Fashion Feelings: Peace, Love, and No Refined Sugar

I’m just about the least and most hippie person you’ll ever meet.  Is that confusing?  I can’t imagine why…

I was raised by a mom who embraced the late 80s versions of “health food”.  There was yoga, carob (the “other chocolate” which turns out is not really chocolate at all.  Nice try mom.), homemade noodles in our chicken soup, and we never, ever, ever, ever (I could go on) drank soda or juice.  She made me go to the renaissance fair one year (it was weird) and she made everything from scratch.  Period.  The first time I had Taco Bell was in junior high.  I used to beg her to use a box mix for my birthday cakes (she never conceded).  Let’s talk about my dad.  He thought she was trying to poison us and fed me oreos and cheese balls in bulk.  He thought yoga was bunk, ice cream needed to be purchased in buckets and no smaller quantities, and well, carob?  That was DEFINITELY NOT chocolate.

Maybe my parents didn’t agree on food, but the one thing they agreed on was the lack of television watching or pop culture that they allowed in the house.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.  However, this meant that until the late 90s when I was actually allowed to listed to a radio station for the first time, I knew nothing of pop culture or the arts.  I mean really.  I didn’t know who Bob Dylan was (Jakob Dylan’s dad, right?).  I knew a few Beatles songs, but other than that, up until the era of the boy band, it’s kind of a blank.  I was raised like a hippie in the most undecidedly NON hippie fashion.

I now consider myself like, 50 percent hippie.  You know, like, I’m part Irish, part French, part Swedish…and part hippie.  Perfectly logical.  My food habits?  Completely hippie.  I make bone broth and ghee and I don’t eat refined sugar.  My music habits?  Completely non hippie.  Pop, country, and the like.  My cleaning and personal care habits?  Peace, yo.  I DIY laundry soap, toothpaste, and only buy clean skincare and makeup.  But my taste in television shows?  The least chill and hippie ever.  MY STYLE?  I think you know the answer to that.

I went shopping with a couple good friends and saw this amazing thing sticking out of the racks.  I grabbed it, and started laughing hysterically.  My friends took notice, and followed suit because…well, it’s simultaneously the best and worst thing I’ve ever seen.  It was half off, so I bought it.  Anything that gets that much of my attention is just gonna happen.  One of the girls who worked at the second hand store said multiple times: “I’m SO HAPPY you’re buying the Janis Joplin thingy!”  And I was like, oh good…I’m wearing the clothes of a woman I know nothing about…

I put it with bell bottoms (of course!) and have big plans to create some bells like this but MORE HIPPIE (of course again!).  And really, this thing needs no explanation.  Except it was probably the most awesome $8 I’ve ever spent.

Gotta go make some hippie concoction in the kitchen now and pretend I know who Janis Joplin is…
Katy

Advice in Style: I Secretly Love The 80s

My husband gets the Wall Street Journal (because he’s smart and we are old fashioned and love newspapers) and sometimes he hands over the style section to me and says: “here, read this.”  One morning, as usual, he handed over the only section of the paper I understand, let alone really can pay attention to longer than just the headline, and I was very instantly intrigued.  I read it, start to finish, and then had a…moment.  OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS.  I LOVE 80’s STYLE.  I need another minute to process.

Let’s back up.  I have always, ALWAYS been drawn to the 60’s and the 70’s.  The bright colors, the shift dresses, the bell bottoms…these have always been my favorites.  I also love the feminine style of the 50’s house dresses, the lingerie (I wear it as outerwear rather than underwear, but you get my drift), and the lovely ornate styles that preceded this era as well.  The 90’s had the awesome plaid flannels and the Doc Martens and Claire Danes in My So Called Life (never was allowed to watch the show, but I sure as heck memorized the photos I saw from it).  The early 2000’s had the Juicy tracksuits which I adore, and even the greatest hits that were really more like “misses…like the hideous stiletto construction boots that had a moment on JLo, give me a little chuckle and make me feel all warm and tingly inside.  But the 80’s?  As far as I’ve been concerned, that era can just go to heck.  I mean…I really honestly didn’t think I had ANY love lost on the whole decade.

Here’s the deal.  Up to this point, when you said “1980’s”, here’s what I saw.  Shoulder pads.  Giant fluffy side ponytails with scrunchies.  Ruffles, leggings shorts with lace on them in lime green with high top sneakers tied with three pairs of laces. I saw asymmetrical jewelry and bad bright blue eyeshadow in a fuzzy glamour shot taken at the mall.  None of these things hold any appeal to me.  At all.  And then, I took another look.

