Capsule wardrobes: dressing for perfection

Thirft Store Finds & Capsule Wardrobes

Less crap, airy closet, beautiful clothing, endless styling options.

If that sounds like living the dream, you’re not alone. Like many, I’m intrigued by the minimal closet / capsule wardrobe trend.

Scrolling through Pinterest the other night, I noticed another trend – every pin, every blog and every article promised tips or steps for a “perfect wardrobe”. It was then I realized, this is just another way to channel perfectionist tendencies.

Now, I’m genuinely interested in owning less, caring less about the things I do own and spending my money more thoughtfully. Those are all good things! But if I’m spending rare solo time with my husband face glued to phone, agonizing over potential purchases, and then having to find time away from the office to inevitably return half of it….it’s just not worth it.

But this realization isn’t going to make the desire go away overnight. Here’s how I’m channeling my capsule wardrobe inspiration into some real-life action:

  1. Clean out your closet, regularly. About every 2-3 months I cull through and find things that I just don’t wear as well as hidden gems. Going through everything on a consistent basis helps me keep better track of what I own to avoid unneeded shopping, rediscover items I love, disprove the “I’m not wearing it because it doesn’t fit right” notion, and learn from the things I remove. The more you do it, the faster you’ll become at it, too.
  1. Explore thrift stores. If I’m in the mood to shop and spend, I head to the thrift store. There I can poke around to my heart’s desire and keep the damage to my wallet at a serious minimum. I also love the sustainability factor, that I’m recycling clothing and not fueling consumerism (as much). Some of my favorite and most complimented items are thrift store finds, as is everything pictured here.
  1. Buy better clothes. When most people say this, they mean pay more for better quality items. This is not necessarily what I’m saying. When I was a kid, I heard somewhere that good makeup is when you don’t know it’s there. I feel the same way about clothes…now. I’ve learned that if I’m going to be constantly adjusting my outfit, changing how I move for fit’s sake or worried about damaging things, it’s not for me. Sometimes this means paying more for an awesome fit, or sometimes this means picking up a Forever21 item so I don’t have to stress about ruining or not 100% loving an “investment” piece.

Part of me is also considering one of those quarterly personal shopping by mail services. It could be nice to save all that mental space and time online researching to just have some items arrive at my door? I’m still skeptical about the effectiveness of someone else finding clothes I love and that fit well (I’m a little picky about…everything), but it might be worth a try eventually.

Agree, disagree or have more tips? Let me know!

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Ring in the new season

nordstrom august fall 2014 catalog
photo: Nordstrom

September in Texas is hardly sweater weather, but I can’t help noticing the increasingly not-so-subtle shift on Pinterest from sundresses and bright-colored patterns to a rich fall palette of cozy sweaters and boots.

One look that is getting big for fall and has been growing on me in a big way is rings. I’ve never been one much for rings even before my nickel allergy diagnosis, but my wedding & engagement rings were a catalyst to reconsider. Like the effect of fresh nail polish, they make everything my hands do that much more fun, pretty and I’m pretty sure, poised (one can only hope). And bonus, they last much longer.

I’d like to reserve my left hand for wedding rings only, but my right hand deserves some fun, too….right? So an hour at Forever21 and a few bruised knuckles later, I am the proud owner of a few cuff and upper finger rings. If you have any questions about ring styles and sizes, my experience trying on every single ring Forever21 carries can probably help you out.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? My super crafty sister had a great idea. She bought two sizes of the same ring and wore them at different parts of the same finger. It was a perfect replica of the stacked ring / finger cuff look!

Some ring stacking inspiration:

Photo: Etsy / DurangoDreamDesigns
Photo: Etsy / DurangoDreamDesigns
Photo: Catbird / Moda & Estilo
Photo: Catbird / Moda & Estilo

And my all-time favorite:

Photo: Marie Claire
Photo: Marie Claire

Inspired by the classics

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Red, white and blue outfits have never been my thing. While the Fourth of July is actually one of my favorite holidays, wearing that much Americana spirit any other day can quickly make individually stylish items together feel like a preppy costume.

