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wardrobe advice

normalize outfit repeating

normalize outfit repeating

When I work with clients or give talks, I talk a lot about the concept of repeating outfits, but I haven’t blogged about it too much (well, except for here, here, and here).

One of the biggest complaints I hear from new clients about why they need help is that they feel like they’re always wearing the same few outfits. To which I usually respond, why is that a problem? Where did we come up with this idea that we have to always be wearing something different? For every event, every work day, every school dropoff? From the impression I get from other cultures, this is mostly an American construct, which makes sense - we’re indoctrinated to think we need new stuff all the time, so we definitely need new and different outfits all the time.

mindful closet: normalize outfit repeats

I feel like this is one of the easier perspective shifts we can do which results in a vastly easier time getting dressed.

It’s simple. If you have an outfit you like, rewear it often and DGAF about who notices.

Think of how much time and energy you’ll save. As with a lot of the concepts I espouse, this is something that works for some people and not for others. If you enjoy coming up with new combinations and trying new looks and get joy out of the time you spend doing it, great, go for it! This idea is for people who are sick of worrying about it. 

I promise you, other people will not notice. If they do, SO WHAT?? So they will notice that you have worn clothes you OWN more than once. Great! Maybe it’ll get them to shift their perspective too. We need to normalize this. I posted on Instagram and Facebook recently about Arianna Huffington’s efforts to normalize repeats, which is what made me realize I hadn’t really blogged about it. She says, "Men have a competitive advantage. They don't have to waste the kind of energy we waste." 

I had a good friend tell me recently that it was always easy to find me in a crowd because I’m always wearing some version of the same outfit and usually with the same necklace. I took that as a compliment!

Do you feel comfortable wearing the same thing often? Why or why not?

(photo: Celeste Boyer)

the top three stumbling blocks when letting go

the top three stumbling blocks when letting go

When I'm working with clients on cleaning out their closets, it's a funny situation. Everyone has been having internal conversations with themselves as to why they should keep things they don't use or wear. It's my job to talk them through them and help them see the light! I'll be doing the same thing in the Making Space course. Here are three of the top stumbling blocks I've encountered and how to talk yourself through them. 

mindful closet: how to let go of clothes

Stumbling block: It was a good deal

This is a stumbling block that I know intimately, because it was the one that most often did me in. Ultimately, this is a shopping habit that needs to be changed, but we’ll get to that another time. Right now, you need to think about whether this item is serving you. If it is not, it doesn’t matter if it was a great deal, even if it was free, it is still taking up valuable space without providing value to you. We are often proud of the story of how we found something and how much we saved, even if the item itself is not something we need. Go ahead and tell someone that story - and then let it go.

Stumbling block: I love it, but…

I refer to these items as having a ‘fatal flaw’. Basically, you love everything about it except that it has one thing that renders it unwearable for you. Maybe it’s a gorgeous top, but it’s sheer and you hate wearing an extra layer under it. Maybe it’s a dress with a print that you absolutely love, but the fabric is scratchy. Whatever the issue is, you’re not going to all of a sudden wake up one day and be able to ignore it. It won’t get worn, so you have to let it go. Acknowledge and learn from why you love it and apply that to your future purchases.

Stumbling block: It’s high quality/it was expensive

This is a similar stumbling block as the first one, but there is more guilt involved here. We feel guilt because we feel as though we’ve wasted money if we buy something expensive and then get rid of it. Unfortunately, that money is gone whether we keep the item or not. In business, this is called a sunk cost and should be considered irrelevant. It’s not as if we get our money back the longer we keep the thing. If we let it go, we may be able to get some of our money out of it by selling it, or we can make someone else’s day to get something so high quality.

