Austerity Adventures: May 2016

In which mistakes caught up to me, and I was not at all austere

This cat is totally judging me. | Adventures in Austerity: May 2016 | Whisper & Howl

This cat is totally judging me.

May, in financial terms, was a bit of a disaster.

I was riding high from April, in which I somehow managed to meet my savings goal, when I got quite a shock: $1000 had disappeared from my bank accounts. That was all $860 of my hard-won Emergency Savings, and $140 from my checking account. Shit, meet fan.

What had happened was: I found a cute little duplex in Durham, where I work, to move into in July. I applied, my application was accepted and I had 36 hours to pay the security deposit. I went to my online banking site and WHAT THE F ALL MY MONEY WAS GONE. How, you may (and I did) ask, could this happen?

Well, Apparently I did not file my state taxes in 2010 (and 2011), and the NC Department of Revenue wanted $1100, and my bank gave it all to them without warning me. Surprise! I may have cried. Fortunately I had about $400 in checks in my wallet so I was okay, and I took a cash advance on my credit card, which is crazy. Several dear friends and family members offered to loan me the money but because of timing, I did the cash advance. I will be paying a stupid interest rate on that for a while, but I got the house! Moral of story: always file your taxes. It’s likely that I will get most of the money back, but that requires some check-writing, faxing and waiting, so…it will be a nice bonus whenever it comes back to me.

On top of this craziness, I failed at keeping to my budget in 3 categories: groceries, restaurant & bar, and clothing. I spent way too much on all of these things. I did try to budget for eating out and getting a few drinks, but one fancy dinner and one night of drinking got a out of control, and hangover afternoons call for delivery. Bad decisions were made, but loads of fun was had. It’s easy for me to go over on groceries. It takes real planning and concentration to stick to my grocery budget, and I lacked both a plan and focus last month. For clothing, there were some things I need for the summer and I got them. Some will be returned, but for the most part they’re things like t-shirts, which need replacing every year, and work clothes such as shorts, sneakers, socks and a modest bathing suit. This will be my uniform as a summer camp manager, and I’m stoked about it. You can read more about my wardrobe soon.

On a brighter note, here are some things I did in May that didn’t suck at all:

  • I went to a magical hostel in the forest of coastal Georgia. It was inexpensive, freeing, fun and healing. The amazing Sarah D. was my traveling companion. We played our harmoniums, bathed in moonlight, slept outside-ish, and got devoured by gadflies.
  • My bestie came to visit for an evening and I got to see lots of old friends who live in NYC. She also gave me a gift/loan that allowed me to refill my Emergency Savings and put some money aside for moving expenses and a washer/dryer. Thanks, T!
  • I took a weekend trip to Richmond, VA to visit some friends who recently bought a gorgeous old house there. I had a chill weekend with some of my absolute favorite humans (and dog) in one of my favorite cities. I was also able to visit my favorite lingerie shop, Fiamour, where I got fitted for and bought new bras. It is amazing to have perfectly fitting bras!

For June, I have lots of plans in place to make it a more financially successful month–although, astrologically speaking, money is a tough spot for me this now, so I’m also trying to roll with the fiscal punches. My goals are to put that final $225 in my Emergency Savings, bringing it up to $1000; stash some cash in general savings for moving expenses and a washer/dryer; and stick to my budget in all categories. I also need to sell my old car.

Meet me back here next month and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Did you file your taxes?! If you skipped a year, you should go back and file them now!

What to do When You Hate Everything in Your Closet

…and you write about wardrobes.

What to do when you hate everything in your closet...and you write about wardrobes. Whisper & Howl

(Did someone say TEACHABLE MOMENT?!)

After a year of capsule wardrobe bliss, I have come to a place I hoped never to be in again. I hate everything in my closet.

Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch. I hate most things.

