Category Archives: Outfits

Basic Loungewear

This post could also be titled “Clothes I Immediately Change Into When I Get Home.” I can’t remember when it started, but I know I didn’t always change clothes as soon as I got home. Maybe it’s happened gradually over time with aging. The clothes I wear to work and for going out feel so uncomfortable as soon as I walk through the door to my house – my belt feels slightly too tight, my feet feel restricted by the leather shoes I’m wearing, my bra straps have left permanent indentation marks on my shoulders. None of this stuff bothers me during work, but there’s something about walking over that threshold that immediately makes me think, “Must have stretchy waistband now!!!!”

Over the years and through minimizing my closet, I’ve curated a small loungewear collection. It might sound weird to edit what you wear at home when no one else is going to see you, but it makes a difference. I feel comfortable, not sloppy (notice how I said feel, not look).

Marie Kondo has a great section on loungewear in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She writes about how a lot of her clients keep items that they don’t want to wear outside of the house as loungewear even if it doesn’t spark joy for them. Because the items don’t ultimately spark joy, her clients end up never wearing them.

My loungewear sparks joy*.

I have three pairs of fitted sweatpants that I rotate between washings. I wear them about twice before putting them in the hamper. The ones I’m wearing in these photos are from Alternative Apparel and my other two pairs are from Target a couple of years ago. The Alternative Apparel ones aren’t cheap, but for the amount of times I wear them, they’re totally worth the cost. Plus they feel amazing and are from a socially responsible company. It’s a win win for everything but my wallet.

I also have two hoodies. Why two instead of one? For someone trying to be a minimalist two hoodies might seem excessive, but I need to have one while the other is in the wash. My love for hoodies knows no bounds; so much so that I freak out when I don’t have one to wear. Seriously. I owned one hoodie for about two years and would dread laundry day when I’d have to resort to a cardigan to stay warm (first world problems, I know). So I purchased the one in these photos by CHRLDR and my hoodie collection has been complete ever since. I can’t tell you how envious I am of Mark Zuckerberg – not because of his success and wealth, but because he can wear a hoodie to work. Ah, the joys of 24/7 hoodie-wearing!

Under my hoodie, I’m usually wearing a v-neck from Madewell or H&M that serve the dual purpose of loungewear and going out weekend wear.

Last but not least, I wear socks from Pure Barre, which is like wearing yoga pants when you’re not working out, but I have no shame! These socks are thicker than most athletics socks and they have grippies on the bottom so they don’t get soaked when you walk by your dog’s water bowl in the kitchen that is always inevitably surrounded by puddles of water. And they’re black, my favorite color 🙂

*If you think this statement is ridiculous or overused, please read or reread Marie Kondo’s books. There’s substance to this type of thinking and it’s not nearly as woo-woo as it sounds!

Political Clothing

Confession: I have been buying more stuff lately. But it’s okay, guys! Not only do I truly love this stuff, I truly love what they stand for. All of these clothing items and buttons support Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and Hillary’s campaign (pre-Novemember).

I know wearing politically-messaged clothing isn’t for everyone, but I love cozying up in my Femme sweatshirt at home or walking down the street and getting high fives from other “nasty” women. It brings me no end of joy and I hope, in some small way, helps keep the world a safer place for us all by supporting causes that help those who feel most vulnerable under the Trump administration.

If you guys feel the same way, here are a few of the sites I’ve been perusing and buying from:

The Pin Cause
The Outrage
Dynasty
Democrats/Hillary Clinton

I’ll be peacefully walking in solidarity at the Women’s March in Seattle (pussy hat at the ready!) and Cath will be marching in Atlanta. Let us know if you guys will be in DC or other cities around the country!

I Totally Kate Middleton-ed This Dress

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Kate and I have soooo much in common: we both have brown hair, brown eyes, arms, teeth … the comparisons are endless really. But one thing we have especially in common — we like to re-wear dresses to events. Hashtag twinsies! (Wait, I’m already a twin. Tripletsies?!)

In all seriousness though, I think this is such a tricky thing to do. To find a dress that’s dressy enough, but not so dressy that it only works for one type of occasion, and you don’t get sick of it because it fits so dang well and lets you have a food baby without anyone noticing it — near impossible! But, guys, I found it!

This fairly nondescript dress was a last minute purchase in the wilds of Pennsylvania suburbia one summer when I was at a wedding and forgot to bring something semi-formal for the rehearsal dinner.

The pattern didn’t immediately catch my eye, but I knew that a halter top is usually flattering on me so I thought I would give it a go. And low and behold, this Banana Republic Outlet dress (yes, outlet) has since become my go-to for semi-formal events everywhere … around the world: the rehearsal dinner in Pennsylvania, a dinner date with Matt in Split, Croatia, just this past weekend at my friend’s beautiful wedding, and a number of non-photographed events.

The other genius quality of this dress? It does not wrinkle! I can roll it in a ball and stuff it in a carry-on and still look fairly presentable at the end of a 5 hour flight.

