Hi, I’m Mary, and this is my column no one asked for about things I like!
As my regular reader(s?) know(s?), I recently sold all my goddamn clothes. Now everyone’s doing it, but this past summer I Marie Kondo’ed before it was popular, went through all my shit and got rid of everything that didn’t spark joy which, as it turned out, was a lot of stuff. In fact, I finished the Tidying Up™ process just the other day when I re-folded all my clothes Kondo-style and can officially confirm I own nothing! I had so much space in my drawers, in fact, that I took several items out of my closet and put them in my dresser. If I seem smug, that’s because I am!
While I’m very proud to own nothing and have no desire to fill up my drawers again, I’ve taken some of the money I made selling my clothes on Poshmark and reinvested it (that’s how I prefer to think of it — not as money spent on clothes but as money invested in pieces) in a few nice items that will last a long time. My largest and most worthwhile investment has been in three beautiful Everlane sweaters (the one pictured above was actually a gift from my sister, who listened to me talk about my plan to buy new sweaters for approximately six months — thanks Kate! Both for the sweater and for listening!) I acquired in the last few months. When I cleaned out my closet, I ended up selling nearly all of my sweaters, which were old and outdated and pretty poor quality to begin with. Most were old J. Crew cashmere cardigans I’d bought on sale during my office days. They were soft but, to be honest, otherwise kind of…shitty. J. Crew is known for its soft cashmere, but the sweaters I had were thin and pilled easily. I got plenty of good wear out of these items, many of which I’d had for close to a decade, but it was time to purge and start fresh. I sold about 15 sweaters, which is a lot but before you judge I’d like to point out that these were a staple of my work wardrobe during my corporate years, that New York City is cold as hell (when I woke up this morning, it was 4 degrees! Fahrenheit!) and that offices everywhere are freezing year-round.
The last few years, I’ve been more into sweatshirts than sweaters and while I remain devoted to the machine-wash lifestyle, the truth is that wool is much warmer than cotton, and that sweaters also look, well, nicer. Though I rarely dress to look nice anymore (I dress for comfort and to win the approval of teenagers), I decided this year that it was time to elevate my winter wardrobe.
Enter Everlane, my current favorite clothing store. They make quality basics using ethical factories and their whole thing is “radical transparency,” meaning they tell you exactly what each piece cost to make and how much less they’re charging for it than traditional retail would. Of course they could juice those numbers, but as an expert shopper, I can assure you Everlane’s quality is much higher than that of similarly priced brands. I’ve written about my devotion to the Everlane Box-Cut T-Shirt, which is perfect, only $16 and now makes up about half of my wardrobe. I have it in black, white, two shades of gray, navy and several different stripes. I’ve learned not to bother buying another other short-sleeve t-shirt because it will just end up at the back of my drawer, unworn. This fall, I purchased this sweatshirt in gray and have since barely removed it from my body.
So when I decided to get some new sweaters, my first thought was to check out Everlane. Their sweaters are slightly more expensive than J. Crew’s and Madewell’s, but I was interested to see if the quality might be superior and oooooh honey IT IS!!! An Everlane cashmere sweater will cost you $30-$50 more than an equivalent piece at J. Crew, but when it comes to quality, there’s absolutely no comparison.
If there’s one thing I learned from throwing out my clothes, it’s that quality is important, and though it’s tempting to get two mediocre sweaters for the price of one amazing sweater, it’s better in the end to just get the amazing one. Since I’m not a television character, I wear the small amount of clothing I have repeatedly. In fact, in the winter (which in New York lasts nearly half the year), I tend to wear a variation of the same exact outfit every day. I now have enough good sweaters (four, one of which my sister bought me from Madewell last year. She gives great gifts!) to rotate so that friends don’t realize I’m wearing the same thing almost every day (or maybe they’re just polite enough to not say anything). I’ve already noticed my high-quality Everlane sweaters can handle the wear.
Over the past year, I’ve discovered the only thrill greater than getting rid of something you no longer want is getting rid of a bunch of shit you no longer want and replacing it all with one thing you really, really, really want. Not to rub it in Marie Kondo’s adorable little face, but I don’t need her help. I’ve already achieved my goal of owning very little, very nice clothing. Now please excuse me while I go accidentally spill something all over one of my gorgeous new sweaters because I may have tidied up, but I’m still a mess!
As always, I’d like to clarify that this is NOT a sponsored post (truly unbelievable, right???). I received nothing for it and am pretty sure no one cares about my new sweaters. Still, if anyone is reading and ever wants to give me literally anything for free, sweater or not, I WILL TAKE IT!!!!!!
Anyway, I hope this was helpful. I’ll be back with more unsolicited recommendations soon!