The whole point of a capsule is to make me feel great all the time in all of my clothes. It’s to have a (small) wardrobe with nothing but favorites, in which everything goes together and flatters my figure and feels wonderful on my body. Last spring was pretty good. Summer was great (with the exception of the humid heat; there’s no way to dress for that). Fall was beautiful and I felt lovely in winter. But this spring, year 2 of my experiment, is blah. Blech. Ugh.

I didn’t get anything new this season, and I didn’t throw anything out. I thought I’d keep the random stuff from years past in there and see what I ended up wanting to keep v. discard. I guess in that sense, it has been a successful season. (Remember, since it gets hot in May in N.C.–it was 85 degrees last week–spring is a mini-season for capsules and summer is extra-long.) It has been unsuccessful, though, in actually being a cohesive, dreamy capsule wardrobe.

Here are some issues:

  1. A lot of the pieces I kept in are several years old and since they weren’t great quality to begin with, are falling apart. Stretching, fading, sagging and grease spots are abundant. This simply will not do.
  2. The silhouettes are wrong. They seemed right last year, but this year they are wrong. It’s not that I’m so fickle. My tastes have actually taken a step back. Last year I was really into swing cuts and those baggy shirts that look fantastic on models but make me look dumpy and shapeless. I think this is because I worked in an office that had no ventilation and I refused to wear anything that actually touched my skin. Now, I do have a couple of loose, drapey items that I love but it’s a matter of fabric weight and cut. Most of what I have simply isn’t flattering, and I’m no longer comfortable in those pieces. Instead, I’m drawn more to classic feminine cuts that flatter my curves.
  3. The quality is low. I already mentioned that, I know, but it bears repeating. My cheap shirts are stretched and pilled. The cutoffs I made last year from cheap jeans are now cheap, ill-fitting shorts. I’m coming to the realization that tshirts, like flats, just get worn out and need replacing once a year.
  4. I’m missing some staples, such as basic skirts, dresses and shorts. I have been wearing the same pair of jeans over and over again because they’re the only thing that will go with the tops I do like.

So, I’m at the point where I look at my closet and whine “I have everything” and “I have nothing to wear!”–the very thing I strive against! The only thing to do is to take my own advice and…

Cut out the shit! This is pretty easy and enjoyable for me (and something I help other people do–check out my Wardrobe Consulting Service!)  but it can be challenging, especially when money is tight. It’s hard to get rid of things when you don’t feel able to replace them. It’s hard to let go of items you see as resources, wealth, or really, things. Yes, it is hard to let go of our things.

However, I truly believe in cutting out things (or beliefs, relationships, habits) that no longer serve me in order to make way for the new. You have to weed a garden so that beautiful flowers and tomatoes can grow! To apply this to clothing, getting rid of pieces that no longer make you feel and look fantastic gives you space to only wear the things that do–whether that means buying new clothes or simply stripping it down to a uniform with simple variations, or discovering new outfit combinations. Yes, you literally make space for new clothes, but it’s not about replacing and storing up more. It’s about the quality of feeling that you get when you have fewer, better things. You deserve better than that ribbed cotton tank that was, at one point, black. You can have tights without holes in them! I do not need that favorite sailor-striped top with the breast pocket that has sagged to the point that it is basically cupping my boob! No one needs to know that I can’t eat anything greasy without getting stains! I have a waist, damn it, and I want to show it!

You get the point. I will be doing a big discard soon. I will be left with fewer things, but they will be good. And yes, I’ll buy some new (linen) tshirts to replace the gross, pilled, saggy ones. I will make sundresses fit for a foxy lady in 1960s Cambridge (I’ve been watching a lot of Grantchester). But it will be better. It will be fantastic. If not, you’ll be reading about it.

Do you have trouble deciding which clothes to discard? Do you get nervous getting rid of things even though you haven’t worn them in years or they have holes or weird saggy pockets? Tell me about it in the comments! Or, better yet, let me help!

Spring (Capsule) is Here!

The last weeks of winter were unseasonably warm, with temperatures climbing into the 80s. This had me nervous about what spring would be like this year. Should I put all my mid-temp clothes away or keep the lightweight sweaters and jeans out? Do I just skip straight to my summer clothes?

