How To Build Your Own Tiny Closet: Step 1 & 2...

The concept I've had for my Tiny Closet has been a work in progress since the day I started recording how I shop, style and wear clothing.  I'm happy to say it is now a concept fully realized and one that I am finally ready (and so excited!) to share.  The challenges I faced with discovering my personal style, feeling great in my clothes and wishing to have a fabulous wardrobe are challenges that I've found many other women facing as well.  Well, hey guys I've created a solution!  It's about 5 steps and today, I am sharing steps 1 and 2.  Yes, these steps are simple but don't be surprised if they keep you busy for a while!

Back in 2011, it started with me just experimenting with the clothes I already had in my closet.  Being unemployed, I was no longer able to shop and was resigned to wearing and styling only what I already owned.  This went on for a while - maybe even a year.  Then, after months of styling and re-styling my closet, by the time I was able to start shopping again, my entire perception of buying clothing had changed.  A concept had also began forming in my head based on two ideals (or fantasies) I had:

You can always look good.
You can always have something fabulous to wear.  

Is it really so impossible to always feel spectacular in your clothes?   To always have something amazing to wear?  With all the shopping we do, with all the money we've spent on clothing, we still look in our closets and feel like we have nothing to wear... Does anyone else think that's kinda ludicrous?  

I was in the middle of cleaning out my closet, once again, stuffing more clothes into a big bag to be donated and it hit me.  These clothes I was getting rid of were indeed, for someone else.  I wasn't dressing for my lifestyle.  

This led me to taking a step back from my closet, forgetting it completely for a moment, and assess something else.

Assess your life.  What do you need to dress for?
Yes, we're all busy.  Some of us, more than others.  But regardless of who you are or what you do, much of our days consist of the same activities.  
What activities do you do every day?  Where do you go?  What are the main reoccurring events in your life?  
Figure it out and write it down.  

Here's an example of my life seen through my daily, reoccurring activities and where they take place.

Work // Home

Fabric Sampling  // fabric stores and warehouses

Walks with Theo & Finn  // downtown

Dinner Out  // local restaurants

Drinks or Lunch w/ Friends  // local bars

Grocery Shopping  //  Costco, Farmer's Markets & Trader Joes

Fabric Runs  //  warehouses

So, as you can see - the daily, reoccurring activities in my life are (surprise!!) not glamorous.  Ignore the list written in the photo above - that was written just as a fictional example.  The list written above for this post is my actual life.  I spend most of my time in my home or in big dusty warehouses.

Daily events are usually not glamorous.  They're not particularly special or something you look forward to.  And that's precisely why they can be a struggle to dress for.  It doesn't have to be that way though.  Getting dressed for the Grammy's?  Exciting!!!  Getting dressed to go to Costco, not so much.  But I bet you would've found the most perfect dress to walk the red carpet.  Let's find that perfect outfit to take you bulk grocery shopping!   And maybe you don't care what you look like when you're grocery shopping or mailing your Zappos returns, and that's fine.  But who says we can't look fabulous doing those things?  
If you know what you do everyday and where you go everyday, you'll have a clearer picture of what kind of 
lifestyle you're shopping for.

Now make a list of activities you know you'll most likely be doing and places you will likely be going this season.  Like this:

Camping // Big Bear

AfroPunk  //  Fancy Dress Ball L.A.

Thanksgiving Dinner // Home

Birthday Parties //  Restaurants/Bars

Anniversary //  Hotel somewhere...

Visiting Parents & Friends // Seattle

These are activities and places you can prepare to dress for and plan to shop for.   If you have a ton of birthdays coming up and your friends tend to party big, you know you'll need to be prepared to dress for the occasions.  Attending a baby shower?  Getting ready to cheer for your kid at their soccer games?  These are events you can be prepared to dress for and prepared to shop for if you don't see anything in your closet that fits those occasions.

Shop deliberately.  Avoid wandering into department stores to "see what you'll find".  
I don't go into clothing stores unless I have intent to buy a specific item that I already planned to get.

