I tried #12daysofminimalism

Are you ready for some ugly pictures?? I am currently on day 9 of an Instagram challenge called #12daysofminimalism. It’s pretty simple–on day 1, clean out 1 item, on day 2, 2 items, and so forth. So far I’ve learned that just because you have a capsule wardrobe doesn’t mean the rest of your life is not cluttered. Like ugh. Here’s what I’ve cleaned out so far.

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Surviving academic conferences

My yearly national conference is coming up this week and it has me Amazon prime-ing myself so many items that I need to keep it together at academic conferences. Germs, lack of food, nerves…academic conferences are a nightmare on my body. But, keeping a few items in my bag goes a long way. Here’s what I’ve needed in the past.

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Wearing florals for winter

I’m flexing my styling muscles this week to try a new combo that I’ve seen on Pinterest repeatedly this season: layering floral dresses to make them stretch into winter.

It’s clear that dark floral patterns are in right now, and that makes the 90s kid in me extremely happy.

Loft (comes in plus and tall sizes)/J. Crew Factory/Loft (comes in plus sizes)

See how I’ve been styling my current dark floral dress below.

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My Fall 10×10 picks

The Fall 10×10 starts today and there’s still time to join. Just pick 10 clothing items and restyle them to make 10 outfits over the next 10 days. Easy, right?

Hah. By day 8 I’ll be making all sorts of strange combos, I’m sure. But that’s kind of the point. This is a great challenge for learning to use what you have while also identifying wardrobe gaps. Usually by day 10 I have a pretty good idea of what items could be nice additions to my seasonal closet, which is why I (try) not to shop for the season until the 10×10 is over. Here are my picks for the next two weeks:

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Blazer (thrifted, similar)

Shirts: Long sleeve, pink button up (thrifted, similar), white button up

Plaid shirtdress (old, similar)

Sweater: Vetta (can be worn 3 ways, so this is probably gonna be the 10×10 all star)

Bottoms: Green dress pants, tweed skirt (thirfted, similar), jeans

I’m pretty excited about a couple of potential combos right out the gate! And I’m hoping that these layers will help me cope with the Colorado 40 degree temperature span. 

Are you doing the 10×10? If not, what are your wardrobe all stars this season that you could mix and match?

How I’ve (successfully) used Rent the Runway

I just got back from the second wedding where I used Rent the Runway to get a dress, and I basically never want to buy a wedding guest dress in my life. Why would I store something in my closet when I can get something different every time that doesn’t contribute to clothing waste??

However, I have seen some horror stories about Rent the Runway (they average one angry instagram comment a post, I would say). So here’s how my experience has been (so far) and what I suggest to maximize your experience.

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How I figured out my personal style in grad school

When I arrived at my MA program, I had a lot of clothes, and liked clothes, but was also one of those people who never felt “pulled together,” and especially not in a way that looked effortless. Fortunately, I had a habit of stress reading blogs. And I soon found capsule wardrobe bloggers. Through their influence, I figured out that my problem might actually be too many clothes, going in too many directions. So I started doing a couple of things to find the direction in my style. 

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Bags for grad students

Thanks to @yikesbutmakeitfashion who asked for a bag round-up for grad school ❤ Here are my current favorite workhorse bags….

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Let’s start with what I’m currently using, the Everlane twill zip tote. This tote is $48, has a ZIPPER, and it has held up super well–no strap damage or loose stitching. Cons: It doesn’t have any shape so any bulges caused by throwing your whole life in there will show. Other options below.

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Surviving wedding season on a grad school budget

Oh wedding season..that joyful time when you remember that you’ve spent an entire decade on your PhD while some of your friends have gotten jobs, houses, and, yes, found their for-life person. I am (mostly) at peace with this, especially because there is cake and wine. However, prepping for weddings can be a daunting task, especially if you’re tapped for the bridal party, which can cost over $1000! So, my first piece of advice as a grad student is that you communicate what you can afford to spend, before committing to being in a wedding party (this article spells out more of your rights and is totally fantastic). 

But, besides that, how do you minimize money spent on wedding apparel? Here are some of the tips I’ve gathered to survive wedding season. 

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