Friday, February 27, 2015

27/59: Flannel Shirt, Jeans, Fringe Boots

You guys, tomorrow is my little boy's birthday party. He is turning two and he is so excited to have a party with his friends! He chose Elmo as the theme, so I was thinking about wearing my red dress in homage. But then I might not be able to play as much, so maybe jeans would be a better choice.  Playing at my kid's birthday party is definitely top priority! 

Have a great weekend. :)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

26/59: Blue T-Shirt, Green Cardigan, Boyfriend Jeans, Vans

After writing about tiny houses yesterday, I thought it was so funny to see one on tonight's episode of Portlandia. 

I still think I might be able to live in one alone, but not with other people. And it would be really tough to give up all my stuff - but look at all the books they crammed into the Portlandia tiny house! Maybe it wouldn't be that hard. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

25/59: Blue T-Shirt, Jeans, Chuck Taylors + Tiny Houses

Here's another version of my uniform: a t-shirt and jeans. It's not broken, so I'm not fixing it.

On the decluttering theme, have you seen any shows or articles about the tiny house movement? I am totally fascinated. Tiny houses are (not surprisingly) super small, like 200 square feet, and they're a whole house, often for two people! 

The closest I can get to imagining living in such a small space is to think about when I used to keep most of my stuff in my own room in a shared apartment. It worked fine for me to have a smaller space for myself. I've always liked to spend a good amount of time by myself. I'm an introvert and I recharge by being alone, even though I do love to socialize. I could read, write, study, or watch tv in my room, but when I wanted to hang out with my roommates, I could always go into the shared spaces, too. And there were my friends and whole world outside, of course.

Now I have so much stuff, I couldn't fit it into one room. I love my stuff. It makes me feel safe, like I'll never run out of things to do. I feel prepared, which I like. But I'm on this journey to become more of a minimalist, and I think that some day I will be able to to imagine fitting in a much smaller house than we currently own. Or having a lot more empty space in our house. Just not cramming into 200 square feet. 

So it's not a goal of mine, to move into a tiny house. But I love seeing the designs of them, and the tricks to store things and make good use of the space. I love seeing the stories on Tiny House Nation, a show on the FYI channel. On this show, people who live in regular-sized houses downsize to custom-built tiny houses. I love seeing the homeowners getting rid of tons of stuff. I also love when we get to revisit the people after they've been living tiny for a few months and they reveal what problems they've encountered. 

What I don't love? Ugh, I feel so claustrophobic when they have their beds lofted and can't even sit up without hitting their heads. I also feel dread when one of them is asking for a space for herself or himself - you are never going to have any privacy in a shared tiny house!

These houses are all built on trailers so they can be moved, and they're usually between 200 and 300 square feet in size. It's crazy to think of a room in our house being the same size as a whole house! It's also weird to imagine hitching up your house and moving the whole thing to a new location. 

There's another show called Tiny House Hunting, wherein house-hunters tour small houses. The best part of that show is seeing all kinds of house designs in different sizes. It's also fun to see the reactions of the house-hunters as they realize just how tiny their new house is going to be, and how little they will be able to fit into it. 

I also like this blog, Reading My Tea Leaves. The author lives with her husband and baby in a tiny New York apartment. Before the baby was born, they lived in an even smaller one. It's fun to get a glimpse into their life and their strategies for living happily in a small space.

I think a big part of being happy in a tiny home is making use of outdoor and community spaces: getting out and about a lot every day. Well, I tend to be a homebody, and I love to come home and spend time on my hobbies. I love having a space that's just ours, and that feeling of escaping from the world and not being annoyed by other people. Sometimes I'm much more outgoing and adventurous, and other times I like to be at home a lot. I don't think I would enjoy my at-home phases as much if my whole family were crammed into a tiny house. Maybe I could have done it when I was single, but not now!

