Before our trip to Seattle, I had that feeling. You might be familiar with it — that feeling where I just wanted to buy some new clothes because, “I’m going somewhere new and I gotta look cool!!”
But I took the same approach I took with our trip to Vegas: Rather than feeling the need to invest in a bunch of new clothes, I decided to bring my style to Seattle, instead of the other way around.
After each trip, I’m always glad I worked with what I already had. Without fail, I end up rekindling the flame with at least one old piece from my closet — this time around, it was these chelsea boots.
See, these are amazing boots, but I’d found them on clearance at Nordstrom Rack and I kind of just bought them because they were on sale — not because I loved them. Yep, I went against my own advice. It happens sometimes.
Anyway, I hadn’t worn them in about a year, and in that time, I’d convinced myself they were too masculine or too western or too something.
But as I was traipsing around downtown Seattle, and later, a muddy pumpkin patch on Bainbridge Island, I was reminded:
They aren’t too anything — they’re just right.
They’re crazy comfortable for walking. They keep my ankles warm. And while they’re super high quality, they aren’t precious — meaning I can wear them anywhere and get them as dirty as I want and they’ll only look better for it.
Now, looking at them in these photos, I feel crazy for ever questioning ’em. :)
So … that piece you haven’t worn in a while, that piece you’ve convinced yourself is too this or too that — give it another chance. How? Try wearing it three times next week or try packing it for your next trip.
You might be right and it might not be right for you anymore. Nothing wrong with that.
But you might surprise yourself and rekindle the flame.
So tell me, have you rekindled the flame with any of your oldies lately? What were your doubts and what helped you fall back in love with them?
Also … happy November! :)
• • •
Liked today’s outfit? You can shop it and support Unfancy at the same time by using these affiliate links:
01 | Shirt by Madewell | similar by Everlane (made responsibly)
02 | Denim jacket (old by Madewell) | similar by Vince | similar under $75
03 | Black jeans (old by Joe’s Jeans) | similar by Mott and Bow (made responsibly)
04 | Boots (old by Frye) | similar by Frye (on sale) | similar by Madewell | similar by Everlane (made responsibly)
Yes, they are masculine and a bit western. But look at them! They are great. And they really are your style. I will do the same today. I will look for that one piece I do not wear and I will give it a chance.
Those boots are all the heart eyes emojis! I’m so glad you found a way to fall back in love!
How do you like your bag from Fashionable? I have some jewelry from them that I love, but haven’t taken the plunge on a bag yet… :)
I’m really excited that you’ve been featuring more ethical brands lately. I made the commitment to change my shopping habits at the beginning of the year, and it helps to have other people in the same boat. I love reading your blog, thank you for being willing to share all that you do!
Anna Kate mulliniX says
I know you were asking Caroline, but I spotted your question and just had to answer. I have always had a bag problem, meaning too many. So about three years ago, I decided to invest in a bag that would pretty much get me through everything. I bought their camel colored tote and used it almost exclusively for two years. But, I realized, sometimes I really wanted something with a long strap. So last year I purchased their black drawstring bucket bag. Now I alternate between the two. I have not had even one tiny problem with either bag. The leather just gets better with age. I’m pretty hard on my bags and live in Central America, so I’m always throwing them on a dirt floor, jamming them packed with coloring books, playdough, and my computer (the tote), you get the idea. As Caroline said above, they are not “precious.” However they are still looking great and lasting well. Obviously, I’m totally smitten. I think you would be too.
Hey Caralee! I LOVE the bag. I’ve wanted one for a really long time, and finally pulled the trigger. To me, the saddlebag is the perfect size. It’s super high quality (like, better than I even thought it would be), the brown color is amazing, the pockets on the inside are nice, and so far I haven’t had any problems with dye transfer. Lovin’ it! :) xo, Caroline
Sheila Joy says
I feel the same way about a pair of ankle boots from Clarks my mom bought me a few years ago! I stopped wearing them for a while because I stopped liking the shape of them, but I couldn’t get rid of them because I know that would crush my mom. I just brought them back out yesterday for a photo shoot and forgot how comfortable they are!
Sheila, oh that’s the best. They’re already perfectly broken in and everything! :) xo, Caroline
Spot on as always, Caroline! I love packing a couple ‘risk’ pieces on trips. I almost always end up falling in love!
Those Chelsea boots are great, always love a black and brown combo. Sometimes you just have to take a risk when you see something on sale. Not a great habit, but once and a while magic happens!
