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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!


a few thoughts about mindful holiday shopping

a few thoughts about mindful holiday shopping

It's that magical time of year. The time when all practical considerations go out of the window. When we get caught up in the hysteria created by marketing teams to make us feel that we'll regret it if we pass up an amazing deal. I posted last spring about mindful shopping tips, but at this time of year, sometimes all rational thinking deserts us. 

My thoughts: prepare as much as you can. If you have a list, stick to it. If you don't have a list, make one. Now. My list includes a leather jacket (has been on the list for years), a winter coat (I've had mine, which wasn't expensive to begin with, for about 6 years), a warm sweater with an interesting shape, the elusive lightweight bag, and replacements for my taupe suede booties and black suede wedge booties. If any of these show up with amazing deals this weekend, I'll know I'm buying because it's something I need, not because I'm seduced by the sale.

If you succumb to the excitement, keep your receipt and follow through on returning. (BTW, I returned the tank I got for 92% off from my last post. It didn't even fit well. I got sucked in by the deal.) Yes, I know it can be a hassle, but if you don't, not only do you lose money, but you're stuck with physical clutter. Either you return it now, or have to deal with it in a few years when you finally clean out your closet. Keep items that need returning in your car with the receipt taped to them and you'll be ready next time you're running errands. 

Talk to friends and family about gifts. I feel grateful that my family has never gone crazy with gifts. We send an email every year asking what we should do for gifts. Some years we've set price limits. Some years we've sent specific wish lists. One year we did a white elephant gift exchange. This year, we decided to just give small gifts to the kids. The real fun is watching little ones open things anyway. When I'm going through clients' closets, it never fails to amaze me how many things are given as gifts that the recipient would never even consider wearing. I understand that not everyone's family is open to discussing a plan for gifts, and if that's the case, genuinely and gratefully accept what you're given. The pleasure is usually in the act of giving for the gifter. That moment is really the gift, and it often doesn't matter what happens afterwards (i.e. that item doesn't actually have to live in your closet).

Hope this helps you shop a bit more mindfully this week.

P.S. a mindful closet gift certificate is always a great idea!

project 333 - it's happening

project 333 - it's happening

I've resisted doing a capsule wardrobe for a long time. It felt like "everyone" was doing one and I didn't want to follow the crowd. But that's a stupid and egotistical reason to NOT do something that you're interested in and know you'll learn from. The next "official" round of Project 333 begins on October 1st and here's my capsule - I'm doing it.


In case you're not familiar with Project 333, it was started by Courtney Carver, the blogger behind  Be More with Less. She started simplifying her life when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and realized the stress that excess stuff was placing on her health. It's a great story, and you should definitely check her out. She started Project 333 in 2010, and the basic premise is that you wear only 33 items for 3 months. Here are the rules:

shoes, accessories, and outerwear are included

lounge wear or clothes you only wear at home are NOT included

jewelry you never take off, sleepwear, exercise wear (only if not used for other purposes) are also not included

after your items are chosen, store the rest of your wardrobe

you can adapt the project to fit your needs. As Courtney says, "this is not a project in suffering"!

I'll go into more detail about what I chose, how, and why in the coming weeks. Spoiler alert: I have more than 33 items! No matter what, whether I stick to the rules or or fail spectacularly, this is already proving to be a great tool for wardrobe planning and management. I'll be perfectly honest, I'm feeling restricted and anxious and excited at the same time!

Who's in? 


why mindful closet?

why mindful closet?

five tips for a mindful shopping trip

five tips for a mindful shopping trip

The actual process of going to a store and purchasing clothing can be overwhelming or frustrating even for those who enjoy it. As we head into the summer sale season, I thought I'd share a few tips for mindful shopping.

Various pictures taken on client shopping trips...

1) Before going shopping, MAKE. A. LIST. I can't emphasize enough how important this is. You can't go shopping without knowing what you're looking for. Well, you can, but I can guarantee you will regret most of what you buy. A shopping list should come from defining your style, evaluating your wardrobe, and thoughtfully planning what is needed to make it function at its best. Also, be specific. "Clothes for work" is not an appropriate item for a shopping list. "Slim leg, neutral colored, stretchy cotton blend pants" is an appropriate item. "Top" = no good. "Printed blouse in a washable fabric with an a-line shape" = good. Get the idea?

2) Go shopping at a non-peak time like a weekday or first thing in the morning, even if this means taking a half day from work. It's worth it. Everything will be better. Salespeople will have more time to help, they will be in a better mood, there will be less noise, fewer people, more sizes available. This all results in a much less stressful experience. Wear comfortable shoes and a cross body bag so that your hands are free. Dress nicely and do your hair and makeup so that you feel good about yourself. Bring snacks and water. This might all seem trivial, but trust me, it's the difference between mindful and meltdown.

3) While browsing, focus on only one item on your list at a time. For instance, if you are looking for the printed blouse in our example above, pull only printed blouses on your first sweep through the store. Next, go back and look for the neutral slim leg pant. This way of isolating things helps cut through the visual clutter that can be overwhelming in a store with thousands of items. Try not to get distracted. Recently, a saleswoman I often work with offered to show me pants that hadn't been put out on the floor yet. My client and I were both temporarily swayed by the prospect of "new!" "secret!" pants, but since we were specifically shopping for tops, we declined to even look. 

4) Now you've made it to the dressing room. You've taken everything that might be an option, even if you're not sure. Things often transform when on a body, so don't rule something out because it doesn't look good on the hanger. This might mean that you're trying on 40, 50, 60 items. It's ok. Don't feel guilty about making work for the salespeople (or is that just me?), it's their job. Be quick and ruthless. If it works, put it aside as a potential buy. If it doesn't, don't take it personally and move on.

