Out of (my) Closet


I own 173 items of clothing. One hundred and seventy three dresses, skirts, pants, shirts, blazers–and that’s not even counting winter clothes. Oh, and twenty two pairs of shoes.


(If you’re curious, the average American woman apparently has 90 items in her closet, but apparently, I go big or go home.)

Over the weekend, I read “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” by Jen Hatmaker, which I seriously recommend. The author outlines seven areas of excess & eliminates each for one month. The book absolutely wrecked my thinking on excess and waste. I complain about the lack of money in my life, but honestly, I think it’s just because I’ve been wasting it!

I mean, clearly, I just have to take a look at my closet at my 173 items of clothes and 22 pairs of shoes to know that’s true. I love thrift shopping and the thrill of the cheap purchase, but who am I kidding, usually the novelty of the price lasts longer than my actual interest in the item. I’ve always enjoyed fashion and style (throwback to when I was a fashion columnist for my university’s newspaper) but this is ridiculous. I could clothe 5 women plus me with all the things I own and never wear.

So many people go without proper clothing or shoes–how can I be so greedy? When I was in Mexico this past June, I learned that those who are homebound and cannot work sell whatever clothing they can find as their sole income–something I seriously take for granted as I peruse my closet and have “nothing to wear.” My “trash” could be someone else’s lifeline.

As Jen Hatmaker wrote, “I’m tired of calling the suffering “brothers and sisters” when I’d never allow my biological siblings to suffer likewise. That’s just hypocrisy veiled in altruism. I won’t defile my blessings by imagining I deserve them.” 

I don’t need or deserve to have a huge wardrobe. So, I’m reducing my wardrobe by 25%–that means giving away nearly 50 items of clothing or shoes. I’m not sure if I’ll hold a block party garage sale & donate the money, clothing swap, or just donate them to a ministry, but I’m doing something!

Stay tuned! (I need the public accountability!) Anyone want to join in?

Fashion Forward: UK edition


Photo courtesy of Best News Now

Hello from the United Kingdom! As you know, I’ve been living in England for the past month and let me tell you, the fashion here is incredible. While the style is not radically far off from the United States’ thanks to the globalization of the Internet, everything is at least a season or two ahead of the clothes we wear. For example, the H&Ms put even the best of the best in America to shame—it’s like we are the UK’s younger sister and get all their fashion hand-me-downs.

Want to catch up? Here are a few of the major trends I’ve noticed on the streets and shops of Cambridge, London, Edinburgh, and Oxford:

  1. Over-the-top hair accessories: Bows and hair bandanas (think Rosie the Riveter) are huge—literally and figuratively. When it comes to hair, the bigger the better. Even yesterday, I was at a boutique and noticed several headbands with giant silk flowers in the style of a hippie daisy crown. Teased hairstyles are very popular and often incorporate these hair accessories.
  2. Mash-up of feminine and military style: Bows, lace, pearls, and short dresses are consistently paired with structured blazers, studs, and long chain necklaces. The mix of both worlds combines the distinctively structured elements of military style with the naturally pretty feminine clothes.
  3. 1960’s mod eye makeup and HUGE Sock Buns: The British have truly perfected sock buns and wear them all the time, whether casually or professionally. The cat eye makeup style is also very popular (think Adele or a less dramatic Amy Winehouse look) and is worn especially by those also with large sock buns.  
  4. Tights with EVERYTHING: In case you might have forgotten in balmy Cleveland, TN, it is currently winter. Here in Cambridge, we cannot easily forget, as every day is absolutely freezing. The main way to survive the bitter winds is through layering clothing, but many British women brave the cold just with tights! Black tights are the most popular, but navy and other muted colors are also frequently seen.
  5. Cool Goth: Gothic style is making a soft reappearance, but has reemerged as a “Let’s go to this concert” Goth rather than “Woe is Me” Gothic. Crosses, dark colors, fringe, and crop tops is the new contrasting style to the fem-military fashions.

And probably the biggest revelation  of all: Ombre hair is back! I’m predicting that it is the huge summer hair trend of 2013–everyone here wears it so well! It’s making me want to dye my hair again…gulp. 

 Living in a different culture for three months is a spectacular experience that I hope everyone gets to share one day, but until then, I will do my best to share the fashion updates from abroad!