A Solution to Your Fashion Woes Minimalism

wI find myself endlessly shopping for clothes. Even when I’ve just bought something new, I find myself staring into a closet filled to the brim, muttering “I have nothing to wear.” Sound familiar?

We’ve all been there. And for most of us, it’s not that we don’t have anything to wear, but that we just can’t seem to find the common thread (no pun intended) between the pieces in our wardrobes. This leaves our newly shopped pieces collecting dust in the back of our wardrobes as we re-wear the same outfit for the 100th time.

Having too many options can be overwhelming. That “dream” closet filled with clothes to the ceiling may actually be a nightmare. In fact, a closet with fewer, complementing pieces may work better. Yes, I propose that minimalism is the solution to this common fashion woe.

How to Create a Minimalist Wardrobe

When building a minimalist wardrobe, first find the neutrals within your existing wardrobe. It’s not only about the monochromatic palette of black and white. Think of your own classic pieces in neutral shades like beige, white, gray, black and navy. Avoid using this as an excuse to shop for more clothes.

Once you have found some pieces in your wardrobe, start by building an outfit around these neutral pieces. Focus on the shape and form of your pieces to see what works together. Then consider adding accessories, some prints and maybe a bright lip color later on. If you’re going to shop, I recommend investing in classic pieces and working from there.

Minimalist Outfit Ideas

Need some inspiration? Check out the ensembles below:

Ensemble #1

Add some flair to your minimal look by experimenting with pieces in different textures such as a cotton rib-knit sweater and a faux leather skirt. Textures add interest to a simple look.

Ensemble #2

Play with cool accents like these beige metallic shoes to add a twist to your clean and simple look.

Ensemble #3

You can avoid the black and white monochromatic look by sticking to a neutral palette. The khaki green of the dress and almond brown of the boots can complement almost any other piece in your wardrobe.

How I Found My Personal Fashion Style

asI dress for the image. Not for myself, not for the public, not for fashion, not for men.” These are the words of Marlene Dietrich. Who knows better than her on how to become an icon of style? Fashion and style. These two words are always together, like an inseparable couple. To me, they are like sun and moon, black and white, fire and water. They cannot be together and they cannot be without each other either.

The simplest definition of fashion is ‘a popular trend’ and style, ‘a manner of doing something’. I always went with these specific definitions of these two words. In my personal opinion, to be popular and wear what is popular would not give me a sense of satisfaction. I always wanted to be affiliated with a style that is specific to me and up to date. It does not always mean to wear exactly what is fashionable during that time.

I started my journey as a child by watching. I watched everything and everyone. I was curious how specific outfits fit different types of figure. Sometimes it was good, sometimes – a disaster. It made me very interested in fabric. I was thinking that depending on a fabric used, some disasters could have been prevented. What a smart child I was… I especially liked watching what my mom was wearing. I loved going through her clothes and picking what would suit me the most. I would always finish the ensemble with the appropriate hair, make-up and shoes. Just like my mom did. And still does.

Soon after that, as my body was changing, my understanding of what I wanted to wear and how I wanted to look changed too. Maybe, it was not a change itself. It was more likely a transformation. I started understanding what made me look better and what looks were not mine at all. I started developing that feeling or sense, which made me happy or not at all by the way I looked. And later on- the way I lived. Very quickly, I understood that to dress nicely and act poorly was not my style at all. I did not like inappropriate behavior and it was clear to me that it has to be part of that satisfaction that I received from my appearance. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t have fun. I did. I just did it with my own understanding of how it should be done. I guess that’s when I started working on my own style. That part of my journey brought me to the 18th century, understanding of tea parties in England, research of my mother’s relatives who were Russian nobility. And again, I was amazed by my mother. I started believing that whatever she knows was in her blood.  Nobody had to teach her how to be stylish and always look fabulous. It also gave me hope that I might have inherited at least some of that wisdom.

I continued experimenting, and it brought me to different TV shows and fashion books. I was amazed by how many resources are out there. And the more my knowledge grew, the more I was thinking that not many either had access to these resources or thought they needed any guidance.  I could not afford spending thousands of dollars on something I would wear once or twice. And I didn’t expect it from others.  But I knew that there were affordable great options and I could not understand why not everybody would want to take advantage of those. There were only a few I would look at and appreciate their style sense. It made me think of Albert Einstein’s famous quote all the time : ‘A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?’.

