Archives for posts with tag: Minimalism

I have just one more week left of my Wardrobe Challenge! Honestly, I’ll be happy when this is over, and I just get to wear what I want, when I want to. This experiment has helped me to declutter, and I’ve certainly learned some things about me, my personal style, and my attitude towards clothing in general. But it’s a surprisingly large amount of pressure to remember to check my list every morning, get dressed, take a picture of myself, and really think about my clothing. I don’t think that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but analyzing and thinking about my outfit and how it makes me feel has left me feeling a bit mentally drained some days. But, once again, I’ve come out of these last ten days with more revelations about myself and my clothes:

  1. My undergarments are terrible. I am a very lucky woman, in that my breasts are small enough that I can (and do) often get away without wearing a bra. In fact, these last two or three years, during the warmer months, I have officially declared that I would be observing “Rachel’s Braless Summer!” Once I stopped breastfeeding, I realized that I just didn’t have to worry about bras in the summer anymore. Oh, the liberty! Oh, the freedom from excess boob sweat! Oh, the racer back tanks! I still wear bras most of the time, for the purposes of modesty (while I do not villainize nipples by any means, I’m also not a huge fan of displaying mine at, say, my daughter’s preschool), and for the purposes of shaping (I was a very devoted breastfeeding mother, and as a result my breasts just don’t make quite as much, well, eye contact as they used to). But because of my general indifference to bras, I’ve come to realize that I’m down to two–TWO!–non-sports bras. One of them, I bought immediately after finishing breastfeeding. Hello, gaping cups! The other one is not really that bad, but it’s an underwire (something I find completely unnecessary for my needs), and I believe that it attempts to pull my breasts in too narrow. So, I am now officially on a hunt: non-underwire, non-padded, non-crazy expensive bras. Wish me luck, ladies. This could take awhile.
  2. I can’t wait for the Pope. My mother used to joke about her friends who owned fancy china and crystal sets, but never brought them out because they were “saving” them “In case the Pope comes.” Just this last week, I was talking to the women in my book club, and I was shocked by how many of them owned fancy china sets that they have never brought out, often for a decade or more. One of my girlfriends said, “Well, I’m not going to bring out my china just to eat pizza!” I responded that pizza on china would probably be delightful, and that I would certainly attend that dinner party in a second! And then I realized that I had been harboring the same attitudes towards my clothes. I had so many pieces that were my “special occasion” clothes that I never wore them. Beautiful tops that I love, that I think make me look good, and that I’ve never actually put on my body because the timing wasn’t “right.” I was sitting around, waiting for the Pope. But here are the kickers: 1) The Pope’s never coming and 2) Even if he does, I can only wear ONE shirt to meet him. What was I “saving” these pieces for? Why was I not wearing clothes that made me feel good? I realized that I was holding on to these things, and missing opportunities to enjoy them. And what if I waited too long?  What if I finally pulled out that one, “special” top, only to find that it not longer fits? Or is no longer in style? Or moths got to it? I was being insane. So what if my “nice” shirt gets paint, or pizza on it? What’s the worst that could happen? A stain? I’m fairly certain I could survive a stain. So, from here on out, I’m making a vow: I’m wearing my clothes. Period. I’d rather destroy them doing crafts with my kids, than watch them slowly disintegrate in my closet, bringing joy to no one.

So, here’s the list of the last ten days’ outfits. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Day 21

Day 21: I felt uncomfortable in this top. It’s just a bit too tight, and while I love the little pattern on it (arrows and hearts!), I also felt as though the fabric was too thin, showing every single fold, roll, and pinch. Yard Sale pile! Also, if you look closely, you can see how weird my bras are making my breasts look. They seem to be pulling them too much towards the middle, giving me a lot of side/rib exposure before reaching my armpits. If that makes sense??

Day 22

Day 22: I bought this shirt at the same time as the one above, so the same issues apply. You can see how faded the material is (the fabric used to be the same color as the stitching). And, even though it’s a darker blue, my bra is actually visible beneath it because it’s just so worn and thin (man, I have a lot of shirts that look like this!). Yard sale!

Day 23

Day 23: I adore a baseball tee.  It’s relaxed and comfortable, and I think it’s cute as hell. Keep.

Day 24

Day 25: Okay, so I know that this picture got overexposed and so the lighting looks really weird anyway, but once again, you can see my bra through the thin fabric! (That spot above my left breast? That’s not on the shirt. That’s the logo from my sports bra showing THROUGH the shirt) How everything I own doesn’t have holes all over the place, I’ll never know. Goodbye.

