Friday, 5 May 2017

Coral Red Lips and Growing Out a Pixie

I've never really experimented with the colour coral before, but for anyone with a bit of warmth in their colouring there is a flattering coral.  Peach and coral are better on me than pink, or one could say they are my best versions of pink.  When coral is deep it can even be a coral-red.  The sweater I am wearing is a coral pink and I've got a new lipstick that looks coral red in the tube and is named Rich Girl Red, but it looks more like a deep warm pink on me.   Where does pink end and red begin?  Sometimes that's difficult to say.

Really true red lipsticks always seem a bit overwhelming on my face and I need a bit of a muted effect, warm and earthy, not warm and bright.  That's why I go for the browns.  Revlon has lots of reds and some of them are obviously warm but  although I have a couple in mind to some day try,  a bold lip isn't really my comfort zone.  



                                           Lipstick:  Revlon Rich Girl Red

This lipstick is a sheer, creamy texture which I like.  The lipsticks I have felt quite heavy for warmer weather and lighter clothing and this morning I wasn't happy with any of them.  I have one in this same sheer formula that is a lighter colour and a bit more of a nude but I found myself wanting a colour with a bit more punch.  Revlon is my go-to for quality, price, availability and no strange taste or fragrance.

                            


Growing out a pixie cut yet again.....

I didn't get past the awkward ear-muffs stage a couple of years ago and I gave in to the people who like a pixie cut on me.  I MUST NOT DO THAT anymore.  I feel the need for hair.  While I love a pixie in theory and I like the way it looks on me from a front view, I am generally not happy with it overall and don't feel flattered by it.  In part that is because I feel like a pin-head on a larger body when I have very short hair.  But growing it out is difficult and the awkward stages along the way have made me give up more than once.



The photo above goes back to summer, and is already a growing out pixie.  It's a month or two since the haircut and there are so many whispy layers at the side it's no wonder it has taken 10 months to grow them out to something that resembles a bob.  The hair is shorter around the ears than the bits you can see at the front. so growing that out into something with a more even length takes time too.

I'm in a reasonable stage right now but awkward stages are coming again because once the the length gets down to jaw level it's not as flattering.  It drags my face down, emphasizing and enlarging the lower half of my face.    I have to get past that stage for that effect to end so must remember it's just an awkward stage, just as I've already been through one or two of those. 

Some more layering might help take out some of that bulk so I am telling myself that I will see a pro in six months.

Speaking of layers......

My hair is very fine in texture and there is a lot of it.  This means that when it's cut short it is cut with a lot of detail, a lot of thinning, and this also makes growing it out awkward.  I was wondering if my hair grows particularly slower compared to others.  There are images and blogs all over the internet on how to grow out a pixie and most people doing so get to a layered bob within six months.  I've been growing out awkward layers for ten months and only now have something that sort of resembles a very short, layered bob.  I've had to do lots of little trims  to avoid the mullet, but also evening up layers a little bit.  It seems some people have hair that can be cut quite simply and it grows out easily.

So this is where I am at with my growing out pixie.  My last professional haircut was July 2016 and I've been doing my own trims to cope with strange shapes, mullets, thin or thick spots and the inevitable situation where one side of my head grows faster than the other.

Bangs, fringe, whatever you call it there is the question of do I keep it or grow it out too.  I can never decide.  Most people think I am best flattered with bangs and I generally worn them for the past 40 years regardless of whether or not they are in style.  I will probably keep them.

Hats, headbands, hair pins..... these come in handy when growing out hair and the hairpins certainly prove useful when I can't decide about the bangs.  If I let them grow too long I need to pin them off my face.  I have grown out some of the bangs and left a smaller section short, so using the hairpins helps with that process too.

Hair spray comes in handy.  Sometimes I just need to plaster sections of hair back off my face and there is nothing like hairspray for achieving that.  Stiff hairstyles are not my style preference but over the next year style preferences are not always going to be achieved.

I haven't got any magic tricks for growing out a pixie and there are plenty of sites online offering advice.  All I have to offer is the reassurance that for those of us who find it a laborious, it is possible.  I've done it a few times before and intend to manage it again.


