WIW: almost white and brown

Just one day ahead of Angie's ensemble post, I tried out a similar combination - faded blue jean shorts, white mesh sweater and brown accents.

I liked it, until about mid-morning, when I decided to teach my kids how to use a power sander to sand down a cabinet.  The sander worked great, and suddenly my white was, well, not so white.

So I changed.  But I didn't take a new pic.  It was an outfit you've all seen anyway - the BethAnn tee and darkwash denim pedal pusher shorts.

I'm liking the color combo a lot though, and will give it a few other tries.

#2 is my hubby being a goofball.  Thought you'd appreciate the photobomb :)

Suggestions for improvement and comments are more than welcome!


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WIW: Mixed Neutrals

I'm learning lots with my minimal closet experiment.  But more on that in a separate post (when I have more than two minutes to write the post).

Here's two outfits inspired by this blog post.  I brought up cognac sandals and belt, and really love the way they look with my blue/white and black neutrals.

I'd have worn them with both outfits, but my feet absolutely refused to wear these sandals two days in a row.

#1 newly retrieved from basement 'thrift shop' gingham check with white boyfriend jeans - black belt and shoes.  I would have really liked the cognac with this, I think, and will wear it that way soon - on a day I don't have to spend on my feet.
#2 what I almost wore, but ended up with the gingham check, which was a less fussy top.

#3-4 Gray-blue top, black shorts, cognac belt and sandals, and dark silver earrings for four neutrals in an outfits.  I was told that I looked "in my twenties" in this one.  I think it was a compliment :)

Comments?  Suggestions for improvement?


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WIW and Thoughts, minimal closet week 2

Week 2 of living with a small closet.  I repeated outfits and liked it :)  

It was warm this week, and I wanted to exclusively wear my two summer dresses.  But after they both needed washing, I decided to try my chambray shirt without a tank underneath.  It was so cool and breezy that now I want to wear nothing else!

Only three outfits to show - the others were just grubs for house and yard work, and repeats :)

#1-#2 - the chambray shirt with darkwash denim pedal pushers.  My VIP outfit for the week.  Cool, breezy and still covered.

#3 the cobalt-black striped dress.  The armhole gapes :(  I think I'm going to sew it up a bit, because the dress is perfect for over-warm days.

Outfits worn but not shown: the black Eileen Fisher drape dress from Susie - worn to work from home on a really hot day, a 'grubby' outfit for painting and cleaning the basement,  and an orange tee with jean shorts for spending the day with my kids at the zoo.  Whenever we go somewhere with lots of crowds, the kids and I always wear orange tees - not only is it easy to find and notice my kids, but complete strangers will alert me when one walks off :)  My tee was a grubby one swiped from my hubby which reads "because I'm a mean old grouch".  I wish it wasn't stained - I'd probably swipe it frequently.  I had considered wearing the Eileen Fisher one for that outing but was afraid of ruining it, and it's a much darker orange than the kids wear - the tee I swiped is a bright florescent orange, so we all matched.

I love that Eileen Fisher drape dress.   It's just as comfy as the cobalt/black stripe one, and more sophisticated and polished.  A real winner!  

Posting two outfits for the whole week seems kinda boring.  I can see why Claire doesn't post a daily WIW :)


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K/P some new-to-me clothes (long)

I went shopping.... online here at the style forum, and to a thrift store.

These items are now mine.  But I'm not opposed to passing them on if they're not right for me, so I want your honesty :)

#1-2 First up, Eileen Fisher draped dress that Shannon wears so famously.  I had never seen an Eileen Fisher item in real life, so when Susie offered them, I took the leap.  They are indeed fabulous quality and feel!

Pros: beautifully made, fits properly, would replace two, maybe three, other black dresses in my wardrobe. And it's washable!
Cons: I had convinced myself to start steering clear of black since it's not my best color.  Does lipstick and mascara counteract the black enough?  Also, it shows my tummy pooch - do I look pregnant in it?  

