Tried and Tested

I recently took a 4 day trip with husband to see his family.  As I’ve mentioned, I believe in a core wardrobe and core packing. My approach for packing is to choose a color scheme of 3 colors. For this trip, I chose grey, cream/white and purple. This is what I packed:

full items collage

This is everything but my bra (which I was wearing), undies (6 in total) and toiletries that went into my carry-on. It comes to a total of 23 items.  I know it seems like overkill for a 4 day trip, but it was my first chance to personally test my packing theory. The batman t-shirt and grey shorts are my pajamas. I wore the grey jeans, cream colored lightweight sweater and pink espadrilles on the plane. So really there were 18 rolled (I use the roll method) items in my suitcase (including 5 undies). I slightly strayed from my 11 item core packing beliefs by 2 or 3 items (3 solid tops, 3 print tops, 3 bottoms, 2 dresses).

Something told me to grab that white tank for layering and to bring an extra lightweight long sleeve top (the grey graphic one). Northern European summers are a strange thing, one day it’s sweltering hot, the next day it rains and is cool all day, then you have a quite chilly day, then back to sweltering or pleasant or any of the above. Basically, you can’t plan for nothing but hot or nothing but cold.

Anywho, so yeah, this is what I packed for a 4 day trip. Except the 4 day trip turned into a much longer trip due to a family emergency. Over a month. With my little carry-on and 23 items. I can tell you I learned some things.

  1.  IT WORKS!!!
    Sticking to a color scheme and packing things that will mix and match really works. Here are all the outfit combinations I had:
    skirt outfits page 2.jpgskirt outfits page 1.jpg

jeans page 2.jpg
jeans page 1.jpg

My one dress and if I got really desperate outfits:

desperate outfits and dress.jpg

 

I even had layering options!! (you wouldn’t think you’d need to layer in summer but you’d be surprised).

layering 2.jpg

layering 1.jpg

There are 16 outfits here, not counting the “I’m desperate because everything is in the laundry” outfits which adds another 4 outfits. That’s over 2 weeks of clothes and there are only 4 weeks in a month so I should have been fine right? That brings me to my next lesson.

2. LISTEN TO YOUR OWN DAMN SELF!!!

If you go back to my 11 item list, it has 6 tops, 3 bottoms and 2 dresses. I really, really, really wish I had brought that other bottom and dress.  I justified not bringing them when packing because I figured I was swapping them for the 2 lightweight long sleeve tops. I’m really grateful I brought those too to be honest. It got pretty chilly some days and down right cold at night. Which brings me to lesson 3.

3. ALWAYS BRING A JACKET OF SOME SORT

Don’t get me wrong, I love my poncho thing.

Screenshot_20170317-131700.png

It can be worn as a poncho or a scarf or as a cardigan. It’s really versatile and great. But it’s thickness as a poncho or cardigan is more for those crisp spring type days. I ended up wearing it more as a scarf and ended up buying a thick hoodie, so note to self, start packing a hoodie.  I hated buying it as I have a nice deep purple mid weight one that would have worked great. It’s definitely thicker than the poncho and if wearing it over some layers with the poncho as a scarf, I would have been fine…if I had packed it.

4. IF YOU WEAR CONTACTS ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS BRING YOUR GLASSES!!!!!

I don’t usually wear my contacts, but as we were seeing family and friends and I knew there would be photos taken, my vanity got the better of me. I have extended wear contacts so for the first week I was ok. Then the headaches started kicking in from straining through dirty contact lenses to the point that I was trying to figure out how to get my glasses from one country to another. I even thought about going and buying new glasses while we were there. Lesson learned.

So. I think I got this packing thing figured out for myself. 11 core items chosen from 3 colors that work together plus a hoodie/jacket – which you can carry on the plane, you don’t have to pack it in your carry-on – my glasses and I’m good to go!!!

I do think I need to add some pattern into my wardrobe though. I don’t seem to have a lot of patterned tops. Anyone seen any pretty long sleeve silk lavender or pink tops in a print?

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SUMMER!!!

Can you tell I’m excited summer is almost here? This year, we are taking a trip to a lovely country with that hot summer weather I miss so much – flip flop and bathing suit weather! Which begs the question, what to pack?