Laura @ http://www.thriveorsurvive.us
Yes Laura! Sometimes it takes changing your scenery a little to look at your clothes a little differently too. :) xo, Caroline
I do love “testing” certain items when I pack for trips, that is, packing a neglected item and trying to fall in love with it again, and if it just doesn’t work, then I know out it goes :) I think these boots are great! I usually stay away from Chelsea boots because my legs are so short and I feel like I need a heel, but you’ve got me re-thinking…hope you had a blast in Seattle!
Hey Priya, I linked to some similar styles with a short block heel. Might give you a little height without sacrificing comfort or the look of the chelsea boot. :) xo, Caroline
Yes, I definitely identify with this! When I was going through my clothes for my fall capsule wardrobe, there was a sweater I almost didn’t keep. Yet, it’s been my favorite this season! Your boots look great.
I had the same thing happen with my Clark Desert Boots. I loved them the winter I bought them, then they sat around for two years because I thought they were a little too masculine. Now I wear them all the time! This fall they’ve been such a great commuting shoe instead of wearing out my work flats and they keep my feet so warm.
Just a note to readers that us horse people call those “paddock boots”–check out your local tack (equestrian) shop or the online equestrian tack stores for TONS of options on those…lace, zip, pull on, black, brown, cognac, waterproof, etc. You can also easily find USED or consignment paddock boots at some local tack stores! You can submerge (they are made to submerge) them in mud and water and, with a bit of glycerine saddle soap and a hose, they’ll clean right up. ;) I wear mine daily over hill and dale (in and out of the saddle).
I recently fell BACK in love with my denim jacket and my roper style cowboy boots (similar to the Parker style Jack Rogers Boot)…I’m glad I didn’t give up on those boots (they were flat too expensive for me to part with) because they were perfect at last week’s farm wedding…
Thank you for your insight! I’ve seen many similar styles pop up lately and now I know what they’re officially called.
Great tip! Thank you for sharing, Holly! :) xo, Caroline
Chelsea boots are my everything, I would wear them permanently if I could. what a great find, they are gorgeous, but I understand sometimes you can get a little bored of what’s in your wardrobe. great post x
ALittleKiran | Bloglovin
great outfit, great boots! :) ox
Oooh, I’ve been following you for some years now, but it’s the first time I comment. Your post really resonates with me. Just yesterday night (Yesterday! Not kidding!), I almost bought some “really cute boots that would look really great for this trip I’m planning”. I had my credit card in my hand! Then I remembered I already have really good boots. Not fashionable, maybe, but beautifully made and comfortable. They’ll be perfect. Maybe not Instagram-perfect, but most certainly My own style-perfect. They are coming with me on my next trip!
Hey Steph, Way to be mindful of what you actually need! Thanks for the comment! :) xo, Caroline
kim domingue says
That is exactly why I have trouble with getting rid of clothes (aside from the fluctuating up and down 5, 6, 7 pounds frequently). I’m 57 and know from decades of experience with my closet, that the thing that I am “so over” today will be the thing that I’ll possibly be totally in love with again in a year or two or ten, lol! Quality items are especially troublesome BECAUSE they’re a quality item that I likely paid a good bit for even buying it on sale. So, I rarely get rid of items that fall into that category. My tastes and moods concerning clothing sifts back and forth, much like my weight. So the likelihood is, is that after a quality piece has been in hibernation for a while, I’ll rediscover it and love it all over again!
Hi Kim! Thanks for sharing what has worked for you. :) xo, Caroline
Desiree hart says
You’re so right about rethinking about things in your closet!! I had a pair of frye boots that I worn all the time a couple of years ago. Finally I decided to let someone else have them!! Now I wished I would have gave them another try! I love yours! Beautiful color and style! You always look so pulled together.
I love those joe jeans too! Do you know the style no on those? I need a new pair of black skinniest and those look great!!! Hope you have a great day! Take care!!
Hi Desiree, the Joe’s Jeans are called the Honey Skinny jean. :) xo, Caroline
Liz - Shopping My Closet says
Loving how you “refound” a piece in your wardrobe!
Liz @ ShoppingMyCloset.com
I have this problem where I know there’s a gap in my closet but I don’t fill it because I keep waiting until I find the perfect piece. I’ve been wanting to get a pair of black chelsea boots for at least two years now, but I haven’t because even when I find one I love I hold out in case I find a better one. In reality, I know that there is no “perfect” pair, but I just keep holding out. I need to get a pair I love and make them the perfect pair for me….if that makes sense.
