considered living: wardrobe downsizing experiment

joinery jumpsuit

My closet is now reduced to 60% of what it once was, but there still remains clothes that I don’t wear because they are meant for special occasions, or a number of other reasons. It is frustrating to see them linger in my closet, taking up space, getting in the way of what I wear all the time.  So I’ve decided to do a little downsizing experiment.  I’m going to remove all the items that haven’t been worn in the past year and stow them away out of sight.  I want to know what it feels like to work with a closet that only contains my essentials and pretend for a while that this is my entire wardrobe.  After 3 months, I will re-assess what I’ve stowed away with the idea that the experience of having less will help me decide what really can be removed permanently.

[image credit: joinery]

beauty: how to make sheer nail color opaque

essie minimalist and illamasqua monogamous

One of my new favorite nail colors is Essie’s ‘minimalist’, which I’ve mentioned earlier. This nail color is almost perfect except that it requires 3 coats to get an opaque finish. That’s simply too much work. A quick fix for this is layering with a base opaque nude color. Here I’m wearing one thin coat of Illamasqua ‘monogamous’ (a natural opaque matte nude color) with one coat of Essie’s minimalist on top.  The base color disappears while the top color stands out minus any annoying uneven sheerness.

wardrobe radar: crossover slider

johnston and murphy sonya sandal close up

Crossover sliders are just as ubiquitous as arizona Birkenstocks these days.  I’ve been eyeing them for quite a while but haven’t been able to find the right ones for my foot type (long and narrow).  But alas, today I stumbled across this version by Johnston & Murphy.  The stock photos were not immediately appealing to me; first I felt these shoes were kind of ugly and made for old people, but I fell in love with them after I saw how JetsetJustine styled them with modern casual pieces in this photo: Continue reading

outfit: brown nostalgia II

everlane sweater heather ash corduroy skirt kork ease

Again, here’s my throwback AE corduroy skirt from high school circa 1999.  Love the buttoned back pockets and minor details of this skirt like the lavender lining along the zipper that peeps out sometimes.  To keep it grown up I paired it with this modest classic cotton sweater from Everlane.  Maybe this is boring, but I for one like seeing bloggers wear the same items in different ways; it helps me understand how their style works for them. Continue reading

considered living: criteria for an essential wardrobe

joinery

Imagine waking up in the morning to get dressed, you open the doors to your closet, and you feel calm and serene because:

You love every item of clothing in your wardrobe.

You have many outfits to choose from,

but you don’t have too much.

You have something to wear for every occasion.

You are satisfied in the quality of your clothes.

Everything fits well

and you feel chic and comfortable in every outfit you own.

These are the ideals of an essential wardrobe.  I’m certainly not fully there, but since editing/reducing my wardrobe I’ve noticed my morning stress level has significantly decreased.   I’m no longer panicked about what to wear and running late in the mornings.  Now I can start my day feeling relaxed and ready to face what lies ahead.

Creating an essential wardrobe requires one to be more thoughtful and selective.  To make it in, an essential wardrobe piece should meet the following 6 criteria: Continue reading

considered living: 5 best foods to cook minimally

cauliflour florets

Between all the seamless orders, cafeteria food at work, and eating out, it’s refreshing to get regular doses of good ol’ wholesome food that is barely transformed by the cooking process.  I’m talking about simply roasting fresh produce or meat with evoo, sea salt and freshly ground pepper in a high temperature oven to get tasty charred edges while preserving the food’s structural integrity and nutritional value.  My 5 favorite things to cook this way are:

  1. whole fresh okra
  2. cauliflower florets
  3. broccoli florets
  4. portobello mushrooms
  5. high quality fresh salmon steaks

Continue reading

outfit: high rise high waters

chinos and crop top outfit cos

I’ve been admiring high waisted white linen culottes lately; they have such a breezy, modern feel to them.  I especially love the ones designed by the high-end basics label Apiece Apart.  But I’m not quite ready to experiment with culottes yet (not sure if I’m really tall enough to pull them off) so will resort to the next best thing- foldin’ up my chinos! Continue reading

outfit: borrowed from the boys

steven alan sweater dritgirl

Here’s a little lifehack tip girls:  expand your reach by gifting your boy clothes you can wear too.  Yes it’s a little selfish but I think most boys get a kick out of seeing you (look better) in their clothes.  And even if you’re single, I’d suggest browsing the men’s section the next time you’re in a co-ed shop.  Menswear tends to be more focused and pared down, and you can often find high quality chunky oversized knit sweaters that you can’t find in the women’s section.  Here I’m wearing a Steven Alan men’s zip cardigan over a sleek shirtdress from Madewell.   Here’s a close up and the same sweater on a boy: Continue reading

outfit:  salt of the earth

sienna pants

There is something so naturally beautiful about solid basic earth tones in womenswear.  These colors draw from pigments found naturally in the earth’s foundation- umber, sienna, ochre, and greys -in all shades.  When I was decluttering my wardrobe, the clothes that got sorted into the donation pile were there because they hadn’t been worn in over a year.  It was a pile full of loud synthetic colors, reds, fluorescence, and neons, which by themselves are pretty but I don’t think they speak to my sensibilities enough to get worn often, a realization that will hopefully inform my wardrobe planning and help me reduce wasteful spending in the future.  Here I’m wearing one of my foundational pieces:  sienna colored skinnies from Madewell. Continue reading

considered living: good read

good readsFor me, the hardest part about decluttering was letting go of gifts and sentimental objects that I  know I don’t need/want.  It’s easier with little objects but harder when a gift is large (and more obvious when it’s no longer in your home).  The struggle is an emotional one.  What will they think?  That I’m ungrateful, that I don’t care, that I’m a callous bad person? But don’t they say it’s the thought that counts?  After the moment you’ve shared your genuine appreciation, shouldn’t you be free to do what you want with the gift?  I felt conflicted, so I searched the internet to see if anyone else has ever wondered about this and found a great essay “on getting rid of gifts” from the guys at the Becoming Minimalist blog. Their conclusion was that most people would not notice or care and one should go ahead and let go.  And so I did, and instead of guilt, I found relief.

(relief:  your mind’s way of letting you know you did the right thing)