Style

HOW TO SHOP YOUR OWN CLOSET

Is anyone else doing a ‘no shopping’ January? Last year was the first time I ever tried this feat of anti-fashion.. and you know what? It was a cinch. And it effectively helped push me in the direction of truly understanding what my closet needed or didn’t need. What I loved to wear and what I merely owned to own. I’m doing it again this month and quite fittingly, I also happened to have a couple of reader requests for tips on how to shop you closet. So here goes.

My first tip is to clear your closet. I used to stare into a packed closet and feel sort of ‘meh’. And it’s because so many of the pieces were wrong for me. They never really fit right or they weren’t my style anymore (or frankly ever). And so at a glance it felt like I had nothing to wear. I used to try on 2-3 outfits in the mornings before finally settling on something. But then last January I drastically cleared my closet. Essentially keeping only what ‘sparked joy’ if you will. With only pieces left that fit my figure and my style – it made it so much easier to shop my closet and look at what remained with fresh eyes.

From there – every time the season changes and I’m tempted to fill my closet with say, all the new pretty spring things, I do this trick instead. I look at some of my favorite brand’s websites and instead of thinking of the individual items I’d buy – I look at the styling of the clothes. So many times I realize that I have similar items and can just style them in a new way. Maybe a long cardigan would love totally new belted over a dress. Or I’ll get an idea for a new color combo (seen here – light brown, teal and sky blue). I swear so many times when you walk into a store or browse a website, what you’re falling in love with is the styling and you don’t need the individual pieces at all.

And after that – it’s all about accessories. Dig out a silk scarf and tie it around a bag you’ve had for ages. Put on a fun pair of statement earrings with an everyday sweater. I find when I’m really utilizing all the tools in my arsenal so to speak – the options feel endless. Pro tip: organize your belts, scarves and jewelry in a way that you can actually see them and easily access them. It will make all the difference.

Happy shopping (the things you already own)!

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THOUGHTS ON SUBSCRIPTION SHOPPING + AN HONEST REVIEW OF NUULY

If you have been following along, you already know that last January I made a major shift in how I viewed money and shopping. I overhauled my personal finances, completed a “no shopping” January (which led to 3 other “no shop” months throughout the year) and donated or sold probably a quarter of my wardrobe.

Now, when I add a new piece to my wardrobe it’s thought out and strategic. Can I wear it multiple ways? Does it reflect who I want to be? If I waited a couple of weeks would I still want it? If it was full-priced would I still want it? It’s been a strategy serving me well this past year and it truly helped to break that unnecessary urge to always have something “new”. Not to mention it’s far more sustainable as I wasn’t constantly picking up fast fashion that I probably wouldn’t wear for more than a season or two.

But what if you could have that something new feeling without financially committing? I’ve heard plenty of people (blogger’s especially who always want to have new things to wear) rave about shopping subscriptions like Rent the Runway and I have to admit – I was curious. So when Nuuly – from the geniuses behind Anthropologie/Urban Outfitters/Free People – reached out to offer me a free 3 month subscription, I knew I wanted to give it a try. After 3 free months I paid for one additional month so far just so I’d have a true customer experience.

The Pros: You get to pick 6 items of clothing each month for $89/month. They handle all of the dry cleaning, repairs etc. so what you get looks brand new. Overall, I thought the selection was great with brands you’d find at Nordstrom and Shopbop plus new arrivals from Anthro, Urban and FP. I gravitated towards more fashion/trend pieces – a fun coat, a statement dress – that I otherwise would have been tempted by on a trip to Anthropologie, but saved myself the $200 price tag and the need to make permanent room for it in my closet. And usually at the end of the month, I was fine returning the pieces.

The Cons: I’ve mentioned before but I’m a sentimental person, especially when it comes to my wardrobe. If I have a particularly great memory while wearing something – it’s very hard for me to let it go. Which means after I wore this perfect sequin dress to a holiday concert with Adam.. I couldn’t part with it. The upside is that you can buy items at a pretty good discount and don’t have to ship them back. However, if I hadn’t been trying this service – I likely would have not been tempted to get something new for the concert. So if you’re someone who is going to be easily tempted – this could actually end up make you buying more.

Overall? I like the concept. For something like a vacation or the holiday season, I think it’s a really great way – for a relatively low cost – to have a fun assortment of pretty new things to wear. Like this cute minty fresh jacket. Or if you’re in a transitional phase like a new mom or someone who is kind of figuring out there style – I think this is such a great way to get to try things on and see what you like before committing your closet to a direction or size.

But if I were to do it every single month, I kind of feel like it would eat away at the mindset I worked so hard to achieve – which is the feeling that what I have is enough and I don’t always need more, more, more… new, new, new. And, for someone who is set on building a closet full of things I love that carry memories I want to hold on to – the fleeting nature isn’t really in line with that. I’m going to hit pause on my subscription for next month, but may use it again in March when we’ve got a warm weather trip planned!

