A Minimal Wardrobe

After I started thinking about my functional wardrobe, I came across the concept of a minimalism in relation to clothing. Pinterest searches returned mostly black and white outfits (which looked a bit boring to me) but also the concepts of the Parisian Closet or French Wardrobe, and Capsule Wardrobe. 

The minimal concept, I came to understand, didn’t mean just owning less stuff. In fact, some contemporary takes on minimalism advocate it’s about having less stuff you don’t need (examples here and here).

In that context, one of the ways it can be used is to guide the choice of items. For instance, using the same colour palette when making a new purchase, thus creating consistency across the wardrobe and ensuring the new piece works with what’s already in there.

There also seemed to be instances where the minimal concept was used to justify buying a bunch of new stuff every season (a capsule for each season, for instance). This bit aside, I was curious – What would my minimal wardrobe look like? and How minimal would it go? 

My minimum requirements

After months of thinking about this, I finally felt inspired to put something together on Polyvore that feels like an accurate reflection of my most minimal requirements (considering current needs and style). I probably would only add one other top (a simple black long-sleeve), and a belt or two (in red).

Other than that, I look at this board and it really feels perfect to me.  It amazes me that it can be so small, particularly as I tried to make it an all-year-round collection that would be suitable for work and off-duty city life.

I still can’t believe that so few items could create so many outfits for all seasons. I mean, I understand that this is what a mixable wardrobe should do but it still amazes me to see the possibilities.


I know it is taking me quite some time to put these posts together, so I apologise in advance for my slowness.

But next, I want to tell you about the process – how I went about picking a colour palette and choosing the items. After that, I want to show you the differences or similarities between this inspiration and the reality of my wardrobe. And finally, how it has prompted me to pack a few more items for donation and pick a couple of new things!

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the whole idea of a minimalist closet. Have you tried it? Do you think the capsule wardrobe trend is often used by brands to encourage buying more? And, if you’re trying to be a more mindful consumer, how does the concept appeal to you?


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Josefinas {Ballet Flats}

josefinas

Back in September 2013, my sister introduced me to Josefinas. Since then, these cute handmade ballet flats have been on my wish-list and an endless source of inspiration for my Polyvore style sets.

I wasn’t planning to get a pair until my other ballet flats were on their way out but fast-forward a little bit over a year and a pretty black and blush shoebox arrived – a birthday present from my husband.

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I wanted to wear them for a while before making any comments. Now that I’ve done so, here’s what I’ve found.

  1. The leather is extremely soft and comfortable – I thought it would be harder and take some time to adapt to my feet but no, the expression fits like a glove comes to mind.
  2. They are surprisingly warm. Part of collection nº7, Goa is a shoe designed for cooler days, with reinforced inner leather. I could really tell the difference, these last few weeks, between the times when it was hotter and when it was cooler.
  3. They move well from casual weekend to work days (see gallery below for examples).
  4. I am generally a size 37.5 in Europe but they only make full sizes so these are a 38. I have found that to be no problem  but if I was to buy some from collection nº1, I’d probably buy size 37 as they only have one layer of leather.
  5. Beware of pointy metal edges (e.g., chair or table legs). I can’t keep still even when I’m sitting so I have learned that it is best not to push/brush/kick my Josefinas against legs of tables or chairs, especially metal ones. The softness of the leather does mean it is more delicate than other leather or synthetic materials.

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I walk a lot – to work, to the supermarket, everywhere I can, really. A good walking shoe is essential to my lifestyle. You will never catch me walking to work in running shoes, but all my shoes must have that good-for-walking quality. These haven’t disappointed. They are surprisingly sturdy.

I do have to look into ways to preserve them well, as I walk so much. I am thinking about paying a visit to my favourite cobbler one of these days to see what advice he has.

I do also wonder how they’ll perform on a rainy day and what extra care I can give them to keep them looking great for long. What do you do to preserve and extend the life of your leather shoes?


 


 

The Style of Others {OOTD}

Do you know that feeling when you’re traveling overseas or living away from your home-country and see someone who you just instinctively know that they can only be from the same place you are?

Or when you look at a style or design and think things like “that’s very Parisian”, “oh, that has such a Nordic feel” or “that’s very East Coast”?

Well, when I put together this outfit yesterday morning, my immediate thought was “ohh, this looks very Spanish”.

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I’m not even sure what that is supposed to mean. But it can’t be just the fact that every piece of clothing I’m wearing here is from Spanish brands such as Mango and Stradivarius!

We may have access to the same stores these days but a Zara in Vienna has a very different display of outfits from a Zara in Paris or Lisbon.1

Despite a globalization of brands and democratization of fashion, we still seem to be able to put things together in very culturally-specific ways.

