The Old Reliable

It struck me this morning. As, once again, I really didn’t prepare what I was going to wear to work. And I was running a bit—late so to speak.

I was on all fours, on the floor in my closet, in my underwear.  Flabby bits and jelly belly flapping around as I tried to find the shoes I wanted to wear.

And then I came across my old reliable:  My Nike Air Ballet Flats.  These shoes have been in my possession for many years now.  The pair was purchased at the outlet mall close to where I live.  I paid about $80 for them, which at the time wasn’t much of an outlet price. But they have become my “Old Reliable” when I’m traveling. They have walked the city streets of Paris and New York umpteen times. They have trekked the dry and rough terrain of Provence and all stops along the Cote d’Azur.

And, as usual, Nike has discontinued this fabulous shoe. It had something to do with their partnership with Nike.

And they don’t wear out. They are comfy as all get-out and I love them.

But today, I wanted to wear a different shoe. I was Hell-bent on wearing my black Repetto’s. This is another “Old Reliable”. I’ve had them for years. Years!  They were purchased in Paris and once they were properly broken in, they became one of my old reliables because I know that I can wear these shoes from office to dinner. I can dress ‘em up or down. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that my Repettos (all three pair) have managed to retain their brand-new shape and not stretch out.

These iconic ballet flats always look good!

Resting in their home town of Paris. They fit my narrow feet so well! Old reliables in an old reliable city!

Then I got to thinking about my other “Old Reliables”.  I’m sure you know by now how much I love my comfortable old Bass Weejuns.  They have been an old reliable for decades. They are my errand shoe and more.  Over the years they have formed to the shape of my feet and my toes have comfortable little leather cubicles to snuggle into as the insole has worn down in spots.

They’ve been repaired and resoled many times but these decades-old loafers are my favorites!

Another “Old Reliable” is the trench coat I purchased at J. Crew Factory in March of 2016.  Originally purchased as a “rain” coat, it has surpassed even the harshest precipitation.  It is the one article of clothing I’ve worn this winter more than anything else. It never got really cold this past winter and with my penchant for blazers and lady jackets, it made sense to wear a lighter coat.  The more I wear it, the more I love it and realize what a great deal this purchase was.

This photo was taken in January. JANUARY!! Notice I’m not wearing socks either. This trench was my most-worn coat this past winter!

I love this coat so much I wrote an entire blog post about it:  Drenched and Entrenched

Getting my spy on!

I have a pair of white shorts that are also “Old Reliables”. They are denim. There is a bit of the stretch in them. I’ve worn them through fat times and leaner times.  They are a bit lose this year but I love them that way!  Now that the weather is warmer, these are the shorts I throw on when I arrive home from work.  And they look fine if I must run out to the store in an emergency. I can throw a shirt and my old reliable Weejuns on and my ensemble is complete.

The white shorts–and I LOVE the denim ones because they don’t creep up my thighs! The shorts stay put! VERY reliable!

My navy Schoolboy blazer is another “Old Reliable” because it goes with everything.  It is heavy enough and warm enough to wear in the winter and light enough to wear throughout the spring.  That navy blazer is so reliable that I have three of them. Just in case!

Case Number One

Case Number Two

I rest my case with the navy blazer being an old reliable!

The Brie wig by Vivica Fox, has, surprisingly turned into an “old reliable” for me.  Yes. I was going to trash this wig because it got natty and tangled. And after watching a YouTube video on washing wigs and conditioning them with fabric softener, I have given her new life.

She is reliable because she always looks good. I don’t have to fuss with her and she looks great pulled back as she does down.

Who know that an inexpensive head of hair would end up to be…

..and old reliable?  See how good it looks pulled back too?  If you are interested it is $24.99 on Divatress’ site!

My big hoop earrings are “old reliables” too. They are inexpensive. $2.88 a pair!  And, quite honestly, if someone comes up that close to me to inspect my jewelry they are going to be shoved the way Elaine Bennis shoved the Seinfeld crew!

Best $2.88 of all time. Check out the photo of me above this. I’m wearing these el-cheapos!

