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winter wardrobe assessment

winter wardrobe assessment

Before you get excited about all your spring stuff, now's a good time to look at your winter wardrobe and access what worked and what didn't. If there are things that didn't get worn this season - reflect on why. If something has gone through two winter seasons without getting worn (and you're not pregnant or otherwise transitioning in weight), I'd say it's time to let go. Taking photos of your outfits (whether you share them with the world or not) is a great way to track what you've worn and judge which were your favorites - here are a few of mine:

mindful closet: winter wardrobe assessment

If there are things you wore and loved and could use a replacement for, this is a great time to take advantage of winter clearance sales. For example, I really enjoyed wearing my black pointy-toed boots, but wouldn't mind a pair with a little bit of a heel. I had tried these on earlier and liked them, so I ordered them when I saw them on sale recently. They come in wide width and fit my orthotics. I also saw another pair of my beloved Blondo boots on eBay for 1/3 the price and snapped those up too. 

Other bloggers have written much better, detailed posts about the process of assessing your past season's clothing, so I'll direct you to Seasons and Salt and Style Bee for those. 

What did you love wearing this winter? 

 

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the search for a dignified diaper bag

the search for a dignified diaper bag

I could have called this post "summer uniform: white+denim, part forever".
Can't stop, won't stop.

 Forever 21 top, Gap jeans, Target scarf (similar), boots free from Avalon Exchange after trading in clothes (affordable similar and high quality similar versions)

This started out as an outfit post, but since I'm also using my diaper bag in this photo, I thought I'd write a bit about it. I wanted something that didn't scream "diaper bag", and nothing with cutesy prints on it. (pardon this tangent - why is everything that is to be used with babies bright colored and floral patterned? The baby is not going to be entertained by my nursing pillow, however it is going to sit out at my house a lot and I don't want to constantly look at pink and purple polka dots!! How about some nice solid colors?) That might beg the question, why not just use a normal purse or tote as a diaper bag? I did consider that, and sometimes I do just throw a diaper and some wipes into a smaller bag. However, I wanted some of the special features of a diaper bag: a changing pad, wipe-clean material, and many, many pockets. I went with the Skip Hop Versa diaper bag, and I love it.

Here's what I like about the Versa bag:

  • The look - I chose black for versatility and I like the gold hardware and zippers which add a bit more style.
  • A cross-body option is a must for having hands free. This one can be cross-body or a shoulder bag because of the adjustable strap.
  • There are straps for attaching the bag to a stroller handle.
  • The main inside pocket is very roomy and there is a zipper down the middle of the bag to expand it even more. You can see this in the manufacturer's photo. I usually keep it closed because the bag feels enormous when expanded.
  • The changing pad is in its own zipper pocket on the back of the bag. In our Jeep diaper backpack, it floats in the main pocket and gets all scrunched up.
  • On the front of the bag, there are open pockets for items that need to be easily accessible, like phone and keys.
  • Also on the front of the bag, there are zippered pockets that are perfect for keeping bottles upright.
  • On the inside of the bag, there are four additional pockets - I use one for diapers, one for wipes, one for my wallet, and one for burp cloths.

Instead of trying to find something that my husband and I would both feel comfortable carrying (i.e. something that wouldn't look like a purse when he carried it), I got the bag with the look I liked and we registered for this Jeep backpack (thanks Kyle and Jennedy!) for when my husband will be carrying the bag. Mr. mindful closet loves it (another aside - my husband says he likes it when I mention him on the blog and call him Mr. mindful closet.. Here you go, honey. It's almost as funny as when I used to work with kids and they'd call him Mr. Gillespie. They didn't know that we have different last names.) We try to keep both bags fully stocked at all times so that it's not a huge pain to switch back and forth.

After checking out the Versa bag in person, I bought mine barely used on Ebay for about half the retail price. If you wanted to go through Bed, Bath, and Beyond, you could use those 20% off coupons that are always coming in the mail for a pretty great deal. P.S. Did you know you can use those Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons at Buy Buy Baby too? Keep that in mind for the next time you're buying a friend a gift off the registry there.

Anyone else have great tips for choosing a stylish diaper bag?

 

(this post contains affiliate links)

 

when it's ok to make a cheap purchase

when it's ok to make a cheap purchase

This is my boho bump look:

mindful closet - boho maternity look

I'm wearing my new Old Navy maternity boyfriend jeans. It's been 20 years since I had a pair of distressed jeans. In high school, there was a pair of super cool denim cut-offs with holes and patches that my mom kept throwing away and I kept getting out of the trash. Maybe because of my love for those, I was willing to try the trend out again this time around. These jeans are so comfortable.

mindful closet - st. louis personal stylist

At the same time I had my little late pregnancy shopping spree, I found this Forever 21 blouse at the Goodwill. It's not a maternity top, but since it fit at that moment, it was a yes.