Day 25

Day 26: My “Pope” moment. I just came from the gym, and threw on my clothes for the day in order to go meet my girlfriends for lunch. I’m sweaty and smelly and dirty in this picture, and I would have NEVER allowed myself to look like this while wearing this top before this challenge. This is one of my “Special” tops. I love it. I think it’s beautiful, flattering, and unique. And I never wear it! I got tons of compliments on this shirt. Even coming straight from the gym! That’s the power of good clothes, friends. I’m keeping this. And I’m wearing it!

Day 26

Day 27: Another “Special” top. It just so happened that I was slated to wear this outfit on the day of my daughter’s birthday party. We had cake, cupcakes, ice cream, giant pans of Indian food, and glitter slime. I did not escape unscathed. And neither did my shirt. But that’s what washing machines are for, right? We will live to rock another day.

Day 27

Day 28: This is one of the few shirts that I own that my husband compliments me on consistently. It’s fun, and soft, and flattering. Keep.

Day 28

Day 29: There’s a scene from the Office, where a woman comes in who Michael has a crush on. Pam takes one look and immediately says, “Hello, Ms. Boob Shirt.” This is my boob shirt. It’s not unflattering. It’s just uncomfortable for me to wear. Though straight on, it doesn’t look especially revealing, every time I glanced down, all I could see was tits. And I’m short. So the downward view is basically what EVERYONE sees. It’s also pretty pilled from over-washing. I couldn’t get comfortable. Gone.

Day 29

Day 29: It’s long! It has pockets! And a hood! Keep.

Day 30

Day 30: This shirt was my very first postpartum, not-designed-for-breastfeeding clothing purchase six years ago. I’ve barely worn it, but I’ve held on to it ever since, just because it was the FIRST. While it’s not horrible, I just never wear it. I think someone else will really love it better than I do. Yard sale!



I am halfway through my wardrobe challenge! And, I have to admit, I’m getting kind of sick of my own clothes. I am honestly finding it hard to motivate myself to Keep. Wearing. Everything. It’s hard to put on that nice blouse, when all I want to do is return to my regular tees. It’s hard to wear a sweater on a day when I would usually just put on my yoga clothes and call it good. Getting out of my own comfort zone has been truly challenging. Which is something I wouldn’t have predicted prior to this challenge. But, I only have 18 more outfits to wear before I’m done, so I’m going to keep doing this! And, again, I continue to learn things about myself from this challenge:

  1. I didn’t know that I didn’t know. Prior to wearing every piece of clothing that I own, I felt pretty confident that I “knew” my style. That I knew what made me look good, and what made me feel good. But doing this challenge revealed that I really didn’t know! I am much more in tune to what looks flattering on me, what makes me feel good, and what I really want to wear and present to the world after this whole process.
  2. I couldn’t take it anymore. My jeans seriously sucked. So, right after outfit 11 (which I didn’t even get a picture of, because it looked just sad!) I told my husband that I was fed up. I bought four new pairs of pants. I threw away four pairs of my old pants, and I am so, SO happy that I did! I feel sexy in these new pants, and confident. It’s a good feeling.
  3. My attitude towards my clothes is the single most important thing. I’ve discovered that the key to cutting down on my clothing clutter is to listen to my own feelings regarding my clothing. I’ve learned that when I feel discouraged, or disappointed, or unhappy with my clothing, then it’s just not worth keeping it around. When I look at my randomized list of outfits, and I find myself feeling bummed about having to wear something, then I know that it’s time to let that article of clothing go. Even if it’s something that I have been complimented on. If I’m constantly tugging at it, or fidgeting, or just feeling strange about, then it needs to go. Period.
  4. I own too much stuff. When I first told my friends about this challenge, I mentioned that I had pared down my wardrobe to 38 shirts. My girlfriends couldn’t believe it. “Thirty-eight shirts? Thirty-eight??” I had been so proud of my wardrobe reduction up until that moment. I mean, doesn’t everyone have a closet so packed and disorganized that Lorelei Gilmore would shed a tear of pride? The answer, of course, is no. And nobody needs a closet like that, either (I mean, in seven seasons Lorelei and Rory never actually repeat an outfit. Real human beings just don’t need that much fabric in their lives!). Prior to starting this, I thought getting down to 25 tops would be impossible. Now, I can see it happening. Easily. Hell, I could probably do more! But, the really big news about this realization is that I’ve started turning my now-discerning eye to the rest of my house. How much stuff do I really, truly, genuinely need? How much do I have? How much do I use? How can I bridge the mathematical divides between my answers to those questions? All of this is to say that you should all come to my yard sales this spring! They’ll be LOADED!

