Capsule Wardrobe Project

Monday, October 13, 2014

Have you ever opened your closet, looked inside and then instantly felt depressed over the fact that you have nothing to wear? I mean, you could wear those boyfriend jeans you just got but you don't really like how they fit (but they're like, totally in. and you wanted to still be cool) and you don't have a good shirt to go with it. Or you could wear that cute blouse you've had forever but the shoulders are a bit tight and the fabric is a little itchy. What actually ends up happening is you throw on your usual skinny jeans and plain t-shirt and call it good. And then curse yourself for not wearing your other clothes more often.

This is the story of my life. I have a closet full of things that I really love in theory but then never end up wearing because I don't have pieces that fit with them in a way I'm comfortable with. Or I buy things that I kind of like, or are ok just because they're on sale and I feel like I don't have anything in my closet already.

I'm over it. My friend Maryam brought up the idea of a capsule wardrobe to me last week and I'd never heard of it before. Basically, it's a limited number of basic essentials, usually between 25-40 pieces, (including pants, shirts, jackets, shoes) that you mix and match together and wear for an entire season. When the next season begins, you pack up your current season and get the new one out of storage, carrying some items over that can be transitioned. The goal is to have 4 solid "capsule wardrobes" that you can open up and wear each season, replacing 3-4 items each season as you need to. 

What is the appeal of this to me? I love the simplicity of it and the idea that you have a closet full of things to wear just by having less. I like the thought of having a closet full of clothes you love rather than mediocre pieces that you bought without a real purpose in mind. 

In light of this new discovery, yesterday I followed the instructions from my new favorite blog Un-Fancy and took every single item out of my closet. I then went through everything very critically and only put back the pieces I really loved. And then I went through one more time with a bit of a mental check list of basics that I wasn't crazy about but are good staple pieces. I cleaned out 2 garbage bags full of clothes to donate, 1 of winter clothes that were still in my closet, and another 2 bags of summer clothes that I'll go through with this same process next summer. How did all of that fit in my closet!?

This is what I ended up with:
Right now this is everything. 
- 1 pair of boyfriend jeans
- my favorite skinny jeans
- 1 pair of black jeans
- 1 pair of well fitting dark/neutral jeans
- 2 t-shirts 1 black, 1 grey
- 1 sweater
- 1 chambray button up
- 1 plaid button up
- 1 slouchy cover up
- 1 denim vest
- 1 military style vest
- 1 vegan leather moto jacket (I bought last year and haven't had a chance to wear yet)
- 2 light weight fall coats
- 1 denim jacket

Shoes:
- black booties
- brown wedge boots
- studded boots
- moccs
- leopard print flats
- wine colored lace up shoes
- 2 pairs of heels, one wine, one nude
- knee high boots
- 1 pair of chucks

I'm not counting my work out clothes or undergarments, which I also went through and all fit easily and with extra space in this small dresser. I know I have a lot of jackets but I just really love all of them. What I'm lacking are basics. I'm following this wardrobe guide, as I have a few pieces that are similar and I really like this girl's simple style. I have a few more pieces than she has but I also won't be getting a few (like the puffer jacket, leather leggings, wool joggers) because they just don't suit my lifestyle or body shape.  Here's a look at it, because it looks so good all laid out like this lol:
(here's the link to her whole post)

Now what to do? I found a couple of basic tops on her list, a replacement for my chambray shirt that I just don't really love, and a white button up. I've ordered them and we'll see how they fit when they arrive. (Online shopping is hit or miss with me.) The nice thing about living in the bay area is that fall and winter are very much alike, so I'll be getting good use out of all of this and really won't have to officially switch to a winter wardrobe at any time.

The craziest thing happened yesterday after I put all of this stuff back in my closet; I looked inside and immediately felt like I had a lot to wear. You would think with more choices in a jam-packed closet you'd feel you had more to wear and by taking everything out I'd feel the exact opposite. But I've gotten rid of all of the background noise, and see only the things I truly love. 

I'm really excited for this new journey in my own style. I'm hoping that by finding and creating a small collection of pieces I love that I'll spend less time finding what to wear, or not loving what I'm wearing. The first step of this little experience has been completely eye opening. I honestly believe EVERYONE could benefit from at least the very first step: taking every thing out of your closet and with a very critical and honest mind, only put back the things you really love. 

What do you think? Would you be willing to drastically reduce your wardrobe like this and create a small array of basics you can mix and match for an entire season? 

Stitchfix Number 12

Thursday, October 2, 2014

It's that time of the month again...NO, It's STITCHFIX TIME. Duh.

