Minimalist Wardrobe: December Update pt. 2

Main wardrobe pieces- ALL black minus one top ūüėČ

  1. Bodysuit (Off-Shoulder, American Apparel, new)
  2. Bodysuit (U-Back, l/s, American Apparel, used)
  3. Bodysuit (U-Back, s/s, American Appare, used)
  4. Bodysuit (Tank, American Apparel, new)
  5. Cotton turtleneck (J Crew, new)
  6. Cotton turtleneck, forest green (J Crew, new)
  7. Silk artist blouse (Elizabeth Suzann, new)
  8. Silk georgia tee (Elizabeth Suzann, new)
  9. Silk marlena mini dress (Elizabeth Suzann, new)
  10. Ponte pants (American Apparel, new)
  11. Ponte slacks (Mod Cloth, new)
  12. Silk pants (Elizabeth Suzann, new)
  13. Linen pants (Elizabeth Suzann, new)
  14. Riding pants, American Apparel, used)
  15. Ponte Mini Dress (American Apparel, new)

“Extras”

16. Cashmere v neck sweater (Everlane, new)
17. Wool trench (Everlane, used)
18. Cotton trench (Everlane, used)
19. Linen blazer (J Crew, new)
20. Slouchy sweater (Express, used)

Here’s what I’ve found:

I love bodysuits. They allow me EASE and freedom. As a life long dancer and yoga instructor, I love¬†to feel like I can move at a moment’s notice. Even when I’m at the office, I take meditation breaks and go for walks around campus. The amount of skirts and dresses I own has increased, and the boyish slacks are OUT. They do not flatter my body type, which is simultaneously lanky and curvy…falling somewhere in between. Aren’t clothing consumption projects designed to help you find what works for your body? I believe they are. Everything high waist. High waists suit my frame, even though I’m short. Everything that had a mid or low waist is out, including my workout wear. It makes me feel pudgy and frumpy. I’m all about body confidence. Another fun find is that a slightly cropped leg looks great on me- and I’m lucky crops are in fashion, because they fit my five foot frame…like regular pants.

Black is my color. It always has been. It isn’t for everyone, and my co-workers tease me a bit, but it’s all in good fun. I don’t feel pressured to wear prints or bright colors anymore. They always bore me. I like simplicity and a uniform, but I also crave variety. As such, I’ve decided that a bit more than 10 items is a perfect compromise. I can swap, mix, and match easily. For now, the semi-uniform adds to my confidence and my daily ease in dressing. Cotton, silk, linen, cashmere, and wool are my go-to pieces. Button down’s make me feel claustrophobic. So do slacks. I wear ponte high waist pants to work with heeled boots and make it work. I do office wear…my way. As I do everything else. With a twist.

Isabel

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Minimalist Wardrobe: December Update

I recently compiled my main ten items. And a month or two in – let me say, it’s FUN, but I’m chucking the idea out the window. One thing I believe in is flexibility. My researcher brain loves to box things in and my creative brain says “to hell with it all”! Right now, I’m experiencing a very real flow.

I’m putting the idea on hold, or tossing it for the time being, because my identity is shifting (as always, right?) and so is my style. Now is a time to explore those changes and create space for new things. I have added pieces to my closet, and will be updating the things I own, because this is an enjoyable outlet for my creative pursuits.

What am I into currently?

  • All black. This has not changed much since high school. Black is understated, sexy, demure, powerful, intimidating, soft, lazy, etc. It is my favorite way to present myself to the world.
  • High waists. I donated and sold anything mid or low rise (bye, good ol’ Madewell jeans). I feel most beautiful in a high, taut, tapered waist. I’ve re-discovered my love for American Apparel (the ultimate store for hw items) and a newfound appreciation for ModCloth!
  • Skirts: Pencil, skater, etc. I had lost touch with my femininity and am on a journey to find the items that make me feel most beautiful and POWERFUL. A pencil skirt is like a finely tuned sword, for me. I feel strong and sleek. Loving midi skirts, dresses, and the like.
  • Elizabeth Suzann. Of course, the queen of sustainable, made to order, gorgeous designs. I have owned multiple pieces and sold them in the past, but recently treated myself to the artist smock in black silk and the florence pant, in black silk. I want to feel like a queen.