I think that imagining downsizing for a tiny house inspires me to declutter, because I can think about what I would choose if I were moving into a tiny house. Or what if I could only take what would fit in my car? What would I grab if there was a fire? The very most important things sort of float to the top of the pile, and it's easier to let go of the stuff that didn't make the imaginary cut. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

24/59: Olive Sweater, Red Skirt, Riding Boots

Green and red together can easily look Christmasy, but I think this olive sweater looks okay with this dark red skirt. It would definitely be a Christmas combo if the sweater were an evergreen color. The tights could be a better color, but I'm not sure which. Any ideas?

My month of not buying anything has not been as successful as I hoped. It is hard to change the impulse shopping habit! I will try again in March, and I think I can do better. There won't be any holidays or birthdays. I know some of my weaknesses - shopping with the kids and receiving emails about online sales. I think I'm going to do great in March!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Outfits 21, 22, & 23/59

21/59: Black Sweater, Ladybug Skirt, Zip Boots. This skirt is one that I sewed, and I love the shape and length of it. 

22/59: Navy Striped T-Shirt, Straight-Legged Jeans, Chevron Vans. This one's just a t-shirt and jeans; typical for my life as a mom.

23/59: Octopus T-Shirt, Green Cardigan, Boyfriend Jeans, Vans Sk8-His. Another very casual outfit for me. I'm sticking to my uniform on most days: t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. It works for my lifestyle and I'm comfortable physically and psychologically. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Mixing and Layering My Capsule Wardrobe

Do you think a capsule wardrobe is boring? It doesn't have to be. There are lots of ways to spice things up. Scarves, hats, jewelry, makeup, and hair styles can change your look dramatically. But today I want to talk about mixing and matching clothes: layering pieces and mixing prints. 

I tried on a bunch of new outfits using my current capsule wardrobe and took photos to share with you. Some of these are successful, and some are not. Let's take a look, and maybe you'll want to play around with your clothes, too.  

First, I tried layering my red tunic on top of a long-sleeved striped t-shirt. I kind of like it. I think that if the striped shirt had a slightly lower neckline, I might like it more.  

Here I layered the red tunic on top of my white button-down shirt, and I think this is pretty cute. I might like it more with skinny jeans, to balance the loose top. I think I might wear this combination.

For my third outfit, I put a navy top over my white button-down shirt. I think this navy top is just too slinky for this type of layering. It shows all the bumps, seams, and pockets of the shirt underneath it. I do like the colors together, so I may try to create another outfit using a smooth white shirt under the navy top. 

This next outfit combines business-casual pinstripe pants, a white button-down shirt, and moccasins with a motorcycle jacket. I might like this better with boots. I just don't think the jacket and the moccasins go together. I like the idea of mixing casual and more formal pieces together, but this didn't quite hit the mark for me.

Tying a scarf on top of this dolman-sleeved cardigan was a great, simple change. I tied the scarf a couple different ways and I like it both ways. I love how it gives me a waistline and classes up the distressed jeans.

Here I put a shirtdress on top of skinny jeans. I think it's okay, but I'm not in love with it. I wonder if ankle boots would change the proportions a bit and make this a favorite outfit. It seems a little clunky with the tall boots. 

Ack! I do not like this one. Two problems are the length of the top and the shape of the top's hem. I don't think it's a flattering shape over this skirt. I also think the pattern-mixing here is unsuccessful. AND I don't like these grey-blue tights with the outfit. 

Then I layered the skirt on top of my shirtdress. It looks a little off. I'd like to see it with different colored tights and shorter boots.

I love this sweater on top of the shirtdress! I do not like these grey tights or the moccasins with this outfit. I think black tights and ankle boots might make it perfect. I love how the collar of the dress peeks out from under the sweater collar. 

Next I tried my white button-down shirt on top of my shirtdress. Again, the tights are not my favorite, though I'm not sure which color would be best. Maybe black? I think I could use the dress's belt on top of the shirt to improve the silhouette. This outfit would look better with some waistline definition.


