Dressing for Winter

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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A WEEK OF REAL OUTFITS: 12-11-19

I’ve been asked before if how I dress “on the blog” is how I dress in real life – and the answer is, about 80% of the time yes. I’m not photographing the days I’m in leggings on the couch (which has been basically the past 4 days since I got hit with a cold/cough that wouldn’t quit), but other than that – these outfits are the things that I truly reach for in my closet. And since between the cold and the rainy New York weather I didn’t take any proper “blog” photos last week I thought it would be fun to share some real life snaps of my outfits. While I’m not sure I can keep up with this weekly, I think next year I’m going to try and include a real life outfit recap at least once a month!

OUTFIT 1 (ABOVE) FOR SUNDAY SHOPPING + ERRANDS:

OUTFIT 2 (ABOVE) FOR A BUSY TUESDAY AT THE OFFICE:

OUTFIT 3 (ABOVE) FOR WEDNESDAY MEETINGS:

OUTFIT 4 (ABOVE) FOR A CASUAL FRIDAY AT WORK:

OUTFIT 5 (ABOVE) FOR A FESTIVE HOLIDAY CONCERT:

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ON HAPPINESS: BREAKING TRADITIONS

I’m a person who really likes order. Who becomes sentimental about sameness. To say I like traditions would be an understatement. And the study of happiness backs me up here – children who are raised with routine and traditions (however small or silly) are more stable humans. However, I’m also a person who will do the same thing year after year, even if it’s become inconvenient or a grind, because I simply feel like I “can’t” break said traditions. Which does not always add to my overall happiness.

This may be the first year I feel like I’m able to loosen my grip on some of that. While I made a holiday bucket list (and shared it here), it’s just that. A list of “hopes” – not “do it or else you’ve failed at the holidays”. It’s okay to cut yourself a break some years. Or simply, shake things up.

If every year drive 2 hours to pick your tree at a local farm because that’s tradition but you have a feeling everyone in your house would be happier if you just switched to a fake tree and had it up in an hour – do that instead. If you think that ordering Chinese food on Christmas is actually what you’d enjoy more than spending 8 hours in the kitchen prepping a home-cooked feast – do that instead. Sure it’s nice to be able to say that you’ve done something every year for 10 years.. but it’s also nice to be happy in the moment each of those years.

So I suggest that you keep the traditions that bring you true joy. And the rest, allow yourself to reconsider. As long as you’re surrounded by the people that bring you true joy, it’s going to be a good holiday season.

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CASUAL WINTER OUTFIT IDEAS

Admittedly, I’m not a super casual dresser. It’s not a coincidence that I choose to live in a place where if I want to walk down the street in heels and a fancy dress at any hour of the day or night, no one will blink an eye. But that being said – I definitely dress comfortably and practically on the weekends. And since we’re about to head into a nice long, relaxing weekend I wanted to share a few casual winter outfits I’m loving right now. The full try-on session is over on IGTV, but details are here for each outfit.

The fun thing about winter is that you can definitely play with extra prints and textures. Don’t be afraid to layer in a striped turtleneck. Or a metallic vest. Instead of jeans, try a pair of corduroy overalls or velvet jeggings instead. Casual doesn’t need to mean boring. Race you to the long weekend?

P.S. There are a few pieces you’ll see here that are older from my closet. Wherever possible I linked the exact items and in a few cases I linked the closest alternative I could find.

SHOP LOOK 1:

SHOP LOOK 2:

SHOP LOOK 3:

SHOP LOOK 4:

SHOP LOOK 5:

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The Steele Maiden © 2012

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle. Based in NYC.