Monday, 1 September 2014

On Living with Less: Fall 2014 Capsule Wardrobe

It's a funny thing, the relationship we develop with STUFF. Day-to-day, I don't feel like I have an inordinate amount of THINGS, but every time I go camping, I am struck by how little is really needed to exist and be happy in life. Give me a tent, some food, a change of clothing, and some beautiful scenery...and I'm generally happier than I am when I'm surrounded by a perfectly lovely home and stocked closet. I think that the more STUFF we have, the more of our lives must be dedicated to caring for, protecting, using, corralling, and keeping THINGS. In a strange way, the more we acquire, the more of our lives we owe to our possessions rather than our thoughts, feelings, emotions, or experiences.

Over time, as I've worked to simplify other areas of my life (decreasing clutter in my home, distancing myself from people who do not bring love to those around them, reducing the amount of processed foods I eat, etc), it has started to feel like my closet has become more of a burden than a source of joy or creativity.

To jumpstart that creative spirit while simultaneously cutting down on the STUFF in my life, I've finally decided to commit to a capsule wardrobe.

And here it is, ladies and gents. Without further ado, here's my 37-piece fall capsule wardrobe for 2014 (September-October-November):

Final fall 2014 capsule wardrobe

The breakdown:

Tops: 15
  • Thin, layerable chambray (Francesca's, not online, similar here)
  • Maroon layerable sweater (new, here)
  • Dolman sleeve cardigan (will purchase in October, options here, here, here, here, here)
  • Black and white striped long sleeve (old, similar here, in grey, in navy, short sleeve)
  • Plain black tank (here)
  • Plain white tank (here)
  • Thicker, longer chambray (for covering the bum when wearing leggings! ;) (old, similar here)
  • Black and white striped tank (THE best layering tops! here)
  • Blue dolman sleeve crop sweater (old, similar here, here)
  • Grey graphic tee (here)
  • Sleeveless floral cowl neck tank (old, similar here, here)
  • Purple silky tee (old, the one pictured is here but crazy expensive, similar)
  • Blue crossover long-sleeve top (old, similar here)
  • Black plaid buttonup (old, similar here, popover, here)
  • Grey waterfall vest (old, similar here, here)
Dresses/skirts: 9
Pants: 3
  • Black skinny pants (thrifted but here)
  • Dark skinny jeans (old, similar here, here)
  • Grey work pants (old, similar here)
Jackets: 5
Shoes: 5
Total: 37 items (8 new, 9 within last year, 20 more than a year old)

The Process:
  1. I know I spend most of my time at work or at casual events with my friends/boyfriend. So I picked outfits from my Pinterest boards (Work and Play) that would suit those activities, outfits that I want to recreate during the three months of this fall capsule. I picked 30 outfits, because this capsule is for about 90 days and I don't mind rewearing exact outfits 3 times within 90 days :)
  2. Then, I simply wrote down all the items worn in my inspirational outfits ("black skinny jeans, striped long-sleeve shirt, black blazer, black booties, infinity scarf"). After a while, repeating elements emerged (skinny black pants, jean jacket, stripe top, etc). 
  3. Then I wrote out all the items in a list and paired them with items that I have in my closet currently. Example: "bright colored skater skirt: green pleather skirt". 
  4. Items for which I had no counterpart in my closet became my shopping list, like so: 

Want to know the craziest part? Here are the 30 inspiration outfits I pulled, all of which I can create from my capsule wardrobe...and this only accounts for 23 items of the 37 I'm allowing myself! To finish out the capsule, I added items (in italics above) that I already own which will mix and match well with the other 20 pieces.

One last thing: because I made a plan to budget closet staples over the course of the year, I don't actually have all of the items in the capsule wardrobe yet. In October I plan to add in a chunky, cozy knit cardigan and an infinity scarf.

What do you think of my capsule? Think I can stick to it for 90 days??

If you'd like to see many more outfits that can be created from this capsule, check out my Fall 2014 Capsule Wardrobe board on Pinterest.

Happy Labor Day everyone!

Friday, 29 August 2014

Year-long Closet Shopping List: August and September Purchases

It's purchase year-long budget recap time again! As a quick refresher, this year I outlined my clothing budget to add closet basics to my wardrobe each month, putting together a list of items I need to help fill in the holes in my closet and assigning each item to a particular month of the year. I've capped each month's budget at $200 total. Here's what my calendar looks like:

Year-long Closet Budget

Typically I post these recaps at the end of each month, but I'm doing it a bit different this time. One, did you catch my updated July budget? I ended up returning a couple pairs of shoes and replacing them with black pants and a chambray top...check it out here!