How do you want to feel in your clothes?
Yes, we all want to be comfortable.  But beyond that, how do you want to feel?  What kind of energy do you want to exude?  Me personally?   I want to be able to catch myself in any mirror anywhere I am and think Yaaaaaaassss!  

Clothing and styling can create moods and set intentions.  What kind of mood do you want to have?
Next to every activity you wrote with their corresponding place, write one or two words describing how you want to feel when you're doing that activity.  Here's my example:

Work // Home  -- light, easy

Fabric Sampling  // fabric stores and warehouses  --  sophisticated, creative

Walks with Theo & Finn  // downtown  --  feminine, cosmopolitan

Dinner Out  // local restaurants  -- romantic, feminine

Drinks or Lunch w/ Friends  // local bars  -- bohemian, pretty

Grocery Shopping  //  Costco, Farmer's Markets & Trader Joes  -- sophisticated, modern

Fabric Runs  //  warehouses  -- light, easy

For whatever reason, I want to feel these certain ways while doing my various daily tasks and activities.  Wearing clothing that speaks exactly what you want to say while you're wearing it, that flatters your self expression, is my definition of feeling fabulous in what I'm wearing.

I think the reason why we believe we have "nothing to wear" is because we are not aware of how we want to 
feel when we're wearing our clothes.  
What we see doesn't align with what we want to feel, so the clothes are left unworn.

For the longest time, I wore jeans and a tee when I would pick fabric samples.  The fabrics I would view were always in huge, dusty warehouses with big sweaty guys walking around.  So I dressed the part.  But I would always feel grungy and boyish.  Drab and frumpy.  I didn't look like I was part of the world I had created and it was bringing down the mood of my creativity and finding beautiful, inspiring fabrics.  When I began dressing up to visit the various warehouse, I immediately noticed a difference in how I felt.  And also how I acted.  Not to mention when I would put colors and prints against myself in the mirror, my own reflection and outfit complimented my activity.  I felt like a creative, sophisticated designer.

Pharrell Williams says "Fashion has to reflect who you are, what you feel at the moment and where you're going."  I wholeheartedly agree.  

I hope you have fun exploring these first steps in creating a wardrobe you love!
Be sure to come back on Thursday where I share the one thing I always do before I shop for new clothes (and it works every time!).   Steps 3 & 4 later this week!

Thanks so much for reading!
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My Tiny Closet: Up Close & Personal

Welcome to my final completed Tiny Closet!  A closet of 28 pieces, including jackets, coats and heirloom pieces.    But that's not exactly all.  This is my base closet.  A foundation to build from - but I'll get to that in a minute.  

Now, for those of you who are not familiar with my concept of The Tiny Closet, it's actually more of lifestyle...
The Tiny Closet is about having small, simple collections of clothing throughout the year that are carefully curated and personalized for you and you alone.  It's forgetting about what you "should" buy and what you "need" to be wearing and it's all about focusing close attention on your own lifestyle, routine, social life, and likes.  Oh, and the weather is an important factor too!  It's not about ignoring the evolution of fashion or trends.  It's about making trends work for you.  And if they don't - leave em' and wait for the next wave.

It sounds pretty easy but creating and maintaining a Tiny Closet is more challenging than you think!  Maybe because when you're carefully collecting new items for your wardrobe, the process completely eliminates mindless shopping, frequent needs to shop and addictive hoarding.   And I think we ALL have fallen prey to those symptoms and tendencies.  It's a waste of money, space in our closets and a vast waste of our time when we're deciding what the heck we're going to wear every morning!

