Fashion in a Capsule

The road to happiness is littered with old clothing.

The other day, I was nearly out the door to work when I stopped myself. Thanks to that LA winter heatwave (hello, 91 degrees), I was dressed in a sundress I’d bought in college from a Goodwill in Boston. Cute, but in the back of my mind it was stressing me out majorly. Is this too short for work? Does the top look a little faded? How well does this actually pair with this sweater?

I knew that if I went to work in that dress, I wouldn’t be able to focus on anything important. Rather than brainstorming projects for my interns or making strides on my paperwork, my headspace would be consumed with second thoughts about my choice of workwear. Plus, what does an old, slightly short sundress say about me to new freelancers coming by the office? Nothing good.

I have decided that it is time to give my wardrobe a complete makeover, a little bit at a time. It’s time to graduate to a slightly better level of dressing, one that 1) flatters me, 2) is comfortable, and 3) projects a positive image to others.

Since I’m a complete beginner when it comes to anything fashionable, I turned yet again to Pinterest to help me get started. That’s where I discovered a piece about capsule wardrobes by Caroline Rector on the site The Everygirl.

Capsule wardrobes are defined as “a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion…which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces” (source). Basically, it’s a miniature wardrobe (usually for a season) that is specifically designed to go together, taking the thinking out of getting dressed in the morning.

Caroline’s version of the capsule wardrobe consists of 37 pieces total – but there are many, many versions that exist. I decided that I liked Caroline’s method enough to follow along, and this past weekend I started my journey with a tour of my current collection of clothing.

First stop? Goodwill.

Caroline’s method says the first thing you should do is go through the clothing you have. You must literally take everything out of your closet and drawers; I dumped everything on my bed.

Next, you sort your clothes into four groups: love it and would wear it right now, maybe, no, and seasonal (as in, it’s winter now but you’ll definitely wear that maxi dress come summer).

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Goodbye forever!

I can be pretty decisive sometimes, so I skipped the maybe pile completely and went with what my gut was telling me. Things that I had hesitations on went straight into a garbage bag headed for donation.

For anyone not as impulsive as I am, Caroline recommends putting your no’s and maybe’s into storage for the time being. That way, if you miss anything, you have a chance to reclaim it.

My first thought after the cleanout was wow, I have so many hangers now. The entire process was cathartic and invigorating, and suddenly my room was filled only with clothes that I love to wear.

The next step for me is taking a hiatus from buying any new clothing for the next three months or so. This will allow me to learn more about my styling preferences and give me time to plan the additions I’ll need to complete my capsule.

Interested in planning your own? Check out Un-Fancy’s free wardrobe planner workbook.

Happy capsuling!

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The Day I Forgot My Boulder Holder

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There’s a funny story in my family that recounts the time a friend’s daughter had to have her father bring her a pair of underwear at high school, because she’d forgotten to put them on that morning. Endless laughter was brought forth in re-imagining the scene of the father, red faced, having to discreetly bring his daughter her favorite thong between classes. What a hoot! Who could be so forgetful?

I may have just topped this anecdote.

Flash back to this past Thursday. I’ve just finished a really kickass workout at the gym – I’m dripping with sweat, ready to shower and get ready for work. Normally, I pack my gym bag the night before, making sure I’ve got my towel, clothes, and makeup. That way, I don’t have to pack it in the morning at 5AM when I’m sure to forget something important.

I root around the bag for my flip flops and towel, and that’s when I realize what I haven’t got: a bra. And of course, this is the day I wore my workout shirt with the built in padding. And of course, I don’t have a single alternative.

My heart is beating in my ears as I ponder my options in the shower. There’s no way I can run back to my apartment, the LA morning traffic would guarantee I’d be late. Maybe I could stop at a store on the way?. I’d probably have to wait until a few hours later, when the Target down the street from work would be open.

I dried myself off and dressed, trying to get used to the feeling of being…bare.

