Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

Monthly Update – May 2017

If not for my husband buying two pairs of hiking bottoms for me, nothing new would have entered my wardrobe this month.

Indulge me if you will as I slide into sounding like a crotchety old person. And by sounding like a crotchety old person I mean saying what I’m thinking without giving a crap if anyone agrees with me or not.

There is a lot of shit in stores right now. A lot.

Who on earth decided it was a good idea to resurrect pleats and put them on the front of shorts? Some styles died for a reason. Doing something no one else is doing doesn’t automatically make it new and fashion forward. Sometimes no one is doing it because it’s a shitty idea.

Why would you take the time to embellish a shirt that’s transparent? Because the embellishment is supposed to distract you from the fact that the shirt is a piece of crap destined for the garbage pile. Full stop.

Honestly, I was completely and utterly disengaged from shopping this month. I couldn’t even drag myself into a change room. I had originally planned for the Memorial Day weekend sales to be where I stocked up on all sorts of new back to work clothes, but I just couldn’t bring myself to be bothered.

Quarterly Budget: $750 + $360.64 (carryover) – $569.96 (Apr) – $0 (May) = $540.68

It feels a little odd linking up with the other budgeting bloggers this month, but I’m doing it anyway. I think it’s good to reflect on the months you don’t buy anything, and the reasons why, as much as the months you do. If anything, I think reflecting on the reasons why you don’t buy things is becoming increasingly important in this retail environment.

For those who are curious, my husband bought me the Columbia Silver Ridge Shorts in Cypress and the Columbia Saturday Trail II Convertible Pant in British Tan. Both will be awesome for getting out and about in the wilderness with the munchkin this summer.


Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Thoughts On Time And Volume

Yesterday was laundry day. Over the course of the day I powered through six loads of laundry.

Normally I don’t binge launder anymore, but after a weekend full of visiting family and not doing my normal routine, I just wanted it done. The nice thing is that after six loads, literally everything I use day to day was clean:

  1. Bath towels
  2. Bedding
  3. Kitchen towels, napkins & high chair
  4. Son’s clothes
  5. Dark adult clothes
  6. Light adult clothes

I can do a load of laundry almost every day, or I can do it all in one day. Either way, it’s a manageable amount.

I had an epiphany a couple years ago. I was sitting in my front entry way, cleaning and polishing a pair of leather boots. I was still learning how to do it, so it was more time consuming than it really needed to be. Looking at my overflowing closet of cheap shoes, I realized that I had more shoes than I had time to care for them all. It felt wrong. Why did I own so many things if I didn’t have time to properly look after them?

I should only own as many things as I have time to properly care for.

That idea hit me like a freight train. It occurred to me around the time I first started decluttering and paring back on my possessions. I’m reminded of it any time I feel overwhelmed by the effort required to look after my family’s stuff.

The busier I get, the less time I have. By extension, the busier I get the fewer things I can reasonably look after. Having started a family, I find that when I’m looking at knickknacks in store the first thought to cross my mind is “I don’t want to have to clean that.” So I leave the store without it.

I’m getting the same feeling shopping for clothing.

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

The Long And Shorts Of It

*pulls white jeans from closet*

Husband: Don’t you want to wear shorts? It’s nice out.

Me: I don’t have any.

Shirt: J.Crew / CPW: $5.90 / # of wears: 4
Jeans: 7 For All Mankind / CPW: $8.74  /# of wears: 10
Shoes: Steve Madden / CPW: $1.14  /# of wears: 37
Sunglass: no name – borrowed from husband
# of wears counted since October 1, 2016

H: I thought you bought shorts last summer?

M: I did. They don’t fit me anymore.

H: ?

M: I’ve lost a lot of weight since then.

H: I thought you had shorts before he was born?

M: I did, but they’re too small.

So goes the great Goldilocks shorts conundrum that has my husband shaking his head. We’ve had this conversation a couple times now. I need to find a pair that’s just right (or, you know, fits).

In the mean time, jeans it is. They’re comfortable enough while we’re in the mid-20’s, but I’ll have to find something else before we hit 30.

How was your long weekend?

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Curated Closet – Colour Palette

Picking a colour palette! This has to be the easiest part of the process! I mean, you’re just picking the colours you like to wear, and leaving out the ones you don’t. The book recommends picking three main colours, two neutrals, and four accent colours. Simple.