I guess if we look at our personal styles as a form of expression of who we are, part of our cultural background will come through somehow. Such cultural particularities can then be recognized by others, either from the same or different culture.

I still can’t tell you exactly what it is about this ensemble that makes me think of it as “very Spanish”. Most likely, this is just based on my personal, and very generic (limited?), definition of Spanish style.

But isn’t that what happens when we attempt to narrow-down the common nature of the styles of others?

Last Work Outfit of 2014

Yay – the Summer holidays are finally here.

Yes, I know this sounds weird for some of you in the northern hemisphere. It still feels strange to me to have Summer around this time of the year.

But I’m getting over it quickly. A sunny break right at the end of the year does feel like the best way to wrap it up and gear up for the next one!

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Though this is Summer, it was still cool enough to wear my Kowtow Building Blocks cardigan. It’s not as light as I expected which makes it perfect for New Zealand weather.

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Yes, yet more stripes. I’m often put off by trends that spread like wildfire. I feel weird about dressing like everyone else. Must be the backlash to all those high school years, when all we wanted was to be as inconspicuous as possible…

But I have been a fan of stripes for so long that it is unlikely I will stop anytime soon, if at all. As I get older, I feel some preferences will go the distance.

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Finally, for this last work outfit of 2014, I felt like getting my treasured Cath Kidston handbag out for a spin and give my Cuyana tote a rest. I missed this slice of English loveliness and functional design.

Plus, I was already mixing stripes with polka dots. Might as well add some flowers for good measure. After all, with such an ubiquitous trend, a girl has to express her individuality somehow!

Hope you had a great time with your family over the holidays and enjoy your time wherever you are, Summer break or no Summer break.

Thanks for reading!

 

Little Snippets of Work Wear

This morning I was trying to recall what I wore yesterday and it took a huge effort to bring back that memory.

This has been an extremely busy time at work so I will use that as an excuse for this fit of amnesia. Cheekily, I will repurposed that as an excuse for the lack of outfit photos on the blog in the last couple of weeks.

But here’s what I’ve been doing instead:

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To overcome that lack of time for outfit photos/blogging, I started putting together little Instagram sets of my work outfits.

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I decided to focus on my work outfits after reading this post by Sara from Me and Orla.

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While I love to see some beautiful posts of outfits that are a perfect display of the most recent trends, sometimes I just want a post of something I can relate. Sara’s post inspired me to walk the walk and start by putting together my own collection.

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These little snippets are turning out to be quite helpful in keeping track of what I have been wearing.

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And this is not just for the fact that they help me avoid wearing the same pair of trousers two days in a row.

 

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They are also a great source of inspiration when I, unavoidably, ask myself just before bed – what am I going to wear tomorrow?

Do you have any tips/tricks to keep up with what you wear during busy times?

On Mondays

I have recently realised that, despite having a Monday-to-Friday office job, I quite like Mondays.

In fact, I think I like my Mondays more now, than when I was doing my own thing and didn’t have to be somewhere at a certain time everyday of the week.

I won’t lie. I have found this puzzling. I definitely expected to have a certain aversion to Mondays when I started on this career path, so lacking in the freedom I had in my previous one.

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Of course, this may be because I like my job (go figure!) and am actually free to enjoy my weekends. But I wonder if it may also have something to do with the fact that my Mondays often have a certain Friday feeling.

I recently noticed that I have been picking quite casual outfits for Mondays. This may be a direct consequence of the casual nature of Mondays at my job, as they tend to be less formal than the remaining of the week.

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For whatever reason, the result has been a reinforcement of the belief that Mondays are yet another day in my life that I am grateful for.

See, the thing is, for some random reason, there’s a day called Monday every seven days. That gives us an illusion of a loop but the reality is that we’re in a continuum. We’re not going around in circles but, instead, keep moving forward – even when we don’t feel like that’s the case.

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Tomorrow will be yet another Monday but it will be a new day.

If picking up a casual work outfit helps to have a more positive attitude towards it, so be it. Just because they have the same name every week, it doesn’t mean I should take them for granted – Carpe diem!

The outfit:

  • Coat, dress, cardigan, sunglasses – Mango
  • Tote – Cuyana
  • Boots – Sapataria Vassalo, Santarém (Portugal)
  • Foulard – no brand
  • Watch – Fossil

 

Spring Time

Happy weekend everyone!

I know many of you are now starting to enjoy Autumn – my favourite season. In Auckland, we’re just now getting to have warmer, Spring days. The sun has been out these last few days and I can’t help but be inspired. We’ve all had enough of cold, rainy days.

I almost bought these trousers in Lisbon but then thought I’d give it a bit more thought, just not to be too impulsive. Of course, when I then had the chance to go into another Zara, they didn’t have it anymore…Ah, the irony! At least I can still imagine how I’d wear this season’s bold prints…

Spring Time