I’m your classic neat freak. I know every item that’s in my closet and I (try my best) to give them a wear or else I send them off to the clutches of another who might.
Back in the day, I used to be a eBay freak too, with tens of listings always flooding my page, just trying to make a buck from what I no longer wore. However, becoming increasingly frustrated by low-bid auctions, I went on hiatus – until recently.
Now, I have two ways in which I’m trying to unload my old stuff – most of which have been pretty successful. Here’s how you can do it, too.
As a fashion blogger and freelance fashion writer, I will say it:
Fashion isn’t everything.
Most of us do not work in fashion. We are lawyers, accountants, doctors, journalists, business owners and a million other things. We enjoy reading, hiking, bowling and movies. We go to book club on Wednesday and date night on Friday.
However, one thing that we can do is bring the joy and creative spirit from fashion into other parts of our lives as we go about our day. Even if we don’t head over to Vogue every morning at 9 a.m. and the style of our lives ends after we get dressed in the morning, the decisions and feelings that go into our fashion decisions don’t end there. Here’s how you can bring that into the rest of your day-to-day life.
1. When you go to the mall and you only purchase things that you really love. When was the last time you picked up a disastrously ugly shirt at the store and then decided to take it over the register? Hopefully never. Instead, you hold out for the best – that one thing that you can’t live without. Even if that means you have five pairs of jeans and four tops in your arms, you only pursue what makes you happy. This is how you should be making all decisions in your life. If it doesn’t make you excited to get up tomorrow (and get dressed…) then why are you doing it? Do what makes you happy, people.
2. When there’s a little extra strut in your step because you’re wearing your favorite outfit. Think about it. When you’re feeling your best and you’re hoping you’ll run into your ex-boyfriend that night, it’s because you’re wearing your favorite outfit – a simple piece of cloth. There is no magic in those heels or that dress. It’s all in your head. So why can’t you feel like that always? Get it in your head that you’re great, you’re beautiful, you’re smart and you’re interesting. You don’t need an item of clothing to prove it.
3. When you’re feeling pretty snazzy because you just put together an awesome new ensemble. You know when you wake up, feel a sudden pull of inspiration and you have the best outfit ever? You kind of feel like you just solved a great mystery of the world and you feel ready to take on the day. Bring this in everything you do by always trying new things. What fun is always eating the same meal, wearing the same outfit or taking on the same projects? Get creative, be courageous and try new things whenever possible.
There you have it, ladies. I know that you love to shop, you love style and you love fashion (or else you wouldn’t be reading this blog). Now, I want you to bring it to your lives.
Not all of us have a complete arsenal of fall fashion just rearing to go as soon as October comes around (although we certainly wish we did). Although we’re always more than ecstatic to pull out our fall riding boots, cozy sweaters and classic jackets, our closets can start to look pretty empty if we simply packed away all of our favorite summer and spring pieces. However, packing all that stuff away simply isn’t necessary since many pieces can easily be brought into fall. Here’s how.
1. Pair darks with lights.
In the summer, wearing white jeans with a salmon is perfect for a workday. Unfortunately, this simply won’t work anymore once October shows its face. Instead of packing away your white or pink pieces, pair them with darker pieces instead (such as white pants with a burgundy top or light blue pants with a black top).
2. Throw on an interesting blazer.
I’ve been wearing many of my summery, floral tops in the fall simply by pairing them with a classic blazer. Blazers don’t have to be boring – instead, stand out with hounds tooth, stripes or a bold color to completely transform an otherwise summertime look. Also, always remember, especially when layering, that accessories must match to pull a look together.
3. Put some tights on.
Not all dresses need to retire in the fall. Those in darker shades can follow through to fall with opaque black tights. To keep from looking like your grandma, wear solid booties or other shoes made for the autumn. Stay away from flats as well to avoid looking like a schoolgirl lost in your office.
4. Accessorize with a scarf.
Paired with a scarf and a cardigan, most tops that are in classic styles (not too summery or flowy) can transition from your spring closet to your fall. Grab a cozy scarf and tie in the way that most complements the outfit. Obviously, for sleeveless summery tops, a cardigan or other kind of laying is usually necessary to complete.
5. Utilize classic accessories.
Summer is for all those wild and crazy accessories that your mom balks at. Fall is for classic pieces like pearls and more subdued and neutral colors. If you pair these classic accessories accordingly with more summery pieces, a summer outfit can easily transition into the autumn, no purchase necessary.
