Women in Clothes, Tidying Up, + Shira Gill’s Closet Makeover

Happy New Year, Thrifters!

The babe is here and I’m on maternity leave. Mostly this leaves me with not a lot of time to do things – my hours are taken up with nursing, laundry, napping, trying to entertain two kids, and showering (if I’m lucky!). But that leaves me a surprising amount of time to think while my body is otherwise engaged. Part of what I’ve been thinking about a style shift: what exactly I’m gravitating towards these days (vs. what I’ve always done) and how to incorporate it in into my wardrobe, particularly given that my body is still changing, I don’t have a ton of time to thrift (yet), and I’d like to pare down to even fewer, but more beloved, pieces.

Here’s what I’ve been chewing on during maternity leave as I mull over all of this. Hopefully you’ll find some of it interesting food for thought as well!

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix

KonMari’s tidying makeover show is exactly my kind of reality TV. In a similar vein with the Great British Bakeoff and Queer Eye, Tidying Up is a feel-good show that makes you want to root for the protagonists, even as they struggle along the way to change their relationship to their stuff. But unlike GBBO and Queer Eye, which focus on baking (NOT my strong suit – I always ruin cookies) and whole-life makeovers (ain’t got the time, interest, or money), Tidying Up gave me an inspiring boost to do something similar in my own life. As I’m usually either nursing, playing dinosaurs, or shoveling laundry into the dryer, that boost has so far led to mental evaluation of my wardrobe, not physical cleanout. But just wait ’til the kids are both sleeping at the same time (and I’ve finished a 20 minute nap) – I’m comin’ for ya, closet!

Closet Makeover with Shira Gill

I received some extra money at the end of the year and decided to use it to pay the early bird registration fee for Shira Gill’s Closet Makeover program (it was just under $200; now it’s $249). For a blogger billing myself as “building a stylishly edited closet from thrift store finds” – emphasis on the edited – I could see myself feeling a bit embarrassed to be paying someone else to help me sort through my closet. But I don’t – because the at-your-own pace program feels like a fun way to do something entirely non-work focused with my time away, another way I can be using my brain creatively while loading the dishwasher (again).

I’m also looking forward to the live Q&A calls (for which you can post questions ahead of time and which you can watch afterwards, another great flexibility for someone who doesn’t know what time her newborn will be up or asleep) and to the Facebook community because if I love anything more than organizing/editing my own closet, it’s watching other people edit/organize their closets (which is why I so enjoy watching Marie Kondo in action). It’s just so…satisfying for the part of me that feels refreshed by clean, lovely, bright spaces. Shira’s styling aesthetic (featured prominently on her website and Instagram) also checks that box for me and adds to the appeal of the course. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton

In the completely free category, I checked out the e-book version of Women in Clothes from my local library. (Thank you Overdrive!) When Kelly of Alterations Needed mentioned it on her Instagram account, it sounded like an intriguing anthropological glimpse into women’s lives and relationship to their clothes – and indeed, it is. The authors asked women from all over and with many different backgrounds a series of questions, and as I read through them I’m starting to ask myself the same questions and find some intriguing answers that are helping to shape my style shift. If you like reading style profiles, particularly ones that are savvy about issues of race, gender, and culture, I highly recommend it.

Here’s my favorite quotation so far, from survey respondent Liane Balaban:

“Dressing is about helping yourself do the work you were put on the earth to do. Everyone has their own relationship to beauty, but I would say: Don’t be obvious. Try not to buy things that are mass-produced. Flea markets, church bazaars, or local boutiques are good. Curate rather than shop. Your wardrobe should be a collection of beloved pieces you wear for decades. When you witness beauty, it’s visceral – there is no second guessing it. Plato says that feeling of absolute knowing can inspire the beholder to quest after similar revelation in other disciplines of life – poetry or music or science, for example. The ultimate experience of eros, then, is one that inspires you to live in a questioning, questing way, seeking truth in all areas of life. Ergo, true beauty turns you into a philosopher!”

“Curate rather than shop” really sticks out to me – having a vision instead of just grazing is an excellent way to approach thrifting or an edited closet – as does the idea of visceral beauty (like when you find a signature piece that’s outside your usual style but just sings to you).

