In my last post, I wrote about my decision to undertake a shopping ban, for the month of June. I was allowed to buy consumable groceries but no new things. I knew the most difficult items for me to resist would be books and clothing.
So how did it go? June was fine, I had the impulse to buy but I was able to override it. My only slip-ups were some kindle books. I find e-books a bit of a grey area because they sit on your device and don’t take up physical space. But the truth is I have so many kindle books that I’ve bought and haven’t read. My rule of thumb has been that if a kindle book is less than $5 I can buy it, if not I add it to my wishlist. This still resulted in me buying 5 books in a month.
At the end of the month when I reflected on my spending I felt proud of myself. But then July came along and I bought some stuff. Some print books and a necklace. Sure they were all things I had been wanting for a while (rather than impulse buys) but I still felt bad.
I had to remind myself that this exercise is not about judgement, it’s about awareness. If I had already bought it there was no point in feeling guilty about it. So I’m really enjoying my purchases. I read a few good books that added something to my consciousness. And I am loving wearing my necklace.
But I want to make lasting change, so I am going to re-start my shopping ban (although I’m re-branding it a Shopping Challenge) again from 1 August through to the end of November.
I have created a list of items that I am allowed to buy during the Shopping Challenge. For example, I want to place a Sephora order for some cosmetics that I have run out of. A few of the items are out of stock so I’m waiting for them to come back in. But this list is very specific, and is designed to anticipate what I will actually use during the next four months but I don’t already have.
My main challenge is going to be books. I don’t know what happens between ordering the book and it arriving but I only read about half of what I buy. Some books I start the day they arrive and they engage me and being a fast reader I finish them in a day or two. Others I start and then put down. Some I don’t even open.
So I’m making a commitment: If I buy a book I have to start reading it the day it arrives and I have to finish it, before I can buy another book, or move onto reading a book I already have.
August I’m ready for you.
As those of you who follow this blog know, I love the start of a new year. The hope it brings for change and the chance to move my life further in the direction I want it to go. But I have to remind myself that I can make a change at any time.
In The Year of Less, Cait Flanders takes us through her yearlong shopping ban which she started in July 2014 on her 29th birthday. During that time she also decluttered 70% of her belongings.
I appreciated and respected how open Cait was in the book, about her feelings, insecurities, and struggles. Reading about Cait’s resilience in the face of setbacks, could help you believe that change is possible. The Year of Less is an easy read. I found myself having to ration it, a few chapters a night because it had the compulsive readability of a page-turning thriller. If you are time-poor and too tired at the end of a long day to read, this book is perfect for you. It’s like checking in with a friend.
I read this book when it first came out earlier this year but as I’m writing this post and flicking through the pages of the book I’m eager to read it again. I bought the hardcover edition–a slim volume with thick pages. There was something about holding this book in my hands which reinforced the ideas contained within. It made me want to choose my purchases with more care and have all of my possessions be as special and purposeful as this book.
There is plenty to inspire you in Cait’s book but not everyone (myself included) is ready for sweeping change. Sometimes you just need a reset or a kickstart. So I have decided to undertake a shopping ban, for the month of June. I am allowed to buy consumable groceries but no new things. The main items for me to resist will be books and clothing. With my favourite retailers I always have a few wishlist items, and when there’s a sale I’m always tempted to get them. I find this type of shopping the hardest to control because I reason with myself that it’s not entirely impulsive. But in June there will be none of that.
I have tried this sort of thing before with varying degrees of success. I want to take this attempt seriously but also focus on awareness rather than deprivation. I will ask myself what is behind my need to buy this thing–am I reacting to an emotion? If I wait a day will the desire be as intense? I will let you know how it goes in my next post.
Remember, whether it’s shopping, your self-esteem, or your purpose–every day, every hour, every choice, is a chance to make a change.
This time last year, I chose 20 pieces (including shoes and bags) from my wardrobe, to wear during the summer.
I decided to do it again this year but now that I mostly work from home, I thought I could challenge myself further by getting it down to 10 pieces of clothing and 5 accessories. I only have to go into the office one day a week, so first I selected 2 outfits to wear on a fortnightly rotation. I have not included these in my 15 pieces.
