Days 7-10, and Final Thoughts for the Future

The #Winter10x10 (day 1; days 2-3, days 4-6) has ended, and I definitely learned a few things along the way. Unfortunately I also came down with a terrible cold so days 7-10 did not go as planned. But let’s review them anyway (I only have phone snaps):

Day 7:

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I spent the morning out at the V&A, and The Design Museum. Something I learned early on in London is that no matter where you go, even a museum, they will have the heat cranked to 95 whenever possible. Going to Westfield Mall is like going to a sauna. It’s no wonder that I hate in-person shopping nowWhen going out in winter, it is a conundrum. You need to be warm for all the time you spend outside walking from tube to bus to destination. But on the tube/bus, and at your destination, it’s hot. Sometimes unbearably so (hello Piccadilly line!) Layers can be your best friend. Be sure to add a large handbag to hold said layers as you recklessly tear off scarf, coat, gloves, sweater and hat.

Here I’m wearing the jeans and stripe shirt from my 10 items. I also threw on a wool cape I bought last year at the Windsor Horse Show. I added my black trainers for walking comfort. (And I did a LOT of walking since the V&A is at South Kensington Station tunnel, and the Design Museum is Kensington High Street station and a 1/2 mile walk.) I was warm but not too warm and very comfortable. Overall, I liked this look. It could easily work with the white button-down shirt underneath, or black pants and flats. I added a necklace from White Stuff and my Pandora bracelet.

Day 8:

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For day 8, I went with my People Tree dress. It’s so comfortable and warm, even with tights in winter weather when you spend significant time outside waiting for the school bus.

The dress is navy blue, with a fun purple-pink lining so you could cuff the sleeves in spring to give it a little more color. I added my brown boots from my 10 items, and a scarf. I like this dress a lot and I think it’ll get lots of use pretty much all year round except in the dead heat of summer (which is for about 2-3 weeks).

Day 9:

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This is how I spent day 9, just me, my dachshund, and Netflix. Peppermint tea, a cozy blanket and a nap also played a part in my day. I had on skinny jeans, my warm-as-heck Finisterre wool jumper, and my trusty Mahabias slippers. I can’t wear this jumper very often. Because it is Just.That.Warm. But it is made by such a fantastic company, you should really check out their stuff and their ethics. (read about their wool initiative, and the plastics project – thumbs up!) Their main thing is providing cold-water surf gear, but there’s plenty for those of us who aren’t crazy.

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Day 10:

It should have been a triumphant day 10, but I felt really, really awful, so I spent it like this:

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Tea, tea, and more tea. A good book, and some comfy pj’s. Some times you just have to accept defeat.

Takeaways:

#1 White I did learn some important things during my #Winter10x10. I need to stop being afraid to wear white. Yes, sometimes things happen, but it’s okay to wear white and I actually like doing so. I’m so confident I’ve put this top/tunic into my wardrobe for summer, this blouse, and this dress

Lesson: White doesn’t scare me anymore! You can take a white shirt and make so many combinations, and just by adding a scarf, a cape, a necklace, it can totally change how the same shirt looks. Which brings me to…

#2 Accessories I never used to pay a lot of attention to jewelry/scarves/etc. I would throw on a outfit – jeans, shirt, and go. But by taking 5 extra minutes to look at tying on a scarf, or adding a belt, or a few necklaces, I can take a look from okay to great & polished. This is something I want to continue to work on. I don’t have a lot of jewelry, and what I do have is fairly old (5-10 years). The look is less polished/simple and more fussy than I like so I think that’s what has kept me from wearing all but my favorite pieces. It’s an area I want to improve, and to find a few really good necklaces that can work with multiple outfits.

#3 It’s a Process, and Ethical Matters For the past year and a half, I have been trying to cultivate my wardrobe by doing a capsule, doing 10×10 challenges, and clearing out the items I do not wear. I’ve still made bad choices by purchasing things I haven’t ended up wearing. Those items are waiting for the consignment shop at home. One thing I’ve really tried to remember (and I’ve done pretty good with) is to buy from ethical, responsible, and sustainable companies. It’s not an easy thing to do when we as consumers are bombarded by fast fashion and the I-Have-To-Have-That-Look of social media. I’m plenty guilty.