Saturday, 29 April 2017

Less and More

One has to be careful when writing about decluttering and downsizing on one's blog.  One's soon to be cohabitation partner reads the blog and could get the idea that one is a minimalist and thus he should not bring any clutter into the home or relationship.

One is not a minimalist.  One is making room for what is important and HE is important.  Co-decorating is potentially fraught and I have to admit I have very definite opinions about what is tacky and what I want in my rooms and on my walls.  I am fortunate to have a partner who is not particularly concerned with decor, happy to leave that sort of thing up to me.  For someone like me that is the definition of compatibility.  Compatible taste would also be ideal but I suspect it could be rare.  Compromise is required in a relationship.  Some give and take and respect for what the partner values is a must as is re-visiting and reconsidering what we value ourselves.

That's why making room for someone else requires letting go of things that I do not love or use.  It isn't about declaring less is better or more is better, but that the goal is a just right amount.  Is it called The Goldilocks Principle?


And speaking of too much or not enough.....

I am trying to find my own personal balance of less and more in my art.  I often over-paint, finding my way by adding more, covering it up if I don't like it, changing it a little or a lot.  Sometimes I completely cover over a canvas and paint something else on top.  Sometimes I regret this but most of the time I don't.  Sometimes I paint something quickly.  It's simple, and takes maybe an hour.  I like it so I stop and yet I wonder how can it be any good if it was so quick and easy? 








The painting on the bottom is now buried under the painting on the top.   I wasn't achieving what I wanted.  There were three incarnations of the painting above and I didn't like them so I slapped a ton of paint on top and obliterated it, creating the painting above it.  Now that I look at it in a photo I like it.  I wonder why I was upset with it.  But there's a life lesson in there somewhere.  Maybe more than one.   And I can paint again.  Perhaps the painting on the bottom was meant to teach me something.  Probably it was meant to teach me not to be so impatient and so hard on myself, but do I ever learn that lesson?  

In the photo I really like the bottom painting but in reality it irked me.  It looked over-painted.  It looked like too much.  As a photo it is inspiration. I painted my way into it, not knowing where I was going.  Now that I know I want to go there, perhaps I can again, more directly, with more purpose next time.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Let Go and Just Paint



                                                      When We Parted


I haven't painted in a few months and now that I am in a time period of restless anticipation this is a very good time to pick up my brushes again.  When I think of the three activities I am most passionate about, reading, writing and painting, I realise that painting is very special.  Reading and writing are things I have to do.  I must feed my brain and I must pour out my thoughts and ideas or I get tangled in a mental mess.  Painting is different.  When I paint I lose myself in the way one is supposed to with meditation.  I am detached from my thoughts and most of my senses and the only thing I know is what is happening on the canvas, what I want to do next in terms of colour and brush strokes, and the tension between what I am intending to create and what is being created despite me.

My art isn't particularly correct and that's also something that really takes me outside myself because I tend to put great stock in knowledge.  In general I crave knowledge, I want to know things that I do not yet know, I want to understand the universe I live in.  I seek to learn what, why and how and in general am a very big fan of science.  There are truths and facts in this world that can be known, there are things not yet known but within sight and they inspire awe.   I am someone who favours knowing but painting is about not knowing.  I am someone who takes few risks but painting is very risky.  Every time I finish a painting I like I am terrified that I cannot do it again.

Painting teaches me things I have difficulty articulating.


 Many things in this world are not subjective.  But art is.  Sure there are people who will say there are certain techniques or methods that must be followed, there are rules that some adhere to, and yes, I've got the bar set too high to ever touch let alone jump over because unless I can produce something to rival Leonardo Da Vinci I will only ever consider myself a dilettante, a dabbler, an amateur.  I am unschooled and I do not practice enough to ever become good.  Sometimes that bothers me because I tend to only want to do things I can be good at.

