Not buying new

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Coat: Folk Clothing, thrifted via Oxfam

A few bloggers and other people I follow on Instagram have been challenging themselves to buy less new products/items this year. Some of them are limiting themselves to just clothes, others are pledging to only buy second hand EVERYTHING – except for essential items such as underwear, beauty products (although I think you could easily swap products with other people if you have items you’re looking to get rid of – I would!) and food/cleaning products. This has inspired me to reflect on my own purchasing habits, and I’m thinking that I will also challenge myself to not buy any ‘new’ clothes and household/decorative items this year. For example I’m currently on the lookout for second hand glass spray bottles to decant household cleaning products into, or I might even make my own cleaning solutions instead of my current method of buying in bulk and then decanting into smaller containers!

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Jumper: H&M, thrifted    Jeans: Vintage Levi’s 501s, purchased at a vintage fair

I’ve already been shifting to only buying clothes from charity shops, or second hand/vintage from Ebay or specialist vintage stores. And the last couple of pieces of furniture I bought were second hand from Ebay, but going forwards all items I’d like to get for my home (picture frames, glassware, textiles, kitchenware, furniture) will be second hand wherever possible.

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Coffee table: IKEA, bought second-hand from Ebay
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Coasters: second-hand from my husband’s Granny

I live in a 1970’s terrace which really suits a mid-century aesthetic, and there’s an abundance of decent furniture and accessories from the 1950’s to the 1970’s in charity shops and vintage stores. Recently I bought a beautiful 1960’s era sideboard for my dining room, it looks awesome with plants and my record player sat on the top of it – plus it also doubles as our cocktail/hostess cabinet. Another purchase I’m keen to make soon is a second-hand drinks tray to display some of my prettier bottles of alcohol and glassware on!

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Sideboard: vintage, from Ebay
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Glassware: second-hand from my husband’s Granny

We inherited our dining table and chairs from my husband’s Granny when she passed away. They’re Ercol, and although I used to treat them as ‘in-between’ furniture until we could get a more modern dining set I’ve grown to love them and wouldn’t dream of getting rid of them now!

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Dining table and chairs: second-hand from my husband’s Granny    Greyhound painting: second-hand gift from my Auntie

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Are any of you committing to buying less or no new items this year? Would you like to see more of these types of blog posts from me? Feel free to comment, I love feedback!

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Moodboarding

As most of you will know by now, I love clothes and fashion. It’s one of the ways I express my creativity, and I genuinely enjoy shopping for clothes and picking out what to wear each day.

Part of my journey towards embracing a more sustainable approach to my fashion habits, and curbing my consumerism, has been to apply a ‘shopping my own wardrobe’ strategy to what I already own.

Even after doing two wardrobe culls, I still have quite a lot of clothes – and I want to get as much wear as possible out of what I do have, rather than falling back into the vicious cycle of thinking I need more stuff and then buying it.

I love Pinterest, and have been using it for quite some time now. I especially love how much inspiration you can find on there when it comes to fashion. I recently decided to create a new board, called ‘Shop My Wardrobe’ and within that board I set up handy sub-categories for staple items I have in my wardrobe, along with items that I love and want to find ways of wearing more often. To those sections I have added photographs of women wearing similar items of clothing to what’s in my closet, paying particular attention to interesting, quirky outfit combinations that I wouldn’t have thought of. I also pin a lot of outfits that I see my favourite bloggers wearing, as they’re so innately talented at pulling outfits together.

 

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Kimonos are a bit of a ‘statement’ piece, but I love them and so I have three that are different lengths and styles. I mostly wear them as cover-ups on cooler Summer evenings, as I can throw them over a vest and shorts easily, but it’s great to see how they can be teamed with different clothes and accessories to create a more ‘high fashion’ look, or a look that’s more grungy and casual. I also like the idea of adding a belt to create a totally different shape, and it would be cool to see if I can utilise them more during the Autumn/Winter by wearing over jumpers etc.

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I have a red long-line leather jacket that I bought from a charity shop, and I hardly ever wear it which is a shame as it’s such a great piece. I think it’s because I struggle to know what items to pair it with in order to look current, rather than a pastiche of the 1960’s (don’t get me wrong, I love 60’s style but don’t want to look like I’m on my way to a costume party!). Although all the jackets on this board are black, it’s given me some ideas of how I can wear my jacket to look more ‘edgy’.

