outfit: cocoon

 cocoon black dress

I would argue that a cocoon cardigan is an essential. It’s versatile and can add a modest sophisticated layer to any dress or top that would otherwise be inappropriate for work.  An essential item not only gets worn often but can make other things more wearable as well.  Here I’m wearing one from Anthro over a sleeveless jersey shift dress. Continue reading

apartment: budget friendly custom frames

tulum max wanger

Framed large scale art can have major impacts on a living space.  A nice large piece can elevate and transform an entire room.  But buying custom frames can be really expensive and sometimes way more than the artwork itself.  I recently found affordable bare wood frames from pictureframes.com  Bare wood is so modern- simple- chic and timeless. Best of all they are also the most budget friendly.  A 22″x 22″ custom frame was just $56.  That’s $150 less than you’d pay at Michaels!  I’m loving the look of mostly white rooms, with tiny pops of bright colors and bare pine wood accents + other raw organic elements throughout.  And If you get bored, you can always paint over it!

image credit:  max wanger photography

good read: apartment living

Not so much a read, but I had a great time watching these short videos on apartment therapy, in a series they call the A-line.  They take us on a tour of two apartments with identical floorplans that are designed differently according to the owners unique style and needs.  Really fun.  There are some great ideas here.  It’s exciting to see how other New Yorkers rise up to the challenge of living in little spaces (we’re not alone!).  My favorite video takes place in a tiny brooklyn loft where two young couples are trying to carve out livable spaces for their growing families:

Also worth checking out is AT’s recent post on how to simplify your style at home.

good read: on class privilege

good reads

I recently read a thought provoking OpEd article in the New York Times on when it’s ‘cool’ to have nothing.  It referenced Simply Fully’s blog post on minimalism and class privilege.  It’s authors highlight how the image of having very little is shaped by where one begins.  A rich man who sheds all his belongings gets praise, admiration and cool factor while one who has very little and started out that way is looked down upon and considered lazy; he is the ‘involuntary minimalist’.  I personally think this criticism is a narrow point of view and ultimately misses the point.  I have definitely met plenty of people living below the poverty line and been inside their homes and saw closets full of clothes and spaces full of clutter.  In the U.S., we need not be rich to have a lot of stuff.  But I do think there is value in talking about this.  Definitely had me take a step back and critically think about my own lifestyle choices in a way that I wouldn’t have otherwise.  As always, I find the reader comments section the most interesting of all.  Here are some of the comments that resonated with me:

ohura writes “This article and comments make much of motive–  are you minimalist because it’s fashionable or because you can’t afford more. Irrelevant. Having more than you need is waste, isn’t it? Why should we waste? Why should we have what we don’t need regardless of age or socioeconomic status?”

D writes: “Minimalism is just something else to sell like the extremely expensive modernist homes in magazines which no one I know can afford. The selling of minimalism utilizes the same angle of channeling desire, or more to the point, creating dissatisfaction with what you ‘have’.”

and my favorite comment of all, from mead1:  “This article misses a generational nuance. For the young, minimalism is not “getting rid of stuff” – it is choosing not to acquire much in the first place. This is a far less morally ambiguous choice than middle age minimalism, which generally requires off-loading decades of acquired belongings, a process which in itself has detrimental environmental consequences even when one is recycling or donating belongings. Conscious initial consumption, as opposed to conspicuous deacquisition, is a choice that can be made — and applauded — at any end of the socioeconomic spectrum.”

Amen!

outfit: summertime office

summer office outfit everlane target

Summertime in the office can be tricky.  We need to balance staying cool on our commute while maintaining modesty and professionalism in the office.  For those extra hot days, I gravitate towards linens and cottons in cuts that don’t cling to the body.  Here I’m wearing Everlane’s texture tank with a loose fit linen pencil skirt from Target.

[outfit: Everlane texture tank in cream, Target linen skirt circa 2013, Michael Kors oversized zipper wedges]

outfit: texture tank in cream

everlane cos michael cors white outfit 1

Filled a big hole in my wardrobe today.  Can you believe I have never owned a basic white tank?!  Here I’m wearing Everlane’s new texture tank in cream (size XS).  There are subtle things about this tank that make it worthy of a spot in our essentials wardrobe.  The fabric is thick and completely opaque, but still very breathable.  I can wear a dark colored bra without it showing.  The straps are spaced perfectly apart to cover any standard bra straps (no need to wear your racerback bra with this).  The cut is also slightly A-line, which let’s air flow to keep you cool, adding to the overall relaxed aesthetic of this outfit.  It’s also super affordable at only $25, and it happens to be made in the USA, specifically in Los Angeles (woot! my hometown).  In conclusion this tank is just perfect and I know I will be wearing this over and over for a long time.  Here’s a view of the side and a close-up….

Continue reading

good read: understanding why we hold on to clutter

good reads

Understanding why we hold on to clutter helps us make better editorial choices when decluttering.  Linda Sand, a commenter on the bemorewithless blog’s great post on “how to get rid of clutter you care about”, wrote that the trick for her was learning that “I keep things for who I wish I was instead of who I actually am.” The meaning of this took a few moments to settle in but when it did, it resonated with me.  It’s worth repeating:

“I keep things for who I wish I was instead of who I actually am.”

I am so impressed by how inward and honest she is with herself.  This wisdom can extend beyond decluttering and informs general life decisions as well.  Her comment helped me realize I was doing the same thing.  Now I feel like I can look at that burnt sienna blazer collecting dust in my closet and finally let it go. It’s not me, it was an image of a girl I admired, but it isn’t me.  I think this subconsciously happens to all of us…  are you holding onto something that isn’t ‘you’? 

considered living: the anti-haul — what we didn’t buy this year.

larrson and jenning blog pics

The blogosphere is full of posts about new purchases, monthly beauty hauls at the drugstore, unboxing new tech products, etc.  It seems like every fashion blogger is wearing a brand new outfit in every picture on a daily basis too.  The ridiculous amount of consumerism can be head spinning. So I want to try something different– why not take stock of what we didn’t buy this year.  Let’s give ourselves credit for acts of self restraint, thoughtful shopping, and reflect upon them.  Here’s a list of 4 things I was tempted to buy, but didn’t, and how I worked around that impulse.

1. Larsson and Jennings watch – Lately, I’ve seen fashion bloggers look amazing rocking this watch (the company has gifted many a blogger to get us all salivating over it!).  It is beautiful and has a minimal sleek design, I’ll give it that, but honestly the price tag is simply too high.  I do need a watch, but there are plenty of other watches with a similar design that costs much less.

2. Macbook Air – When my MacBook Pro’s battery and power cord died, I was tempted to just buy a whole new laptop.  Even my boyfriend who never wants to buy anything thought it would be a good idea.  Instead I replaced my battery and power cord for about $200 and saved myself from paying off more credit card debt. Continue reading

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]

Continue reading

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, 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