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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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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