Quite regularly I have to speak to myself sternly.  Just who do I think I am, and what arrogance this is to imagine that I could or should be good at anything let alone the things I wish to be good at.    There are many people much more skilled or talented than I am and many others with no talent at all dabbing away either believing themselves to possess skills they do not or else not caring.  My inner perfectionist scorns them as I would scorn myself.  No, I am not kind.  I am a harsh critic though in general the criticism is aimed at myself.  While I might easily be critical of others who are also not Leonardo Da Vinci, my energy is not invested in their improvement.  It is invested in desiring my own.  So I paint.  And while I paint I forget to criticise.  I forget everything and I know only colour and texture and a liquid world.  While I paint I hope, I imagine, I believe that my intentions are being deposited on the canvas and that the results might not only please my own eyes but the eyes of others.  I could say that I paint for myself, and I do, but can any artist or would-be-artist truly claim not to hope her work appeals to others too?

I am sure that art is a form of communication and communication is not about releasing ideas into the void.  Communication is meant to happen between conscious beings, beings with sensory perceptions.  I paint to get outside of my own head and yet I also paint to communicate something to others.  I paint to say here I am.  Perhaps I am like you.  Perhaps we are connected in some way.  Perhaps I will understand myself better by painting and perhaps you will understand me and yourself better too.

When I wash up my brushes my thoughts grow a bit more practical and I worry about how much paint I used and can I afford to buy some more.  Can I afford not to?

Saturday, 22 April 2017

When Life Changes Dramatically


Life is about change and...

I'm no stranger to dramatic life changes.  I've had my share of the standard ones, moving to a new town, buying a first home, having a baby, getting a divorce and giving up a career.  Add to that living with a chronic illness which isn't suddenly dramatic until it takes you down a road you didn't expect and brings a lifestyle you hadn't anticipated, then the dramatic life changes are beginning to add up. 

More change is coming my way and it seems to me that it's fairly radical.  I've written very little about some aspects of my personal life because when it involves other people I don't feel I have the right to make public stories that are not purely mine.  At least not without permission.  Although it's supposed to be a blog that attempts to chronicle life with a chronic illness, I really can only give glimpses, snapshots, very controlled peeks into what my life actually is.  Focusing on personal style allows me to keep it relatively impersonal so I stick to that often.

And sometimes I veer away from it....

I've made reference to an abusive marriage, and to being divorced. I sometimes talk about living alone, but I believe I may have referenced a partner or significant other once or twice.  Then I wrote one or two posts about internet dating.  The short explanation for all of that is that a long term and long distance friendship turned into more then fell apart over a misunderstanding that involved a breakup that each thought the other was initiating only neither really was.

Holy Cow, communication is everything.

A close friend thought the way to get me through that was to immerse myself in internet dating.  Hah!  Fortunately for me, the misunderstanding was sorted out and the relationship resumed better than ever and internet dating become merely a five day slightly amusing interlude.

So a long distance relationship is about to become a case of cohabitation which leaves me without any cold feet even remotely, although in bed at night  I am prone to wearing not very sexy fleece socks.  A relationship deal breaker?  Nah. 


I am not a person who seeks relationships or needs to have a partner in my life.  The right one is heavenly, but I I would rather be alone than in the wrong relationship.  I like living alone so you have to be very special and I have to be very sure of you before I am going to share my living space with anyone who is not a cat.

How does life change when you are sharing space, sharing time, and pursuing together-activities?  I'm about to find out, or re-explore that.  Anticipating this change has become a full time preoccupation and the days cannot pass quickly enough.  I have five weeks left to wait, five weeks of not needing to consider the needs or comfort of another person.  Five weeks of erratic sleep patterns, eating whenever I feel like it and considering only myself when I spend money.  If I am worried about anything these are the things I'm worried about.  Can I adjust properly?  Time will tell but I do know I've been smart enough to be in love with someone who tells me to stop worrying.   It will be fine.  I will not be a bother, he will not tell me I am not good enough or my ways are wrong.  That was my old life, a different partner.  Now I am with someone who is my best friend, who loves me for who I am, not what I can (or cannot) do and who, like me has to contend with chronic illness so understands.  "It's fine", he says.  "We will just hold hands and cross the bridges."

