Most Loved Items of 2021

Photo by Zaksheuskaya on

Most Loved Items of 2021

There’s nothing like a little self-reflection at the end of the year.

Today, I’m reflecting on the year in fashion in order to figure out what I used and loved most.

I have done this kind of roundup before, but this year, I’m specifically not talking just about items I purchased in 2021. Because I think it makes way more sense to talk about items that have stood the test of time, whether I added them to my life this year or several years ago.

2021 was a weird year because I spent the first half of the year doing Zoom school at my apartment in New Haven due to the pandemic. As you can imagine, I wore a lot of sweatpants.

After I got fully vaccinated in May, I temporarily moved to Virginia for a summer internship. I was working in-person and doing pastoral care visitations. It was also very hot and muggy. So that necessitated an entirely different wardrobe.

Then, school started back up in person in New England. Again, total wardrobe shift.

The items I feature below reflect those various shifts.

This post contains affiliate links and I may make commission on purchases.

1 | Cashmere Sweatpants

My cashmere sweatpants from Quince felt like a ridiculous luxury item when I first got them. But I wear them so frequently during colder months – which is more than half the year in Connecticut – that the cost per wear is minimal. See review.

Honorable Mention: American Giant Sweatpants

quince cashmere - Most Loved Items of 2021

2 | Cashmere Sweater

I first got into cashmere when I worked at a thrift shop. But the Quince version is soft and relatively affordable for new cashmere. I can wear it as a light layer in mild weather or layer it up in the winter. See review.


ponto footwear, blue - Most Loved Items of 2021

3 | Ponto Shoes

These were a collaboration item that ended up being a complete winner! Not only do I frequently get asked about them when I wear them, one of my friends bought them to wear as a hospital chaplain. See review.


4 | Ribbed Tees

Ribbed knit shirts are my ride or die item. I will always stand behind Everlane’s pima rib cotton tees. I also picked up a few of these from Target. I like them because they can be dressed up or down so easily, and always conform to the body for a flattering fit.


monochrome outfits - Most Loved Items of 2021

5 | Target Chinos

These were a last minute purchase to fill out my internship wardrobe. They fit well, come in great colors, and wash up pretty well, too, considering how inexpensive they are. I would say they run slightly large (mine are loose at the waist).


waterproof combat boots - Most Loved Items of 2021

6 | Combat Boots

I wanted a pair of lug sole boots that didn’t feel like I was lifting weights every time I walked (looking at you, Doc Martens). These boots are super lightweight, water proof, and really comfortable after a short break-in period.


7 | Madewell Curvy Fit Denim

I am SO glad I finally tried this denim. It’s fair trade certified – which is a huge plus – and actually fits my waist to hip ratio. I like pretty much all cuts, but I do sometimes buy a tall if they’re especially cropped (I’m 5’7”). See review.


Madewell transport bag, puff edition - Most Loved Items of 2021

8 | Madewell Transport Bag

I wanted this bag as soon as I saw it, but I wasn’t sure about the price point. While it’s definitely a kind of trend item, the style recalls vintage camera bags, which lends more versatility. And it is the perfect size while also being lightweight. I got mine on eBay at a significant discount. It’s still available on the Madewell site.


9 | Columbia Fleece Jacket

This seems like a silly item, and the fact that it’s made with polyester fleece means it needs to be washed sparingly and preferably with a Guppy Bag. But it is SO warm, even in 40 degree weather. I love it because it is practically weightless, which means it’s a great layering option (I really don’t like heavy, constricting things).


10 | Tiny Cross Necklace

Ideally, I would have found something sustainably-sourced for this necklace. But I wanted something very specific. I inherited my grandma’s cross necklace, but it is big, clunky, and yellow-gold. People kept telling me I looked like a mob boss when I wore it. This one just works better on my frame.


Among non-clothing purchases, my best buy for the year wasn’t actually a buy. I love using my iPad to save and highlight class readings. I received it as part of my compensation for an internship.

What are your most loved items this year?

Leah Wise

Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.

May we recommend...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.