I’m curious if any of you have tried subscription shopping and what your thoughts have been? P.S. If you’re interested in trying Nuuly they gave me an offer code to share that gets you $20 off your first month. – this post wasn’t sponsored, but as mentioned my first 3 month trial was gifted.

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LET’S CATCH UP 12.20.19

I honestly can’t believe that as you read this I’ll be at the office for the last day in 2019. How? Also, how will I get it all done before a (hopefully) blissful 12 days off work?? Alas… a few things on my mind before we head out into the weekend and the holiday weeks ahead. Have a good one friends!

  1. I’ve loved watching blogger Meghan of Wit & Whimsy’s campaign to spread kindness this season – from encouraging others to make donations to their favorite charities to simply being a big nicer to our cashiers and delivery people this season, the world needs more of this. And it shouldn’t end at the holiday season.
  2. In New York it feels like winter arrived about a month ago, but technically tomorrow is the first day. I plan on baking cookies and cozying up in the sweater and scarf combo I’m wearing here.
  3. I can’t wait to catch up on a few new books over my holiday break. If you’re looking for a great book to dive into, I recapped the 10 best books I read in 2019 here.
  4. I’ve still got a few things on my holiday bucket list that I want to get checked off this weekend – including making it uptown to see the Rockefeller tree and Fifth Avenue windows. But we’ve already been ice skating, wandered through the West Village and bought tickets to see a classic Christmas movie in the theaters. Okay, so maybe Edward Scissorhands isn’t what everyone would consider a classic, but it’s a favorite of mine and I can’t wait to see it on the big screen. Even better – the Nitehawk Theater is Brooklyn serves brunch while you watch!
  5. Speaking of winter’s arrival – I’m ready to book a warm weather vacation for the new year asap. We’re considering St. Petersburg in Florida, returning to Miami or heading to Mexico. Send recs!

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NEW YEAR’S EVE OUTFIT IDEAS

I tend to see a lot of New Year’s Eve outfit suggestions that are all over the top gowns.. but truth be told I’ve spent just as many years snuggled up on the couch or hanging with a few friends as I have at a fancy party. So I wanted to offer up a few suggestions – ranging from casual (but still festive) to dressy. I am definitely not ready for 2020.. but at least my wardrobe is.

See the full IGTV video try-on of each of these looks (along with plenty of champagne sipping and a few dance moves) here.

SHOP LOOK 1:

SHOP LOOK 2:

SHOP LOOK 3:

SHOP LOOK 4:

SHOP LOOK 5:

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THE BEST BOOKS I READ IN 2019

I was originally going to save this post for the last week of the year, but it occurred to me that some of you may be in need of an affordable or last minute gift idea or something to read while you’re on a plane during holiday travel or have days off work. So for that you’ll need a great book. Of which I’ve read many this year. Here – the 10 best books I read in 2019 (in no particular order). A few of these are going to be fully reviewed in my next Steele Maiden Book Club post before the end of the year, but in the meantime I wanted to include them here. Get yourself to a local bookstore (or express ship it through Amazon if you’re in a pinch) and happy reading!

1. Circe by Madeline Miller: An obvious choice for fans of greek mythology or fantasy fiction, but a surprising choice for those who don’t think they are (like myself) who still may end up loving this story (like I did).

2. Three Women by Lisa Taddeo: For your favorite feminist. Or honestly, for the man in your life that could use some perspective. This non-fiction is a striking read that speaks to human desire and emotion in a really raw way.

3. Becoming by Michelle Obama: From yourself to your mom to your boss, there’s something in this story that will likely speak to every woman in your life. An incredibly inspiring reflection from a humble and hard-working woman that just so happened to become the First Lady.

4. City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert: For all your best girlfriends (especially the one who just moved to New York City). This story is a love letter to youth and freedom and the city that I love so much.

5. Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid: If you worshipped Penny Lane in Almost Famous (and I still do) you’re going to love this book. Like reading a memoir straight from the members of your favorite 70s rock band.

6. Blue Nights by Joan Didion: For anyone that considers themselves a Didion disciple – but would be particularly poignant for someone who has lived through loss this year. Her words on living through the loss of her husband and daughter are both relatable and also unfathomable.

7. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett: Smart fiction at its best, Ann Patchett pulls you into a world so believable you’ll forget it doesn’t truly exist. For anyone who

8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: If you haven’t already read the beloved story, now is certainly the time before Greta Gerwig’s film adaptation comes out at Christmas. Perfect for a young girl just getting into reading on her own or a grown woman revisiting the classics.

9. Toil & Trouble by Augusten Burroughs: Totally different than anything else on this list – Augusten Burroughs memoirs always get me. This one in particular about the next chapter of his life and staying true to his witch-y roots really spoke to me – and gave me a good laugh.

10. Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl: For the foodie in your life or the one nostalgic for the days when the publishing world lived large in New York – this easy read is such a fun romp through 90s-00s at Gourmet Magazine.

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The Steele Maiden © 2012

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle. Based in NYC.