November 12th, 2013

In a rut

This fall I have been out and about a lot. Weekends away, school visits and open houses, trips, meetings, etc. And the sad truth is, I feel like I am wearing the very same things to every event. I love the ease of a uniform, but my uber tight rotation is becoming an issue. Last evening while touring a school for my younger daughter I realized that I had worn the very same outfit to two other schools. Yikes!

How can this be? I look at great product for the KiC shop daily, so why don’t I have more tops, a great new jacket, nice pants, cool sneakers? It was cold and wet in London; flats were ridiculous, and my old grey sneakers, unfashionable. I should’ve taken booties like the ones worn by every chic woman I saw there. But I don’t have any, I’ve never found a pair I couldn’t live without.

When I see something I love and will wear forever, I buy it. So where are these pieces that I need?

Hmmm…  I am in a wardrobe rut.


What's New


Belted leather biker jacket

Jil Sander

Gathered Knit Midi Dress


Cropped leather jacket


Triple Francois 18kt gold vermeil earrings


Jimmy Leather Puffer Jacket


Le 57 quilted leather shoulder bag


Belted wool blazer


Blade velvet slingback pumps


Silvia silk-twill scarf


Logo-embellished leather loafers


Crocheted Cotton-Blend Midi Skirt


Braided leather bangle


Delcie tie-detailed ramie midi dress


Gate knotted leather slippers


Postcard fringed crocheted straw bucket hat


Santos de Cartier metal shield sunglasses

  • Preston, I think most of us can relate. I have so many nice items, but nothing to wear. Of course I have plenty to wear, but I wear the same items over and over. I’d love to hear about the fashionable booties the London fashionistas were wearing. I find fashionable, but comfortable shoes/boots for chilly rainy weather a challenge to find. As always, love your blog!

    MarybNovember 12th, 2013  7:50 AM

  • I feel a little bit better that you, also, have this problem. Hope there will be a future post on how you solved this. Your blog is a daily habit-love it!

    JaneNovember 12th, 2013  8:55 AM

  • I felt like this too at the beginning of the season- I had/have many upcoming events and nothing I wanted to wear. Sometimes it’s hard to keep chic minimalism from moving to dull and boring. I kept my mostly neutral palette but tried some new brands and shapes, added a little pattern and thought about outfits rather than always separates. I tried on many things I didn’t like and ordered and returned a ton in the process. Now, I am really happy with my wardrobe this season.
    I think it’s important to enjoy fashion and not take it all too seriously -I try to be discerning but not rigid.

    EBNovember 12th, 2013  9:32 AM

  • It makes me also feel better that you don’t have it all covered Preston. Thanks for being fashionably vulnerable!!! I really believe that finding your fashion “gaps” like your lack of booties is a science of sorts. Its not enough to identify looks that you want to emulate. The other part is going through your closet and figuring out what you lack. Fashion can be distraction for what you actually need.

    MarianneNovember 12th, 2013  9:32 AM

  • Preston, I know how you feel. I have tried shopping for some classic fall separates, but fell short. Not much inspired me. I have a significant top/blouse shortage and still can’t find anything I truly love. Don’t want to buy just for the sake of buying. I guess I will keep on wearing what I have and hope for a better sartorial season next year.

    JulieNovember 12th, 2013  10:20 AM

  • As I recall, you were warned by many of us about the sneakers but you were stubborn. As to the issue of having nothing to wear, I agree with you. I get stuck wearing the same outfits over and over. This year I’ve been using your ideas to get me to comprise a better staple of basics and put them in rotation. I love your fashion sense. I think perhaps you wear the same outfits over and over because they were fabulous, you felt great in them .
    Now, go get those booties!!!! ( and the world is full of cute booties – my personal favorite is a grey shearling Chanel pair. Look great with all the grey sweaters you talked me into buying!

    PaulaNovember 12th, 2013  10:22 AM

  • what are the booties that everyone in London is wearing? Please share!

