Saturday, 27 February 2016

From my minimal wardrobe

We're still enjoying Summer around here but today I'm taking a look back at some of my favourite Spring looks. 

This is both an exercise in record-keeping (for me) and a bit of inspiration - hopefully, for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere who are getting closer to Spring. 

At the end of this post I tell you a bit more about my process of record-keeping but first I want to take you through the outfits.

It's worth nothing that these are all work outfits. I think I have now well and truly cemented my tendency to wear mostly trousers in warmer seasons and skirts in the cooler months.  

I am also still going for the colour palette that I had identified in my Winter wardrobe last year during my incursion into minimalism

Almost two years have passed and I'm still using my Cuyana tote everyday and I love it. I actually look forward to it. It's counter-intuitive. We've been made to believe that it will be boring to have the same handbag (or anything else really) every single day. 

But I've experienced the exact opposite - including not even feeling lust towards "it" bags. Considering I had a financial plan in place to purchase a couple of those, I see this as an incredible achievement. It must have helped that I bought a durable item that fit my needs and my style.

Finally, most of these outfits have transitioned into Summer with only minor changes - cooler footwear and removal of outer-layer. The exception being the bottom right outfit where the faux-leather leggings are simply too warm so, over Summer, I've been wearing the green top with the black trousers instead.

This process of keeping a visual record of my outfits has been essential to help me define my style and build a functional wardrobe.

I am now at a stage where I'm very happy with my wardrobe and am confident about my style. Items are working better together and even though I have fewer things (e.g., four pairs of trousers as opposed to eight), I don't feel that there's a limit to how many different outfits I can create each season.

You would think that a smaller wardrobe is hard to stay fresh and exciting, but every week I seem to find a new way to mix and match and I thoroughly enjoy the creative process.

Over the last year or so I've been printing and organising my favourites by season, helping me understand what I have and how I use it. I have enough of these now to create my own lookbooks which I use for easy reference either on those busy mornings or when time comes to replace an item.

I've previously used Social Print Studio's photo books, as it's so easy to create with my Instagram photos, and I am now ready to put together one of those for a year worth of work outfits.

Having things digitally is great for sharing but when it comes to organise things for my own personal use, I'm still very much a hardcopy person - there isn't an app that gives me as much of a sense of control that a book does.

Do you use any apps to help you navigate your wardrobe? Or do you go old-school like me?

Also, would love to know which outfit is your favourite and, those of you up North, what are you most looking forward to wearing again this Spring?

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Trench

Ooh, the Trench! Possibly the only clothing item that has remained fashionable since it became a wardrobe essential over 100 years ago! And while the design or even materials have changed very little over that time, it has really evolved from something only a selected few [white men] wore, to a truly universal piece of clothing, worn by people of all ages all over the world. 

While the Burberry trench remains the original (even if some may argue that Aquascutum got there first), nowadays we're not limited to that design, and most of all, we're not limited to the price-tag. There are many affordable options out there, either for the more traditional design or for different takes on it.

With so much to choose from, there are a few things you may want to consider to help you narrow your options down. These are the things I've found helpful when picking up a trench and I hope they help you too if you're on the lookout.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Instagram - A few tips and sources of inspiration

This post is a little bit different - Instagram, as a tool for visual storytelling, has taken such a prominent place in my creative life that I wanted to share some of my current sources of inspiration and a few tips I've picked up in the last few months.

Monday, 18 January 2016

One Yea of Fewer / Better

I've been trying to buy less stuff and focus more on quality for several years now but 2015 was the year when I made a conscious effort to see how far I could go with the fewer/better motto.

Let me start by saying that I didn't find the fewer part easy at all. I thought I was completely ready for a year of conscious consumerism, and really, an ideal candidate for this "experiment":

  • my default tendencies are of the frugal kind (having been brought up by a very frugal, yet stylish mum and auntie who always put quality above quantity); 
  • I'm surrounded by a frugal environment; and 
  • I follow the kind of information and social media diet that makes me less likely to be drawn in by marketing stunts. 

I even thought I had my impulse-buy in check. But boy was I in for a ride. It's all very good an well to want to be a more mindful consumer but practicing that, in this day and age, on an everyday basis, truly tests your resolve. 

Friday, 8 January 2016

Happy New Year!

One thing that stood out for me towards the end of 2015 was a greater ability to find balance between planning / dreaming and being present in the moment. 

I have always been a big dreamer with a very well exercised ability to escape into my imagination and spend copious amounts of time in the past or future. But life is better enjoyed in the present.

I should know this, I have a PhD on it! But it always seems easier to do so when we're away from our day-to-day routines - a chilled glass of Pinot Rosé overlooking miles of vineyards or a cocktail by the beach are not the only reason we look forward to a holiday break!

However, the more I thought about how I wanted life to be the more interested I became in enjoying the everyday moments and familiar places. After all, this is where I spend the majority of my time.

But I have never been very good at doing so. Being content at home on the weekends, getting dressed for work every morning, finding the most suitable skincare with minimal chemicals, walking to work, looking at the city from the office window and being grateful for being in such a secure place...all of these were things that I previously either ignored, didn't really take time to appreciate or took for granted.

It may sound a bit of a far-fetched connection for those less familiar with how we accumulate psychological capital from our experiences, but focusing on being a more mindful consumer in 2015 has had an irreversibly positive effect in how I live my everyday life.

Taking time to approach my style and purchases in a thoughtful way requires the kind of dedicated attention that is not fast nor effortless. It demands focus and full engagement with the task at hand. Slowing down is a requirement. Imagination is necessary along the way but only to help create reality, not escape from it.

As I practiced these behaviours in relation to my wardrobe, I noticed their influence on how I approached other matters.

For instance, at some point, I became aware that I could exercise the same thoughtfulness in relation to the content I provide on Instagram. The Fewer, Better attitude that I approached my clothes translated to a challenging, yet enjoyable activity that encourages me to explore ways to do better every time. And in the process, I found myself a creative outlet that has brought me a greater appreciation for my everyday surroundings.

Going forward, I have big plans to maintain these habits and let them continue to take hold of how I approach life in general.

May 2016 be the year when being a mindful consumer means going well beyond deciding what my wardrobe looks like.

What are your plans / dreams for the new year?