In the end, I decided to take my own advice and make my Spring Capsule basically a long transition into Summer Capsule. I pulled a lot of summer clothes in addition to lighter shirts and sweaters (lighter in weight and color). I’ve kept in all my jeans and added the very pale blue ones, which will only be worn if I can squeeze into them! I stored my heavy and dark-colored sweaters, flannel-lined leggings, thicker dresses and shirts, and put away my knee-high boots. I’m left with more clothes than I’d like (48 pieces shown below!), including some I haven’t worn in over a year but haven’t gotten rid of yet; this is their last chance at getting worn before I ditch them. My plan is to continue to store clothes as the weather gets hotter, and add in the few summer pieces I’ve kept out. Here’s what I’ve got:
Spring Capsule 2016, Tops | Whisper & Howl

Spring Capsule 2016, Tops | Whisper & Howl

Spring Capsule 2016, Tops | Whisper & Howl

Spring Capsule 2016, Light Sweaters | Whisper & Howl

Spring Capsule 2016, Light Sweaters | Whisper & Howl

Spring Capsule 2016, Outfits | Whisper & Howl

Spring Capsule 2016, Dresses | Whisper & Howl

Spring Capsule 2016, Bottoms | Whisper & Howl

Spring Capsule 2016, Handmade | Whisper & Howl

These 2 are handmade by me!

There are a few pieces I’d like to add. However, I’m dedicated to making my clothes this year rather than purchasing them, with the exception of magical thrift store finds. On my sewing/thrifting list:

  • Palazzo pants
  • Shorts (sewn or cut off from thrifted jeans)
  • T shirts (Grainline’s Lark pattern is my jam, and I also love their Scout and Hemlock shirts)
  • 2 sundresses
  • 2+ Inari Tee Shirt Dresses (a Named Clothing pattern)
  • A light-weight Laurel dress

I know, I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s most likely that I will have 2-3 of these things done before the Summer Solstice, but I have plenty of things to wear (too much, really) and can be patient.

Stay tuned for how I incorporate sewing into my capsule planning.

If you have a capsule, I’d love to know more about it!

Spring Capsule Planning: Mood Board Pt. 1

Curating Colors for a CApsule Wardrobe

I promised to document my process for creating a capsule wardrobe, so here goes! My process has evolved over the last year and I’ve collected elements from several different blogs that I incorporate as I plan what I will be wearing for 3 month chunks. Now, I like to start by creating a mood board for the upcoming season. I use Pinterest for this but if you prefer analog an actual bulletin board, sketchbook or journal would be a lovely way to collect images that illustrate your capsule’s mood.

I started by culling images from my Art and/or Craft board. I chose images that just felt right. It was an intuitive process and as you can see below, a particular color story and design elements naturally coalesced.

Spring Capsule Planning: Mood Board, on Whisper & Howl

Artwork by Tracie Cheng, Anne Siems, and Ann Moore

Spring Capsule Planning: Mood Board, on Whisper & Howl

Art by Sam Kalda, Gustav Klimt, and Mateja Kovac

Spring Capsule Planning: Mood Board, on Whisper & Howl

Collage by Geninne, Dragon Fruit Smoothie Bowl, Laila Duran photo

Spring Capsule Planning: Mood Board, on Whisper & Howl

Francoise Hardy, Greige Design, unknown print

Spring Capsule Planning: Mood Board, on Whisper & Howl

Moroccan ceramics, Beth Nicholas painting, unknown print

Spring Capsule Planning: Mood Board, on Whisper & Howl

Art by Babeth Lafon, Svabhu Kohli, Stella Hultburg

Spring Capsule Planning: Mood Board, on Whisper & Howl

Lorraine Lawson painting, photographs unknown

Spring Capsule Planning: Mood Board, on Whisper & Howl

Romy Northover ceramics, photograph unknown

I like creating a mood board because it helps me to figure out what I like by noticing what I am drawn to. You can see from the images that I am drawn to the colors of stormy seas and spring flowers, faded dreamy afternoons and ripe, juicy fruits. I love deep greens, blues and reds; washed out versions of those same colors; sweet peaches and yellows; black and white, pink and purple. These are the colors I am naturally drawn to at this moment in my life, when I think about spring. These are the colors I will use in my capsule wardrobe as I shop through my own closet and plan out my sewing projects.

