Five Tips to Shop more Mindfully

tips for shopping mindfully minimal wardrobe

I think we’ve – almost – all been there; that moment when you realise that your shopping has gotten a little out of control, and somehow in the last month you’ve come home with more things that you could realistically hope to wear for the next season, or two. This has been so true of my own story, and it wasn’t until I realised just how swept up in this vortex of continuously shopping, yet still never having anything to wear, that I started to make a change to how I shopped. I’m still always going to be the girl who loves the buzz of bringing home a new pair of shoes, and while I won’t let myself feel guilty over splurging on a dress I’ve had my eye on for two months, I try to follow a few simple steps to make sure that what I’m adding to my wardrobe will still be a strong staple six months later.

There’s nothing quite like the threat of having to get rid of something you already own and love, to make you think twice about a new wardrobe addition. Aside from the fact that this helps to keep your wardrobe free from clutter, this is also a great way to keep your closet streamlined and filled only with the things that you love, plus it adds a little layer to the shopping process which can be a real dealbreaker, particularly if you’re buying something just because it’s on sale.

Something that I still do, even to this day, is keep an itemised shopping journal which lists each new addition to my closet, and just how much I spent on it. This takes a little bit of additional effort, but it helps me to stay accountable and also identify when I’m starting to add a few too many new things to my wardrobe. The most important point here is to be honest, and include everything, even if it’s just a $0.99 pair of vintage denim shorts from eBay.

There’s that old saying, ‘good things come to those who wait’, and as cliche as it is, I typically like to wait at least two weeks before pulling the trigger on a purchase. There’s always the odd exception, but giving yourself the time to really think about a possible new purchase speaks volumes as to whether a new piece is going to be a keeper, or something that will be relegated to the back of your wardrobe within a few month’s time. A lot of the time, I’ll come to the conclusion that as shiny and pretty and new as it is, it’s not something that I really need, or something that I foresee myself getting a lot of use out of.

I figure that there’s no point buying something if it doesn’t go with the rest of your wardrobe, and you have to buy something else for it to go with. While there’s always the odd exception, like a fancy cocktail dress, I use the rule of thumb that any new addition needs to work with at least three other items in my already existing closet. Versatility is absolutely key, and if it can do double duty for the office and for play, that’s even better.

I was first drawn to the capsule wardrobe movement in large part due to my desire to shop smarter, and really take hold of my wardrobe’s destiny (as corny as that sounds). I’ve since moved on after three years of capsule wardrobes, but I took away so much from the learning experience and have found that I hit the shops a lot less frequently than I used to, and when I do, I’m much more measured when it comes to ringing up a new purchase at the shop till. If you’re new to this concept, or are thinking about dipping your toe into the capsule wardrobe pool, then I’d recommend checking out some of my previous posts on how to build a capsule wardrobe and whether a capsule wardrobe is right for you, as I think they’re both pretty good starting points.

A couple of the other things that I’ve found have really helped me, when it comes to shopping smarter, and shopping more mindfully, is to keep a full list of all the items you have in your current wardrobe on you at all times, as well as a concrete shopping list of things that you’re looking for. I find that these two ‘mini-steps’ work in unison together, functioning as a reminder of what you already own (and don’t need multiples of…), allow you to identify in one glance whether a piece would work with your existing wardrobe, and also allow you to pin point just what your wardrobe is missing.

Overall, my general approach to shopping is quality over quantity, so when I do invest in a new item, I want it to be something that trascends trends, and will last the test of time. There’s nothing more satisfying that adding something to your wardrobe that you still love six years later (my Helmut Lang blazer and Proenza Schouler PS11 are proof of that in action!), and sometimes saving up and spending a little more, or waiting for the perfect piece within your budget to roll around, is much more rewarding than an easy pick-me-up.

Do you have any tips for shopping more mindfully?