I love those boots on you – Frye always does such a good job!
Tanya E says
Me too! They have been on my “gaps in my wardrobe” list for a few years. Those ones are gorgeous, though.
I recently refound a black trench coat, and decided that, actually, it’s perfect for autumn/winter. Also, a pale grey beret/beanie hat that I thought I had already sent to charity.
A trench is another thing I’ve been looking at for a few season! I’ve looked at a few, but my perfection issue just keeps getting in the way again, ha!
savanah-my daughter just got some at the gap-for 98.00-she loves them
Wow, great outfit. I wish I could find a pair of Frye’s at Nordstrom Rack! I’ve got my black Frye chelsea boots that I got last winter and I have been waiting for summer to end so I can wear them again. But I recently realized I could also use a Cognac or Dark Brown pair…because they are so versatile and I get so much more play out of them than tall boots in Southern California…it’s just never cold enough really.
I’ve got to say all your recent posts have been NAILING IT.
I have a pair of dark brown Frye Sabrina 6G boots I found on Ebay, and I was about to give up on them this year because I’ve had them for a few years and they’re just a teensy bit too small for me with thick socks. But I pulled them out for the rain we’ve been having lately, and forgot how durable they are, and have the perfect heel — chunky and high enough to be flattering, but not so high that I can’t do anything with the kids I work with. I’m back in love!
But yes, I have specifically packed items on trips to challenge myself to wear them more (vintage Nikes and Freda Salvador boots come to mind). It’s a great strategy!
Thays Dos Santos says
Those boots are too cute to give up<3 It's really easy to want to buy a ton of new pieces just because you are going on a trip. I for one thought that when I moved up to Virginia. Before I decided to swipe my card I went through some of my old winter clothes and found out that I already had a ton of clothes that was perfect for Virginia. Sometime you just have to work with what you got and that might make you fall back in love with one of your pieces <3
Great post like always love,
About a year ago I boutique a second-hand trench coat and it has been sitting, unworn, waiting for “the right occasion.” I bought it because it was neutral, classic, and just slightly unique – 3 hallmarks of my personal style – but also because it was a known brand, it was less than $20, and almost every list of “fashion essentials” everywhere told me I needed one. But the more I looked at it in my closet, the more impractical it seemed. Why would I choose this when my two other coats – the practical ones with zippers and hoods – fit the bill for 99% of the ooccasion in my life?
And then life changed, and now I’m working remotely, renting an office in a law firm, and my practical jackets make me feel too underdressed. Enter the ssecond-hand trench! It’s the perfect elevation of my fall blouse/skinny jeans/ballet flat/scarf office uniform!
Hey Anna! Perfect example of falling back in love. Sometimes the stars align and it all works out! Thanks for sharing :) xo, Caroline
I have yet to find a pair like this. Fab and functional. Never let go of them, bbz
lilmissbianca | instagram: @biancamecastro
Those boots are awesome and with that bag, perfect! I so want a bag from FashionABLE. The leathers look so beautiful. Ahhh….someday ;c)
I bought a couple fall/winter sweaters in September from the thrift store, and then decided to set a personal challenge to not buy ANY clothing at all until May. I’m trying instead to rekindle my love of pieces I don’t wear as often (like a white cable knit sweater I just can’t seem to make work). This will be the longest I have ever gone without shopping but I’m pumped to see how many ways I can make my current wardrobe work!
Good for you Alicia! That’s an awesome challenge and a great opportunity to rework your wardrobe. Good luck! :) xo, Caroline
I would love a post on styling boots with jeans. When to tuck in? Roll up? Is it totally taboo to have a strip of ankle showing?!
Help me with my boot dilemma???
I second this idea! Help me wear jeans with booties!!!
Hey Helen + Lilquincy, I’m actually working on a post about that very thing. Stay tuned! :) xo, Caroline
I absolutely love your Chelsea boots!!! I have a similar pair and wear them often as I just love the “look” they create. Great outfit ;) thanks for lovely post xx
Marie Therese says
I feel like a trip is a great way to try re-introducing a wardrobe piece. In a way, it’s new, too, and it gets this special “initiation” time. haha :)
Hey Marie, exactly! It almost feels the same as buying a new item! :) xo, Caroline
I will definitely try to wear the things I put aside because I thought they were not ‘ok’. Who knows, I could be surprised?