Do you guys have a magical clothing item that does all that? I seriously didn’t think they existed before I found this dress.

Kate probably wishes she could wear something this casual on her state visits to some far-flung former colony. I mean Alexander McQueen is nice and all, but a BP Outlet dress is apparently where it’s at.

Is Minimalism as a Trend Waning?

Cath and I have always felt that minimalism and living with less, shouldn’t be thought of as a specific “look.” Living with fewer things does not mean your closet will look perfectly monochrome or your kitchen will have absolutely nothing on the counters.

Minimalism looks different for everyone. At least, I think it can.

And so here is where I make that argument that you can dress like this:

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And have a house that looks like this:

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And still be someone who is trying to be more a conscientious consumer.

It makes sense that the Minimalist trend coincided with the aesthetic trend of neutral palettes in both fashion and interiors. But if you look at the amount of color and pattern showing up in Instagram, on Pinterest, magazines and current fashion shows, I think it’s safe to say that that “look” is waning, if ever so slightly.

And I love it! I love a very neutral, clean look too, but I’m equally excited by the exuberance of saturated color and swirls of patterns clashing together.

Though this look is more layered and often more “cluttered,” I don’t think that means it’s because you buy more or have to buy more to achieve that look. In some ways, this more bohemian style works really well with using what you already own. Seriously, pull everything out of your closet and put it together — either on your own body or on your couch. Voila! Boho-ization!

(The street style pics in this post are Phil Oh’s via Vogue)

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(I particularly fancy what these Gucci ladies have going on this and last season):

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In fact, that’s what I’m trying to do. Instead of wearing more color and pattern by running to the shops, I’m scrounging through my closet and figuring out how to combine my existing clothes that didn’t appeal to me when I was doing the black and white thing. I have made some trips to Goodwill to mix it up a bit more, but I’m not interested in adding to me closet’s girth. So I’ve been weeding out things at the same time.

I haven’t gone full Gucci 2016 just yet, but you can see the style change happening in the pic below. On the left is an outfit photo from early spring and below right is from just a few weeks ago:

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These pics do a pretty good job of summing up how I was dressing and how I feel like dressing now. And who doesn’t love a little layer challenge come fall.

Are you guys feeling it? That change in the air?

If you are a monochromatic gal/guy for life, or have been missing your inner bohemian, I still think you can live with less. I’ll try to prove it the next little while and keep you guys updated on how my style progresses and whether I’ve slipped into buying more stuff just so my life looks like Justina Blakeney’s.

Cath’s in Seattle (again!)

Cath has had a hard summer and it so sucks that I can’t be right next to her when she needs me. So for her birthday, we bought her a roundtrip ticket to Seattle for a week. It has been heavenly! The only problem? I don’t want her to leave.

Hear that, Cath? You. Can’t. Leave!cathseattle-4 cathseattle-3

Goodwill Hunting Part 2

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Top: shirt from Goodwill (drawn on by moi), cropped shorts from UK charity shop, shoes Superga. Bottom: Club Monoco dress from Goodwill.

Since taking these photos last week, a strange thing has happened — a new season. Somehow the end of summer rolled into town. Why and how and why so fast?

I’m sure Cath is rolling her eyes at me in Hot-lanta where the temperatures still soar and the humidity smothers. But here in the temperamental PNW, we’ve had one or two 90 degree days nestled between chillier 60-70 degree weeks. I’m not complaining — nooooo. It’s far summerier than the summery of summers in Edinburgh, but it’s still ending too soon.

And for some reason, this change in season has me moving away from the above pictured minimalist style and into piling on rings and a sweater or two with a (gasp!) print or pattern.

Does that happen to you guys too? Change in season or time of life and your style asks for a shake-up without you realizing it?

It’s confusing because I thought in my 30s I would sort of start sticking to one style a bit more (Cath and I have talked about this repeatedly on the blog here and here). Maintaining one style is friendlier on your wallet and your closet (aka living with less). So I’m kind of baffled by this need to, stylistically-speaking, maximize my wardrobe — at the same time as limiting acquisitions.

But I’m going to go with it. I find any time I try to stick too closely to one school of thought — even when I can feel things shifting to explore new avenues — I end up frustrated and feeling stuck. So let’s embrace the confusion and the arm parties and contrasting patterns.

Happy almost-Fall!

Goodwill Hunting Part 1

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Tee thrifted from Revival, Pants from Goodwill, Dress from Goodwill, Red bandana from Ban.do

I’d say roughly a third of my closet is thrifted, the second third is at least five years old, and the last third is stuff bought within the last five years. That’s pretty good, right?

Ideally I would find everything I needed (and wanted — such a bad minimalist) at Goodwill or a charity or vintage shop. But certain things (undies, a fresh white T-shirt, socks) are better bought new.

I’m always on the hunt for good ethical sources for closet staples. If you guys have any suggestions please do send them our way.