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

My Minimal Standard


I spend a great deal of time just at home and I am always aware of the chronic illness I live with, aware of the fatigue, the aches, the limitations it imposes on my activities and abilities.  A life spent in lounge wear with unwashed hair and no effort at all put towards self-presentation would be too constant a reminder of what has been taken from me.  So with this in mind I have a minimal standard which I break only on those days when I am really feeling awful and might get out of bed only to find food or make tea.  Some days it's more of a struggle to meet that minimum standard but  by simplifying it and my personal style I have achieved something that approximates effortless chic, if I do say so myself,  and it really is minimal effort.

There are days when I pick and choose carefully what I will expend energy on and in all honesty that means I do not shower and/wash my hair daily.   I think that we've gotten to a point in western culture where that might almost be shocking to some people.  A daily shower and daily washed hair has become a norm and I was once someone who participated in it.  Given that I don't do much intense physical exertion and the climate where I live is rarely so hot as to make me sweaty, a daily shower isn't really  needed and a quick sponge bath in between showers will do.  At the moment, while my growing out hair is in an awkward stage, I usually will soak it in the sink and comb it into some sort of reasonable shape but sometimes, a good brushing and some hair pins will get me through the day.

Looking intentional is the secret to looking pulled together, but intentional stopping short of too much effort is my goal. 

My Minimal Standard


My wardrobe is pared down to easy to wear, mix and match pieces that flatter me and I love ( as much as I can love clothing which isn't much compared to most other things )  so that anything I put on looks intentional.


I always wear earrings.  I generally sleep in a simple pair so that I don't have to think about putting them on in the morning.  If I want something a bit more impactful then I can change them when I get dressed.  I never leave empty holes in my ears but if I want to wear a necklace for going out I make the earrings small.  I find I don't feel as comfortable in necklaces so I am more likely to put on a bracelet just before going out but I don't wear one around home.  Going out I will probably add a scarf but I don't wear one around the house. 


I think that earrings, a hairstyle that feels right and a little bit of makeup are the key factors that can make me feel ready to face the day as a properly functioning person.  And since my life does not involve wilderness hikes, gardening or mucking out the barn, this little bit of polish also feels appropriate.

I have a uniform style of dressing, suited to my lifestyle and it consists mainly of jeans and various tops-sweaters, blouses, tee shirts, with some accessories to round out the look and some variety in cardigans and jackets. 

My minimal standard makes it easy to go out without having to do much.  I am most likely to brush my teeth, reapply lipstick and grab an accessory or two.  Very little thought needs to go into footwear or jackets because it is dependent on the weather and my clothing.  Every jacket or shoe goes with more than one clothing outfit but every outfit looks best with a particular jacket or shoe.  This makes it easy to get out the door knowing I look pulled together and like I put some thought into what I am wearing but it's all premeditated.

Internal Nagging

If I don't go out at all, which is likely, I've got my basic uniform on, a simple hairstyle and my minimal makeup which makes me feel like I am participating in life.  There is a little voice in my head that wants this to be a world where women don't 'need' makeup.  This voice sometimes needles me for participating in this game and demands to know what is wrong with my face as it is.  Nothing is wrong with my face.  We live in a culture where it is entirely acceptable and often expected that a woman's face will have a bit of makeup on it and I could choose to fight that standard if I want to.  There would be no consequences but it would also be a moot point.  Nobody cares if I put on makeup or not.  It is only my own concern.  I do not have a job where it is required of me or where the lack of makeup might prevent a promotion and thus my not wearing makeup contributes nothing to changing that situation.  I do live in a culture where at least a little bit of makeup is the norm and I think that the very purpose of my minimal standard is to give me the feeling of participating in that culture because being ill and rarely leaving home can cause feelings of isolation.  Isolation is perhaps great if it is by choice.  I can imagine myself sometimes choosing it.  The goal is to find my personal balance between being one of the herd and standing alone.  For now, what I have chosen as my minimal standard gives me that power, a power that could easily be taken away from me.

For some women, daily life is about putting on a makeup mask, a uniform that is not of their choosing, and participating in a public life which they are happy to shed when they return home.  For them, claiming some power over their own appearance might mean the opposite of what it does for me.  It might mean taking off their makeup and putting on pyjamas or lounging clothing.  Claiming some power for ourselves means having a choice and getting away from something that is either imposed on us, or is so frequent that we need a change.

