My Ongoing Plan to Wear What I Own.

Happy weekend to you all. We’re home from our hiking trip. All unpacked and ready to resume normal life. Whatever that means these days.

Hubby is out planting tulip bulbs like the mad gardener he is. This morning he thought we didn’t have quite enough bulbs, so he headed over to Richie’s to top up the supply, got a little carried away, and came home with so many we aren’t sure where to put them. I was supposed to help with the strategic placing so as to balance out the beds. Ha. No balancing necessary, the flower beds are chock full of tulip bulbs. But won’t that be wonderful come spring? Seriously, I’ve never met anyone who is so unable to resist buying things to plant. Well, except for my mum. She was a bit of a mad gardener, too, in her day.

And me, well, I’m doing laundry, ruminating about old clothes, about “intentional dressing”, and chatting with you guys. So I guess things are back to normal, more or less.

A couple of weeks ago I made a plan to wear what I own. Especially those pieces which are a bit of a problem because, as much as I love them, I wasn’t wearing them enough. I called my plan intentional dressing and pledged to pick one piece I’m not wearing enough, style it with a few of my closet regulars, and wear it everywhere I go for a week. Which is a really good plan, in theory. Except when one gets home from hiking on Thursday and there are only two days left in the week.

Still, one must soldier on no matter the obstacles. This week’s intentional dressing piece is my old Vince coat sweater. I bought this at the Nordstrom Anniversary sale in 2015. And I raved about it so much at the time that my sister bought one too. I love the heathery charcoal colour, the shawl collar, and the leather trim. There are also two vertical leather-trimmed seams down the back which is a lovely detail. This darned sweater literally goes with everything. And as I mentioned in my fall closet edit video, I can’t think why I don’t wear it more.

Sitting on the front steps in a Vince coat sweater, Citizens of Humanity Rocket jeans, Everlane tee and Stuart Weitzman loafers.
Casual and comfortable in old jeans and cardigan.

So on Friday when I was off to the library, I pulled on my Vince sweater with my Citizens of Humanity Rocket skinny jeans, my blue box cut pocket tee from Everlane, my Stuart Weitzman loafers, and this old black leather messenger bag that I bought at Holt Renfrew in the nineties. This outfit is a typical “retired Sue” outfit, as opposed to what I’d normally wear when I was still “working Sue.”

My Citizens of Humanity Rocket jeans have been a staple in my closet for five years. And they are just now getting all soft and faded like old jeans should be. Ditto my Stuart Weitzman loafers (similar here), bought in 2014. Except they’re not faded. They still look like new, actually. I’m a big fan of Stuart Weitzman footwear. The brand is pricey, but really good quality, and always fits my long narrow foot. And these shoes have soft suede lining inside making them really comfortable with no socks.

Off to the library in my Vince coat sweater, Everlane tee shirt, Citizens of Humanity Rocket jeans, Stuart Weitzman patent loafers.
This is such a typical “retired Sue” look.

When I came home from the library, I thought I’d style a back-up outfit. In case I needed to go somewhere in my Vince coat sweater, like to an emergency party or something, and didn’t want to take the time to plan an outfit. 🙂

So I tried my coat sweater with my white box cut pocket tee from Everlane, my old faux leather pants from Holt Renfrew, my new AllSaints bag. And these old Cole Haan Chelsea boots. I bought these boots back in 2012 when I was still working, and I was surprised to see that Cole Haan is still making an almost identical pair today.

My goal to wear what I own this week. Only lasted as far as the front yard.
Wearing what I own: old sweater, old pants, old boots.

Last month, when I was switching my summer shoes and sandals for my fall and winter shoes and boots, I ruminated over my old Chelsea boots. I’d left them packed away for the past couple of years because I wasn’t wearing them. But this year, in my quest to wear what I own, I decided to keep them out. So I polished them up, and they look pretty good with my leather pants. According to Emma Hill, Chelsea boots are a “must have” for fall and winter. Not that I usually follow the fashion dictates of other women. But I do find that I almost always agree with Emma’s outfit choices.

Now… just in case you thought I wore this outfit somewhere… I didn’t. From bedroom, to deck, to front lawn, back to bedroom. But while I was doing all this travelling (ha) I felt marvelous. And I heartily wished that I had somewhere else to go. But I didn’t. Sigh. So I took a few extra shots instead.

Trying to wear what I own. Vince coat sweater, Holt Renfrew leather pants, Cole Haan Chelsea boots, Everlane tee.
I felt marvelous in this outfit.

