Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge #2 – Items & I’m So Mad!

I’m so mad, I’m so mad, I’m so mad!!!

OK, basically I’m mad at myself. I’m super frustrated & I don’t know what to do. I’ve been working on post #2 for my Minimalist wardrobe challenge. And although I really didn’t have that much to begin with, it was taking me forever to categorize & photograph my clothes to share with you. (Mainly because I was always wearing 1 piece that I needed to photograph…or washing them.)

Then guess what happens. So I’m almost done with all of it & getting ready to post when it occurs to me that there are some items in my wardrobe that I have opted not to wear recently. I have been steadily gaining weight since the surgery last year, and some of my items are tight….impossible to button/zip and make me look like an overstuffed sausage. So, I opt to take a quick trip to the wardrobe and try on a few things again. Just ‘trim the fat’ of those few extra items, so getting dressed in the morning. And guess what? SHIT DOESN’T FIT! 1/3 of my already small wardrobe, is too small now. It’s only been 2 months! WTH?!? Please pardon my foul language. I am just severely frustrated.

So, despite all the perfect photo set-ups (which you won’t see now). I get to basically just describe what I have. Please excuse the fact that the photos I’m posting aren’t so great. I was frustrated and basically just tossing items out of my closet.

7 Sweaters (Some are borderline too small) – Wool, Cotton & Cashmere

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8 Shirts. This includes 1 polo, 1 button up flannel, a navy turtleneck & white button up I received for my birthday and long sleeve T-shirts for layering

3 pairs of Pants. 1 pair of pink dress trousers I received for my birthday, an old pair of navy corduroys and my cropped summer destroyed jeans. (The jeans are really tight, and not suitable for winter weather. But I can get it in them, so they count.)

I have 1 pair of sweatpants & 1 pair of leggings, plus 1 pair of snow/ski pants also. I mainly use these around the house (well, not the snow pants) & the ‘rules’ say that gym wear & loungewear don’t count. But in this case, I guess they kind of do. Because without them, I would be crying.

I only had 1 cotton blazer & 1 light jean jacket to begin with, but they are also several sizes too small now.

0 Skirts & Dresses. This is the biggest shame of all. I love dresses. Especially maxi dresses. They are so comfortable & easy, plus they automatically kick your look up a notch. Sadly, the black dress I purchased last year (shown here) is now 2 sizes too small & my only winter maxi dress is an XS. Hahaha….yeah, squeezing into that does not a pretty picture make. By the way, I have actually been on the hunt for a good winter maxi dress (in 100% cotton or wool, of course) and the most affordable option I can find is like 150 Euros. So, while I’m saving my cents for that humongous purchase, I’ll be searching for a sale. Please let me know if you can recommend anywhere online.

I’ve had 2 ‘incomings’ of clothing this Autumn/Winter. My Birthday and I brought back a T-shirt from Trinity college (Thank you, honey. My new hubbs got them for us) and 1 very oversized Aran ivory wool sweater. These have been included in my overall clothing count. Geeze….does that mean I really only had 13 total items of clothing beforehand? Yikes!

Here’s my Birthday bounty: 1 pair pink dress trousers, 1 long sleeve white button up (this  lady needed something work-worthy) and 1 navy turtleneck.

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This is what we brought back from Ireland: 1 Trinity College T-shirt and an oversized Aran wool sweater 🙂

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I have to admit, that while I have some classic pieces which I will cling to as long as they last & I’m addicted to my cashmere sweaters. I don’t really LOVE my wardrobe. Honestly, most of the time I don’t even like it. I don’t think its so much the pieces in it; as I said, I’ve been clinging to my sweaters for ages and am distraught when one finally unravels. So I guess I do love them. But I think it’s how I feel in them right now. I feel huge. I feel frumpy. I feel…unkempt. I feel old. I miss the days when I felt sexy, happy & confident. If I was wearing the exact same items, only 3 sizes smaller? Well, I would probably LOVE them then because I would love myself. So how does one deal with this unexpected train wreck of self confidence? Diet? Exercise? Well, its not that easy. My body is changing & I am terrified that I will be this size (or even larger) forever. That no matter what I wear, I will just look like I’m hiding myself – or my back half will be shining through in all its blubbery glory. I am just not happy with what I see in the mirror.

