dress

The Closet Countdown: The Morning After

It’s over. My one hundred day adventure in minimalist-style clothing ended yesterday. I’m relieved and a bit overwhelmed. I doubt I will repeat The Closet Countdown any time soon. But I grew. I feel it. I see it in the pictures I posted.

I have my “lessons learned” post in the works but in the meantime, I thought I’d go ahead and post a few initial reactions while they are still very fresh in my mind.

Last night, I pulled down my two bins of “unchosen” clothing. First thing this morning, I opened them. Right after feeling joy at seeing some of my loved items, my heart sagged a bit. There were literally piles of clothes around me that needed to be sorted.

I felt buried.

So I put on the dress I’d missed the most: my Merrell Emery in Manganese Ikat. Honestly, I didn’t like it at first. I felt like the color was “wrong” or the fit felt “off”. The dress was fine. I was just in a strange funk.

I thought about how I felt the last weekend of The Closet Countdown. Brave. Bold. Creative. Beautiful even. Immediately my posture changed. My face brightened. So I decided to wear the dress for the day and take a few pics (see for yourself at the end of this post ;)).

Flattering clothes – fit, color, style, hem length, etc. – matters very much. But the real style is inside. The moment we choose to see ourselves as someone worth looking at, we become more attractive. Our confidence and freedom from fear of what others think makes our smile brighter, our posture straighter. When I feel beautiful, the world around me is more beautiful. Brighter. And I feel connected to that beauty because I have found a tiny grain of it in myself.

That’s how I decided to feel this morning when I put on my “other” Merrell Emery Dress. That’s how I hope to feel every morning. 🙂

If you are reading this, know that you are beautiful. Maybe your hair isn’t “perfect”. Maybe your shape won’t ever be in a magazine. Maybe you’ve had a few bad days in a row that kept you from smiling. But inside you is beauty. You carry it with you wherever you go. I know because today I walked out into the world and I felt it. It’s all around us. Inside us. We just have to have the courage to show it.

Thank you for taking the time to read my words. I’m honored to share your company here on My Simplicity Quest.

Shine On,

G

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Weekend Photo Challenge (and Day 97 of The Closet Countdown!)

It’s a combo post, folks! I celebrate the 97th day of The Closet Countdown (a 100 day long, self-imposed experiment in clothing minimalism) by participating in Esther’s Weekly Weekend Photo Challenge. She is a doll. A sweet, fun mommy who happens to be drop dead gorgeous. Please go to her website to learn more about this fun challenge. (Thank you, Eszter for inviting me to join!)

This week’s challenge: Love Those Outfits

After living with only 55 Items of clothing, you’d think I’d love the outfits less. Not true. While I do miss some articles, I’ve learned to love some of my chosen pieces even more. It is a good feeling to have a favorite dress (my Merrell Lily of course!) snuggle up even closer to your heart.

Here are a few of my outfits I love from the past 97 days. 🙂

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Please check out the other bloggers who are participating in The Weekend Photo Challenge:

Junette from http://mamassecret.blogspot.com/
Elle from http://an-ayla-a-day.com/
Tams from http://nakedbeautyblog.com/
Tisha from http://dailyeasyrecipes.wordpress.com/
Mary from http://contrarymom.wordpress.com/
Danielle from http://momseyeviewnyc.wordpress.com/
Katie from http://acuriouskatie.wordpress.com/
Fanni from http://theblackberryboys.wordpress.com/
Ginny from https://mysimplicityquest.wordpress.com/
Donna from http://thelondonmum.me/
Casey from http://veggiesandglitter.com/
Eszter from http://kukolina.wordpress.com

Last but not least, here is my outfit from today. My last Saturday of The Closet Countdown…

Day 97: Saturday, October 5

  • Merrell Black Lily Sleeveless Dress
  • Merrell Black Luxe Strap Sandals
  • Black “Packable” Hat (Sun ‘n’ Sand Brand)

Thought I’d show you the front and back of this dress this time. I love the crisscross design. And the “hat” shot is for you, B!