Here’s my lo-down on bras:

  • I, like most women my age, have been wearing bras since puberty, even though I told my mother at the onset that there was no way in hell I was ever going to grow breasts, because they were horrifying.
  • The boob gods heard my prayers, because I check in at barely a B cup
  • Just because I don’t have much going on chest-wise doesn’t mean that it isn’t absolutely obvious when I don’t wear a bra
  • I don’t wear them to bed, nor sometimes on early morning runs to the coffee shop

As I continued prepping for the day, I kept reminding myself that bras are not a necessity! Shirts and shoes, yes. Bras? Nope! There are no rules dictating when or how to wear them. Over hundreds of years they’ve come in and out of fashion, and many women put them on every day tumblr_nlvbso3h5Y1se6x8po1_500without much thought. For some, it’s for support; for others, it’s to create a different illusion of what a we as a society think a breast should look like. Seeing a woman’s nipples through her shirt isn’t the rage right now. Bralessness is instead thought of being something indie or hipster-ish.

“I’ll look just like Kate Moss,” I tittered to myself silently as I walked out of the gym, conscious of the way my girls were moving wildly around with every step.

At work, I was even more self-conscious, arching my shoulders so my shirt would hang away from my body. I was sure everyone would look and see and realize. I went back and forth between feeling liberated and part of my own “social experiment” – if my coworkers saw, would they think any less of me? Would someone pull me aside to talk about ‘appropriate work attire’? Why is this bothering me so much? – to feeling almost naked, exposed. I didn’t want anybody seeing this nonsensical, jiggling production that was my chest. I wanted everyone to be able to focus on what I was doing and saying, rather than my appearance.

Two nerve-crushing, unbearable hours later, my social experiment was done. I was stressed out, thinking about what I’d do if I had to go up or down another flight of stairs, and was having trouble focusing on work. My co-worker and friend, whom I’d confided in about the whole stupid thing, finally pulled me aside and handed me two pieces of gauze and medical tape. I thanked her profusely before booking it to the bathroom, where I was able to tape down the more noticeable aspects and stabilize the jiggle effect.

After this, my day did a complete 180, and I nearly forgot about the whole thing until I came home and changed into my PJs.

What can I take away from all of this?

I got a cold dose of American culture, that’s for sure. In forgetting my bra, I was confronted with how bodies are so hyper-sexualized that seeing my silhouette through my shirt felt incredibly wrong and unprofessional. We wear these things daily, even when someone like me (who doesn’t need the added support) has no good reason to.

The whole scenario has got me thinking about all of these invisible aspects that guide women’s lives and dress codes daily. For now, though, I’ll stick to my Aeries and my Victorias Secrets, and will be sure to check my gym bag twice.

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The Verdict Part II

MonogramI’ve got to say – this week’s challenge was BRUTAL, and quite honestly I wasn’t expecting it to be as hard as it was! I was feeling pretty cocky at the start of it. I’m in LA! Thrift stores are on every corner, especially in the nearby hipster neighborhoods. I figured I’d do my typical Goodwill loop and be done before I knew it.

Wrong wrong wrong!

My first weekend of thrifting was a nightmare, and I came out empty handed. I came away from it having learned some valuable lessons:

1) Surround yourself with people who have similar goals. I brought my roommate, who was only tagging along to look at furniture. He’d be finished looking at everything he wanted to before I even made it to the clothes racks. As a result, I felt rushed.

2) Wear the right clothes to try things on. Stick with neutral bras and not too many layers, which can slow down the trying-on process.

3) Be open to trying on new things. At the start, I was very picky about what kinds of clothes I was looking for, and I feel as though I ignored some pretty cool statement pieces that I should have given a chance.

4) Bring hand sanitizer. Just do it.

Having been inspired by Jess’s post, I asked around for some new thrift store destinations and set out for round two. My time at St. Vincent De Paul’s was incredibly fruitful. If Jess was channeling her inner Posh Spice, then say hello to Sporty Spice!

This form fitted sweatshirt caught my eye as soon as I saw the employees hang it. Aside from a small tear on the front, it’s practically brand new. Because the temperature fluctuates like crazy here, I’m all about layering, and so I paired it with this cute camping T-shirt!

Throw on some dark skinnies and a pair of sweet sneaks and you’re ready to tour the town.

 

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The Verdict

Happy Friday! It has been a crazy week of weather up in New England. Blizzard Juno and the crazy weather systems on the way, have left nothing but beautiful mounds of snow and days locked indoors. With 36 inches and counting, it is clear that we have a long time till spring hits. I plan to use my weekend cleaning up more snow and getting cozy in my wonderful thrift shop find!Music can change the world because it (1)

Hours before Juno was to hit, I slid my way into a local thrift shop. I quickly sifted through the racks to find this gem. At only $8, this over-sized, button up was exactly what I was looking for. Styled simply with a tee and leggings, this kept me perfectly toasty with my Bean boots (slightly obsessed).