    BethNovember 12th, 2013  10:34 AM

  • Thank you for sharing, it’s comforting to know this happens to many of us – wardrobe ruts are a great leveller 🙂 I agree with the excellent advice already given. It happened to me over 2 years ago on a major level but it was due to a big change in lifestyle followed by a more subtle change so I went through my entire wardrobe to see what was relevant and focused on what I liked AND worked for me. It took ages, almost 2 years and this is the first season, ever in my life, that I’ve not been plagued with ‘nothing to wear’.
    I feel that maybe you’re at the point of evolving, no matter how subtle, which is exciting and gives an opportunity to analyse and a change. Oh yes, I agree about identifying gaps, however small.
    I look forward to your solution!

    silkpathdiaryNovember 12th, 2013  10:35 AM

  • I think it’s ironic how often fashion designers themselves default to a uniform. Carolina Herrera and her white blouses. Giorgio Armani and his navy t shirts with white jeans. Maybe we each need to discover our uniform and just stick with it (with a few tweaks for weather changes and respect for decorum). And as Jenna Lyons recommends – shop your closet! I can so often see the newest black cashmere sweater, and realize that between my black cashmere t-shirt, cardigan, pullover and turtleneck, I don’t need a new black cashmere anything! I just need to use what I’ve got!

    ToriNovember 12th, 2013  10:57 AM

  • Please tell us more about the “booties”! I don’t know how to wear these or which ones to look for. Need comfort for lots of walking in Paris, but want to remain chic. Tips on this please!

    JudyNovember 12th, 2013  11:51 AM

  • I love all the comments above. Especially about finding the holes in your closet. I find writing a list of the pieces I need keeps me in check. Instead of buying an item similar to what I have, I go to the list! And I agree, it takes a couple of seasons to get your wardrobe where you want it.
    Keeping to a uniform works because its what I find I am comfortable in. Then add a current shoe or bag, perhaps the jean has a new fit.
    And what are the booties trotting about London?
    I like my Isabel Marant, especially the crisi with the built in wedge.


    CCNovember 12th, 2013  11:51 AM

  • I think that it takes a situation like you describe — out in public more, seeing some of the same people at events — that makes us realize that our perfect uniform may not be enough.

    I was consulting for several years, largely working from home when a year ago I went back to work — on site with colleagues every day? yikes — what was a perfect run around uniform working from home (various jeans, etc & a sweater or cardigan) suddenly didn’t work 5 days a week, week after week — I felt like I was wearing the same thing every day. But just adding a few key items can suddenly give everything a fresh look — a completely different pair of slacks, a skirt if not usually a skirt person, boots, or a top or sweater in a different color and cut than the uniform.

    But we all struggle with it!

    kathyNovember 12th, 2013  11:54 AM

  • Preston, I was eagerly awaiting to hear and see pics of what you wore in London. It really is a challenge to keep up with their constant weather changes and look anywhere near chic while doing so. Nice to know you deal with some of the same problems we all face. I live in the Midwest and we woke up to snow this morning. Yes, there are a lot of very attractive warm boots and coats, but Channel shearling boots do not mix with wet, salt-covered sidewalks.

    kimNovember 12th, 2013  1:10 PM

  • I totally understand, I wear the same thing every weekend for months at a time….I just don’t like wearing my good stuff on the weekends, go figure! I’m actually wearing my vintage Ferragamo Booties today, why not? I can still walk in them, might as well….

    AnitaNovember 12th, 2013  1:10 PM

  • I find that every 4/5 years my wardrobe needs more than tweeks. Things change whether it is fashion or lifestyle and I need to do a bigger shop! So this year it has been about buying more tops and more shoes/boots. I have been living in dresses for ages but my lifestyle has changed and it is increasingly about jeans or leather trousers or skirts and interesting tops (J Crew and Stella M). I was tired of wearing motorcycle boots so I bought black wedge booties from Marks and Spencer of all places and Chanel stack heel booties. Happier with my wardrobe now!

    MMSNovember 12th, 2013  1:14 PM

  • Tori- I have often watched what they designers themselves wear and use that as more of a guide to a day to day uniform. Curious about the booties also. I need a block heel for running around but am a little on the shorter side to pull off the whole leggings with booties look.

    JenniferNovember 12th, 2013  1:15 PM

  • These are the ankle boots that this Londoner is wearing:

    BeccaNovember 12th, 2013  2:27 PM

  • I’m obsessed with ankle boots! I’ve ordered and sent back 2 pair so far this season…another pair is being delivered today. I already have several, and I got a pair of IM Dickers in dark brown leather this year – very comfortable and good looking.