Many moons ago when I had a roommate, he was packing to take a 2 week trip to see his family for Christmas…and he only wanted to take a carry-on. I thought “he’s crazy. 2 weeks and a carry-on? No way.” I asked him to show me what he was taking and I fell in love. Everything was color coordinated (not in that matchy matchy way) and easily fit into his suitcase. From that point on, my packing strategy changed. I have played with it over the years and have come up with a formula that works for me. Choose 3 colors. This is super easy if you already have a closet of clothes in colors you love. Then choose 3 solid tops, 3 patterned tops, 3 bottoms, and 2 dresses (one dressy/one casual) in those colors.
That’s only 11 items of clothing. From those 11 items of clothing you get 20 outfits. Yep, you read that right TWENTY.

I’ve been playing on Polyvore creating these capsule packing wardrobes (actually they could easily get you through the whole season). Here are some examples:

(all clothes are preloved and were found on polyvore)

As you can see, I’ve added in shoes and some accessories. They’re YOUR clothes, YOUR trip, YOUR lifestyle. Make it all casual or all dressy or a mixture. If you don’t like shorts, swap them for skirts or pants. If you don’t like dresses, wear a jumpsuit instead. AND, if you noticed, there are no regular blue jeans in these capsules. Add one normal regular blue jeans/shorts or skirt and you’re still only at 12 items and now have another 9 outfits!!!!

Happy packing and HAPPY SUMMER EVERYONE!!!

ps. my packing colors are grey, pink and white 🙂

Colors!

Not so long ago, I believed that EVERY single female needed the little black dress. To me, it was an essential core item. In fact, there are a handful of things that I believe work as core items for me such as a pair of jeans that makes your ass look amazing, a white dress shirt, a cashmere sweater or two, a denim or chambray shirt, a white t-shirt, and a black blazer. However, I recently started researching color because, quite frankly, I started feeling very drab in my clothes. Turns out I’m a light summer and black doesn’t work for me at all. Let me clarify, black doesn’t work for me near my face. It makes me look like a zombie. I really wish I could look dashing in black, but I just don’t. Instead, my face lights up and looks shiny and new when I wear these colors:

 

As you can see, the darkest colors I can wear and not look like a vampire are charcoal grey and navy. The good thing is that I really like all of these colors. It’s not a case of “you look amazing in lemon yellow” while I am secretly loathing anything lemon colored. There is no point if you hate the color! I was obsessed for a while with having a “french wardrobe,” you know, small, amazing quality and neutral, neutral, neutral. But you know what? I’m not French. I don’t have their coloring (a lot have dark hair/brown eyes), and I choose to dress for what suits MY skin tone and MY coloring. If we’re going to invest in a shirt, it should make us feel good right?

I have a dream of having a wardrobe fit into one suitcase that can make me feel amazing for any weather and any situation. After my color revelation,  I had some weeding to do. I already had a number of navy things but I also had quite a few black things. I decided that I would keep two black bottoms (pants and a very dressy chiffon maxi skirt, both not near my face) and put the rest up on ebay or vestiairecollective so they could have a second life. Now I need to really start looking at where I have gaps. I think with just a couple modifications, not only will my wardrobe be more cohesive, but it will only have colors that make me look alive, awake and feeling pretty!

Do you choose clothes based on your color palette?

Why Pre-Loved Over New?

I know a lot of people just don’t like the idea of second hand clothes, or what I prefer to call pre-loved. I have a million reasons why I prefer them, but I want to talk about just a few with you.

1. You can find items that are brand new. When I lived in LA – a fantastic place to shop pre-loved – there were so many times in my scouring the racks of second hand shops that an item that caught my eye still had the tags on it. We’ve all done it. You see something so incredibly cute you can’t resist. It’s on sale. You make your purchase without trying it on, I mean it’s only $7.00! You take it home and realize that not only does it not look right on you, but there is absolutely nothing in your closet you can wear it with. So on the hanger it goes and just sits in your closet because the hassle of taking it back is not worth the $7.00.