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I love jeans and wear them several times a week. It can be easy to fall into a rut of always reaching for my trusted jeans and jumper/t-shirt combination, only wearing darker colours in the Winter, etc. But recently I’ve been experimenting with different silhouettes and colour combinations – for example one of my favourite outfits recently was pairing my white wide-legged jeans with a navy roll neck jumper!

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I bought a pair of caramel coloured wide-legged cords in the COS sale recently, but I haven’t worn them much yet because they’re a bit too big. I’m looking into whether I can find someone locally to make some alterations to them so they fit better and if so I’ve been pinning some ideas below of different ways to wear them.

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I have a couple of pairs of neutral trousers in different silhouettes and so it’s good to see how I can dress them up/down depending on the occasion, and how to play with shape/volume.

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I’ve already started trying out different outfit combinations, inspired by my Pinterest board, so I’m confident that I’ll be making much better use of my clothes this year!

What do you think? Do you use Pinterest or another moodboarding tool/app to inspire your outfit choices? Let me know!

Tropic Skincare

I’ve long been a supporter and user of cruelty-free beauty. I was spending my pocket money in my local branch of The Body Shop years before being against animal testing became such a huge movement.

It brings me so much joy to see how many people there are who are switching their beauty routines up to include products by brands who are cruelty-free these days. And just how many brands there are out there to choose from is absolutely brilliant!

Tropic Skincare is a company I’d heard about, but hadn’t had the opportunity to try, as they sell their products online or through Ambassadors. They’re 100% cruelty-free, and in fact some of their products are vegan, plus they guarantee no parabens, sulphates and all those other nasty chemicals you often find in other beauty products. So far, so good.

When my friend became an Ambassador for Tropic, she invited me to try some of their range and I was so excited to finally get my hands on it! I’m not into buying products that I can’t look at and test out beforehand, so going to a pamper evening at my friend’s house, where she talked about the products and let us trial them, was great.

I was then given the opportunity to borrow her ‘pamper hamper’ so I could use some of the products at home for a week.

Here are my favourites of the products I tried (my photos are terrible, so I have borrowed the images below from the Tropic website):

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Smoothing Cleanser – you smooth this on to your face, and then use the bamboo cloth to rinse off with warm water. It feels amazing, and made my skin so soft! I’m prone to sensitive skin with hormonal breakouts and the cleanser, when combined with the other facial products, really tackled a few troublesome areas on my forehead!

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Vitamin Toner – I do love a toning spritz!! Once you’ve used the cleanser and patted your face dry, just spray a couple of pumps of the vitamin toner onto your skin. It really made my face zing and feels really fresh.

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Skin Feast – super nourishing, this goes on like a dream and just melts into my skin, no greasy residue and leaves my face feeling moisturised for hours.

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Fruit Peel – This is pretty hardcore, so I only used it once in the week I was trialing it, but it’s fantastic for re-surfacing your skin when it’s tired, dull and dry. Perfect for Winter!

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Frangipani, Star Anise & Tiare Flower Body Wash – this is a thick, creamy formula that lathers up beautifully, smells amazing and left my skin feeling super soft and moisturised for hours afterwards. It’s like a body wash and cream in one! The body wash range has four different scents, so you’re sure to find one that you love. I love them all!!

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Body Smooth Refreshing Polish – a scrub made of salts, essential oils and other natural ingredients. This smells like Lemon Sherbet (you can’t eat it, but you’ll really want to!) and left my skin smooth and supple. Bonus points for it being completely plastic free as well – it comes in a glass kilner jar with a little wooden spoon for ease of application.

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Body Love Firming Buttercream – I used this three times in the week I was trialing the products, and it definitely made my skin appear firmer and smoother, particularly in areas where I have cellulite. As with all the other Tropic products I tried, it gave long lasting moisture to my skin, and smelled amazing.

After having tried out these products and more, I can definitely say I’m a Tropic convert! I even received some of their range for Christmas. They’re not the cheapest brand, but these days quality is so much more important to me than price, and you know you’re getting the best possible, natural ingredients at as low a cost to the planet as possible.

