minimalist fashion: outfit ideas

One thing I get asked a LOT about is how my minimal wardrobe ACTUALLY works. What kinds of outfits do I put together? How do I make things work for multiple situations?

The reality is that I live a VERY casual lifestyle. I know that's not the case for everyone, which is why it's important to build a wardrobe that works for YOU and your life, and not just one that is full of "staples" that Pinterest says you need. Pinterest and women's magazines tell me I need a classic black pencil skirt and white button-down. I would never wear either of those pieces because I'm never in a situation that requires them. I'm a stay-at-home mom who runs a business on the internet. No client meetings, nothing of the sort, so I can get away with really casual clothes basically all of the time.

That being said, I still love to mix things up and really like to feel put together. I pretty much have two go-to formulas for making that happen: lots of layers, and statement jewelry. Throwing a swingy vest over a basic tee, for me, elevates the outfit from ho-hum to "I actually thought about this look." Layering on a chunky necklace (my favorites are from Noonday Collection!) instantly makes me feel pulled together.

I'm a jeans-and-tee girl through and through, but that doesn't mean I wear the same thing everyday, or that my outfits are boring. At least, they don't feel boring to me!

Here are eight outfits I'm currently loving for this fall. They work for running errands, going to church, meeting friends for coffee, playing at the park. These are super quick, no-makeup, snapped-on-my-iphone-in-my-messy-bedroom shots. Hashtag real life :)

OUTFIT #1: dark skinny jeans, black ruffle tank, military vest, chunky necklace

OUTFIT #2: dark skinny jeans, drapey tee, oversize sweater, long necklace

OUTFIT #3: dark skinny jeans, lace hem top extender, loose sweater

OUTFIT #4: black maxi dress, grey tee knotted over top, chunky necklace (this is probably my MOST worn outfit. The dress feels like pajamas, and the tee overtop makes it more practical for chasing around a baby and more modest for wearing to church, since the dress is pretty low-cut on its own.)

OUTFIT #5: dark skinny jeans, lace hem top extender, plain black tee, open cardigan

OUTFIT #6: black maxi dress, chambray tee over top, tooled leather belt (I love this look because it turns this loose top into more of a peplum shape, which I love!)

OUTFIT #7: dark skinny jeans, striped tee, military vest, long layered necklace

OUTFIT #8: black maxi dress, loose sweater layered over top, braided belt

What are your go-to outfits for fall (or any season?) Do you get inspired seeing how others put together pieces in their wardrobe? If there's interest, I might do more of these in the future! Let me know :) XO!

minimalist fashion: my full wardrobe

Hooray! I am officially back to capsule-land and I am SO excited to share my full wardrobe with you today!! I've transitioned away from a 37-piece seasonal wardrobe in favor of this limited, all-seasons capsule. This is everything - all of my clothes. Except for the "everything else" things listed at the bottom of this post, this is it! I don't have any under-bed boxes or totes in the attic anymore. I wear the clothes I own in a pretty regular rotation and so far haven't gotten sick of them yet! I'm doing things a little differently with this post and not linking to sources. Mostly because I got the majority of these items secondhand, so there's nothing to link to! I'll be sharing my best tips for shopping secondhand in a later post :)

I feel like I've really nailed my style vibe after two years of working at this capsule thing, and I'm pretty proud of how far I've come and how much my wardrobe truly feels like me! I chose not to include shoes because my shoe game needs serious work and I don't even know what I need or want, plus for me shoes are just utilities and I'm not super into buying lots of cute pairs, so I just left them out.

So here it is! My 49-piece, all-seasons wardrobe!

There's a few things I'm looking to add to my wardrobe to fill in some gaps. Here's my wishlist:

  • Raglan tee
  • Black skinny jeans
  • white skinny jeans (or maybe white flare jeans, I haven't decided.)
  • High-waisted full maxi skirt (I love the heartbeat behind this company and hope they add some neutral options someday!)
  • Great little black dress that can be dressed up or down to be my go-to for holidays, formal events, etc.
  • Jogger pants (I actually just ordered these but they sent the wrong ones so I'm hoping I get the correct pair soon!)

THAT ELUSIVE "EVERYTHING ELSE" CATEGORY...

When talking about capsule wardrobes, everyone is quick to add that the their limited number (37 pieces, or however many you decide) doesn't include "pajamas, workout clothes or stuff like that." So how many of those things do people actually own? How many do you really need? I decided I'd just share exactly how much I own in each category. Some things to keep in mind:

  1. I sleep in my loungewear. Like, I don't have specific "pajamas." Just super comfy sweats + tanks that I wear around the house on Saturday mornings and also sleep in. One of the best things I've done recently is elevate my loungewear - ditching my husbands huge high school sweatpants in favor of things that are comfy and still make me feel cute!
  2. I workout 4-5 days a week, a combination of Pilates, running and soccer.
  3. We are on the water a LOT - my parents live on a lake - but one swim top + 2 swim bottoms is perfectly fine. I rinse out the suit after every use and only wash it when it really needs it.
  4. I try to buy clothes that can work for maternity. I struggled a LOT during pregnancy to feel like myself in my clothes and bought a lot of things I really didn't love or even like just to get me through. Now, as I add things to my wardrobe, I try to pay attention to whether they could be pregnancy and postpartum friendly. My actual "maternity" wardrobe is pretty small as a result, because lots of things in my regular wardrobe will work for when I'm pregnant!

Okay, without further adieu, here's what I own in each of those "other" categories!