What have you been reading/watching/going through lately? Anything to recommend?

When Your Favorite Season of Clothing Is Also the Least Worn

Recently I used a fun feature on Instagram to pick out my favorite looks from the last year: the bookmark-like “Save to a Collection” button. Essentially it lets you create an edited selection of Instagram shots so you can look at all your favorites in one place. It’s also an excellent tool for saving inspirational looks from other people’s accounts so you can get a sense of what you might want to incorporate into your own wardrobe. (Let me know in the comments if you want instructions on how to use it.)

But creating a “My Style Favorites” collection made me realize I have a problem: my favorite clothes are the ones I have the least opportunity to wear.

This is because it turns out that Spring, my favorite season style-wise, is also the shortest season here in New England. So all of my cropped, fun-colored pants and lightweight, funky blazers – the stuff that’s too cold for our long winter, too hot for full-on summer, and odd color choices for our short-but-sweet autumn – get worn for a period of about two months (give or take) a year.

For example:

 

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I certainly have pieces I love in the other seasons, so it’s not that I’m depressed about what I wear the rest of the year. But when I’m at the Goodwill/browsing Poshmark and find a great 3/4-sleeve blazer or a fantastic ankle-length patterned pant, I find I have just about zero justification for adding to the part of my wardrobe that’s already the most populated. There just aren’t enough days of appropriate weather to give my favorites the number of wears they deserve!

To further demonstrate, here are my latest Poshmark crushes:

The plaid shirt could be layered under a sweater (and indeed, that’s a major way I imagine wearing it); but the pants are both cropped and the blazer is lighter weight/shorter sleeved.

Maybe I just need to find ways to style such pieces for the cold – e.g. get a pair of boots with longer ankles that would rise up to meet a cropped-length pant, or add a light blazer over a thin sweater to get enough warmth instead of always opting for thick sweaters.

Can you think of other ways I could wear spring-like favorites through more of the year? Do you have a “problem” where your favorite season of clothes doesn’t match the realities of your climate?

Dressing for the Day

Last week I had a day where I was in casual jeans and an oversize sweatshirt all day, followed by a day of wearing fitted jeans and a polished sweater. The difference in how I felt was remarkable: on the first day, I felt schlubby, had lower energy, and like I had thrown together whatever came to hand; on the second day, I felt put together, productive, and pleased with my appearance.

Day 1, more or less (this was before I changed into jeans):

Day 2:

I’m definitely not the first person to recognize or muse on the power of the clothes we wear to help lift our moods, present ourselves with confidence, and energize us for the day ahead. I’m also not the first person to recognize that having a choice about this – whether to dress down or up – is a privilege not everyone enjoys. (For example, if you have a chronic disease or mental health issue, dressing well might feel like an insurmountable task some days – whereas if you are a person of color or of lower socioeconomic status, you may not feel you can dress down and still be taken as seriously as a white person or upper/middle class person in gym clothes.)

But despite having known what a difference dressing for the day makes and knowing it was a choice I had, I was struck by how strong the contrast was. Thanks to my capsule maternity wardrobe, intentionally picking out clothes that (although not fancy) fit well and looked nice took the same amount of time as throwing on a sweatshirt and scrubby jeans, but felt worlds better.

I once attended an event rather underdressed and let the sense of dis-ease I felt prevent me from connecting with other attendees, only to have a mentor (also my boss at the time) remind me that I can do anything in flip flops (yes, my chosen footwear for said business lunch in downtown Chicago. #collegestudent). I’ve carried that with me ever since and it’s enabled me not to feel frozen or even embarrassed when I run into a parishioner in the grocery store or during school dropoff dressed in sweats and sneaks. But it’s also great to feel like taking 5 extra minutes in the morning – or just being intentional with the five minutes I have – can give me that unexpected boost of being ready to face the world.

Where do you fall on the dressing-for-the-day spectrum? How do you dress if you are working at or from home, or at an office, or if you are retired, or going to the gym and running errands? Have you noticed a correlation between the way you’re dressed and the way you navigate your day?