I often use Marie Kondo's theories with my clients. Marie Kondo wrote The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which is a unique and revolutionary way of looking at organizing and decluttering. She writes that it’s often easier to let go of something if you thank it. While that sounds odd, what it means is that you thank the item for what it has taught you. If you bought something expensive and never wore it, what did it teach you? Maybe it taught you that you hate wearing pink. Maybe it taught you that you prefer to wear dresses more than skirts. Whatever it taught you, be grateful for that lesson, thank the item, and then let it go.

mindful closet: closet cleaning online course

There are four more stumbling blocks we'll cover in the Making Space course, including:

It was a gift
I might need it
I'll fit into it again one day
I loved it and wore it a lot, but not anymore

 

Do you identify with any of these hurdles to letting items go? You can start the Making Space course anytime and work through these issues for yourself. To join the class, click below.

shopping mistakes

shopping mistakes

A time will never come when you will be the perfect shopper and have the perfect wardrobe. Believe me, I know. I’ve tried. Every year, I have to let go of some of the things I’ve acquired, tried, and had to admit don’t work for me.

Over time, my shopping mistakes have changed. When I first began simplifying, I cleared out a lot of mistakes. I was able to learn a lot from them. At that time, I was buying a lot of things because of price. Not because they were my style, not because I could use them, but because they were a good price for what they were. Something is marked down 75%? Of course I need it! A Banana Republic top for $5 at the thrift store? Yes, please! 

making space course

A few years later, I wrote this post, acknowledging that while I was better about resisting purchases based on price or trends, I was still making mistakes in the form of trying to push myself out of my style comfort zone or what was practical for my lifestyle.

Now the mistakes I’m making are because I feel that I need to have something to be credible or knowledgeable. I’m buying things because I want to support the businesses making them, even if they’re not useful for my life. I’m buying things so that I can walk around Manhattan and feel like I can compete. So that some other fashionista will be able to look at my coat or shoes and recognize it as a cult designer and they will know that I know about fashion. It’s taken me since the last post I wrote about shopping mistakes to realize that my confidence needs to come from my own sense of belonging, not something I’m wearing. I’m getting there. Making the space to let go of these mistakes teaches me something every time. If you never clear out the mistakes, you’ll keep making the same ones over and over.

In the Making Space online course, we’ll work through your reasons for buying things and why you’re holding onto them.

make your capsule wardrobe work for you + a giveaway

make your capsule wardrobe work for you + a giveaway

So it’s November 10, and I’m just now getting around to posting my “fall” capsule wardrobe. I really felt bad about that for quite some time, but you know what? Life was busy in October, the weather was 100 degrees, and that’s just not when it worked for me. But that’s the thing - capsule wardrobes only work when they work for you. If the “rules” don’t work for you, make up new ones.

Even a few weeks into this capsule, there are a few other things that are not working for me. If it’s not really warm, I just can’t make myself do the dress or the wide leg crops. I hate being cold! So those won’t get a lot of use. For winter, most of this will stay the same, but I purposely kept a few sweaters out of the fall capsule to save to have something “new” to pull out in January or February. To my surprise, I haven’t actually purchased anything new for fall, except for a $6 secondhand layering tee. There are a few things I purchased at the end of last winter that are just now showing up, but nothing purchased recently. I may find something I need to add midway through the season or I may not.

So here’s my not-perfect fall capsule, with some not-perfect photos to accompany it. 

*purchased or made ethically

make your capsule wardrobe work for you

TOPS:

First row: *Elizabeth Suzann Sullivan sweater, purchased secondhand, similar; *Free people long cardigan, purchased secondhand, similar; *Target striped black and white tee, thrifted; *LulaRoe Irma tunic, purchased secondhand; *Elizabeth Suzann artist smock

Second row: MOD black and white patterned blouse; Neiman Marcus cashmere poncho, similar; *Elizabeth Suzann black linen Harper tunic; *Vintage sweater, purchased secondhand; *Vince taupe sweater, purchased secondhand

Third row: *Off white long sleeve tee, Piko 1988, purchased secondhand; *Liz Clairborne cardigan, thrfited; *COS blue and white striped top, thrifted (Madewell Courier shirt is similar, also easy to find used on Poshmark); *Black Michael Stars dress, purchased secondhand, similar; *J. Crew blue and white striped top, purchased secondhand

mindful closet st louis personal stylist

BOTTOMS: *AG light wash jeans; *Madewell high waist dark wash jeans, purchased secondhand; Old Navy rust cropped pants, similar, similar; Madewell slim boyjean; Express black pants; *Everlane high waisted cropped pants; *Pact black leggings; *Black AG high waisted jeans (not pictured, oops!)