5) The decision making process will be easier if you follow the preceding steps. For instance, if you have the printed top on your list and you follow step three, you won't end up in the fitting room with things you don't need. If you have a snack, you won't buy something just because you're hangry and want to get out asap. So now you've tried everything. Revisit that first round of potential buys. Narrow down your options. Try them again. Take pictures. Get a second opinion (not because you're going to take it, but because it'll help you clarify what you really think). Do not take the opinion of the salesperson. Their goal is to get you to buy, regardless of whether you should or not. Ask yourself a bunch of questions: will this go with most of my wardrobe? Will I still like this in six months? Do I really need it? Why am I buying it? Am I buying it because it's cheap? Because it's on my list? Because it fits my style? Would I buy this if it wasn't on sale? Is this better than something I already have? (If so, get rid of the less good item in your closet immediately) Is this worth having an overstuffed, stress-inducing closet for? Will I want to return this in a few weeks, creating more work for myself?

We all make mistakes sometimes, but hopefully these tips will help you
avoid a few of them!

closet case study: sara's fall capsule wardrobe

closet case study: sara's fall capsule wardrobe

Capsule wardrobes are all the rage right now. First there was Kendi's 30x30, then Project 333, and now the Unfancy blog has added a whole new level of coolness to the capsule. For a very thoughtful and methodical approach, I love the Into Mind website. For me, capsule wardrobes aren't necessarily about finding crazy ways to wear things ("I'm going to wear my shirt as a skirt!"), but about wearing only things that you love and that all work interchangeably with each other.

Last spring, I started working with Sara, a mostly-stay-at-home-mom. We first worked on a post-baby transitional wardrobe (she'd just had her second son). Recently, she was ready to solidify her fall wardrobe. She'd started out with some basics and bought some great pieces on her own, but then wanted my help finding the last few pieces to pull it all together and creating multiple outfits. Since we'd worked together before, she knew I wanted to see some styles that inspired her, so she started a Pinterest board for her fall wardrobe. Here are a few of the looks she loved:

(Images: Atlantic Pacific, Karla Reed, Celebrity Street Style)

After we added a few new items, here's what we had:

Six tops, one sweater, two jackets, four pairs of pants, three pairs of shoes, and a scarf (see sources for exact or similar items at end of post). Seventeen pieces.

Here's a little of what you can do with seventeen pieces
(click on any image to start a slideshow):

Granted, Sara's activities are mostly casual in nature. Attire for rare occasions like weddings isn't included here, but there are plenty of options for date nights and other social events. If you are someone who works in an office, you could easily add a pair of trousers, a skirt, and a dress or two into the mix to multiply your options.

Capsule collections are a trend, but in reality, it's how I believe all wardrobes should work. In Sara's words: "When I open my closet now, I only see pieces that fit, that I actually wear and that are in season."
How many pieces would you be left with if your closet fit those parameters?


P.S. A few more sweet comments from Sara about our work together:

"You've changed my perspective on how I view my wardrobe and how I approach shopping. You really showed me how simple it is to mix and match items to create multiple outfits. Now I see what I need to make my wardrobe more complete and functional. When I go shopping now, I know exactly what items to look for rather than buying random pieces that simply appeal to me. I really appreciated your objectivity. You never tried to change my personal style. Rather you helped me identify it and showed me what pieces I currently have that fit that style. It was also helpful that you took the time to make a board on Pinterest and Polyvore. I ended up buying some of the items you suggested because they were perfect! All in all you really helped to boost my self-confidence. So thank you!"

Want your own capsule wardrobe? Go here to sign up for my 5 day capsule creation challenge! You'll get my capsule planner and emails leading you through the process of setting up your capsule! 

when mindful = boring

when mindful = boring

And no, I'm not talking about my preference for neutrals ;) Sometimes it just so happens that you've found clothes that fit. You have clothes that are practical for your lifestyle. You have the few special occasion pieces you need for unexpected events.  You've got all the layering pieces and basics and accessories to make any outfit you need. Everything on your list is checked off.

Then what?

After making a couple of quick shopping trips in early July, I have practical, stylish clothes that fit the body I currently have. I have several cute summer dresses (see evidence above), and that's more than enough for my current social calendar. I have everything I need for this season and this phase of life. Even after I had all of this, instead of relaxing, I felt an urge to kept frantically looking.

I stopped myself and thought about what was going on. I was feeling the absence of excitement of the new. I wanted to keep experiencing the thrill of the hunt, even though the hunt was over. When it's my turn to have a break from the baby, I had gotten used to seizing the moment to take a shopping trip. It is my preferred activity of choice, after all, for myself and for other people. On top of that, our apartment in Boulder is practically IN a pedestrian shopping mall. Everything is right there in front of me.

After reflecting on all of this, I realized that I didn't want to go shopping just for the entertainment value. I didn't want the temptation, didn't want to see something that I didn't know I "needed" until that very second. I even refrained from buying anything at the Nordstrom anniversary sale, people!

So, instead, I'll just acknowledge the feeling of wanting. I'll feel the space instead of trying to fill it. I'll review my style inspiration Pinterest page and and remember that I have what I need to achieve those looks. I'll go to yoga instead of shopping. I'll read fewer fashion blogs that showcase a different new outfit every. damn. day. I'll stop and pause to resist temptation. I'll try to stay mindful, even if it is a little boring. Or, maybe instead of saying "boring", I'll call it "peaceful".