And two, I've finally decided to commit to a capsule wardrobe for fall 2014 (Sept/Oct/Nov)! More to come on that topic, but in order to pull together the capsule, I needed to buy my allotted items for September at the beginning of the month rather than throughout the month, so I decided to show you everything all in one post! Here goes:

August Purchases:

August 2014

Price: free with gift card ($61 MSRP)
Notes: I've been hoarding a Lulu's gift card since Christmas (#willpower) and when I saw this simple but pretty dress with fun zippers, I pounced. I think ideally the person wearing it would be a bit taller than me (I'm 5'4" and it hits me right under the kneecap, not right above it like on the model) because it's a tough length to pull off--I'll always have to wear heels--but it's really comfortable and can be dressed up or down. 

Price: $45 $22 (originally $45)
Notes: Thank God for Pinterest, because otherwise I would never have found this cute sweater (or the patterned maxi dress I wore to weddings all summer)! This is from American Eagle, which I typically walk by at the mall but never enter because I'm not 14 with itty bitty hips. I'm glad I made an exception, because it's super soft, comfortable, flattering, and runs big (I got an extra-small and I don't think I've EVER worn an extra-small in that store--even when I was in their target age demographic!).

Edit 9/3/14: Sometimes it pays (literally) to keep an eye on prices of items you've just bought. This sweater (and everything else at American Eagle) is 40% off right now, plus I had a 15% off coupon. AEO granted me a price match, saving me $23 :)

Aldo Allie black leather booties
Price: $120
Notes: I've been hunting for the perfect leather booties for over a year now. I finally settled on these simple but chic leather ones from Aldo. I love that the heel is not super tall and that the boot is cut low in the front--boots that are cut mid-ankle are suuuuuper unflattering to me. To be 100% honest, these are not as comfortable as I was hoping--I first wore them to a party where I was standing for several hours, and my feet were sore by the end--but I'm hoping that if I add a foot liner, they'll wear more comfortably.

Other purchases: Madewell Staccato Studs
Price: $8 (originally $18)
Notes: I needed a really simple pair of everyday earrings to wear constantly and never take off, so this pretty Madewell pair fit the bill. They're tinier than I would have expected but so simple and easy!

August Budget Total:
$165 for $165 worth of items (freebie gifted dress doesn't really count ;) (0% savings)
Over/under for August budget: -$35
Over/under for year since March: -$734
Total spent since March: $486
Edit 9/3/14:
$142 for $165 worth of items (14% savings)
Over/under for August budget: -$58
Over/under for year since March:-$711
Total spent since March: $463

September Purchases

September 2014

Price: $90
Notes: So I know that these look a bit strange in the pic, because of the blocky heel....but that's also exactly why I love them. They are super comfortable and stable and not high at all, which is now an increasingly important factor for me post-hip surgery (old person problems...). Anyway, I've been looking for cute, comfortable leopard print shoes to wear to work for a while now, so I splurged a bit :) the hell do you say the name of that shoe?

Edit 8/31/14: Kelly & Katie Dorotha Leopard Pump
Price: $50 (regularly $69)
Notes:  Ok so I lied, I didn't end up getting the Aldo pumps, because I wandered into DSW a few days later and found these cute, comfortable pumps for almost half the price. These pumps come in lots of colors and had great reviews as long as you don't have wide feet.

Price: $38
Notes: I stumbled on this Etsy shop and think you should all check it out too. Cute scarves, boot cuffs, leg warmers, etc. Take a look!

September Budget Total: 
$128 for $128 worth of items (0% savings)
Over/under for September budget: -$72
Over/under for year since March: $806
Total spent since March: $614

September Budget Total:
$88 for $107 worth of items (18% savings)
Over/under for September budget: -$112
Over/under for year since March: -$622
Total spent since March: $574

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Lovely home tour you need to see

Hey friends, remember that time that I talked about how I'm obsessed with Gaby Burger's fashion sense? And in fact designed a capsule wardrobe around said fashion inspiration? Well it was my lucky day today, because I learned that Gaby's interior design skills are equally inspiring, as her home was featured on Glitter Guide yesterday.

Here are a few of my favorite bits:
She DIY'd that spotted wall!

