If I had to pick one word to describe my style, it would be Boring. I don’t really consider myself to be someone that has a lot of style. And I’m totally okay with that. Maybe it’s my stage of life (mostly stay-at-home Mom to an almost five and three year-olds), but my style is all about function. Sure, it would be nice to not look like a hot mess while I’m wrangling children, but if I do, that’s just the reality of my life right now.
Chapter 2, A Simplified Style, made me think about this a little differently.
When I think about the word ‘style, it’s synonym is ‘trendy’. Which isn’t correct at all. The way Emily Ley describes it in this chapter is that Style is defined by what you love to wear and make you feel good.
When it comes to our wardrobes (or anything, really) “Fewer Choices lead to simpler decisions, which lead to a greater likelihood of being thrilled with your selections.” (Pg. 28)
And that’s when Style becomes more about simplifying and decluttering than it does about trying to look like you just walked out of a magazine.
Steps to Simplifying Your Wardrobe: (Pg. 31)
1 – Empty Everything
You’ve heard me say it a million times. And Emily Ley too. You get a comprehensive idea of what you have if you touch each piece and pull EVERYTHING out of the caverns of your closet/dresser. Just do it.
2 – Review Each Piece
In order to keep the piece, it must:
- Be of good quality (no stains, holes, pilling, etc.)
- Be your favorite
Any piece that doesn’t meet all three of those requirements gets thrown away (if it’s not #2) or donated. If it fits all three criteria, but isn’t in season, store out of sight so as not to create visual clutter in your closet and dresser.
3 – Define Your Style
Examine what you have left. What’s a common theme? This is your style.
Now that you’ve cleaned out your current wardrobe, remember these tips for the next time you go shopping: (Pg. 31)
- You don’t need one in every color
- You don’t need the latest or trendiest
- You don’t need to own pieces just because they are on sale
- QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
Basically, just chant to yourself Emily Ley’s mantra while you clothes shop:
For the last year, I have done seasonal capsule wardrobes (Summer, Fall, Winter & Spring), which has been a game-changer for me. Far and away, my biggest piece of advice for curating a Capsule Wardrobe is not get caught up in the “Capsule Wardrobe Rules”. What I mean by that is don’t be governed by the number of pieces or the duration that the wardrobe should last. Rather, think about it the way that Emily Ley defines a Capsule Wardrobe: To serve as everything you need, and nothing you don’t.
Find your best, favorite and necessary wardrobe pieces and only keep those. Nothing else. Ta-da. You just created your Capsule Wardrobe.
Every woman needs a simple and consistent (KEY!) day to day beauty routine. What that means or looks like is up to each person, but having a routine that fits your style goes a long way toward simplifying mornings.
First things first, go through all of your cosmetics and pitch anything that’s expired OR that sabotages a simplified routine.
5 Steps to a Simplified Beauty Routine (Pg. 40-41)
1 – Create a Minimal Make Up Bag
This should consist of items you wear every day (or at least most days). Get rid of anything that you have “in case you want to wear it one day”. You won’t. And if you do, it will most likely be expired by then.
2 – Master Techniques
This is tricky for me because I am so not good at make up stuff. But, at the ripe old age of 37, I finally feel like I’m starting to get the hang of this. I’m still not great at it, but I’ve watched enough tutorials on The Small Things Blog that I have figured out how to make my make up look the way I want it to.
3 – Choose High Quality Products That Match Your Skin
This doesn’t mean that you have to break the bank. There are a lot of good drug store options, but finding the right one requires doing a little research and taking the time (and not just picking the cheapest foundation BECAUSE it’s the cheapest) to find what works best for you.
4 – Keep Your Day to Day Look the Same
Decide what makes the biggest impact with the least amount of time and effort and make that your daily routine. Add a little to spice it up for an event, but generally speaking, stick with what you know and what you know works.
6 out of 7 days a week, I use these five products in less than five minutes.
5 – Find an Updo That Really Works for your Hair
Again, what this is doesn’t matter as much as choosing it and mastering the technique. I’ve been working on the messy bun for the last two years and I’m thisclose to perfecting it. It is the perfect Day 3 hair style for when I’ll be spending all of my time running after kids and don’t want my hair in my face. Bonus: I can pull a couple pieces down around my face to “dress it up” a little if I need to.
Even if I’m wearing running shorts, a workout tank top, sneakers and have my hair pulled back, if my clothes fit well and my hair doesn’t look like I just rolled out of bed, I feel more prepared for the day. I don’t know what it is about it, but there’s something. Add that to the fact that getting dressed and ready are morning tasks, and the way the morning goes sets the pace for the rest of the day, and simplifying these areas of my life make a huge difference in how a day goes.
At the end of each chapter, Emily Ley has a ‘Simplicity Challenge’, which are 5 steps that you can do right now that make big strides toward achieving your goal.
Comment on each blog post with the number of simplicity challenges you completed that week. I will track each person’s progress (this is a total honor system thing) and the person with the most challenges completed at the end of the book will get some swag. Like good, helpful swag. No clutter-y stuff.
Don’t forget to take photos of the process AND the progress and use #simplifiedsummer so we can all celebrate together!