Neutrals are easy, so let’s start there. Black and white. Done. Oh, but I also like wearing cognac. And I have a lot of grey in my closet… Oh shoot, navy is a neutral too right? I can’t leave that out. Does cream fall under the heading of white, or is it a different colour altogether? Does taupe count here? What about camel?

Maybe I’ll look at accent colours instead. I like burgundy, red, kelly green, olive, blush, cobalt, mint… ah crap, that’s too many.

Maybe I’ll remove colours instead. I look terrible in yellow. Oh, but I have those yellow flats. What do I do about those? Eh, I’ll think about that later. No pastels, I look terrible in pastel. Wait, does chambray blue count as a pastel? Blush is a pastel too. So is mint. Damn it.

The seemingly simple exercises in this book tripped me up more than I was expecting them too. They forced me to address questions that I never fully had answers for. Questions like – is your skin tone warm or cool? I didn’t know. If I check to see if my forearm veins are green or blue, it honestly depends on which vein I’m looking at. The last time I was matched for foundation at MAC I fell under their neutral colour range. My eye colour migrates back and forth between brown and green, which normally suggests warm, but my naturally dark ash blond hair and light skin point to cool.

Sherry from over at Save Spend Splurge sent me a couple links to Cardigan Empire to try and help determine where I fell in the spectrum. After a little discussion she commented that I had the same colouring as Anne Hathaway, and something clicked. Looking at pictures, I like almost everything she wears.

A couple days later I was trying on neutral shoes, and was stuck between the warmer “nude” pair and a cooler taupe pair. I messaged a bunch of friends about which shade looked better, and the unanimous answer was taupe.

I have a cool skin tone. I know that now. That answer alone helped narrow things down considerably. White, not cream. Taupe, not camel. Black, not brown.

The next big thing I had to do in this exercise was stop looking at my closet and trying to figure out how to fit everything into my palette. Not everything was going to fit, and that’s a big part of why it never felt cohesive! Yet it took some major effort to stop doing that. A big part of me didn’t want to look at some of the more expensive pieces and acknowledge that they were mistakes purely because of their colour!

At the end of the day (weeks), this is what I ended up coming up with:

My main colours are navy, white and olive. My neutral colours are taupe and black. My accent colours are green, tan, red and burgundy.

Two things I reminded myself of during this process were that:

  1. This isn’t static. I can modify the accent colours for different seasons if I really want to.
  2. I can still wear other colours, I just won’t actively try to add colours that clash with my palette.

Looking at this palette it does run darker than a lot of the cream/blush/dove grey palettes I see featured on Instagram, or even in the book, but there’s nothing wrong with that! For me, this is a very wearable pallet.

Blue jeans, breton stripes, olive utility jacket, and taupe flats? That’s in the palette.

White jeans, black t-shirt, green scarf, a tan trench coat, and taupe flats? That’s in the palette.

Blue jeans, black jersey top, and black booties? That’s in the palette.

White and black sweater, blue jeans, red purse and flats? That’s in the palette!

Actually, thinking back on outfits in recent memory that I actually liked, almost all of them fell within this palette. I might swap out the burgundy for blush during warmer spring weather, and occasionally throw some cobalt or cognac leather into the mix, but other than that I really don’t feel constrained by this at all. I like my options, and I feel like I have a lot to work with.

Have you done this exercise yet? What does your colour palette look like?

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

April Blizzards Bring May Showers

It was around this time last year that my husband and I did a maternity photo shoot before the munchkin was born (just checked, it would have been last week). We tried to time it so that the trees would be in full bloom, but a wind storm came up and blew most of the petals off the weekend before. I’m looking at the lilac tree outside my window right now, and it hasn’t even bloomed yet this year. Quick burst of warm weather aside, it looks as though spring is taking its time getting here this year.

Trench: Burberry(*2010) / CPW: $788.17 / # of wears: 2
Shirt: Twik / CPW: $0.65 / # of wears: 8
Jeans: 7 For All Mankind / CPW: $9.71  /# of wears: 9
Shoes: Poppy Barley / CPW: $7.35  /# of wears: 25
Scarf: Wilfred / CPW: $7.87 / # of wears: 2
Watch: Skagen / CPW: $15.15  /# of wears: 9
*purchased prior to keeping stats. # of wears counted since October 1, 2016

I’m slowly gearing up for back to work. My hair did end up going shorter, as I mentioned in my last outfit post. This is actually what I wore to the hair dresser on Saturday. It was drizzling diagonally – not a great thing for curly hair!