Andover Thrift Shop

How can I forget about this this number. It was tucked away among all of the over-sized broaches! No place for this sort of bling. I was ready to haggle the price down, but for $10 I already felt like it was a steal.

Salvation ArmyI really loved this challenge! It has been forever since I truly appreciated the wonders of a thrift shop. The fact that they are family owned, made for an even better treat! I also appreciate how far $20 can get me.

Check out the websites to these local thrift shops!

Andover thrift shop

Salvation Army

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Poppin’ some tags

Aubrey and I are frequent flyers when it comes to figuring out what to do next. Socially, professionally, health-wise, sanity-wise, we can’t get enough of figuring out the next best thing. I guess this blog is working, right? 

More often than not, I am looking to do something new and then I am immediately stopped by my looming pile of bills. The struggle is unnaturally real. So this week we decided to put one of our ideas to the test. The $20 challenge is our way of seeing how far we can stretch good ol’ Thomas Jefferson to help us experience something great. Specifically this week, our goal is create a “look” for only $20 only using re-purposed, recycled, or reclaimed items.

You can expect my look to be inspired by this:

Happy Hunting!

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Sweet Dreams Are Made of These

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Sleep – even vampires need it. I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was a highlight of my day. Picture it – your pre-bed routine, finally climbing under those covers, settling in for the night. As I write this, I can feel my eyelids closing. It took me until college to realize that I’m someone who needs at least 8 hours a night. Otherwise, I go through my day like a zombie. Growing up, I was always the first person in bed at sleepovers, and even now I’m prone to passing out on friends’ couches. What can I say? I love catching some Z’s!

Here are some sleep facts you might not have been aware of:

  1. People with desk jobs and mentally taxing work are “exquisitely sensitive to even minor sleep loss.”
  2. Losing just one hour of sleep per night for a week can cause your brain to behave as though it has a BAC level of .10 – that’s more than the legal limit of .08 to drive!
  3. The effects of sleep loss on adults can include poor concentration, poor memory, and poor job performance.

I have a confession to make: for the past six months, I’ve been sleeping on an air mattress! A nice one, for sure,

Mr. Sock Monkey reclines joyously on our new bed

Mr. Sock Monkey reclines joyously on our new bed

but an air mattress all the same. Honestly, it was taking me a while to save for it. When I finally did, I had to use the money to fix my car. But, I’m a lucky gal, and for Christmas my dad matched what I’d saved since. This week, I welcomed home my brand-new queen sized mattress – and I’m in love!

Even more exciting is to see how my health improves as my body adjusts to sleeping on a real mattress again. I’m looking forward to improved moods, having an easier time getting up in the morning, and so much more!

Additionally, I’ve found a great list from PopSugar of other ways to get better sleep at night. Luckily, I’ve already got #17 down pat 😉

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Wanted: {Inspiration}

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Well hello everyone, and welcome to 2015! If you’re anything like me, you’ve been struggling to get your head back into your typical routine. I had such a magical time on the East coast with my family that it’s been surreal being back at work trying to remember how to do my job (the key, really, is to make sure the executives have caffeine).

It wasn’t until I picked up my copy of Grace Helbig’s The Art of Pretending to be a Grown Up (a really funny, relatable read by YouTube personality Grace Helbig) that I realized that I was lacking inspiration! In her chapter on balancing work and play, one of Grace’s points is that in order tokeep motivated in any capacity, you should seek inspiration. Grace’s suggestion was to look up child prodigies on YouTube. In case that isn’t doing it for you, I have a few ideas of my own:

  1. Follow your idols on social media. I’m on Instagram everyday, and someone I’ve subscribed to is Reese Witherspoon. Her account is positive, bright, and chock full of inspiring quotes/photos (every Monday she posts a #MondayMuse). Seeing her accomplish her goals makes me want to do the same!
  2. Surround yourself with things that inspire you. When decorating your bedroom or cubicle at work, or even picking out a desktop for your computer background, think in terms of what is going to bring out the best in you. Maybe it’s photos of family and friends. Maybe it’s a vision board covered with photos of your goals. Or, it could simply be a quote that energizes you.
  3. Find someone who is better at something than you, and use it to motivate yourself. I went to college with a young woman who is a perpetual volunteer and defender of women’s rights. My volunteering record is sketchy at best. Learning about her exploits and reading her blog make me want to be on her level.
  4. Celebrate your accomplishments! Sometimes I look at my to-do list at the end of the day and am disappointed by all the things I didn’t get to. It’s then that I have to remind myself to be proud of everything I did do! Life is short, chores stink, and we’ll never get them all done. We might as well celebrate what we did manage to accomplish.
  5. Be your own best cheerleader. As adults, we don’t always have people patting us on the head and saying, “Good job!”, nor do we always have a personal trainer egging us on to do better. At the end of the day, you are the only one responsible for how you feel and how much you get done. I used to rag on myself whenever I didn’t get up early enough to go to the gym – it would ruin my entire day. Then, I decided to adopt a more forgiving attitude, one where I would cheer myself onward towards waking up during the wee hours of the morning. And if I decided to back to sleep? Not the end of the world.
  6. Immerse yourself in activities that make you excited to jump out of bed every day. Read Amy Poehler’s new book. Look at this article about celebrating women’s bodies. Listen to a song that makes you want to jump up and down. Try your hand at creating something. See a pretentious art film that makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time. The possibilities are endless, but what counts is that it makes you happy and re-energizes you to take on the world!

Also…don’t forget the cheesy Pinterest quotes!

At any given moment you have the power to say:  This is not how the story is going to end today.     #motivational - you have the ability to make a difference in your life.

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Bring on the Bras

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Bras – we love ‘em or we hate ‘em. They rank among the top five things I like to immediately strip off after a long day – what better than to hang loose while you relax at home? No wonder they burned them in the 60’s. Admittedly, I don’t have much to free, but nothing’s more uncomfortable than a bra that doesn’t fit quite right.

For most of us, bras are that one thing we don’t leave the house without. Many articles suggest that a majority of women are wearing the wrong bra size. This doesn’t only affect how you look, but it can play a major role in your health as well. Bad-fitting bras have been linked to headaches, sagging, back pain, indigestion, shoulder pain, and more. Yikes!

Some may be inclined to measure themselves for a new bra, which experts recommend you buy every 6 months (yeah, okay). Well, whenever you’re ready for a new one, I highly recommend checking out this video by  Caty135 – she does an excellent job of explaining bra fitting:

Otherwise, you might ask the helpful associates at somewhere like Victoria’s Secret to do the measuring. As Caty warns, though, it’s not always entirely accurate. You know your body best – if something doesn’t feel quite right, then don’t buy it.

On Tuesday, I just so happened to have some leftover money on an Aerie gift card and a burning desire for a new bra. I even got up early to go the gym, so I’d have an evening free to shop. Now that’s dedication.

I found the closest Aerie in the Citadel Outlets Mall (which actually looks like a castle!). After work, I zoomed on over and found photomyself in bra heaven. A sales associate took pity on me as I fumbled my way around the store, and I explained I was looking for something with support, but not too much padding. She pulled me over to the Charley bra, and I was hooked! It was cute and fitted with a shape that allows for V-neck shirts and hooks in the back to make it a racer-back.

I scooped up two with different band sizes (it’s been a while since I’ve been bra shopping, but I kind of know what size I am). The larger size felt amazing as I ran through the checklist that Caty advises: the straps weren’t digging in, the band wasn’t riding up, and it comfortably conformed to my shape.

But I wasn’t sure, because it was so fitted. My old bra was stretched out beyond recognition at this point, and I couldn’t remember if it fit like this new one did at some point. For a second opinion, I paged the sales associate back. I threw back the door and asked her, did it look like it created back rolls? She couldn’t quite meet my eyes afterwards, but she said no. Unconvinced, I called my mom (it was 11PM EST by that point) and woke her up to send her a grainy selfie. Sleepily, she said it looked like it fit. Plus, it would stretch out as I wore it.

Success! I scooped up one Charley in a lacey nude/light pink – and in the spirit of BOGO, another Charley in hot pink for breast cancer awareness (all proceeds benefit Bright Pink)!

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The Charley in hot pink!