The sandals I'm wearing in the photos are from Old Navy, like, five years ago, no joke. Shows that a cheap purchase can be good if you really love and wear the item. It's only when you buy something thoughtlessly or only because it's cheap that it becomes a problem, since those items don't really get worn. Of course, after five years, not too many sandals are still going to  be in good shape, so I replaced them with the Target sandals above. Something that helps with both pairs is that they aren't too specifically trendy. Yes, gladiator sandals have been a trend for a while, but not having neon or glitter or other trend specific details helps them stay current longer. I love these and have worn them every day since buying them, so let's hope they're another worthwhile cheap purchase! (Another time I think it's ok to go cheap is for those truly transitional periods of life.)

Have you made any cheap purchases that turned out well in the long term?

5 tips for thrifting

5 tips for thrifting

I've wanted to do a post about tips for thrifting for a long time. It's something that I love to do, but know that lots of people are overwhelmed by.

I first started thrifting when I was a student at Oberlin College. Not only did I not have ANY money (that school is really expensive), but as you may know, I have these constant shopping urges. I didn't have a car, so I was limited to what was in town, which wasn't a lot. So I frequented Senior Thrift - Obies, remember that place?  It was pretty hardcore as far as thrifting goes - it was in a grungy basement and was not exactly user-friendly.

his n'hers hawaiian shirts anyone? seen recently at value village

his n'hers hawaiian shirts anyone? seen recently at value village

After Oberlin, I lived in Houston, New York, and Miami, but my thrifting obsession didn't really resurface until I moved to St. Louis in 2006. (Step back for a second, I have to recommend Fly Boutique on Lincoln Road if you're ever in Miami - so much good stuff) St. Louis is a thrifting mecca. Never before had I seen so many thrift stores with so much inventory. And good  inventory. I actually brought in quite a bit of extra income for a while selling vintage clothes on ebay that I found in thrift stores.

(Above are some of the photos from when I was selling on ebay - sorry for the screencap, I can't save the photos from flickr, but you can click on the photo to go to my ebay flickr photoset. I particularly regret selling the dress on the far right bottom corner!)

Thrifting so much really allowed me to experiment with style without spending a lot of money. I tried out so many trends that I coudn't afford to spend money on, and I think that was an important part of developing confidence in what I like and don't like.

 (Here are some of my experimentation outfits - I used to post to a popular flickr page called wardrobe remix)

Today, I'm going to share some of my tips for thrifting successfully.

5 Tips for Thrifting:

  1. Have a specific plan. Unless you're at the expert thrifter level, walking into a thrift store without a plan is very overwhelming. Pick one or two things that you'd like to find and focus on that. For example, you're only looking for a long sleeve red top. That rules out 95% of the stuff on the rack, so you can zoom through and just look at the items that fit your target. Maybe it's a printed sleeveless dress or a pair of slim black pants, anything that narrows the field is good.
  2.  Learn to skim. Remember cramming a book so that you could intelligently discuss it the next day in class? Use that same visual technique to skim the racks. It's pretty easy to tell from above the rack whether a shirt is a grungy knit, or a silky boatneck, or a vintage polyester tunic, so move quickly and only stop when something catches your eye and fits your criteria from your plan from tip #1.
  3. Go often. Thrift stores are constantly putting out new stuff throughout the day, so if you go often, you'll spot the new good stuff easily. It also makes your visit quicker, so instead of spending an afternoon once every few weeks, you spend 10-15 minutes once or twice a week. It definitely helps if you have options near your home or work so you can just drop in without going out of your way. 
  4.  Be open to possibilities. This directly contradicts tip #1, but that's ok. If, on the way to the printed sleeveless dress rack, you see the awesome pair of worn in denim cutoffs you've been searching your whole adult life for, snatch those babies up. Also falling under this category: be open to different sizes. Today's size 2 was yesterday's size 8. Develop a visual feel for what will fit you by trying on as much as possible.
  5. Don't get discouraged. This is the most important tip of all. I'd say 90% of the time, I walk out without a find. But that 10% of the time when you find, for example, a Marc Jacobs dress for $13, is such a high that it's all worth it. Thrifting is definitely something that requires more time and effort, but it's ethical, eco-conscious, and can ultimately save you money.

How about you guys? Have any tips to add? 

Next week, I'll share my recommendations for thrift stores in St. Louis - but one of them is having a deal on Groupon right now - $15 for $30 worth of merchandise at Red Racks - here

 

mindful purchases: trench and blouse

mindful purchases: trench and blouse

I crossed several things off of my wish list this month. Two that I've been wearing non-stop since buying are my new trench coat and white blouse.

The trench coat is from the Gap. It was $80 and I had $20 in rewards from my Gap credit card.  (here with H&M blouse, James jeans and Target wedges)

Gap trench.jpg

When I'm deciding on a purchase, I usually take a photo to help me decide (I turn off the sound on my phone so people don't hear camera noises coming from my dressing room!). This isn't the most flattering pic of me, but the coat looks great, so it was a yes.

The other piece I can't stop wearing is this silky white blouse from H&M ($24). Seriously, I have worn this same outfit at least 5 times over the last two weeks with different shoes and jewelry. It's simple, I feel good in it, so why not? In case you missed it, that's how the French do it!

hm blouse.jpg

Since I'm sharing, here's the dressing room pic of the blouse.

DPP_11.JPG

Do you have any new items you can't get enough of?