I think we all need to feel marvelous sometimes, don’t you? To look at ourselves in the mirror and say, “Yep, I’ve still got it. Or enough of it to still feel great.” Like our best selves. Sure we’re not twenty anymore. Thank god. Forty has come and gone. And fifty. Many of us don’t remember that landmark because we were too exhausted, what with work and family and menopause. Ha. And some of us won’t see sixty again, either. We have wrinkles, bulges where there weren’t bulges before, and a few rolling hills where there used to be flat plains. But that’s okay. We’re still beautiful, just in a different kind of way.

And some days it’s harder than others to remember that. Especially this year. So if I want to pull on my leather pants to prance around the house and feel marvelous, I will. If that’s what it takes.

You know, one day late last spring, my friend Liz and I were talking. She said I was lucky, privileged even, to have the blog as an excuse to dress up in normal clothes. To get out of my sweats, and wear an outfit I love, even if only for an hour or so. And she’s right.

So I thought I might extend that privilege to you.

I thought maybe I’d start a series, in which every so often I feature shots of you guys in whatever outfit is making you feel like yourself again. I used to take part in a monthly series called “How I Wore My” run by Adrienne Shubin and Jill Burgess on their blogs and it was fun.

My series would be for the readers of High Heels in the Wilderness. A kind of pictorial way for us to wave at each other. A static Zoom drinks party, in which it wouldn’t be only me in my skinny jeans and Chelsea boots waving my glass of wine. But you guys in whatever you’re wearing, holding up your glass or teacup, and smiling hello at the rest of us.

So how about it? Are you game?

Let me know in the comments if this idea appeals to you. Or just weigh in on whatever topic you choose. As usual, we’re listening.

And if you’re in the market for some classic Chelsea boots, I found a few that appealed to me. You can see them below. If you click on the little heart below the product you will be sent an e-mail when that item goes on sale. Which I thought was a cool option.

P.S. All the clothing links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link I will earn a commission.


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From the archives


Fall Closet Goal… Wear What I Own

I have a closet goal this fall. To wear what I own, especially my fall jackets. Here's how I'm doing.

A Month in the Balkans: Travel Wardrobe Debrief

We're home from our Balkan trip. So I'm thinking about my travel wardrobe. What pieces did yeoman service? What should I have left at home?

Blog Geography and Travel Dreams

Talking about blog geography today. About all the places in the world where readers of High Heels in the Wilderness live.

86 thoughts on “My Ongoing Plan to Wear What I Own.”

      1. Oh my goodness! I think I’ve found my new BEST friend! Love this – your fashion style and the wonderful perspectives that I TOTALLY agree upon! Thank you!

  1. Count me in, Sue!! I stay in the house every day, all day, and I would love to get dressed in something other than workout clothes covered in dog hair!! Let us know when! xoxox, B

  2. Love both of your outfits – one casual the other classy! I like your idea and would try, but it has been a long time since I put together any ensemble…., it would be a good exercise for when this “new abnormal” is more in the past. Sigh….. ❤️

  3. The charcoal sweater coat looks wonderful with the blue tee shirt – the two items together really pop and the other outfit also works a treat. The AllSaints bag is a gorgeous piece. I hope you have an appropriate outing soon so you can wear the second outfit. Our spring has gone into hiding at the moment so it’s back to jeans and jumpers for me after some very warm days where I got to wear short sleeves and sandals. Spring can be very fickle around these parts.

  4. Perfect outfits . You never spoil the clean lines by adding lots of ‘bits’ like scarves , trimmings , fiddly bags & assorted jewellry . Just the odd one . That’s my way too . Your cardi/coat is a lovely piece , dateless . I like your plan for us all to join you again . At the moment I can’t see the need to get ‘ dressed up ‘ for months to come & I’ve only opened my wardrobes recently to put in the moth deterrents . I’ll certainly send a pic if I’m home by then . Otherwise it would be boring fleece & wellies

  5. Oddly, I have spent more time and concentration on what I wear this year than I ever have, probably as an exercise in pleasing myself/passing the time/really deciding what it is that I want to sport. It’s been very useful and has helped me to pinpoint the key ideas. Never worn dresses as much as I did this summer. Re the cardigan, I bought something not dissimilar some years ago and literally wore it once. Couldn’t work out why I wouldn’t wear it more and eventually it went to the charity shop. Something about long cardigans and me just doesn’t gel, no matter how much I might like to think we could be pals.

