Clothes to Swear By


Sometimes it finds you: that perfect leather jacket, a vintage scarf that completes every look, a go-to thrifted sweater. These are the garments the Sweet editors turn to time and time again. Find out why below!

From: Seventeen
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Chanel Parks, assistant editor, @chanelinezp

The Item: A vintage Gucci silk scarf

Its Origins: I found it at a vintage shop off of Georgia Avenue in Washington, D.C., after an afternoon of misses in other local consignment stores. I've had it for 5 years.

Why I Love It: This luxurious scarf (I didn't know it was Gucci until recently) has been used as every accessory imaginable. It's been wrapped around my head, tied around my neck, roped around my wrist, and even used as an impromptu belt. (What's next, a stand-in shoelace, perhaps?) The scarf is the most used item in my wardrobe and yet is still in good condition—I hope to keep it that way for another five years, at least.

Chantal Strasburger, assistant editor, @chantagold

The Item: A gold mesh shoulder cape

Its Origins: It was love at first sight in a vintage store at home in Austin, Texas.

Why I Love It: Spring break my senior year of college, I was walking around downtown when I saw the most gorgeous gold cape in a storefront window. It was out of my price range—the tag places it mid-1900s—but I tried it on anyway. The metallic chainmail (for lack of a better term) was cool against my skin, and I instantly felt tingles and whispered softly to it: "We belong together." But instead of shelling out cash I didn't have, I snapped my mother a picture to savor the memory and said goodbye to the love of my life. When my parents came to Saint Louis for my graduation later that year, however, they surprised me with the gleaming cape! Their effort in tracking it down, and the sheer gorgeousness of the unusual "fabric," was the perfect way to end an amazing four years of college. I've never worn it out of the house (until now!) for fear of damaging it, but I've hosted some damn good parties in it.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Molly Elizalde, associate editor, @mollyelizalde

The Item: Blue suede jacket

Its Origins: I picked this off a rack of boho dresses at a secondhand sale near my college in upstate New York about five years ago.

Why I Love It: When I bought this jacket for $10, I thought it would just be a cool thing to wear out that night. But as it turns out, it's taken me through much more. Anytime I don't know what to wear, this jacket is my answer. Thrown over jeans and a simple top, put under a coat in lieu of a sweater in winter, used as a blanket in winter—it does no wrong. And the suede and cut-outs give it that extra layer of interest.

Leigh Taylor (camera shy), contributing fashion writer

The Item: Vintage "student fit" Levi's

Its Origins: These jeans were a gift from my fashion fairy godmother, who shall remain unnamed. I had complained to her about not being able to find the perfect fitting pair of vintage Levi's and a few weeks later these landed at my door.

Why I Love It: Not only do these jeans fit me perfectly, they also happen to look good with every other item in my wardrobe. They are my go-to denim and just like my fashion fairy godmother, they never let me down.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Rebecca Deczynski, editorial assistant, @rebeccadecz

The Item: A worn-in, oversized men's L.L. Bean Cardigan

Its Origins: I found this in the men's department of a thrift store in suburban New Jersey when I was 17.

Why I Love It: In high school, I spiraled into a vicious cycle of thrift shopping at least once a week (a habit that would eventually lead me to create my own vintage Etsy shop, but that's another story). One day, with my cart full of ruffled '80s dresses and demure '60s coats, I wandered into the men's section in search of some winter sweaters. What I found was the ideal camel-colored cardigan, a size XL and worn enough so that the cotton fabric had a softness to which no new sweater could ever compare. It became my go-to choice of outerwear through the rest of high school and my favorite housecoat after that. Although its sleeves are now slightly tattered, I will never be able to give it up.

Abbey Maxbauer, editorial intern, @abbeymaxbauer

The Item: A sleeveless black windbreaker dress

Its Origins: I found this dress at a secondhand store in Savannah, Georgia when I was 16.

Why I Love It: This piece is a true gem that I may never get rid of. I have no idea who made it or when, but I have never seen another one like it. The way I style it has definitely evolved over the past several years, but this dress has yet to retire as a summer staple for me. It seems odd to call a sleeveless windbreaker dress "timeless," but mine just might be!

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Catherine Fuentes, managing editor, @cat_fuentes

The Item: Gap denim jacket

Its Origins: I bought this before I started college, and I've been bringing it everywhere with me for well over a decade now.

Why I Love It: This piece can go with absolutely anything, and it always has. Whether I am wearing a preppy sundress or a pair of jeans and a loose T-shirt, this jacket adds a necessary dose of effortless cool that no other item in my closet can.

Rebecca Bates, senior editor, @re.beccabates

The Item: A circa-1970 Peck & Peck "peasant" dress

Its Origins: My mother bought this when she was about 15, and wore it throughout high school. It ended up in the costume closet in the playroom in my childhood home, where it hung for years before I realized it wasn't just a costume.

Why I Love It: Of course, it's beautiful to be able to take something that was—decades ago—part of your mother's wardrobe, and incorporate it into your own. But this dress is quite unique beyond that: It has lovely detailing, with a patterned trim and buttoned cuffs for a folksy touch. I try to avoid other boho accessories when I wear it because the dress is so obviously vintage—I don't want it to seem like hippie overkill. But my styling is always pretty minimal!

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Natalia Tyndall, administrative assistant, @talylabella

The Item: Black leather jacket

Its Origins: This jacket was a gift from my stepmom from a few years back.

Why I Love It: I think everyone needs to have a leather jacket as a wardrobe staple. There have been countless times when I was at a loss for what to wear, put on my jacket, and my outfit was instantly complete. It's sleek, goes with everything, and instantly makes me feel ten times cooler when I wear it.

Maia Schoenfelder, social media editor, @maiaschoenf

The Item: Vintage Kenzo skirt

Its Origins: I stole this skirt out of my mother's closet when I was 17 (sorry, Mom!) because I liked how flowy it is. I didn't even notice the Kenzo tag until six years later!

Why I Love It: This piece pretty much goes against all of my personal style points—it's patterned, it's long, it's pretty loud, and it's a skirt. I'm not even sure why I was originally drawn to it. But as the years have gone on, it has come to be the perfect statement piece. It's a summer staple that can take me from casual stroll to an outdoor wedding. Last summer, I saw a fashion editor wearing it on Instagram—with a matching top! I've been on an eBay hunt for my skirt's missing link ever since.

More from sweet: