I think because it's always been very hard for me. Self care, that is. Before I met my husband, I was eating probably once a day. With extra storage in the oven for my shoes and nothing but takeout in the fridge. Eating was a distraction from my work and something I used to forget to do.
I also rarely took downtime. Or vacations. I was extremely strict with myself in establishing a career and believed the longer I worked in a day, the further I'd get. I spent lavishly at bars and restaurants, worked tirelessly on my hair and makeup but those things certainly weren't self care.
Now, nearly 10 years later, I just recently figured out the depths of caring for myself.
And almost none of it you have to buy. But of course that's the first thing I wanted to do! When you buy a yoga membership or an expensive face mask or a trip to a tropical resort, you feel like
"there, I did something! It's right there and proof that I am now taking control of my self care!"
But... if you're still eyeing your disappointment-of-a-waistline in the mirror during mountain pose, or cramming that $200 revitalizing mask in the back of your cabinet after one use, or drafting a work email in your head while laying out under palm trees then...
...that's not caring for yourself.
I'm sure we've all done something like this before. I mean I did all the above. But the stuff that really makes a difference (and part of the reason I suppose I can call myself a minimalist) is the real self care. The hard stuff.
Congratulating, forgiving, listening, letting go, feeling - that's the real stuff. They're not events or things to own. They're everyday life-changers. I mean a face mask and a trip to a day spa can only take you so far.
As a student of self love/care, I only now realize it's the meat-and-potatos of life! You're feeding yourself and it miraculously makes you full. I think because it attracts other wonderful gifts, like self awareness and self possession. And because it's so filling, I find I have very little room for other "stuff" actually. Even though I have a looooong way to go, after much practice, I enjoy that it has an awesome side effect of streamlining ones life, yielding only what serves and blocking out the mess.
I chose these photos for this particular post because mornings are when I feel most open to self care. It is a time when I feel the softest and yet the most determined to kick butt. Mornings are nature's makeover!
I've been focusing more on my capsule than ever. My wish list for seasonal treats, has been minimized to accessories only. Special things to go with my everyday style.
Goodness, there is so much fashion all around us! It's incredibly inspiring. And then crippling in a way, from overwhelm.
And especially after big sales like this past Memorial Day weekend, it's tempting for even a seasoned minimalist like myself to buy things just because they're fun and financially within my grasp.
But I must stay true... to what is true and meaningful. And I truly love having only what I absolutely love and need. For everyday!
This kind of lifestyle often means rarely springing for sales, as well as watching the daily plethora of promotions I get hit with every morning come and go. And I enjoy it. I've grown well-accustomed to browsing and feasting on eye-candy. And then being done with it. My Tiny gem of a closet is a product of that. And for the record, I never considered it a "capsule" until the word became popular and I found that it best described my wardrobe. But really, it's just...my closet.
Anyway, I've grown an allegiance to what you could call a minimalist lifestyle partly due to the type of person I am, and also because of my daily routine.
These photos show me on one of the shoots I directed during the week for my clothing line. Since I do roughly the same things every single day - and many times, I do the same things at even the same time everyday, I am a creature of habit, so my collection of clothing definitely reflects that.
Everything in my life, from my closet to my head to my heart has a place, and I get better everyday at cutting out the rest. I want to make as little decisions as possible on the daily stuff and have more room for making the big juicy interesting decisions that take more time and energy so...
I guess this has made me a minimalist.
This piece, a fabulous deep-v tunic is part of my daily look. Like all the time, ha. It's also part of The Capsule line where all of the items are available year-round... Because I wear them year-round.
We all have items in our closet that are go-tos all year long. I think a closet is better if it has that quality.
Because maybe you have a pretty routine day-to-day yourself and isn't it so nice to be able to grab a fabulous outfit everyday that always works for you, and always makes you feel fabulous? I think it is anyway. So here's another daily look for ya. I don't change them much but I do love indulging in making them look even better.
Do you love your daily wear?
Thank you for visiting and reading! See you next week for another capsule look :)
It has been so dark and gray in L.A. lately. A perfect backdrop to my routine reflection and contemplation. Blah.
Right about now in the year, I'm pausing. It'll be my birthday in a couple days and like clockwork, I am turning contemplative and yearning for change. Or just a bright sunny day, as it's the time of Gray May. But being from sunny Southern Cal, I have my pick of the sunny days so I'll stop complaining.
I'm needing new vibes is all. New surroundings to engage myself!
It's odd because I don't really crave that in my wardrobe. Different outfits everyday. New colors, new looks - Nah, you can keep it. I guess that's why a 28-piece capsule works so well for me. This ensemble is part of that of course. And I get a kick out of wearing each piece daily because I know I'll always look and feel great in them. I am confident in my wardrobe and enthusiastic in evolving it.
But around this time of year, I don't feel so confident.
My birthday always finds me assessing my journey so far in life, trying to congratulate myself on my work without glaring too hard at the many things I procrastinated on. But mostly, every birthday, I find myself still waiting for something.
Does this happen to you? Do you ever feel like you're waiting?
Maybe I'm waiting on that mythical moment where I can put up my feet and relax because I'm finally here! Hey there, adulthood! Hey there, life, I'm here and I'm crushing it! I really want to say that.
Or maybe I'm waiting for that adventure of a lifetime. The kind of epic adventure where I'm so in the moment, I forget time exists and I'm so hysterically caught up in life that I'm not worried about paying rent or if I fed the dog.
Or maybe I'm waiting for the big game-changing break in my career where I feel like my hard work has truly paid off and I'm really making a difference.
But those things have already happened in my life. A few times actually. Yet, I'm still waiting.
I really am happy to be turning 35. Ok I just wrote that and realized I'm definitely not. Fine, so I'm not that happy to be turning 35!
But I'm not pursing my lips at the vanity of age. It's the fact that I don't really know what I want out of life.
Clearly, I'm waiting for something to come along though.
My clothing, my mastery of my personal style has helped me see who I am over the years. I've focused so hard on the art of getting dressed, building and mastering a closet I love. I think I need to focus on how to build and curate a life that I love.
I read somewhere, "What would your 86 year old self tell you now?" I think she'd tell me to take more breaks, spend more time with friends and be easier on myself. I'll start with that.
Hope you enjoy the Memorial weekend and join me next Thursday for a new post!
Remember this little yellow knit dress? I wore it at the crisp beginning of Spring - probably the first yellow dress I've ever worn. Designed for The Tiny Closet Shop, this midi dress was meant to be quite versatile and go with any foundational wardrobe.
Anyway, instead of a trench and white woven block heels, I decided to spice it up for the sake of restyling inspiration: a fun fresh white mud cloth open coat and black simple strap heeled sandals.
This particular ensemble isn't something I'd wear - it's not quite me but I couldn't help but take photos of it when I thought up the pairings. It reminds me of something fun to wear on a girls trip or out to lunch. And I do this a lot actually, these types of out-of-my-zone stylings. The habit keeps my brain and ideas fresh and ready to experiment with anything. Why is that helpful?
Well, for me personally, since I design clothing for other women, it keeps me thinking about all the different possibilities of styling and designing and not just sticking to my own comforts, which is limiting over time. Experimentation, dress up sessions, are also helpful for finding one's own personal style. Or igniting a spark of new ideas with an old wardrobe.
Take your clothes and just try on everything with everything else!
You'd be surprised at all the fantastic outfits that can be put together when you come at styling from a different, unfamiliar angle. That's what my Style After Style series is all about.
This is the last one (for now) of my Style After Style series. I will probably start up a new one again in Fall or Winter. I love taking seasonal pieces and crossing them over to other seasons. So I hope you enjoyed these posts dedicated to restyling one's own wardrobe!
Obviously I've worn these rugged jeans a million and one times but I wanted to highlight these two instances, these two above ensembles to show the range of my favorite denims!
I never wear a cropped top with harem pants of any kind, especially with these drop-crotch jeans. I always thought it looked terribly unflattering. Buuuuut, I recently designed (what I think to be) a gorgeous top and, in its newest color: femme-y lavender, I decided to pair this cropped top with the most rugged, worn denim I could think of.
And whadya know, I quite liked how it turned out.
Definitely not an outfit I would wear daily (I do not typically show tummy skin - not even at the beach, humph!) but for a party, or a couple drinks with friends in a crowded bar, this outfit will do nicely. I feel like a lady, but rugged enough to not feel frou frou... Because lavender is most certainly frou frou to me. Pretty much any pastel is, in my opinion. But shame on me because with styling and intuition, you can make anything look the way you want it to look, no matter how solidified its pre-existing reputation.
Anyway, this was another fun "Style After Style" feature. And actually, this series is the nuts and bolts of The Tiny Closet! This is what my lifestyle is all about. Taking the clothing you have, honoring what you buy and really utilizing it for your daily style as artfully and thoughtfully as possible.
Hope you enjoyed this round and come visit me again next Thursday for an all new post!
Aaaaand if you're curious, this top above is available to shop in The Tiny Closet! It's a new fave and limited in the fabulous lavender hue you see. So... shop it now while you can!
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to squeeze in a new blog post for you today. My full time job has taken me completely away from the blog for a moment and I plan to return with a fresh new restyled look next Thursday.
I've been doing a few features for other brands recently and I thought I'd share one with you!
As you may already know, I absolutely love 2Rivers leather bags. Their dedication to quality is definitely something to be admired, especially in the world of fashion accessories. Their very simple, streamlined designs become beautiful statements, as they leave ample room to showcase the quality of the leather and how nicely the piece is put together.
When I was gifted a full size open tote, I knew I'd be carrying it everywhere!
From groceries to random errands picking up crafts and sewing notions, I've been taking this bag along as it carries everything - aaaaand the straps are long enough that it can still be worn on my shoulder. I can't stand my hands being occupied.
I also love how neutral all of their bags can be. While this Mombasa Tote does come in different colors, I love sticking with the natural leather. The way it ages is gorgeous and it goes with my entire wardrobe.
Anyway, I really liked the outfit I put together with this bag. The cocoa midi pants are actually available to shop now! Simple and comfortable, this is the style I will be rocking all season long.
These amazingly fabulous, stunning patent sky high mules aren't that well travelled yet but I've already managed to add them to all kinds of ensembles over the past year.
I'm not sure which look is my favorite so far - I love all the pairings I've done. But I guess that's the product of a Tiny Closet you truly love. Every look, every item tends to be your favorite! Let me tell you, it is so wonderful always having something fabulous to wear. And it has nothing to do with money. Actually, now that I think about it, it may narrow down to two things:
Know what you like to see on yourself.
Buy only what you love.
But speaking of a dream closet that doesn't have anything to do with money...
These new chinos (yeesh, I never thought I'd say that word: chinos. Bleh. I guess I have a dated association of that word with my high school days when Old Navy reigned supreme in suburbia) from J.Crew were a TOTAL SPONTANEOUS BUY. Sorry for the obnoxious caps buuuut if you know The Tiny Closet "way", you know building a closet you love rarely relies on impulsive consumption.
But there's a slight difference between impulsive and spontaneous. Impulsiveness is driven by emotion, which is probably why "impulse shopping" feels naughty.
I'd been looking for a pair of fun pants that I couldn't sew myself. Preferably of the polka-dot nature and baggy. In pops a timely email from J. Crew announcing a ludicrous sale. 40% off sale items, double promotions, combining discount codes, yaddah, yaddah yah. Amazing right?
I had no plans on buying anything that day or even browsing online. I had actually sat down at my computer to check on a shipment number and 30 mins later, I'm pressing Buy Now on two items in my cart. Impulsive? Nah. Spontaneous? Yes.