Day 11: I didn’t get a picture of this outfit. But it wasn’t good. Old jeans, completely ripped through on the hem. A plain white t-shirt so old and threadbare you could see through it. (Seriously, girlfriends, why did you guys just let me walk around with all my business on display for so long?? Couldn’t one of you have mentioned that you could see everything through my crummy old shirts??) They both went in the trash. I wouldn’t want to donate things that old and beaten up.


Day 11

Day 12: My grey Goodwill pants continue to rock it (and my pink socks are adorable–you know they are!). But I have realized that I actually own THREE different teal blue, racer back tank tops. This one is by far the least flattering. Boi, bye!

Day 12

Day 13: Oh, the joys of new jeans! These are Tommy Hilfiger “Pull-On Skinny Jeans.” Do you know what that means? It means they are basically fancy elastic waist pants! No zippers or buttons, but still made out of denim. I’m in love. They’re a *touch* too long, but I adore them with a little cuff at the bottom, so I don’t think I’m going to even hem them. So cute. Keep.

Day 13

Day 14: Okay, this sweater has me confused. It’s warm, and I really like the styling on the back, but I’m just not sure I feel super confident in it. The pants are flat out far too tight. They’re already gone (replaced by much better things!), but I just can’t decide if I want to keep this sweater. I get compliments on it, but I dunno. Can you guys give me some feedback? What should I do?

Day 14

Day 15: Behold. My new William Rast jeans. Justin Timberlake designs these jeans, and I told my husband that they remind me of what I imagine snuggling with JT might feel like: soft, buttery, flexible, yet completely supportive, and so good for my ass. They’re total “touch me” pants. Even my rough-around-the-edges husband couldn’t stop–ahem–rubbing these jeans. Just paired with my old tee, they were perfection. And, yes, I am totally saying “Ooooh” to my own butt in this picture.

Day 15

Day 16: Don’t let my expression throw you off. This picture was taken at the end of a long day and I was tired. This is my favorite turtleneck, paired with my ankle length black leggings. I really like them both a lot. And these leggings are now my only “non-jean” pants. I think keeping them will add some versatility to my wardrobe. Keep!

Day 16

Day 17: Just in case anyone thought that these photos had been retouched or edited in any way, let this prove to you that they have not. Fresh out of the shower. Wet hair. Shiny, just-washed face. I’m wearing my new pants that are replacing my way too big brown “placeholder” pants. These olive green ones are cozy, but LONG. Definitely going to have to hem these suckers! And my top? I’m never getting rid of it (it says “The Maddie Lous,” and we sold them to raise money for Riley Children’s Hospital in honor of my Riley kid, Maddie. They’re baseball shirts, because her initials are MLB. I thought I was being so clever!). But I think it has to become a paint shirt. It’s just kind of meh on me. Hits me in kind of awkward places.

Day 17

Day 18: I’m sex on a stick and I know it. (This orange tank is my FAVORITE top! And I honestly probably would have never paired them with these grey pants. But, yowza.)

Day 18

Day 19: Black William Rast jeans. Also need to be hemmed, but they’re so freaking soft. And there’s a great story behind this top. I got this hoodie years ago at a store in Montreal, Quebec that specialized in small-production and sample sales from tiny, independent designers. This was a runway sample. The only one like it in the world. It’s long, warm, has a hood AND pockets. I’m never getting rid of it. But I had to pull it up in the back because you guys just need to experience my booty in these new jeans. I mean. Come on.

Day 19

Day 20: Further proof that absolutely NOTHING has been Photoshopped! I took this picture this morning, unshowered, greasy, running out the door to drop my daughter off at preschool. I threw on this beautiful pink hat that my closest neighbor (and closest friend) made for me. Fashionable, AND saved the world from experiencing the horrors of my bed-head. I’m also so happy that I finally found another t-shirt in my closet that doesn’t have stains!

What does everybody think? Did I do a good job picking out my new jeans? Have I gotten rid of something that is just too cute to bear? What should I do with that pale gold sweater?? Let me know! (Seriously. Help a sister out!)

What’s my wardrobe challenge? Check it out here: Dressing Like Cher

Missed my first ten days? Here’s the link!

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I have decided to try and cut down my wardrobe, in the hopes of creating a “capsule” wardrobe that will not only cut down on my clothing clutter, but will also more accurately reflect who I am as a person. I decided to take my closet as it currently stands and challenge myself to wear EVERYTHING in it over the course of the next 40 (or so) days. And, to make sure that everything in my closet got a fair, equal shake, I assigned each of my clothes a number, then used an online random number generator to match every top with every bottom. 38 tops. Paired with 7 bottoms. For 38 days.