 

The Current State of My Closet

Now that we’ve lived in New England for almost a year, I thought you might enjoy a peek inside my closet situation.

If you recall, in Atlanta our closet was a master bathroom that had been opened up into a walk-in. The shower/toilet was TINY, but the closet was glorious. Here’s just half of it:

My stuff went on the right, with dresses/skirts on one side of the shelf divider and blazers and blouses on the other, top and bottom. (Spouse’s stuff went in the section you see directly in front of you.)

In our current home, there is a small-ish closet in the biggest bedroom (where we are), and a walk-in in the guestroom, which was probably designed as the master but we wanted the better lighting/more room that came with our current spot. So all the spouse’s hanging stuff, and all my “in season” hanging stuff, go in the closet in our bedroom:

 

And all my “out of season” hanging stuff, or things I just haven’t gotten around to wearing for this season, go in the guestroom closet:

It’s a good way to not overload the closet I use most – and to keep track of things I haven’t “reached for” yet this season.

Trousers, tees, shorts, and sweaters (plus PJs and workout clothes) go in the armoire:


Pretty sure I need to pare down my pants collection…

Yes, this makes me realize I have way more clothing than someone like, say, Anna from The Anna Edit. Part of me would love a more streamlined wardrobe; and part of me is just fine with having extras with which I can play and pad my favorites.

(I should note I’m super streamlined in my casual wardrobe – I wear the same 6ish things over and over again and have kept them several seasons. Just check out any time I’m wearing shorts on Instagram for proof. It’s more workwear where my style tends to evolve and what looks stylish doesn’t always translate to practical that I have more fluff.)

Which makes me wonder – if I lived in Europe (or some other locale without built-in closets), would I naturally have fewer clothes – and hopefully better chosen ones? In other words, would I make better use of my closet real estate? Anyone who has lived in this situation, please weigh in!

Weeding out the Extras

I’ve gotten this curated wardrobe thing down to a science (ha): thrift a bunch of stuff I like and am reasonably sure I’ll wear for the upcoming season, then take them all for a test drive and weed out the extras – anything I’m not excited to wear or have failed to wear completely – after a month or so. And I’m about at that point for my warmer weather clothing.

Though it’s all thrifted, this might seem like a wasteful approach. But for me, it works – I like seeing my picks in play (or not) and learning from that process to make even better, more informed choices next time (hopefully!).

And while I try to gauge in the dressing room what will be too tight/short/chafing etc. and say no accordingly, I’ve found that style-wise, I simply can’t always predict what I’m going to love. Sometimes a cut or color that is a reach for me stylistically ends up being a home run; other times, something that’s right in my wheelhouse ends up curiously unworn.

This dress, for example, should hit all the right spots – it’s a shirt dress, one of my favorite styles, in Light Summer-ish colors (or neutral enough to fudge it):

But I’ve only worn it once and didn’t fall in love:

It’s a bit on the short side, which means I paired it with leggings that are too warm for truly hot days. It doesn’t have as much structure as my two other (beloved) shirt dresses, so it feels a little limp. And the neutral stripes just aren’t as chic as I thought they’d be – instead of elegant or minimalist, they feel washed out. It’s also a tricky neckline to pair with with necklaces; I have one choker I like that sits above the collar, but my other favorite necklaces are in danger of getting lost or clashing with the diagonal lines on the v-neck.

Just… meh.

Here’s another neutral stripe number that underwhelmed:

The charcoal stripes looked like they’d give some great contrast to solid blazers, but the shirt is too tight in the shoulders. (I probably should have noticed this in the dressing room, but I’ll admit I didn’t do a full round of calisthenics in this shirt to test it out.) And it somehow didn’t work as I imagined – I just looked like a referee on a brunch date:

Or a referee disguised as a watermelon (to be fair, my preschooler picked out this ensemble):

I do like the stripes peeking out from under a sweater:

But again, after a few hours, the tightness in the shoulders that felt so mild at first just ruined the comfy-chic of this outfit.