I have no problems with being seen in public bare faced.  I'm not even sure that my minimal makeup makes much difference to my appearance except perhaps an obvious lip colour.  That isn't really the point.  The point is that it makes me feel that I have gotten ready to take on the day.

Makeup

I've had a good time playing with makeup over the past year, finding the best colours and exploring products, but one thing that has always been true of me is that I am not interested in makeup trends, in trying different looks or colours, taking more than five minutes maximum to apply it, in wearing makeup that I can feel or that I must touch up or generally worry about.

I'm aiming for a healthy, awake, me-but-better look and given the face I start with, that may look more tired or more vibrant depending on the day.


This is a minimal face with a bit of oomph added by a swipe of lipstick.  My lipstick home is in the browns, so I've got brown-oranges and terra-cotta colours in my makeup bag, the one in the photo is Revlon Toast of New York, blotted.  I'm quite tired and it shows, so there is a bit of concealer under my eyes and a bit of medium brown shadow on lids with one swipe of brown-black mascara.  It looks like no makeup on my eyes but just wakes them up a little to balance the lip.

In my photo-taking efforts the lipstick took a dive, while open, right onto the floor.  Thankfully it was not carpet.

I have allergies too and at this time of year wake up with swollen, red, watery, itchy eyes.  Cold compresses, eye drops, antihistamines and a prescription nasal spray are all required but a bit of makeup can help to eliminate the look of spent all night crying. Too much makeup can make the effort look obvious though.

I've used a little bit of neutral powder on the T-zone of my face because it gets very shiny in photos but if I'm not taking a photo for this blog I tend to ignore the powder.


 Other options for my basic day look.....

I have liquid blush in a browned-peach colour for days when it seems I need it.  For the sake of fun I've got some gold eye shadow though I mostly use a matte medium brown and a bronze-brown pencil.  I don't do jumbo lashes, so mascara is just to darken my lashes a bit and I never put it on the bottom lashes as I don't like the look of spider eyes.

I sometimes do a bit more with my eyes but because my eyes are small and deep-set  I don't get too dark with this and always use a medium brown-taupe colour.  With more makeup on my eyes I do a lighter lip but a nude-beige look doesn't suit me so it's a creamy terra-cotta colour, Revlon Rose Velvet, which is a very natural look for me.




                      I should have cleaned up that eye pencil but it would be too much trouble to take more photos.


This is a close up of my eyes looking down so you see the eye makeup better.  It's very subtle and this is as much as I ever use.  I'm convinced it makes a difference even though it's so minimal.



My Makeup Basics


Not only do I want a minimalist makeup look on my face, I want makeup minimalism in my makeup bag.  A few options are nice for a bit of variety, but I've discovered I am the type to have a preferred look and to stick with it.  I tried some more obvious colour for eyes but didn't like the look.  stick to a bronze-brown range, though finding a light, medium and dark in exactly the colours I want is a bit tricky, especially with drugstore options.  I really dislike having a quad or trio of shadow where I only use one or two of the colours but sometimes that's the only place I can find the colour I want. I currently own four lipstick shades and I use them all equally.  They are similar colours but have different qualities in texture or finish.


For Every Day:

liquid concealer
lipstick
mascara
brown eye pencil/shadow

For Extra Special:

liquid cheek colour
gold eye shadow

As always this is a long post so it's time to stop.  I will stop right HERE.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Kitchen Purge

A kitchen purge is another of my favourite activities lately.  When my nesting habits were at their peak crockery was something I was highly attracted to and not only did I want to be well equipped to put on a beautiful dinner for ten people with all the required dishes, cutlery, glassware and serving pieces, I tended to be drawn to random finds in thrift shops so would end up with an large and eclectic assortment  as well as pieces that ended up being essentially decorative.  I do prefer the look of  open shelves and colourful crockery on display to a pristine, monochrome and everything hidden away sort of kitchen, but I am becoming less tolerant of clutter too so my definition of what is attractive and what is just too much is shifting.  Also, the reality of my life is that I do not make meals for or entertain ten people.  I do not entertain any people.  At most there may be one or two other family members and we are quite casual.  It only makes sense to be equipped for the life you actually live.  I began purging items from my kitchen a year ago. I am still purging and I thought I'd gotten rid of a lot already.  I had gotten rid of a lot. I am a bit embarrassed now by how much I had, how many boxes I moved into this place with and what I continued to add.