If your work clothing is quite different to what you wear in the rest of your life, you could create two capsule wardrobes. Select an outfit for each day of the work week and keep these pieces exclusively for work. If you have plenty of options to choose from, then you can select enough outfits for two weeks of work. This is what I used to do, before I started working from home.
You may be uncomfortable with the idea of your colleagues seeing you in the same outfit several times a month, but you will get used to it. The certainty and ease with which you will be able to get dressed for work, will be freeing.
My criteria for my 15 pieces were:
Do I feel good in it? Do I like the way I look wearing it? Is it comfortable? Remember confidence comes from feeling good.
Will I wear it often? Think about whether you would wear the piece in an average week. The bulk of your wardrobe should be able to be worn on any given day.
Do I love it? Does it reflect the life I want to live now? This is important because your personal style will develop and evolve.
My 15 pieces are:
- Gingham wrap blouse
- Black sheer shirt
- Black off the shoulder top
- Red T-shirt
- Grey T-shirt
- Black sleeveless dress
- Coral pencil skirt
- Black mini skirt
- Light wash skinny jeans
- Dark wash boyfriend jeans
- Red tote bag
- Black shoulder bag
- Black flats
- Black slip-on sneakers
I decided that two bags and two pairs of shoes was enough. Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to see what’s missing and choose my 15th piece accordingly.
If you decide to set yourself a wardrobe challenge, I would love to hear about it. Please leave a comment.
This book is about finding your Why or Purpose. It is my favourite of Lisa’s books, because two years ago, I discovered my Purpose. Now that I have started writing, I know I will never stop.
As Lisa says: “When I found my Why, everything changed. It seemingly happened out of nowhere, but the more I reflected on it, it made absolute, complete sense to me. It was exactly what I had been (unconsciously) building towards my entire life.”
Back in 2012, I took a few writing courses including a seminar on blogging. This led me to launch The Luxe Edit on the first of January 2013. Five years later, this blog is now where my love of writing meets my enduring interest in fashion and beauty – all from a body positive perspective.
If you are struggling to find your Why, Lisa has plenty of ideas to help you. She is open and unapologetic about wanting you to make the most of your life.
Your Why “is also a filter through which you can make decisions, every day, to act with purpose.” Although I have been writing consistently since August 2015, it has been difficult to not get distracted by everything else in my life. This book reminded me to bring everything back to my Purpose.
I hope 2018 is the year you find your Purpose, or that you make living your Purpose, your priority.
The Who What Wear Collection for Target is available in US sizes 2-26!
“The story of my body is not a story of triumph.”
Hunger is not a weight-loss memoir but therein lies its power. It is Roxane’s struggle with her “unruly body and unruly appetites” that I connected with. Reading this book was a deeply personal experience. Often, Roxane articulated the exact thoughts and feelings I have had as an overweight person.
When you are overweight, people feel they have the right to comment on your body, to speak authoritatively on it. Like my uncle who I hadn’t seen in years who told me, in lieu of a greeting: “You have to do something about your body size.” I know this commentary isn’t restricted to the overweight and there are thin people who are judged too. Body shaming in any form is wrong. Imagine if just by looking at someone you could see they were jealous or selfish or cruel. But such flaws cannot be seen just by looking.
“I know what it means to hunger…I know that hunger is in the mind and the body and the heart and the soul.”
The source of that deep hunger is complex and unique to each person. But “people see bodies like mine and make their assumptions.” They assume that overweight people must be indulging at every opportunity, that they are unable to exercise even a shred of self-control. But like Roxane: “I deny myself so much and it is still not enough.”
I am tired of apologising for my body. “I am hyperconscious of how I take up space…as if I have less of a right to be in the world than anyone else.” But when someone bumps into me, most of the time they don’t care – it’s as if it’s the price I have pay for my body. As an overweight woman, society tells me that I should have a pretty face or be funny or be silent. I should be trying to make my body more palatable.
But I am more than my body.