Another neutral denim-y number that didn’t make it because what felt structured and slimming in the dressing room felt like I’d had too much for lunch at home:

In a moment that would do the 10×10 community proud, I used it as an open layer and liked it much better:

I felt very chic in my denim-on-denim outfit with its subtle print-mixing (there’s pattern on the cuffs) – which I created on a whim as I headed out the door. But I want my clothes to be more versatile than just looking chic as a layering piece. If you’re a button down shirt, I want to be able to wear you that way!

I know a chambray shirt would look great with my pink pants and my green ones, though, and with my yellow shorts and red shorts. So I’m keeping my eyes out for a chambray popover tunic – a silhouette that I know from experience will fit my body better.

Alright, here are two more I haven’t even worn yet:

This cute tee with a little neckline embellishment is too cool to be Light Summer, and although I should probably just break the palette “rules” and wear it, every time I look at it I think “nah.” I’ve realized I like some pattern in my casual tees because my shorts never have pattern.

Which is one reason I haven’t worn these spot-on Light Summer shorts:

Plaid Bermudas were my shorts style for a minute back, oh, 8 years ago? But I have long since given away my last pair, which should have clued me in that these wouldn’t get worn (not least because I don’t have many solid tops to pair them with). In these I feel a little too tomboy – a formally beloved aesthetic which no longer does it for me. That’ll teach me to thrift something just because it’s in my color palette!

 

What about you – do you thrift a bunch and then weed out, like I do? Or do you only thrift a few, carefully selected items – but maybe sometimes go home wishing you’d bought that one out-there piece, just to see if you’d grow to love it?

Finding Enough for Now

A few weeks ago – I think it was while I was starting to put away some of the really heavy winter clothing (the lighter stuff is still around…sigh) – I realized that I had worn just a few dresses over the winter, some just once.

And although I cycled through a few different clutches of sweaters this winter, by the end I was consistently wearing…three of them.

And really only two main collared shirts under those sweaters, plus two flannels.

And basically three pairs of pants, plus one for the weekends.

And one blazer.

And I hadn’t even combined them all yet in all the different ways they could go together – I kept wearing the same few combinations that were easy and I loved. So why did I have so many clothes in my closet?

That moment was a good reminder that thrifting – and the sweet prices that go along with it – can often lead to a closet full of things I love, but too full to wear them all as much as I’d like. (I suppose I could theoretically end up wearing all those clothes over several seasons…but my winter style has been distinctively different each of the last three years, so I’m not going to pretend I’m going to wear that entire drawer stuffed full of sweaters for years and years. Plus stuffed drawers – ugh, too hard to find what you want and keep it unwrinkly!)

I’ve pondered this before; it’s a cyclical thing, and I’m okay with that. Although it IS really enjoyable to discover exactly how much I need and have the permission to love those pieces and let go of the rest.

For example, I’m happy with one blazer right now:

It goes with everything and is cozy on chilly New England spring days. (We’ll see what I do in the warm months with the couple of lighter blazers kicking around my guestroom closet.) I’ve told myself I “need” more blazers in other colors for more versatility, but every time I’ve tried to add other blazers, they just….flop.

So I’m aiming for joyful appreciation of what’s right in front of me. Contentment, if you will.

And constantly reminding myself while thrifting that I am incredibly picky about blazers I will actually wear with any regularity, so CHILL with buying them already.

 

Where is “enough” for various clothing categories in your closet? Do you ever go over the threshold, just to have variety? Are some categories easier to rein in than others?

Sweater Edit

Y’all. I had a little sweater/wardrobe freak out a few weeks ago. After my winter wardrobe post went up, I did some impulse thrifting and ended up with a sweater drawer that looked like this:

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Holy exploding sweaters, Batman! You can’t even see all the knitwear stuffed in there.

So I had a little think about what I really wanted in my sweater collection – textures and colors I love and that have some variation, plus comfort and a great fit – and I pared it down to this:
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Two of the above (upper middle) are sleeveless undershirts for layering. Sweater-wise, a few pieces got moved to my “loungewear” shelf or tucked away for next fall; but many more were donated.

Like this one and its blue-grey sibling, both post-wardrobe post additions:

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I so wish these vintage Jaeger wool cowl necks would have made the cut (pun intended), but something about the cut makes them ride up after about 2 minutes of wearing. Nope.