I can say though, that I have had quite the laugh today as well. In order to make myself feel better, I did a re-google on minimalist wardrobes. I find it astonishing that having 40 items of clothing in your closet is considered a huge challenge and lifestyle overhaul. I have less than 20 that I can actually wear. And while I very much don’t like having to wash laundry every day or every other day so I have something to wear, and I’m constantly wishing I had the available funds to buy myself that maxi dress, long leather skirt or great fitting perfect pair of jeans – having twice as much clothing in my wardrobe would not be a challenge AT ALL. It would be great, actually to have enough variety to feel like I’m not actually wearing the same thing every day. I don’t want a uniform. I want to feel pretty. It’s ironic, really. I wanted to do this challenge myself. Because, I had clothes there but I didn’t realize why I wasn’t actually wearing them. When I removed everything I can’t fit into – I realized that I’ve been an unwitting minimalist (wardrobe – wise) for quite awhile. Now, I guess it’s just suppressing the urge to treat myself to a post-Christmas spree that’s the challenge.

What would you say your wardrobe looks like?

-Mliae

If you would like to read post #1 of my minimalist wardrobe challenge, you can read it by clicking here.

Super Sustainable Wardrobe Clean-out!

OK, I did it. And you would not BELIEVE the size of the discard pile!

Many of you know that I have made a promise to myself, and to you, that I would not purchase any items this year that are not made of 95%(difficult to find elastin-free items)-100% natural fibre. That means: Cotton (the top at this moment because I can wash it), Alpaca, Wool, Cashmere, Silk, Bamboo, Cupro, leather, fur or linen. This has been anything but easy!

I got super frustrated searching the labels of everything I put on and made a drastic decision: Fill the wardrobe with only your natural fibre clothing. Then sort out the rest and get rid of most of it since you aren’t really wearing it at this point anyway.

I have a male friend who decided one New Year’s to get rid of everything in his closet. Read: EVERYTHING. Then he was to go out and purchase items that he really loved. When he ran out of money (as he didn’t have a fortune to begin with) he was done, and would only then add needed pieces as the need arose. Although this is an extreme measure to take, I was sooooo tempted to do the same. But alas, that would be quite wasteful and that is counter-intuitive to my task. So I did not.

When I did the closet clean-out, it was such a mammoth task that I didn’t really want to even start it. I knew that there would be no breaks from start to finish, since everything I currently own was piled on my bed.

I did the initial checking and separating, and then I went through several more times to get it to the point it is now. The initial checking had nothing to do with whether or not I actually liked the garment, it went purely by the fabric.

So here’s what I did:

  • I took EVERYTHING hanging in my wardrobe, and hanging or folded in my closet – out.
  • I laid it all in a pile (hangers and everything) on the bed. I was a mountain of stuff.
  • I went through, piece by piece, and checked the fabric content tags.
  • If it was 95-100% natural fiber, it was hung back into the wardrobe.
  • Items were hung to only 1 piece per hanger. (I formerly had entire outfits on the hanger, but I wanted to be able to SEE what I have)
  • All items that were made of artificial fabrics went into a pile elsewhere.
  • Once I had completely gone through and separated out my natural fabric clothing, I got a (new, clean) big trash bag to use as a ‘going out’ pile.
  • I contacted several of my girlfriends to see who might be interested in sorting through some of my stuff, so I knew the types of items (and fit) that my girlfriends might snag. This is really a great thing if you have a closet full of 2-sizes too small designer items that you spent a fortune for and can’t bear to get rid of, but you know you will never be that size again.
  • The calls were a success, and now that discard pile didn’t look so big. I went through the discard pile and made several smaller piles for each friend, her taste and her size. Now I had my friends set, and didn’t have to feel bad about sharing basically new, very nice items of clothing.
  • There wasn’t actually too much left. A few faves, which I had worn the life out of over the course of several years. Must of these were no longer in nice shape, so donating was out of the question. But I didn’t exactly want to toss them in the rubbish pile either. So…I started looking into what my possibilities were. Turns out, H&M has a recycle programme for polyester.
  • I went back through the discard pile and looked at the fabric tags again. Anything that was polyester, I put in a bag to donate to H&M’s recycle programme.
  • And then, there were like 3 grubby items that I really just had to discard. So I did, and it wasn’t easy. I felt like a hoarder. I no longer wear it, but because I loved it for so long, I couldn’t bear the thought of throwing it out. Holes and all. But I did.
  • Then, I sat back and looked at my nice, clean, extremely well organized wardrobe and smiled. The feature pic shows my view.
  • Turns out my love of all things cashmere and linen has really helped me out as I had enough tops to wear for 2 weeks before repeating. Jeans, linen pants, 1 pair wool pants, leather pants,  1 pair cotton suit pants & 2 leather skirts help me to be able to dress for any occasion. 3 summer silk shirts and one gold special occasion blouse mix and match perfectly with my selection of pants and skirts. And 2 leather jackets, 1 matching cotton blazer & a denim jacket to complete the looks. I was all set and much better off in the versatility department than I have ever expected!

