December 22, 2014

fall wrap up

unfancy-105

Happy Monday — it’s fall wrap-up time! This post is coming a little out of order, but I’m just trying to keep you on your toes.

Before we jump too far into winter, I want to share a few lessons I learned about capsule wardrobes this fall. And before we do that, let’s glance back at the summer wrap up for a sec, and remind ourselves of my favorite two words, “How fascinating!”

Mistakes — of any kind — usually make us fidget + sweat. After all, if we’re being real, any mistake has a cost.

But … what if there’s another side to our mistakes? A quieter side, that’s perhaps harder to feel, but just as real.

Let me introduce you to one of my favorite people: Benjamin Zander. If I could pick anyone in the world to adopt as a grandfather, it would be this guy. He’s the renown conductor of the Boston Philharmonic + a wildly innovative, out-of-the-box thinker. He says:

“I actively train my students that when they make a mistake, they are to lift their arms in the air, smile, and say, “How fascinating!” It is only when we make mistakes that we can really begin to notice what needs attention.”

(Don’t you love that mental picture? A bunch of serious musicians throwing their arms in the air and exclaiming to themselves? Makes me smile every time.)

Another mistake? How fascinating! Another opportunity to learn something just presented itself.

So on that note, I definitely made a few mistakes with my capsule wardrobe this fall.

But that’s okay, because, how fascinating! I learned something.

1. Too much of a good thing … is a bad thing.

Ankle booties. I love ‘em. But I was obviously blinded by my love for them, because I had 5 pairs of ankle booties and zero pairs of tall boots. I sure felt that mistake on cold days.

If you’re thinking of piling on here, just … maybe don’t do it. I already understand the full depth of this oversight because I had to live with it for three months.

Why didn’t I add some in? Pure stubbornness.

But hey — I did figure out how to wear socks with ankle booties in a cool way! So …

Yeah, that doesn’t sound like enough of a silver lining. I probably should have just added a pair of taller boots. :)

I’m pumped about my winter boots though — I swapped out some of my ankle booties for three pairs of taller boots. Truth be told, I don’t like riding boots, so I went with a pair of moto boots (for an edgy vibe) and a pair of shearling farm boots (for a cozy vibe). I also added in one pair of taller dress boots. They have a 3 inch heel, but I wore them out this weekend, and I forgot I was even wearing heels because they were so comfortable.

2. Heels are awesome. But not for casual, everyday shoes.

Heels are awesome for shoes that are meant to dress up an outfit. Like these. Or the dress boots I just mentioned. But for everyday shoes? Not so much.

Last fall, I could have sworn that I spent the entire season in a pair of heeled ankle booties. So that’s why I thought all these heels and ankle booties would work. But apparently, I either didn’t remember correctly or I have aged significantly in a year. Let’s hope for the first option.

3. A dark rinse jean is a must.

I got a little tired of dark rinse jeans after having them in my winter + spring + summer capsules, so I ditched them this fall. Oops. I missed them. A lot.

I will forever more have a pair of dark rinse jeans in my capsules.

4. It’s harder to plan capsules for fall (and spring). So cut yourself some slack. 

When it comes down to it, I think it’s because it’s hard for me to recall what 40ºF feels like when it’s 100ºF. In that kind of heat, I can’t even think about wearing a sweater. I tried my best, but my planning was a little skewed by the hot summer temperatures.

That’s okay. I’ll get to make little tweaks next time around.

I’ve noticed that I’ve loved my summer + winter capsules the most so far. I find myself toying with a new approach to capsule wardrobes — like maybe having just two capsules … with maybe a few key pieces that allow for unexpected weather. Hm.

So there you have it! How fascinating!

I’m curious what you think — especially about #4. 

xo

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December 19, 2014

my winter capsule wardrobe

Put on your cozy socks and let’s get excited about winter!

Pssst … here’s a refresher course on capsule wardrobes, just in case you want to brush up. And here’s a quick update about my goals + thought process in building this capsule wardrobe. 

In this post, we’ll be chatting about my process of putting my winter wardrobe together + my budget + what I ended up with + finally, where you can shop for each piece.

But first, let’s just get a visual for the whole wardrobe:

WINTER-CAP

Disclaimer: Honesty is awesome, so I chat numbers and dollars in this post. I trust you’ll honor my honesty. Just so we’re clear, everything written here is based on my personal experiences + opinions. Not everything I say here will work for you, but I have faith that you’ll take the information presented  and apply some of it to your own wardrobe in a new and creative way.

This post is an overview — keep in mind that I’ll be discussing each item more in-depth in outfit posts.