And it was all according to plan.
Well, some type of plan...
But that's the thing, when you know exactly what you want, when you randomly see it, a random purchase is not so out of the blue. You'd been wanting it and simply waiting for it to come into your radar.
So these awesome pants were deeply discounted and now dearly loved by me. Olive khakis, a Tiny Closet A/W17 top and a glossy heel. I bought the pants 3 sizes too big for a slouchy, baggy S/S casual Friday feel.
Simple, city stylings for a darker Spring look.
Black may not be the it-color for the season but the jumbo dots and the loose cropped top are a version of Spring I tend to play with better.
I hope you enjoyed this week's Style After Style and I'll be featuring anther next Thursday, same time, same place. And if you haven't yet - check out my new Spring Capsule now on the blog!
Also, there's something very exciting going on in The Tiny Closet Shop right now.... but if you're subscribed, you already know.
This might just be my favorite seasonal capsule yet. And I'm not even a "Spring" person.
But the color palette I pulled together for this season really fit my personal style and did a good job of translating my mood for Spring. I may not kick it with pastels or florals, but warm tans, crisp white, an understated blush statement (with lots of wheat hues) all together transition me nicely out of Winter.
My foundational capsule, Thee capsule, I wear all year round so it is always apart of my seasonal wardrobe. But lets just focus on the Spring capsule for now:
Texture is pretty important to me. I don't wear a plethora of color or prints so I need to go deeper with coordination and focus on design and texture! Super thick mud cloth, smooth rayon ponti knit, a lightweight linen and ribbed cotton knit. No matter how I wear any of the above pieces with each other and with my base wardrobe, they will compliment everything quite nicely.
There is one item missing in this capsule during the shoot and that is this top here, which is presently being made into a pattern to be manufactured and released in the shop! Very exciting.
All my Spring pieces are items you may've already previewed - but if not...
This heather grey jersey dress is asymmetric and great for not just everyday activities but events as well. No wonder I wear it all year long. Originally featured here on the blog in a slightly different grey. And you can shop it here at my shop!
This railroad denim dress has been in the shop for a few seasons now, first debuting for Fall. But with mild, comfy California weather, I can wear this mama almost all year. Anyway, you've never seen me in it - only my models in the shop. But I'll be wearing it here on the blog this season.
I think this smoky asymmetric dress (identical to the grey knit one above) is drop dead gorgeous. And I feel so luxurious in it! I love it also because even though it feels and looks just like washed silk, it's semi-synthetic cupro (made from cotton) aaaaand no dry cleaning necessary! Just pop it in the washer, tumble dry and go. It's fancy without all the maintenance. Plus it looks dynamite on. You can take a look (and even shop it!) here at the shop.
And I did want to include my new season shoes. I will probably were mules for the rest of my life. Why? I have no idea! I just really fancy them. They're luxurious looking yet comfortable and I can wear them leisurely as well as for higher end events and occasions.
The polka-dot chinos were a spontaneous purchase (gasp!!) J. Crew has been having absolutely ludicrous sales so I finally jumped on it and bought 2 things. These pants I'll be showing you on Thursday in my normal scheduled posting time. They're so fun and easy. And I got them two sizes too big because I wanted a really loose, baggy look. You'll see em' in a couple days. That reminds me, speaking of spontaneous/impulse purchases, there is indeed an art to it that I have been planning to share! Impulse purchases are not only ok (yes, even if you're a minimalist) they're dare I say, necessary! But more on that later...
I own two pairs of vintage Levi's: one pair is baggy and a bit torn up and the other pair, though I haven't shared them with you yet for some crazy reason, are tight, high waisted and make my butt look like a baby pumpkin. Heyoh!
