Mystery Blogger Award – Answers & Nominees

Dear all,

The lovely Onyx-Natasha at Value Simplicity nominated me for this award.  I didn’t even know what a blogger award was and had to do some research!  But it sounds like a lot of fun and I’m so grateful to Onyx-Natasha for including me in this.  What a lovely way to build the community of bloggers and find out a bit more about each other and our blogs 🙂

Okoto Enigma created this award to recognise brilliant, inspirational and sometimes lesser known blogs.  She called it the Mystery Blogger Award, as a play on the name of her blog ‘Enigma’.  Click here to find out more about it.

Rules of Award:

  1.  Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to their blog
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. Nominate 10-20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice, with one weird/funny question!
  9. Share a link to your best post

Onyx-Natasha’s questions for me were:

  1. Who inspires you?  Anyone who has the integrity to walk to the beat of their own drum
  2. If you could have dinner with anyone, who would they be?   Anne Tyler, my favourite author
  3. What meal would you serve them?   Salade Caprese with home-made bread
  4. What is one question that you would ask that person?  What is the overlap between memory and imagination when writing a novel?
  5. Do you have a party trick that is unique to you and you alone?  It’s not a trick but I make a mean Margarita cocktail, which is always a favourite at parties – does that count?!!

Based on the number of views and comments, I think my best post is the one where I write about why I first became interested in minimalism.

3 things about me:

  1.  My name is Lorraine and my family and close friends call me Lol – but when I sign off at the end of an email, blog post or comment using Lol, it is sometimes interpreted as me ‘laughing out loud’ – not always appropriate given the tone of the post or comment!!!
  2. I have a lovely fur baby – my cat Cody – who turns my house into a home.
  3. I studied sign language for a few years and received a qualification at the end – Irish sign language is the most beautiful language I know.

My 10 Nominees are:

  1.  The Change Agent
  2. Introvertomatic
  3. Stay At Home Minimalist
  4. From Type A to Type Ahh
  5. The Casual Stylist
  6. Green Lights Ahead
  7. Good and Goodbye
  8. The Healthful Saver
  9. Autumn Whewell
  10. Minimalist Marketer

My 5 questions are:

  1. Where are you from?
  2. What is the best thing about blogging, for you?
  3. What book/film speaks to you most?
  4. Where would you most like to visit?
  5. Do you have a nickname?!

Thanks to all of you who joined in and to the brilliant Onyx-Natasha – I look forward to reading all your responses 🙂

Capsules and special occasion pieces

Do special occasion pieces belong in a capsule wardrobe?

I mean those items I only reach for when I have a special event.  A pretty dress, a fancy skirt, an embellished top.  Not the workhorses of my day-to-day wardrobe.

I don’t have many of these events.  My normal social life is well-catered for from my capsule.  Also, I am loathe to have one of my precious, few spaces taken up by an item I may wear only once in a season.

So, I’ve created a tiny, occasion capsule.  This works for parties, fancy dinners and special evenings out.  It contains:

  • Two dresses – one red lace and one dark beaded number
  • One gold brocade skirt, that dresses up the plainest top
  • Two embellished tops
  • My beloved Mulberry shoes, bought for 10% of their original price in Bicester Village!
  • A pretty little clutch, picked up in a local charity shop

I don’t wear only these but I find that one or two of these pieces lift some of my more ‘ordinary’ clothes up a level and I feel more dressed up, which is half the fun of going out.

These clothes last and last because I wear them so seldom but I get the thrill of novelty when I put them on.   I don’t need to go panic shopping if I have a party or wedding to go to – I wear them so infrequently that they seem like new and I never mind repeating outfits!

This weekend, it’s Mr. Minimal-Lol’s birthday and we are going to go out in style to celebrate.  Fancy restaurant is booked, cocktails are featuring on the agenda and I will be reaching into my occasion capsule.

There are some who would reason that a capsule should be self-contained but this way works best for me.  I’ve noticed I have tiny capsules for jewellery, beach wear (worn once a year!), sleep wear and workout wear – these do not usually comprise part of a main capsule.   But I’m now so in the capsule habit that I have no desire to over-compensate in these areas.  The same principles apply.

Now, which piece to wear this evening?  I think it will be the red dress – always a favourite of Mr. Minimal-Lol’s – and it is his birthday!  Have a great week 🙂

 

Summer capsule – key pieces

Thanks to those of you who said pictures of some of my summer capsule may be helpful.   I have enclosed some of the key pieces that I find myself reaching for again and again.