THE PROCESS

This wardrobe was a happy one. Why? Because it was the first time it felt effortless. It was the first time that I got a glimpse of, “This is working! I know my style, and I’m spending less + buying less.” Which is what this is all about. And that makes me … happy.

Get ready for this: I finished every bit of my shopping in two outings.

I look at that sentence I just wrote up there and think: There’s no way I just wrote that. I’m the girl that has always thought, overthought, bought, returned, and maybe went back and re-bought it again.

But that’s how it went down this time.

You know what that means?

I’m changing. This process is changing me.

And I like it.

So… going back to the effortless thing. Here’s why I think it felt that way this time around:

(A) I just decided that it would be effortless. December is sacred to me, and I crave rest in December. I didn’t want to spend much time out shopping. So … I didn’t.

(B) I had a solid foundation underneath me — I already owned about 80% of these pieces. They were either rolled over from my fall capsule, or they were pulled from storage.

(C) And because practice makes things easier. This is the fifth time I’ve made a capsule wardrobe, and I feel like I just know my style now.

I had one goal:

Major comfort.

Meaning comfortable fabrics + tops that allow me to trade a real bra for a sports bra + flat shoes.

I did run into a little bit of internal struggle, mostly because I knew the wardrobe I wanted to design might seem boring on a blog. I had thoughts swimming around my head, like, “I need variety … or else everyone is going to get bored.” + “I need color … or else everyone is going to get bored.” But the truth is, I had put that pressure on myself – and I could take it away.

Once I released that pressure, I was left with my favorite, most “me” wardrobe ever.

My style for winter is modern + monochromatic + secretly super comfortable.

BUDGET

I’m so proud of my budget. You know how I mentioned I didn’t want to spend much time shopping? Well, I knew I didn’t want to spend much money shopping either.

So I budgeted $250 for my winter capsule and — it wasn’t easy — but I stuck to it. I kept finding myself tempted to spend more “because of the blog” but I’m so glad I didn’t. That’s not what this is about.

Let’s break this $250 down a little bit.

I bought 8 new pieces for winter, and received one more as a gift from my family. (You can see which ones are new in the photo above — they have a little dot next to them.)

My sherpa jacket was an early Christmas gift from my family, so I was able to save there. (Thanks Mom!)

Next, my dress boots actually account for half of my budget. Meaning I managed to get the remaining 7 pieces for about $125. I relied heavily on discounts, using one or more on just about every item — either scoring a Cyber Monday deal, or just googling a discount code. Major victory!

Since I won’t be shopping for the next three months, it comes out to about $83 per month. I’m so proud of that number, I could do a happy dance.

SHOP IT

winter1

graphic tee  /  white tank  /  classic button up  /  slouchy sweater (similar)

 white cords  /  wrap coat  /  white sweater  /  sherpa jacket (similar)

WINTER-1

 

  sweatshirt  /  cocoon cardigan  /  midi dress (similar or similar)  /  marled turtleneck

graphic tee (similar) /  chambray shirt (similar)  /  distressed denim  /  fit and flare dress (similar or similar)

WINTER-2

 indigo jeans   /   tunic top   /   sweater tunic  /  wool joggers (similar)

 dark grey denim  /  unstructured blazer  /  colorblocked sweater  /  ponte leggings

winter4

puffer jacket (similar)  /  leather jacket  /  shirttail hem skirt (similar) /  leather leggings (similar)

dress boots  /  cutout booties  /  wedge booties (similar) /  cognac booties (similar)

winter5

moto boots  /  vans high tops (similar) /  flats (similar)  /  slip-ons (similar)  /  shearling farm boots (similar)

I can’t wait to share more about these pieces (and why I chose them) over the coming season. Happy weekend!

xo

December 18, 2014

grace

Hi there. I’m back. :)

As you can imagine, it took a little time to process exactly what went down on Tuesday.

I don’t like drama or scenes, and being in the middle of one on Tuesday — or rather, causing one — I was wildly uncomfortable. 

But I’m here. You’re here. 

And it’s a new day. 

I woke up the past two mornings feeling … vulnerable. 

Vulnerability is tough to lean into. It’s much easier to lash out. If I’m being honest, I’ve been wrestling with which path I want to choose.

Because I’ve got a lot of feelings:

I feel sad — because the message of Tuesday’s post was lost to heated comments + side picking.

I feel regret — because I offended and confused people. I wish I had approached Tuesday’s post differently.

I feel embarrassed — because I have potentially damaged a dear friend’s ministry, and have opened it up to attacks + negativity. 

I feel repulsed — because of the way we tend to treat each other online, when we’re safely hidden behind our screens.