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The Closet Countdown: Weekly Update #11

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Greetings! This is my (oh my goodness!) eleventh weekly update on The Closet Countdown. I’m fully recovered from last week’s downer attitude toward this experiment. The end is near and as Autumn slowly approaches, I’m ready to open my boxes full of dark-colored clothes and put away my summery items (like my bright coral shorts and – sadly – my hot pink Lily dress). In twenty-three days, I will put on my brown leather boots (Merrell of course) just because I can. 🙂

Since I quit my corporate job in January, I’ve been lacking in motivation to “do my hair” or look presentable around the house (or even out and about…it happens). This silly/wonderful experiment has given me a reason to dress up a little. I dab on a little make up before I take the pics and I go throughout my day feeling like I care about what I look like. Changes my attitude. I’m diggin’ it.

20130916-070249.jpgThis was an intentional Merrell dress week featuring the Lily (of course!) and the Emery. I slack off on pictures on weekends so the ones featured in the collage are from Monday to Friday starting at the top left.

Here is the daily breakdown:

Sunday:
BCG black tank, BCG black leggings, Merrell Barefoot Bare Access Arc Running Shoes
Monday:
Merrell black Lily dress, Merrell brown San Remo sandals
Tuesday:
Merrell mulberry Lily dress, Merrell Luxe Strap Sandals  – experiment in shoe comfort
Shoe not comfy for working/running around the house. Changed to Merrell Black Barefoot Wonderglove (mary jane style) Shoes
Wednesday:
Merrell black Lily dress, Merrell Black Barefoot Wonderglove (mary jane style) Shoes, flower accent.
Flower didn’t last long… gets in my way.
Thursday:
Merrell black Emery dress, Merrell brown San Remo sandals
Friday:
Merrell black Emery dress, BCG black leggings, Merrell brown San Remo sandals
Saturday:
BCG black camisole tank top, BCG black leggings, sarong, Merrell brown San Remo sandals

Thank you, Sweet Reader for taking the time to read this. It warms my heart and makes me happy that you are here. I’m deeply grateful. May your week ahead be full of new and interesting lessons in your closet and in your life!

Cheers,

G

To see pictures from previous weeks, please got to The Closet Countdown Page.

Sarong Series: Long Vest

20130910-061413.jpgGreetings fellow life traveler! Welcome to another post in my Sarong Series. In my quest for simplicity, nothing beats the practical beauty of my sarong. I hope that you can sense my enthusiasm for this lightweight, fringed piece of material. I believe it is an essential piece to a minimalist closet (or to any closet!). Versatility is the key to a fabulous wardrobe…

20130912-055513.jpgThe Long Vest is one of my favorites. I wear it over my Lily Dress as an easy, colorful accent. It also works well as a swimsuit coverup or a kind of a “robe” for those moments when you just need to step down the hall for something but don’t want to get out of your pajamas. It also works as an interesting layering piece under a sweater or jacket. Add a belt if you are feeling adventurous. This fun style lends itself to many, creative options!

Let’s get started with the Sarong Series: Long Vest tutorial! It stands out as one of those syles that seems complicated but as you will see, it’s quite simple and fun!

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Average Sarong Size Measurements:
Width: Approx 46 inches (117 cm)
Length (including fringe): Approx 66 inches (168 cm)

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Step One:
Place sarong behind you while holding opposite corners on the longest side.

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Fold over body and hold by the top corners of the sarong, prepared to make your first tie.

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Tie the two ends together in a very shallow first tie.

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Step Four:
Take the two ends and tie them again in the same place to secure position.

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Step Five:
Bring the knot up over your head toward your back…

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Step Five (continued):
…until it rests on the back of your neck. Flip out your hair (if you need to) and you are good to go! Not pictured is the feminine drape it creates in the back, covering the bum and exposing the back. Such a lovely look. 🙂

Here are some other posts in The Sarong Series:

If you’d like to see some other examples of how I wear my sarong, please check out The Closet Countdown Page.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you found the Sarong Series: Long Vest easy to follow. Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. I’m super happy to help!

