We Asked 5 More Women to Wear ‘That One Thing’ in Their Closet

  • Christene Barberich, Co-Founder and Global Editor-in-Chief of Refinery29

    Do you find that you're a sentimental person when it comes to your clothing or not at all?

    I am, but it's totally random what I will feel connected to or not. I like to collect special pieces, but work very hard to pare my closet back regularly...sometimes, aggressively. Rotating things out naturally gives the things I decide to keep a new kind of life, which I really need to feel inspired.

    Tell me about this item!

    Funny enough, this vintage leopard jacket that I found on eBay ages ago has been on a "purgatory" garment rack for at least a year or two. I love how tailored it is -- the sharp lapels are insane! -- and that I imagine it was worn in the '80s with a matching dress by a woman named Silvia.

  • Why have you kept it but not worn it?

    This idea of leopard organza has been hard for me to get my head around. I don't think I would have ever gotten rid of it, it's too silly and wonderful, but thankfully this story forced me to give it a shot.
  • How did it feel to finally wear it?

    I loved it. I mean, it was like being reunited with an old friend. Or, more likely, my inner Silvia from Palm Beach. My initial reaction to reaching for it on the rack has always been hesitation because it seemed like a tough piece to pair with anything, which is why I probably just went for my favorite pair of vintage sailor jeans. They seem to play nice with everyone.

    Vintage jacket -- similar hereJ.Crew shirt, vintage Seafarer jeans, Giulietta shoes
  • Kellie Brown, Founder of And I Get Dressed

    Do you find that you're a sentimental person when it comes to your clothing or not at all?

    I'm sort of bizarrely not sentimental about clothing. I remember my mom yelling at me as a pre-teen about how "clothes weren't disposable" and that I couldn't pop the tags, wear something, then throw it away.
  • Tell me about this item!

    I scored this Hilton Hollis jacket from Century 21 forever ago. I always shop the straight size section for designer pieces that I can make work.

    Why have you kept it but not worn it?

    I love this jacket and have put it on a bunch of times but for whatever reason I would change out of it. Maybe because it was a bit ahead of its time with the whole athliesure vibe. Funny how now mixing sporty pieces into any outfit is such a go-to.
  • How did it feel to finally wear it?

    I felt like an idiot for not wearing a jacket I totally love. I've since worn it three times. Let the healing begin!

    Hilton Hollis jacket, Shaina Mote shirt, Eloquii pants, Saint Laurent bag
  • Claire Beerman, founder of C'est Clairette and editor at ZEITmagazin

    Do you find that you're a sentimental person when it comes to your clothing or not at all?

    I can get pretty sentimental about clothes that I've worn a lot, as they are connected to memories I made and feelings I had while wearing them. Clothes can be like music, photos or scents: when you put them on, they instantly take you back to a special moment, just like an all-time favorite song or my mother's perfume does. On the other hand, I'm really good at throwing out clothes that I actually like but never wore, never wear and most probably never will wear.
  • Tell me about this item!

    I found this blazer in a secondhand store in Berlin. It's by Band of Outsiders, a brand that's hard to get here in Germany. Maybe that also contributed to the fact that I found it incredibly cool. I didn't even think about whether I had something to go with it, I just thought a white blazer was a classic I would be able to combine with anything and keep forever.

    Why have you kept it but not worn it?

    I've only worn this blazer twice in my life, and both times I felt uncomfortable. I don't know why, it's so gorgeous. That's why I never gave it away, I feel like it's awesome enough to just own it. Plus it wasn't cheap. I also picture myself wearing it with matching white wide-leg trousers (that I haven't found yet) and giant earrings at my future dream wedding. I don't know – maybe I just thought this blazer would turn me into Bianca Jagger instantly? I don't want to give up on that idea.
  • How did it feel to finally wear it?

    Well, I realized that white actually is a weird shade: it seems neutral but makes you stand out instantly. It's very posh and luxurious, the color of rich Russian socialites putting up at the Ritz. I'm not that kind of girl! So I felt like I had to play it down with something a bit quirky – the slit jeans – and something cool, which is where the T-shirt comes in. That combo actually felt great. Maybe the blazer finally has its moment!

    Vintage blazer -- similar hereSJYP jeans, Alasdair McLellan T-shirt, Kenzo boots, Topshop earrings
  • Tiffany ReidSenior Fashion Editor

    Do you find that you're a sentimental person when it comes to your clothing or not at all?

    Yes, I can be sentimental. Certain pieces in my closet remind me of specific periods in my life, specifically if I purchased it for a major event like a birthday party, a date, fashion week, etc. Sometimes going through old clothes can take me back to those moments, the same way music can.
  • Tell me about this item!

    It is a white floor-length crochet Oscar De La Renta dress. I've had this dress for years sitting in my closet with no place to wear it to. It has always been too beautiful to wear to just any occasion.

    Why have you kept it but not worn it?

    It's not a traditional wedding gown but has serious potential to be an option for me one day. (I attempted one time to wear it while I was vacationing in Santorini for my birthday, but the crochet knit did not go well with the scorching heat.)
  • How did it feel to finally wear it?

    It felt weird to wear, almost like I popped its cherry too soon. It's just one of those precious things that you want to wear when the time is perfect. It's like wearing a fire outfit but not enough people see you in it that day but just enough people that you can't wear it again. You feel like your look deserves more eyes on it, like it's worthy of a bigger occasion! It's definitely coming out again.

    Oscar de la Renta dress, Hollister jeans, Donna Karan shoes, Herve Van Der Straten bracelets
  • Leandra Medine

    Do you find that you're a sentimental person when it comes to your clothing or not at all?