Yes, I’ve been wrestling with which way I want to go.

But … a little quiet reflection tells me that lashing out at someone else is only going to end up hurting … all of us. 

See, in the truest part of me, I believe we are all on the same team. Yes — all of us:

You, the person who is offended by my choices. And you, the person who is cool with me going my own way.

You, the person who wrote me an encouraging email late last night. And you, the person who is trashing my name + actions + life in online forums.

All of us. Same team.

Stick with me for a second:

There’s this idea called the WE mentality. You can find it in Benjamin Zander’s book “The Art of Possibility” and read all about it. In short, it’s a practice of naming negative behavior as the enemy — behavior like pride, greed, or revenge — and naming the people as the hope.

In doing so, it removes the barriers between us and allows a flow of compassion, no matter how badly we have behaved. 

It shifts the focus from you vs. me — to us. It makes a little room for us to see the human being behind the behavior. No matter what is done, no matter what is said, there is a heart and soul there.

Living with the WE mentality takes grace. Compassion. Vulnerability. And a respect for boundaries — not by shrinking from our beliefs, but by admitting that there’s a chance we don’t have everything 100% figured out. 

Especially online, where we’re held to perplexing standards like:

“Be real, but not too real.” 

“Share your life online, but stop living your life through the internet.”

“Do your thing, but don’t do it like that.”

We desperately need grace and compassion from each other.

So …

We have an opportunity here:

If we’re going to change anything on this planet — if we want to make this world a better place — we’ve got to know that it starts with how we treat each other.

WE can be the example. WE can be the ones who lead the change. WE can … but only if we choose to live with standards that go against the grain.

I’m thankful for this opportunity.

And I’m thankful for us.

Tomorrow, we celebrate winter! And yeah, you know what that means! :)

xo

December 16, 2014

the fall look book is here!

 

fall-lookbook

Hello + Happy Tuesday! I made something for you:

The Unfancy Fall Look Book.

On the surface, it’s a cool little magazine-kinda-thing of all the outfits from my current capsule wardrobe. It’s even organized by my favorite pieces — like, all the outfits with a graphic tee together, all the outfits with leather leggings together, etc. — to give you some seriously simplified outfit inspo, all in one spot.

But really, it’s a not-so-subtle request to share hope with some kids in need.

Let me explain:

See, I have this friend.

Her name is Cherith. We met the first day of middle school, and we instantly bonded over our love of singing + acting + musical theatre. All our eleven-year-old dreams came true when we were cast in our sixth grade’s production of Annie — Cherith was Annie, and I was Pepper. Not to brag, but it ruled.

Later on that year, we made up rhyming nicknames. Cary and Cherry. Our friendship was sealed, and we’ve been friends ever since.

Fast forward to this year.

This past August, Cherith, her husband Cole, and their four kids left their home and loved ones and moved to Africa, all because of a simple desire to share hope with kids who don’t have any. In fact, their non-profit has that very name: H.O.P.E.

And now, even as I type these words, Cherith and her family are living out love every day in Kenya.

I can’t help but be challenged.

I can’t help but reflect.

I can’t help but want to do more.

So … the Look Book is for everyone. You can have it, for free, right here: 

DOWNLOAD THE FALL LOOK BOOK

But … if it has value to you … 

Get to know my friends, Cherith and Cole. Watch what H.O.P.E is all about in this 4 minute video

Then give. Whatever you like. Whatever you can. Whatever feels right.

“Generosity is what keeps the things we own from owning us.” -Eugene Cho

xo

December 15, 2014

4.45 baby it’s warm outside

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Aaron and I took part in one of our favorite Austin Christmas traditions this weekend — the Trail of Lights. It’s a 2 mile walk through Zilker Park with major Christmas light displays + kettle corn stands where a “small” is actually the size of a pillowcase. Usually, we’re bundled up to the max and kind of running through the trail because it’s so dang cold.

Not this year.

It was ridiculously warm this weekend. People were walking the Trail of Lights in t-shirts and shorts. The hot cocoa was too hot. And I — the girl who will wear a jacket with it’s 60ºF out — went jacketless.

It was awesome. We took our time and had a blast.

We also watched a bunch of Christmas movies, decorated Christmas cookies, went Christmas shopping, and strung up lights all over our apartment this weekend.

So in short: It may be warm outside, but we’re in full on Christmas mode over here. And to match that mode, this is my warm weather + Christmas spirit outfit.

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?

Shirt: J.Crew (similar)

Bottoms: Gap (similar)

Shoes: Madewell (similar in a different color)

Bag: Marc Jacobs

Rings: Moulton

Earrings: Madewell

xo