While my closet is expanding past ten items, I know that the main focus is that my consumption habits have shifted. They truly have over the past few years of minimalism, and even a 20 item closet is QUITE small! It isn’t about the number. Why should box myself in into smaller and smaller boxes? I’ve already navigated the larger hurdle, which is making the switch to making CONSCIOUS purchases. I’ve already made the change! My closet will never be stuffed to the gills, because I don’t buy things the way I used to. What a lovely realization to come to. Very freeing.

What realizations have you reached this holiday season? Love you all! I plan to post more often, graduate school has me quite occupied. This break is a breath of fresh air. Literally. I’ve been outside much more and LOVING IT! Happy holidays.

Isabel

 

 

 

Minimalist Wardrobe: The Ten Item Challenge

Whew. I have had this post saved on my phone for a month now. I’m ready to take my minimalist, zero waste lifestyle to new heights and add in a challenge component:

The ten item wardrobe. 

Of course, it’s all been done before! The capsule. Project 333. Tiny wardrobe challenges have circulated intermittently over the years, marketed by quite a diverse range of individuals. I love researching previous wardrobe projects because of the inherent intersection between minimalism, zero waste, and voluntary simplicity. If you are interested in some previous projects, check out the links below:

Why?

Let me first address the intention behind my project. A major philosophical undertone to this project is the ingrained but oft ignored difference between voluntary simplicity and involuntary simplicity. Naturally, the way we perceive our belongings, wants, and needs will vary and depend greatly upon our generational status, socioeconomic status, culture, level of privilege (and countless other variables). One of the main criticisms of minimalism that I read on other blogs and websites is that minimalism promotes luxury items and therefore, is unattainable for the average person. I think this is particularly true for aesthetic minimalism, which focuses predominantly on the physical and visual attributes of an object, which tend to be pricier. That being said, there are a variety of schools of thought within minimalism and no clearly defined right or wrong answer/approach.

Involuntary simplicity suggests that there are barriers (poverty, access, transportation, language, ability, and so forth) that affect one’s overall ability to acquire the necessities in life. Hence, the level of ‘simplicity’ in one’s life is not due to choice, but rather a lack thereof.

Voluntary simplicity employs deliberate choice in what belongings are brought into the home and living without excessive luxury is a main tenant. That is not to say that proponents of voluntary simplicity recommend deprivation, but more so, careful reflection regarding one’s true needs. Therein lies the beauty! Avoiding a fixation¬†on an arbitrary number of items keeps the end goal from being the focus and brings to light the process. Paring down, simplifying, minimizing, or whichever term resonates with you, can be meditative. As you assess your needs, pay close attention to your arising desires, and reshape your habits, you’ll find (like I did) that simplifying is actually a helpful tool for refelction.

What?

Over the course of the next 6 months, I will adhere to a 10 item wardrobe. Now, to preface, I do not have an overt attachment to the number of items I have in my closet. It used to be stuffed to the gills. I filled both sides of a walk in closet on my own, when I worked in retail. However, I’m setting a number to challenge myself. Self-competition can be rewarding when you work through the process step by step…including the difficult steps! I’m using Jennifer Scott’s format: 10 core items, 5 ‘extras’.¬†I have included 10 pieces that are appropriate for all seasons¬†and a 5¬†‘extras’ which include my fall and winter pieces (minus undergarments like thermal leggings, work out clothing, or camisoles). I am electing to have 10 pieces because I want items in my closets that represent my personal style and can translate between my office job and casual recreational activities.