Anyway, with my closet as the example, as you can see - I'm really into one-pieces and roomy drapey fit.  Dresses, jumpsuits, flouncy tops and oversize designs - it's what I like to see on myself and what I feel so comfortable wearing.  Regardless of what I'm told I should wear based on my height, weight and age.
My closet is newly finalized and ready to be built upon.  What I mean is, all of these pieces are the remaining gems from cleaning out and pairing down my closet over the past couple years.  It took a long time!  And each article of clothing actually belongs to its own capsule wardrobe.  So what I intend to do is build upon each of these pieces an even Tinier capsule wardrobe for each season.  And as each season passes on to another,  I will take my capsule wardrobe and store it away to make room for the next.  

These capsules will only consist of about 3-4 pieces and they are festive, fun and purely seasonal items.
Ah!  What a fun, free, non-guilty, non-wasteful way to shop, right? And you're truly building a closet you adore and will always want to pick from.
A little about my base pieces:  This leather midi skirt is delicious!  With the softest, warm leather it can be worn with so many things for Fall and Winter.  I wore it best with a slouchy tee and animal print flats.  But it also went beautifully with stiletto boots and a cropped tee.  I am very fickle with skirts so this friendly, stylish midi skirt gave me the room and freedom I am usually lacking when it comes to not wearing pants.
This semi-orginal dress is phenomenal.  I adapted it from a Vogue pattern and I love it for both everyday errands and going out to dinner in the Fall.  Amazing!  I wore it with some stacked leather boots dangling earrings - and another time with a statement necklace and flats.
This romper is an original design of mine.  A statement piece that I made when experimenting with loose jumpsuits.  I love wearing it with my multi colored sandals!  This palm-printed onesie will be apart of my Summer capsule in 2017.  
And my all-time favorite maxi I bought years ago is still a gem!  I literally cannot count all the times I've worn it.  Not to mention how I've worn it: as a skirt and as a strapless dress.  This piece will be apart of my Spring and Summer capsules for 2017 for sure.
My "heirloom" items are next - they're the only pieces that will not be in capsules.   Including this cheap but unforgettable iconic dress that I never wear but for that one evening event I have to go to that calls for it, which happens just a couple times a year.  And I relish it every time!  I wore it only once for the blog.  And it was fabulous.
My vintage coat with a built in wrap is also much too special to donate.  I very rarely wear it but when I do, it's always to pair with something very casual.
And the top of my prized pieces is my wedding dress.  A two-piece Max Mara number made in Italy. Simple, and super modern.  Just like me.  Since I ended up being two hour late for the big day, I missed out on photographs.  So my husband shot me in it a year later.
The few folded items I have is two pairs of shorts (a pair of linen shorts and pair of cutoffs), a black lycra body con dress that I like to wear under loose tops and sweaters, two tee-shirts I designed and a cool T by Alexander Wang jersey skirt.
When it comes to denim, the more worn and ripped, the better. I have 4 pairs.  Including one that is not worn but in pristine condition and for neater, more finished occasions.
And of course these vintage 501 Levis.  I prefer a little spandex in my jeans but I put up with a little resistance in these completely non-stretch oldies.  The high waist is perfect my for cropped tees!
And the last of my heirlooms is this gigantic embroidered circle skirt.  I wore it best with a bra top in the desert.  And also with a turtleneck and boots in the Winter.
These are the boots!  I shared some of my shoes in these photos.  The little group you see at the bottom of the clothing rack are most of my favorites but I didn't bring out all of them.  I want to focus on the clothing aspect of building a wardrobe.  
 My plan for shoe shopping and maintaining non-wasteful capsules in shoes is purchasing one pair of shoes per season that will go with nearly all of the items in that capsule.  So that means I will have around 4 new shoes a year.  Thoughtfully picked for each season.

I look forward to collecting more pieces for this Fall season.  And by the way, Fall officially kicks of this week!!  What are you looking forward to adding to your closet this season?  Keep visiting while I create my first capsule wardrobe for Fall 2016 using some of the Fall pieces I already own and 3 or 4 new pieces! 