Next time I’ll share the other elements of my mood board: silhouette and style.

What speaks of spring to you? Are there any quintessential spring images, colors or moods for you?

 

Winter Capsule Wardrobe!

I’m back! I took an unintentionally long break from writing and I have returned to my desk with lots of ideas, my new Bullet Journal, some photos and a cup of Emergen-C (grown-up Koolaid). I intend on posting regularly from now on, starting with my WINTER CAPSULE!

Winter Capsule Wardrobe! on Whisper & Howl #whisper& howl #winter #capsule #wardrobe #fashion

I did the process a little differently this time. I did not fill out the Un-Fancy Wardrobe Planner. I did a little bit of Colette’s Wardrobe Architect, mostly pinning inspirational photos. Actually, I did sort of a hybrid of these 2 tools, which I will develop into a helpful guide for future use. Mostly, though, I just went through my closet and sorted out my cold-weather clothes and pushed the warmer-weather clothes to the back of the closet. There were several dresses in there that I had forgotten about and have worked into my wardrobe. I also have extensive sewing plans, which will add several very wearable pieces. Here’s a list of what I’ve got:

Finally, my Winter Capsule Wardrobe! on Whisper & Howl #whisper&howl #capsule #wardrobe #winter #fashion

This wardrobe developed organically from what I already own. I added 6 sweaters: a long dark green cardigan, a cozy red sweater, a yellow one (my favorite accent color), all new; 2 oversized men’s sweaters from the local thrift store, and a fisherman’s sweater than I bought for my Dad in Ireland years ago and have claimed as my own. I also bought 2 pairs of flannel-lined leggings which I am counting as tights/underwear rather than wardrobe items, but which are really wonderful and snuggly, and some new socks. The socks are Kirkland Signature from Costco, which the internet tells me are made by Wigwam and are an amazing deal.

For silhouettes, I am into skinny jeans with big sweaters, ankle boots and warm socks; shift dresses or fitted skirts with over-sized sweaters, leggings or tights, socks and ankle boots; and circle skirts or fit-and-flare dresses with cropped sweaters or jackets, tights/leggings, socks and ankle boots. I’ve been wearing the same GAP ankle boots every day and they are definitely going to fall apart this year. I will be replacing them with a nicer model in the Fall. I have 2 cropped sweatshirts on my sewing list, which I will talk more about in another post.

Obsessed with my ankle boots | Winter Capsule Wardrobe on Whisper & Howl #winter #capsule #wardrobe #fashion #ankle #boots

I’ll collect some outfit photos as the Winter wears on. I may have to deviate from capsule wardrobe “rules” of only buying items once a season, in order to snag some Bean or duck boots if I can find a good pair on eBay. It’s going to be a wet winter and if I’m going to keep up my ankle boot streak, I will need something sturdier.

So, that’s it! For Spring, I’ll share more of my process. I’m pretty sure I won’t be buying anything, since I got so much new stuff last Spring and since sewing is way more fun than shopping.

Have you started a capsule yet? What are your Winter go-to pieces? 

Autumn Capsule Wardrobe: Making Ethical Choices

Considering the true cost of fashion in planning my Autumn Capsule Wardrobe at Whisper & Howl #capsule #wardrobearchitect #fashion #project333 #whisperandhowl #wardrobe #truecost

Friends, it has been a very long and trying month. The intensity of the past weeks has kept me from updating this little blog, but I did manage to pull together an Autumn Capsule Wardrobe, which I switched to on the first day of Fall. I don’t have any photos but I’d like to describe the process I used, because this time things were a little different.

