Wardrobe Workhorses

madewell glasgow satchel bag - on sale

Remember a few weeks ago when I was telling you about how black pants had become an indispensable item in my wardrobe — something I couldn’t live without? I was thinking about this the other day as I was getting dressed, and realized that the simplification process has extended far beyond pants. Recently, there have been a few items in my wardrobe that I’ve reached for over and over again, so much so that I’ve already looked online so that I can buy multiples of them (a sure sign that you know you really love something). Today I thought I’d share a few of these wardrobe workhorses, because honestly, they’re things I’d highly recommend you add to your closet! 


banana republic silk blouse

First up, this blouse from Banana Republic. I bought it in-store late last summer, never dreaming that it would become such a go-to piece for me. I recently asked Joe if he was sick of seeing it, because I’m pretty sure I’ve worn it out on every Friday night date for the last two or three months. I believe that every woman needs a good button down silk blouse (or several) in their wardrobe, but this blouse has also proven that every woman needs a non-button down ladylike silk (or in this case, good polyester) blouse in their wardrobe, too. It pairs effortlessly with any type of skinny pant, looks fabulous with a vest thrown over it, and drapes beautifully so that it’s slimming and good at camouflaging simultaneously. With this particular blouse, sometimes I leave the top button closed and wear dainty gold necklaces with it; other times I leave the placket open and pair it with a bold statement necklace (the material is woven in such a way that the placket won’t flop around too much if left open, which I love). I often pair this blouse with those faux leather moto pants, and boom, perfect date night/night on the town outfit.

Banana Republic isn’t selling this right now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a similar style appears on their shelves come spring/summer time — I have seen them create similar looking blouses each year! If you needed one right this very second, Piperlime has one option (albeit a bit pricier and also more detail-oriented), Club Monaco has a few that are gorgeous, super modern, and an extra 30% off (here and here), and Nordstrom has one with a waterfall placket.


madewell glasglow satchel

I bought the Glasgow satchel from Madewell earlier in the fall, needing a simple, basic, everyday bag that could haul a ton of stuff, go with everything, and that I wouldn’t have to worry about getting wet or dirty during the winter and on the subway. I liked the overall shape of this bag — it’s interesting, but still feels classic enough, with gold tone hardware and feet on the base. It’s ended up being a fabulous workhorse bag! It can carry all the everyday purse items, plus still fit things like flats and/or lots of winter accessories (carrying a pair of gloves, a hat, ear muffs, etc has been essential lately). I like that when I’m running out the door during the week, I can take this to a meeting or out to dinner, and it fits the occasion well (nothing drives me nuttier than having to switch out a purse every damn day!). Nowadays, I typically only swap bags for fancier date nights that call for a clutch or something dressier; on the whole, this bag has let me streamline the whole “jetting out the door” thing. PS, Madewell is still selling this, in a bunch of colors, and it’s on sale!


jbrand photo ready denim

Yes, a pair of jeans makes my list! I purchased these J Brand jeans just a couple weeks ago, and have worn them pretty much every day since. So why are a pair of jeans that special? Well, I’d purchased J Brand jeans before (and I always love them!), but these were from a particular line I’d never tried before — the photo ready denim line. Holy comfortable and flattering jeans! These are without a doubt the most comfortable, wearable jeans I have ever owned. They stretch perfectly, but still feel thick and substantial (not too thin and overly stretchy like jeggings). With this particular pair, they are a very, very dark blue, which can pass for black in the evening, and have the perfect amount of distressing at the knees and ankles — not too ripped up, but also not too fake looking. I love the feel of the material and the fit so much, that I’ve already bookmarked other jeans I want from the ‘photo ready’ line. Trust me, they’re amazing!

So these are my three recent wardrobe workhorses that I can’t get enough of. Do you have any that you’ve been wearing on repeat?


All post images by Victoria McGinley


  1. 2.12.15
    Jenn said:

    I’ll have to check out the photo ready line. I’m all about comfortable and flattering denim! My go-to’s sound somewhat similar – 7’s Skinny Illusion. I don’t know how they do it, but they make me look at least 10 pounds lighter! Magic jeans, I tell ya. Once the weather gets warmer, my Minnetonka moccs become my footwear of choice. They’re really the only flats I’ve ever grown to love, and I wear them with everything. And my trusty grey sweatshirt. I’m pretty sure my husband wouldn’t hesitate. He’d tell you he’s about done with me wearing it! I’m surprised it hasn’t gone missing, tbh!