#3-4 Orange Eileen Fisher silk tee.   The color made me wonder if I should buy it, but I decided to try it out.  It's a very deep reddish orange.  And while I love strong colors, I wonder if it's too strong, or too warm for me?

Pros: It's lovely, hand-washable, cool and swingy
Cons: It requires a cami, mitigating it's "cool" factor, and I'm not sure that I can pull off the color.  What do you think?

#5 Red Eileen Fisher sweater.  This is, I think, one of my best colors.  And I like the sheer stripes.  In the pic, I'm wearing a nude tank under it, but I think I'd wear a dark tank with it.  Sorry for the mussed hair.

Pros: Love the color, and the sheer stripes
Cons: I already have two other sweaters in a very similar color (that I don't already have complaints about).  I may need to pick a favorite and purge the other two.  

#6-7 Purple Ann Taylor mixed-media top. Color is kinda in between #6 and #7.  I think this is also a really good color for me.
Pros: Love the color and the fit. Will replace two light-weight sweaters in a similar color that are more body-con that my current preferences.
Cons: Can't think of any?  It's polyester?

#8-9 Dark wash jean "shorts".  I'm not sure whether to call these shorts or culottes.  I've been watching for a pair that has no fading and is more relaxed than tight fitting.  These, if they pass, will replace the shorts in #10 and the shorts in #11.
Pros: Dark wash, long length
Cons: High waist, do they fit properly?  I lightened photos to try to show the detail better.


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The minimal closet, week 1 thoughts and pics (long)

You've seen many of these pics before in my initial threads, but I wanted to put them all in one place, so forgive my re-posting them.

Last week I attempted to guess at what a week worth of high-summer clothes would be, and planned to wear them over and over until I was tired of it.

However, the weather decided to be late spring rather than high summer - it got down below 50 degrees F every night!  Consequently, I ended up bringing up about a weeks worth of late spring clothes over all, and wearing them.

This week we do return to high summer - it's currently a "real feel" of 111 F, and not to the hottest part of the day yet.  It's forecast to reach an honest 103 F (39.4 C)

Lessons learned the first week: 

  • I like limited options. I love the idea of remixing the same clothes over and over.  But I'm not sure I want to repeat the same actual combinations very many times.
  • Laundry doesn't always get done in a timely manner.  I wanted to re-wear the tops from the first half of the week later in the week, but they were still in the dirty laundry pile.
  • I liked the very limited color palette of the first few days.  The blue and white that I wore until I ran out of clean laundry are some of my favorite outfits of the summer so far.
  • Outfits made out of my favorite pieces make favorite outfits too.

Now, the week of outfits:  

#1 EF dress from Susie - worn to church.  Cardigan was removed in the heat of the afternoon.  It was very comfy, and I'll be posting a thread of just new clothes from Susie sometime today, I hope.

#2-3 worn to a wedding.  This dress is getting purged - I'm just not comfortable in a neck that low cut.  And I was quite over-dressed, but I liked being overdressed.

#4 worn out with some friends and to bachelorette party on Friday before the wedding.  It was really not warm enough for the weather that day, but I didn't want to bring up even more not-summer clothing :)  I'll wear this again this week, I suspect.

#5 casual for hanging out around the house.  It was still chilly when I wore this, but you know this top, and know I'll likely be wearing it with shorts this week.

#6-7 I think you have seen - worn to visit an old friend.  I liked it, and left the jacket off most of the day (after the morning chill wore off).

#8 navy and white - you saw this last week.  It'll be too warm this week to re-wear this.

#9 blue chambray and white - you saw this last week too.  I can't wait to rewear it - this time without the undershirt. :)

My questions:
The top in #4:  I like it, and it fits me well, but I have very few ideas for styling it - with black shorts or white shorts?  Maybe with blue jean shorts?  Is the top outdated?  Should it just go?