What I hope is that I am making better choices now. I’ve made purchases from Hackwith House Design, Finisterre, People Tree, Everlane, Need Supply and Mean It Ethical Fashion over the last year and a half (among others like Nudie Jeans). I’m aware now that the Zara, GAP, JCrew & H&M worlds do not support what I believe in. They aren’t paying a living wage,  checking to make sure children aren’t working in the factories, and making sure the people who are making our clothes are doing so in a safe environment. These things matter to me, and hopefully they matter to you.

I’m going to continue to do fashion challenges, 7×7, 10×10, 30×30, 1 dress/30 days. All of these have taught me about figuring out what my style is and how to get creative with the things I already own. As I need to, it’s okay to add pieces to my wardrobe, with the idea that it needs to be a responsibly made item, it needs to serve a purpose, and whenever possible, it needs to replace something that wasn’t working for me. And that old item can be donated or sent to consignment to be worn by someone else. I’m excited to get to the day where I stand before my closet and I can’t decide what to wear because I love every single thing in it.

By doing these small challenges, they are preparing me for a really big one coming my way this summer: 1 suitcase, 6-8 weeks. Because that’s about all I’ll have while all of our possessions move by slow boat from London to Seattle. It will be my ultimate challenge, and I want to do it on a minimal piece count (under 25 if I can).

Have you thought about doing a 10×10 or capsule wardrobe? What would yours look like?

Thanks to Lee at StyleBee and Caroline at Un-Fancy for making this such a fun event!

 

Day’s 2 &3, Winter 10×10 Challenge

So how’s everyone doing with Winter 10×10? I’ve been loving the challenge because it’s forced me to consult my rack of small accessories and seriously think before 9 am everyday. My usual morning routine is get up at 6:15 make sure the rest of the house is up, {admit defeat and get back under the covers for 20 minutes}, throw on some workout clothes and get the out the door to the bus stop by 7:15. When I’m busying imagining rowing myself to Hawaii {and it’s easy to visualize, as on the wall the rower faces are pictures I took of our vacation in Hawaii, and it definitely helps motivate me}, I also sketch out in my mind what I’m going to do for the day’s outfit. So by the time I’m showered, I have a good idea of where I’m going.

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Sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t. I definitely liked getting creative with rolling up the sleeves on my sweatshirt to see the stripes of the shirt underneath. I realized when I picked my items for the challenge, I likely picked items that had too much pattern. Polka dots, gingham and stripes; it’s hard to really accessorize with them like you can with plain tops. But the thing is that I don’t own many pieces that are plain. I don’t particularly like designs other than stripes or simple geometrics (you won’t find faces or pictures of sunsets on my clothes), but the plethora of stripes in my closet is pretty prolific. That’s definitely something I’m taking away from this, that plain pieces can be easier to work with and change for fresh looks even when you’re staring at the same ten items for ten days.

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In this outfit, I’m just not loving the boots. I’ve had them for about 8 years, and while I do wear them, mostly because I don’t have any black shoes I can wear in winter, I don’t ‘love’ them. The double strap is too fussy, and I think a simple black pair like these or these will be something on my ‘buy’ list.

Outfit: sweatshirt, Boden; shirt, St James (thrifted); jeans, Rag & Bone Dre fit; boots, Sonoma (old); bag, Kate Spade Harmony.

Outfit 3: I definitely liked this look. It was fun, and on the preppy equestrian style side, which is me to a T! All I need is a horse! {and the barn boots from my closet, and my riding pants, and helmet. no one who’s spent a second around a horse would ever wear white or anything new!} 

I had a run in with a makeup artist, who marked my white shirt with foundation, so I swapped it for the gingham shirt from day 1 and then it rained elephants on my way back from Marylebone, and was still going strong at school pick-up, and well, there was a whole lot of wet clothes going on. Between rain and things needing to be washed, and the lighting, I didn’t manage more than phone pictures of outfit 3 and 3.5.

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I was actually pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the white shirt. I’ve had it for awhile but rarely wear it. I think it’s the idea that it could get stained so easily, which I need to stop worrying so much about it and just wear it. Last night I started creating today’s outfit by thinking about scarves. I have this beautiful scarf from the 1950-60’s that I bought at the Hammersmith Vintage Fair (monthly, it’s fantastic). It’s got the wonderful motif of women all dressed up and walking their dogs, including of course, a dachshund. It might make an appearance in the next few days. I’m still deciding whether or not to wear it or frame it like I originally planned when I bought.