Before I developed my Autumn capsule, I watched The True Cost, a documentary about Fast Fashion and the deeply negative impacts that our culture of consumer-capitalist culture has on the environment and our collective and individual psyches. Needless to say, I loved it. I thought the film was very informative and provocative, illuminating the unethical practices of fast fashion brands without disparaging the idea of fashion.  Fashion is beautiful, a form of wearable art that lets us express our individuality, culture, and creativity. Fast fashion takes clothing and turns it into a cheap commodity, something to be purchased without consideration and discarded when something new catches our fancy.  I won’t give facts and figures here, but if this is interesting to you then I encourage you to watch the film (you can stream it on Netflix).

Watching this movie reminded me of my morals and that I have a choice to make when I purchase clothing. I can choose to research brands and manufacturers and select fair-trade, organic, ethical…or I can go for cheap, disposable, trendy.

I don’t have a lot of money, but I want to make the right choices. I decided to really limit my purchases this season and to make as many pieces as possible. There are only 4 brand-new pieces in my wardrobe: a pair of Lotta from Stockholm clogs, a giant blanket-sweater and 2 pairs of high-waisted leggings. I admit that I do not know much about the brands I chose; the price for these items was higher than what I usually pay, which makes me think they are more ethically produced, but that absolutely may not be true.  I also obtained a shirt from my mom.

As I was developing my list of pieces that I have and that I want, I also thought about what I could sew in these few months. I have already made a lion-print wrap skirt and am working on a scuba knit, emerald green simple shift dress. I have a white sweatshirt and a plaid flannel shirt on my list. I average one new garment per month.

I hope to have some pictures for you soon.  I’d like to continue to explain my capsule wardrobe process as I hone it myself. I’m developing it into a service I can use with clients, so that I can help others achieve the ease, comfort and contentedness that I find in having a simple, curated wardrobe.

What role, if any, do ethics play in your clothing choices?  

Summer Capsule Wardrobe Pt. 1

Summer Capsule (still in progress) | Whisper & Howl

Summer Capsule (still in progress)

I’m not quite finished curating my Summer Capsule Wardrobe, but I’ve made progress since last time.  I did some analyzing and shopping last week.  I’m focusing on light, breathable fabrics; light colors; flowy cuts like that of the swing dress partially pictured below.  This is one of the hottest summers we’ve had in years and I want my clothing to be airy.  I want movement.  I want to catch the light breeze and feel it on my skin.  I want to reflect the sun.  For the most part, I want simple, well-cut clothes that I can add to with accessories.  I have a few summery print dresses leftover from years past and made in my sewing class that add some fun (matchsticks and pineapples!) but for the most part the focus is on mint green, light blue, white and black, with accents of light pink and fluorescent green.

I’m hoping to practice my outfit-photography skills this weekend but until I find a nice, private-ish location in which to  unselfconsciously take well-lit self-portraits, here are some detail shots.

Crown Vintage sandals and LOFT chambray dress | Whisper & Howl

Crown Vintage sandals and LOFT chambray dress

Banana Republic pineapple dress and cardigan | Whisper & Howl

Banana Republic pineapple dress and cardigan

Crocs Adrina flats and GAP jeans | Whisper & Howl

Crocs Adrina flats and GAP jeans

I still feel like this capsule is a little too large and varied right now so I’m planning to return some items tomorrow and to make sure I don’t have any “orphan” pieces.  I’ll give the run-down of my wardrobe next week when it’s set, along with some notes on my process. 

If you’re interested in learning more about what a capsule wardrobe is and how to create one for yourself, I recommend checking out Un-Fancy and Project 333 for information and guides.

 

Baby’s First Capsule Wardrobe

You may be wondering, what is a capsule wardrobe?  Unless, of course, we’re friends IRL, in which case you’ve definitely heard me talking about this, one of my new favorite things.