Hope you enjoyed peeking through my Tiny Closet and getting more familiar with the concept for a Tiny lifestyle :)
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Just One Piece is All You Need

I already talked about my uniform, which is a lifesaver.  But going further, more and more, I'm leaning towards 

one piece.one piece.one piece.  
Flattering, feminine and simple.  Jump into it or throw it on over your head and voila, instant outfit.   
The concept I had for this dress was truly simple.  Basically how I want to wear all my clothes but I get peer pressured into wearing jewelry.  I love jewelry, truly, but my natural inclinations are more to admire from afar rather than join the party.  And friends may say (like they always do!) that this piece begs for a necklace.  But a bangle here, a ring there, the simplest of sandals and a high neckline is genuinely what I needed this outfit to be.

You can check out my other favorite one-piece go-tos here and here.  Both fabulous game changers for streamlining a closet. 

Enjoy your Monday! 
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Keeping It Together

Whew!  Happy Labor Day to you!  And if you were lucky enough to get time off, well cheers to you.  I hope you're all enjoying yourselves, regardless.

 And speaking of labor.  This girl has been workin it.  From both ends.  Upside down.  

And I know I'm not the only one movin and groovin - it seems like everyone has got some big thing, some big project, some tireless goal - ladies, can I just say

 All the comments, the emails, the orders in my shop.  You have ideas, thoughts, and opinions - thank you so much for not keeping them to yourselves.

I opened an online store this Summer and I didn't know it was a dream until it came true.  I've been wearing a lot of hats these days and I admit, I've been getting my butt whooped.  But I'm trying to keep up, trying to keep it together.  I am in love with what I do and I'm working hard to keep it from slipping away.

My daily outfits have never been more for function than what they are now.  For errands I wear a new uniform I've evolved into wearing everyday.  And while indoors (with the air conditioner off because it causes too much wind) I must have my arms and legs free of drape so I end up wearing very fitted tops and bottoms.  It's 85 degrees and my machines are buzzing along like I'm in a sweatshop.

It's 95% humbling but 5% glamorous when I get to see gorgeous everyday gals looking amazing in my clothes - or when someone recognizes me on the street and tells me my work matters.  Those moments are worth everything.
 This Labor Day means more to me than it ever has before.  Maybe because I've never worked this hard.  I have a lot of plans this coming season but I worry I won't be able to get them all done.  I worry I won't be able to fully create what I want to share or have enough time to bring my ideas to fruition.   I'm sure so many others feel the same.  But this holiday is a reminder to continue believing in hard work and that it is incredibly powerful.  And timeless.  It will always bring results.  

This holiday also reminds me to step back and celebrate the work.  All of our great work!
So here's to believing in our work, our efforts and the wonderful payoff.  

And to those of you interested in my doings, I so hope you stay interested and patient with what I plan to share.  I think you'll love it!
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Less Choices, More Freedom

 We make a lot of choices during the day.  But did you know there is scientific evidence of emotional, mental and physical fatigue from making too many choices in a day?

The dominant reason why I've recently decided to cultivate an even tinier closet is because, to put it simply, I'm busy...
 After years of searching, experimenting and creating my own personal style and wardrobe, I know what I like.  

And sure, I'll have events to go to here and there, host parties, go camping, travel, and do many fun things that call for something "a little different" to wear... but for the most part, day in and day out, I've got things to do!  Daily.life.things.to.do.

So!  Like Obama, like Jobs, like Wang, Lagerfeld and everyone else who has figured out what they can live without in order to have the creative energy to put towards more interesting things than, "what am I going to wear today?": 

I found a uniform.  
 The tee, I made.  The pants, I made.  And the shoes?  Those are Sam Edelman.

I walk in it, work in it, sit in traffic in the back of an Uber in it, eat standing up in it and even nap in it.  Every morning this outfit is waiting for me to slip into and get moving.  My choice-fatigue just got a little less fatigue-y.  

The less choices we have, the more freedom and energy we can put to other things.  Like, for example, energy to put towards these various questions I always leave to the last minute - or just don't get to at all:

What kind of outfit should I wear to that Fall wedding?