Then I tried a cardigan on top of a sweater dress, and I think this is a winner. I like it with the belt added, too. And those grey tights are actually working with this outfit!

And here I put on a crewneck sweater over my sweater dress. I think with black tights, this would be great. I like how the collars fit together. I like the tall boots with the short skirt. Just picture black tights - what do you think?

Here I put a skirt on top of my other sweater dress, and since the skirt is flouncy, I don't think it looks too bulky. I do think I surpassed my limit on how many shades of grey I like in one outfit. Four is too many! I'd like to trade the grey tights for black, and maybe the boots, too. 

With this outfit, I mixed three patterns together, but all in the same colors. The sweater is woven black and white, the tunic is B&W striped, and the pants are B&W pinstriped. I like the different patterns together, but not the shapes of the pieces. I think the loose sweater needs a more fitted top underneath, or else fitted pants. I like the look of some loose styles, like Eileen Fisher's designs, but I think big, loose clothes tend to look best on me when they're balanced with a tighter piece on the other half.

And my final experiment from this batch: I mixed pinstriped pants with a striped sweater. I would definitely wear this. The pattern on the pants is so subtle, it's almost like a solid. I like the silhouette of this outfit. The sweater is fairly fitted to go with the loose pants. I like the length of the sweater, too. 

Did you like any of these outfits? Do you think there's anything in your wardrobe that you could try with a different top or bottom? Do you ever do any unconventional layering or pattern mixing?

Friday, February 20, 2015

20/59: Black T-Shirt, Black and White Cardigan, Distressed Jeans, Grey Frye Boots


I like the proportions of this outfit. The t-shirt is semi-fitted, under a loose sweater. Then the skinny jeans tucked into tall boots seem to balance the bottom with the top half. 

I'm working on something fun that I'll post this weekend. I'm mixing and layering all the pieces in my capsule wardrobe - and I'll show you the outfits that turned out well AND the crazy flops. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

18/59: Wine T-Shirt, Pinstripe Pants, Moccasins + Finding Joy in Your Wardrobe

This outfit is slouchy and comfortable, but not slobby. That's my sweet spot. I love looking at least somewhat put-together, while feeling like I'm wearing pajamas. 

Now, let's talk about decluttering. As I ever-so-slowly make my way through my house, selecting things to donate, I try to think about a tip from Marie Kondo. (Here's my review of her book). Kondo's decluttering strategy is based on holding each item in your hands and seeing if it brings you joy. If it doesn't, get rid of it. 

This is a great technique for creating your capsule, as well. If there's something that you think you should include, but it doesn't bring you joy, forget it! 

Bloggers or a magazine article might recommend having certain pieces in your wardrobe. They might claim that you must. have. certain items. But you might not want a tan trench coat. You might hate ankle boots. You might look terrible in fedoras! Your capsule is for you, and it has to suit you perfectly - not anyone else. Everything in it has to bring you joy to make the cut. 

Of course it's great to get inspiration from others who are using capsule wardrobes. It's also smart to consider the frequent capsule-building advice to include some basics that are really versatile - because those clothes will be really useful for most people. But there are always exceptions, and you should absolutely wear the clothes that work for you, your style, and your life - and those that bring you joy!  

So if you try on this season's must-have jeans and you don't feel joyful about them, leave them at the store. If there's stuff in your closet that you feel obligated to keep or wear, but it doesn't bring you joy, pack it up! Some things have sentimental value and you might want to store them forever, but for everything else, consider getting rid of whatever doesn't bring you joy. 

P.S. I looked at my leather shoe protector spray, and it does not require ventilation or hiding from my kids. I don't have to haul all my shoes downstairs and outside - I'll just spray them in the bathroom so I don't get anything on the carpet. I could have taken care of my shoes and boots easily, months ago. So my lesson of the day is: if I think something is going to be a pain, look into it! Maybe it will be easier than I think. If not, at least I'll know what to expect and be able to make a strategy to tackle the chore.