Here’s what I’ve learned from my first 10 outfits:

  1. My pants game needs a serious upgrade. My jeans are sad. Really sad. Ever since becoming a mother, I’ve chosen cheap and convenient over stylish and flattering. My ass deserves better. Literally.
  2. I have to start making myself a priority. One of the strangest things that I’ve discovered from this challenge is how rarely I ever take the time to make myself look nice. I’ve had to make a conscious effort–a real effort–to take a shower, style my hair, and put on my daily outfit. When did just putting product in my hair become an option? When did I become an option (and not one that I choose regularly)? Even with this challenge, there have still been several days where I just didn’t bother getting dressed. My kids have been sick so we all stayed in pajamas, or I was cleaning the house all day in my sweats, or I did my yoga and just didn’t bother to change into “real” clothes all day. It’s one of the “advantages” to being a stay-at-home parent that I don’t have to worry about what I wear. But it’s also a slippery slope into genuine personal neglect and poor hygiene.
  3. Some of my clothes are OLD. The very first shirt I put on for this challenge is a decade old. I was excited to wear it, as it reminds me of when I was teaching (and had to look nice at least three times a week), but the second I pulled it out, I saw that it had yellow stains at the armpits, loose threads and sequins, and just lots and lots of wear. Things are starting to show their age. So I guess it’s time to let go.
  4. I look pretty good. I have taken a full-body picture of myself for ten days now. It’s terrifying. It’s embarrassing. I’ve been trying to hide my phone from my husband so that he doesn’t open my photos and see all of the, well, me on it! But, at the same time, I’ve been looking at my photos and thinking, “Wow.” My body looks fit. My hair is cute. My smile is natural. And when I feel good in my clothes? I look hot.

Below, find the day-by-day breakdown of my first 10 outfits. (Also, excuse my crazy photo sizes. Apparently, my photo editing skills have not taught me how to resize things properly! I’ll fix it for next time. Promise. ;-)) I have already donated/gotten rid of three shirts, and have plans to remove three pairs of pants from regular rotation.

Day 1

Day 1. I loved this outfit, but, sadly, upon closer inspection, this shirt was really showing its age. To the donation pile it went!

Day 2

Day 2. This was the day I fully accepted what my sister has been telling me for years: my Target bootcut jeans are tragic and doing absolutely NOTHING for my butt!

Day 3

Day 3. Love my wide-leg jeans. Love this lace tank top. Love my shoulders. Werk, girl.

Day 4

Day 4. Super Bowl Sunday. Jeans are again tragic. But I love the off-shoulder shirt. Again, I love my shoulders. No shame.

Day 5

Day 5. The silliest feeling outfit of the entire week. Honestly, these pants are already my “placeholder” pants. They’re currently the only brown pair of pants I own. They’re at least a full size too big on me. I started this project, knowing that these pants would need to be replaced by something better at the end. Luckily, a cardigan saves the day. (As it almost always does for me)

Day 6

Day 6. By far, my FAVORITE outfit of the week! This outfit made me feel as though I had finally found my style. I felt confident, appropriate, attractive, and comfortable. I could go to a playdate, then add a sweater and some heels and go out to dinner with my husband. Only one thing hindered me: Once I took this picture, I saw that my top was covered with grease stains! But, still, personal style unlocked! This is what I’m trying to accomplish! Give me an entire closet of THIS!

Day 7

Day 7. Tight pants. Tight top. Suck it in, girl. SUUUUCK it in! I also figured out that this top was is so old, it’s from the Junior’s section. Oy. Donation pile!

Day 8

Day 8. Classic white tee with dark washed jeans. Classic shirt so old and threadbare that it shows absolutely EVERYTHING going on underneath. Donate.

Day 9

Day 9. Damn. Also, I added my favorite boots ever to this outfit. Double Damn.

Day 10

Day 10. Today’s outfit. I’m happy that my kids are home sick on this outfit day. Baggy pants and top are kind of nice for a “movies on the couch” day.

There they are! Have I made the correct assessment concerning my clothes? Should I let go of others and hold on to some? Comment below and let me know what you think!

I’m a ’90s girl. I can’t help it.

When Cher Horowitz fired up her customized closet computer, scrolled through her clothing options (with a TOUCH SCREEN!! That was some crazy technology, for sure!), and finally was rewarded with the ideal, now-iconic, matching yellow plaid blazer-and-mini-with-corresponding-sweater-vest ensemble, I was officially in love.