I also said goodbye to this Ivanka Trump number for feeling too artificial (no, seriously) and laying oddly on my torso:

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The original price tag was $98 but I just can’t see it – the feel is not nearly luxurious enough; my hand slides off in a weird way.

Here are the two I added in. A deliciously warm grey sweater with partially dropped sleeves and a split hem – unexpected deliciousness from Old Navy:

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With a little closeup on the texture – this thing is SO. INCREDIBLY. SOFT:

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This herringbone/bling/Peter Pan collared J. Crew number is just an excuse to wear something ridiculously festive:

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And I LOVE IT. Not classic enough to keep forever, but for $6 it’s worth all the fun I’ll have with it in the next few months/years.

And finally, this wool blend from Nordstrom’s that’s a beautiful taupe and has a slightly oversized cut (with split hems!):

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Please ignore the snail-trail line on the torso – I had just steamed it and didn’t let some of the condensation dry.

So now my sweater lineup looks like this:

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A little more trimmed down (12 instead of 14), a little more variety in color, and every piece something I love to wear.

Speaking of sweaters, they are easy to accidentally shrink in the dryer. If you have something in need of unshrinking, try using this tutorial from the good people at Tips Bulletin (no compensation for sharing this; they just suggested it might be useful to my readers and I agree!).
How’s your sweater game lately?

My Winter Wardrobe

First, a note about my posting schedule. Work is ramping up (hello Advent, you’re right around the corner!) which means lately I haven’t had as much time as I would like to write and publish posts.  For the foreseeable future, you can keep expecting at least one post a week, but my usual Tuesday/Thursday schedule will now become the ideal rather than the norm.  Thanks for your flexibility and for continuing to keep this blog a fun and creative place for community and conversation!

 

And now, this year’s late fall/winter wardrobe, for your viewing pleasure. Since I broke up with capsule wardrobes, this is not a comprehensive list of every single piece I will wear this winter, but rather the pieces I imagine will get the most wear; they form the core of my wardrobe.

Tops

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Coin 1804; Gap Body; Eileen Fisher; Ivanka Trump; Workshop by Andrea Jovine; J. Crew; Cyn; Liz Claiborne; Gap; Loft; L.L. Bean; J. Crew; Joan Vass; Gap Designed & Crafted

I’ve really upped the number of tops this year for two reasons: I have about twice as much winter to contend with, plus my M.O. for expanding a section of my wardrobe tends to be “buy several different varieties I think I’ll like and then see what actually gets worn.”  Instead of “less is more” (which is where I hope to end up), this is basically the “more becomes less” approach.

Re: colors – is anyone surprised that my sweater palette is basically blue and cream, with pops of caramel, grey, and red? That’s my whole summer wardrobe right there.

 

And the dresses keep the theme going….

Dresses

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Gap; J. Crew; Merona; Caslon; Merona

I’ll wear these with cream, blue, and grey tights of varying weights.

 

The pants, however, have a liiiittle more variation in hue happening…

Pants

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Loft; Talbots; Paige; Lauren by Ralph Lauren; Banana Republic; Jessica Simpson

I’m enjoying pairing more neutral tops with more colorful bottoms – if you can call purple so dark it photographs as black (those first pants) “color”!  And yes, apart from the jeans, I’m sticking with the all-corduroy streak again this year. They just feel…cozier.  I’m probably deceiving myself that corduroy imparts extra warmth; after all, the fuzziness is on the outside, not on the inside where it would do some good.  I don’t care; just let me hold onto my comforting delusion!

 

Back to the trusty ol’ red/cream/blue color palette for my layering pieces.

Layers:

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Kate Hill; Merona; Tahari by Arthur S. Levine; The Savile Row Co.; Mercer & Madison; Loft

 

Last but not least…

Outerwear:

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United Colours of Benetton; J. Crew; Larry Levine
That’s a lot for now; I’ll share scarves/hats and footwear in another post.

In the meantime, check out my winter wardrobe this time last year; a lot has changed!

Summer Work Wardrobe

With weather regularly in the 80s here in the ATL, it’s time to post my summer wardrobe! (And as the title implies, this is for work – keep your eyes peeled for my casual summer stuff in a week or two.)

