Saturday, 30 April 2016

Style Inventory Part One: Effortless Chic

 I do not intentionally seek either minimalism or maximalism, don't embrace either a less is more or a more is more attitude.  I seek only to arrange my life according to what feels right for me, to simplify the areas that I wish to simplify and to make glorious complicated messes in other areas.  In my world books are abundant, art is messy and clothing has turned out not to be an area where I want to express creativity.  I want it simplified.

So Effortless, So Frawnch!  Well no, the French don't get to claim effortlessness or chicness and I doubt I am claiming chicness here either.  The usual qualifications about colour apply here-the darks are too dark.    After taking the photo I tucked in the other side of the shirt but didn't photograph that because this is 'effortlessness' and more photos would be too much effort.  All items are taupe/brown and blue regardless of appearance.

Favourite Bag and Shoes.  The shiny parts of the bag are really smooth leather patches that always catch the light.  That does bug me a bit.  I am thinking of sandpapering it.

In the annual clean-out of drawers, I've whittled my clothing items down to only what I actually use and like.  No more holding onto ratty tatty things just in case they could be used or because I can't stand to put clothing into the garbage.  If it's not good enough to donate it, why would I hold onto it myself?  If I don't actually wear it, why let it take up space in my drawer.  The answer seems to be just to keep it out of the landfill, which is reasonable enough but it's time to find better solutions.

Two garbage bags of rags/clothing went out to the garbage recently.  Much more has gone to charity and some has been sold.  I've got more to sell but I missed the appropriate season so have to wait until next year.

The goal was to have only things I love, actually wear, feel good in, and to have a cohesive colour palette so that combining things is easy.  It seems like a no-brainer.  It used to be.  Somehow I strayed from that path.

What's in My Dresser

* 1 week of socks, underwear, 3 pairs leggings and 3 tanks for layering/warmth
* pyjamas- 4 pairs to accommodate different temps.
* clothing for yoga- 2 prs shorts, 2 pairs leggings, 2 tee shirts
* a pair of jeans for doing some sort of mucky job
* light weight sweat pants
* 2 light weight layering sweaters

I don't own a bathing suit as I cannot even remember the last time I needed one. I think it was eight years ago.

All of this fits into my dresser with room to spare so I don't bother to pack things away during their off season.

 In my closet I have 52 items of clothing. In the climate where I live it's more like three seasons than four, and all of my clothing works in at least two of the seasons. I only use half the closet but I have more than I need and everything is something I love.  The skirts don't get worn very often but when I do wear them I am happy to have them.  I wear more dresses in hot weather so it makes sense to have more summer dresses.  Although my taste is still a sort of boho and layered aesthetic, I'm doing it in a more minimal way.  When I tried to create my own lagenlooks from thrift shops I ended up with so many pieces that only worked in one outfit.  This got frustrating and overwhelming.

What do I have in my closet?
* 1 white denim jacket
* 9 light to medium weight sweaters, cotton or merino wool
* 4 cardigans, cotton or merino
* 7 short sleeve good quality tee shirts
* 4 long sleeved good quality tee shirts
* 7 tops-tunic or blouse-3 are dressier than the others
* 3 pairs heavy weight jeans (two faded boyfriend, 1 dark, high waist boot cut)
* 3 pairs lighter weight jeans (two faded boyfriend, 1 light grey)
* 2 pairs of cotton shorts
* 3 summer dresses-casual (2 are a bit tatty and need replacing)
* 2 maxi dresses-mild-warm season type
* 1 winter dress
* 1 LBD actually grey not black
* 5 skirts

At any given time I am typically choosing from  25-30 of these according to the weather.

This seems like a lot of clothing to me, even though it is quite pared down and many people claiming the title minimalist are using a 35 piece capsule wardrobe each season.  I find that despite all of the potential options for outfits, I tend to have preferences that I repeat, and a uniform style is developing.

* jeans, tee shirt, cardigan, sliver jewelry and scarf
* jeans, peasant style blouse or boho type tunic, silver jewelry and perhaps a scarf
* skirt with a tee shirt, silver jewelry and scarf
* leather jacket might replace cardigan

Cold weather-fine wool sweater might replace tee shirt
Hot weather-summer dress might replace jeans

I think that because I went from student frugality to maternal frugality, I never learned how to value what nice quality basics and attractive lounging around home clothing can do for morale.  Money went towards clothing that was worn professionally and non-professional time wasn't deserving of the dollars or consideration it takes to look and feel my best.  As I approach the end of my forties, I have finally realised that I want that attitude to change.

I do have items that are just in case pieces-like an LBD and shoes to go with it which are classic enough that even if I only need it once every five years I am comfortable with that.  I have summer sandals that are high wedges, a more formal look than I usually go for and while they too are a just in case item, I am considering letting them go.  All but one of my skirts were purchased second hand so although I have more than I really need or wear very often, for now I am holding onto them.  I won't be buying any more unless it replaces one of the ones I have and I may not seek to replace any skirt I eventually let go of.

Accessories purging adventures detailed in part two.


  1. Love your blog...just wrote a long comment which deleted when I tried to log bacon wafting from the kitchen is distracting me, but I will be back!

    1. I would never want to come between you and your bacon!

  2. I am in this mode too.
    Not as settled as you, as my drama queen keeps getting bored with capsules.
    Trying to work out how to inject enough drama to keep it interesting for the inner diva while satisfying the urge for simplicity. I even have urges for tighter and looser clothing cuts so can't even pare down that way!
    Maybe two wardrobe capsules: one for minimal tighter cut days, and one for looser dramatic days. Or somewhere in the middle, or loose tops and tight bottoms, or vice versa....arggghhhh!
    Your process sounds lovely. You really love silver and scarves!
    Looking forward to part two, although jewellery in very low on the list for me.
    xo Jazzy Jack

    1. I do not like drama. I don't want it, avoid it, definitely don't want to wear it. I usually don't even watch it on tv! I have discovered that I don't get bored at all wearing the same things over an over. I feel free to do other things. :-) I share your love of linen though and would love to add some cool good linen pieces to my wardrobe. Just can't find them in the shops here. xoxo

  3. I like your look, Shawna - this boyish style looks great on you, and most important, you feel comfortable in it, and it keeps you organized and ready for your main adventure - in art and writing!:)

    1. Thanks-feeling comfortable physically and emotionally is my number one goal. I can't wear all of the boyish looks I like but I'm figuring out which ones I can. :-) xoxo

  4. Wow, you have achieved the un-achievable (to me!) Shawna -an
    actual capsule wardrobe! Seriously impressive. I did just put four bags of clothes to the charity shop, so baby steps. I get weak in the Spring and start buying things again though. I do find I am drawn to more minimalist/androgynous styles lately, the idea of an interchangeable, flexible wardrobe does enthrall me despite evidence to the contrary in my closet!

    1. I just like things to be easy, simple, not overwhelming and hey, I want to look cute too! How about I hope on a plane and just drop in and we make you a capsule wardrobe. LOL-that would be so much fun. If I have to save up for a plane ticket I had better not buy any clothes! ;-) xo

  5. That's some great styling, woman!!!Isn't it great to pair down, so liberating!!!

  6. I love that outfit on you! That half tucked in shirt actually looks pretty cool.

    I don't think I would ever be able to have a capsule wardrobe, I want to have more options than that, but not too much...limitations can be wonderful for creativity! I guess that what I'm looking for is some kind of balance.

    It is good that you're finding a new love for clothing!


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