If you haven't heard of Stitchfix here are the deets: 
1) Go the link, sign up and fill out all the info they ask for about your personal tastes, they'll hook you up with a stylist who'll send you a box with 5 items that they think will look great on you, based on what you tell them.
2) Pay a $20 styling fee which includes the box shipped to you and goes toward your purchase should you choose to keep anything in the box. 
3) Get your box (which you can set up on auto for once a month or schedule them as you wish) and try on your items! You have 3 days to decide and there's a free shipping bag included to send back what you don't want.

Now, I've had some pretty awesome luck with Stitchfix but last month I think that luck kind of ran out. Here's an idea of pretty much exactly one of my pieces from last month:
I'm not kidding. Minus the yellow stripe, this is the exact sweater I got. And this is pretty much how I felt and looked in it. It wasn't good. Or it was the best. I'm still traumatized and not thinking clearly.

Now before I get started on this month's goodies I wanted to let you all know I'm trying to do these posts a bit different. I'm going to be adding a separate photo of the outfit itself so those of you who've had questions about other things I'm wearing can have all the info! I'm not going to link up to each specific piece because honestly, I don't have time for that. So I'll let you know where I got it and you can do the rest from there. 

That being said - there was only one save from last month; this plaid infinity scarf. We all know I'm a sucker for plaid. 
Other outfit details: Shoes - some discount store in Portland. Sorry I don't remember. // Earrings - Stitchfix // Dress - Target

This month went MUCH better than last month. I actually told my stylist to give me a box full of boho just in time for fall. I was looking to try a completely new style and this box didn't fail me. 

EIGHT SIXTY
WHISTLER GRAPHIC PRINT BUTTON FRONT BLOUSE
We're actually in the middle of an annoying October heatwave right now so this top is perfect. I love the print, it would look great layered for a night out. It's light and flowy. Didn't mind this. 
Other outfit details:  gold earrings - World Market // jeans - Madewell // heels - Target

SANCTUARY
SYLVANA FAUX LEATHER TRIM PLAID TUNIC
The word "tunic" is a stretch with this one. I had to keep the bottom buttons undone so it would fit over my booty. I appreciate the small detail of the patches on the elbows and the leather trim inside the collar and cuffs of the sleeves. One thing I also liked about this was that is has snaps rather than buttons. I tied a belt around the middle so I didn't look super boxy. 
Other outfit details: necklace - Stella and Dot // jeans - Madewell // boots - Target

RENEE C
NICO CHAIN DETAIL METALLIC KNIT SWEATER
This was a super interesting sweater. There was like a plastic/fiber material throughout that made it look like a chain link fence. I also like the chain details at the shoulder. You can't feel the plastic on the inside, its only on the outside. Only downfalls - A) I'm not sure how to wash it. B) The metal chains at the shoulders are freezing against my skin. If I wore this in the winter I'd definitely have to wear something under as a buffer. 
Other outfit details: headband - Mama Mandolin // boyfriend jeans - GAP // shoes - Target

SKIES ARE BLUE
ANDI GRAPHIC PRINT FRINGE CARDIGAN
I like the idea of this cardigan, and it's definitely the boho style I requested. There was just something about it that didn't quite work. It's definitely comfy and cozy though. 
Other outfit details: tank - H&M // jeans - Old Navy // moccasins - Minnetonka

COFFEESHOP
KENNEDI KNIT SLEEVE CARGO JACKET
Yes times a million. YES. I love this jacket so much. The pockets, the sweater sleeves, the hood is huge, and especially the cinches in the middle. It's essential for me to be able to cinch in the waist of my outfits to give me some definition at my smallest part. This is one of my Stitchfix faves!
Other outfit details: jeans - Old Navy // boots - Target // shirt - Stitchfix

Want to give it a try? There's nothing to lose, even if you only do it once, it's a super fun experience. GO HERE to read more and sign up!

the numbers mean nothing: learning to lose the scale

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A month or so I had a bit of a fight with my scale and I think I've eventually come out on top without having lost a pound. Crazy, right? We all know what everyone says about scales and that it shouldn't matter what number says, it's all about how we feel. Well that's all good and great but I'm telling you as an actual human woman, it's so. hard. to get that number out of your head.

I remember in high school I had a notebook I'd write down my goals. I remember writing that I wanted to be 140. I'd keep that as a goal and this time, for real I was going to make that goal. I'd be that weight and all of my problems would be over. I'd be small like most of my friends. Not that I was big, but I've always weighed more than I look...and it has been endlessly frustrating. Now, I never really did a lot to actively lose weight; I wasn't really too keen on doing all of the things that would help me reach this magical number. I was a pretty active teenager. I played volleyball and trained for volleyball in the off season. I didn't snack much, I ate what my mom cooked for dinner and my school lunch.  But I still so vividly remember seeing that number in my notebook. 