I shudder a little when I think back to high school when I would shower at night, blow-dry my already thin, fine hair, then get up early to straighten or curl it before heading off to first period. This was also simutaneous with my color treatments, including red dye, highlights and lowlights every three months. When I now peer in the mirror, a little disappointed over the result of my careful air-drying of my naturally colored hair which I have been sporting for the past three years, I often wonder if my sad locks are the result of my poor habits early on.
However, I don’t really think those days caused my non-ideal hair today – instead, my hair stylist, Rachel, insists that my brown hair is not damaged at all, instead, it’s just naturally thin and fine and it’s just the luck of the draw that some can do color treatments every six weeks and heat styling everyday without any impact. Rachel herself straightens her color-treated hair everyday, and it’s still so thick that she shaves off the underbelly of it just to make it more manageable. It’s still so thick that you would never wonder if anything was different.
After years spent anguishing over my unfortunate luck, I went to Rachel again to get some easy at-home treatments to help thicken up my head. Although I will never have obscenely long-flowing locks like Rachel or exotic actresses in magazines, I have seen significant impacts. Here’s what I did.
1. I use a hair mask about once a week. On Saturday mornings when I wake up, I make a mixture of two raw eggs and two tablespoons of olive oil and mix them together in a bowl. Then, I pour it over my hair in the bathtub, grabbing the remaining bits that pool into the tub and re-scrub them into my head. After working it in, I tie my hair up and let it dry for 30 minutes before washing it out with normal shampoo/conditioner. Although I’ll admit that I don’t smell great for the day (maybe I would be better off doing this on Sundays…) after it’s done, my hair is incredibly soft, smooth and rejuvenated.
2. I rinse my hair with cool water, always. Hot water causes your hair follicles to open while cool water causes them to close, protecting them from damage. So when you’re done showering, it’s always a good idea to rinse with cool water – it doesn’t have to be freezing, just cool enough. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, take a whole shower with cool water – it’s better for your skin, too.
3. I sleep with my hair tied in a loose braid. When you’re rolling around in your sleep, your hair crunches under you, damaging it. If you loosely tie your hair in a braid, it will keep the ends together – safely – and protect them from damage.
4. I sleep on a satin pillowcase. Sleeping on a cotton pillowcase is rougher on your hair while sleeping on satin or silk is much softer on it and will make it prone to less damage while you sleep.
5. I always use a heat protectant spray before styling. When my hair is completely dry (NEVER straighten or curl your hair when it is still wet and prone to damage) I spray it with Tresemme Creations Heat Tamer Spray and then it dry again (will only take about five minutes) before using any type of hot styling tool. Also, once I’m done styling, I use Chi Silk Infusion on the ends to prevent them from frizzing out.
6. I only use heat styling once a week. Technically, someone who has non-color-treated hair can safely use heat styling three times a week, while someone with color-treated hair can do so once a week, however I try to limit myself to one heat style per week.
7. I take extra supplements of Biotin and B12 everyday. These vitamins have proteins in them which will promote healthy growth of your hair and nails. I take pills of these everyday (in addition to a multivitamin).
9. I take Silicon droplets everyday. Every morning, I take fifteen drops of JarroSil Activated Silicon in a small glass of juice (usually you can’t even taste it). Like a protein, this also promotes healthy hair and nail growth.
10. I use organic shampoos. Organic shampoos are free of many chemicals that weigh hair down. I use Organix Shampoo and Conditioners – which I also really like because there are an endless amount of types (in which I plan to try every single one).
11. I use Moroccan oil after air-drying my hair each morning. Since my hair is fairly thin and straight, my hair is nearly dried after about an hour and a half. At this point, I take a pearl-sized amount of oil (I like Organix) and sift it through the ends of my hair to prevent frizzing.
12. I massage my head throughout the day. At random points, I’ll massage my scalp with my fingertips, which promotes hair growth. It also feels awesome.
13. I switch my part everyday. By switching your part, you are exposing and healing different hair follicles.
Ah, the age-old question. School has officially begun, the leaves are falling and we are planning our Halloween costumes as fall gets underway (officially). We go through days where the wind is blowing and we’re left digging for our winter coats shoved back in the closet and days when we can still drive down to the shore for the day. This is all fun and good, but… when is it appropriate to wear boots?