I first heard of the capsule wardrobe in the book Lessons From Madame Chic (interesting but not amazing).  The author studied abroad in France and learned many lessons about life and style from her very chic French host family, including the benefits of a minimalist wardrobe.  This family valued quality over quantity, owning just a few tops, bottoms, dresses of a simple and luxurious nature.  I read this and thought, that’s nice but not for me.  However, the idea of having fewer, better things in my wardrobe did stick, and sparked The Great Discard of December 31, 2014.  

Later, in sewing class, my friend Kelly brought up the idea of having a capsule wardrobe.  I went home and scoured the internet for ideas and finally found the Un-Fancy blog, written by Caroline Joy Rector.  There are many other bloggers who are trying out a capsule or who have been committed to the lifestyle for years (Project 333 is one of the first and best), but I really liked Caroline’s style.  She’s one of those bloggers I’m convinced I’d be friends with in real life, and I am inspired by her fashion, too.  After reading her blog and it’s comprehensive posts about creating a capsule wardrobe including not just how but why to do this, I decided to give it a whirl.

I started this past Spring, debuting my carefully curated selection on March 21st.  I LOVED it.  Having a limited amount of choices made it so much easier to get dressed, and because I had shopped and curated with intention, I felt good in everything I put on.  I had more than 37 items (I found it really hard to limit my shoes and accessories to fit that number, although I did curate them) but I felt that sticking to someone else’s number would have impeded my own process.  I think I had around 35 pieces of clothing and 9 pairs of shoes.  Everything was coordinated, and I felt that I was discovering a new personal style that fit my lifestyle better than ever before.  (Incidentally, my only issue with Un-Fancy is that we have different lifestyles–I work in an office which, although relaxed, does require me to have more separation between casual and work clothes than Caroline has–and I want to know what she’d wear to my office!)

But then, summer struck.  Technically it was late Spring, but still.  My capsule was really meant for a 3-month Spring, and here in North Carolina we get about 6 weeks of what feels like Spring before transitioning into Summer.  Around the middle of May, my wardrobe no longer worked.  I dug through my bin of Summer clothes from years past and pulled out a few dresses to help get me through.  I certainly don’t feel like I failed, but I learned something that I can apply for next year.  However, the wardobe zen I felt in April is gone.  I’m frustrated.  I miss the calm confidence that I felt each morning as I reached for my clothes and throughout the day as I lived in them.

Since then, I’ve been struggling a bit with what to do for Summer.  Planning the wardrobe I want was easy, but finding pieces has been difficult.  I also haven’t had time to go to the stores so I’ve been ordering things online and returning almost all of them.  I need a day to go through what I have, find some outfits, figure out what I want to add and then go shopping.  Maybe 2 days.  Oof. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I’m into minimalism.

words

 

Not that I’m a minimalist right now, but it’s something I’m slowly working toward.  See, it all started when I moved to Bloomington, IN a few years ago for grad school.  I brought EVERYTHING.  I filled a decent-sized Budget moving truck with all of my furniture (couch, loveseat, chair, ottoman, dining set, mattress, dresser, entertainment shelf thing, bookshelf, vanity…probably things I’m forgetting), art, clothes, books, records…EVERYTHING.  I packed my Camry full of stuff.  I had a whole, furnished house worth of STUFF.

I did this because neither of my new housemates had any furniture and I thought it would be easier and cheaper to carry the trappings of my 28 years of life across several state lines, and it was fine.  We had a nicely furnished, comfortable home with lots of kitchen equipment and gardening tools and knick knacks.  And all through that year, I bought more stuff.  I bought clothes for a new lifestyle.  I bought shoes.  I filled the house with more and more things.

And then disaster struck.  Relative disaster.  We had to move.  I found a small 1-bedroom apartment that a lot of my furniture wouldn’t fit it.  I had a storage unit for the summer, but it was double-booked so I was left with a truck full of my stuff, a limited time to move it all, and 1 friend who could help.  I was screwed.  I called my friend Alexa, who was in Germany, to beg her to let me use her tiny basement storage area for my things.  I grabbed her hidden extra key and I crammed as much stuff as I could into her basement room, shoved my mattress behind her wardrobe, loaned her my coffee table and patio furniture for the summer…but I had to donate the rest of my furniture to the ReStore.  I gave my couches to another friend (they came to me for free so I felt this was probably a good karmic decision) and said goodbye to everything except what I could fit at Alexa’s, and drove my packed Camry to Richmond, VA for a summer internship.

