Good morning, friends, I wanted to let you know that the fall 2015 (and final) issue of Anthology magazine is out and it is wonderful. Truly.
Remember how excited I was when it debuted five years ago?
A few months ago, I was asked to contribute to the Screen Play feature so I’m very proud to be a part of this last issue….
Coincidentally, I had the chance to meet editor in chief Anh-Minh Le a couple of weeks ago in San Francisco. (The husband and I were there for our annual West Coast visit with family and friends.) It’s always a pleasure to meet people whom I’ve only known online, particularly when it’s the brains behind such a quality magazine.
You can find Anthology‘s stocklists, back issues and preview of the current issue here.
A new crop of design books is one of the joys of fall and this year, there is an abundance of them. Here are a few of the best that I’ve had the chance to review…..
Palm Beach Chic by Jennifer Ash Rudick takes a look at the tropical style that has been enjoying so much popularity in recent years. The twenty-five beautiful homes featured show us there is much more to this aesthetic than bamboo, flamingos and Lilly Pulitzer. They range from Bermudan cottages to midcentury condos to classical mansions reflecting Spanish and Caribbean influences. The locale invites indoor/outdoor living so equal attention is paid to the outdoor spaces. Palm Beach Chic is a magnificent look into a unique aesthetic that is inspired by its very distinct setting.
Decorating with Carpets: A Fine Foundation by Ashley stark Kenner and Chad Stark with Heather Smith MacIsaac uses the extensive archive of Stark Carpet to illustrate the important role carpets play in interior design. You may recognize some of these spaces (some have been featured right here on FTRB). Now imagine them without the carpeting. It changes everything, doesn’t it? I found it fascinating to view both new and familiar spaces through this lens. Of course Decorating With Carpets is a great resource on carpets with discussions on types, patterns and textures but the hundreds of pages of beautiful spaces by renowned designers also make it a real treasure trove of interior design.
Details on Decorating With Carpets can be found here.
How We Live by Marcia Prentice takes us into the homes of eighteen artists and designers around the world in cities like Marrakech, Reykjavik, Mexico City and Mumbai. As you know, looking into real homes (particularly those of creative people) is my favorite pastime. Throw in a global perspective and I couldn’t ask for anything more. It showcases interior design that is lived-in and highly personal which is always refreshing to see. With each home, Prentice includes interesting bios of the homeowners, an overview of the artistic scene as well as short facts and notes of interests about the locale. How We Live is a wonderful combination of interior design, art and travel.
For the Love of Bags by Julia Werner and Dennis Braatz is an homage to my favorite accessory. It’s a visual feast of every bag you could possibly want starting with the classics and moving through the years to the bags of the moment. There are also interesting discussions on the bag’s influence on fashion, the messages they convey and the history of the It bag. Street style photography also makes it very current and fun to browse. I can’t explain why I love bags as much as I do but if you share my obsession, you need this book. It’s that simple.
Details on For the Love of Bags can be found here.
(Photos and review copies provided by the publishers.)
Hello! How have you been? I’m back from Europe where I had my fill of fashion and frites and fell head over heels for a new city that I’ll tell you all about soon. But today, as promised, let me update you on my 30-Day Declutter Challenge.
I got to all the areas I planned and even though I still need to finish up in a few of them, I’m thrilled with what I did accomplish. I could not believe some of the things I came across…. expired meds, even older user manuals for appliances we don’t even own anymore, foreign cables….. About a third of things were thrown out, half were donated and some things (like art and fixtures) went to a consignment store. It feels so good to know most of the things will go to homes that need them and will be put to good use.
If you follow me on Snapchat (FromTheRightBnk), you saw some of my updates……
The easiest areas for me were the linen closet, coat closet, laundry room and cars because they had the least stuff in them. Not surprisingly, the hardest and most grueling were the storage room and garage. It’s nice to have extra room but these catchall type spaces make it far too easy to accumulate things. I’ve mentioned before that we’ve never had as much space as we do in our current house and upon moving in, my reaction was to spread out and enjoy it all and for the first time ever, to not worry about where things would go; it was a reaction to living in smaller places all of my adult life. But I’ve come to realize that I need to go back to the mindset of living in our apartment in New York where we didn’t have the luxury of extra space and think long and hard before adding anything else to our home. Free space is not a license to acquire more things!
Here are some practical things I learned that I would suggest if you’re embarking on your own simplifying and decluttering journey……
Allow more time than you think you need.
Almost every area took longer than I thought. The worst was the media/dvd/cd part which ended up stretching into two long days when I had thought it would take a few hours tops. Oops! (See last photo above!)
Plan each day with your calendar in mind.
Before starting the challenge, I looked at my calendar for the entire month and assigned areas depending on what I had scheduled. On days where there were events or a lot of appointments, etc. I targeted the easier areas that would take less time.
Leave yourself one free/misc. day for an area you may have overlooked.
I forgot all about the dining room and the wet bar area when I made my list. Oops again.
Group areas together.
You get a feeling of accomplishment when you finish everything in one room before moving on to the next and that feeling goes a long way to keeping you motivated. For example, in the bathroom, I tackled the medicine cabinets one day, makeup the next and the bathroom drawers the day after that.
Keep your focus.
About halfway through the challenge, I realized I was throwing out much less compared to the beginning. I was getting tired and losing focus so I needed to get myself back on track. When that happens, remind yourself of the end goal. Keep asking yourself Do I need/love [whatever the item is]? as your guide.
Unburdening myself of superfluous things has given me a peace of mind beyond anything I could have imagined. I’m not exaggerating when I say this little challenge has drastically changed my life. I think the greatest and possibly the most unexpected thing I have learned from this whole experience is that simplifying is the best motivation for keeping clutter out of the house going forward. Yes, there will be messes – that is just a part of life – but in the future, I’ll think much harder before adding to what is already in my home.
I think that covers everything but please let me know if you have any questions. It feels incredible having done this and I would recommend it to everyone. Now on to my closet and the 30-Day Minimalism Game! I’m hoping for similar life changing results there! 😀
Well this week sort of turned into fashion week here at FTRB. I guess it’s kind of fitting (no pun intended) since it’s fashion week somewhere in the world all month. London just finished, Milan is happening now and Paris is next week. Coincidentally, I’ll be in Paris while it’s going on. (The husband has meetings in Paris next week and asked if I wanted to tag along. Is that even a question?) It’s always fun to be around all the buzz even if I’m not attending the shows.
Since it will only be a few days in Paris and I’m flying all that way, I decided to add a few days in Antwerp, a city I have wanted to visit for decades. Why Antwerp? The answer is also fashion-related. Antwerp is a mecca for avant-garde fashion (many of the designers I have loved the longest like Martin Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester and Dries Van Noten are all from there) and a pilgrimage to MoMu (Mode Museum), the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the Dries flagship store, etc. have long been on my travel wish list but I never managed to make it there. It’s a quick train ride from Paris so it was finally a good opportunity to fit it in. I can’t wait!
I’m packing as we speak so it seems like a good time to talk about travel wardrobes. After traveling to over 50 countries. I think I’ve finally gotten them down to a science!
As a little background, I first started traveling extensively after college and in the early years, I used to pack all my best clothes: wool boucle suits, cashmere sweaters, silk scarves, leather gloves….. I’m not entirely sure what my thinking was at the time other than I just generally liked being decked out. (My style was also a little more conservative back then.)
Then at some point, I stopped taking the nicer things on trips because I wanted to save them and didn’t want them getting ruined or worn out. I’m not sure why this happened either but I think it started when we were doing more adventure type trips and traveling through some rough terrains…. doing what they call hard travel. I think I liked being able to just come home and dump my entire suitcase into the washer, setting it on the heavy duty cycle and not worrying about anything delicate, etc. That then just sort of became a habit. It wasn’t as if I dressed in rags but I definitely didn’t always look my best.
In recent years, I’ve swung back around closer to how I used to travel. As part of the Minimalism Game, I am tossing the last of those less than desirable pieces that were reserved for travel. There’s no reason why I should deviate from trying to look my best when I’m traveling, especially considering how much time I spend on the road. I also want to get enjoyment from the clothes I have. If not now, when, right? I’m only packing things I love to wear which are comfortable and make me feel great. Hopefully those are the only types of clothes I’ll have left in my closet once I’m done with the game! So, at the same time I’m simplifying my wardrobe I’m upgrading my travel wardrobe too.
I think that’s a good mantra for all areas of life: simplify and step it up!
To me, a perfect capsule travel is stylish, comfortable, versatile and appropriate for the climate, environment, culture, itinerary and planned activities. I also believe in traveling light so I’m asking a lot from a little.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the key is to maximize the wear you get from each piece. To create as many different looks possible with a minimal number of pieces, first decide on a palette for the entire wardrobe (like you would do for decorating a room). Then choose versatile pieces that all fit into that color story. Finally add in accessories like scarves and jewelry which are great for switching up a look without taking up much space.
