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books

diy your personal style evolution

diy your personal style evolution

Well, it’s been a nice run. The next time I get a request for a new client, I’m just going to refer them to this new book by Anuschka Rees, The Curated Closet.

image via  Into Mind

image via Into Mind

Seriously, this book is so close to the process that I use with clients that I actually got a little weirded out when I was reading it. I’ve definitely been a fan of Anuschka’s blog over the years, and we definitely have similar approaches to minimalist fashion. Now obviously, since the book just came out a month ago, I had to come up with everything myself, but it's fascinating how two people on different continents can have such similar approaches to things.

If anything will save me and my business, it's that this is a really long and involved process, and to do it on your own will probably take at least a few weekends. But she covers it all: how to define your style (my take here), how to purge, how to shop, how to resist impulse buys, how to create a capsule wardrobe, and more. This is just not a fluffy book with pretty pictures. It is text heavy and it is serious. For someone who is ready to make a real time commitment and learn everything yourself, it has everything you need to know. If you just want me to tell you what to do, well, I'll still be here ;) 

more books i've read recently

more books i've read recently

It's looking like this weekend will be a perfect time to lounge around and read a good book. Here are some of my recent favorites.

I was able to accept some of the personality characteristics I’m less than proud of after reading The Highly Sensitive Person and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. These books helped to explain why certain life paths I’ve taken have been unnecessarily stressful. I’m glad I’m finally figuring all this out after only 39 years!

 

I had read Emma Straub’s The Vacationers and enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as I enjoyed her newest book, Modern Lovers. Modern Lovers’ portrayal of parents of teens trying to be cool while secretly horrified by their kids was awkward and funny. Even though I’m not generally a big short story fan, I also liked Other People We Married.

Again, uncomfortable to admit, but I definitely have some issues with valuing myself and my needs as much as I do others’. Unworthy approaches self worth from the author’s perspective while also giving practical advice on how to stop doubting every choice you make.

I'm Supposed to Protect You From All This was not what I expected. After chronicling the ways in which she had trouble connecting with her mother growing up, Nadja Spiegelman went back and got her mother’s side of the story, which turned into her grandmother’s side of the story...

For some reason, I thought I had read 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story. Probably because it seems like something I would have read and I knew about it from hearing Dan Harris on Gretchen Rubin’s podcast. As soon as I started reading, I realized I hadn’t. This was exciting because it was a really good read. More of a memoir from a meditation skeptic than a how-to, it’s entertaining and relatable.

Since a friend of mine was reading Better Than Before for the first time and loving it, I wanted to reread it. Yup, just as helpful as the first time. I have used Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies framework over and over since learning about it, both with friends and clients. Take the quiz and let me know what type you are! (I’m an Obliger, married to a Questioner.)

I’m in the middle of Frank Bruni’s Born Round and so far enjoying the tales of being stuffed by Italian grandmas, although I have a feeling there's a darker side to the story.

Do you have any good recommendations for me? 

books i've read recently

books i've read recently

Yup, that's the best title I could come up with. I've been doing a bit of traveling and a lot of reading lately. Here are some of my favorites:

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Wildflower by Drew Barrymore I am a bit of a celebrity gossip whore, so I would have read this book even if it was crap, but it wasn't. Famous or not, it's amazing how one person can reframe the shittiest events in their life as a positive learning experience. 

Unforgettable by Scott Simon Refreshing to read a memoir from a son who loved and adored his mother despite her failings and his unconventional childhood. Gives me hope ;)

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl Hilarious, even though it gave me uncomfortable flashbacks to seventh grade. 

Living Well Spending Less by Ruth Soukup Great personal finance and home-keeping tips from someone who is aware that she struggles to resist consumerism.

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo Of course, I was super-excited for Marie Kondo's second book to come out, but I was a little disappointed. This is supposed to be the practical logistical partner to The Life Changing Magic of Tidying-up, but I found it to be mostly common sense, nothing too new or helpful. 

Purity by Jonathan Franzen I honestly haven't checked out any reviews of this to see how it was received, but I found the protagonist interesting and enjoyed what some might say are convenient coincidences in the plot. 

Dinner: a Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach Meal planning and cooking at home are an ongoing struggle for me. While some might think that writing down every meal you eat for years is insane, I get it and loved the insights gained from it. 

Everything That Remains by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus I love everything minimalist and follow these guys on the web, but for some reason, was expecting not to like this book. It's surprisingly relatable and well written and I really enjoyed it!

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi I get emotional just thinking about this book. If you haven't heard about it, it's the writings of a young husband and father contemplating his quickly approaching death. Unforgettable.

Any other good recommendations for me?

 

 

 

why mindful closet?

why mindful closet?

book review: the life-changing magic of tidying up

book review: the life-changing magic of tidying up

Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, has been everywhere lately. I was excited to read it and,  as promised, it was unlike any other decluttering book I've ever encountered. Full reviews and info on the book are easy to find, but I thought I would tell you about the three points that made the most impact on me.

(A recent outfit made up of all items that "spark joy". How often does that happen? I would say I hope that was our last snow, but I've learned my lesson in years past. We'll see!)

The most famous piece of advice from the book is to ask yourself whether an item "sparks joy" when you're holding it in your hand. If it does, great, if not, it must go. At first, I had a bit of a hard time really feeling this, but over the next few weeks, I found myself evaluating everything in my house by this one criteria. For me, it was helpful to think about moving. If I were packing up my house and moving to a smaller space, would this be something I would take with me no matter what or would it end up in the inevitable pre-move yard sale? This made things much more clear: Cy Twombly art book that was the first gift my husband ever gave me? Sparks joy. The Van Gogh art book I bought to fatten up the book stacks on my coffee table? Does not.