Flash forward to August, when I went to retrieve my things from the basement and discovered a bunch of mildewed clothes and moldy leather accessories.  Everything stunk.  I spent weeks trying to clean Frye boots and my great-grandmother’s scarves, hanging them outside my small apartment to dry in the sun.  I had been forced to downgrade, but I still had SO MUCH STUFF.

My Mom and sister drove Mom’s hatchback to Bloomington for my graduation and to help me move back to North Carolina.  I hadn’t done much packing (I’d been too busy with exams and grading undergraduate papers to do anything else) and I was sure we could get it all done in one night, but I was oh so wrong.  They stayed an extra day to help me go through all of my stuff, which I now think of as my crap.  I loaded a friend’s truck up for 2 separate Goodwill trips.  I sold books and furniture on Facebook and gave away the rest.  At the last minute, I ditched an entire laundry basket worth of shoes (there was another basket), making snap decisions.  It felt good.

My neighbor, an older man, walked by and looked at my car in amazement.  He went to college, he said, with a single suitcase.  I felt ashamed then, looking at all my stuff.

We loaded my Mom’s and my car with everything that would possibly fit, leaving a little space for my sweet cat, Devo, to ride atop a pile of stuff in my car (she likes to sit up high and look out the windows on car rides).  I loaded everything in my parents’ basement for the next 9 months while I lived at home, finished up some school projects and hunted for a job.  I didn’t touch most of my stuff.

In September last year I moved into an apartment with a friend.  I brought all the stuff from the basement plus my clothes and some of my sister’s kitchen things.  I realized over the next couple of months that even though I had so many items of clothing, I had very little that I actually wanted to wear.  Many things no longer fit my lifestyle; others were in less-than-perfect condition, hadn’t been worn in over a year, or didn’t fit quite right.  I decided that I deserved to feel awesome in my clothes and to only have things that make me feel great.  I deserve to have clean, well-fitting clothes with no holes, clothes that make me feel great and look great.  I decided to throw out everything that didn’t fit that model, to make space for things that did.  I stood at the top of the stairs and threw clothes down, releasing them from my life.  It felt AMAZING.  I ended up with several garbage bags of clothes that I was able to donate to Goodwill so that someone else could enjoy them.

Since then I’ve been on a mission to reduce clutter in my life and to make space for joy.  A lot of this has to do with my wardrobe.  I have always loved fashion and consider my clothes a source of creative expression.  What I wear matters to me, and I love that I can shape the way I’m perceived through my wardrobe.  I like things that make me feel comfortable and confident.  My style has changed a lot since I moved to Bloomington and back.  My job and the weather require different types of clothing.  My body has changed a little and my ideas about who I am and what I like have changed a lot.  I’m still developing my style, and I’m still discarding old things and shopping much, much less.  I recently went full konmari on my wardrobe and donated 4 more bags of clothing and shoes, and I’m ready to go through books and papers the next time I get a free day.  I am attempting a second capsule wardrobe (more on that later).  Becoming more minimalist and intentional with my wardrobe, figuring out my personal style, and exploring a capsule wardrobe are key factors in my personal life this year.  I’m going to be sharing more about this as I go along.  I don’t know that I’ll ever be a fashion blogger, but we’ll see how it goes.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in capsule wardrobes, check out this (now defunct) blog by photographer and writer Caroline Joy Rector.  I really responded to her style when I was searching for information on a capsule wardrobe, and I found her wardrobe planning document really useful.  If you’re considering a capsule, I highly recommend checking her out.

Peace,

Jillian

This is Devo.

Devo the minimalist cat