That’s right. Get too close to inspect my cheap baubles and this is what I shall do to you!

Same with my fake pearls.  Those simple strands of white always finish off the neckline of a sweater that may not look too swift against my bare turkey neck.

I don’t get the chance to thank my old reliables but these are items that I know will never fail me. They always contribute to helping me in my quest to look better and to be comfortable and to feel good!

Hey!  Do you think that my old reliables think of me as an old reliable?  They should—after all, I’m also old. And very reliable!

I’m a very reliable old reliable!!

How about you. Do you have any old reliables that you couldn’t live without?

I wanna know!

Here’s a very old reliable song: “Ol’55” by the Eagles.  I was born in that year!!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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31 Responses to The Old Reliable

  1. NickyB. says:


  2. Momcat says:

    You are so right Catherine! I have a mountain of earrings and don’t I continually reach for the same pair of gold oval hoops my husband bought at ….Costco. They always look good with whatever I wear! I believe that it’s a good thing to have those old reliables for days when we’re running late but also on days when we have job interviews, tough meetings, important presentations or just need to feel grounded! It’s great to try new and different things for they too may well become ‘old reliables’ one day but when you need to feel ‘bon dans ta peau’ nothing beats the tried and true!

    • Catherine says:

      So true Momcat! When I look at all the costume jewelry I have–I realize that I hardly wear any of it except for my reliables. I also feel more comfortable with the tried and true. But isn’t it true about hoop earrings? Why buy expensive ones when the cheap ones are just as good and sturdier! XOxoxOxo

  3. Coco by Coco Chanel is my old reliable. I get so many compliments for how lovely I smell! The world isn’t quite so full of sharp edges when I can smell it 😃

    • Catherine says:

      Olive. Thank you for adding fragrance! I completely forgot to add mine! My spring/summer scents are Fragonard’s Fleur d’Oranger and Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire
      Scent is just as important as underwear!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  4. The flats do look comfy and nothing beats comfort.

  5. Nancy says:

    I LOVE this post…honestly tho I love ALL your posts…so happy when you put a new one up. Lets see…def. old reliable is absolutely the same pearl necklace as you…not cheap but not pricey and when I look at the price per wear quotient…have paid for themselves many times over. Love the perfume as as old reliable; mine is Narcisco Parfum…I always thought it was so cool to have a signature scent and this has become mine…worn for at least 12 years, occasionally change it to Coco Madamoiselle which I have used occasionally for past 6 or 7 yrs. My shoe situation is so awful due to plantar fascilitis that it deserves no space on your lovely blog and a pink tweed winter coat from prob. 10 years ago that I love and still get compliments on. Sure they are more but those are what come to mind right now. Oh yes…one new to me item that i love, have purchased 3 of and will absolutely be an old reliable is my Kendra Scott Rayne necklaces…a pearlized white, black and just added hot pink to my collection…if not wearing the pearls I prob. have one of these on as I head out to work.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Nancy! I’m glad that another friend has commented about scent!!! Our favorite scents ARE old reliables! And you cannot go wrong with a good strand of fake pearls either. I swear Nancy, I am now on a mission to find perfect shoes for you. I’m not kidding! I will keep researching!!! I have a really nice pair of Kendra Scott earrings that I should be wearing more often. Maybe I’ll pull them out of the drawer tomorrow!! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • Nancy says:

        I WELCOME/beg for any suggestions/recommendations you can offer in the shoe dept. I was never a big shoe person UNTIL I was so limited in what I can wear and now I realize how much shoes complete an outfit. I am not 110 yrs. old but feel like it when I list the things I need…Wide toe box or wide width, strong arch support so that pretty much leaves out flats because none I have found offer much arch support at all…some relatively inexpensive brands (inexpensive to me now given the cost of the ugly shoes I am forced to purchase) like Sofft , Clartks and Rockport are just not supportive enough for my poor feet.

