Wardrobe simplification: a challenge

Back in January I set a small challenge for myself.  No shopping for clothes, or shoes for 6 months.  I’d love to do a whole year but I’m a bit chicken.

A few weeks into the challenge, a special date night came up.  That is typically the kind of thing that sends me running for “something new”.  Sure, “new” might mean thrift shopping or resale but it’s still adding something to my closet that was previously not there.  Resolved to stick to my challenge, I hunted around my closet, got myself dressed and headed out to enjoy an evening with my husband.  My “date night” outfit was nothing special yet, I felt beautiful and very myself: black jeans, white t-shirt, black blazer, and shoes, that are older than my first born child.

We sat down to dinner with beloved friends, chatting and laughing through each course, then as I was leaving the bathroom, the heel of my shoe caught on the bathroom door.  There was an audible “snap” and my previously buckled sandal, slid off my foot.  Hmmmm, I’m in the middle of a restaurant, do I try limping back to the table and keep my shoe sort of on my foot, or do I just grab it up and walk with one bare foot?  (I went with limping, it was awkward.)  I returned to the table with a frown thinking my night was now over.  My husband assessed the situation and successfully MacGyver-ed my sandal back on my foot with some handiwork and a band-aid!  Our evening continued with two shoes on my feet the entire time.

Not ready to consent to the death of my sandals, I later set off to the cobbler to see what could be done.  It was an easy, inexpensive fix and my 13-year-old, resoled twice, sandals continue to trot on.

Without this challenge, I undoubtedly would have purchased something for my date night, would have tossed my old, broken shoes, and then spent hours looking for something new.  Thanks to this challenge, I had a nice conversation with the cobbler, saved myself the time and frustration of trolling the internet for sandals and realized my date night clothes don’t need to be very different from my daily clothes.

Anyone else doing challenges like these to reduce their consumption?

 

 

 


Playing dress up

photo via sea of shoes

photo via sea of shoes

With a change of season around the corner I find myself playing in my closet. What’s too used, what’s too new, what’s missing, what haven’t I put together before?
When inspiration has left the premises I turn to this little lady I’ve been following for years. She’s turned “playing dress up” into an entire career complete with wonderful photos for your viewing pleasure. Jane is a great reminder for me to have a little fun, scratch that, have a party with my clothes! I can suffocate myself in gray, black, denim and white – not very fun.

photo via sea of shoes

photo via sea of shoes

When I’ve looked at 100 pairs of black boots but can’t seem to find anything I like.  I start thinking about these lovelies from The Office of Angela Scott and all of the sudden black seems boring!

Shoes

photo via sea of shoes

Happy Friday, hope everyone has a little fun playing dress up this season!


I think I get it now

Ever notice how more and more people spend their days in work out wear?  I’m not in an office, I work out of the home, go on grocery runs, school runs, extra-curricular kid places, hopefully an occasional date night or family dinner out thrown in there and what I notice is loads of women (and some men) in exercise clothes.  I’ve been totally judge-y about it too, wondering aloud, “are they actually going to or coming from a work out”?  “Where have all the real clothes gone”?  Well, I’m completely changing my tune on the subject.

image via Nike

image via Nike

While doing a cleanse I mentioned my “distraction sit-ups” as well as finding a yoga class I like, and I’ve begun these little bursts of what I’ll call “spontaneous exercise”.  Sometimes I just want to take a brisk walk or kick up into a handstand or do a few sun salutations or push ups or jumping jacks – all of the above are far easier when one is properly attired.

Enter the emerging trend of workout gear becoming more street ready.  Theory, the ever popular women’s contemporary line, launched Theory 38 with highly progressive options for the gym and on the street.  Lululemon, arguably Dallas ladies’ daily uniform of choice will offer &go, a nice alternative to heading to the grocery store in skin tight yoga wear.  Above you see what Nike has going on, sporty but relaxed, and that cape would make me feel like a super hero, it’s my second favorite.  The company that tops the list however is Aether, based in Los Angeles, they seem to have nailed exactly what I’m after.  No crazy neon, or fussy fabrics, just a perfect cross of slightly nicer lounge clothes and less serious workout clothes.

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images via Aether

So until we are all wearing some kind of Tron onesie, I’m adding the new criteria of “cartwheel friendly” to my new purchases.

Tron

Happy Friday.


Sk8-er Girl

This year’s spring shoe trend is calling like a siren.  The slip-on skater sneaker, so cool, so easy, so perfect.  I’ve ordered a few and returned a few, see I’m a little gun shy after following the last shoe trend, I give you the concealed wedge sneaker:

Steve Madden (sadly still available at Lord and Taylor online)

Steve Madden (sadly still available at Lord and Taylor online)

I’m still shaking my head in shame for that one, but come on, it’s a sneaker that also gives you a little lift!  Yet, somethings should never be, or maybe they should – but on the under 20 year old set only.  So here I am a year later, maybe a year wiser – my concealed wedge sneaker donated to charity, my trusty black converse on life support and skater shoes everywhere calling my name.