Wardrobe Rehab

declutter wardrobe rehab cull minimalist minimal closet

Over the weekend, I set aside my Sunday afternoon to tackle my wardrobe and give it a much needed clearout. Feeling once again inspired by Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and a recent documentary Luke and I watched on minimalism, I spent a few hours sorting through the clothing rack in my study and the contents of (my half of) the closet in our bedroom, to whittle my wardrobe down to the pieces I always reach for; those wardrobe workhorses that are not only practical, but that also give me joy.

Aside from the odd piece which was a little more colourful than the rest of my wardrobe, I mostly found myself wanting to part with things that I’d bought with only the best of intentions; pieces that I’d anticipated would quickly become wardrobe staples. This included things like breton striped tees (apparently you can have too many), black leather ankle boots, and a couple of coats which I’d been storing at home, that just won’t get the wear they should during Sydney’s mild winters.

Perhaps one of the things that has struck me most over these last few weeks is that as much as I love colour and vibrant prints on other people, when it comes to my own wardrobe, I am and always will be a neutrals girl at heart. There’s still the odd smattering of print in my wardrobe, and some colour beyond a simple palette of white, grey and black, but wardrobe classics are without a doubt the bread and butter of my closet.

After giving my closet a good declutter (and listing a huge chunk of it for sale via my Tictail Store, here), I also took some time to identify a few gaps in my wardrobe, which I’ll be hoping to track down in the coming months.

pale blue cotton shirt // It’s been a good couple of years since I parted with the asymmetrical hemmed cornflower blue shirt I used to own from Swedish label Hope. I found the hemline a little bit awkward (to say the least) and as much as I loved that shirt, something with a more traditional cut will definitely be a much more loved workhorse, particularly once it starts to cool down during the autumn and winter months.

black leather skirt // There once was this period where I was literally obsessed with buying vintage everything on eBay, and a black leather skirt was probably one of my more practical buys. Unfortunately the first apartment we moved into in Sydney would get quite damp in the summertime from the high levels of humidity, and this skirt suffered the brunt of it. I’ve been on the lookout for a leather skirt ever since, in a highwaisted pencil or a-line silhouette.

white blazer // If you haven’t already figured it out by now, I’m really big on wearing white and cream hues during the warmer months. A white blazer has been near the top of my wishlist for years, as I feel like it would be the perfect complement, however finding the right cut and fabrication is the only thing that’s been holding me back.

blue denim ripped boyfriend jeans // After getting a pair of boyfriend denim jeans from Grana late last year, I’ve been hooked to the boyfriend jean, and when I think about my lifestyle, it just makes sense to have a pair for those lazy weekends at home with the pets. I’m currently eying up a pair from H&M which look like they might be right up my alley.

ballet flats // If you take a peek through my archives you’ll quickly find that I have a bit of a soft spot for ballet flats. My go to is definitely Porselli, and I’m thinking about nabbing a new pair as a little bit of a birthday present to myself.

classic black tote bag // My Everlane Twill Zipper Tote has been holding up really well since I bought it back in June, but I’d really love something more sleek and structured for everyday. There are a few options that I’ve been looking into, and it’s currently a toss up between the Seville Tote from Lo & Sons, or the Petra Magazine Tote from Everlane.

Shop my wardrobe HERE

Five ways to declutter your wardrobe

minimal wardrobe declutter your closet

image source; noa noir

A new year is like a fresh start in so many ways, and as much as I try to avoid making resolutions, it’s a great opportunity to give your wardrobe a declutter, and begin the year with a clean slate. I try to focus on only adding those things to my wardrobe which truly give me joy, and that I’m going to want to reach for day in, and day out, but I’m not afraid to admit that I don’t always get it right; occasionally a new wardrobe addition doesn’t work out the way I’d anticipated, and sometimes I find that what was once a wardrobe staple is now starting to feel a little tired.