Tropic’s principles and values really appeal to me, their ingredients are sustainably sourced from the Amazon rainforest, Polynesia, Australia and many more exotic regions brimming with powerful botanical actives. They never test on animals, nor use derivatives that cause them distress and all their products are freshly made by the Beauty Chefs in their Surrey-based Beauty Kitchen every day, embracing the latest green technologies.

What do you guys think? Are you inspired to try Tropic, or do you use other cruelty-free, natural brands? Would you like to see more of this sort of thing on the blog?

 

Project333 – what I wore for the first week

Those of you who follow me on Instagram will have seen my daily Project333 outfit posts, but I figured I’d do a roundup of what I wore last week…

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Monday:

Pink beret – old H&M

Cardigan – old Primark

Polka dot blouse – thrifted

Wide legged jeans – old Warehouse

Sneakers – old Converse

This is a bit of a ‘wildcard’ outfit for me, but I didn’t have much time to choose my clothes that day so I went with it! It’s starting to get much colder here in the UK, and my office is a converted barn on top of a hill in a rural area – so layering is important! I love the combination of these items together (except for maybe the cardigan) and think it looks a bit 1950’s retro with a nod to Parisian style with the beret. Hats are one of my wardrobe weapons, I find they can really add a different edge to an otherwise plain/neutral outfit.

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Tuesday:

Shirt – Rokit Vintage

Jumper – thrifted

Skirt – old ASOS

Loafers – old ASOS

We had clients in on Tuesday so even though I don’t get involved in that side of the business or go into meetings, I still like to look smart and presentable. This outfit combines items I would never normally wear together, but the yellow jumper is slightly cropped and works really well over a longer button down shirt. The black skirt and loafers add the ‘business’ element. I ended up really liking this outfit!

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Wednesday:

Cardigan – old Primark

Long sleeve polo neck tee – old Weekday

Wide legged jeans – old Warehouse

Sneakers – old Adidas Stan Smiths

I thought this outfit had a bit of a 70’s vibe to it, with the polo neck long sleeve tee layered under the cardigan and teamed with wide legged jeans. The crop on the jeans stops this from veering too much into 1970’s ‘fancy dress’ for me and keeps the look more contemporary.

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Thursday:

Hat: & Other Stories

Coat – old Mint Velvet

Dress – old ASOS

Boots – old Monki

This outfit looks so cute in the photo, but I actually really didn’t like it! I’m trying to get more wear out of this ASOS dress so I chose it as one of my Project333 items, but I’m really not sure about it – something about the length and fit feels off to me. Currently undecided as to whether to persevere with the dress or swap it out for something I like more. I guess that’s what this challenge is all about though right? Seeing what you can get more wear out of, thus enabling you to streamline your wardrobe and let go of clothes that you’re holding onto because you want to like them but just don’t!

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Friday:

Cardigan – old Primark

T-shirt – old ASOS

Straight legged jeans – old ASOS

Sneakers – old Adidas Stan Smiths

Friday was a day for a very basic, relaxed outfit. This cardigan is REALLY old (I think I bought it back in 2010) but it’s still going strong and I wear it a lot as I love the shape. It’s one of my favourite layering pieces, so you’ll probably see it a lot.

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Saturday:

Jumper – Arket

Striped long sleeve tee (underneath) – old Next

Skinny jeans – old ASOS

Boots – old Monki

On Saturday we met up with a bunch of friends and their kids and dog. We took our dog along as well, and all of us went for a sunny but cold walk then went back to our friends house for food. This Arket jumper is new, it was part of my order from Endource, and it’s already becoming a firm favourite in my capsule wardrobe. I love the neckline and the button detail down the sleeves. I layered it over a striped long sleeve tee, and teamed with my black skinny jeans and trusty Monki chelsea boots. I bought these boots last Winter, and they are ridiculously comfortable – I’m looking forward to them seeing me through several more winters!

I haven’t done an outfit photo for yesterday (Sunday) as I literally lived in sweatpants and an old hoodie all day long and looked like a total skank!