After reading this article, I realized something.  Eras are not defined by one style. Take the 1960’s for example.  The fashion that was taking place on the west coast was decidedly different from what was happening in New York.  Just like now (although I do feel that the style differences are much wider nowadays), not everyone chose to embrace every style.  That being said, I feel that I have falsely accused the 80’s of being one specific style that did happen during that time period.  And now, I have learned that I actually LOVE some of the 80’s styles!

In case you’re like me, here’s a few tips to NOT writing off an era completely like I did!  (Sorry Madonna).
1. Learn about the decade.  Sometimes in order to appreciate what was happening fashion-wise at a time in history, we need to understand what the culture was.  Was the economy good or bad?  They say hemlines coordinate with the economy, so this is something to pay attention to!  Was there a war going on?  What was happening in the lives of women at that time…were they at home primarily or were they making strides in the workplace?  Who were the “stars” (whether it’s celebrities or models or political figures) of that time period?  All these things give you a backdrop to help appreciate the styles that were popular.
2. Watch movies from or about that time period.  Watch what the different classes were wearing.  I learned a lot about the early 60’s while watching Mad Men.  You see that there were different styles happening in different places all at the same time!  You may think you don’t identify with the 60’s at all, but the hippie 60’s of the West Coast is much different than the 60’s of New York and the East Coast.  To be quite honest, watching The Goldbergs has given me a newfound love for the 80’s and it’s sometimes hideous fashions.
3. Look at the era preceding/following it.  This is what I think really got me hooked.  I realized in reading this article, that some of the stuff I have been identifying as 70’s fashion is ACTUALLY straight from the 80’s.  Like horse bit loafers or herringbone pants…these style are reminiscent of the 70’s, but weren’t “in” until the following decade.
4. Realize it’s okay to mix decades.  I often find an 80’s shirt at the thrift store (I always cut the shoulder pads out…that’s a giveaway for an 80’s piece!) and pair it with bell bottoms.  That way, I’m kind of manipulating how a piece looks and not, like, pairing it with L.A Gear sneakers.

Here’s my take on the 80’s.  I love the whole “80’s workwear” vibe the WSJ was talking about, so I took this oversized (shoulder pads removed) blouse and paired it with a tan pair of trousers.  The 80’s was all about excess, so I added a shiny scarf because this adds to the working girl vibe.  And the loafers, of course.

I think I’ve known for a while that I didn’t actually HATE the 80’s.  I just hadn’t admitted it to myself.  And admitting it is the first step :)

Grab your scissors and start removing shoulder pads.  It’s a fashion revolution!
Katy

On Being a Maximalist…And How To Do It!

Some people are what you call “minimalists”.  I am not one of those people.  I think a lot of you out there who love to shop and love clothing are probably not either…it’s kind of a hard thing to be a minimalist when you’re constantly finding gems at the thrift store and shopping all the amazing sales and bargains you can find.  And honestly, I find that this seems to produce a certain level of, shame, you could say amongst women.  I hear it constantly.  “Oh I have too many dresses…I shouldn’t be buying this…” you know what I’m talking about!  You and I have both said that kind of thing, probably more than we even realize!  So I have decided to come up with a new term for what I am (and you may be too!).  I am proudly, a MAXIMALIST.  Let me explain.

I like to MAXIMIZE my closet.  How many hangers can fit in it, how much weight the bars can hold, and defy the laws of gravity on how many shoes I can stack on top of each other.  I like to MAXIMIZE how many items of clothing and jewelry I wear on any given day, at the same time.  I am basically a walking clothing rack, with skirts, kimonos, layers upon layers of necklaces and rings…maximizing the amount of things I can wear.  You see what I’m getting at?  A minimalist may like to wear a simple pair of pearl stud earrings, jeans, a white tee, and flats.  A maximalist, while appreciating the beauty of the simplicity, would add about 16 more things to that outfit before being ready to walk out the door.