Here are my favorites:

1

1

 

2

2

3

3

1.  Vince ‘Blair 5’ Slip On $195  2.  Vans $55  3.  Diemme for goop $495 (already sold out)

But this bargain at $650 seems to still be available, phew!

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen

All joking aside, I’ll probably play it safe and replace my Chuck Taylors with these Superga’s.

Superga Classic $65.00

Superga Classic $65.00

I already own them in white, they have the perfect arch support and I’m always happy to put them on my feet.  Plus I won’t have to worry about waking around puddles or avoiding muddy terrain in fancy skater shoes……I’ve almost convinced myself, can you tell?!


Retail Torture

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photo via Little Moon Lover

I know, I know, last week I was talking about the retail dream BUT this thought popped up while at a party last night.  The person sitting next to me was proclaiming the joys of “retail therapy” and I immediately thought, “therapy????? more like torture”.  When was the last time you walked into a regular retail establishment and left feeling better than when you walked in??  For me it’s been a very, very long time.

I’ve harped on this before but during a time of year when people might be starving themselves to fit into a dress for a holiday party or racking up debt buying things they don’t need, it bears repeating.  Stores do not exist to make you feel better about yourself.   Their goal is to make you buy things, more often than not they accomplish their goal by making you feel less than.  Not cool enough, not young enough, not current enough, not thin enough, not fit enough, not smart enough, if there is an insecurity out there it will be attended to by the retail darlings of our world.  Whether you are walking into Foot Locker or Victoria’s Secret it’s about selling you a dream, jumping higher with the right shoe, 40 year old boobs transforming into 20 year old boobs with the right bra……..it’s agonizing.   Rationally we know we can’t all look like the guy/girl in the picture, nor should we – HOW BORING to all be carbon copies of what the media deems as “perfection” at the moment.  However, when that’s all** you are presented with day in and day out, in the stores, on the internet, TV, and movie screens it can screw with your head.   Suddenly that’s what “normal” looks like.  (Small aside:  has anyone figured out what “normal” is by the way, or “fitting in”…..fitting into what, exactly?  Any clarification you’d like to offer is welcome)  While flipping through an InStyle magazine at a friends I noticed 2 pages for “full figured women”, 2 pages out of…..possibly 200?  Yet when I walk around my city I see 75% full figured humans and 25% smaller sized humans – for most people media is not selling a dream, it’s more like a nightmare.

So, what can be done?  Positive affirmations every morning?  Boycotting the offensive parties?  Sure!  Why not?

This is not a new idea, we are voting every time we spend a penny.  Give your money to places who are in line with your priorities.

I’m not talking some obscure hard to find store, for example Gap has made an impression on me with some of their holiday model choices – older women and men, diverse ethnicities.  Okay maybe there are no visible lines on Cyndi Lauper’s face but it’s a step, a step I will support when I buy new Gap socks for my son’s ever growing feet.  Screen shot 2013-12-14 at 12.41.26 PM

But let’s also talk about the lesser retailers, the “mom and pops”, in Texas we have Run On, a fitness shoe/apparel/etc. retailer.  These people are not about fitness to fit into a dress, they are about health, strength, community, when I need running shoes, they’ll get my money.

As for affirmations, be your own cheerleader, tell yourself wonderful things.  This is hard at first and feels really forced but it gets easier.  When I started being kinder to myself I wrote things and stuck them to the mirror inside my closet.  Here’s an example, instead of hating my thighs I remind myself that they allow me to run, jump, skip, I’m lucky to have them, as I read in this hilarious letter.  Write down a few things that don’t feel ridiculous when you say them and try and work it into your daily routine.  I like this quote from Lauren Hutton, reminding me that the choices are mine, I don’t need to feel bullied by trends.

image via Jcrew

image via Jcrew

Lastly, my concerns on this issue usually circle back to my 8 ear old daughter who already feels the pains of not “fitting into” retail offerings.  If I struggle at 37 years old, imagine how the little ladies in our lives are fairing?!  Came across this book from Katherine Schwarzenegger, “Rock What You’ve Got”, might be a nice present for young ladies in the 12-17 range this season.

**  Thanks to the amazing internet, there is something out there for everyone.  Forget what most of the world is presenting in their media campaigns and go in search of things that ring true to you.


Hooray! You are out of fashion jail!