    If the boots today don’t work (they were backordered for weeks), I’m going shopping in REAL stores!

    bisbeeNovember 12th, 2013  3:16 PM

  • Well, we can all relate! I tend to wear the same things, too. I’ve been focused on all things jeans, and just realized I have no nice slacks to wear (except two ancient blacks). I have tons of fashionable tops, great scarves, shoes, but no bottoms! *sigh*

    PindaNovember 12th, 2013  3:48 PM

  • I bought two pairs of ankle boots this season. I like a bit of a heel, so I bought the Rag and Bone Harrow boots in grey with black straps. They are ridiculously comfortable and look good with everything. I also got a pair of Saint Laurent ankle boots for dressing up. Black with a thin heel and a zipper detail. They make a simple skirt and sweater sexy and more evening appropriate. I was sick of always wearing skinny jeans, silk blouse and a pointy pump at night.

    EBNovember 12th, 2013  4:22 PM

  • I think getting out of a rut means wearing different combinations than we normally do. I have a notebook filled with tearsheets of outfits I like from magazines. I usually have the pieces in the pictures; it’s just a different way of pulling them together that I haven’t thought of. I go to it whenever I feel like I’m in a rut.

    If anyone needs to go shopping, Bloomies is having an amazing sale this week!! I did a post today on my favorite sale items:

    illysia from MadlyChic.comNovember 12th, 2013  4:40 PM

  • Maybe your standard for buying is too high. I’m not joking – maybe you need to “love” the item too much and lose sight of just needing it and saying “these will meet my needs, good enough”. I can relate, I find myself doing it. It is so much more rewarding to buy because you love something, then just because you can use it.

    AprilNovember 12th, 2013  5:13 PM

  • Preston, this is a great topic of discussion and it is so true for most of the women I know.
    I have so many wonderful pieces in my wardrobe and I keep shopping for better things…yet it feels that I don’t have anything to wear all the time.
    I think this is also related to an older post of yours about the imaginary life wardrobe vs the real life….I buy expensive and nice things that I rarely get to use given my life of a stay at home mother of 3….
    Also, the more in my wardrobe the hard it becomes to find “wearable” pieces. We should all scale down on clothing and be creative with what we have. But then again, easier said than done!

    Nada LocatelliNovember 12th, 2013  5:16 PM

  • April, you always put your finger on it… p

    PrestonNovember 12th, 2013  6:13 PM

  • Sometimes we need another person’s perspective to get us out of our rut! But most people are too polite to tell you that they’re sick of seeing you in that (fill in the blank) and this other thing would look much better. But I heard Carolyn Bessette Kennedy was notorious for doing this and she would take you shopping and get said item for you! We need more Carolyns.

    LindaNovember 12th, 2013  7:08 PM

  • Obviously you have struck a chord. Look at all the comments! Please dish on the booties when you have a chance. I always think Londoners do the “uni” as well as anyone and it’s walkable which is big bonus…

    miaNovember 12th, 2013  8:25 PM

  • Preston, sorry but I am so glad to see your comments and knowing I am not the only one who
    have those kind of moments…

    GabrielaNovember 12th, 2013  8:37 PM

  • Nada, I think you hit the nail on the head. For me there is the wardrobe that works for who I am, and the wardrobe I buy for who I want to be. The trick/solution is blending the two. I have some fabulous pieces in my closet but don’t know how to incorporate them into my everyday life (hint, hint….Preston–want to come to my house and tell me how to do this?)

    Preston, fyi, the Stella dress can be found on website….


    DawnNovember 12th, 2013  9:49 PM

  • Funny that you write about this today,I deal with this on a daily basis with my clients as a stylist, closet fairy, closet redo miracle worker call it what you want…. I just fix things that women can’t see them selves, take old, redo, revamp and most importantly refit, because as women, 50 and older for sure,clothes fit different hour to hour day to night. So it’s best to have a planned set of outfits ready to go. It’s amazing what we all have in our closets, and what actually is being worn…. Love your blog , sincerely the closetfairy

    K L BNovember 12th, 2013  10:01 PM

  • Agree Preston…April nailed it!!!! I do it time and time again…I buy the beautiful blouse, the gorgeous 4 inch heel, the killer dress. I call it shopping for my “dream life” versus my reality of running errands, grocery shopping, attending my boys sporting events and volunteering at school. Those events are the “holes” in my closet. The other items are beautiful and I admire them in my closet, but they are not my everyday life nor are they times per wear vs cost friendly! Please share about the cold rainy weather booties. I struggle more in rain than any other weather for shoes – dying to hear what you thought looked chic!

    marybNovember 12th, 2013  10:36 PM

  • Hummm, yes, misery does love a little company now and then. I feel the same way quite often, but I still LOVE a small special wardrobe. So, I have to deal with the challenges that come with it. For one, as you’ve mentioned, embarrassing outfit repeats. I tend to subconsciously choose to wear the same thing with the same people or to the same place. Now I keep a small calendar next to my bed. Each evening I note what I wore that day, along with who I was with, or an event. I use different colored highlighters for various occasions. For example, church is green, work is blue, and special occasions are pink… This way I can quickly check what I wore to previous Christmas parties, showers, appointments…
    Thanks for a great blog, Preston.