The most vital aspect of my project is to reshape my clothing and overall consumption habits. Leo Babauta of Zen Habits (one of my favorite minimalism bloggers) recommends putting an accountability system in place. As a method of holding myself accountable to the challenge, I will be donating $20 a month to a charity. Usually, my discretionary money- which is sparse as a grad student, would be spent scouring eBay or Poshmark for a good deal. Instead, I’ll put that $20 to a cause. Following our election season, I especially believe that now, more than ever, we should consider donating any overflow¬†funds to organizations that support the rights of our diverse communities. As¬†a lesbian woman, my main focus will be organizations that:

  • support LGBTQ+ rights
  • reproductive rights.

Throughout the process, I’ll post updates with the items I’m using, discuss my experiences, analyze which items work best for my needs, and maybe, even post some short vidoes!

The Clothing Items

10 all season items:

  1. Black long sleeve technical tee (Landsend, new, 2 mo. ago)
  2. Striped long sleeve technical tee (Landsend, new, 2 mo. ago)
  3. Black cotton long sleeve tee (Everlane, new, 6 mo. ago)
  4. Black silk dress shirt (Everlane, new, 6 mo. ago)
  5. Black technical pencil skirt (Lululemon, secondhand, 2 mo. ago)
  6. Black wool slacks (Everlane, new, 7 mo. ago)
  7. Black cotton slacks (J Crew, secondhand, this month)
  8. Black technical slacks (Lululemon, secondhand, 3 mo. ago)
  9. Black skinny slacks (Banana Republic, secondhand, this month)
  10. Skinny jeans (Madewell, secondhand, 1 yr. ago)

Extras:

  1. Black wool coat (Everlane, secondhand, this month)
  2. Black puffer jacket  (REI Co-Op, new, 7 mo. ago)
  3. Black linen blazer (J Crew, new, 2 yrs. ago)
  4. Gray raincoat (The North Face, secondhand, 3 mo. ago)
  5. Black cashmere sweater (Everlane, gift, this month)

The Shoes & Accessories
Shoes:

  1. Black sandals (Chaco, new)
  2. Black mid calf boots (Justin Ropers, secondhand, 2 yrs. ago)
  3. Black ankle boots (Clarks, new, 1 yr. ago)
  4. White leather high tops (Gift, 1 1/2 yrs. ago)
  5. Black leather high tops (Vans, new)

Accessories:

  1. Wool fedora (Goorin Bros, new, 1 yr. ago)
  2. Cycling backback (Timbuk2, new, 2 mo. ago)
  3. Leather Bookbag (Harrods of London, vintage, this month)

Then I have a few ‘at home’ items, like my sweatshirt, joggers, crocs, a linen blouse, and dress. I say ‘at home’, because they are tres casual – so casual, that they make only rare appearances in the outside world. I noticed that there were a lot of new to me items I acquired in the last few months, mostly because I transitioned out of my undergraduate¬†clothing habits into¬†styles that are more appropriate for work and graduate school! Everything I owned previously,¬†I sold or donated.

Have you ever or WOULD you ever try a micro capsule? What types of items would you include? What are your methods of tracking your consumption?

Zero Waste Tips: October Swaps 


Here are some things I’ve swapped from August until now:

  • Toothpaste – I’m using a cinnamon, clay, baking soda mixture adapted from Zero Waste Chef’s recipe) note: my wife is still using traditional toothpaste
  • Tissues – I made the swap successfully! Instead of using TP or tissue boxes, I have acquired some cute ¬†embroidered hankies from a local vintage shop and supplemented my supply with squares cut from worn out tees
  • Paper towels – I have a stack of towels from Ikea, similar to a “flour sack towel” that we now use for spills and I’m phasing out our last roll of paper towels
  • All purpose cleaner – this is a trash light version as I do incorporate a drop or two of traditional dish soap (dawn or Palmolive). I use a ratio of 1:1 white vinegar / water and lemon essential oil, with a few drops of dish soap.