I also find it as a chance to tidy up my wardrobe, fold everything away nicely, and reorganise my hangers to make getting dressed in the morning just that little bit easier. Plus, it frees up a bit of that prime wardrobe real estate for any new additions that you’re planning to make throughout the year (and January is always a good time for making lists….).

cull your wardrobe
As I’ve gotten into the pattern of adding less to my wardrobe (and making better purchasing descisions!), I’ve found there to be less of a need for a seasonal cull, and instead opt to give my closet a once-over every six months or so, and the new year calls for just that. I’ve written about culling my wardrobe plenty of times in the past, but typically I tend to pull out anything that is either starting to show its age, hasn’t been worn for a good 6-12 months, or that doesn’t give me joy. I have my fair share of sentimental items that I can’t bear to part with (my mum’s coats included), but usually if I’m not getting any use out of something, or if I’m ready to pass an item on, I don’t tend to let it linger in my closet.

store, donate, sell or trash
This goes hand in hand with culling your wardrobe, but once you’ve identified the items that you absolutely love, and those that you can live without, I find it helpful to split up everything that hasn’t made its way make into your closet into four categories; store, donate, sell or trash. Pretty self explanatory, but for those without ample wardrobe space, store anything that is out of season; sell or donate anything that is in good condition; and trash any items that are stained, have holes, or that are falling to pieces. I typically head down the eBay route when selling anything (it’s just easy) but there are plenty other options, like market stalls, consignment stores, or other resale sites.

find an organisational system that works for you
Growing up, everything in our house had a ‘home’, and this is something that I’ve definitely tried to keep up, since moving in with Luke five years ago. The same tends to apply to my wardrobe; everything on hangers is organised by colour (and then my item type) from light to dark, which makes it easier to pinpoint what I want to wear that day and simplifies the tidying up process. Alternatively, storing like with like items might work best for you, but I find that not only is this aesthetically pleasing, but it’s grounded in practicality and it stops our bedroom from turning into a floordrobe.

adopt a one-in-one-out policy
If keeping your wardrobe completely clutter free year round is your goal, then you might like to consider adopting a one-in-one-out policy. This is exactly what it sounds like; everytime you buy something new for your wardrobe, something you already own has to go. I did this years ago when I was still living in Wellington and I found that it helped me to really start to think about what I was adding to my wardrobe, and was the start of my journey towards shopping more consciously and with purpose.

reverse your hangers
While there’s the odd thing in my closet that might get worn only every once in a while, I make an effort throughout the year to try and wear everything in my wardrobe at least once. I like my wardrobe to earn its keep, and in addition to encouraging me to branch out and make the most of what I have, it’s also a great way to weed out the pieces which are no longer working for me. A really great way to keep track of what you are – and aren’t – wearing, is to reverse all your hangers at the start of the year, turning them back the right way each time you wear an item.

How to shop the sales smart (and come away with pieces you’ll want to keep forever)

how to shop the sales smart tips tricks

img source; floating bohemian

If you’ve been tempted by a mid-season sale, flash sale, or any kind of sale really, raise your hand… With a sale, or a discount code hitting inboxes every other day, it’s hard not to be tempted – I think it’s (almost) safe to say that we’ve all been there.

In the past, I’ve talked myself into buying some new leather ankle boots I never wore, just because they were on sale, purchased a skirt that was a size too small or found myself frantically hunted through the racks trying to find three pieces I like to take advantage of a ‘three for the price of two’ offer. Longevity in my wardrobe was clearly not at the forefront of my mind; instead, it was a shopping free-for-all of things that in hindsight, I didn’t really need.

With that in mind, and the steady stream of mid-season sale emails trickling into my inbox daily, I thought it was as good a time as any to share my strategy on how to shop the sales smart and avoid the lure of heavy discounting. Because let’s be real, we all want to come home with that forever piece that’ll be a wardrobe staple for years to come (and that we won’t regret buying!).

Sales can make us do crazy things; they can make us buy prints when our wardrobes are monochrome, buy shoes that are sizes too small, or buy duplicates of things that we already own. While I think that a sale can be a great opportunity to nab a bargain, think about whether the item you’re holding in your hand fits in with your definition of personal style.

In an era of throwaway fashion, thinking about whether you’ll be wearing something a season from now is generally questionable. But in the essence of quality over quantity, and being true to your personal style, think about whether this is something you can see yourself wearing in a year, or even two years from now. Some of my favourite (and most worn) pieces have been those that I’ve really thought out and planned, and have formed the backbone of my wardrobe. Sale season is the perfect time to take the opportunity to buy those wardrobe staples that you’ll be wearing week in and week out for years to come.