One of the things that makes me feel really good, has nothing to do with my body. It is when I do something that reaches someone, when I truly connect with another person, even in the smallest way. When I leave this earth, it will not be my body that will be my legacy.
This book is for anyone who has ever hungered for something. Roxane’s story is raw and painful but it gave me hope. I don’t mean hope that Roxane or I or anyone else will lose weight. But a hope that comes from feeling seen and understood.
This story is a story of triumph because Roxane is still here, living in the world and creating. Creating words with an honesty and beauty that reaches people. And Roxane created this incredible book, living in the body she has now. Not the body she had before and not the body she may have in the future.
I have been carefully editing my closet on a seasonal basis for some years now (see my Shop Your Closet post). What I have not been so diligent at, is getting rid of the items I edit out of my closet. In the past, I have dropped clothes off in charity clothing bins but more recently they have sat in my attic waiting to be taken to the bins. I also had a lot of accessories and books which didn’t know what to do with.
This month I decided to get serious about finally getting rid of this stuff. Related to the ideas of minimalism and manifesting, I realised that although I had let go of these items from my wardrobe, they were still in my life. I needed to create (physical and mental) space for what I really wanted.
Having scaled back at work, I had also come to the decision that going forward I would need several different income streams. My new ventures weren’t bringing in any revenue yet, so I was looking to make some passive income.
It had been a while since I had culled all that clothing, so I went through it with a fresh eye and separated it into three groups:
- Items that were new (with or without tags) or hardly worn.
- Items in good condition that I wanted to give my friends first dibs on.
- Everything else.
The clothing in the first group I donated to a hospice shop so that they could sell the items and keep the proceeds.
I had three huge bags full of clothes which I gave to friends to sort through and pick what they liked from. Anything they don’t want I will donate.
The items in the third group I took straight to charity clothing bins. It took two car trips but I felt great when it was done.
That got rid of the clothes but I still had shoes, bags, jewellery and lots of books. I gave some of these items to the hospice shop but there were some that were worth decent money and I needed to supplement my reduced income.
I had thought about selling online but wasn’t sure how to do it. Trade Me (which is like the New Zealand version of eBay) is really for finding a bargain and I had tried selling jewellery on there before, without any success. Then I came across Designer Wardrobe (DW). This site is specifically for buying, selling and renting designer brand items (and some high street labels) in New Zealand and Australia.
I decided to have a go at listing my shoes, bags and jewellery. I chose the option of shipping with a DW shipping kit. This means that when an item sells, DW sends me a pre-paid and pre-addressed courier bag which I put the item in and then drop off at a NZ Post shop. The cost of shipping is subsidised by DW and the balance is included in the selling price.
A couple of hours after listing my first item, it had already sold. I have just received my shipping kit and packed it up ready to send to its new owner. It takes a while to photograph the items and write descriptions for the listings so I will keep adding more items each week.
This just leaves my books. I am kind of obsessed with books and for a long time I was only interested in print books. When a book came out I would usually buy the hardcover edition rather than wait for the paperback. For a long time my favourite genre has been memoir and biography but in the years since reading Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, I have gotten back into fiction in a big way. I love psychological thrillers. I buy them, read them fast and then add them to the ever-growing pile of books which I can’t fit in my bookshelves.
Last year I got a Kindle and this has helped me reduce the number of physical books I buy. I still prefer print for memoir and biography, and books with images. But I love that I can get the latest thriller delivered straight to my device, read it in one sitting and not feel guilty about how much I spent (ebooks are generally cheaper than print) and the physical space it would be taking up.
But I still have a backlog of books, mostly fiction but also some non-fiction (particularly fashion) books, that I am ready to let go of. I seldom read a novel a second time, even if I really enjoyed it. I am planning to sell these books on Trade Me. Books are expensive to buy in New Zealand and I am a careful reader so most of my books look brand new. It would be nice to send them to someone else to enjoy, while getting back part of what I spent on them.
I hope this has given you some ideas to use yourself and I will update you on my progress in a future post.