So there you have it, my first week of Project333. It hasn’t been quite as hard as I thought it might, but I think I may need to plan my outfits a little more in advance and try teaming things differently to how I usually would in order not to get bored! I may end up swapping out the polka dot dress and black fluffy cardigan for other items that I love more and could get more wear out of, but we’ll see.

I also downloaded the Cladwell app and logged my capsule wardrobe items on there. Now I can use it to help me plan my outfits, taking into consideration the weather each day. It will also help me to keep track of how much I wear each item in my capsule wardrobe, which is really handy when I come to streamline my wardrobe further in the future!

Interesting internet round up – week ending 28.10.18.

Some articles that I found interesting to read this week.

Why the art world is finally waking up to female craft skills

How will Brexit affect the fashion industry?

Is a minimalist wardrobe the key to a happier and more sustainable lifestyle?

10 amazing brands turning plastic waste into wardrobe winners

A guide to avoiding food waste

Why obsessing over your Instagram numbers is bad for you and your creativity

Tamara Mellon offers free mammograms to L.A. women

Canadian doctors beginning to prescribe art passes as alternative treatment

 

 

Books I’ve really enjoyed reading so far this year

I have a confession, I am a complete and total bibliophile. I LOVE books, just love ’em! In fact, I love books so much that it makes me really sad to think that I will only manage to read a teeny tiny percentage of all the books that are probably worth reading in my lifetime. What if the most amazing, life-changing book is out there somewhere and I don’t even know about it?!

However, one of the things I love best is that what books you’re reading or have read can be such a great discussion point with other people. I’m pretty sure at some point when I get time I will join a book club, so I can read along with other people and then we can all meet up over coffee to talk about it. I find I get really invested in a good book and I enjoy it when others are equally invested – you laugh and cry, get angry and feel injustice as you follow the journey of the characters.

I’m often asked by people I know if I’ve read anything good lately, so here are my recommendations – just in time for you to snuggle up with a cup of tea while the Autumn leaves swirl outside…

lullaby

This will have made a lot of people’s recommended reading lists this year – and for good reason, I was absolutely gripped and read this book in about 2 days (I was on holiday at the time, so I had the time to spare!)

Set in Paris, it tells the story of Myriam and Paul – parents who make the decision to hire a nanny for their two young children so that Myriam can return to her job as a lawyer. They find Louise, 40-years old, experienced and utterly devoted to the children. She’s quiet and polite, seemingly the perfect nanny while she also completes domestic tasks such as cleaning the family’s apartment in the upscale tenth arrondissement. Louise regularly stays late with no complaint and sets about making herself indispensable, putting together wonderful home cooked meals for the family and their friends, arranging lavish parties for the children, nothing is too much trouble. After a while Myriam and Paul are telling everyone that they’ve found the perfect nanny.

But as these three central characters become more dependent on each other, and we begin to learn more about Louise’s private life, jealousy, resentment and suspicion start to increase and build to a devastating climax.

female chauvanist pigs

This was loaned to me by a friend, and as I am trying to read more non-fiction books I thought I’d give it a try.

The book was written a few years ago, so I think some of the content is possibly a tad outdated now with the recent rise in support for feminist isuses and the #MeToo movement, but it focuses on the fact that many young women seem to feel pressure to outdo our male chauvinist counterparts. This is a world where simulating sex for baying crowds of men on reality TV shows and going to lapdancing clubs – as patrons – is seen as a short cut to cool.

Ariel Levy says that the joke is on us women if we think this is progress. She dissects the ‘myth’ of this new brand of ’empowered woman’ and puts forward the case that it’s okay to refuse the obligation for women to act and look like porn stars.

Whilst the book mostly looks at American culture, I remember being a young woman in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s when celebrities such as Denise Van Outen, Sarah Cox and Zoe Ball were regularly posing in their underwear or naked for FHM etc and calling it feminism. Maybe it is, I’m all for women owning their bodies and being in control of their sexuality, but when it’s primarily done for the male gaze can we still call it feminism? I found this book really interesting and felt it helped to reinforce my beliefs that I don’t need to flash my tits at blokes to feel worthy of attention and validation.

