I Have Nothing to Wear is the monthly series asking ELLE staffers and industry influencers to obsessively record what they wore for a full seven days. From the discarded to the which-shirt-goes-better? moments, it’s a complete snapshot of how we think about getting dressed.
My closet is mostly full of… denim, printed dresses and skirts, and a pretty robust section of blazers.
I want to be buried in… a floor-length dress, sharp-shoulder blazer, charm jewelry, and no shoes.
Mood: “Corporate Exec on a British Crime Drama”
I commute from the suburbs, so I always have to think about what shoes I wear.
It was not snowy on Monday, but NJ Transit was very aggressive with its salting, so the walk from my car to the station was a minefield. I adore these Sorel boots, but since I had some meetings, when I got to work I swapped into a pair of shoes I keep under my desk. As a reformed under-desk-shoe-hoarder, I try to only leave styles that are too delicate to commute in (like super soft, pale pink ballet slippers and my Celine heels) or seasonly aren’t up for it (Chanel slingbacks that work in this weather if I’m inside, not outside). When I left the house, I wasn’t sure which shoe I’d pull on, but I knew one of them would work. I usually end up putting a pair on and completely forgetting about it until I eventually wander down to the ladies’ room and its full-length mirror.
I bought this sweater with moments like this in mind.
After obsessing over a simple, thin crewneck camel sweater, I finally found one at Banana Republic. It’s insanely versatile, and it’s what I grabbed on Monday when I needed something basic but elegant. If I decide on bottoms first—like here, where the leather gave me a break from denim—the top role can be harder to cast. Having a go-to makes getting dressed speedy.
Jewelry’s the final step to making an outfit feel special.
I mostly rotate between the same pieces, but this Lulu Frost necklace is more of a statement item (that I always get compliments on).
Mood: “Brooklyn Mom Who’s From Texas Originally”
This is an example of silhouette-first dressing.
I love a good full skirt, but it requires something you can tuck in so you don’t look rectangular. I bought this short-sleeve knit secondhand with the exact idea of wearing it with something like this; it’s almost cropped, so it fits right into the skirt.
The somewhat clashing jacket is because I was bored of my regular camel one.
An outfit with and without a blazer can feel so different; it’s the perfect finishing touch. I organize my closet by staples, so when I was staring at the blazer section this morning I felt so bored by the camel one that always goes with everything. I’m still unsure if the red, white, and blue really work with the maroon skirt, but it didn’t scream “no” at me. I was also at the point where you need to get out the door or risk missing your train, so I had to go with it.
These are currently desk boots, but they’ll transition to home boots.
These are a new, secondhand purchase to help when it’s too cold for ankles or calves but you just can’t with black tights. (I’m intending on wearing these with midi hemlines during transitional weather times.) They’re comfortable enough to wear to and from, but I’ve decided to leave them at work to avoid salt stains.
Mood: “Countess with a House in the South of France”
My New Year’s resolution was to wear more gowns.
And I’m doing it! I love the shape, the drama, the romance, and the unexpected nature of it. It sounds ridiculous to say/type, but what’s the difference between a “gown” and a “maxi dress” anyway? It’s a good styling hack too since on chilly days like this one, they’re easy to wear long underwear with (s/o Uniqlo Heattech!). To both stay warm and feel less fancy, I layered a thin black turtleneck underneath.
A long hemline requires planning in advance.
I switched into the ballet flats I always keep at my desk when I got to work, but for the commute, I used my trusty Sorel wedge boots. I didn’t love the line of it since the height pulled the hemline up from the ground, but that was the point. Long dresses are dirt magnets, so it was important that I wasn’t basically sweeping my train station, the subway car, and everywhere in between with my
Mood: “Disney Sitcom Character: ‘Older Sister in College'”
This outfit started with the skirt and went from there.
Our market editor, Justine Carreon, put this skirt in a shopping story, and when I saw it in person in my local H&M, I decided I needed to have it. There was an important lunch event on my schedule for the day, so I wanted to look polished but still like a magazine staffer. Somehow, adding stripes to leopard felt like the right way to make that happen. I thought the tighter fit of the wool navy-and-white sweater would look the best but tried my boxy Breton tee on too. I was right from the beginning.
Those boots are earning their keep.
Again with answering a complicated hemline and still-not-super-warm forecast. I’d probably like this outfit more in a month’s time when I could wear it with flat leather sandals, but I’m not the kind of person who sacrifices comfort for an outfit.
Mood: “Rich Hiker”
Upgrading the basics is the best you can hope for on a Work From Home day.
I believe in the idea that what you wear makes you feel better, so usually by mid-afternoon I can convince myself to change from pajamas into actual clothes. My mindset is often, “What do I want to wear that I won’t be wasting?” None of my colleagues will see it, so I don’t want to wear something great. Skinny jeans and a cozy sweater are basically the same things as yoga pants and a sweatshirt.
Accessories really matter if your coat’s always on.
Since my coat stays on when I’m at the grocery store or running errands, there’s very little square footage to really show your personality. Because of that, I always try to remember to put on necklaces or earrings on days out of the office. You might not see what shirt I’m wearing, but you will see that I have cool jewelry.
Mood: “On the Board of a Local Food Co-Op”
I am very strategic about my down coats.
This year I invested in a “nice” down coat that I’ll wear to work (and the pilates studio), but I will never give up my dog-walking down coat. There’s a routine with it: Treats go in one pocket, plastic trash I pick up while walking go in the other, and it’s gotten beat up enough that there’s nothing stressful about a dog jumping up with dirty feet.
You can’t see my socks, but I thought about them.
I had a baby shower that afternoon at a house where you typically leave shoes at the door. This makes me so anxious with outfit planning that I’ll pre-warn friends if we’re going somewhere as such so they know to be thoughtful about their socks (or non socks!). I wanted a shoe that would allot for a higher sock so I wouldn’t be stuck walking around a house in little no-show socks.
Mood: “Kate Middleton’s Friend from Uni”
Dress for the life you want to lead.
I moved to the suburbs for a reason, including trodding around in my yard with animals and riding horses. The practical elements of this can’t be thought about too much (you need boots!), but I do love some good layering for this weather. I skipped a thick jacket in favor of thinner pieces I could peel off.
This jacket was my holiday gift from my husband.
Per my request because it was a piece I knew my wardrobe was lacking. I’m not into the look of a proper raincoat, but I wanted something that would be good for drizzle. I also wanted something that felt classic and, honestly, very “country aristocrat” so I could wear it with workout clothes but also jeans to dinner.