Thrifting has become my default for “ethical” — I feel I’m at least not adding to the overabundance of STUFF by re-using. And I honestly think being conscientious about our buying habits is a first great step to living with less.

I currently live about a 7 minute walk to the nearest Goodwill where I found these pants-that-feel-like-pjs (#winning!) and this dress that, with a red bandana, makes me feel like Rosie the Riveter. I really can’t ask for more sartorial dreaminess for less than $30 combined.

To sum up: get thee to a Goodwill (or similar establishment of thrifty repute)!

Change in Style (aka I went shopping)

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See that t-shirt I’m wearing? And those shoes? And that bomber? Alllll new! And I blame my shopping on the seasons. Namely, spring and summer.

Who would have thought seasons could be so complicated?! I mean, I grew up in D.C. and we had four solid seasons. 8 years in Atlanta – there were also four seasons with a blink-and-you-miss-it winter. But after just four measly years in a place with 1.5 seasons (yup, I’m talking about you, Scotland) you wouldn’t think I would have forgotten so quickly about the wardrobe changes that shifts in seasons necessitate.

Scottish seasonal weather could be summed up by Billy Connelly’s apt quote, “There are two seasons in Scotland: June and winter.” And even June isn’t guaranteed to stay too warm.

So, whilst living in the wet isles of the UK, I never needed to switch out my wardrobe. It stayed the same year-round except when I would swap out my coat out for a less heavy coat. Yes, even in a Scottish summer, you’ll want those cozy layers.

Well, I tried to do the same thing here in Seattle. I thought how different can one wet place be to another? It turns out, plenty! For one, Scotland makes Seattle look like a desert in comparison. I’ve had more sunny days here in 9 months than I had in all four years in Edinburgh combined. Also, on a blazing hot summer’s day in Scotland, you might hit 68°F if you are very lucky. We surpassed that the beginning of April here in the Pacific Northwest. And my wardrobe doesn’t know what to do with itself.

Neither does my attempt to live a more minimal lifestyle.

I’ve had to shop. I mean, I improvised for a while but eventually I got tired of being muggy and feeling over-dressed. And even though I do feel a twinge of guilt that my closet has grown instead of stayed minimal these past few months, I’ve gotten more excited about clothes again.

But I still feel in flux, if that makes sense. I feel a little startled at warmth and the ease of being outside without battling the elements. So it’s taking me a long minute to figure out how to keep my closet stream-lined when my giddy summer brain keeps bubbling up.

Now that I’ve bought a some new things, I’m going to take a hard look at some of the things that I loved to bits and pieces in Scotland, but don’t really serve me as well in the land of gentle breezes and rays of sunshine. (I’m sorry, tweed dress, but I just don’t see us working out any more!)

Have you guys ever had this experience being in a new place or making a change in your life that dictates a shift in how you dress (for instance, graduating college and taking a job in a conservatively-dressed office environment). I’d love to know how you adjusted and how long it took you to adjust.

One In, One Out

The one in, one out policy is not a new concept for minimalism. I always admired the idea of not increasing the amount of things you own, but didn’t think it was really possible. Now that I’ve minimalized my closet, it’s pretty easy to keep a handle on what I have, what I need, and what I need to get rid of.

So when my beloved Feiyue sneakers bit the dust last month, I replaced them with a shiny new pair of Stan Smiths. I know, I know. Stan Smiths are everywhere and almost passé, but I love the shape and simplicity of the design.

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Just like my Feiyues, these Stan Smiths are the ultimate weekend shoe. There’s no need to break them in and they’re really comfortable without socks.

So in honor of my first legit one in, one out attempt, here’s a good ol’ fashion outfit post!

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Truly Madly Deeply tank from Urban Outfitters | Baggu tote | Jawbone | Everlane cardi | Old Navy Jeggings | Adidas Stan Smiths

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cath-close-upSimple weekend make-up: Physicians formula tinted moisturizer | NYX brow mascara in Espresso | Milani lipstick in Rose Femme | Tarte blush in Exposed

Draw on your shirt

One huge perk to shopping less (apart from being better for your wallet, the environment and garment workers around the world), you stop looking like everyone else!

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve worn the same H&M or Zara dress/shirt/shoes/etc. I don’t find this embarrassing because growing up with an identical twin, I’m used to looking like someone else. But I still like thinking my style is somewhat unique and not just a slave to trends.

Avoiding the high street shops/the mall, I really am hard-pressed showing up some place dressed the same way, even as Cath!

I also tend to get more compliments on my less trendy clothes. For example, I got this idea stuck in my head that I really wanted to take black pen to a nice crisp white shirt (who doesn’t?). So I bought a $3 white button-up at Goodwill, gave it a wash, and took a fabric-safe black pen from my local art supply store and went to town.

It’s a little weird, and I still haven’t worn it to the office, but it’s one of my favorite things in my closet.

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