It's along way from prepared to host ten elegantly to casual meals for two but that's the reality of my journey.  The gluten-free and grain free way that I eat now has also eliminated much baking and certain types of cooking so various implements are also now not needed.  Getting rid of extra cake pans and duplicates in the kitchen tools drawer was fairly easy.  Getting rid of the pretty things is a bit harder so I don't force that on myself in the name of simplifying.  I wait until it hits me that I no longer love something, no longer believe it to be useful or beautiful.  In some cases I may still think it's an attractive item I just no longer feel an attachment to it. When I look at something and think objectively that yes, I like that but I no longer feel some sort of connection to it then it's time to let it go.

 At one time in my life I had a thing for jugs.  I still rather like them but I had accumulated quite a few, the way some people collect mugs or that salt and pepper shaker collecting craze of the seventies.  I Had visions of using these jugs regularly, serving the morning orange juice in a pretty jug for example but that's not reality.  I don't drink orange juice and there is no family breakfast table.  I like fresh flowers displayed in a jug, and in summer if I make sangria or lemonade it's nice to put that in a big jug but okay there, that's two jugs I can argue a need for.  There are seven remaining in my possession and while I like all of them they are sitting on a shelf gathering dust and this has come to outweigh any joy their appearance brings. 

I've selected three jugs to give away, as you can see in this photo of items I pulled off the shelves today.  These are destined for the donation box. 


The watering can and the brick of butter are not being donated, but everything else on this counter is.  It's a lovely soup tureen and I do make soup often but I do not need a tureen.  I've never used this one and have had it for seven years. It took me about five minutes to pull all of these items off the shelves and feel certain that I could give them up.  Large serving platters, extra wine glasses and mugs, some canisters and some cruets, a small tea pot in a green colour I love but which is quite useless as a tea pot.  When the moment comes that these things seem surplus to want and need it seems so obvious.  How could I not see it before.  But then I've felt that way about breaking up relationships too.  Yes, I did just compare tossing out unwanted crockery to tossing out unwanted boyfriends.

I definitely don't have a minimalist kitchen because I still have items surplus to what I use regularly.  I have a few duplicates, a few not yet used items I think I am still going to want and I have some things that I really like and am not ready to part with for now.  The irony is that other than a home I rented for about four months, this is the largest kitchen I've ever had.  I quite like the counter space and the room to walk around but I have more cupboards than I can fill.  About a year ago I took the doors off the upper cabinets to see if I would like living with open shelving.  While the doors are in excellent shape the cabinet cases are terrible.  They are cheap looking and ugly, not the older solid wood type that one might paint and use as open shelving.  I intend to take them down and replace them with more attractive open shelves but the reality is that I don't actually need half of them.  I'm pondering what to do about that, whether I want to leave empty wall space or put up shelves I don't need.  I could more thinly disperse the crockery I do have and put some plants on the shelves too.

My plans horrified my mother, who said this sounds too radical to be suitable for resale value.  Since I don't have any plans to sell my home in the near future I am prepared to take that risk.  If I need to sell I can buy some new cheap upper cabinets that can be someone else's problem after I am gone.  For now, while the ugly cases are still there, I also have on display some of the items I am not yet ready to part with.

The task this weekend is to get some boxes and pack up the items for donation carefully with some newspaper to protect them.  Everything is in pristine condition and it would be a shame to let it get chipped or cracked on the way to the charity shop.

There will be future purges in the kitchen, I am certain.  For one thing, I have a supply of alcohol that I don't drink.  I have no idea what to do with that and may end up pouring it down the drain.  I'll see if I've got any local friends who want it before I get that drastic.

Nobody is going to walk into my home and mistake me for a minimalist.  It's simply not my aesthetic style.  I still like a home that feels cosy and has personality and to me a minimalist home has none of that.  I will have just insulted any minimalists by saying that but I assume it goes the other way and that my home would seem cluttered to a minimalist and not restful because of that. 