Cheers,

G

My Barbie Doll Was A Minimalist

The ugly duckling is a misunderstood universal myth. It’s not about turning into a blonde Barbie doll or becoming what you dream of being; it’s about self-revelation, becoming who you are.
Baz Luhrman

Greetings! While on my simplicity quest, I often take tiny detours down memory lane. It’s part of the process for me. It helps slow me down a little because I have a tendency to rush ahead at full speed.

Sometimes, I remember things we lost in the fire. The memories skitter across my mind in random moments of thought. In this case, I was pondering a wardrobe that could go from day to night with only a few, minor changes. (Shocker that I would think about such things, right?).

Then I remembered my favorite Barbie Doll. Day to Night Barbie. Since I’m pretty sure she’s gone on to Barbie heaven, I did a little Google searching. Oh. My. Word. I think it was an early sign from the universe. An unexpected teacher with plastic skin, blond hair, and painted blue eyes…and an outfit that went from work to play in a matter of seconds.

Let me put this out there before I go on. With as much flak as Barbie gets for creating unrealistic physical goals for young girls I stand on the other side. Firmly. It’s just a doll. Just like my cloth baby doll. I learned to dress her and change her diaper. It’s a toy.

I’m in my thirties and have no desire to change from brown hair to blonde or hazel eyes to blue. In fact, I want more muscle tone than my Barbie had :). (I also had an early eighties fitness Barbie – bright blue body suit, legwarmers, and headband. Oh yeah…)

If anything, playing with my Barbie Dolls helped me decide what I liked about me. What colors and styles I preferred. What life I might choose to have. And like the Baz Luhrmann quote states, it’s not about becoming her, it’s about becoming me.

How was my Barbie Doll a minimalist? She could go from a day at the office to a night on the town by removing her jacket and hat and reversing her skirt. Genius. I’m still totally inspired. To help you have a better idea of what I mean, I’ve gathered a couple pictures and commercials I found. I had both the doll and the home and office set. Seriously.

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Did you enjoy those? I know I did! During my search, I found another Barbie from my past that I had quite forgotten. But now that I see her – and the many ways she can wear one dress combination – I’m not surprised that she was mine as well. Dream Date Barbie.

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One skirt, many options. Oh yes! See that sequined tube top thing? I made it into a skirt and added a tank top. Yep, early signs of a versatile wardrobe addiction…

Thank you, dear reader for taking this tiny trip down memory lane with me. I’m a bit of a nutter but if you can stand it, then I’m glad you are here. Cheers to you, wherever you are and to your wardrobe – may it always reflect who you are inside. 🙂

The Closet Countdown: Weekly Update #10

20130909-060751.jpgHello and welcome to my tenth weekly update for The Closet Countdown. Only thirty days left. I used all my morning sunshine (and time) to take pictures for my Sarong Series (Tied Long Skirt, Tied Short Skirt, and Waist Tied Shawl) instead of taking pictures of my daily outfit.

That’s not entirely true.

I did take pictures for the Sarong Series (more coming up this week!) but the truth is that I’m just a little burned out on the whole Closet Countdown deal. The honeymoon is quite over. The magic of this experiment in minimalism has faded.

Strangely enough, this is where I get excited about the process. It means I’ve found that place where I want to quit. Not just make a few modifications. But just end this whole, silly experiment.

Words that have haunted me most of my life start to trickle into my thoughts…

That’s when I know it’s about to get really good. While this may be a silly experiment, it’s my silly experiment. When I’m not grumpy about it, I’m learning so much. I’ve been able to “get by” on the same 55 items of clothing for seventy days. That’s a big deal for me. I’m not going to quit.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and I put on my leggings and my Lily dress, strapped on my ever-faithful (and sadly discontinued) Merrell Brown San Remo sandals, and decided to rock the next thirty days of The Closet Countdown.