September is a funny month in that it retains the last strains of summer yet we’re left wanting for fall, asking ourselves when we should unpack the vests and the jackets. Today, I posed the question to my friend Megan, who had a pleasingly specific answer:
After October 1st when the temperature dips below 70 degrees.
Being that I live in the northeast where we, too, get quite the chills once fall is underway, I do not think that wearing tall boots before this time is ever OK. Unless there is a blizzard or something. If you must, put on the short boots, but stick with open-toed shoes or flats by all means possible since people (i.e. me) are still hanging out on the beach and all.
“I don’t know anyone who breaks as many shoes as you do,” says my boyfriend, after I tell him that I broke my fourth pair of shoes this semester.
Which, may or may not be a valid observation. Studying abroad, aka traveling more than you most likely will travel in your entire life ever again within a three month timespan, takes a lot out of you, and a lot of out your… stuff. For example: I often find myself silently praying not that I have a safe flight or that the bus is on time, but instead that Please, PLEASE let my backpack make it, just one more week. That’s it. I promise I will stop drinking so much beer.
And it doesn’t stop there with my backpack. Mostly, this applies for shoes, since those (and, come to think of it, basically everything I own) cost less than $20 and has the quality to reflect that. Not only do I just happen to break many things, but I also walk a lot and get lost a lot and lose my stuff a lot. SORRY OKAY!
Anyway, the great thing about studying abroad is even though you started accidentally dressing like a gypsy, you’re basically a nomad anyway so it’s kind of acceptable. (“This ten-year-old backpack is so handy.” “This shoes with these ginormous holes in them are so comfortable and it’s easier to tell when it’s raining.” “I love this big ugly jacket that some idiot must have accidentally left in the dumpster.”)
Now that I only have two pairs of shoes left when I came here with literally like ten, everyone keeps telling me that I have a great excuse to buy some nice Italian leather to take home. But what I’m really thinking is I could get myself a really nice steak with that money instead, and I’m gonna need the space in my suitcase that those shoes would have taken up since I plan on taking home a hell of a lot of four euro wine.
Also, this thought process makes you see that things are just that- things. Italian leather boots are still just a pile of leather you’ll be sick of in a few months, and a beautiful patterned jacket is just something you’ll need when it rains. Instead, the only thing fashion matters for when you have no money and no space in your suitcase is if your Facebook pictures will still look okay so all your friends can be jealous of all the fun you’re having.
So now, when my shoes break at the airport during the security check I’ll actually be glad, because this means I can take out my spare pair and that’s one less thing I’ll have to carry on my back. Will I still look like a crazy bag lady when I get back home and have my wonderful closet back? Probably not. But for now, it’s kind of nice to jump in the mud puddles, get soaked in the rain, and leave clothes in the hostel that you’ve been wearing for a week straight.
When I open it in the morning, although I’m surrounded by pieces that I love, I’m underwhelmed by the amount of items in there. Now that I have a double closet, this feeling is all the more evident, especially considering that I (thankfully) always have a full wallet.
Even though when shopping I’m commonly presented with clothing that I adore, I’m easily deterred by price tags. More than $20 for a dress or a pair of shoes? I figure I can find it cheaper elsewhere. I’m a creature of the hunt and I love the thrill of coming home and being presented with my bargain finds after a long journey to the mall.
However, more often than not, I leave empty handed instead, which has brought me to my bare closet. This has always made me feel kind of bad, especially when less financially savvy friends have wardrobes full of designer clothes that I crave. Always, until a funny experience in the odd world of advertising.
Before I transitioned to the editorial world, I took on a brief stint in the advertising department where I met all sorts of funny characters. One day, a large, pinky-ringed ad agency man came in to speak with an advertising rep and I. He was a boisterous, sleazy man with a bad reputation for never buying anything. Time after time, we snickered when he asked for pricing, pricing we had gave him countless times before, certainly hoping this time, he could be inclined to save just a few dollars. He never spent even one.
When he came in that day, though, he said something quite revealing: “I love the chase of a good bargain. I need to feel like I won.”
Who knows if this guy famous for getting ad reps fired was telling the truth or just trying to deter the advertising department from figuring out sooner that the dude was never even going to buy a banner ad. Nevertheless, after that, I didn’t feel so guilty – I, too, wanted to feel like I won something from the corporate giants that are retail stores. I wanted to come home with something I had sought out and would be proud of not only for its look, but for its captured price.
I am a product of the chase, and even if it keeps my closet bare, it’ll also keep my mind at ease.