    KellyNovember 12th, 2013  11:54 PM

  • I’m going to Prague and Budapest next month and just got Cole Haan’s Chelsea boots.
    My 26 y/odaughter recommended them, as she & all her NY friends wear them. She said that they’re perfect – very stylish, leather yet waterproof & Nike technology for comfort.

    J DNovember 13th, 2013  5:14 AM

  • Some great booties if you like a medium heel are IM Dicker or Acne Pistol they both work with almost all outfits -great runarounds. Perfect flat booties are chelsea style from Grenson or RM Williams both are brilliant hard working for everyday.

    melanieNovember 13th, 2013  7:59 AM

  • Scorn for my grey shearling chanel booties! And I wore them yesterday, yes in the snow. There is no salt YET in the midwest and we can still wear cute shoes here. But, bad weather IS coming and , in my opinion, booties are not a good alternative for snow and salt. There are many beautiful boot options for this. Booties can be worn all summer (yes! there are summer booties) and during September, October, November, and in the spring, making my grey shearling chanel booties a GREAT purchase.
    But, to the point of Preston’s post, it DOES feel good to know that even Preston has doubts about her wardrobe. I feel that traveling is the hardest because you have to really spend time when you pack to make sure you have all the pieces for each outfit. That is probably why you found yourself wearing your tried and true outfits to London. I do the same thing. When i travel, I want to make sure I have everything with me so i pack my favorite outfits that I wear over and over again. At home, I take more risks. I find the funnest part of the day is throwing things together and seeing what works. As a 56 year old woman, I love reading the blogs to see what is new. Due to Preston’s encouragement, I bought the coveted leather jacket this year (helmut lang) and have not regretted it. I am now collecting white blouses, a former hole in my wardrobe. Again, I have to thank Preston for introducing me to so many great pieces that I now can not live without!!!!

    PaulaNovember 13th, 2013  10:43 AM

  • I was feeling the same way about nothing to wear. Just got my colors done by the well known color analysis, John Kitchener. He gave me a book of color swatches that totally renewed by style and spirit. It keeps me focused, saves me time during my rare shopping excursions. Just another tool in getting to know what reflects your best vs trends.

    LynetteNovember 13th, 2013  10:58 AM

  • Judging from the number of comments you’ve definitely touched on something here. I think we all share this, and I definitely feel like I’ve been doing a lot of shopping but still have nothing to wear. And I keep recycling the same jeans/boots/cashmere sweater uniform. I’ve been swapping out scarves to change it up but even that is getting tiring and my Hermes scarf collection isn’t nearly big enough.

    Curious what the London trend booties are that you saw all over the street. It would be interesting to hear what you’d pack for your trip if you could do it over again now that you’re back.

    Cheers, Laura from

    LauraNovember 13th, 2013  11:15 AM

  • What fun to read all of these great comments in one sitting! Lots of good ideas! I’m in the camp where I have clothes for a life I don’t really live any more (and maybe I never did have that life, except in my mind! Seriously, how many little black dresses does one really need? And what was I thinking with the over the knee Chloe swashbuckler boots? The OTK boots I actually wear are the simple Choo or the Clergerie. ) I love my jeans, boots, booties, flats, sweaters, leather jackets and scarves and I reach for them almost every day. I have a closet full of things that are fab but I don’t wear them. I could retire on what I have spent on the “unworn”…I am trying to get the weight of these things out of my closet and out of my life but it’s hard, especially if the items were expensive. My friends love it because I do a “Robdorf’s” where I invite them over to “shop” my closet – no money involved! Preston, your blog has helped me a great deal in terms of how and what I purchase now. But I still want to lighten up my current load and smarten up on future purchases!
    BTW, a great every day bootie is by Woman by Common Projects. Low heel, sleek, very wearable! Hard to find, though. Try Frances May and La Garconne.

    RobbiNovember 13th, 2013  9:43 PM


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