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

20131009-195514.jpg

20131009-195853.jpg

20131009-200312.jpg

20131009-200514.jpg

20131009-200705.jpg

The Closet Countdown: Day 99 of 100

One. More. Day. Then it’s over. Tomorrow is my last full day of wearing items from my chosen 55 articles of clothing in The Closet Countdown. I’m excited. I cannot wait to open my two small bins of “unchosen” clothing that I stashed up on a shelf in my closet.

The Closet Countdown (should have called it The Closet Countdown Challenge) has been a beautiful part of my quest for simplicity. A one hundred day reminder that I must wade through some complicated issues to get to the “simple life”. I have no regrets.

Monday’s activity for my half marathon training is “Stretch and Strengthen”. So I chose an outfit that included leggings so I could catch a session of yoga later today without a full-on change up. That is one of the things I had hoped to accomplish with this fun experiment in the first place. If you missed yesterday’s outfit, please go here.

Day 99 Monday, October 7

  • White Cotton Tunic
  • Black Leggings
  • Merrell Black Barefoot Mary Jane Shoes
  • Multi-Colored Scarf

20131007-091111.jpg

If you are reading this, I am grateful for you and your time and your willingness to read my words and see my attempts to find my simple style. I wish you great things for your small act of kindness. 🙂

Cheers,
G

The Closet Countdown: Day 98 of 100 (So close…)

Two more days. Just two more days and The Closet Countdown will be over. Yesterday’s post is evidence that I’ve decided to ignore my insecurities and play a little with combinations I haven’t tried before. This little experiment has definitely helped me get more comfortable in front of a camera. Though the poses feel so redundant… 😉

Another one outfit day. Just me and my Merrell Emery…and a big black leather Gap brand belt that I scored at a thrift store in Austin for pennies.

Day 98 Sunday, October 6

  • Merrell Black Emery Dress
  • Gap Black Wide Leather Belt
  • Merrell Black Luxe Strap Sandals

20131006-185453.jpg

Thank you for stopping by and bearing with me as I face the final days of this strange yet very rewarding experiment. I’m grateful for your time as always.

Cheers,
G

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. 🙂

20130728-101106.jpg 20130805-055018.jpg

20130818-102521.jpg20130818-102447.jpg

20130825-094025.jpg20130825-094100.jpg

20130715-074333.jpg20131002-224146.jpg

MerrellLilyWrapDress 20130905-145023.jpg

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!

20131005-180443.jpg

The Closet Countdown: Day 96 of 100 (Yea!)

The end is near. So near. Feels like Christmas is right around the corner. I’ve missed my other dresses and other “superfluous” clothing. The joys and challenges of The Closet Countdown are things I will treasure for a long time.

Yesterday I only wore two different outfits. And I’m still quite proud of my sassy little pose. 🙂

Today is just one outfit. It’s a casual farewell to my Summer wardrobe. I’m also celebrating the thirteenth birthday of one of my favorite young ladies on the planet (I included a picture of her below). Since my decision not to have kids, she has been like a daughter to me. I’m blessed beyond measure for someone who has so little…

Day 96 Friday, October 4

  • Ann Taylor Grey Boat Neck Top
  • OP Pinkish Coral Shorts
  • Merrell Brown San Remo Sandals

20131004-134105.jpgHere is a previously posted pic of me and H:

20130721-173415.jpgThank you so much for stopping by and sharing my journey. My heart is warmed. I wish you many adventures!

Cheers,
G

The Closet Countdown: Day 95 of 100

As the final days of the The Closet Countdown slowly putter along, I find that I’m both excited and a teensy bit sad. I like challenge. But I also like it when the challenges are over and I get to reflect on lessons learned. Bittersweet. 🙂

Yesterday, I changed clothes three times and I posted pictures to prove it. Even included my running clothes for fun. 🙂 Besides a morning trip to the grocery store and perhaps a therapeutic run in the afternoon (it’s my Prozac), I plan on sticking to one, simple ensemble today.

Day 95 Thursday, October 3

  • Merrell Black Lily Wrap Dress (they don’t make it any more. sigh.)
  • Merrell Black Luxe Strap Sandals (love the almost retro look of these shoes!)
Took me almost one hundred days to finally get a little sassy in front of the camera. :)

Took me almost one hundred days to finally get a little sassy in front of the camera. 🙂

Here is another image featuring the Lily Wrap Dress:

20130805-055018.jpg

As always, I’m glad you stopped by. Thank you.

Cheers,
G

PS Here’s a picture of my afternoon run outfit (before the run of course…)

  • BCG Brown V-Neck Top
  • BCG Black Leggings
  • Merrell Barefoot Bare Access Arcs

20131003-185906.jpg
This is Snickers the Wonder Dog. 🙂

The Closet Countdown: Weekly Update #11

20130916-070329.jpg

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!

20130904-060316.jpg

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

20130905-042703.jpg

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

20130910-050706.jpgStep Two:
Fold over body and hold by the top corners of the sarong, prepared to make your first tie.

20130910-050823.jpgStep Three:
Tie the two ends together in a very shallow first tie.

20130910-050928.jpg 20130910-051014.jpg

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

20130910-051100.jpg 20130910-051139.jpg

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

20130910-051236.jpg 20130910-051330.jpg

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.

20130910-060335.jpg  20130910-060310.jpg

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.

20130910-060354.jpg 20130910-060421.jpg 20130910-060443.jpg 20130910-060541.jpg

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.