In a new age where Snapchat and other social media platforms are where young people spend most of their time, and confidence amongst young women is at such a low, I feel this book or others like it could really help girls to feel more in control of their bodies and sexuality, and more comfortable with feminism.

our-house

You can probably guess that I’m partial to a thriller, but I’m not particularly keen on serials involving some sort of ‘damaged and complex’ Detective character, although there’s clearly a place for those novels!

Our House has so many twists and turns, it kept me guessing right up to the end. Fi Lawson returns home early one day from a business trip, to find complete strangers moving into her house. A house that wasn’t on the market and that she has no intention of selling. The strangers are adamant that they purchased the house legally and above board, and have the documentation to prove it. Worst of all, Fi is unable to get hold of her husband Bram, who seems to have mysteriously vanished!

A breakneck paced thriller, I got through this book insanely quickly – I couldn’t put it down!

clothes music boys

Another non-fiction choice, this is Viv Albertine’s memoir. Viv was the guitarist in all-girl British punk/new wave band The Slits, and this book delves into Viv’s childhood and relationship with her family, before going on to track her rise as a musician in The Slits – as well as her relationships with the men in some of the British punk scene’s most notable bands such as The Stranglers and The Sex Pistols.

I could never really get into The Slits when I was a young punk fan, their music was too experimental for me, but after reading this book and hearing from Viv first hand how she was influenced musically, I started being able to listen to and enjoy more of their music. Viv’s story is fascinating, including everything that happened after The Slits broke up in 1982. She talks in detail about her love affairs and friendships with musicians such as Mick Jones, Joe Strummer, Sid Vicious and Jonny Rotten, and the respect she ended up commanding from her peers in a male dominated industry is inspiring.

eleanor

Another book that everyone lost their shit over this year, but again, for very good reason! Already optioned by Reese Witherspoon’s production company for the film rights, this book is a touching account of loneliness and not fitting in.

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. She doesn’t realise her carefully constructed existence is lacking, until an act of kindness shatters her structured schedule and gets her to question whether she wants to carry on living as she does.

At times laugh out loud, this book also has a dark undercurrent running through it that I wasn’t expecting at all. I loved it so much that I read it in about 3 evenings and have already loaned it out to my Auntie and told my Sister to read it!

I hope you liked this post. Please feel free to leave me any book recommendations you think I’d enjoy!

 

Project333

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A lot of minimal, sustainable fashion bloggers that I follow are users of the Project333 system. It’s something that I’ve been reading up on, and after a bit of consideration I decided to try it for myself as part of my wardrobe streamlining process.

The rules of the project are pretty straightforward:

You limit your wardrobe to only 33 articles of clothing for the next 3 months. All clothing, accessories, jewellery, outerwear and shoes should* count towards your number. Exceptions include wedding ring (and other ‘permanent’ jewellery), underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear (yasssss I can still wear my old sweatpants and hoodie combo for lazy Sundays watching Netflix!), and workout clothing.

Clothing that no longer fits or becomes worn down to poor condition may be replaced during the time period.

*I’m adapting the rules ever so slightly for this challenge.

I have chosen not to include outerwear and accessories in my 33 items. I also may need to occasionally swap out some items for other items that are in my ‘off limits’ wardrobe. There are two reasons for this:

1. The fact that the British climate is so incredibly changeable! This week we have had temperature averages of 5 degrees in the morning rising to 20 in the afternoon, but today it is much colder – I think the high will be a maximum of 14 degrees. I have tried to choose items that will be suited to most temperature fluctuations, but given our Winters are generally mild with frequent drops to below freezing it could be a necessity to swap some items around from time to time.

2. I have about 5/6 coats that I wear on heavy rotation throughout the Autumn/Winter months, and all of them are necessary for my lifestyle – I spend a lot of time outdoors walking my dog and also enjoy hiking, for which I wear a specialist double layered waterproof walking jacket. I find that I tend to invest in coats and accessories and then wear them continuously, only replacing them if they no longer fit or are worn out – for example my smart winter coat is a beautiful camel wool coat from Mint Velvet that I bought in the sale back in 2011! I have a day-to-day handbag which is a blue leather backpack, and when I go out with friends I usually use a small black cross-body bag. I rarely stray outside of this unless I am either going hiking (for which I use a waterproof walking rucksack), or I have a very special occasion for which I may swap my black handbag for a navy blue suede clutch. As this challenge is to help me to set boundaries for my regular, day to day wardrobe, I don’t feel it’s necessary for me to be so strict on coats and accessories.