Why these pieces:

  • Neutral colours
  • Lightweight materials
  • Classic shapes
  • Easy to style

However, I feel this capsule, as a whole, has not quite gelled for me.  I think I have too many pieces or maybe some are not versatile enough or I am not being creative enough!   Rather than angsting too much over this, I am treating it as an experiment and an opportunity to learn.

There was a time when a filled wardrobe would have led me to believe that I always had the ‘right clothes’ even though I used to stand in front of it, in despair at not finding something to wear.  Now, a half-filled wardrobe seems too full.  I believe I may have veered too much towards loving some pretty summer pieces, because they are a novelty in our climate, and not enough towards choosing versatile pieces, which earn their place.

I looked in my wardrobe today and thought ‘can I really call myself a minimalist?!’.  The answer is yes because all the ups and downs are simply another step towards a less cluttered, more meaningful life.  This is the beauty of minimalism.  It is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

When I feel overwhelmed, I often turn to other blogs which inspire and re-vitalize me.   Be More with Less and A Small Wardrobe never fail me!

A review of this capsule when summer is over should prove an interesting learning experience!

Is it just me?  Does anyone else feel they get setbacks when they thought they had cracked something?  I’d really love to hear from you.  In the meantime, have a great week 🙂

What’s in my summer capsule wardrobe

After all the planning and reviewing, my summer capsule is up and running.  I’ve taken stock of what I already have, bought a couple of new pieces, carried forward some from other capsules and dug some out of storage.  So, what have I included this year?

 

A few stats:

  • 8 bottoms (3 trousers, 3 skirts and 2 pairs of jeans)
  • 4 toppers (2 jackets and 2 cardigans)
  • 14 tops (of various sleeve lengths)
  • 2 dresses
  • 4 pairs of shoes (3 pairs of sandals and 1 pair of shoes)
  • 1 jacket (as outerwear)
  • 2 accessories (1 bag and 1 pair of sunglasses)

 

So 35 pieces in total – although 14 tops – hmmmm……. It’s only when I’ve written that down that it seems excessive.  When I was sorting out through my tops, they all seemed essential.  I’ll have to keep an eye on that and see the number of wears I get from each one.

Tips for a summer capsule:

  • I live in the UK and a range of clothes is preferable, due to the varying weather – it was cold and windy last week, it’s warm and sunny this week.
  • I’m a fan of Project 333 and it’s a brilliant framework, but it is a framework. A strict number of items is great when getting started but I’m a bit more relaxed about the numbers now.  I’m not going to worry about having 35, instead of 33 items (although those 14 tops …..)
  • Mixing and matching is what gives a capsule longevity and prevents boredom, so pick your neutrals with care. For years, I wouldn’t wear black in the summer, reserving it for the colder months.  But so many of my tops look great against a canvas of a black trousers or jeans.
  • Be realistic about how you’ll be spending your time. Dress for your real life – work, walking the dog, running errands, sitting outside – not a fantasy lifestyle.
  • If an item doesn’t work, swap it for one that does – it’s an experiment, not rules set in stone.

 

If anyone is interested in seeing pictures of the actual pieces, let me know in the comments below and I’ll include them in my next post.  In the meantime, enjoy your week 🙂

Summer 2017 Capsule Wardrobe

I’m creating a summer capsule wardrobe – anyone like to join me?

The days are getting warmer and my clothes need to be more summer appropriate.  Time to ditch the dark colours and woollen jumpers!

So, using the framework of Project 333, I’ve decided to create a small, carefully curated wardrobe of summer clothes.  I’ll include only clothes that fit me well, that I love and that suit my lifestyle.  I think I’ll end up with about 35 pieces – slipping in a cheeky 2 extra pieces – and see how I get on with that.  These 35 pieces will include all my tops, bottoms, dresses, shoes and accessories.

Why do a capsule?

  • I can choose clothes that I love and that suit me.
  • An edited wardrobe with a limited number of pieces is easy to choose from when getting dressed and that will make …..
  • Getting dressed in the morning simpler and quicker.
  • I already have a lot of clothes from last summer – re-using them will mean spending less money.
  • My wardrobe will not be crammed and over-flowing.
  • My ‘floordrobe’ will be a dim and distant memory.
  • Fewer clothes mean I will appreciate those I have more.
  • The clothes that make the cut are usually higher quality, as they will need to withstand greater wear and tear.
  • I’ll choose only my favourite items, so I’ll be wearing my favourite clothes every day – that’s a good start to a morning!
  • Less time spent fussing over my clothes means more time for friends, family and my own interests.

Some concerns:

  • I’m worried I may get bored with so few clothes – so it’s good to have it time-bound i.e. only one season, which is really only 12 weeks.
  • I don’t want people to think I’m wearing the same clothes all the time – so I’ll have to be creative.
  • I hope the extra washing and wearing doesn’t wear out my clothes too quickly.