Easy Kitchen Purging Tips:


Duplicates or Multiples?  Pick your favourite and get rid of the rest.

Haven't used it in a year?  You probably don't need it.  Give it to someone who does.

Don't know what it is or what it does?  Into the donation box it goes.

You won't be ready to get rid of everything that is surplus.  Be patient with yourself and review and purge again in a few months or keep a box in a cupboard that you can put items into one at a time as you reconsider them.  I still have too many jugs and a small collection of glass vases even though most of the time I put flowers into the same green jug because it's my favourite.  I'm not ready to let go of any of those things yet but the time may come.

The next kitchen job to tackle is my spice cupboard. 

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

My Wardrobe

 At times I wonder if I am on a journey to minimalism but then I have several thoughts.  If I am, it's more of a return trip, at least in terms of my wardrobe.  I'm not comfortable with the term minimalism but mainly because I think it needs a whole lot of qualifying and I like precision.  If you've got any interest in minimalism the different versions of it are all over the internet, with blogs, vlogs and various articles to help you find what works for you

There is also de-cluttering advice, Marie Kondo being the latest guru for that.  De-cluttering is related but not quite the same as minimalism. 

Both are aiming for a live-with-less stress, strain and complexity result.  All are adaptable to your own needs.



Winter has transitioned to Spring though where I live it is still not warm and it is usually raining.  By mid-April I am usually ready to switch to a lighter coat, change boots for shoes at least part of the time and there is no need for gloves anymore.  I don't put away my clothes seasonally as I don't need to do that to make room or to reduce visual clutter. Most of what I have works for three out of four seasons and given all that overlap I prefer to just have it all handy.
 

The highlighted items are unlikely to be worn in the next 3 months though one of the reasons I don't do seasonal capsules is that April can be cold but May or June can bring a heatwave.  The pull over sweaters may be worn and so might the shorts.  Never say never. 

My Basic Wardrobe


6 pairs jeans-could  have fewer but will keep all of these until they wear out. 4 are slim boot cut style and 2 are straight leg.   Boot cut is more flattering on me but sometimes not practical. One pair of my bootcut are the pair I consider my formal, dressier jeans.

4 pull over sweaters

1 knit top

1 sleeveless summer cotton tunic 

1 long sleeved tee shirt (3 others have been relegated to the lounge wear pile as they each got a small hole in a prominent place)

6 short sleeved tee shirts ( probably don't need this many but am having fun with colour variety)

4 cardigan sweaters-I live in cardigans and variety is nice

8 blouses- 4 long sleeve, suited to cooler weather, 4 short sleeve, summer/ warm weather

1 fancy blouse that works for all year but not really hot weather

2 dresses suited to mild-warm weather-one is my summer semi-formal dress

1 warm weather knee-length skirt

1 mild-cool weather midi skirt

3 cotton tank tops for layering

2 pairs shorts, casual not athletic


Footwear


Boots:
Suede western style-may not keep.  Love them but only wear them a few times a year.

A possible reason for these boots being problematic is that they are thickly lined and rubber-soled for cold weather but suede is not good for wet weather which is what we have here most of Winter and early Spring. I end up wearing these for about two weeks mid spring and a couple weeks mid Autumn and only if I wear my brown  midi skirt. The up side is that it's very comfortable to have bare feet in these boots.

Leather casual hiking-style ankle boot, worn frequently in Autumn and Winter

Leather chunky heel granny-style boot, a big favourite and worn October-April unless there is snow.


Shoes:
Leather lace-up oxfords, flat heel, people think they are boots when I wear them with my boot cut jeans.



Leather mary-jane flats, when the strap is covered by my jeans they resemble ballerina flats.

Leather sandals-Clarks slip on

Leather sandals-toe thong style Birkenstocks which I love but have to accustom my tender toes to each season.  Probably wouldn't buy this style again although I like the look.

Leather low heeled mary-jane style shoe great for skirts/dresses


  
                       I recently altered the colour of the shoes on the right a little bit. By using brown shoe polish I changed them for this taupe colour to something more like the shoes on the left.  It works better with my clothing.  