I’m loving these swaps. I find them convenient to incorporate into my routine. Even though I don’t have kids, as a full time grad student and TA, there’s always something to be done. So, to save time, I make up a big batch of cleaning fluid and keep it in a jug to refill my all purpose spray bottle as needed. So far my teeth feel clean and happy. The hankies and tissues are softer on my nose and I toss them in the laundry basket after one or two uses. I haven’t bought paper towels in a few months! My flour sack towels get the job done. Every few weeks I’ll be posting a roundup of my most recent ZW swaps.

What swaps have you found to be easiest or most difficult?

Minimalist Wardrobe: Simple Outfit Styling

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I love browsing style blogs (not fashion blogs, style-) and pinterest for inspiration on pairing my basics. This week I found two lovely videos produced by Eileen Fisher…the understated queen of simplicity. I decided to lift them out of my pinterest feed and share them with you all. I have plenty of basics in my closet that I can swap and pair with other pieces

  • pencil skirts
  • slouchy joggers
  • a pair each of high waist and low waist jeans
  • wool slacks
  • black athletic cami’s
  • striped tops,
  • cardigans, etc.

These two videos encapsulate the style inspiration that I included in of my recent posts and provide a fun system for mixing and matching.

The System: F/W 15

Master the Art of Simple Dressing

How do you get the most out of your basics?

Enjoy!

Minimalist Home: Letting Go is a Continuous Process 

I have a box dedicated to donations that lives by the door. Whenever I order something online that’s shipped in a moderately sized cardboard box… I use it as a temporary donation box to drop breakables at goodwill. I recycle the rest of my cardboard or tear it up for my worm bin bedding. This picture isn’t staged or beautiful. It’s comprised of a few snaps of things I donated. My wife and I dislike clutter equally. She’s more averse to it than me- I’m tidy, but sometimes allow laziness and or/ right brain tendencies to overtake my urges. And am more comfortable with mild amounts of things strewn about. We both agree that we should constantly re-evaluate the purpose items serve in our daily lives. This month we donated:

  • a wicker chair that we’d snagged for $12 – it clashed with our living room style and cramped our space
  • Slate coasters- beautiful in form with very little actual function. We prefer our simple linen squares- the slate coasters dropped water all over our walnut tables! Live and learn
  • Stainless steel water bottle- I switched to a double walled insulated version that keeps my liquids hot/cold
  • Miscellaneous clothing that no longer fits my style/ I amassed button downs while student teaching that are not my vibe!
  • Spiralizer- used twice in the 2 years I owned it. Not worth taking up space in my kitchen. I’m a woman of simple pleasure- I chop, dice, mince or julienne my veggies. I don’t need them in a spiral shape to enjoy them.
  • Some books
  • Extra mason jars of odd sizes that I used when selling my kombucha at the market. I had way too many! Nearly a whole cabinet full

Every few days I wander around the house eyeing things suspiciously, trying to determine how much use it gets in our house. Anything I don’t use, I’ve taken photos of to include special token memories in the yearly photo books I have printed!

Downsizing is an ever progressing journey.

Minimalist Wardrobe: Style Inspiration 

I’ve been continuously paring down my closet, even since my last few posts. I even completed the KonMari method once more to be rid of non-seasonal things that simply don’t fit the overall feel of what I’m looking for. Here are some style vignettes via brands I’ve been perusing (Ichi/ Rennes for a few years, but recently found the second)

Above, pictures, present clips from the shop Rennes. Many of the items included are by Japanese brand Ichi Antiquities. 
Above pictured, vignette of posts curated by Le Vestaire de Jeanne. Androgynous cuts, generous sizing, in classic fabrics.

The aesthetic of both brands breathe, grace, elegance, and above all, comfort. Simplicity in style is so refreshing. I’m finding I relate to the demure, earthy, relaxed vibe, while appreciating the structure of the cuts. Heavy reliance on linen (my favorite fiber) and wool (love hate relationship there).

What is inspiring your style as of late?