I also limit myself to one bag for day, one bag for night, one pair of shoes for day and one for evening in addition to whatever I’m wearing on the plane. I live for shoes and bags so this is tough for me but these are the bulkiest items so I force myself to stick to this limit. I’ll make an exception if there will be several special events requiring more looks but this is rare.
Keeping all of this in mind, I plan outfits for each activity on the itinerary. (I actually keep a copy of my itinerary in front of me while I’m packing.) This takes me hours but it saves me time getting dressed at my destination and that’s valuable time I’d much rather spend enjoying the location. It also ensures I have the right thing to wear at all times and that goes a long way to making a trip enjoyable. I can’t imagine packing any other way now.
Lastly, here are a couple of things I don’t do. I don’t pack any new pieces that I haven’t test driven yet. I need to know it will be comfortable and doesn’t have something off about it that I’ll discover only by wearing. I also never pack options. I take only the pre-planned outfits (plus one extra just in case something unexpected comes up or there is a spill/mishap) but nothing else. Once you start with options, it can quickly spiral out of control.
So that’s it. As I said before, I don’t believe in lists and formulas because our travel wardrobes, like our everyday wardrobes, should express our own personal style. So I offer these as guidelines and hope they help you create your own perfect capsule travel wardrobes. I’ll post some outfit photos on Instagram (@FromTheRightBank) and Snapchat (FromTheRightBnk) during my trip so you can see my approach. And of course there will be shots of pretty spaces and things as well as some walking tours so please join me!
While we’re on the topic of wardrobes and closet organization, I feel like we need to discuss capsule wardrobes which has been a really hot topic the past couple of years.
In the unlikely event you haven’t heard about it, it’s basically a wardrobe that is limited to X number of pieces (usually about 30 or 50 but it can vary). Everything else gets stored away or if you’re hardcore, tossed. There are many, many variations on this but that’s the general idea. Most people also seem to have one capsule wardrobe for spring/summer and a second for fall/winter. The goal is to have a wardrobe with only pieces that you love which simplifies getting dressed and saves you money.
I’ve been intrigued by this whole concept and love the rationale behind it. Even though it’s been all the rage in recent years, it turns out the term was actually coined in the 1970’s. Then in the 1980’s Donna Karan created a capsule collection of seven pieces that could all be interchanged. That was the first time I had heard of it and I remember thinking it was an absolutely brilliantconcept even then. Then I think in the early 00’s, there was an Yves Saint Laurent capsule collection called Edition but I can’t for the life of me find anything on the web about it. How is that possible? I wish I had kept some of the literature on it because it was such a great collection.
Anyway…..in a sense, my end goal for Project Simplify as it pertains to my wardrobe is the same: to have only things I absolutely love in my closet. But let me tell you why a capsule wardrobe just won’t work for me.
I want to preface this by saying this is not a criticism; there is no right or wrong here. Our wardrobes and our approaches to them should be entirely personal. To be happy and satisfied with our wardrobes, we must figure out what works for our individual lifestyle, philosophy and unique circumstances.
So with that out of the way….. the first reason a capsule wardrobe won’t work for me is just from a practical point of view, I can’t make one wardrobe work for all of my needs. As I said in my last post, my days are really varied and I need (and want) different clothes for different activities and what makes me most comfortable in a particular situation.
The second reason is that while I’m on a quest to simplify my life, having a limited wardrobe isn’t one of the ways in which I want to do it. I do want a more streamlined, less crammed and organized closet. But at the same time, I’m interested in continuing to develop my personal style more deeply and a very restrictive wardrobe won’t allow for that. I view fashion as an important form of self-expression and sometimes even as art. While I don’t support mindless consumption, I get a thrill when I see intriguing new designs and all the new possibilities each season. All of this may elicit an eye roll from people for whom fashion is not a priority and I get that. As I said, live your lives. Do you. But these are the reasons why capsule wardrobes just aren’t for me.
Having said all that…..
I do apply the concept of capsule wardrobes on my travels and have been doing it for years. I just didn’t realize there was a name for it! As you know, I’m a frequent traveler and 90% of the time, I travel with just a carry-on because it just makes life easier.
The way I do that is by limiting the color palette so pieces can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits. I also choose pieces that can be worn day or night so I don’t necessarily have to do an outfit change during the course of a day. So in other words, I use capsule travel wardrobes and it is the key to traveling light.
These days, I’m also trying to refine my capsule travel wardrobes (up my game, as it were) and I’ll be back tomorrow to talk a little about that.
In the meantime, what do you think of capsule wardrobes? If you have one or have tried having one, I’d really love to hear about your experience!