Deceiving spaces

This summer, my husband and I watched the documentary, TINY:  A Story About Living Small. While I couldn’t wrap my brain around that level of downsizing, it did inspire us to want our own version of a “tiny” home someday.  I follow Small House Swoon and have definitely fallen in love over and over again with these little slices of cozy, minimalist heaven.

Today I stumbled upon this video and was completely mesmerized.

While 86 sq ft of space certainly wouldn’t work for 3 people, it got me wondering if this whole “room space in drawers” concept could be used to maximize the space in individual rooms of a tiny home.  Beautiful.  Simple  Functional.

As long as I have enough room for a family-friendly table, plenty of natural light and a view, our small house would most certainly fill my heart.  Anything else we need could fit into a well-planned drawer.

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Dem chucks doe

In my pursuits to establish a minimalist wardrobe, timeless pieces are key.  I want my wardrobe to be a personified fountain of youth.  This leads me to highlight my recent birthday gift – a sweet pair of Chuck Taylors.

Not only have chucks transcended time (seriously…they have been around since 1917), but they hold sentimental value in our family.  I did not have the opportunity to meet my late father-in-law, but I have met his most beloved fashion staple.  I enjoy hearing stories about his chucks and how he considered them all-occasion shoes.  His shoe legacy lived on in his children and their milestones.  We all wore chucks to my sister-in-law’s wedding reception as tribute and my daughter received her first pair of chucks when I was just 5 months pregnant.

Eleanor and Grandpa's chucks

Eleanor and Grandpa’s chucks

Our family love also extends to our refrigerator.

A delightful set of chuck-magnets from my mother-in-law

A delightful set of chuck magnets from my mother-in-law

I didn’t understand how my father-in-law could have worn his chucks with everything.  But now I do…

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…because no matter what’s above, I can smile and know dem chucks doe…

Happy (Belated) Halloween

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays growing up.  Part of this was due to my birthday falling 4 days before, but the other is the opportunity for imagination and creativity to manifest itself in the form of a costume.  This year I was proud to go as the mom of the world’s most adorable chick!

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This sweet face stole a lot of hearts and, by default, a lot of candy.  Hope your Halloween was magical!

Unplanned stop

Before I started this blog, I whipped out my dusty sewing machine and decided to play around a bit. We had a lot of catching up to do.  I knew I wanted to focus on highlighting what I already had in my wardrobe, so my first instinct was to create a new accessory.  While I love a good scarf, a belt is an item that I find myself reaching for, yet never having.  Here is the tutorial I used as my guide:

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I conveniently (and dangerously) live across the street from a Joann Fabric.  I happened to find a fabric that is the bomb-dot-com when it comes to pattern and color scheme.  I knew my feelings for the fabric were legit when I refused to give up on a line that was at least 8 people deep (with carts filled to the brim for Halloween costume making) with a 2 year-old ready to burst at the seams.

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I couldn’t find a belt buckle wide enough to work, so I created my own out of cardboard and covered it with a roll of embellishment using a hot glue gun.  It ended up looking even better than I had expected but, while aesthetically pleasing, I discovered it was too flimsy to hold the belt tightly.  To remedy the situation, I hand-sewed a snap to keep it in place.

Here is the finished product:

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Not the greatest of fits (it gaps out a little in the back), but it is doable with additional coverage.  I will definitely work with this concept more and plan to try coffee can lids as the next belt buckle foundation.  A fabric with more stretch would be great for this project. Maybe one of my repurpose-ready, long-sleeved tees?

This.

This.  This is amazing.  I’m already cheating a little bit on my whole plan, but I could not pass this up.  Brilliant.

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Turning an old t-shirt into a draped vest is my new favorite thing.  I say it was cheating because I didn’t use any of my own t-shirts to do this.  I did, however, use one of my husband’s old shirts.

Unfortunately, I was so excited to try this that I forgot to take a “before” picture of the shirt.  Here is the “after”:

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(Disclaimer:  I apologize that the vast majority of my amateur selfies will be taken in the bathroom until I manage to get a full-length, non-bathroom mirror.  I personally think the faucet and pile of my husbands clothes make the picture).

Okay, back to what I was saying.  This.  So unbelievably easy (seriously…a pair of scissors and 3 cuts) and so CUTE!  I wore it out that very day.  This is the perfect accessory item for basic tanks.  I’m just sad that the warm season is pretty much over…I will make it stretch a little longer with short sleeved tops.

I will be raiding my husband’s stash a lot more now.  However, I can handle buying a cheapy pack of men’s t-shirts if needed.  Free or way cheaper than what it would cost at any store.  I like those options.

 

Wardrobe roadmap

We have a starting point, now we need a destination.  While I try to steer clear of  labels as a general life practice, I do feel that finding words to generalize what I’m looking for in my wardrobe remix will give me a tangible goal.  This is where Pinterest becomes  the therapist.  I have been hesitant for years to lay on its couch and spill my loves, interests, and aspirations for fear of feeling inadequate.  Pinterest is a slippery slope and not for the faint of heart.  I find myself  smiling, getting butterflies, jumping-up-and-down with excitement only to crash and burn in a pile of procrastination and envy.  Who are these people who have all this time to make a bajillion boards and pin and repin and then have the nerve to actually follow through with any of it?  I wasn’t about to get tangled in the “keeping up with the Joneses” web, but then again I certainly can’t do this alone.  With all of its hang-ups, Pinterest is actually really good at its job.