But, let’s face it. Cher’s system was incredibly impractical. I mean, honestly, exactly how many outfits could one reasonably make with a bright yellow plaid mini-skirt? Outside of the one, I just don’t see it happening. It also seemed to be a system based on pretty strict fashion rules. I mean, why did it say that first outfit was a mismatch? A black skirt with a printed jacket? Was that really so wrong? What else did it THINK she should be pairing with a black skirt?


Then again, Cher certainly had the closet space to hold on to all of those very specialized, only-once-in-a-very-great-while outfits. Can’t really say the same for me. I’m operating out of your standard, 2’x6′ wall closet with accordion doors. Which is why I recently undertook the challenge of creating a minimalist, “Capsule” wardrobe for myself. Basically, I went through my clothes (several times), got rid of a TON of stuff, and kept only what I believed I could wear at any time. And with anything. Basically, I’ve been trying to create a closet that is Garanimals for Adults.

The keys to a Capsule wardrobe are simplicity and sternness. Keep it (relatively) neutral. Don’t hold on to sentimental pieces for no reason. Think about your clothes as not individual pieces, but as parts of a whole. And, for God’s sake, you’ll never get that marinara stain out; just throw the thing away already! The theory is that, by treating your clothing this way, you actually create more unique, individual outfits by investing in fewer, more versatile pieces. This way, if you have only, say, 10 shirts, and 3 pairs of pants, you still have a possible total 30 outfits you can make with these pieces. Add two cardigans, or a few belts, and you’re multiplying your outfits! (Think about how many thousands of combinations you can make at Chipotle using only about 20 ingredients. Same idea. If not slightly less delicious.)

Woah. 30 individual outfits? MORE with just a few accessories? I (like, I think, many people) am currently rotating through about a half dozen outfits regularly. Could this really be possible? Could I really go an entire month without repeating an outfit? And could I be doing this with fewer clothes staring at me from my fluorescent-illumined closet?

I’ve decided to give it a try. I’m cutting down my wardrobe, and I’m going to wear everything in it. Everything. And, to make sure that I’m being truly honest, I’m going to dress like Cher. Starting on February 1st, I’m going to let a computer dress me for 38 days. Why 38? Well, because I couldn’t bring myself to pare down my clothes any further than that (for now). I got myself down to:

  • 38 shirts, not counting about a half dozen random tees I use for sleeping.
  • 7 pairs of pants, not counting dress pants. I do still own three pairs of dress pants (white, grey, and brown pairs) but I decided to omit those from this experiment, as I’m a stay-at-home parent, and a substitute teacher at a preschool, and, well, fingers are sticky and dress pants are expensive. I’ll just be wearing my “everyday” pants for the duration of this experiment.
  • 13 pairs of shoes (this includes my “specialty” shoes, such as snow boots and my wedding heels [that I’m NEVER giving up! They’re hot pink and ruffly, and gorgeous and sexy!]).

Following along with the rules as I understood them based on the Pinterest boards I found, I color coordinated all of my clothes, assigned each one a number, and used an online random number generator to first sort all of the tops into a list, then to pair them up with a bottom.

Shirts_clothing challenge

My. Entire. Wardrobe.

As it will be February, and there are tank tops on this list, I’m reserving the right to add “layering” pieces (mostly my absolute favorite I-am-never-seen-without-one cardigans), and I get to make shoe choices myself. But the base outfits will remain exactly as the computer selected them.

My clothes for the next 38 days. The print out of my wardrobe looks like a page full of mug shots. Some of them really ain’t pretty.

I hope that this experiment helps to free me up from old clothes that I’ve been holding on to for years now (my ideal goal is to get my closet down to 25 tops). And I hope that it gives me some ideas for outfits that I hadn’t considered before now. But I hope that it also frees me from this strange fear, or obsession, or I-don’t-even-know-what-to-call-it that keeps screaming in my head that my personality, that my actual being, is somehow tied up in all of the things that I own, the things with which I surround myself. Clothing is a pretty easy start for me. As a SAHM, my clothes aren’t really “important.” If I look a little weird one day during this experiment, it won’t cost me a client, or create a running joke around the water cooler (though my style-obsessed kindergartner will likely tease me). But it’s an important start. One that I hope will lead to other starts. And maybe it’ll finish someplace simpler, cleaner, and with a whole lot more “me” and a whole lot less “that.”

I’ll try to post short, weekly recaps of this experiment as I go, with pictures of all of my computer generated outfits, so you all can judge for yourselves how things seem to be going (and what I could possibly do without).