Finally, I was smart enough and had this conversation with my mom. I was afraid at first that she would not be able to understand my concerns. But as always, she made me feel so comfortable and content. I asked her many questions, and I remember all her answers so well. The most important was the advice she gave me: Not to run after fashion, but adopt fashion to my own needs and style. At first, I was confused. I could not understand the difference in those terms. And even more – how they applied to me. That is when it hit me. I finally understood that whatever ‘sense’ I developed was my own, personal style. I knew how to be fashionable and I did it in my own way. I didn’t have to like what I saw and now I knew what I didn’t like. I didn’t like that everyone was wearing the same things, the same way. And it didn’t matter if it was not complementing their complexion, skin or hair. It was a very inspiring realization. I understood that I could make a difference by encouraging them to personalize their style and their lives. And all I had to do is be myself and keep developing my own style.

Understanding of your own style comes with a lot of work and experience. This challenge is everlasting. But that is the beauty of it. It is a personal achievement that can be shared with others. Style is something that can be shared and passed on. But at the same time, it is something very personal and individualized. It includes all the human characteristics. You might not like someone personally, but you might respect them for their sense of style. In case of doubt, search for inspiration. Do your research. Ask questions. Educate yourself. And the most important, do not be afraid to experiment. Fashion style will always be part of our lives and as the amazing Yves Saint Laurent once said: ‘Fashion fades, style is eternal.’

Autumn Afternoons What to Wear This Weekend

assThe days are getting shorter, the nights are getting chillier (and spookier!), the leaves are a-changing, the layers are out in full force, and the Pumpkin Spice Lattes are lighting up your tastebuds. (I’ve actually switched my allegiances to the new Toasted Graham Latte…yum!)

Even when I lived in California, autumn was always my favorite season, thanks to the triple whammy of Halloween, my birthday, and Thanksgiving.  After relocating to the East Coast, I love autumn even more, since it actually gets colder here and the New England fall foliage is incredibly breathtaking.

Beautiful as it is, fall is fleeting. (Anyone remember when it snowed on Halloween a few years ago?) Take advantage of the cool, crisp weather and the many awesome autumn-associated activities this weekend!

What to Wear to:

Apple Picking or a Pumpkin Patch

Apple picking is the quintessential New England autumn activity.  The childlike glee at finding the biggest, juiciest apples and stuffing them into your bag, the fresh apple cider donuts glistening with sugar, the steaming cups of spiced cider: what’s not to love? (If there aren’t apple orchards in your area, try visiting a pumpkin patch!)

While it can get chilly in October, it’s hard not to get sweaty lugging a heavy bag of apples around an orchard. Layer up with a cozy flannel and a soft tee to ensure that you don’t get cold and/or overheat.  You’ll be doing a lot of bending and reaching, so make sure you’re wearing clothes are that easy to move in. Sturdy boots or sneakers are ideal for navigating the muddy and frequently uneven grounds. Lastly, avoid wearing delicate sweaters that can easily get snagged on branches.

Baking Delicious Treats

So you just picked 50 apples, which are now spilling out of the bag and onto your living room floor.  What now? The correct answer is: start baking! What better way to spend a golden autumn afternoon than by filling your kitchen with the tempting aroma of spices and caramelizing fruit? (So far, I’ve made an apple cake and a tarte tatin, given away apples to my neighbors, and I still have a bunch left over!)

I consider myself a pretty good baker, but I’m awful at keeping my workspace tidy; I rarely emerge from a baking session without flour smeared in my hair or batter clinging to my elbow. To combat my messy technique, I’ve started wearing a cute embroidered apron while I bake. While I don’t have aspirations to achieve domestic goddess-hood, wearing an apron does make me feel like I’ve stepped out of an Anthropologie catalog! Here are some cute apron options for your next baking sesh

A Haunted House

My idea of the ideal haunted house is one that is far, far away from me. While I’m an adrenaline junkie for roller coasters and other thrill rides, I’m the biggest baby when it comes to creepy corridors and things jumping out at me. Seriously, the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland still scares the living daylights out of me.

I have also included throat lozenges in this outfit because if you are anything like me, you will become very hoarse from screaming at every little thing that you encounter. Including a very confused squirrel.

On the few occasions that I have been tricked/forced/guilted into entering such venues, my body’s instant response has been to 1) run for my life, 2) shriek like a toddler being denied cookies, and 3) try my best not to pee myself. While you may be brave and not have quite such a visceral reaction, I still recommend a sturdy and reliable pair of shoes that will not fall off while you make a break for it.

While I have never been on a haunted hayride, my understanding is that you stay on the vehicle while things jump out at you. As such, I advise my fellow scaredy cats to bring along a cozy infinity scarf. Not only is it unlikely to fall off/get snagged on anything, it will make a handy face shield to hide behind when things get too scary. (This is the only way I can make it through any horror movie.)