  2. 2.12.15
    jillian said:

    i love all of these picks!! i wear a lot of black and i appreciate how versatile the pieces are! xo jillian – cornflake dreams

  3. 2.12.15

    Now I just remembered that I already professed my love for my GAP skinnies on the blog and the repeated myself on Instagram yesterday #losingit. I want to add some distressed denim to my wardrobe and I can’t think of a better color than my go-to…black! I’m weird about trying on jeans, so I may have to see if they have this specific style at Nordstrom here in Kansas City :)

  4. 2.12.15

    In love with J.Brand jeans – I need to try out the distressed ones. I’ve been admiring Madewell’s bags for a while, and I’m glad to know they hold up really well! I love the shapes of their bags.

  5. 2.12.15

    I love that satchel. It doesn’t even look like it’s from Madewell, it looks like Chloe or something. Really classic but still interesting…it got me thinking, I have so many tote bags that I use when I need to hold everything, but a large satchel can hold just as much and looks a little more dressed up, I think. I wish I had room in my closet for another bag because now I really want this one! On another note, you have gorgeous light in your apartment! What kind of camera and lens are you using these days? These photos are really beautiful!

    • 2.12.15

      Thanks! Believe it or not, natural light in my apartment is not that great. I just chose to shoot everything next to a window to maximize it, then added additional light within Photoshop. As for equipment, still just a Canon Rebel with a 1.8/f 50mm lens, set to low aperture, high ISO, and adjusted shutter speeds based on the angle/light/set up, etc.

      Yes, agree on a larger satchel — I realized that same thing about totes vs satchels a while ago, and it’s true, I always feel prepared for virtually any social situation with a satchel!

  6. 2.12.15

    I love that you have a “uniform”. I really need to work on purchasing some timeless, statement pieces for my own wardrobe – as soon as I am out of this weight loss phase.

  7. 2.12.15
    Jennifer said:

    I swear by Uniqlo jeans. They are super cheap and so comfy. I have to order online or take a special trip to NY.

  8. 2.12.15
    Erica said:

    I have really loved Banana Republic lately. I fell away from shopping there often for a couple of years, but I’m back. I have a very similar black shirt I bought there and wear often. It even fit my belly earlier in my pregnancy!

    My go to booties this winter have been the Sam Edelman Petty in putty. I wear them with everything and reach for them more than any others in my closet (well except for my Nike Pegasus, I guess they’d be my other go to this winter).

    • 2.12.15

      Agree on Banana! It used to be mostly stuff I’d only wear to my more conservative office a few years ago; now, they have basics with a modern edge that I love for everyday and going out!

  9. 2.13.15
    Kristen said:

    Love the Satchel! Does it fit a macbook?

    • 2.14.15

      It doesn’t fit my 13″ Air…but definitely an iPad or iPad mini!

  10. 2.19.15

    I love that blouse! I need one like that.

    I did a post about my wardrobe workhorses back in August, and some of them are still in heavy rotation (e.g. a olive green leather Madewell tote and some hot pink animal print Nikes). But I think I’ve worn this striped ponte dress about a billion times since I got it: http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=1014731&vid=1&pid=218130002

    I have a hard time finding jeans that fit well, but the Pilcro brand from anthro usually seems to work for me. I have a faded black pair from last year that I’m loving right now, but I’m always on the hunt for new styles. I’ll have to check out the J.Brand photo ready line!

  11. 2.25.15

    I love the satchel. One question, I plan to use the longer strap with the bag, attaching it to the ‘D’ loop buckle. My concern is that the little button closure thing wouldn’t be very strong. Does the button closure actually have a function (open/close) or is it just decorative? It would bug me if the side features that hold the top corners of the bag down, keep popping off.

    I’d love any feedback you can offer. Thanks!

    PS, I love your photos.

    • 3.1.15

      Hi Monica! Sorry it took me a few days to get back to you! The button closure on the side of the satchel (not the on the adjustable strap) is functional, however, it seems like the hole punched for it is very small — so small that if I tried pretty hard to force it through, it still wouldn’t go. I imagine if I wrestled with it long enough I could force it through, but for everyday use, I definitely would not worry about it — it’s very strong!

  12. 3.26.15
    Amber said:

    Hi, just wondering if the Madewell satchel is black or night vision (navy). Thanks!

  13. 5.25.15
    Esti said:

    Does it fit a laptop? Thank u!

    • 5.27.15

      Hi Esti! It would probably fit a very small 11″ laptop — like the 11″ Air. However, it would be very snug and I would be worried about it banging into things. Probably not the best laptop bag!

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