This is my first book review on the blog but I’m planning for it to be a regular post. Just so you know, all the books I review will have been purchased by me and I will give you my honest thoughts.
I follow @justbobbibrown on instagram and when I saw her latest book, I was immediately drawn to the cover. I loved the fresh, glowing makeup on the model and how the turquoise background popped. It’s a gorgeous book and one you will want to leave out where it can be seen. But it’s not just a coffee table book, there’s plenty to dig into and learn.
Although I have read widely on nutrition and wellness, so was already aware of some of the ideas covered, I still enjoyed having them pulled together in one book. For those who are new to these topics, the book presents them in a very approachable way. As I expected, the sections on makeup and makeovers are excellent. Bobbi is, after all, an expert on the subject. I also appreciated the range of women interviewed and models photographed.
My favourite genre of books is memoir and biography, so I couldn’t help but wish there was more about Bobbi herself, but maybe that’s for another book.
Image from Elle.com
I can’t believe The Luxe Edit is in its 5th year! From the beginning, the blog has been mostly visual – basically my own fashion magazine. But now I am focused (both personally and professionally) on writing.
With this in mind, I thought I would select some of my favourite written posts from the blog. For those who have followed The Luxe Edit since its inception, this is a chance to revisit them. If you have come across the blog more recently, then I hope you find them useful.
Lately I have been feeling a pull towards minimalism. For me, having a lot of things isn’t luxe but loving what I have is.
An obvious place to start was my wardrobe. In recent years, I have gotten better at choosing pieces that I wear often and editing my wardrobe seasonally. I donate most of the culled pieces to charity. This year I wanted to refine my wardrobe even further.
The goal was a carefully curated selection of 20 pieces (including shoes and bags). If you have a lot of clothes but only wear the same pieces over and over, why not pull out these pieces and sell or give away the rest? Try the Minimalism Challenge 2017.
When choosing your 20 pieces it may help to use the following criteria:
Do I feel good in it?
Do I feel like I look good? Is it comfortable? Skirts or dresses that are too short and you keep self-consciously pulling them down, need to go. As do any tops or dresses that gap and you constantly need to check you haven’t come undone. Anything you can’t relax and breathe in, should also go.
Will I wear it often?
Think about whether you would wear the piece in an average week. While it’s great to have a go-to outfit for a night out, the bulk of your wardrobe should be able to be worn on any given day. Similarly, you should consider your preferences. If you are more comfortable in trousers then include more of these than skirts or dresses. As a general rule, you should have at least as many tops as bottoms, to maximise your outfit options.
Do I love it?
Does it reflect the life I want to live now? This is important because your personal style develops and evolves. If you feel good in a piece and will wear it, then you probably like it, but you still need to weed out borderline pieces. These are pieces you feel good in and will wear because of that, but you may be bored by, or they do not “spark joy” as Marie Kondo calls it in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. These pieces do not belong in your life anymore.
Your 20 pieces will not be the same as mine but it may be helpful to know what I chose. My 20 pieces for Summer 2017 are:
- Go-To Dress: Black T-shirt style dress in shimmery pleated fabric.
- Fashion Top: Black off the shoulder top with ruffled neckline.
- Relaxed Shirt: White striped silky shirt.
- Plain T-shirt: Grey V-neck T-shirt in textured fabric.
- Decorative T-shirt: Blue striped T-shirt with “Capri” on it.
- Lightweight Blazer: Pink unstructured blazer.
- Camisole: Black silky lace-trimmed camisole.
- Classic Top: Navy and white striped top with three-quarter length sleeves.
- Pencil Skirt: Black bandage style, knee-length skirt.
- Shorter Skirt: Black lace, fuller style, above the knee skirt.
- Textured Skirt: Grey knit midi skirt with side splits.
- Denim Shorts: Black denim above the knee shorts.
- Jeans: Medium blue wash skinny jeans (not too tight).
- Everyday Shoes 1: Nude slim loafers.
- Everyday Shoes 2: Nude dressy sneakers.
- Heels: Black medium height heels.
- Tote Bag: Yellow structured tote.
- Crossbody Bag: Red crossbody.