(Pictures will resume next week.)

Thank you. Thank you so much for reading this. Though this part of my path is a little rough, the fact that you are here this makes it easier to bear.

Cheers,

G

To see pictures from previous weeks, please got to The Closet Countdown Page.

Sarong Series: Waist Tied Shawl

20130905-145723.jpgHello! Welcome to My Simplicity Quest and another mini tutorial on my Sarong Series! I love experimenting with ways to improve my minimalist style closet with versatile items. After posting pictures of my daily outfits in The Closet Countdown I received a few requests to share how I wear my sarong. The pictures and step by step instructions are my response.

I’m so glad you are here! I hope you learn something new and walk away with sunshine in your heart and a strange desire to go play with a super versatile, functional, and fun sarong! (you know you have one buried in your closet somewhere!)

Please scroll to the bottom of this page to find links to other mini-tutorials in the Sarong Series. 🙂

Let’s go ahead and get into Sarong Series: Waist Tied Shawl*. I wore leggings and a plain black t shirt to show off the sarong. However, when I’m out in the real world (and not my back porch) I think this style goes over flowy black pants nicely. I love how it can go from a skirt to a shawl in a matter of seconds.

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Step One:
Begin with the Tied Long Skirt. (My example uses a side tie but you may also use a front tie for the Waist Tied Shawl.)

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Pick up lower corners of the sarong in each hand.

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Holding onto the bottom corners (and leaving knot at waist in place), pull bottom hem up and over your back…

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…Until it rests on your shoulders.

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Fold arms and feel the snugly softness of your awesome waist tied sarong! I love the way it drapes and the look of the tie at the waist. So feminine!

If you’d like to see some other examples of how I wear my sarong, don’t forget that there are more pictures on The Closet Countdown Page.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you found the Sarong Series: Waist Tied Shawl easy to follow. Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. I’m super happy to help!

Cheers,

G

*Most of the ways to wear a sarong in my Sarong Series are creative but also quite easy. Some of them require a foundation method first. For the Waist Tied Shawl (and the Tied Short Skirt), you need to start with a Long Tied Skirt. If you would like to see how I do it, please go to Sarong Series: Tied Long Skirt.

Other Sarong Series Posts:

Sarong Series: Tied Short Skirt

20130905-145738.jpgBefore we begin, I want to thank you for stopping by. Writing about and creating a versatile, functional (yet fun and stylish) minimalist closet stand as my current passions in life. Figuring out different ways to wear a sarong or scarf or how to wear one dress three different ways makes me happy. I hope you sense my joy and gratitude from wherever you are!

Let’s get started with the Sarong Series: Tied Short Skirt. (Make sure to read the entire article. There’s a surprise bonus to this fun little design!). I like wearing it this way because the shorter length makes it easier for me to move around throughout my day. I find stairs to be a bit problematic when I wear long skirts…

Most of the ways to wear a sarong in my Sarong Series are creative but also quite easy. Some of them require a foundation method first. For the Tied Short Skirt, you need to start with a Long Tied Skirt. If you would like to see how I do it, please go to Sarong Series: Tied Long Skirt.

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Step One:
Begin with the Tied Long Skirt. (My example uses a side tie but you may also use a front tie for the Tied Short Skirt.)

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Pick up lower corners of the sarong in each hand.

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Pull bottom hem over bum and tie corners just below previous knot. This creates an understated “balloon style” hem.

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Tie again and you are all done! I love the double stacked knots. Because of the thin material, they are small and quite feminine.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

20130905-145057.jpgYour Tied Short Skirt has an ADDED BONUS…

20130905-145147.jpgThat’s right, folks! EXTRA CARGO SPACE!

20130905-145206.jpgThe balloon style also makes it easy to carry around a few, extra, light items. How cool is that? (Um…don’t overdo it on the extra items. It can ruin the look to have heavier items weighing down the hem. I know this from personal – and a little bit embarrassing – experience.)