I don't ever particularly remember feeling fat, I just felt like that number was supposed to be less. I had hips and thighs and a butt. I had cellulite. (This was way before booties were the obsession.) I wore size 10 jeans, size small or medium tops. This girl thought she needed to be smaller: 
I was wearing a super tight slip under this, kind of like spanx before they had spanx. I kept feeling like I needed to suck in the whole night of my concert after this. 

For the next 10 years I'd continue to fight this mental battle over the scale and that number. After I had the boys I was determined to get back down to the 158 I was before I got pregnant. Or somewhere around there, I don't remember. Except now, after kids the scale just won't budge. I've hovered between 172-178. At 178 I'm usually not working out and eating horribly for an extended period. 

But what about the past year, and the past 5-6 months specifically where I've been working out a lot and watching what I ate? For a bit I was so particular about calories, then I was about carbs, then something else. Anything to get the scale to go below that 172 mark, even I was losing inches it became this obsession. I'm a competitive person. Not about silly life things like motherhood, but when it comes to physical things, I'm super competitive. When there's this goal in my head that I CAN NOT beat, I get angry. "I will beat this, I'm going to win. " I tell myself this, almost mentally willing the scale to change. 

I finally came to a breaking point a few weeks ago when I had this moment, this really sad moment. I woke up one morning feeling fit. I'd been working hard, I didn't feel bloated, I felt strong and lean. I decided to get on the scale. I wanted a number to validate how I was feeling. I got on the scale. 173. UGH. Immediately I felt deflated. I stood and looked at my stomach sideways in the mirror. Maybe it wasn't that flat. Look if I didn't stand up straight it just flopped out like that. And my arm fat. Oh and look at all that cellulite on the back of my thighs.

And then I stopped.

What was I doing? Not more than 30 seconds before I felt strong and confident. That fucking number just ruined it for me. It changed my entire mindset, I felt defeated and like a failure. What I'd been proud of was now actually just another thing I needed to work on. This isn't who I wanted to be. Life is so short, it really is. Was this really how I wanted to live it? My life dictated by the mass of my body? The literal number that represented the heaviness of my body, no matter what it appeared on the outside or in my head?

Right then and there I quit the scale. 
This was me this morning. All 172 pounds of me. All 69 inches in length, all size 9 feet, all 24% body fat (and hopefully a lot of muscle). All wide hips and strong shoulders and sore legs. I was weighed at my gym last week at the start of a fitness competition they're holding and that was the last time. I won't know again until they weigh me next month. I really don't care to know then. I'm working my body hard. I'm feeding it (mostly) the right things. Most importantly, my mind is getting stronger. It has learned that all of those numbers mean nothing if you're not comfortable in your own skin. 

slowly growing out a pixie = awkwardness

Monday, September 22, 2014

I'm really doing it this time, I'm growing out my hair. I've said this for a really long time but between bleaching it continuously and getting a lot of "trims" it really hadn't grown much up until a few months ago. It's not that I was trying to keep it short, it just starts to get really awkward for me, really fast. 

A little over a month ago I reached the ponytail stage. And by ponytail stage I just mean two little tiny pigtails that contained about 3 hairs long enough to fit in a small elastic band that had no idea what was going on because it hadn't been used in a year.
It was a little weird. The top half really isn't pulled back- the layers just sit there there, sad they can't reach the ponytail party. This felt like a major life accomplishment for me. 

A couple of weeks later I went in for a trim and most of that long stuff was cut off. I'm essentially trying to keep trimming the back/bottom so the top layers can grow. This is pretty much the only way to avoid a mullet. So these sad little piggy tails were gone just as soon as they arrived. 

The bleaching was constantly frying the ends of my hair so I just decided to go dark with it again. My stylist matched the dark to my roots, so this is pretty much my natural color. I'd also been playing with the idea of throwing a bright color in, just so it wasn't a plain brown. (When has my hair ever been boring?) We used the existing blonde and colored it a combination of pink and red, making it this really pretty/bold red. 

Other ways I've been helping my hair during this awkward grow out stage? Headbands. They hide everything. I barely have to do anything to my hair, I just throw one of these on when my hair is greasy or not-fixed. 

This day I attempted some big wavy curls and it ended up looking REALLY stupid and I didn't have the time or energy to fix it so I just threw the headband on. It helped flatten the wildness.

The red has been interesting to maintain. I'll work on a post about preserving color but one of the main things is that I can't wash it much. So on oily gross days, twists like this one work well because they just stick.  (don't mind the photo of my shoes. They're just my favorite and I had to share lol)

I'm going to try to post some progress photos over the next few months to hopefully show some somewhat graceful ways to grow out a pixie cut. Or it could just end up being really awkward and weird looking. Either way, fun for all!

Have you ever had to grow out a pixie? HALP with all the advice!
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