What cool stylish costume can I wear for Halloween?

Should I start wearing headbands?

What kind of dress do I want to wear for New Year's?

Should I start wearing proper women's pajamas instead of a big t-shirt?

What kind of camping wardrobe should I put together for the Fall/Winter season?

Would I look good in a cargo jacket?


Ah!  Now if I can just start meal prepping...  I might just be able to rule the world.
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Railroad Stripes

If you've been following me, even for a short period o f time, you know I love stripes.  A strong horizontal stripe on a big cozy top or dress is my thaang.  So I suppose it was only a matter of time that I fall in love with railroad stripes.  It's really the classic cotton/linen that is associated with railroad striping.  And the fact that I also adore linen and Japanese cotton, well why didn't it happen sooner??

But I actually didn't want to like it.   The strong, durable, breathable blue-collar fabric originally used in mens labor uniforms is now trending in high-price minimal clothing with words like "collective", "capsule" and "pop-up" used to sell them.  $500 for a railroad stripe dress?  Come on people, it's just manual labor cotton!

So as per usual, I had to make one myself.
Recognize the design?  It's actually a further adapted design from this dress.  And I love it.
Love it!!
What's great about this type of linen is that over time, it will turn slouchy and lived in.  Almost like denim.  Like a well-loved pair of jeans.  I already want to wear this everyday so it looks like it's going to part of my Fall capsule.  Here in L.A., it runs around 80 degrees until November so I'll be getting some good wear from this wear-and-tear-stable piece!
Currently experimenting with shoes and accessories with this dress.  
We shall see!

Happy, happy Monday!  
And speaking of Monday, this chic little "work" dress is perfect for my weekday grind.
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Summer Nights

I picked up this skirt in a little shop that is sadly not in business anymore.  I didn't really know what to do with it at the time - it was floor-length - but I saw potential in it and wanted to show support to my local indie retailer.  Much livelier than the rest of my wardrobe, I loved its Mexican vibe and anyway, y'all know how I absolutely love Southwest and South American style.  The colors, the designs...
So to make the skirt relevant for my Tiny Closet, I shortened it considerably, leaving only the bottom half decor.  I love it.  It's flashy, flirty, ethnic and one of a kind.  And it goes so well with my Tiny Closet design cropped tee!
Every month during the Summer, Chinatown holds an amazing event called Summer Nights.  Bands, DJs, confetti poppers, like 20 food trucks and tons of restaurants... After shortening this skirt and pairing it super simply with some flat sandals and a chic cropped tee, I know exactly what I'll be wearing for this weekends festivities.
This is also a fabulous duo for a date night or party with friends.  I mean, the more I think about it, where can't you wear a flirty lil mini skirt, sandals and a tee on a Summer evening?  

I can wear this little outfit anywhere.  So you know, that means this skirt's a keeper.
 Happy Thursday to you!
thanks for visiting!

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Have Fun

Amidst the busy hustle and bustle that seems to be a constant state for now, this weekend I just had to throw my hands up and laugh.  Laugh hard.  I feel like stress can only erupt 3 ways, tears, screaming or laughter.  I chose laughter.  I chose to have some fun.
Maybe that's why I found myself in this black silky jumpsuit and a 90s cropped top...  because I can't really think of any other reason why I would combine the two.  I mean it works but it doesn't really fit my style or current musings.  

It definitely fit my mood however, and isn't that just as important?  Clothing has a wonderful way of reflecting ones emotions.   
And a spectacular job at influencing them.
 I ended up having fun during what could've been an arduous task of shooting, then running off to one engagement and then another.  Also, I'm feeling relieved with my lighter closet.  Cleaning out my closet, I can now carry my entire wardrobe in my arms!!  Ah the freedom, ah the lightness of living a more minimal, streamlined life.  I have much to share about this new transformation so please keep visiting for more!

And it's Monday - Go out and have a ball!
Thanks for visiting!
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