PAJAMAS+ LOUNGE

  • 3 pair of sweatpants
  • 1 loungey jumpsuit
  • 5 loungey tanks

UNDERTHINGS

  • 4 regular bras
  • 1 strapless bra
  • 1 racerback bra
  • 2 pair tights
  • 10 pair of socks
  • 10 pair of undies
  • 5 pair of thick winter socks 

TSHIRTS + SWEATSHIRTS

  • 7 run-of-the-mill tshirts from concerts, sports teams, etc.
  • 3 sweatshirts (one from my husband's university, his college diving jacket and his paramedic school sweatshirt)

ACCESSORIES

  •  2 neck scarves
  • 1 leather cross-body purse
  • 1 leather clutch (can also be a cross-body if needed)
  • 3 hats (1 wool for fall/winter, 1 straw for summer, 1 ballcap) 

OUTERWEAR

  • 1 rain jacket
  • 1 heavy winter coat
  • 2 scarves
  • 2 beanies
  • 1 pair of gloves

WORKOUT + SWIM

  • 3 pair of running shorts
  • 2 pair of capri workout leggings
  • 1 set of UnderArmour "skins" for snow fun, snowboarding, winter running
  • 3 sports bras
  • 4 workout tanks
  • 2 longsleeve workout shirts (from past races I've run)
  • 3 pair of barre socks
  • 1 pair of "bike shorts" that I really only wear under dresses + skirts
  • 1 swimsuit top + 2 swimsuit bottoms (1 low rise and 1 high rise)
  • 2 pair of soccer socks (1 pair each for under and over my shinguards)

MATERNITY

  • 2 pair maternity jeans
  • 1 pair jeans for postpartum (non-maternity, but stretchy and larger than my regular pre-pregnancy size)
  • 4 tops
  • 3 nursing tanks
  • 2 nursing sleep bras
  • 1 pair elastic waist linen pants
  • 1 pair elastic waist lounge pants
  • 1 pair maternity shorts
  • 2 pair leggings
  • 4 dresses
  • 1 bella band
  • 1 pair compression socks
  • A fake wedding ring set for when my fingers swell and I can't wear my real set - haha! #pregnancyhack

 

 

capsule update (or lack thereof)

CAPSULEUPDATE-01 It's no secret around here that I LOVE the capsule wardrobe concept. I've created three capsules for myself over the last year, and it's truly been an eye-opening and transformative process that paved the way for embracing simplicity throughout other areas of my life, not just my closet. I'm a wholehearted believer in "less is more" now, and full support the idea of "quality over quantity." Or, as Cuyana so eloquently puts it, "fewer, better things." I'm a capsule fan for life.

So when I found out I was expecting, my wheels started turning and I became determined to figure out a capsule wardrobe: maternity edition. I mean, how hard could it be? I looked at TONS of blog posts and Pinterest pins, and it seemed pretty straightforward. A few key, versatile pieces that could last from 8 weeks to 38 weeks and boom, you're done.

The reality? A maternity capsule, at least for me, has been H A R D. So hard. But I was determined! I was a hardcore capsule-er! I could DO THIS! The truth is that I've been kind of obsessing over this maternity capsule wardrobe thing, determined to get all my pieces just right and sharing here on the blog. So when I read this line in a devotional last week, it stopped me in my tracks:

"When you love anything for its own sake and not because it helps you do my will, you are a victim of vanity."

GULP. I've had this nagging feeling for a few weeks now that this wardrobe obsession was getting out of control. The amount of time I was spending scouring Pinterest and clothing sites, looking for those final few perfect pieces to round out my wardrobe. The amount of dissatisfaction when I looked in the mirror. The self-loathing when all I could muster as an "outfit" was running shorts + one of Matt's plain white tshirts. I realized in an instant how far from  my original intent I've gotten. I've managed to put the wardrobe itself, which is just STUFF, up on a pedestal as the thing worth pursuing, instead of the true thing I set out to pursue, which was simplicity, margin, gratitude and ultimately, a deeper relationship with God through streamlining my life and getting rid of my attachment to stuff. Reading that line over and over again, I came face to face with my vanity. I've come to love this capsule wardrobe thing for the thing itself--for the clothes, for the blog comments, for the instagram notoriety. And the hard truth is, the last few months of trying to nail down the perfect maternity capsule HASN'T helped me do God's will. In fact, it's distracted me a lot from it. I've realized that I've been turning to clothes - to material things - to try and satisfy my desire to feel valuable. I don't feel like myself in this season of pregnancy, and that's been really, really hard for me. I'm continually trying to find my value in how I look, which has boiled down to what I'm wearing, and so this constant quest for that perfect piece of clothing that will make me magically feel like myself despite all the changes happening in my body has been exhausting, and fruitless. The truth is that I am dearly loved, just as I am, pregnancy body and all, by the very God of the universe. And I want to lean into and unpack THAT truth, instead of buying the consumerism lie that one more product or shirt in my closet will magically make my body image issues disappear. The only person who can give me freedom when it comes to my body and how I view it is God, and not the almighty Forever21.

So I'm taking a break. I have no maternity capsule to share with you. I do have some semblance of a limited wardrobe hanging in my closet, but it's far from perfect and it's not really about that, anyway. I still really love this capsule thing and I think I'll be sharing more about it in the future. I'm not taking a break so that I can go on a shopping spree. In fact, I'll be doing the opposite. I'm just taking a break from being so focused on clothing, and spending so much energy on outward appearances. I'm taking a break from the self-imposed pressure to share my so-called perfect capsule. I'm taking a break to reconnect with the whole reason I started--to cultivate a simpler, more content and less stressful life. I'll still probably share outfits on instagram with the hashtag #valdressesthebump, but I haven't totally decided. Mostly I want to lean into what God has to say to me during this hard - and beautiful - season of pregnancy, and rediscover my self-confidence and self-worth, outside of what I look like or what I'm wearing. I'm expectant and hopeful for all He's revealing to me.

XOXO, Val