You’ll recognize pants, skirts, dresses, and a top layer from my spring closet; mostly it’s the tops that swap out.  You may have noticed from Instagram (on the side bar ->) that I’ve already been freely swapping short/sleeveless items from this “capsule” into my spring lineup; likewise, I’ll be using some of my long-sleeved spring blouses during summer as weather and context dictate.

Last but not least, my “disclaimer” from my spring post bears repeating: Since I broke up with (strict) capsule wardrobes last summer, this post does not contain every. single. piece. of clothing I will wear for the next few months; but it’s pretty close! My goal with a seasonal wardrobe like this is to have a curated closet full of things I love to wear that play well with one another; you’ll see that idea reflected in the color palette, style, and limited number of clothes shown below.

Without further ado, here’s what’s on the roster for summer 2017.

Tops
It’s time to break out the short sleeves and the no-sleeves! These all have a boxy or flow-y cut and lightweight fabric (mostly cotton or high quality polyester) to keep me cool during the Hotlanta summer.

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Beige floral – Talbots; sky blue sleeveless – Dalia Collection; white sleeveless with lace – Loft; navy polka dot – Jacqueline Ferrar; coral flowers – Old Navy; blue/green ikat – Old Navy; gold crepe – Zara

 

Jackets/Blazers
Fewer top layers this time around because it’s HOT.

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Navy blue blazer – Charlotte Russe; white denim jacket- J. Crew

Pants
I found the blue trousers I’ve been looking for!

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Alfani

Still in the mix from spring:

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Banana Republic; Bandolino; Vince Camuto

I also added these babies back in since summer is rather casual around here:

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Loft


Skirts
No changes here; these have worked really well for me. I do need to get the navy skirt repaired, though, because the tacking on the hem has come undone in one spot.

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Taupe – H&M; navy – J. Crew; white – Ann Taylor

 

Dresses
Out went the long-sleeved blue Land’s End dress – too hot. (Don’t worry, it will make a reappearance this fall.)

Staying on from my spring wardrobe:
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Orange creamsicle sheath – Ann Klein; white sheath – H&M; blue sheath – Ann Taylor; caramel shirtdress – New York & Co.; teal/pattern A-line – vintage

I haven’t worn the orange sheath much – I think its silky smooth lines make it a liiiittle too formal for my taste/environment.  Having a little structure (as in the white and blue sheaths) seems to break things up a bit and hit my sweet spot.  I’ll keep the orange one tucked into the back of my wardrobe in case of any formal summer occasions and then “make an assessment” (Old Gregg, anyone?) at the end of the season.

I haven’t worn the caramel shirt dress AT ALL yet – it’s a bit too short and the weather’s too hot for full-on leggings underneath. I’m looking for some above-the-knee white legging-shorts (sheggings?) to make it work, because otherwise I love it.

New this go around:
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Blue stripe – Old Navy; olive shift – Theme; Swiss dot shirt dress – Old Navy

I’m excited for these more casual dresses since our office really dials down the formal vibe over the summer. The olive shift dress is a new cut and color for me but I think it will work really well with my skin tone and I love the casual-yet-polished sleeve roll (plus who can resist the whole horsebit Gucci nod? Fun detail). The olive shift and the shirt dress also need sheggings, so keep your fingers crossed. (I think I’ve created an inverse wardrobe exponent…)

Confessional interlude: I bought this frick-frackin’ Swiss dot shirt dress by Old Navy AGAIN. (The first someone had cut it and left it with a raw hem so I had it hemmed to tunic length but the shoulders/bust were too small and I eventually, ahem, busted it. The second time I thrifted it as a shirt but didn’t love the hemline and didn’t like wearing it untucked which made it unacceptably un-versatile.) It’s a little less form-fitting and a little more, well, shirt-dress, and I’m hoping that once I find that elusive pair of off-white sheggings this outfit will stick. Third time’s the charm? I’m ether charmingly optimistic on this one or deliberately obtuse – only time will tell.