Some tips:

  • Pick out colours that are easy to mix and match.
  • Make sure to have a good mix of clothes for work and home, especially if you work in a corporate environment.
  • Enjoy it! It’s just an experiment – if it doesn’t turn out exactly as planned, it’s only clothes!

So, I’m going to create my summer capsule this weekend.  I’ll take the clothes out of storage, try them on, select and discard, wash and iron – you know, all the glamorous stuff!

I’ll try it for 3 months and then review to see how well (or otherwise!) it has worked.  If you’re thinking of doing something similar, I’d love to hear from you in the comments box below.

Next week, I’ll write about what clothes I’ve chosen and why.  Have a great week 🙂

Letting go of clothes with sentimental value

I think de-cluttering is like a muscle.  When you’re not used to de-cluttering, it seems too difficult and even overwhelming to start.  I found I needed to build up gradually, although I know of those who cheerfully threw themselves in the deep end.  But the more I de-cluttered, the easier I found it.   My de-cluttering muscle grew stronger and more toned!  I could make decisions on what to keep and what to let go, quickly and without too much analysis or angst.  Until it came to a sentimental item ….

I’ve written before about letting go of clothes that no longer fit me and this was relatively easy to do.  In fact, when the reason I was giving them away was because they were too big for me, I did it with a sense of relish!   However, there was one dress I never wore but never let go.  When I was reviewing my seasonal wardrobe, I would move hurriedly past it, convincing myself that it still ‘sparked joy’.  I loved it but to ‘spark joy’ it needs to tick a lot of boxes and a lot of those boxes were empty.  It’s a pretty dress but it no longer fit me and was no longer my style.  I had few occasions to wear it and when one did come around, I would always reach for something else instead.

So, this time, instead of racing past it, I took a deep breath and took it off the hanger.  It sparked …. something … I just wasn’t sure it was joy.  I tried it on – it looked awful and I knew I would never wear it out of the house again.  So, why was I keeping it?

I bought this dress for my twin nephews’ christening ceremony ten years ago and the celebrations afterwards.  Every time I saw the dress, I would feel a warm glow when remembering the day.  But that’s what I was remembering – the occasion – and I didn’t need the dress for that.  I was confusing a piece of material with warm memories and the joy of being with family and the arrival of our two wonderful boys.  I am lucky enough to have three nephews and a niece but I don’t see them very often so all time with them is precious.   However, I need to disentangle the memories of time with them from inanimate objects. 

I have photos of the day and me wearing the dress and that’s plenty, it’s enough, it’s more than enough.  Letting the dress go does not mean letting the memories go.   I dropped it off at my favourite charity shop, hoping that someone else will create happy memories for themselves in it.

Summer 2017 Capsule Wardrobe – Plan

I want to be cautious about how I phrase this because I feel I’m tempting fate but summer MAY have just started here in the UK.  We’ve had some very mixed weather and a couple of very warm days and, as I’ve had my spring capsule for three months, I’ve decided it’s time for my summer one 🙂

My routine is a well-oiled machine at this stage!  I’ve reviewed my spring capsule to see how well it’s worked (quite well, actually) and pulled my summer clothes out of storage.  I’ve decided how many pieces from my spring capsule are going back into storage and how many I’m letting go (only two).  My summer clothes are a different story.  For some bizarre reason, I seem to have a disproportionate amount of these – it’s a combination of them being more fun to buy and there’s less wear and tear on them as summer is so short!  I was tempted to be a bit lazy and decide by eye what was going to form part of the capsule but previous lessons learned compelled me to actually try things on.  Twelve months has made a difference in preference, style and especially size and many pieces will not make the cut.

I will decide over the next week what I am actually taking forward into the capsule.  Another lesson learned is not to only choose light, summery pieces as layers can be essential to counteract cooler days and open windows (for those of us without air-conditioned offices!).   I need to review the capsule in its entirety and then see if there are any gaps.  I’ve only spotted one so far (a layering piece!) but think I will be letting go of over ten pieces from last year’s wardrobe, the majority of which do not fit properly any more and one or two which are no longer my style.

Summer always seems the simplest capsule for which to plan but also the easiest one to fall into a ‘fantasy lifestyle’.  In my head, I could picture myself wearing long, floaty dresses for picnics and days out, but of course, work and life will go on as normal and my wardrobe needs to be quite similar to previous seasons, just not as focused on keeping me warm all the time!   I’ll still need a combination of work appropriate clothes, along with more casual ones and the one floaty dress will probably be fine for my upcoming social calendar!