The scarf I’m wearing is from Liberty London. I loved it from the moment I saw it last April but I hadn’t figured out how to wear it. I definitely need to work much harder at impulse buying (which this was) especially when I’m not sure how I’ll use it. This was another outfit that just sort of happened. I admit that for the school run I threw on a sweatshirt and leggings, because at 6:15 being creative is just not going to happen. {I also confess to throwing on a pair of trainers for late bus on Wednesday, but not the ones I had marked out as my backups. I just grabbed a pair from the closet and dashed out. I honestly didn’t even realize it until I was on my way back home.}

Outfit details: white ‘Perfect’ shirt from J Crew, jeans Rag & Bone Dre fit, belt Target, bracelets Live Lokai, scarf Liberty.

This is the outfit I changed into after my white shirt got marked. I just swapped out the white shirt for gingham shirt from day 1 (and forgot to take off my glasses in the picture). This is my very serious, I need a coffee face. You don’t mess with that face. As the mug says, I drink coffee for your protection.

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I might not do the scarf with the second shirt, or at least not one with a flower print to it, but it’s not hat noticeable here, and I still think it works. For me, these two looks were daring from my usual!

What I learned: it’s not hard to change things up just by swapping out and in something simple (or for that matter, even adding accessories, which I don’t normally think of!). I could have switched out the scarf here for a yellow one, or green and the look would have been different. I’m going to continue to work on seeing those possibilities in the future.

Are you participating in the Winter 10×10? Leave a link so I can check it out, or go HERE or HERE for more details.

Winter 10×10 Day 1

Yesterday was day 1 of the Winter10x10 Challenge – details here – so I thought I would share my initial thoughts and my first outfit. I might not do this everyday, I’ll likely combine several days outfits/thoughts into one post. But since I am still in my workout clothes (who else kicked some butt this morning??) and haven’t yet gotten into outfit two, you just get outfit one today!

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I wore vegan leather leggings in a stone color from Abercrombie & Fitch, a blue and white gingham button down from J Crew, and a long cardigan (with pockets!!) from White Stuff. On my feet, the Beverly Boot from Bass Outlet.

On Monday night I set these three pieces side by side on my clothes rack and liked what I saw. Warmth is very important in London winters and a drafty Edwardian terraced house. Trust me. The leggings are very warm being lined with a sweatshirt type of fleece on the inside. I do always forget that they are a stone color and not cream or grey, so they don’t totally work perfectly here. They are comfortable except when you sit down. The knees don’t bend all that well and are tight. I’ve never worn leather leggings (or vegan leather in this case), so I don’t know if that’s normal but it was uncomfortable. As soon as I picked up my kids from school at 4, I slid into some lounge pants. These were an online clearance buy last year, and do like them, I’m just not sure it’s love. Which probably explains why I don’t wear them that often.

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The gingham shirt. Love. I am a blue aholic these days. blue blue blue. I can’t get enough. I even have this same shirt in a turquoise color which I couldn’t resist because it was on mega clearance for £30. I do feel guilt about buying from J Crew because they are not a particularly ethical/responsible company, but I fall back on knowing that I will more than wear these shirts to death. They are a lightweight material so I can layer them for winter and roll the sleeves up for summer. Win win. The only thing I don’t like (and forgive me if you can see it in the picture) is they need to be ironed. Poo to ironing. For someone who doesn’t have a proper dryer and has to hang dry every.single.thing, ironing is my nemesis. {and now that Downton Abbey is over, and I’ve already watched all of Medici twice, what am I supposed to watch while I iron on Monday mornings??} I did forget to iron this shirt, but since I had a coat on when I was out and was home the rest of the day, I let it go!

The cardigan sweater I bought at White Stuff back in November the day before I went on a trip to Seattle. I really wanted to wear leggings on the plane {it’s ten hours from London to Seattle, comfort is paramount} but I am a very big believer in NOT showing my bum. I simply can’t do it, though I absolutely love the leggings from White Stuff. It’s very comfy, warm, and, though I keep forgetting when I’m wearing it, it has pockets.

Let me just say the secret to life is Pockets. On dresses, skirts, sweaters. A good pocket = a good day.

The boots I do love, though my socks tend to fall all the way down whenever I wear them. I don’t think they quite worked here though. Shoes were the hardest for me to put into the 10×10, and maybe I should have traded out a piece to have the ability to go with whatever shoes I wanted (after all there are no real rules). I have lots of shoes (as the Husband will be sure to let you know), but I tend to wear the same three or four pairs. I should have probably thrown in these blue tennis shoes, but I’d put them away as more ‘spring/summer’, though they would probably be warmer than my Nike’s and would have worked with this outfit. Sticking to two shoes is hard for me, even more so than two pants. I could have probably done fine with one pair of jeans for the whole ten days. Something about saying, you can only wear these two shoes and they must go with everything, is very hard for me.