 

image via streetpeeper.com

image via streetpeeper.com

Notice the lovely wide leg pant on Holli Rogers above.  It’s been in what I refer to as “fashion jail”.  In an effort to make sure we all continue to buy the skinny legs that have taken over the past decade, very few alternatives are offered by the big box retailers.  I get it, all part of the terrible  “feed the golden arrow” plan.   While this is hardly a new issue, things have come in and out of style for centuries, we’ve all noticed the growing pressure of following trends versus curating your own style.  Let’s take a note from Amsterdam and step away from the pressure to wear something specific and wear what you like.  If you are feeling hemmed in by the retailers, maybe it’s time for some thrift, consignment, vintage, resale shopping!  Hey Macklemore.

 

 

 


T-shirts that say stuff

My youngest nephew has a birthday coming up, I had the perfect ironic t-shirt picked out for him.

 

Screen shot 2013-09-25 at 8.44.26 AM

Unfortunately when I went to let my fingers do the buying I came up empty.  While I am baffled this kind of genius is not readily available, the search required scanning loads of other t-shirts that say stuff, here’s a little giggle for your day.

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hehe.

 

 


Power to the shopper

Image via shopbop.com

Image via shopbop.com

With fall approaching  (even as most of us sit here sweating) it’s time to review your fall stuff.  I usually take an afternoon, try everything on, create my piles for:

donate – If it’s past it’s prime, Goodwill can still create rags from your riches which still keeps it out of the landfill for a bit longer

alter/repair – sew buttons, fix a moth hole, shorten/lengthen a skirt, repair a boot sole

consign – if you have something in your closet that just sat there last fall/winter/spring- maybe it doesn’t fit right, the color is wrong, you don’t feel good in it.  Consign it.

So, now you are ready to plan your shopping using the snazzy tips listed below that I just read on another blog created by a “seasoned professional”….in the realm of shopping and style that is.  I think it’s pretty solid advice, in fact I plan to follow it myself this fall – HAPPY FRIDAY

 

Before you leave, prepare a budget and a list divided into 3 sections:

  1. 800 arrows note:  Make a list of your local resale, consignment, thrift and vintage stores.  You may not be able to fill all your needs at these little gems but it’s a smart place to start.
  2. The Replacements – items currently in your wardrobe that need to be replaced (worn out, damaged, wrong size, etc.)
  3. The Completers – pieces you need to make a complete outfit (you have a fabulous skirt you never wear because you don’t have an equally fabulous top to wear with it)
  4. The Trends – trendy clothes, shoes, and/or accessories to update your look for the season

Ask someone to join you:

  • The person you ask should be someone who will give you honest feedback. This person has to be comfortable with your budget, your figure, and the stores you choose.
  • Shopping with someone who can view you in person and from every angle is an advantage you can’t get even with a 3-way mirror.
  • Shopping with someone allows you to keep ‘the power,’ so you’re less likely to be the victim of a sales associate who’s chief concern is her commission check and not your long-term happiness.

Choose stores wisely:

  • Go to stores that carry lines you know fit your body type and fit within you budget.
  • Make sure you understand, and are comfortable with, the store’s return policy.
  • When you find a store you like, stick with it. Not only will it save you time, it also will give you an opportunity to develop a relationship with a salesperson who will have a vested interest in your long-term happiness; be more likely to call you just before the out-of-budget piece you’ve been lusting after goes on sale; and be motivated to quickly resolve a problem, should one arise.

As you shop, keep these thoughts in mind:

  • Buy whole outfits (unless your buying a piece from your 3-part list)
  • If you find something you love, but it’s not on your list, make sure you have at least 3 other pieces in your closet you can pair with it to make a complete outfit.
  • Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale. Ask yourself if you’d buy it even if it wasn’t on sale.
  • Consider cost-per-wear. Even though something may have a seemingly steep price tag, think about how much wear you will get out of it over the course of the season. On a cost-per-wear basis, it may be less expensive than your daily Starbucks habit!
  • My personal motto: When in doubt, leave it out!

After you get home:

  • Keep the tags attached to your new purchases and keep the receipt handy, in case you decide to return it. Some stores will issue a credit for items that go on sale within a specific period of time after the initial purchase – another good reason to keep your receipt handy.
  • If you experience buyer’s remorse, learn from it, so you don’t make the same mistake again.
  • Most important, have fun.

Show me what you flyin’ in

To round out everything I’m bringing on our trip, here’s the in-flight (and most days following) outfit:

airplane 1  airplane 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Details –

Black coated jeans, Patagonia undershirt, Denim button-down shirt, Grey Cashmere Cardigan Sweater, Black Jacket, Socks, Undies, Bra, Blundstones, Sunglasses

Au revoir.

P.S. I have asked my husband to detail his pack and carry-alongs, which includes the kids’ clothes.  He’s considering my request, right now he more concerned with switching up our walking route from Northwest France to South France.  While walking in the rain can be romantic, we thought it would pretty much KILL our trip, hence the re-navigation.