How To Be Fashionable In Your Own Way

saFashion is one of those things in life with endless ways to express yourself. Whether it be in cut, color, with accessories or without, the options are limitless! In this article I’ll explain some easy ways to show your personality through your sense of fashion, while remaining presentable.

When it comes to clothes, there are a lot of appropriate things for the workplace that most people don’t even consider as part of an outfit! Take hair accessories for instance. A statement headband or elastic can make a huge impact on your overall appearance and with all the options out there, you can say a lot! Fabric flowers can be both feminine and timeless, or bright, funky, and charming. Through different colors and textures, you can achieve some great results.

Customizing your wardrobe to fit your personality doesn’t always need to be expensive, either. What better way to express yourself than to make your own accessories or add to clothes you already have? Talk about saving your wallet! With a few simple everyday household items, you can turn that boring white-collar blouse into a work of art, while maintaining that professional look! You can embellish with a brooch made from buttons, fabric flowers, recycled beads, or even applique.

There are endless resources to help you find that crafty niche to customize your clothes, so don’t hesitate to browse the web or head to the craft book section of your local library and start getting creative.

There are also less daunting ways to express yourself through your sense of style for those who aren’t so craft savvy. Browsing through catalogs and magazines and finding things you really like might give you some inspiration for your everyday wear. I personally really like finding quirky things that represent my morals or beliefs, without being offensive. You can shop online for shirts, pins, or bags from various charitable organizations, where most of the proceeds are put to good use. If you’re one who is concerned for your environment and want to show that through your clothes, wear only up-cycled or recycled items, organic materials, or handmade goods. You don’t need to wear a t-shirt with a tree on it to the office to show you care about the earth.

Jewelry can also be a great element of expression throughout your wardrobe. Statement necklaces and rings can be inexpensive to buy or make yourself, and can say a lot about who you are. If you are really supportive of helping the autistic, a way to show that in your jewelry would be with puzzle pieces. Simply drill, poke, or cut a hole in a few and string them on a chain or ribbon. Rings are even easier, you can just glue something to a ring base (which are super inexpensive and sold at most craft outlets) and slide it on your finger. How easy is that?

When I was a young girl one of my favorite things to do that showed my sense of individuality was wear mismatching or crazy socks. No one could see them unless I showed them, so they were easy to conceal if in a formal setting. Most people would probably call that silly, but it was easy for me as a kid. I often did peculiar things with my clothes to show my personality, such as using fabric paints to stencil symbols or words, or cutting shapes in the sleeves or shoulders of shirts.

Wearing certain colors can also help to bring out your sense of individuality. Many people believe that colors represent certain powers or energies, emotions, or wants/goals. Yellow represents joy, sunshine, wisdom, and intellectual attitude. Have you ever felt really positive or happy speaking with someone wearing a nice, bright yellow blouse? How about red? Red can represent courage, or confidence. There’s a reason why a lot of salesmen wear red ties! Take some time to pick the color of your outfit. The colors you wear can influence your mood or the emotions of others around you. It’s a simple yet effective way to express your individuality, just by wearing your favorite color.

Your shoes can easily show a bit of “you” in them, as well. There are many options for shoe laces these days, whether they are a different color from the norm, or full of patterns or memorable characters. There are also many different ways people lace their shoes. You could try a checkerboard lacing or using two laces at once. Some people choose not to wear shoes with laces, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be customized to fit your own personal style. A simple way to do this is with hot glue and scraps of fabric made into flowers or bows. It’s also easy and inexpensive to put studs, beads, or rhinestones on your shoes as well. It doesn’t take much skill to use a hot glue gun, superglue, or a needle and thread. Buttons, bows, ribbons, lace, even just plain fabric are great materials to start with. Modge Podge is a great adhesive and sealant for applying paper or fabric to your shoes. You can also now find sets of permanent markers made specifically for fabric and shoe leather. Those are really great if you like to draw.

The possibilities really are endless. The world is full of places to buy handmade or customized items. You can save yourself some money just by doing it yourself, and it doesn’t take too much effort. There are also many places to have things custom made, just for you. The online Etsy marketplace is a great place to start looking for handmade items, and there are thousands of artists who are willing to showcase their skills every day.

Whether or not you work in an office or a grocery store, there are so many different ways to show who you are and what you stand for with your clothes or accessories. It’s important to keep your identity in this busy world, so if you are having trouble expressing your individuality, give these things a try! It’s easy as pie.