  6. Funny how something so versatile and classy can get pushed out of the rotation, then when rediscovered, works with everything again. That sweater/coat will go with dressed up and casual with ease and looks terrific on you. I have been sorting and eliminating and got rid of a trunk load of bags and boxes this past week, many, many too short skirts etc. When I dropped them off, I popped into the store to check the book section and had to walk past the cardigan section. Well, there was a gorgeous heathered charcoal midcalf wool blend cardigan (heavy knit) calling out to me. It fits perfectly and I now own a gorgeous sweater that feels like a big hug. Should get me through a stretch of chilly weather. A spiffy scarf and gloves, and good to go. A big thanks to you for your constant inspiration. So glad you got away for your ‘retreat’ now that the weather is changing.

  7. This is a great idea- Id be game! Love Chelsea boots (aka paddock boots)- have in many colors and wear weekly. The faux leather pants and outfit are great! So wishing I had somewhere to go…

  8. Well, that sounds like fun, count me and my high heels that haven’t been worn in months and months in. Love the sweater coat, I could use one around the house today, we’ve got snow!

  9. Fabulous sweater! It is versatile and looks quite dressy. I look forward to seeing your readers OOTD.
    Always fun to see what you are wearing Sue!
    I am a tad mad in our garden too…my addiction is not so much tulips but roses.

  10. Let’s do it! I’m in. Your retired look is my semi-retired teaching in the local university on line look.

  11. Love the coatigan with those black leather pants. Outfit is really striking.

    Miss Adrienne’s blog. Hoping all is well for her and her DH since he retired from FD and that the fires have not been too close to their home. Might join you if I can come up with a decent outfit. Virtual schooling 6yr old GS has eaten up a great deal of time, but it does mean I get dressed halfway decently every day since I seem to be on screen almost as much as he is–whether I want to be or not.

    Have to laugh about the boots. I actually bought a pair of Chelsea boots while in Chelsea in January. That thought made me miss travel. I’ve gone to London every January for so many years…but not this coming one. 🙁

  12. That cardigan with the faux-leather pants and Chelsea boots is amazing!! Chelsea boots were made famous originally by The Beatles and have never gone out of style. I love the idea of seeing your readers in their outfits, but probably won’t post any of my own fashion choices. I absolutely hate having my picture taken, which is why personal pictures never appear on my own blog BoomerBroadcast. Must work on that.

  13. Love that outfit, even if it was only to “prance” around the house… LOL
    I’ve got a great pair of Chelsea boots that I bought in M&S over here in the UK about a year ago – they usually have some every year. Great staple.
    I wish I could get some leather trousers though… I did have some, bought from Lands End – but my ex said they looked daft on me, so I returned them. Wish I’d kept them!!! (Not sure they’d fit now though, but… And that’s one of many, many reasons that he’s my ex!). 😉

  14. I originally purchased that same Vince charcoal sweater coat because of your recommendation. Still have, still love. A keeper! Thanks again.

  15. Luv this intentional dressing concept. My closet is bursting with clothes but I actually wear a fraction of what I have. Gonna really make an effort to shop in my own closet and stop buying more closet “hangers”.

  16. I love this idea and just came across your blog… thank you! S0 fun and smart. I havr been purchasing at least 1 thing a day online to wear nowhere and you have given me some purpose. I’m down to dress up. Or maybe I’m up to dress down but im for sure ready to start having fun and wearing what I have and stop shopping mindlessly.

    Thanks Sue…. 😘

    1. So glad you discovered my blog. The allure of newness is so hard to resist. I think that every day when I log on and see e-mails from Everlane or MatchesFashion or wherever.

  17. Count me in! I’m new to the group, I am still working full-time could have retired 3 years ago still love working in health care. Have just given away 40 lbs and have found clothes that are classic from years ago…I’m starting to wear them, you are an inspiration to me to give the incentive to wear them again ❤

  18. Love both your outfits. I’m a sweater person during winter months. I also have many things in my closet I don’t wear. Some I have “out grown” ha, ha which I will pack up and donate. But those that fit will be factored in “intentionally dressing.” Count me in.

  19. I love the outfits, they’re so classy, I’m a stay at home mom ,homeschooling and im honestly so sick of feeling blah . I rarely buy clothes for myself but I have a few pieces that I love but never wear because I I’m not as body confident like I was in my younger years,but count me in .

      1. You just made my morning. I love dressing up and count each day as a special occasion. I don’t need any excuse to feel good.

  20. Silvia Gray Eddington

    You are a breath of fresh air! I’m definitely in!
    I was just thinking about how much I miss getting all dolled up to go out to dinner, see plays, etc.
    I needed an excuse to do it again and coincidentally read your blog post.
    This is going to be fun!!