Love the mix of textures (capiz, wood, wool, fur) within a largely neutral palette

I want her outfit and all those pillows.

Lovely pattern mixing. I'm now on the hunt for small spotted pillows.

How pretty is her vanity in matching acrylic boxes? The Container Store is a great source for those, btw.

I spot my favorite Bauble Bar necklace (top left) plus sooo many other pretties!

It's always interesting to see how personal style translates into a person's home decor. For example, her home's palette, much like her wardrobe, is largely neutral with carefully selected bursts of color. She mixes patterns equally well in home and closet and tops everything off with a bit of sparkle, whether that's with a rhinestone necklace or a gorgeous capiz chandelier. 

To get a similar look yourself, try a little something like this: 

Get the Look: Glitter Guide
(Click the image to go to product links)

For the source of all of these photos, and more where that came from, please go check out the rest of the tour!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Quick Design: Bedrooms

TGIF! This week I'm looking forward to ladies' night tonight, dinner with a friend tomorrow, doing some shopping, and getting a good run in with my puppy. At the end of the day, I wouldn't mind snuggling up in one of these bedrooms!

Quick Design: Bedrooms

Isn't that wallpaper to die for?!! (second from the left on the bottom two rooms). Hope you have a great weekend ya'll!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Quick Design: Creative Dressing

Although I'm starting to settle into a more defined wardrobe as I get older (think chambray, stripes, lots of black, with pops of color and fun prints), I think the whole point of fashion is to have fun! In my case that means picking interesting combinations of prints, patterns, textures, and silhouettes. Here's a Quick Design of some outfits I wish were in my closet right now :)

Quick design: artsy outfits

Which is your favorite? I'm pining over those black and white print heeled sandals, although the height of the heel is a deal-breaker for me :-/

Thursday, 31 July 2014

New apartment moodboards!

I recently showed you photos of the new apartment we're considering moving into in November or December. Although we haven't signed a lease yet, I've started brainstorming how I'd like our apartment to look. We are downsizing pretty significantly (the new apartment has less than half our current square footage), so we have a lot of furniture, art, and textiles to pick from at our existing house. Our goal is to create a fresh space and design by reimagining our existing pieces and adding small details to update our current belongings.

Here's the floorplan:

It's on the smaller side; the actual apartment is 664 square feet. But it's laid out nicely, as you'll see from the model apartment photos below:

Entryway new apartment

Entryway Thought Process:
  • The entryway will be the easiest area to decorate, since we'll basically just install the setup we already have (the picture on the right). 
  • My boyfriend wants to get rid of the large Snowbird print, though, so maybe I can convince him to replace it with a fun, beautiful mirror :)
  • It could be fun to add some temporary wallpaper to this entry wall, or maybe hang a large textile behind the mirror (like this).
Kitchen/dining new apt

Kitchen Thought Process:
  • Our current kitchen counters are constantly covered in clutter (say that ten times fast!). For our next kitchen, I'm imagining a pristine, clean, clutter-free space, very simply decorated. 
  • We're debating whether we want a dining set in this apartment at all--we may just go with counter-height stools on the ledge behind the sink and set up a desk/office area in place of a dining table.
  • Accents will be in metal tones, black, and grey. 
  • To save space in the kitchen drawers I'd like to display our silverware in a zinc caddy on a tray. This will make it easy to clear out the dishwasher and to grab utensils from the dining room side of the apartment. Where the little drinks tray is in the apartment image above, I'd organize the caddy, salt and pepper shakers, and a plant. 
  • My mom gifted me the candle holder shown above, and I'd like to put it where the funny little clock is on the model apartment image.
  • I have a grey runner similar to the one shown above, which I think would look nice in the kitchen in front of the sink. 

Dining area

Dining Area Thought Process:
  • If we do end up getting a dining set, I'm thinking these simple white and wood chairs from Ikea (or a lookalike, since I've heard that the backs splinter on these?) would pair nicely with a Craigslisted wood pedestal table. I could add our existing art shelves (shown in the pic above the dining table) on the wall where the mirror is in the model home. 
  • Alternatively, we could do a settee against the wall flanked by our Ikea bookcases, with a pedestal table and a couple of chairs. This arrangement would provide more seating than the other, plus it could function as a makeshift office. It would be fun to do the settee in a funky print, like the Himalaya Porcelain option here!
  • On the wall opposite, I'd get a small console table, add a lamp, and put this fun wine rack over it.