Renaud | http://xxmuchlove.blogspot.com
My ideal ankle boot was already imagined when I went on the hunt for a pair. It had to be black, slim and not clunky, slightly heeled, all black, and while minimalist is good, a little bit of buckle and zipper action would be better. I stumbled on my one pair of boots in a Goodwill store for $6, brand new. No brand, but so comfortable and stylish, they fit completely in with my urban street look. They’ve been my main shoe for long trips, and being waterproof and totally scuff resistant have taken me through mud, puddles, creeks, and cobblestones with ease. I’ve even worn them in my version of a “formal” outfit. In five years I can’t imagine abandoning them, or dream of replacing them with any other style. My wardrobe is so minimalist I can’t imagine having any article of clothing that I don’t love and don’t wear regularly. I do buy new items from time to tme, but only when I’m transitioning out something else do to wear and tear or to update a little. I’m glad to hear that more folks are buying from responsible manufacturers and trying to get more wear out of what they have. Cheers!
Hey Sandy! Thanks for sharing. I admire your minimalist ways! :) xo, Caroline
I almost did this with a vintage leather motorcycle jacket that an acquaintance gave me years ago. I almost got rid of it cuz it’s just so gnarly. Instead, I kept it. And I’ve been wearing it daily this fall. It gives my boring 30-year-old mom outfits the edge that I want to feel. Yay!
Michal, that is so awesome. I feel like people are always on the hunt for a great leather jacket and that one sounds great. Way to put it to good use! :) xo, Caroline
I’m heading to Cape Town by the end of this year and i’m DYING to buy new things just because. Will power! agh
Hang in there Mun! :) xo, Caroline
I love all your posts giving us a peek inside your life, your wardrobe (and how you keep it minimal, yet satisfying)! I think those Chelsea boots are great ~ I’d love to find a very reasonable pair.
With my current lifestyle ~ I’m involved in “growing” a small art/painting business ~ I’ve kept mostly casual pieces, with just a few business/dressier ones. I have now donated several large bags of clothes (but embarrassingly, I still have a little more to sort). It is so cleansing to let go, and even better, my being very cautious about adding anything back into my capsule wardrobe has had a seriously favorable impact on my wallet!$! No more impulse purchases ~ only thoughtful, studied ones (if any!). Thanks for the motivation, Caroline!
My black leather Roots bag. I’ve had it for 7 years and it still looks beautiful. Its the kind of real leather that just gets softer and better looking each year! But pretty much every spring I put it away. I always seem to decide that its too dark, too heavy, for the spring/summer. But by fall time I am always ready to pull it out again! I am seriously considering getting another Roots purse, smaller and in a brown or cognac colour for the warmer months. :)
Your boots are perfect. They complement your style very well.
Elisabeth Abbott says
Any tips on breaking in boots? I finally splurged on a pair of Frye moto boots (the Veronica slouch style) and I LOVE the look of them, but earlier this week I wore them for 2 hours and they TORE UP my feet. I don’t even want to put them back on, and it’s such a bummer. My only other pair of Fryes didn’t do this, but they were a different style (the Melissa tall boot). Help!
Elisabeth, oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that — it’s the worst!! Depending on where the boots hurt, you can try sticking a moleskin padding directly on the inside of the boot to offer some cushioning. Other than that, I would take it slow (only wearing them a couple hours at a time with breaks in between) and try some thicker socks. Hopefully that helps and you’ll be able to wear them around the clock eventually! Good luck. :) xo, Caroline
Love this! I love rediscovering what originally drew me to a piece of clothing! That’s one of my favorite things about capsule wardrobes– every time I pull out the next seasons clothes I’m reminded of all the good things about each item. Thanks for sharing!
Great outfit Caroline!!! Love your boots!! Can you tell me the style no of those? I know they are Frye Chelsea? Just can’t seem to find them on the net!!! They are the most fine boots ever!!! You have great taste!! Thanks!! Desiree’
I love this! I keep thinking about this post and went back to it recently. I’m thinking of buying the Melissa Chelsea boot from frye in the rugged colour because of this post! I’m wondering did you size down in yours? I’m in Canada and therefore, there are a lot of added expenses when buying online and (hopefully not) returning if they don’t fit. Any feedback about the boot would be great!