Shoes
No change here apart from the fact that I need to get my Trotters champagne flats repaired – the sole is flopping around on one of them and Gorilla Glue didn’t work.  Any DIY suggestions before I take it to the cobbler?
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Clarks sandals (retail); Bandolino wedges (more about these here); Champagne flats (more here); Floral sneaks (more here)

And there you have it!  I’ll keep my eyes out for sheggings, an off-white blazer, and some open-toed, muted red flats and that’s about it.
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Have you all switched over to summer wear yet? Scroll down to share!

My Big Aha Moment from the 10×10 Challenge

So I learned some things after wearing the same 10 pieces of clothes for 10 days.

-I really liked concentrating on just a few itens. Paying each piece some one-on-one attention, as it were, gave me a chance to figure out how I really feel about them.  I slowed down and considered, instead of just wearing, tossing aside, repeat.  Taking outfit pics and having to reflect on each ensemble helped with this – so thanks, y’all, for reading and for commenting!

-I’m really feeling the blouse/pencil skirt combo right now (shock):
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-I’m keeping this white sheath dress:
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It just feels good and is super versatile without being blah/shapeless.

-I’m not keeping this red linen/cotton blouse:
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Too baggy in the torso; someone else will love it as is; I have plenty of blouses.  Sorry, fans of the BR Soft Wash Shirt!  (PS it’s a size S; if one of you living in a humid clime wants it I’ll ship it to ya. #thriftsolidarity)

-I’m not as excited about this blazer as I thought I would be:

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It fits dreamily and is so comfy. But the print seemed to clash with my printed tops and the grey was just a little too cool and not a great match for my grey pants. I’ll see how it matches with all the other stuff in my spring wardrobe, but I have a feeling it’ll get donated, because of my last realization.

The Big Aha Moment

The biggest thing I learned was before I started, when I was trying to pick out clothes for the challenge.  I wouldn’t even call it a “thing” I learned, but rather a shift in perspective.  All thanks to a dress coat:

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Tahari by Arthur S. Levine

I was staring at my closet, ruminating on what jacket/cardigan/blazer/coat I would pick as my finishing layer for the next ten days. I figured if I chose just one I’d have more room in my 10-day mini-capsule for other things. My eyes lit on this dress coat (coat dress?) and I said to myself, “That’d go with everything.”

For some reason that little insight swung the door open to a much bigger one. If that dress coat really would work with everything else I planned to include (it would), why did I have so many other blazers/top layers in my closet?

I looked over at my dresses; I had similarly decided to include just one dress in my 10×10 wardrobe so as to have room for more tops and bottoms to mix and match. If one dress, styled two ways, was sufficient to get me through ten days of work outfits, why did I have two dresses I loved but didn’t really fit right anymore and another I never really loved but thought I needed for color variety? This was after I did my spring closet clean out, mind you.

Somehow the lens of a mini capsule wardrobe brought into focus what “enough” really is in my wardrobe. It suddenly felt easy to let go of those three dresses, two blazers I hadn’t fallen in love with yet, and a couple of tops that went with everything but were rarely worn because I had so many others I liked more. And instead of feeling like I needed to go get my thrifting fix after my thrifting fast, I felt myself relax.

I don’t need a dress in every color to “complete” my spring wardrobe.  It’s been a bit strange to look at my dresses and see a lot fewer colors; the rainbow they made brought a smile to my face. Anyone else get that feeling of chromatic satisfaction? But I’m really looking forward to wearing the ones I still have, so does it matter if all that’s in there for spring is white, blue, caramel, and orange?

I don’t need more than two weeks’ worth of dress tops. I do want SOME variety in my life; not repeating a top in two weeks, give or take a few days, is my happy place for now.

I don’t need every color corduroy pant known to humanity just because they look so enticing all lined up on the thrift rack. In fact, having just two seems to work quite well. (But maybe my green ones instead of grey because JOY.)

 

I feel a shift coming on: from buying (or keeping) something because it goes with everything else to keeping just a few pieces that meet my needs and are a joy to wear, not just look at. Maybe I’m headed back towards capsule territory – at least in spirit.

 

So that’s what I learned from the 10×10. Did y’all participate?  Learn anything? Wanna share?  :)

PS Here’s what I donated after this epiphany. Bye:
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