Another great piece of advice Kondo gives is not to stockpile. Recently, I've had several clients who were in the habit of doing this. When we cleaned out their closets, I found things like one sweater in seven colors or five blouses bought months ago with tags still on. When questioned on their motives, the answer was, "I liked one, so I bought a bunch." Of course, the bunch never got used. I'm also guilty of this, and it's one of my own habits I've tried the hardest to break. If you come across something at a great price that you think you might use, isn't that frugal to buy it ahead of time? Not when your style, body, or need changes, and the item goes unused. Then the bargain price was wasted money, and the item takes up wasted space.

Lastly, according to Kondo, things have feelings too. This is the facet of the book that most people have a problem with, but this may have been my favorite part. Kondo says that the items you own were made for a purpose and by not using them as intended, you are in some way letting them down. Instead, it's better to let them go to another home where they can be of use. She also advocates thanking your things on a regular basis, either when using them, or when letting them go. I love the idea of thanking something for what it has taught you. It's easy to feel guilt about letting go of things if you feel as though you haven't used them enough or gotten your money's worth. But what if the item's true purpose was to teach you that you should never buy hot pink blouses? If you look at it that way, you can thank the item for imparting its wisdom and wish it well in its next home with someone who loves hot pink.

posts i read that i loved

posts i read that i loved

Between fighting off colds, traveling, and being up at nights through bouts of teething, I've read my fair share of content on the internet recently. Here are a few articles with topics I've often thought of blogging about, but now won't have to, since they already did! Now that I've collected them here, I notice that (coincidentally?) they all deal with the issue of aging and how it relates to your closet.

on a recent shopping trip for the perfect white shirt...

on a recent shopping trip for the perfect white shirt...

I truly think that expressing your personal style is more important than wearing the *most* flattering thing. What if you have a pear shape and a fitted bodice/full skirt dress is the most flattering item you can put on your body, but you're an edgy tomboy? You will not be happy in the "flattering" item. Over on Une femme d’un certain age, Susan writes about this - here's a sample of her post: 

"When we dress in a way that’s aligned and integrated with who we are, we create a kind of harmony that comes through even if we’re not following the rules of flattery."

 On Elle.com, Meghan O'Rourke writes about how she needed outside help to move on from her various past fashion personas to find a style that is "her". 

"Turns out letting go of so much at once is invigorating. It gives you permission to be the person you really are now. With their help, I found it surprisingly easy to part with not just my quirkier pieces but also the spontaneous twentysomething self who'd bought them. It was almost a relief to see her disappear, like a relationship I'd outgrown."

On the J. Crew blog, Alice Gregory helps me make my case for uniform dressing

"You save a lot of money by relinquishing trial-and-error shopping—those items you buy and never wear, try and fail to return. Gone is the mental math that goes into calculating how much you “paid per wear” for that sweater you only put on three times. And nobody thinks of a person who wears the same thing every day as unstylish."

As for books, recently I've been on  a Kate Christensen kick. Also enjoyed The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenberg, I'll Drink to That by Betty Halbreich, Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys by Viv Albertine, The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, The Heavy by Dara-Lynn Weiss, and some guilty easy reading by Elin Hilderbrand.

Have you read anything great lately?

review: the ellements of personal style

review: the ellements of personal style

You all know that I believe before you can really assess your wardrobe or add to it, it's necessary to define your style. Sometimes it's helpful to see how others have achieved this, even if their style is 180 degrees away from yours. Here's a book that does just that: The Ellements of Personal Style by Elle Magazine editors Joe Zee and Maggie Bullock. 

This book is different from other instructional fashion books because there are no lists of "must-haves" or discussions of body types. Instead, this book focuses on the personal style of 25 "icons". There are a few that I'm not entirely convinced by - Ashley Green? Lea Michele? I doubt that these young starlets have really solidified their personal style (maybe Joe Zee knows something I don't) but aside from them, the majority of the women profiled are true fashion icons. 

Each profile includes short bios, interviews, and intimate photos of the icons' closets, homes, and wardrobes. For each, there is a moodboard of an outfit with accessories in her style, a "fashion obsession", a "style study" of a few of her real life outfits, and a list of her favorite shops.

Here are a few of my favorites:

 

credit: Time Life pictures/getty images

credit: Time Life pictures/getty images

Anjelica Huston: Iconic Simplicity

"Black and white is a good background for embellishment."

Credit: O.SCHMITT/BABIRAD/Sipa

Credit: O.SCHMITT/BABIRAD/Sipa

Dita von Teese: Pinup Precision

"Her taste in vintage began in high school, as a matter of economics. 'I went to a vintage store and thought, Oh, I can make that look like a Westwood if I pinch in the waist and pad out the hips. That was my goal - to get that look for less.' "

credit: willy vanderperre

credit: willy vanderperre

Charlotte Gainsbourg: Utilitarian Chic

"'My parents gave me this idea that you sort of find a uniform that fits you and feels comfortable,' she says - once you find it, you stick with it for years."

dvf dacy gillespie st louis personal stylist.jpg

Diane von Furstenberg: Relaxed Glamour

"My mission in life is to empower women. I do it through fashion, through mentoring, through philanthropy."

 

PHOTO CREDIT: JOHN SHEARER/WIREIMAGE.COM

PHOTO CREDIT: JOHN SHEARER/WIREIMAGE.COM

Milla Jovovich: Free Spirit

"...she dresses a bit like a child who happens to have an exceedingly well-stocked costume cupboard, following her heart instead of the trends and gleefully embellishing. 'Simplicity is hard for me' ".

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 There are many more great women profiled, such as Erin Wasson, Christina Hendricks, Yvonne Force Villareal, and Janie Bryant - check it out and tell me what you think!

 

 

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