SHOES: Danskos; Nine West black chelsea boots, similar; Eileen Fisher mules ; Blondo booties; Vaneli black suede block heel ankle boots

Read all my blog posts about capsule wardrobes here.  Download my Capsule Wardrobe Worksheet here

This post contains affiliate links, which may generate a few cents of revenue per click

 

how to define your personal style

how to define your personal style

One of the first steps I always take with clients is to help them define their style. I’ve written about it before, and it’s one of the most important things you can do to create a mindful wardrobe. Why? Well, if you don’t know what you like, you’ll buy things you end up not wearing. If you don’t know what you like, you’ll keep things you don’t need to own. If you don’t know what you like, you’ll put on outfits that make you feel uncomfortable.

(Skip all the talk and head straight to the style quiz I created -  Go here!)

With my clients, I’m able to help them through the process by looking at images with them, seeing what’s in their closets, listening to them talk about clothes, and trying different styles. I want to be very clear, this is not what they should wear based on their body type, or their “colors” or any other relatively arbitrary system. It’s what they just like the look of and what they feel most like themselves in. If you're working through this on your own, it can be hard to figure out what exactly you do like.

 

st louis personal stylist

I get it. I have had a really hard time discovering what I actually like. To read, to buy, to wear, to eat, to do. Not just what someone else thinks is cool or what my parents thought I should do or what fashion magazines say I should wear. Here are some of the random things I’ve discovered about myself - even though pretty much everyone says they love to travel, and I feel like I should love to travel, I don’t. I like being at home in my familiar space. Despite it being the trendy healthy food, I actually really like kale. I like the taste and the texture of it. Even though I was the good girl in school, and often caught up in competition to be the best student, it took me a long time to realize I have no desire to be a high-achiever. I just want my quiet little life with enough money and time to live simply and healthily.

Let’s take it back to style. I talked in my last post about how I’ve tried many different styles and over time come to learn what was “me” and what I felt best in. And now I really love my style. Like, a lot. Most days, it takes me 30 seconds to get dressed.

how to define your personal style

So, how can you figure out what YOU really like and want to wear? How can you define your personal style? Here are a few steps:

Explore and research. When I was talking to mr. mindful closet about this post, he made the good point that many people don’t know what their style is because they’ve only been exposed to a few ideas. Without seeing what’s out there, it’s hard to know what you like. Pick up a few fashion magazines, read a few blogs, and start listening to your gut reactions about things you see.

Collect inspiration. Once you’ve explored a bit, start a collection of images that you know you like. Of course, Pinterest is great for this. After you have 20 or 30 images, look at the collection as a whole. Are there any themes throughout? Do you like bright colors or neutrals? Do you like patterns or prints? Do you like straight lines or flowing edges? Do you like clothes that fit close to the body or flow away? Do you like frills or no frou-frou? For comparison, here’s my Pinterest style inspiration board, and here’s one from one of my favorite St. Louis fashion bloggers, Psyche Southwell. You can see our styles defined pretty clearly from each of our boards.

Experiment. Unfortunately, there’s no prescription for style. Even if you can tell you’re visually drawn to certain looks, you have to try the things that you like the look of and see how they FEEL. Maybe you appreciate bright colors and bold prints on someone else, but feel uncomfortable in them yourself. Conversely, maybe you appreciate clean lines and neutral palettes, but really don’t feel yourself unless you’re wearing a bit of fun color. Think of this like looking at art in a museum - you can see it and appreciate it, but it doesn’t need to hang in your home. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to experiment. You can spend time trying things on at various stores, or thrift secondhand items to give them more of a long-term try.

 (images: Celeste Boyer)

(images: Celeste Boyer)

Lastly, there’s always a quiz for everything. I finally put one together myself to help you define your style. Are you Sporty Spice, Romantic Bohemian, Glamour Girl, American Classic, or Modern Minimalist? As with all quizzes, this won’t give you all the answers. If nothing else, use it to practice listening to your gut when you read the answers. Go with the answer you feel, not the one you’ve been told works for you. There’s never going to be one neat category for everyone. Although I’m sure you can guess which quiz category my style falls into, I like to think of my style as “70’s French art teacher” - not a description you’re going to find outlined in any book.