    I prefer to say that I'm not sentimental when it comes to clothes because I really do believe that it's all just stuff, but I've also developed a career based on the premise that our clothes hold a lot of gravity vis-a-vis our identities, and I do believe that. So, yeah - clothes are important to me.

    Tell me about this item!

    It's a Junya Watanabe jacket that I essentially traded my life for about two months before my wedding in 2012 because I really wanted to wear it with my dress! Once it came, I realized it was too big for the dress (I ended up wearing a white organza motorcycle jacket that I made) but I was/am still so adamant about making it work. Possibly because I felt so convicted about how amazing it is and don't want to believe I was wrong.
  • Why have you kept it but not worn it?

    It is a satin Junya Watanabe jacket with horsehair ruffles across the shoulders. Some things are sacred! Maybe I can loan it to The Met for Rei Kawakubo's retrospective.

    How did it feel to finally wear it?

    I still don't think it works/makes sense.

    Junya Watanabe jacket, Stella Jean skirt, Gucci shoes
Haley Nahman | October 26, 2016

Our fall follow-up to Round one in the summer

Whether you’re a die-hard minimalist, a Konmari enthusiast, or a functional vagabond at the whim of a rotating cast of greedy landlords, you’ve likely given your closet a good several stare-downs over the last decade, right? Which means you’re intimately familiar with the geographical landscape of a bedroom during such an endeavor.

There’s the Trash pile of pit-stained white T-shirts that need to vanish in a fire.

The Donate pile of ill-fitting sweaters that only get the job done in the most utilitarian sense.

The Sell pile of dresses purchased with someone else’s body in mind.

And, of course, the Keep pile of stuff sincerely loved and frequently worn.

Then, finally, there’s your One Thing. The piece whose gravitational pull incites a tsunami of cognitive dissonance that shatters your closet-cleaning confidence and makes a rebel out of you.

Truth #1: This item does not fit your current style.

Truth #2: You have not worn this item in years.

Truth #3: You just know you’re going to need it one day.

And so you keep it. Obviously. And then a couple years later? You keep it again. Obviously! But there’s nothing like the turning of a season to shake us out of our shoddy excuses and make our exceptions into rules.

Enter Christene Barberich, Co-founder and Global Editor-in-Chief of Refinery29Kellie Brown, the Founder of And I Get Dressed, Claire Beerman, Founder of C’est Clairette and editor at ZEITmagazin, Tiffany Reid, Senior Fashion Editor, and Man Repeller’s very own Leandra Medine. Five stylish women who agreed to hunt down one such rule-breaker in their closets and reverse the order. Click through above and see what happened.

Photos by Krista Anna Lewis.


  • Naura M. Keiser

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3bc2d6e37c9901f9dd778b88d948d2e1133eaf006f7114223ff4d3ac789b529f.jpg Leandra, I have been attempting to approximate that jacket for years with “clever” layering of a moto jacket and black ruffled bolero (among other forced pairings). should you ever feel compelled to sell it, pls consider me before theRealReal….

    • Naura M. Keiser

      Also, on a related note I once owned then purged the leopard print item worn by Ms. Barberich.


    • lily


    • Leandra Medine

      You rule

      • Naura M. Keiser

        deeply honored by your comment. weather is perfect for resurrection or re-imagination of JW-inspired outerwear (these pics being from 2015).

  • Leandra, I actually always make outfits in my hand with that junya jacket of yours. It’s beautiful. Keep it forever.

  • Love that white blazer it looks so chic, glad she finally got to wear it!

    – Natalie

  • Kelly

    I have so many of these items lurking in my closet; the grey patent peeptoe lace up Dolce & Gabbana booties, the gold Comme crop trench, the embroidered Saloni gown that I will one day wear to my engagement party… Once i find a partner.
    I am so quick to donate things to friends/family/charity, but these and a handful of others are permanent residents of my closet now.

  • Katy Scheuer

    On an unrelated note, if I have no loafers, should I buy black or pink ones. My sensible side says yes, but I also love the pink ones, because they are baby pink and great, but I don’t want them to turn into that thing I don’t wear, so I guess it’s sort of related.

  • JW JACKET w long black slipdress and some great booties or mules = done! @leandramedine

  • Ting Ting

    I love the leopard organza coat! Usually leopard prints make me go meh, no matter what the trend, but this is definitely a keeper. 🙂
    Leandra, I don’t think that outfit works either, but that jacket is so gorgeous. I think it would go with that lovely summer dress with embroidered red roses (you know, the one you wear on the picture with Peter Pan) or that Céline Lace Cami or that denim Marni dress (all three pieces have sent me into a frenzy of shopping for similar things). And it would always be wearable with denim pants, as long as you have the matching pair of badass shoes (which I know you do). It’s the kind of jacket that the princess wears after she’s come into power and ready to tell all the manipulating elements of her government to go fuck themselves. It’s like a halo. You should wear it more often, you know, we all only have so many years to live. 😀

  • Caro A

    Gosh i love this series

  • Natasha

    Truth #1: This item does not fit your current style.

    ^ One way I test out this point is by bringing these items with me on holiday. Being in a different environment where nobody knows you, I find it so much easier to try new things and air out the weirder parts of my fashion personality. If they still feel wrong then, then they’ve got to go.

    • That’s such a great idea!!

      • Natasha

        🙂 another reason to look forward to your next vacation

    • rachel

      This is so interesting, because I adhere to the complete opposite philosophy: if I don’t wear it at home, I’m sure as hell not going to wear it on vacation. But maybe it’s time for me to switch things up…

  • Ellie

    Yesssss love that this is becoming a regular feature! The last post made me dig out some printed wide legs trousers that I now wear at every opportunity 😍


  • Antillanka

    I’ve been keeping some dresses my grandmas gave to me in this same state of mind haha! Someday, red chiffon dress, someday *stares longingly at the horizon*