To clarify, being a maximalist (while perfectly acceptable) does not excuse hoarding.  I think what bugs me is when I hear myself apologizing for who I am…when I do shop a lot BUT I also get rid of clothes all the time.  I’m not hoarding my clothes.  Stuff comes in, and stuff goes out, like a constant flowing clothing river.  But this is my hobby!  It’s FUN!  Just as an artist probably has a ton of paints, easels, canvases, and brushes (I don’t paint so I don’t know, but I’d guess they don’t just have ONE of each thing), clothing and fashion is my “art”.  When you’re a maximalist and this is your art form, you can’t have only a few things.  Why?  Because you have a lot of weird, specific, and interesting stuff.  An artist may have six shades of what I’d call just “red”, and so I have shades of kimonos, jeans, and jumpsuits.  Plus, when you like to wear interesting stuff, you can’t wear it daily like you could a tee and jeans.  I can’t wear a leopard jumpsuit more than one day a month…because otherwise people might actually think I’m crazy.

So how do you handle closet control, got-rid-of-it-too-soon grief, and STUFF STRESS?  I came up with some tips on how to help those of us who love our clothes like our art, keep that in-and-out closet river flowing!

How To Get Rid Of Stuff (When You’re A Maximalist)

  1. Interview Yourself.  When you look through your stuff, ask yourself a few questions:  “Would you buy this again, today, if you saw it on a rack?”  If the answer is no, you are probably ready to part with it.  “Do you want to actually wear it?” This sounds kind of weird, but honestly I have had stuff in my closet that I absolutely LOVE, but when I ask myself honestly if I want to put it on my body and walk out of the house with it on, the answer is “heck no”.  Maybe you really don’t feel good in it.  It’s uncomfortable.  You hate the way it looks on you.  If you answer no, it’s gotta go!!
  2. Resell Your Stuff.  I have found that sometimes I am having a hard time parting with something, but then when I think of getting some money for it to use to buy something else instead…it becomes super easy.  Reselling at a local store, on Poshmark or Thred Up is pretty darn easy.
  3. Be Generous.  Another thing that’s helped me, particularly with those items of clothing that maybe have a little bit of sentimental value but I’m never ever gonna wear again, is to give it to a good friend.  I’ve mailed stuff to friends, given stuff away, you name it…and it helps because you know that it’s not, like, leaving the family so to speak!
  4. Donate.  Another thing that is immensely helpful with parting with things, is to donate them to a women’s shelter or other organization that helps out women in need.  Then you know just how appreciated those things are going to be.  This helped me with getting rid of a lot of my kids baby clothes…I donated them to a local crisis pregnancy center and it was so awesome to know that these young girls were going to get super cute Gap baby clothes when they may not be able to afford them otherwise.  This kind of thing helps you mentally because you know how much better it is for something to get worn than it is just collecting dust in your closet for sentimental reasons.
  5. Do It In Stages.  Sometimes, if there are things I’m like 50/50 on getting rid of, I will put them in a box in the back of my closet or my garage.  I leave them there for like 6 months to a year even, then revisit them…and at that point you’ll know if you want them or not.  Because during that time, you’ll either have gone out and hunted through that box for that one shirt you absolutely need, OR you’ll have forgotten all about them.  Then, when you re-look through it all, you’ll have fresh eyes.  Maybe something’s come back into style or you have new inspiration on how to wear it.  And the rest, well, you’re ready to part with it now.
  6. Give Yourself Grace.  It’s ALWAYS important in life to find balance.  To remind yourself to be generous and not hold on to every single thing.  To remember that life isn’t about stuff, but about people and relationships.  But you also gotta let yourself be YOU!  Let yourself enjoy finding those deals, creating and being a maximalist!!  Being yourself and enjoying the things you love is not something to feel guilty about.  You can’t feel guilty about having a ton of necklaces (and buying more) when you WEAR a ton of necklaces.  It’s just not gonna work for me to only own four or five necklaces, when I wear a minimum of three usually on any given day.  So be YOU, be happy about it, and remember the world NEEDS maximalists JUST AS MUCH as it needs minimalists!

This dress is like, a TOTAL MAXIMALIST dress.  I mean, just look at it!  I think you could probably see it from space!  And that makes me love it even more!  I got if from Kim who is @soulsofcalifornia on Instagram and has a shop on Etsy who has amazing taste and finds the best vintage stuff!!  It’s a Diane Freis, and those of you know what that is know that her dresses are typically crazy and amazing!