Go here to take the quiz and leave a comment below with what your personal style is! 

We spend even more time exploring personal style and then using it to edit your wardrobe in the Making Space course. Find out more info here.

what to wear when it's 100 degrees outside

what to wear when it's 100 degrees outside

...a.k.a. clothing that barely touches your body. Even though it seems to have passed, we here in St. Louis experienced a couple of weeks of 100+ temperatures. Here are a few of my favorite things to wear when it's blazing hot outside: loose dresses, boxy tops, and breezy culottes.

mindful closet: hackwith design basic dress

(photos by Celeste Boyer) 

Above: Hackwith Design basic dress (ethically made), Need Supply Necklace, Madewell Marie sandal (similar, similar)

mindful closet: hot weather inspiration
mindful closet st louis personal stying

(Tank, dress, top - all ethically made)

mindful closet: ethically made summer wardrobe

(Culottes, wide leg crop pantstencel chambray pants - all ethically made)

Underneath, I like to wear something comfy like this (no underwires and sticky silky fabrics, please!) and this and these are great for a bit of chub rub (you know what I'm talking about). 

What are you wearing during heat waves this summer? 

(this post contains affiliate links which generate a few cents of revenue when clicked on)

ellie's mindful yoga wardrobe

ellie's mindful yoga wardrobe

In case you haven't heard, I'm creating an ecourse. You'll be hearing much more about it over the summer, but as I began to seriously consider the idea, I knew I would need help. Tech guru, I am not. I met Ellie at my minimalist wardrobe workshop when she agreed to be my guinea pig for a wardrobe edit. We bonded over our desire to live intentional lives, the only difference being that she's figuring it all out about 10 years before I got a clue! ;) Ellie went to school for fashion, has worked in interior and graphic design, and for the last few years, has worked as a digital marketer. She's super into holistic health and also teaches yoga. In addition to helping me with the ecourse, Ellie is going to be writing some guest posts for the mindful closet blog. I love hanging out with her and know that you will too!  ---Dacy

As a yoga teacher with a committed practice, I find myself in workout clothes daily. Whether I’m flowing at home or teaching in studio, my yoga pants are on and I’m ready to sweat.  

For years, my active wardrobe has consisted mostly of faded sorority tee shirts and obnoxious leggings, all of which fit poorly. While my "real life" wardrobe is becoming more refined by the day, my yoga clothes were looking run down, sloppy, and careless.

Honestly, I never thought my workout clothes mattered. I’m just going to sweat in them, right? In fact, by the end of a hot yoga class, I’ll have completely soaked through my shirt. Who cares if that shirt is ugly?

It wasn’t until I started teaching yoga that this mentality was challenged. As my classes went on, I started to notice how how unflattering my outfits were. In fact, I found it distracting. "Whoa, have I gained weight? Is this a child’s shirt, why is it so short? It's becoming really evident that I haven’t brushed my hair today…"

Whether you’re teaching or practicing yoga, nothing quite steals your thunder like insecurity. My clothes were affecting my confidence because ultimately, I wasn’t showing up as my best self.

While I thought my workout clothes were an exception, practicing yoga is my real life. It was time to take mindfulness off of my mat and into my leggings.

After dropping off my tee shirts at Goodwill, I began to consider my yoga style. Like my everyday outfits, I wanted my yoga clothes to feel effortless, sophisticated, and organic. Obviously, function is crucial when attempting to down dog and head stand, so I opted for a reliable (and sustainable) yoga company, Manduka. By buying only one pair of leggings and 3 tops on sale, my yoga wardrobe is almost complete! Goodbye electric blue camo-print leggings, hello chic bralettes and timeless wraps.

These changes were small, but they have made a huge difference in my life. Now when I teach, I feel at ease in the front of a room. I’m more eager to chat with my students, I laugh more easily, and I’m proud of my strength on the mat. It’s not about how I look in my new clothes, but how they make me feel.

Do you have pieces in your wardrobe that "don’t count"? Maybe it's gardening clothes or pajamas. How do you feel when you’re wearing them? I’d love to read about your experience! Let me know in the comments below!