new apt ideas

Living Room Thought Process:
  • I tend to get design ADD, so I designed this area with the intention of being able to make major changes to the look of the room without breaking the bank each time the mood strikes. With that in mind, I've kept the major pieces neutral (allowing art and textiles to dictate the color palette) and sized so that multiple layouts are an option. Next time I want to change up the look, I can just swap out pillows and art prints and move some furniture around for a fresh design. The best part?The only things we'd need to purchase if we stuck to this moodboard would be a dresser for under the TV and a second side table. 
  • Since the kitchen, dining, and living areas are all one, I'd like to keep a cohesive color palette throughout to allow the eye to travel throughout the space seamlessly.
  • We both like to lay down when we're watching TV, so ultimately I'd love to get a sectional. Unfortunately it's not in the budget right now, so instead we have a big soft ottoman to rest our feet on. We'd recover our current ottoman with an indigo batik fabric to mimic the ottoman shown here and stack a tray with the essentials (TV remotes, plant, skull in cloche, naturally) on top of it. 
  • If we don't use the bookcases in the dining area, we could use them to flank the TV (*fingers crossed that it will all fit on the short wall between the patio and bedroom doors*) to store our books, TV gear (Xbox, etc), and other bits and pieces. 
  • If the bookcases don't fit on that wall, I could also use them on either side of the sofa and install a skinny console table with lamps behind the sofa (since lighting wouldn't fit/shed light from underneath the bookshelves). Then around the TV I'd install a gallery wall all the way to the floor. 
  • A third option would be to put the TV on the wall where the model home has a sectional and flank the TV with the bookcases. Then, put the armchair on the short wall between the doors and push the sofa up against the window wall (the back of the sofa is low, so it wouldn't block light from the window). Not sure I love that idea, but it's nice to have options!

Bedroom new apt

Bedroom thought process:
  • Eventually I'd like to go a little more bohemian in this space (more pattern mixing, less stripes). However, our decorating budget immediately post-move in is going to be limited, so I plan to use mostly things we have, add a few necessities, and replace things down the road as our wallets fill up again :)
  • We desperately need a new duvet cover, and I love that the navy West Elm one above is intentionally wrinkled--when you have a puppy, that look is inevitable anyway :)
  • I don't think the space between the end of the bed and the wall is deep enough for a dresser, so as an alternative I may get an Ikea Kallax (their new Expedit) and fill it with bins that will contain socks, bras, underwear, swimwear, pajamas, etc.
  • Another option would be to get small dressers in place of our existing white bedside tables (pictured) to store all those smaller items.
  • It would be fun to add a feature wall behind the bed with removable wallpaper. 
  • We're thinking of DIY-ing a wooden or upholstered headboard. Stay tuned!

New apt bathroom moodboard

Bathroom Thought Process: 
  • We'd add a simple shower curtain and a bath mat that coordinates with the prints, then DIY the Ikea Tarva dresser with sooty black paint and gold knobs. 
  • I really like the Claire Elsaesser prints we already have in our bathroom (the green and black ones shown here), and I also own the print of the woman floating in water, which I'd hang over the dresser.
  • On the wall between the door and vanity (not shown here), I'll add "V & M" hooks for our two bath towels and the hand towel. I don't own much jewelry, so a simple stand like the one shown is all I'd need. The dresser would contain spare sheets and towels, cleaning supplies, etc.
    • EDIT 8/7/14: I checked out those Anthro hooks in person today and they're much smaller and less beautiful than they looked online. I'd recommend seeing them yourself before purchasing!
  • The space between the toilet and vanity may need to house our laundry bin, as I don't think there's room in the bedroom for it.
Overall, here's what we're looking at for new purchases (general ideas only, not necessarily the specific items I'll end up with):

New apartment, new purchases

And here are a few furniture floorplans I've been kicking around (yes, I am a bit obsessive on the topic...haha):

Living room floorplan ideas

Living room floorplan ideas

Living room floorplan ideas

Here's the side-to-side comparison:

Living room floorplan ideas            Living room floorplan ideas          Living room floorplan ideas

Which furniture arrangement do you like best? Any alternative arrangements or design tweaks you think would be better?