Whether you are a minimalist or a maximalist, you’re awesome because we all balance each other out!  Have a fantastic weekend!
Katy

On Inspiration, Motherhood, and Challenges

Being creative can be a challenge, can’t it?  I mean, we are all so creative as individuals and we all have so much talent…and yet what is the number one thing we say when we start talking about creativity?  “If I only had more time…” Yep, the story of our lives.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed with just the normal daily tasks that I need to accomplish.  The meal preparing, the clean up, the laundry, taking care of the kids…not to even mention any work that I need to do and THEN add on top of that TIME to be creative?  Forget about it.  I mean, the good news is that I’m pretty speedy at everything I do, which is both good and bad because it means I get stuff done, but I often miss details because I’m flying through what I’m doing.  But, for sure, creativity could use time to cultivate.  I’m not gonna say that creativity “needs time”…because that’s exactly what I’m talking about in this post!

I recently read this article that a friend sent me about motherhood and creativity.  It was an interesting article to me because it addressed things that I think most women FEEL but don’t really articulate…for fear of sounding like they are ungrateful for their children or that maybe they are complaining.  This article kind of talked about how having kids can definitely feel like the death of your creative side…for a lot of obvious reasons.  I mean, time to yourself?  That’s not a normal thing when you have young children!  Plus, I mean…your brain is consumed with other things like “did my kid eat enough healthy foods today?  Is that behavior normal or should I be concerned?”  and “hey did I put sunscreen on him/her/them within the last half hour?”  They don’t call it “mom brain” for nothing!  It’s like the portion of your mind that you used to use for things like reading, getting inspired, and creating…has now become a log of foods and activities and, well, worries, about these tiny humans that you care so much for.  So yeah, seems like having kids could be the death of your creative side right?  Heck no.  Just because life (whether you have kids or not!) can make you feel like a can of refried beans that’s been reheated too many times…doesn’t mean you are done creating.

One of the things that I’ve been constantly reminding myself of lately, is that for the most part, people who started something big or created something amazing…did it WITHOUT a lot of what you could argue they NEEDED for it.  Most people don’t have the money, time, or even support they “need” when they start stuff.  Why?  Because it seems like the more we have as humans, the less motivated we are to be creative or to work at stuff.  I think often times, amazing things actually are produced OUT OF NEED, not out of HAVING.  So yeah, when I start worrying about having all the money that I need to start this clothing line or the time that I want to write more music and record it…then I remind myself that I do have a little bit of both, and that’s all I really “need” for right now.  I can encourage myself to be wise with both my time and my money and go for it.  That putting one foot in front of the other is going somewhere a lot faster than just standing still waiting for all the stars to align and for me to have the perfect elements all there, just waiting for me.

I guess my point is this.  Having kids is amazing, but yeah it does cause you to reprioritize stuff, and sometimes what gets lost is your creativity.  I am always so amazed though to see those “momtrepreneurs” in magazines and on tv…you can see that they took those challenges of having less time (and frankly less sanity!) and they turned that into something incredible!  Sometimes when the heat turns up, that’s when you get the gold.  Let it be something that motivates us to keep being creative.  To realize that challenges and time constraints can be used to make us more efficient and more flexible in our creativity.  You never know, maybe even just the pressure of having less time to be creative will cause all those creative juices to get flowing quicker and efficiently!

This crazy neon thing is a vintage ROMPER!!!  So of course I had to have it!  Speaking of creative struggles…here are some things I’ve had many frustrations with when it comes to trying to be creative and also being a mom:  Time.  Because toddlers don’t like to wait while you accessorize perfectly.  They also have no good input to add to your outfits, and will not be complimentary when you’re having an off day.  Taking photos.  I can’t just take photos whenever, I’ve got to do it when the kids nap or are preoccupied.  The lighting, like on this day when I took these photos, can be a beast and I have just given up on many a day! Feeling ridiculous.  Because there are days when I think to myself “why don’t I just throw on sweats and call it a day?  No one cares what I wear anyway!”  Okay, not true, I CARE WHAT I WEAR.  So shut it, self, and put on your cool vintage stuff.  Being tired.  I need a lot of sleep.  It’s a constant point of stress for me just trying to get to bed on time and get enough hours of rest so that I’m not cranky.  Which I usually am.  So there’s that.  Not FEELING creative.  Some days I go to put together outfits, and I just stare at my crazy closet, no thoughts whatsoever in my brain.  I can’t even figure out what to wear with JEANS.  So there are days when I just call it good, and try again the next day.  Because sometimes you do just need to use those few moments of rest and watch reruns of That 70’s Show.  Just call it “inspiration”, and you’re all good. :)

Hope you’re all inspired today, no matter what!
Katy