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Button up those….ponchos!

UntitledIt is that wonderful time of year in New England. Fall is known for it’s crisp days, beautiful colors, and great fashion. This season was designed to accommodate the wonderful wardrobe in requires. The layers and warmer fabrics are nothing short of inviting which is why I love this season so much. In New England, fashion needs to have both aesthetics and utility. The ability to layer and use different fabrics gives me the creative outlet that I desperately need.

In the past, I have been a lover of the riding boot, fleece, and an infinity scarf. It is a staple go to for many 20-somethings of this area. However, that love has diminished which has led me to a style rut. Now that I can invest in my look, I want to push the boundaries. I am looking to grow my into a more mature look, while still maintaining the eclectic nature of my style.

When caught in a fashion debacle, the fashion major in me takes over. I sift through the pages of all the fashion publications and go through the endless images from this year’s fashion week. As the aftershock of fashion week have settled, it is clear what front runner will be making an appearance in my closet-the poncho.

If you were to tell me that I would be donning a poncho, voluntarily, I would have thrown in the towel and just worked a trash bag for the rest of my life. (Sorry for the dramatics)

0 (3)After Burberry, unveiled their monogrammed poncho during their A/W 14 runway show and after the numerous celebrity sightings, the poncho can really grow on a girl. The silhouette it creates is something of a relaxed stature. The fabrics, lines, and detailing gives this outerwear the versatility that we all look for. I love the heavy weight and textured fabric, as well. They make it a perfect fit for fall.

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In that same breath, I love the different functionality that has been given to the scarf. I love how the scarf adds volume to the look and securing it with the belt keeps the silhouette. Like I said, I am a lover of the infinity scarf but adding variety and versatility makes scarves even more lovable.

Styling the poncho and scarf will be extremely easy. They can be added to any staple to give it that refreshed look it needs. I plan on pairing it with skinny jeans with a blouse/flannel or with my fall dress with tights. I also plan on switching up my scarf game. Whether it is adding a belt to give it that tucked in look or creating a longer infinity loop, the scarf is safe in my fall line-up.Jess (2)

Clear out the Clutter – It’s Fall!

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It may not seem like it, but I love shopping. Refreshing one’s wardrobe can be quite magical, especially when it’s been a while between shopping sprees. Upon arriving in LA, I noticed two things: firstly, it’s an oven here, especially in the summer. Secondly, my wardrobe wasn’t quite up to the

Shameless pre-work selfie - note the shorts.

Shameless pre-work selfie – note the shorts.

challenge of simultaneously being adultish and breathable (you can read more about my difficulty in being an adult here). I spent the first month and a half in – no joke – jean shorts and tank tops. When everyday tops out at 90 degrees and you have to be out and about, moving and working, long pants and satiny blouses aren’t going to do it.

Thankfully, my bosses are super chill and no one said a word about the shorts – although one executive cheerfully commented that I always look like “a camp counselor”. Since that remark, I’ve made it a goal to slowly update my closet, one piece at a time.

Thankfully, fall is on it’s way. While some days are still roasting hot (it was 91 degrees in my apartment today), the nights are cooler and the sun isn’t as strong. And with this new season came some new clothes! I was on my first commercial production set this week as a production assistant, and needed some new digs. I ended up going to Old Navy and grabbing some comfy shirts and pants.

With the new influx of clothes, though, there must always be some outgoing items as well. Cleaning

Wise words!

Wise words!

out your closet doesn’t have to be reserved for just spring – I think it’s incredibly beneficial to give your clothes a once over after each season. For me, it’s a way to keep a check on how much I own, and to weed out the items I no longer wear or fit into.

This time around, I’m giving up a pair of jeans that continuously fall down, a vest that no longer fits, a blouse I haven’t worn in ages, and a black sweater that irritates my skin. Everything will be going to Goodwill, but there are many other charities and secondhand stores that will accept your used clothing and belongings, such as Out of the Closet, Crossroads Trading Co., The Salvation Army, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, etc. I love that I’m not throwing anything away, and that somebody somewhere could get better use out of my belongings than I currently am.

On the flip side, I LOVE finding bargains at Goodwill. It takes patience, and a little bit of hand sanitizer, but amongst the racks you can always find a gem. Here’s to some happy shopping & cleaner closets!

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