Throwing a trench over a long sleeve t-shirt was warm enough, and I ended up covering my hair with the scarf all Audrey Hepburn style until I could grab the umbrella I had forgotten in the car.

I don’t remember exactly where I first saw the trick of buttoning your trench back on itself so it stays open (Alterations Needed? Extra Petite?), but it’s handy once the rain stops! Unless your coat is super fitted (which mine isn’t), or you’re taller (which I’m not), leaving the coat to hang open can sometimes look a little sloppy. Belting it back and buttoning it open adds a little streamlined structure to the coat.

Most of my wardrobe is currently leaning to the cooler end of the spectrum, but this coat is one of the warmer toned pieces I still own. The grey/rose gold combo on the watch makes it easier to pair warmer and cooler tones together.

I’d have to swap the t-shirt out for a black blouse of some sort, but I could see myself wearing this on a casual Friday once work rolls around again. The scarf is currently residing on the same hanger as the coat, so it really is a throw on and go outfit.

What do your spring throw on and go outfits look like? Do you have any coat styling tricks up your sleeve?

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

Curated Closet – Lifestyle Analysis

What is it about writing things down that make them more real?

You know how sometimes you know something is true in the back of your mind, but you go on oblivious to it day to day? Even though it’s getting in your way? Maybe that’s just me…

This was easily the most illuminating exercise in the book, as it helped concretely identify one of the big struggles I was having. There is a big gap between what I wear and what I do in day to day life. Current SAHM status aside, I had a lot of “big closet, nothing to wear” struggles when I was working. Given that I’ll be back to work in less than a month, I decided to do this exercise as if I already was back at work.

The book asks us to break down our life into different activities – work at the office, work from home, lounging at home, gardening, working out, brunch with friends, clubbing, gala events, whatever… so you can estimate how often you do certain activities within a certain timeframe (say, two weeks). Then you combine categories in which you would wear similar clothes. You may not wear your workout gear to a gala event, but maybe if you work in a casual office you would wear the same clothes out to brunch? You get the idea.

My life does not have nearly that many things going on. I don’t club. I don’t go to galas. Hell I don’t remember the last time I worked out. Keeping that in mind, I broke my clothing requirements down into three categories:

Business clothes – skirts, trousers, blazers, heels, etc…
Polished casual – nice jeans, polished tops, flats, etc…
Comfy casual – yoga pants, t-shirts, fleece jackets, etc…

My office requires business casual attire Monday through Thursday, and allows jeans with respectable tops on Fridays. Assuming I change into casual clothes when I get home, and I leave the house on the weekends, my clothing requirements look something like this:

Not too bad. Seems doable. If anything it seems a little heavy on the comfy clothes, but I was also assuming I would change into those every night when I got home. That may or may not happen, in which case I wouldn’t need so many comfies.

This is what my wardrobe actually looked like when I was crunching the numbers:

Looooooots of comfies. Not a lot of business clothes.

That explains a few things.

Now, do I expect that my actual wardrobe proportions are going to match my lifestyle any time soon? Not really. I have a lot of comfy clothes that are at no real risk of wearing out any time soon. Trying to match my lifestyle estimate would mean getting rid of a bunch of them, which I have no real interest in doing at this point in time, or buying way too many business clothes, which I also have no real interest in doing.

Currently, I’m packing my out of season comfy clothes (heavy sweaters & fleece pants) out of sight in a drawer. The rest of the comfy clothes are going on an open shelf in the closet out of my direct field of view.

The polished casual clothes and business clothes are what’s going to hang on my closet rod, within my field of view. That way when I’m getting dressed all I see are my options. The comfy clothes are still within easy reach at the end of the day, but they’re not what I’m looking at first thing in the morning.

When I’m out shopping – no more comfies. I really don’t need any more.

What about your closet? Does your wardrobe match your lifestyle? Where are you over stocked?


I'm Cassie.

I'm a petite hourglass, slow adopter, food geek, Engineer, wife and mom. Welcome to the little corner of the internet where I ramble on about random things. Mostly clothes.