting excitedly for this post, and I guessed right! It had to be your leopard jacket (and if it hadn’t, I would have asked to purchase it from you!)
    Love it with your black sheath dress, and the jeans.
    Miss the days of working, and going shopping on breaks with friends. My “most cherished” piece would have to be from one of those jaunts, and also from Nordstroms. It’s a black leather “biker” jacket, first large purchase post pregnancy, so about 27 years old.
    It was $800 at the time, and I almost passed out when I charged it. Amortized out, it’s probably cost me a nickel a wear.
    It just gets better and better.

  6. Adrienne Shubin

    @Jill It’s a good lesson in spending: investment pieces are worth their price while bargain items that you’re only buying because they’re cheap or on sale won’t be around long. I have a hard time biting the bullet and dropping a big chunk of money on one piece – but if it’s something I will get many, many miles out of, it’s the smart thing to do.

  7. jill815

    I am deeply dying to think of you and your coworker getting picked up by the Nordstrom van! Talk about customer service! The jacket is so wonderful, I’m glad she talked you into it. I love every way you wore it. And I love seeing what everyone chose for their most cherished item! XO, Jill

  8. Adrienne Shubin

    @Jodie (aka mummaducka) Yes, jewelry for me, too. My wedding set is my most cherished but I have a couple of heirloom items – not many – that are dear to me.

    A well worn pair of tall boots are so chic and timeless. Investment pieces are meant to be cared for and repaired. You are smart to continue to keep up on your cherished items’ maintenance.

  9. Adrienne Shubin

    @Pam @ over50feeling40 I don’t know for certain, but I don’t think Nordstrom runs that service anymore. I felt very special being picked up and dropped off by their valet.

    I, too, wish other stores could see how important service is. When I go to Macy’s I can never find anyone to help me with anything ever. It’s as if all they want their employees to do is ring the register!

    Thank you for joining us today…am off to find out the story behind your great tunic!

  10. Adrienne Shubin

    @Patti @ NotDeadYet Style I didn’t have to think too long to chose this jacket. Although my leopard print buying days are over for a while, I still love it and enjoy all the ways I can incorporate leopard into my outfits – either with this jacket or a simple belt.

    I hope you’ll join us next month for colorblocking!

  11. Catherine @ Not Dressed As Lamb

    Adrienne you look absolutely radiant as always in that jacket… what an amazing investment, I’m sure you would have had to have been quite brave to buy leopard print in those days (not as abundant as it is now!)

    Thank you for featuring me… the other ladies look so fabulous too – I think you can always tell when someone is wearing something they love dearly :))

    Catherine x
    http://notdressedaslamb.com/

  12. Carrie Teal

    That is a great jacket, I love items that you buy that can stand the test of time. Great post, glad I was able to participate. I can’t wait until April. I have some great color blocking pieces.

  13. Piece du jour

    Everybody is fabulous! Wonderful post, thanks!
    I was wondering, did you altered this jacket during your time together, or it is classic, without era-related features?

    I do not have my most cherished item, I like all my wardrobe at all. Sad.

  14. kim at northerncalstyle.

    LOVE that jacket Adrienne! Isn’t it wonderful when you find something that really stands the test of time? You’ll probably have it forever. It is the perfect travel item too because you know it makes everything look so chic!

    I need to find one!!

    Kim:)

  15. Sara Louise

    For my 16th birthday I was giving a gift certificate to Saks, and I found a black DKNY, fitted suit jacket on sale for $200, I bought, loved it, and still do. I don’t think I will ever get rid of it.

  16. Terri

    The leopard jacket DOES look fabulous on you. What kind of fabric is it?

    Like Jill, my most cherished item is my deceased father’s coat. It is a down-filled trench coat that I have worn most days in the winter for several winters now. It was far too stained with coffee I’ve consumed on the go to be pictured on the blog, but the coat remains very meaningful to me.

  17. Tamera Beardsley

    Fabulous post Adrienne! Even though we have never me, I thought of you often this weekend. I have decided to take a page from your ‘book’ and put myself on a month long spending freeze. I agree with you, besides the financial implications, it is the ‘more’ that has become confusing and time consuming. I will take the month to edit and restyle my wardrobe pieces.

    Thank you my dear for the inspiration, I adore your blog!

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