I'm sure this will all change a billion times before we move anyway, but it's fun to dream :)

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Year-Long Closet Shopping List: July

I canNOT believe it's already the end of July. Where did summer go?!?! I feel like I'm only now recovering from last year's long winter and another one is already creeping up on us. Fortunately I'm stocking my closet with goodies to last me through the year ;)

As a quick refresher, this year I outlined my clothing budget to add closet basics to my wardrobe each month, putting together a list of items I need to help fill in the holes in my closet and assigning each item to a particular month of the year. I've capped each month's budget at $200 total. Here's what my calendar looks like:

Year-long Closet Budget

And here's a closeup/breakdown of this month's purchases!

Year-Long Shopping List: July Purchases

Price: $13 each
Notes: yes, I do realize these are maternity tanks, but after falling in love with the striped version last month, I had to stock up on more! They are so, so soft and longer than your average tank, which is good for my long torso. They're stretchy (presumably to account for a growing belly) but are otherwise the exact same as a normal tank--they don't have extra ruching or material in the midsection like many maternity tanks do. Get some!

Price: $7 a  thrift store (originally $25)
Notes: I recently discovered the store Uptown Cheapskate, which is basically like a thrift store that does not accept garbage. All the clothes are on the stylish end of things, with no holes/stains etc. I've been on the hunt for cute rolled-cuff shorts, and these do the trick!

Price: $96 (originally $140)
Notes: I shopped the Nordstrom Anniversary sale for the first time ever! To be honest they don't look too impressive online or even in the store, and I wouldn't have tried them on except the store worker pulled the wrong bootie for me--a happy accident! These are super comfortable and cuter on than I would imagine. They cut me right below the slimmest part of my ankle, elongating my leg. I can't wait to wear them all fall!

Price: $65 (originally $90)
Notes: Another Anniversary Sale purchase, I first spotted these online and have been lusting after them for months. I tried them on in black (the leopard print was out of stock in-store so they're shipping to me, can't wait!) and they are so, so flattering on the foot. All the reviews say they're really comfortable too, so hopefully I can start rockin' some spots at work!

July Budget Total:
$194 for $281 worth of items (30.3% savings)
Over/under on June $200 budget: -$6
Over/under for the year since March: -$586.96 

EDIT 8/17/14:
Turns out that after trying out each of the shoes with items in my closet, I decided I didn't love them, so I returned them. In their place, I bought:

Price: $19 (MSRP $89)
Notes: I found these pants at my local Uptown Cheapskate store for $19 total--over 75% off! I tracked them down online and saw that 320 reviews gave an average of 5 stars, which about summarizes how I feel about them too! If they had other colors available online right now I'd buy them full-price, that's how much I love them :) They are very slimming and hold their shape well; I've worn them probably 4 times now without washing them and they've held their shape!

Francesca's Chambray Buttonup (not avail. online, similar here)
Price: $30 (regular price: $38)
Notes: For many months now, I've been hunting for a chambray button-up that's thin enough to tuck into skirts and wear under sweaters. Chambray is not a particularly forgiving/stretchy fabric, and apparently I have wider than average shoulders, because every. single. top. I've tried on has been too tight in the shoulders. Finally I found the perfect top at Francesca's while they were having a 25% off sale! 

July Budget Total:
$82 for $178 worth of items (54% savings)
Over/under for July budget: -$118
Over/under for the year since March: -698.96
Total spent since March: $321

Other Purchases in July:
Might as well use this post to review non-year-long-shopping-list purchases! Here are a few other items I snagged this month:

G.I. Jane Bullet and Rhinestone Earrings from Etsy shop Prairie Oats
Price: $38
Notes: I bought these to wear with my bridesmaid's dress for my friend's lakeside wedding in Quebec. I purchased them on July 4th, but even with it being a holiday I received an Etsy message from the seller the same night confirming that she'd ship the next day (a Saturday!). Excellent customer service. When I got the package, it was so beautiful I didn't want to open it! But I'm glad I did, because the earrings were even more beautiful in person than online--I literally gasped when I saw them. I highly recommend this shop!

Anthropologie Edie Swing Tee (not pictured)
Price: $31 (was $68) (bought and returned)
Notes: I'm normally size small/medium in tops, but this runs boxy and stretchy so I bought an extra-small and it's perfect! The fabric is really amazing and I hated to return it, but ultimately it didn't really fill any holes in my closet, so I returned it and spent money on shoes instead ;)

Yarok Feed your Roots Mousse (not pictured)
Price: $15 for sample size
Notes: As I've been growing my hair out, I've been looking for a natural product to give my longer locks a little oomph and protect them from my heat styling (blow dryer and curling wand). This does an OK job, but I haven't really been wowed by it and probably won't buy the full size.