If it’s too big, too small, or just doesn’t sit right – and in all the wrong places – save yourself the hassle. If you have to tell yourself that you’ll drop a dress size to fit it, or if a pair of shoes are so tight they’re almost impossible to walk in, it’s just not worth the pain (or the blow to your bank account).

Versatility is key with any new wardrobe purchase. Think about how you’d wear this with what you already have; can you wear it with at least three outfits? If you can’t, or if you’d have to buy something new just to be able to wear it, then leave it on the rack.

You’ll probably be surprised to learn that I often don’t browse sale sections of online stores, instead, I keep all the pieces I’m lusting for that season in my bookmarks, and regularly check to see whether they’ve gone on sale (or not…). If you’re the type that is easily swayed during a sale and often find yourself with more shopping bags than you intended with none of the pieces you’d hoped to buy, I’d recommend doing the same; trust me when I say it’s been a lifesaver.

One of my new favourite go-to’s which really streamlines this whole process has been Fashion Lane, which gives users the low down on all the sales happening at that very moment, and up to the minute updates on price decreases for those wardrobe staples you’ve been lusting after. You can also set up Price Alerts for those quality wardrobe staples which at full price are too much of a splurge, which will notify you when it goes on sale so you can swoop it up for a much more budget-friendly price.

And for those who are analytics nerds (guilty!), then I think you’ll love the Price History feature – it allows you to track any adjustments in the price, whether it was an increase or a decrease, and help you to identify whether now is a good time to buy – or whether it’s worth waiting for another sale to come along.

Without getting too much into the major strategies behind sales in general, their main purpose is to drive sales for the retailers within a specified time period, meaning that the opportunity to nab a ‘bargain’ is limited. So really take the time to think, ‘do I need this?’ and ‘am I only buying this because there’s a sale?’.

I’ve fallen for sales time and time again, but with a staunch mindset that less is more, coming away from the sales with your bank balance (mostly) intact, is possible, and trust me, your credit cards will thank you for it.

How to find your personal style

how to find your personal style
how to find your personal style
how to find your personal style

image source; le 21 eme

I think we’ve all been there; those transitional stages in life that are seemingly thrown at you, and have you asking yourself, ‘what do I wear?’. Moments like finishing university and transitioning into an office, or approaching motherhood after years spent wearing delicate silks and toting designer handbags. But it’s more than just not having anything to wear, and it goes beyond making a good first impression.

Identifying your personal style is one of the keys to feeling confident in the way that you’re dressed, knowing that you not only feel good, but that you look good too. And to me, the way I dress is often what I consider to be a reflection of my personality, and it’s an important part of how I present myself to the world each day. Not to mention that identifying your personal style will help streamline your shopping habits, and the way that you get dressed each morning, with a signature ‘look’ or style that is inherently you.

Through building capsule wardrobes, and drawing from my own personal experience, I’ve found that the ‘a-ha’ moment comes with time, and with the help of seven simple steps.

When it comes down to identifying your personal style, it’s important to first go through everything that you own, and remove anything that you don’t like – anything that doesn’t fit within the ideal of how you’d like to present yourself. It’s the ideal time to cull your wardrobe, and part with anything that is worn out, stained, doesn’t fit, or is unflattering on your figure; there’ll be plenty of time to find replacements. A good rule of thumb is to part with anything that you haven’t worn in the last year, and trust me when I say that once it’s gone, you won’t even miss it.

Use this as an opportunity to figure out what you’re drawn to and which pieces in your closet you’re craving, and which you’d rather see the back of (quite literally). You should feel really at ease and relaxed in the pieces that you love, as personal style is innate and should be entirely effortless.

The contents of your wardrobe should make you happy, and have you looking forward to getting dressed each morning. You should feel comfortable in your own skin, and be wearing things for you and not for others. This also applies to trends; just because something is on-trend, doesn’t mean that it’s a style that you naturally feel comfortable in. It can be easy to get caught in the trap of liking a trend because you’ve seen it so often, rather that because it is genuinely something that fits in with your aesthetic and personal style.