Letting go of my fears, I jumped into the heaping pile of fashion pins and discovered that, in addition to being a  fashion minimalist, I really enjoy Parisian-chic with a hipster flair.

I’m a visual learner which is what makes a Pinterest fashion-therapy session so productive.  Here is a sampling of what I chose to “love” button:

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If I had to choose a single photo to encapsulate my wardrobe-vision, this would be it.

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These leggings offend me with their cuteness.

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I need more flannel in my life.

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Moto and classic beauty make a baby.

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Love me a denim shirt!

Neutral colors, lots of black, scarves and functional (but adorable) shoes, jackets, minimal jewelry, comfortable but sleek, and purposeful.

Now that I have a general destination, my wardrobe and I have to accept that there are certain items that may need to be purchased along the way. My goal is not to craft an entirely new wardrobe out of an old one, but to utilize what I have as much as possible.  While I may not be able to recreate the above items, I can steer my current items to recreate the style.  I may aspire to be a minimalist-hipster-Parisian,  but I also just want to wear what I like.  That means I’m willing to change course and add in items that don’t fit the style if it presents itself.

That takes us to the next step in this process…the repurposing sessions.

I don’t care if the world knows what my secrets are

So I don’t rock mom jeans or cat earrings, but I will extrapolate my feelings when it comes to my current fashion situation.  This wardrobe/style therapy session begins with owning where we’re at so we can start the rebuilding process.  I went through and pulled out everything I have to work with (minus a small pile of summer-specific items and workout clothes).  I sorted them first by items that I intend to leave “as is”  and items that I either want to repurpose or remove completely.  My “as is” items were then sorted by clothing category.

Here’s my whole wardrobe (fit into two baskets):

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Repurpose/remove on the left and “as is” on the right

My guidelines for an item to be “as is” had to meet most of the following criteria:

  • good condition
  • classic pieces
  • easy to mix-and-match/accessorize
  • frequent wear/loved items

Here is what I decided…

Camis, tunic tanks, and crop tanks in neutral colors

Camis, tunic tanks, and crop tanks in neutral colors

Blouses with 3/4 sleeves (the black one in the middle has a collar the others have are v-neck)

Blouses with 3/4 sleeves (the black one in the middle has a collar and the others are v-neck)

My favorite knit sweater to wear over a cami and pair with leggings

My constantly-worn knit sweater 

Short black blazer that I wear alllllll the time

Short black blazer that I wear alllllll the time

longer black blazer that I never wear but want to work with

Longer black blazer that I never wear but want to work with (and it’s practically brand new)

My one-and-only denim jacket (a "love" item)

My one-and-only denim jacket (a “love” item)

Chunky knit boyfriend

Chunky knit boyfriend cardigan (not loved just yet, but versatile)

Long, crocheted cardigan (love, love love)

Long, crocheted cardigan (very loved)

Hooded, puffy vest (had it for years)

Hooded, puffy vest (had it for years)

My denim collection (one cropped pair and the rest are regular skinny jeans)

My denim collection (one cropped pair and the rest are regular skinny jeans)

Leggings - two regular black (wear constantly) and one grey sweater material

Leggings – two pair are black (that I wear constantly) and one with grey sweater material

Black pencil skirt and black mini

Black pencil skirt and black mini skirt (which I never wear, so it may have to go)

Maxi dress (super cute, but incredibly long)

Maxi dress (super cute, but incredibly long)

Peplum top (pair only with my pencil skirt)

Peplum top (I pair it only with my pencil skirt but I love it)

My guidelines for repurpose or remove were:

  • fair to rough condition or fading
  • rarely worn
  • limited versatility
  • awkward fit
  • just so over

Here is what I ended up with:

Plethora of layering camis

Plethora of layering camis

Other tanks

…and other tanks

Random tops

Random tops

Long sleeved tees

Long sleeved tees

Love these blouses, but I have had them for years and they no longer serve a purpose as the are

Love these blouses, but I have had them for years and they no longer serve a purpose “as is”

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Not a fan of the sleeveless or the design on the tee and my NYC shirt unfortunately has some holes

I bought these basic sweaters last year, but don't find them particularly exciting

I bought these basic sweaters last year, but don’t find them particularly exciting

These chunky cowl neck sweaters are super thick and itchy

These chunky cowl neck sweaters are super thick and itchy

Long sleeve sweater and sweatshirt

Long sleeve, v-neck sweater and sweatshirt

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Boyfriend and sheer black cardigans showing wear

Fold over skirts

Maxi and fold over skirts

Maxi dresses

Maxi dresses

Old yoga pants

Old yoga pants

Fading leggings and one terrible pair of jeggings

Fading leggings and one terrible pair of jeggings

A single pair of capri "work" dress pants

A single pair of capri “work” dress pants

 

Here are my on-the-fence items:

I like both of these tops, but can't seem to find purpose for them in my current wardrobe.

I like both of these tops but can’t seem to find purpose for them in my current wardrobe.

Wool cardigan that's itchy, slightly pilling, not a very versatile color, but I love the length and how it has almost coat-like qualities

Wool cardigan that’s itchy, slightly pilling, and not a very versatile color, but I love the length and how it can double as a coat

 

Just for fun, here are the accessories I am working with right now:

My scarf collection

My scarf collection

Belts (which I rarely wear)

Belts 

The only jewelry I wear (minus my earring studs)

The only jewelry I wear (minus my basic stud earrings)

So there it is – wardrobe transparency.  Now that there are no more secrets, up next is Step 3:  Drafting a Plan.