Lately though, I’ve fallen in love with unique combinations like the ones above. Mixing completely different patterns within the red, white and blue color scheme has a surprisingly modern feel.

It’s unexpected, and I like it. I’m forecasting a whole lot more where this came from, which is Nordstrom by the way, in case you’re about to make a mad dash. I’ll see you there!

Head first

felt hat inspiration

I noticed an unusual amount of my ‘Looks I Like’ pins as of late share a mutual characteristic, a felt hat. I’ve never really considered myself a hat person before. Don’t get me wrong, I think they’re beyond stylish, but they all seem to transform me into Indiana Jones’ sidekick or worse…

How I think I look wearing hats:

felt hat

How I actually look:

curious george man hat

Regardless of the very large margin of error that exists with this trend, I’m on the quest (Indiana Jones pun not intended) to find a felt, fedora-ish hat that actually fits. The problem is, they’re all over Pinterest, but no one seems to be selling them. One felt hat that isn’t too tall or too flat, too wide-brimmed or too pointy, too floppy or too stiff..is that too much to ask?

Currently Craving: Camel Peacoat

I don’t have a winter coat but it’s not from a lack of trying, rather from a lack of decisiveness. I haven’t been able to bring myself to purchase a good coat because I fear hating it a year later (I do that. Like, all the time). My problem is that I have an equal appreciation for Free People and Urban Outfitters as I do for J. Crew and my fashion choices depends on the day and where I’m going. If we want to relate this to Pretty Little Liars (when do we not?), I go between Aria’s and Spencer’s style. I like gladiator style boots just like I crave a pair of Manolos. Oh, woe is me.

But, I think I’ve come to a decision. I, Lydia, want a camel colored peacoat..with a little edginess to it. They’re just so gorgeous. It’s classy and classic. Naturally, the only ones that catch my eye are in the $500+ range, so the hunt continues. Wish me luck.

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The world is a fashion show

I like to think we talk about some ‘real life’ things around here…finding our place professionally or in relationships, efforts to be our best self with healthiness/fitness/habits, etc. So I can’t help but feel a little superficial when all I really want to do is another ‘trend’ post and tell ya’ll how excited I am about something in the fashion world.

But if this blog is about being real, then I have to tell you – I’m real excited about mixing neutrals.

Black on brown leather, grey jeans with brown boots, suede with just about anything…I’m all over it right now. Earlier this week I wore three shades of brown with a black top. I even instagrammed my latest combination, singing to myself a little diddy that consisted of “boots-and-tights, boots-and-tights” repeated in sing-song fashion.

Yup. (I’m highly creative at penning lyrics if you hadn’t noticed.)

And you know what? I don’t really care if it’s silly. I get dressed for me every day, and even if I don’t see another human being, I get a kick out of wearing things I like. If it takes the same amount of effort to pull clothing over my head, that clothing might as well be a cute dress, right?

I may have calmed down a bit since my melodramatic teenage years yelling “All the WORLD is a fashion show” a la Shakespeare in response to my mother’s complaint about waiting far too long for me to just accompany her to the grocery store already (“It’s just Kroger!”).

I no longer watch tv and “have to” grab a notebook “right this second” because there’s a crazy cute outfit on screen inspiring ideas that need sketching. Seriously, guys, I had so many pages of futuristic outfits (I preferred the terms “mod” and “fashion-forward”), I could have been a costumer designer for the next Zenon movie, but I digress.

I DO still glean quite a lot of inspiration from the fashion world though. Here’s some photos of what I’m loving lately, courtesy of Pinterest:

black hat brown scarf

black and brown leather jacket

black brown and grey tights and boots

tights and shorts

P.S. I also spent much of 6th grade wearing one, only one, huge dangly earring with a Chinese symbol on it because I was convinced the asymmetry was cool… #whenfashionlovedoesntloveback