I would imagine this challenge is much easier to try during the warmer months, as it’s easier to dress more minimally when you don’t have to take layering into consideration!

As I work for a creative graphic design agency the clothes I wear to the office are generally relaxed, with a mix of bold colours and graphic prints. I have items that I dress up a bit if we have clients in, but otherwise the environment is pretty chilled. I have picked pieces from my regular wardrobe that I feel will compliment each other and should be straightforward and fun to combine in lots of different ways.

Here’s a breakdown of my capsule Project333 wardrobe:

Footwear

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1 pair brown flat knee high boots

1 pair dark red flat ankle boots

1 pair Converse high-tops (these are my winter Converse as they’re made from waterproof ‘leather’ and have a warm fluffy lining!)

1 pair Adidas Stan Smiths

1 pair oxblood flat loafers

Jeans & Trousers

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1 pair blue straight cut jeans

1 pair black skinny jeans

1 pair blue wide legged cropped jeans

1 pair hounds tooth wide legged cropped trousers

1 pair checked peg-leg trousers

Dresses

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1 black and white striped maxi dress

1 red star print mini dress

1 polka dot mini dress

1 light blue cord pinafore dress

Shirts

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1 denim long sleeved shirt

1 white short sleeved shirt

1 polka dot peplum blouse

Long-sleeved tops

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1 light rust coloured long sleeve polo neck top

1 striped long sleeve top

T-shirts

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1 striped t-shirt

1 black t-shirt

1 grey t-shirt

1 white t-shirt

1 band tee (this was a difficult choice as I’m a bit of a t-shirt addict and have loads, but I managed to narrow it down!)

Jumpers/Sweaters

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1 dark orange chenille jumper

1 navy jumper

1 yellow cropped jumper

1 grey sweatshirt

Cardigans

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1 grey cardigan

1 black fluffy cardigan

Skirts

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1 denim a-line mini skirt

1 black a-line mini skirt

1 leopard print mini skirt

And that’s it!

In order to create this capsule area within my full wardrobe, I moved my Spring/Summer clothes along with all my other clothes that I’m not including in this challenge to another part of my wardrobe. I’m lucky to have the space in my home to use one of our spare rooms as a dressing room as well, and I have a large, open plan wardrobe system from IKEA which holds the majority of my clothing (I have a chest of drawers in our bedroom that contains my underwear, sleep garments, t-shirts and all my workout gear). Moving all other items of clothing to a separate part of my closet and grouping together all the items for this challenge allows me to see, at a glance, what items I have access to and how I can combine them.

A lot of these items are some of my favourite wardrobe pieces that I wear often. I’m really looking forward to seeing if this experiment will save me time in the mornings when it comes to getting ready, and as I’m ‘shopping my own wardrobe’ I won’t be spending any money!

What do you think? Would you consider trying a project like this?

Let me know in the comments section if you like this idea, or if you have any tips for me to help me stick to this challenge!

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Interesting internet round up – week ending 21.10.18.

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Inspired by the lovely Sophie of ‘A Considered Life’, I’m planning to start doing a weekly round up of stories that I’ve found interesting on the Internet.

Fashion influencer Chiara Ferragni’s pricey Evian bottle stirs controversy

Let’s all visit the Museum Of Sustainable Fashion!

The Guerrilla Girls are an anonymous group of feminist, female artists devoted to fighting sexism and racism within the art world

If you want to save the world, veganism is great, but it’s not the only answer

Could online influencers be part of the solution to the fast fashion crisis?

Royal Mail postal workers to engage with Seniors to help fight loneliness

It’s great that so many people are changing their lifestyles and habits to help fight climate change, but has neoliberalism conned us into feeling like this is only up to us as individuals?

From Roses’ candid account of loneliness, how being a lone wolf is okay, and why we need to change the stigma around it

A Considered Life puts forward the case for borrowing books

Signe of Useless asks whether you really need a new outfit for every special occasion

I hope you enjoy this little compilation of reading material, have you got any reading tips for me? Feel free to leave links in the comments section  🙂

See you same time next week!