Lots to share and still more to show and tell! I'm looking forward to the continuation of this season. I am also working on featuring my season capsules earlier than in the middle of the season itself. Sorry about that. But hopefully this Tiny tour of my Tiny Spring closet will inspire ideas for your own personal style and show you that just a few thoughtfully curated items you absolutely love each season can really make a fulfilling difference. Quality over quantity isn't just efficient for my personal lifestyle, it's actually more cost effective! You wear your clothes longer, you shop less, you waste less and you conserve energy on daily decision-making.
This maxi, deep-v tunic is a versatile gem and is in my capsule wardrobe. I can wear it year-round (partly because I live in L.A.) because it truly goes with everything. Truly I've worn it with everything - these shots above are just several of my favorite looks.
But I've never worn it with shorts or a mini. So today I am featuring the latter:
The Tourist tunic (by yours truly - and pssst, it's available in the shop!) paired with a very cool T by Alexander Wang scrunchy knit mini... and some chic understated suede heels.
So, so simple. Slip it all on and goooooooo.
And speaking of going... I couldn't keep from sashaying my butt off in this chic lil' getup.
So from lounge knit midi pants to leather, to vintage jeans to boyfriend jeans! And now a softer feminine feel. Maintaining ultimate simplicity of course.
Hope you liked this third installment of my new Style After Style series debuting the ease and versatility of a tunic. Next week, I'll be pausing the series to feature my Spring season capsule!
So come back next Thursday to check out my new seasonal inspirations!
As my 2nd restyling feature, I picked a piece I rarely wear but for event/avant gard occasions. This Robert Rodriguez maxi circle skirt called to me years ago and I haven't tired of it since.
With mesh paneling, a cropped front and geometric embroidery, I found a skirt that was masterfully designed and executed. That's my sewer's perspective, lol - but as a curator of artful pieces, I highly covet this one and so appreciate it's uniqueness.
I don't have many photos of myself in this one, considering how long I've had it, eek! But as you can how I've styled it over time above, it's a rather season-less skirt. Perfectly dramatic (and full coverage I might add) for Winter with tights and a fitted top. Then for Summer with a crisp tank and printed slippers. And finally...
a Spring/Summer look. All black with a cropped textured print, a pop of color, and gold accessories. As I shot this in the Arts District the other day, I did feel like I wasn't wearing an outfit for just walking and coffee (which is my usual go-to leisure activity when I'm not home). But it just depends on personal style. Some women wear stilettos to the airport so of course I can chill in this getup while sipping a pour-over. I just wouldn't. I would wear this on a date at the museum with Theo, or at a wedding. It's funny, I actually am planning on doing both of those things.
I've been designing simple cropped bolero-type jackets in The Tiny Closet Shop. Mainly using African mud cloths that I always keep stocked. I thought it would be a creative touch to pair one with a huge skirt and a simple lace cami. I love it! But the jacket is definitely still in design...
All you petite ladies out there, don't be afraid to wear a maxi skirt! - even if it's practically floor length. Simply keep the shoes and top super simple and the top better be cropped! It lengthens you. Heels are best with such a whale of a skirt buuuut if ya know me, you know I don't give a hoot about the rules. These days, there aren't any rules anyway so wear what you love.
Anyway, I aint gonna lie, mama felt saucy in this ensemble. All black, a bit of lace, a spicy red shoe, big hair.... I felt like I was back in Spain watching flamenco dancers putting on shows in the streets of Seville.
So all black for Spring is certainly not festive, I know. I've never been into pastels but I was delighted to see that a couple of the leading colors for Spring 18' is tomato and paprika! I love a good orangey red and for Spring, both go quite will with a plethora of pinks and pale blues. Just you wait!
I hope you liked this 2nd installment of my Style After Style series!
This series really is the roots of The Tiny Closet. Styling and re-styling is the name of the game when you're working with 28 pieces year-round. After 6 years of rocking a tiny (sometimes minuscule) closet, I'd say I've gotten good at what I do here. But what's great about restyling is there is always another way to wear your clothes, another ensemble to put together, another perspective. And I still love talking about it.
So join me next Thursday for another Style After Style feature!