I have to tell you that I feel like a huge weight has been taken off me. Not only do I no longer have to dig my through my clothes to find the few things that fit my self-challenge for this year of only wearing/buying sustainable clothing and made from natural fabric clothing, but choosing my daily outfits is SO MUCH EASIER!

To anyone who is standing in front of a packed wardrobe saying you have nothing to wear, or that wants to go cold-turkey onto a sustainable or capsule wardrobe, I strongly suggest sorting out your closet using these methods. And doing it step by step, as just tossing items out can be overwhelming and might easily result in a mosh-mash of items that don’t really go together.

How did your last closet clean-out go?

-Mliae

Capsule Wardrobe Survival: 8 Ideas to make your black dress work overtime for casual, office and evening!

Hello ladies 🙂 This post is for all my comrades in the eco-fashion, capsule wardrobe journey. As well as those who, like myself, are wiling to invest in an item of clothing that can do triple-time, even if there isn’t exactly available funds for a luxury purchase. (Thus creating the necessity to make your few items work well for you in multiple social circumstances).

Today, I bit the bullet and purchased this dress. (Ok, it was actually a joy, not a chore.) Although I do have a Vince Camuto LBD that I purchased years ago and still get quite a bit of wear out of, its short, low-cut and sleeveless. It’s winter now. I just…can’t. Something about snow, wind and a mini skirt just doesn’t calculate well. I haven’t had a basic black dress for winter in many years. However, I thought long and hard about how I could make this purchase worth my while with the items I currently have available for my winter capsule wardrobe.

As most of you know, I have made myself a promise that I would not buy fast fashion (Which unfortunately, also means affordable for someone with a next to nothing budget) and that I buy only natural fabrics. I went on a long search and found this dress. 95% cotton and 5% elastin. (I prefer zero elastin, but hey, sometimes it’s just there. Like, good luck finding a pair of jeans with no elastin. Am I right?) Then I kept it bookmarked for a few weeks while I weighed the options. Today, I checked out 😉

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The following are the ways I will turn this basic black into a Capsule Wardrobe essential that will work overtime for a variety of occasions!

  • Firstly, you can just wear it like it is with a pair of black flats.

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  • Dress it up for a semi-formal evening  or a hot date, with a glamorous necklace and sexy heels (rose gold, in my case)
  • Accessorize a great look for the office with a big cozy scarf, a light necklace, and thick heeled ankle boots
  • Go boho with a loose cozy poncho and thick heeled ankle boots or wedges
  • For an easy to achieve highly sophisticated look, pair the dress with a brown leather obi belt and brown and black heels
  • For a super casual day, throw on those converse and a denim jacket! (I’m so glad wearing sneakers with dresses is fashionable now!)
  • For another business look, pair with a cashmere cardi, a skinny belt and highly sculpted suede ankle heels
  • If it’s really cold and you just want to be warm, cozy and look super cute; Throw on your favourite boyfriend sweater over top of it and pair with boots or sneakers.

It’s all about accessorizing, ladies! It’s amazing how versatile this one item can be when using items you probably already own to make it go from casual to office to a night out!

What are some of your must-have capsule wardrobe staples?

-Mliae

*Please note: These photos have been taken from pinterest, google and my own items. There are no shopping links contained within.