    1. I agree! We have a gala which will be virtual in November, but am gathering with 3 friends at their home, if we all stay well, and we are dressing up!!!! So excited, especially since I have lost 10 lbs and my top I bought at consignment last year fits!!! I can’t wait to be fancy!

  21. I am 67 years old and decided to retire about three years ago. When I worked, I was a clothes horse! I have donated clothing to charities and sold some items on the internet. I still have an abundance of clothes and truly enjoy getting dressed up to go out! After retirement and the pandemic, I have little reason to dress up anymore and am finding that my main daily attire consists of jeans (which I love). Your article has given me the inspiration to just dress like I used to and be the woman that I am! Thanks for sharing your story.

  22. Yup. Count me in! I love your posts on shopping your closet and have just completed a reorganization of my closet so I could see what I own. It feels good. I do love clothes but I realize I need to wear what I own instead of looking for more to buy. I have also realized from my recent closet reorganization what colours I truly love and those are the items that I really feel good in. I have decided to really think about colour when I shop, to purchase the best quality I can afford and ensure that the item will work with what I already own, Even though I have nowhere to go most days I try to dress intentionally so I feel good about myself.

  23. I like this challenge–with or without sharing pics!–am many pounds, & grown kids past that svelte prime of youth, but I feel more appreciated now. My man loves my curves and I am enjoying them more with his eyes as mirrors. I’ve always tried to “coordinate”; have know. I have my own sort of “uniform” that works. But I do have things I once “loved” just tucked away. Will NOT bring out the robins egg dotted swiss empire waisted Easter dress of my teens, but I think most of everything else could be put into play still in collection as wekiss the start of our 70s.

    1. Oh… I have a few of those pieces that I will never, ever wear again but keep for sentimental reasons. Feel free to participate with us with a pic, or with a description instead.

    1. No… not an achievement. But still fun and a good way to make sure that I haven’t wasted my money by letting things hang unworn in my closet.

  24. I love your looks! I love Chelsea boots too. I ordered 3 different Blondo boots from NAS and so far am returning all as no where to wear them and my last year’s ones still look good. I did get a Caslon pair that look great and I hope I can figure out what to wear with them. I like the Paul Green, but waiting as $$. I will try and overcome my shyness and get dressed and do this. Headed to Mall of America to do returns tomorrow and giddy at the thought of getting out and dressing up!!!

    1. I love the look of the Chelsea boots with the little tab and ring visible in the back, but I struggle to make that look good. I may try tucking my wool leggings into them later in the season. I haven’t dared order footwear on-line yet because my foot is such a difficult fit.

  25. I don’t have anything like your discipline or organization wardrobe-wise, but I do have admiration for the results you get — great OOTDs here. Our puddles were frozen here over the last few days and everyone’s racing to get tires changed. . . while I raced to (belatedly!) get my sweaters, etc. out of their moth-proof (ha!0 containers. And I’m surprised at how keen I am to get reacquainted with a few pieces especially. Who knows, I may even get ambitious enough to put a few looks together and join your series . . sounds like fun!

    1. Funnily enough we haven’t had frozen puddles here yet. Unless I have just not been up and out early enough… which is a distinct possibility. 🙂

  26. you look lovely in both of those outfits. coincidentally i have a cardigan like that and the same blue tshirt. love the idea of a virtual drink or two if i can find some real clothes to wear

  27. Sue, as always I love your outfits! The weather here in Northern California has finally cooled and I feel so excited to wear something other than shorts, t-shirts and exercise pants. This “virtual party” may just be the inspiration to get me out of my doldrums!
    Thank you

  28. Thumbs up for the “mad gardener”! Your yard will look gorgeous in spring
    I’ve met a doctor ,years ago,who had 5000 tulips in her yard (only heard about it,haven’t seen this plethora of beauty ,joy ad a hard work)- don’t tell Stu about this
    Your combinations are lovely (I have a similar cashmere alpaca thin jacket in taupe and wear it not so often lately,although is beautiful) and your foot wear immaculate.I’m so sorry that we don’t have S.Weitzman here

    1. I am sad that I did not have a chance for a closet tour when we were in Zagreb. I’m laughing here as I imagine us leaving Stu with the bottle of wine as we disappear into your closet for an hour.

  29. I love your idea, Sue! Definitely count me in. One of the things that I love about blogging and following a selection of blogs is the sense of community that develops. How wonderful to have an opportunity to actually some of the others in that community!

  30. OMG…. I wore my bathrobe ALL day today…. glad I found this website of inspiring women!!
    Tomorrow I will get all dolled up… just for me!

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