It’s also important to take your lifestyle into consideration here; are you a student? A freelancer? Or do you work in a corporate office? Think about how you can incorporate the styles that you enjoy to all commitments or activities in your life.

Who are your style icons? Whose wardrobe would you love to raid? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Pinterest is a great platform to use when gathering inspiration and you’ll likely notice that as time goes on (and more outfits are pinned), that there’s a style or a silhouette that you’ve been naturally gravitating towards. It could be loose and languid deconstructed silk pieces juxtaposed with sharply cut blazers and jackets, or a relaxed boho vibe with peasant blouses, 70s style flared jeans and platform sandals.

If there’s a particular outfit that you really like, save it, pin it or print it and think about how you can replicate that look with what you have, or key pieces that would complement what you have in your wardrobe and the vision of yourself that you’re working towards. I find that finding inspiration for Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter to be quite useful as it helps me to figure out what I’m loving, or what styles I might like to wear, for the upcoming season.

And if Pinterest isn’t your jam, then scrapbooking is a great alternative. Tear our your favourite campaigns from magazines and set up style guides for certain silhouettes; regardless of whether you opt for on screen or an inspiration board that’s a little more tangible, there’s no question that the styles that you love will be one of the driving forces behind helping you to define or identify your personal style.

Your clothing should be working for you, and not against you, and dressing for your figure (rather than the figure you may wish you had – we’ve all been there!) is one of the keys to confidence. Play to your strengths, whether it be a curvy hourglass figure, long lean legs or a toned back, and really show them off.

Get an understanding of which styles suit you and which combinations of outfits look best. For me, I have narrow shoulders and a small waist, so I try to flatter and accentuate those aspects of my figure by wearing silk cami’s with spaghetti straps and high waisted skirts or shorts that nip in at the waist. Play up what you have; if you’ve got it, flaunt it, and show off your figure in a way that makes you feel really confident.

As cliché as it sounds, putting a label on it can help to really narrow your focus so that when adding new pieces to your wardrobe, they’ll complement what you already have. Labels like classic, minimal, bohemian, edgy, preppy… the list goes on, and is only limited by your imagination.

Sometimes, more than one label is needed. Personally, I consider myself to gravitate towards more feminine and classic pieces, with a side dish of quirkiness served up steaming hot. If you’re having a little trouble trying to label what your style might be, take a few photos of some of your favourite outfits, and search for a common thread or a theme that helps you to link together the different looks.

For those of you unfamiliar with uniform dressing, I promise you, it is life-changing. It’ll streamline the way that you get ready in the morning and transform your approach to your wardrobe. Think about what your repeat offenders are; is there a combination of pieces that you can’t get enough of, like a simple band t-shirt with some skinny jeans? Or perhaps you have a signature piece like a cool bomber jacket or a pair of ripped boyfriend jeans.

Think about how you like to wear these items and how you like to combine them; this will help with creating a few fail-safe ‘go-to’ outfits that you can just throw on and know that you’ll look presentable and also feel good in what you’re wearing.

Finally, don’t take it too seriously. Personal style will change over time as you grow and enter or exit certain stages of your life. While I think it’s important not to be a slave to a trend, what’s most important is to have fun with what you’re wearing; wear the things that give you joy, regardless of what other people think. And perhaps most importantly, dress for you and you alone.

If there’s one final thing I would add from my own personal experience, it would be not to be afraid to express yourself. Corporate offices tend to have stricter and more formal dress codes, but there’s always a workaround to instill elements of your own personal taste and style into an outfit that is work appropriate. Maybe you wear flared trousers rather than skinny trousers, or you opt for bold and bright patterns over a simple black, white and grey combination.

Figuring out your personal style isn’t something that will come to you overnight – or maybe it will – personally, it took me the better part of my twenties to figure out where I was going wrong, and how to get it right. Take your time and enjoy the journey!