If you’d like to see some other examples of how I wear my sarong, please check out The Closet Countdown Page.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you found the Sarong Series: Tied Short Skirt easy to follow. Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. I’m super happy to help!

Cheers,

G

Sarong Series: Tied Long Skirt

20130905-054258.jpgIn my quest for simplicity, I have yet to find anything as versatile or vital to my minimalist style than a sarong. With a few simple changes, the sarong (also known as a pareo) adds color, personality, and perfect functionality to any woman’s wardrobe. Rarely do I ever leave the house without at least one tucked in my bag or draped as a scarf.

In the Sarong Series, we will explore some creative ways to wear what is essentially a large, lightweight, fringed piece of fabric.

Let’s begin with an easy and fun way to wear a sarong: The Tied Long Skirt. It looks great tied in the front and to the side. Personally, I prefer the side tie. It tends to stay “out of the way” while I go about my daily activities a little better than a knot tied in front. Though either way looks flattering on a female figure. 🙂 You will find instructions for both styles below.

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Average Sarong Size Measurements:
Width: Approx 46 inches (117 cm)
Length (including fringe): Approx 66 inches (168 cm)

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Step One:
Place sarong behind you while holding opposite corners on the longest side.

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Step Two:
Fold over body and connect to the side or the front.

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Step Three:
Tie the two ends together until sarong is secure against the body (waist or lower hip is fine).*

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*At this point, you may want to leave it with the ends hanging in a nice drape. Though it will be more secure if you continue on…

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Step Four:
Take the two ends and tie them again in the same place to secure position. Let ends fall in a nice drape at the newly formed knot.

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Step Five:
Saunter through your day in the cool comfort of a light but long skirt!

If you’d like to see some other examples of how I wear my sarong, please check out The Closet Countdown Page.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you found the Sarong Series: Tied Long Skirt easy to follow. Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. I’m super happy to help!

Cheers,

G

Style Spotlight: Gudrun SjödĂ©n

20130902-060921.jpgWhile wandering around the web, I came across this gem of a blog/website: The Succulent Wife. SUPER cute graphics.

20130902-060948.jpgAnyway… I found this post about designer Gudrun SjödĂ©n. I was enthralled with what I read and after I watched the attached video, I immediately went to Gudrun SjödĂ©n’s website. Wow.

As you can tell from most of my wardrobe-related pictures, I’m a simple gal. Black mostly. Standard, flattering lines, stretchy, quick-dry fabrics. Not many frills. I have a set of “internal rules” I’ve created around my wardrobe that makes it very easy for me to coordinate, care for, and buy. Gudrun’s clothing breaks my “rules” and I still love it. All of it. Her designs are simple but beautifully complex. Some of the dresses just hang there. (No defined waist!) and yet, they are flattering for all shapes.

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I’m sure Stacy and Clinton would not approve.

For me, Gudren’s designs are like visual poetry. It snags my heart in a big way. It is her art and her love for all women who wish to express themselves with their clothing. After all, don’t we do that anyway?

All along my life’s beautiful (and sometimes very difficult) path, I’ve been communicating to the world around me with my wardrobe. My lifestyle choices. How I feel about myself. How I’d like others to perceive me. And because I’m beginning to emerge from a self-focused life, I’m learning to listen to what others are saying with their wardrobe as well – intentionally or unintentionally.

20130902-060941.jpgGudrun SjödĂ©n reminds me that it’s okay to keep exploring and growing – as an aspiring travel style blogger, as a woman, as an artist. She is such a beautiful woman.

Perhaps well-made, fun pieces that make one feel special and unique are just as important in a minimalist closet as a scarf that goes with everything. Now, if you can have both in one item… Well then, I’d call that a winner!

I’m off to add the Cotton/Rayon Blouse featured on this page to my wish list. 🙂

Do you have any clothing from Gudrun SjödĂ©n? If yes, please tell me about it! I do so love personal clothing testimonies…

As always, I thank you for your time. It is my sincerest hope that my work brightens your day somehow and adds beauty to your life.

Cheers,
G