  6. hipchick66 says:

    Hmm, had to think about this. Maybe I change my style too often, or I’m just fickle because I couldn’t come up with much. An Old Navy blanket coat in a gray leopard print that’s a bit too big but perfect. Keeps me warm, not hot, it isn’t heavy, and I always get compliments on it. A pair of Harley Davidson black short boots that are over 30 years old, got lots of wear but still look new. And Juicy Couture original perfume, a floral for a chick who doesn’t like florals! Lol

  7. Judy says:

    A great post, Catherine, thank you. My most favourite thing is a huge, warm but very light Joseph sweater – about 25 years old. Chunky knit, a bit boxy, wide polo neck, makes me look and feel wonderful. My husband bought it in the Sloane Street shop one Christmas in the 80’s, my daughter coveted it and was only allowed to borrow it on very special occasions. The last few winters have been so mild and central heating in England is now so effective that I haven’t worn it much but i love it when I do. Most of all, i love knowing it is there.

    • Catherine says:

      Judy!!! Are you a Sloane Ranger????? Oh I will bet that sweater is absolutely beautiful and the fact that you still have it is even better! Yeah. That’s why I wore my trench coat all winter–it never got truly cold!! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • Judy says:

        Not a Sloane Ranger, no, no! Just love Joseph! He made fantastic pants which fitted perfectly. Haven’t been into a Joseph shop for ages, just the memories and this sweater!

  8. pasunejeunefille says:

    My old reliable is a 10 year old Barbour jacket that I bought at a horse show when my daughters competed. It is timeless and the perfect warmth for fall and spring. As I am also in PA, I wore it most of the winter with a sweater or fleece under it. My daughter wants to take it to college with her when she goes next year. No way!!!!

    • Catherine says:

      Jane–did you get that jacket at the Devon Horse Show by any chance? That is the biggie around here! Barbour makes great everything! Oh..I wouldn’t let my daughter take that jacket to college either!! XOxOXOXO!!!

  9. patricia blaettler says:

    My GAP legging/jeans. They’re jeans, but skinny fit. And my tiny gold, ball earrings. If I wear inexpensive earrings I get infections, pronto. I’ve learned my lesson…
    And I never met a grey t-shirt that I didn’t like. Sleveless, cap sleeves, 3/4 sleeves; I’ve got a nice collection going…haha

    • Catherine says:

      Patricia! Oh wow! I have a pair of black legging jeans from GAP that I think I’ve had for years. The GAP legging/jeans from the past were fantastic and I don’t even know if they make them anymore!
      One of my sisters can’t wear cheap earrings either due to infections!
      I’ll be you have a great collection of gray Tees!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  10. JulietC says:

    I was thinking I don’t have any old reliables but then I realised I do – but they are all accessories. I have loads of scarves (I LOVE a scarf) and I have a stainless steel/paua pendant my late dad gave me (the only time he was ever allowed to choose a birthday present for me and he chose an absolute winner bless him), a few favourite pairs of earrings I regularly wear (as opposed to all the others), and a pair of black chunky biker boots – great from clomping about, they are indestructible. Aside from that I have a couple of jerseys I knitted eons ago that are now probably gardening jerseys and a couple of favourite fragrances – especially Untitled by Maison Martin Marghiela it is a glorious grassy perfume that works for me and I guess that is a reliable too isn’t it. You really have me thinking now – I am due a bit of a wardrobe cull so some of my old unreliables can be donated onwards to become other peoples new old reliables. Great post – lots to think about 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      See Juliet!! My posts can make people really think!!! Especially about good stuff! I’m thrilled that you realized that you DO have quite a few old reliables–and never get rid of them either!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  11. LA CONTESSA says:

    When WE find a GOOD FIT BUY MULTIPLES……………….XX

  12. Donna says:

    I have been looking for a navy blazer that can turn into an ol reliable for me….where did you get yours? Thanks so much….so enjoy reading your blog!!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks so much!! This is extremely helpful!! By the way, happy belated birthday….looks like you celebrated in style!! xoxo

  13. Damien says:

    I love your spy look😍! Absolutely sophisticated😉😚!

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