- Shoulder Bag: Black quilted shoulder bag with gold chain strap.
- Everyday Watch: White/Gold rectangular face with navy leather strap.
I hope you enjoy choosing your 20 pieces and your streamlined wardrobe helps you to live better.
I adore reinvention. Every new year I am excited by the seemingly limitless possibilities. No matter how tough the preceding year has been, I shake it off, read all the January issues of my favourite magazines and think about my hopes for the coming year.
In preparation for 2017 I read She Takes On the World by Natalie Macneil and the companion planner The Conquer Kit. In these books I found a whole lot of inspiration and motivation for my entrepreneurial endeavours. I have read a lot of books on career, blogging, social media etc and often feel I have not taken much new away from them. Not the case here, these books really got me thinking about what I want to achieve in 2017 and helped me to drill down with helpful and interesting exercises.
The key idea running through everything I want from 2017, is to start living on purpose. To stop waiting for “someday”. Someday isn’t good enough anymore, I’m ready now.
Wherever you found yourself at the end of 2016 I urge you find some inspiration and motivation for the new year. It is never too late to start living the life you want – to start living on purpose.
Image from Vogue.co.uk
The weather has been pretty nice lately but I’m not ready to fully switch over to my spring/summer wardrobe. I still need a few transeasonal pieces on hand to get me through.
This relaxed, lightweight jacket is perfect. The leather look skirt is a great piece no matter the season. Right now I’m pairing it with leggings and boots but as it warms up I’ll wear it with bare legs and ballet flats. My Tory Burch bag is also convertible – you can wear the strap long or short.
What is your favourite transeasonal piece?
So I had to take a little break from my blog. I recently left my job and needed some time out to reset. The only social media I engaged in was posting pics from my holiday on instagram. Keeping up with social media can be draining and it’s important to engage in a way that is positive for you. I have found that instagram is particularly good for this.
A while back I changed who I was following on instagram. I was following a lot of designer brands and fashion bloggers, which was fine but when I scrolled through my feed, I mainly saw things I wanted to buy and super slim bloggers who I couldn’t always relate to.
I ended up unfollowing a lot of accounts and following all the body positive accounts I could find. Now when I scroll through my feed I see gorgeous, sexy women of all body types and ethnicities, along with positive, inspirational words (and some stuff I want to buy). Now my feed boosts and invigorates me.
Soon after this happened I read Jes Baker’s book “Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls” (@themilitantbaker) and she suggests something similar. So if you aren’t totally loving your instagram feed then this could be something for you to try.
Here are some other body positive instagram accounts I follow, to get you started:
OROTON Estate Tote in Limelight
I am thrilled with my new Estate Tote. I already have one in navy and have been surprised how much it can carry. The bright yellow is perfect for the end of Winter as we head into Spring.
ASOS Curve jacket (for similar click here)
CR FASHION BOOK and LANVIN earring
I wanted to style this biker jacket in an unexpected way, so I paired it with a midi skirt and heels.
The outfit is all black but each item has a different texture so it’s not flat and boring. I particularly like that the midi skirt has sheer stripes.
With a biker jacket you want the look to feel relaxed and comfortable and not like the jacket is wearing you. So wear it with a little insouciance.
Let me know what you think of this look by leaving a comment.
These terms are thrown around a lot in fashion but they really are worth knowing about, to make the most of your shape.
This is especially important if you are not very tall (like me). The way I think of proportion is that an outfit looks better if there is some contrast between the garments, for example:
- A long top and a short skirt
- A voluminous top and a tight skirt (or jeans)
- A cropped top or jacket with a midi skirt
A popular piece of style advice is to “get everything tailored”. While I do recommend tailoring for special occasion or investment pieces, it’s not realistic for a lot of people or for the bulk of your wardrobe. So it’s important to get the fit right before you buy.
If it doesn’t fit right and you don’t plan to have it altered, then go without. It won’t make you look and feel great so it’s not worth it (even if it’s cheap).