Outerwear

1 casual parka-style winter coat
1 casual rain jacket
1 cotton coat for Autumn or Spring ( dry weather )
1 light weight leather jacket
1 thin quilted vest
1 off white denim jacket (not sure about this-I like it but have only worn it once or twice )

Accessories

These have been whittled down to favourites in coordinating colours. My most typical accessory is earrings, which I wear daily, and if I go out I wear a scarf thought that also disappears by late May.

                     I switch from a larger, bulkier bag to a smaller one as my outfits also get less bulky

Quick count- 6 pairs earrings, 6 necklaces, 10 bracelets, 2 rings, 1 watch, 7 scarves, 2 hats, 3 handbags

Extra

2 pairs pyjamas
loungewear- sweatpants, sweatshirt, 4 older tee shirts (which is too many but I can't let go yet because I like the colours) 1 zip hoodie
socks, bras, underpants, tights which I don't wear because I've not got a winter dress or skirt, gloves, wooly hat, fleece socks for really cold days.

Need

Sneakers

Want

Camel coloured cardigan
Shorts-just above the knee, not too baggy, not too tight, camel, khaki or olive green; Summer casual dress, cotton
Dressier looking sandal
Sweater-dress or heavy jersey dress for Autumn/Winter


 The want category is where things get trickier.  These that are difficult for me to find or difficult to fit.  My wardrobe is lacking in the dressy-casual area and if I did get that sweater dress I desire I also don't have the right footwear for it.  I love the idea of tall boots but the only thing I'd wear them with would be that one dress.  It doesn't seem worth it to create that outfit when it might only be worn once a year.  I rarely attend events that require dressing up, even in casual dressy, though when they do come around I tend to be caught with nothing to wear.  More often than not though, that happens in warm weather.  Two recent examples were my inability to be stylish for a weekend in Vancouver at the Blogger Meet Up I attended a couple years ago, and my 30th High School Reunion which also happened that same summer. 

My basic uniform works for me 99% of the time and I have a very casual lifestyle.  Jeans can be dressed up or down and that is usually all I need to do.  If the weather is too hot for jeans I'm in a bit of a pickle, though I could just choose to be too warm.

Is it worth seeking out the LBD equivalent for cool weather and warm weather, along with the appropriate shoes and keeping those on hand in the event that I may need them or is it better to rush about in a panic trying to buy something if such an even arises?  I honestly do not remember the last time I needed to wear anything other than jeans and a nice blouse in the cool weather season. 


Keeping only what I love and truly use, settling on my personal style and keeping that fairly simple, finding my best colours and discovering gold looks better than silver, have all made this process easier.  Also, I find that I want less, I don't go shopping because I am trying to fix something or create something.  I still enjoy shopping and enjoy something new, but I am much pickier and choice is not abundant. 

Totals for those interested:

Minimalists count their clothing when they are aiming for something radically reduced and want to be able to say that they only have 10 pieces of clothing, or 20 or 30.  Capsule wardrobe makers count in various ways, often not including lounge wear, exercise clothing or pyjamas unless they focus on that group itself as a capsule.  This sometimes leads to a nice pared down seasonal capsule but a hugely cluttered bin of pyjamas or exercise wear.  Capsules are usually seasonal so we get totals like 33 items or 37 items per season, and that may or many not include shoes, outwear and accessories.  If rules help you then you can invent your own or borrow another person's.


Main clothing- 41
Shoes/Boots- 8 stylish, 2 weather/functional
Outerwear-6
Accessories/Jewelery/Handbags-37 pieces
Extras (pyjamas/lounge)- 9
Socks and underwear not counted but pared down to a what I actually use.

It would not all fit into one suitcase but it takes up less than half of the available closet space, is not a visual clutter, I can find everything easily, I can see it all and in fact I can probably recall from memory most if not all of what I have. 

Some minimalists and clutter-busters impose a one in-one out rule.  I haven't imposed that on myself but it often does work that way.  If I purchase something it is either replacing something that is worn out or I have found a better version of something that is part of my typical uniform. 

This is where I stop otherwise I will just keep going.  That's what I do.  You know that.