Overall, I felt pretty comfortable in the outfit. I didn’t do much yesterday, I spent a lot of time on my computer, went to the grocery on the way to the school bus stop. played with the dog. I think this outfit would be fine for any day though, a trip to a gallery, or a day running errands in the city.

Day 1 of the #winter10x10 : Success!

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*and I finally signed up for a Dummies Guide to your DSLR class. The woman running the class chooses to call it Manual – n- More, but we all know its Dummies DSLR101. I can get to grips with that.

Winter 10×10 Challenge

I decided, while I impatiently wait for the weather to warm up a smidgen so I can start my 1 dress 30 days challenge, I would do a 10×10 fashion challenge. The blogs StyleBee and Un-Fancy are hosting a 10 items x 10 days fashion challenge. The idea is to pick ten items from your closet – shirt, pants, sweater, boots, etc – and wear those ten items for ten days. You can mix and match among those ten pieces as much as you want (and things like accessories {scarves, jewelry, etc} don’t count towards the ten items.) I did one once before with mixed results. I ended up forgetting about an event that required nicer clothes and the weather did not go according to plan.

Joining in this #winter10x10 was a last minute decision (I decided about 2:30 on Monday to start the next day), and of course Thursday and Friday are predicted for snow in London. It is currently raining, but one thing I have learned from living in London for the last year and half, you never wait for the weather to get better.

Because it won’t!

Here are my picks for my Winter 10×10 Challenge:

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1. Vegan leather leggings from Abercrombie & Fitch (old); 2. Rag & Bone ‘The Dre’  jeans; 3. Boden Statement Sweatshirt; 4. J Crew Gingham Boy Shirt; 5. J Crew Perfect Shirt (old); 6. St James striped shirt (thrifted); 7. White Stuff Basket Cardigan; 8. Black dress (old)

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9. Bass Beverly Boot; 10. Sonoma boots (old)

Those are my ten items. I did intend to use a blue long sleeve shirt instead of the striped shirt, but then I remembered I wore it yesterday, so it’s as yet unwashed. My process for picking my items was to sit on the couch with a notebook and pencil (while watching The White Queen) and go from my memory. Most people would stand in front of their closets and pick their items, but when I’ve done this in the past it only seemed to make things harder for me to pick. As it was I had lots of erasing and changing of items. I was originally going to include  this dress instead of my black one. It seemed maybe limiting somehow, though now I think on it, I’m not sure how it’s limiting. Maybe it’s that I’ve had it for over a year and have only worn it a few times. I like it, it’s kind of retro 70’s funky, but I just never wear it for some reason. Even though it has pockets, and a dress with pockets is like the holy grail of dresses.

Every dress should have pockets.

Just saying.

One other item I was hoping to include was this shawl from People Tree that I ordered. But it still hasn’t arrived yet {sob}.

I did decide to go ahead and allow myself a substitution if needed of my black trainers. There’s potential snow forecast later in the week, and with my foot acting up with the cold weather, and the fact that I walk two miles a day getting my kids back and forth to the bus stop (plus wherever else I go in a day), I needed the ability to have a shoe my feet love.

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The point of this challenge isn’t about hard and fast rules, it’s about creating a look maybe you’ve never thought about before. Mixing and matching and forcing yourself to get creative.

I am going to try to share daily pictures of outfits on my Instagram. I will attempt to get pictures with my ‘real’ camera (despite the wonderful London lighting), but my battery is close to dying and The Husband has taken the voltage converter I need for my German plug camera with him to the US (too complicated to try to even explain).

If you want to participate I highly recommend swinging over to Un-Fancy and StyleBee where they’ve listed all the details and the hashtags to use for social media. I believe Style This Life is also participating, so be sure to check there too!

As I end this post, I’m wondering if anyone has used the Cladwell app for building a capsule wardrobe? When I first heard of it I thought it was silly to pay for something I could just do myself. But then I read the description again today, a nd I’m thinking maybe for the $15 for 3 months, it might be a really great tool. I’d love to hear thoughts if you’ve used it, or just what you think. Anyone else want to join the #Winter10x10?