The shorts in #4 are ones that I forgot I had until moving my clothes down to the "thrift store".  Are they worth keeping around?

Any other suggestions for improvement?


Last week I wore 6 tops (one was just for grubbing around, and I didn't get a pic), 4 bottoms, 2 dresses and 2 toppers.  The red dress will be purged, despite its lovely color.  I taped it to myself for the wedding, but still felt very self-conscious in it.

This week I won't be repeating much, because the weather is entirely different.  


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The Closet Diet, day 2

Had a rough evening last night (I was beating myself up for a mistake on my part  - which resulted in my driving around with my kids for two hours and making us all miss what was supposed to be an event honoring my son getting a rank in Boy Scouts.  My kids have forgiven me, and I've forgiven myself - so that part is over.)  

However, last night, while I was wallowing in my frustration at myself, I wanted very much to drown my disappointment in ice cream.  But I'm trying to lose a few pounds, which also involves breaking emotional and boredom sweets habits.  So I refused the ice cream.  Instead I brought up white boyfriend jeans from the thrift store.  It's a new coping technique - shopping my thrift store!  Oh wait.  I'm trying to break that one too... :)

Today it was mid-50s when I got up, and I felt chilly, so I paired the white bf jeans with my drapey navy sleeved top.  With an undershirt, it's plenty warm, and I'm pleased.  I like our current spring-like weather!

Finished off with my trusty black belt and birks. 

How's it work?  All suggestions and feedback welcome :)  No mascara or lipstick for the photo this morning - I'll put them on before my date with hubby this evening.


Dressing my small closet, day 1 thoughts (long)

Yesterday I started my own version of Lisa's "DH closet challenge", by moving all of my clothes into my own personal thrift store (in my basement), and keeping about a week worth of clothes in my closet.

I was excited last night going to bed because my closet was so clean, and because I could imagine all sorts of ways to remix the few pieces that I chose to allow in my closet.

But this morning when I woke up, it was 30 degrees cooler than yesterday when I chose those clothes.  (Our windows are all open, so I felt those 30 degrees distinctly).  I had chosen clothes for high summer - nothing warmer than a cotton shirt and shorts.  My first thought was "oh, no problem - I'll just run down and grab my white boyfriend jeans".  

So by the time I was out of bed this morning, I had already encountered two problems with my thrift store in the basement approach.  

  • Variance in weather
  • Accessibility of further options.

I decided that if indeed this was going to be a successful experiment, I was going to have to WEAR what was in my closet, and figure out a way to make it work.  It's not like it was frigid - just more pants than shorts weather for me.

After mentally arguing with myself over a trip downstairs for a few minutes, I decided to wear the warmest shirt I brought up with a tank layered underneath, and shorts.  

And it worked - I was warm enough!  (In fact I removed the undershirt once it warmed up).

The whole process made me realize that for this to work I have to view the thrift store NOT as just an extension to my closet.  It's not just an out-of-the-way storage spot.  I also should have planned for a variety of weather when I brought up my favorites, I know.  I thought I was by including something with sleeves :)

Finally, I also realized that for me, the main thrill of shopping at a thrift store is that I don't know what I'll find - maybe nothing, maybe a true treasure.  My thrift store in the basement won't have this benefit - or at least, it doesn't now.  I just did inventory - I KNOW what's down there.  This morning, I was thinking of it as an extension of my closet - "I should go grab my white boyfriend jeans", not "I wonder if I can find a pair of boyfriend jeans or at least something warmer down at the thrift store..."  That will most likely make shopping my thrift store much less thrilling than shopping for real - at least until I forget what I have down there....

I guess that's at least part of what this challenge is about - living without the thrill of the find until my closet is a workable size.  I hope that the thrill of making new combinations of what I already have and love will replace it :)

Anyway, I'm pleased with the combination from today - a chambray Henley (with yellowish buttons, that I think I'll replace to white), and white shorts.  Black birks and belt. 