Some brands are starting to understand that there are body variations beyond size and have introduced ranges to cater for this, for example:
- Marks & Spencer Petite – designed for women 5 feet 3 inches and under.
- ASOS Tall – but it’s not just for tall people. I like their mini-skirts which have that extra bit of length compared to the main and Curve lines.
Here is my best piece of advice with regard to fit: Don’t be afraid to go up a size. The size on the label is irrelevant – what matters is how it looks on you.
If the next size up gives you room to breathe, stops buttons from gaping, and allows you to move your arms unrestricted, then that’s the right size for you.
I personally prefer my clothing a little loose rather than skin-tight. I don’t believe in suffering for fashion. When you feel comfortable you feel more confident, and confidence is key.
With a statement piece you need to style the rest of your outfit around it. This Lanvin necklace is pretty major so I wanted to keep the rest of the look clean and simple. This black T-shirt dress is the perfect backdrop, with the ribbed fabric adding a bit of texture.
The boots have an over-the-knee feel to them without actually going there. I like the glimpse of skin which stops the look from being completely covered up.
I wore a similar outfit to a wine-tasting with friends, which ended up being a 12 hour affair and I felt stylish and comfortable.
Do you have a statement piece you need help styling?
Read the interview with Natalie on harpersbazaar.com
Dress Portmans (for similar click here), Heels Banana Republic, Clutch Comme des Garçons (for similar click here), Bracelet Marni (for similar click here), and Earrings Anton Heunis (for similar click here).
A lot of people are afraid of prints (especially when you favour black because it’s “slimming”) but I adore them. I am always on the lookout for a top or dress in a great print. This dress was an unexpected find just before I went on a trip to Hawaii.
I wore it to celebrate a friend’s birthday on that trip. I paired it with these kitten slingback heels, which I picked up on the same trip, and happened to match the blue in the print.
To accessorise I wore my favourite statement earrings – yellow crystal chandeliers. The yellow provides a nice contrast to all the blue and stops the look from being too matchy-matchy. The gold bracelet blends with the yellow earrings and is bold enough to stand out against the long sleeve. The simple clutch picks out the black in the print.
If a print dress is too much for you, start by pairing a print top with a plain black skirt. Let me know how you get on.
Image from harpersbazaar.com
In my post on this blog’s new direction I noted that my clothing size varies depending on the label and style. I’m sure you have had the experience of not knowing which size will fit you best, particularly when shopping online.
Here’s my first piece of advice – don’t worry about the size you wear because it’s how it fits that matters. I will buy a size 16, 18, 20 or 22 if that’s what I think will fit (and therefore look) better.
If you are physically trying clothes on then take the size you think you are, plus one size up and one size down. That way you can compare them and see what looks best.
Online shopping is a bit trickier. First, you need to know your measurements. Yes, it’s a hassle but get out that tape measure and measure your bust, waist and hips in both cms and inches. Write your measurements down and keep them handy.
Second, check the size guide on the website to see which size is closest to your measurements. If you are like me and between sizes, you’ll need to check the product description. This is often overlooked as people tend to focus on the pictures but I always make my buying decisions based on both.
If it says slim fit, skinny fit, cut close to the body or similar then you need to go with the size up. If it says regular fit I would also go with the size up unless there is stretch in the fabric (more on this in an upcoming post) and you like to wear your clothes more fitted.
If however, it says relaxed fit then you can probably get away with the size down. A relaxed fit is what I look for when shopping online because fit matters less and you don’t need to get the size exactly right.
Last weekend I was in Sydney, shopping at Myer department store which has a range of different labels. I walked past a label that I stopped wearing several years ago when the largest size got too small for me. On display on a table was a knit top. The print caught my eye and when I picked it up I saw that although it was a size small it was quite big. I searched through the pile and found a size large. I held it up and was sure it would fit. I tried it on and sure enough it did. I was thrilled and went to the counter to buy it. While waiting in line I spotted a cardigan by the same label, and again the size large looked like it would fit. I quickly tried it on and it did. So I ended up with two pieces by a label I haven’t worn in years all because of a relaxed fit.
Let me know what you think of this post by leaving a comment.