2. You can get higher quality for much less. Please don’t misunderstand. A higher price does not always equal quality. I have seen very expensive clothes in designer boutiques with loose buttons or threads hanging off. It used to be the case that $$$$ = quality, but just isn’t anymore. But, you KNOW that brand “x” is well made. They are just out of your price range. So you look at their website or go to their shop and drool. Some time spent on ebay or therealreal or vestiairecollective or any other of these consignment/second hand sites could result in you getting that lovely item and paying much, much less. Ok, so the person wore it once or twice. If you know you adore it, it is well made, and makes you feel like a movie star when you wear it, a wash to your satisfaction is going to make it good as “new to you.” 😉

3. I don’t know about you, but I have zero desire to look like everyone else. I have found much more interesting clothing on these pre-loved sites than any chain store (I have found that french and asian labels tend to be waaaay more interesting than american labels). Let me show you some examples:

Sacai Top

McQ Top

Grey Sandro Top

Now I don’t know about you, but to me these tops way more interesting than anything I’ve seen at Macy’s or Debenham’s or H&M or J Crew or, or, or….and since they are not currently on a shop floor, the chances of 10,000 people wearing your top are slim.

Another great thing is that most of the online pre-loved places allow some sort of bargaining. When was the last time you could do that in a retail store?

I did a post about trying things on, so unless you are really familiar with the designer’s sizing – find a couple of designers you love and go try their stuff on, see if it fits your body shape – please make sure you buy from someone that allows returns so that if it doesn’t look amazing on you when you get it, you can send it back.

Happy Hunting!!

 

Seriously???!!

I know I go on and on about buying pre-loved clothing BUT I have no issue with buying new if it is a core item, as in it’s something I intend to keep until it is falling apart. There are only a handful of things I believe fall into this category – this is for myself, everyone has their own way of doing things and their own definition of what core items are to their wardrobe so listen to your own needs! My core items are jeans, 2 cashmere sweaters in neutral colors (I have light grey and beige), a white blouse, blazer, denim shirt, dressy skirt, a silk blouse or two and one dress that can be worn to just about any event. To me, if you have those, the rest is filler around those items.

So….recently I had need to replace my navy sweater. I become like a lioness when shopping. I have incredible patience and can wait and wait to not only find exactly what I want, but to find it on sale. Which brings me to the title of my post. After scouring and hunting for weeks, I found the exact navy sweater I wanted:

Jigsaw batwing jumper

Jigsaw Herringbone Batwing Jumper

Now, here is where seriously comes in…This sweater was originally listed for £159.00 (I’m an American living in England) which translates to $198.66. I bought it roughly 3 months ago. The tag (which I had kept to show you a photo of, but hubby accidentally threw away) was first marked down to £97.00 ($121.00) and then £47.00 ($58.74), which is what I paid for it. As you can see from their listing, it has now been marked down again:

Herringbone Batwing Jumper  £159 £37.60 (or $46.98)

Now I have to ask…..if you are able to mark it down all the way from 159 to 37.60 – and we know you are still making a profit of some sort – why didn’t they just sell it for 37.60 to begin with?!?!?!?! Seriously?!?!?!

Then it happened again. I did a wardobe clean and realized that one of my silk tops needed replacing. I have always wanted a Vince silk top as I believe they are good quality. I also wanted to take the opportunity to update colors in my wardrobe so I started scouring and searching for just the right shirt. I fell in love with this from theoutnet.com -they have great sales from time to time:

Vince silk top

Guess how much it was originally listed for? £185 ($231.22)

Guess how much I paid? £37 ($46.24)

Look, I get it. They are betting on people just HAVING to buy it right now and paying the original price. But, when they are able to turn around and sell it for 80% of the original cost and still make a profit?!? Makes you wonder.

This is why I never, ever, ever, ever, ever pay full price for anything. Be patient my friends, be patient. 😉

ALWAYS try it on

This post is going to be super short and sweet because a picture is worth a thousand words. Why you should ALWAYS try things on before buying:

Can you see how on the hanger it looks as if this sweater is baggy and has no shape? ‘Nuff said.

Playing with Core Items

A lot of people shy away from a core wardrobe because they believe that it gets boring really fast. So I challenged myself recently with two items I have in my own wardrobe, a grey cashmere sweater and a pair of jeans. The goal was to create as many different styles as possible.

the challenge

Here are the two items:

 

 

 

 

Pretty plain looking right? I’m more boho or glam or outdoorsy you say. I think I might have everyone’s unique style covered. I can honestly say I tried my hardest! Here are all of the outfits I was able to create:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope this shows you that the other items in your closet and accessories are what will make these core items YOU!  Which one is your favorite?