Comments and suggestions always welcome :)
(apologies for the weird expression on my face - we were running out the door, and I must have been talking to my kids behind me)

PS My shirt is only semi-tucked, and hanging weird in the pic.  It actually fits me fine, I think, and the back is untucked.  I should probably just take another pic.


Truth in Numbers: Confessions

Inspired by Lisa with her DH closet challenge and by Shannon more recently, and enabled by cleaning out my basement over the past few weeks, I have finally tackled my closet.

And wow, am I embarrassed.  

First, the progress.  I moved everything to the thrift store - as I'm calling my basement, since thrift stores are my favorite places to shop.

Then I took inventory, and wrote it all down - purging as I went. 

Finally, I brought up to my closet about a week worth of clothes.  What I brought up are my favorites, and I'll wear them until I get bored, then go "shopping".

The pic is my closet now.  There's also a couple of tops and three pairs of shorts in my dresser drawers. 

Now the confessions:
I thought I purged a lot.  Three trash bags full.  When I counted:

  • 9 pairs shoes 
  • 3 winter coats
  • 12 tops
  • 1 pair jeans

For a measly 25 items.  And I still have lots that I have complaints about.  My next purge round will start there.
Here's what's left:

  • 11 dresses (why do I have 11 dresses?  I so rarely wear them).  The Old Navy one is still returnable....
  • 5 winter coats.  3 white, one brown, one cobalt. I think I have too many white.
  • 16 jackets - some outerwear, some indoor, some gear
  • 37 pants - about half and half jeans vs. trousers
  • 74 tops - across all seasons, not including sweaters though
  • 42 sweaters - across all seasons, including cardigans
  • 20 skirts (also way more than I wear)
  • 46 pairs of shoes (including boots and sandals, etc)
  • 1 suit
  • 3 professional-wear tops (with company logo)

For a total of 262 items.   Not counted are underwear, pajamas, bags, belts, hats, scarves or jewelry.  I'm sure that includes another 262 pieces, gaa.  

No wonder it didn't fit in my 12 square foot closet (a single 6 foot closet rod). Clearly, I have WAY more than I need or want.

That also means that I purged less than 10% of my wardrobe.  I don't know how big my ideal wardrobe is, but I hope that it's about half that size.
Of these, I recorded complaints on 59 of them as I cataloged them. I think I'd best root them out and purge them while I'm wallowing in the guilt of how many items I own by count!

So what do I do?  Buy four more items from Susie, of course.  Aak!  I'm going to need some serious Shop Your Closet support.  Maybe I can muster up the energy to make it 4 in, 59 out.....


K/R Summer Dress

I'm shopping my closet, which of course means that I'm dying to go shopping.  Yesterday, I just went.  It's our local mall's summer clearance, and I wanted to shop it.  I had a great time, and this summer dress came home with me.  Should I keep?

Pros: Cotton, Easy, breezy, oversized, casual, washable, etc
Cons: Is it too dark?  Is it too oversized?  Is it flattering enough?

ETA: OOPS - now it has a pic!


WIW: summer dress (and others)

It's definitely summer dress weather - 95 for two days in a row.  Somehow we're fools, and are resisting on the air conditioning - after all, next week is forcast to be cool!  :)

So summer dressing it is - and this formula is definitely the coolest.  

My goal this week (after Tuesday, that is), was to not wear any clothing that I complain about.  That means that I have no blue denim shorts - so it's turning into a no blue denim challenge :)

#1 wearing today , to clean the basement, ha.

#2 pink with black and white.  Not a big fan of this one - I'm having troubles toughening up the pink to my liking (and it's a bright florescent pink, not as light as in the pic).  

#3 My BethAnn tee with green.  I wore this also yesterday, but with white shorts

#4 Worn to the dentist - my workhorse shorts that I dislike the whiskering, and a hot pink mesh sweater.  I'm actively looking to replace these shorts, but if I fail, I'll overdye them.

I'd love feedback and suggestions :)


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