My Wardobe in My Phone

So I’ve fallen in love with an app simply called Closet. Have you heard of it? You probably have and I’m a day late and a dollar short about it, but nevermind, I love this thing!!! If you haven’t heard of it, let me show you how awesome it is (this is not endorsed, I just love it). Basically, it allows you to create a virtual closet and catalogue of all of the items in your wardrobe.

Obviously, you have to get the items IN your phone. Easy but time consuming. Of course, once you’ve got everything in, it’s much easier to add/remove stuff as your wardrobe changes. There are three ways to do this as you can see here:

The “Gallery” button lets you choose a photo of something from your phone.
The “camera” button lets you take a photo of the item right then and there.
The “shop” button takes you through a series of choices, allowing you to choose by brand, color, type, etc. This is really handy if you just bought something and can grab a photo of it off of the stores website.

If you choose “shop,” you can actually shop too! I’m not sure which search engine it’s connected to, Shopstyle or Polyvore or who, but this way, if you order something online, you can add it to your virtual closet before you even get it!

There is even a way to change the shopping country in settings. For example, quite a bit of my wardrobe is from American stores. However, I live in Europe so some of my stuff is from those stores. By being able to switch countries, I was able to access more of my clothing without dragging everything out and taking a photo of it. Of course, there will be some items that you just cannot find – I have this problem with certain scarves. I usually find the closest thing possible or if it’s driving me crazy, I take the actual photo.

Once you add the item, you catalogue it. Closet gives you the following category options:

 Once you choose your category, then it lets you choose color, brand, price, and season.

 I love how detailed it gets because this app also allows you to filter. So I can tell it to show me how many sweaters I have. I can tell it to show me how many spring weather sweaters I have. I can tell it to show me how many pink spring weather sweaters I have. It’s great because it can show you where you have a gap in your wardrobe. Or you can see what brand you tend to gravitate towards which might help you determine your style if you are unsure.

After you get everything in and catalogued, you can start creating “looks.”

 What I found really interesting is that while I consider myself to have a pretty small closet compared to most women – I think including my coats/shoes/scarves I have 73 items in my wardrobe to get me through all seasons – I was finding that I got a really good sense of what 73 items looks like when I started creating my looks. I couldn’t believe how many there were and it actually got me thinking about cutting some more out of my wardrobe to minimalize it even more!

Another awesome feature is the packing list. It lets you choose items and the looks you had created from those items.

So handy so that when it comes time to put everything in your suitcase, you just pull out your phone and it shows you what to grab from the list you already created!

If you don’t already use one, I hope you will give this – or another closet/wardobe organizer app a shot! I’m finding it so helpful in so many ways!! If you do use one, which is your favorite and why?

Goodbye Chain Stores!

Oooh, I am a happy girl!!!! I have found not one, but TWO online only stores that sell quality clothing that would make beautiful additions to your capsule wardobe AND they ship worldwide. YAY! Please allow me to introduce you to Maisoncashmere and Sezane.

Maison Cashmere is an online only cashmere site that was started by two brothers in 2005. They have cut out middlemen and retailers.  There is a small selection of styles and colors to choose from (nothing is made until it is ordered) or you can have something custom made. This means even more savings because they aren’t paying for loads of warehouse space to store tons of sweaters or scarfs, etc. This reduced cost allows them to offer better quality. I ordered this:

 The other wonderful site is Sezane:

Sezane was started by Morgane Sezalory and is/was the first fully online French fashion brand. This choice was fulled by her desire to create quality clothes at a fair price by again cutting out middlemen and store fronts. This girl rather you have clothes you want to wear every day than 5 closets of nothing. That’s my kind of girl! According to the site:

“Sézane proposes four main collections each year which are completed each month with new products or “capsule collections.”

She only creates a limited quantity so once it’s gone, it’s gone. I chose to add this beautiful silk blouse to my capsule wardrobe:

I hope these two sites will help fill out any gaps in your capsule wardobe! As you know, I am always on the hunt for good quality at a fair price. What are your favorite places for good quality basics?

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