Live Like You’re on Vacation – Simplifying Your Wardrobe

June 10, 2021

As a busy mom, daughter and educator that can be a procrastinator, I am always looking for ways to get more done while doing less and to be more efficient, even if only a little bit. So, when seasons started to change and I knew I was teaching all summer again, but also working in vacations, I decided to make some changes to my wardrobe, and it has proven to be a huge success.

While I like the idea of being a fashionista, I tend to default to t-shirts and shorts, especially with working from home. But I do have zoom lessons and meetings, so still try to look professional.  I’ve always been intrigued by the minimalist capsule wardrobes or only a certain number of pieces, but never wanted to commit to that restricted a lifestyle. Living in Florida, fashion choices can be a challenge in the summer since it’s just so hot and humid. Also, with Covid restrictions lifting and travel plans returning, I wanted to create an easy style for whatever our plans were this summer, whether it was work, relaxing at home or travel. 

Last month while putting laundry away, I got this crazy idea to create a vacation wardrobe for the summer, and possibly continue this for each month/season.  My boundaries were making sure I had what I needed for professional work, house and yard work, exercise, date nights and relaxing at home or out and about. And it all had to fit into my suitcase if we went somewhere. I already do laundry every week to keep up with it, so I just made sure I had enough to get me through the week.

I started by pulling out my favorite items that I always grabbed to wear. Then I checked to make sure everything had a match and created a complete set, so the shirts had bottoms to go with, the skirt had tops, I had sweaters that went with everything since it can be cold in air-conditioned places—that sort of thing. Then I took everything else and folded it, placing off season items into a storage tote and in season items in an empty drawer in case I wanted to rotate something out.  I paired it down to 42 key items (insert Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference here, although this was not the targeted number originally!).  These items included shorts, pants, tops, dresses, sweaters, and swimsuits (socks and undergarments not included in the count).

I’ve been using this wardrobe for a month now and I absolutely love the simplicity of it.  I find myself wearing “cute” clothes more often instead of grabbing the trusty t-shirt I love. I have fewer decisions to make since each item has a coordinating item to default to and my closet isn’t so crowded, well, at least my side isn’t.  My husband’s is a whole other story!

While clearing my wardrobe has been a part of my ongoing minimalist journey, this decision wasn’t made for that reason, it was made to make my life simpler and to give me fewer decisions to think about. Reducing my mental clutter and decision fatigue has been a nice side effect of this change in lifestyle that has made my work and family life a lot less stressful and has inspired me to simplify other areas of my home in a similar “vacation house” style of having what I need and less decisions to make. It’s not always easy and something go into the donate box or holding box that come back out, but ultimately, I am free to worry about more important things, like where to travel to with my simplified wardrobe!

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My Goody Box Experience – A review of both thredUP and Stitch Fix

January 18, 2021

I don’t like shopping.  I know, crazy, right?!  Or, maybe it’s more I don’t like hunting.  I had no problem spending money when I would go shopping in my younger years, buying anything that appealed to me that fit both my available balance and my body.  But when I ran out of both credit and closet space, I realized I had to change some things.  I learned that, when I shop, I should have an idea of what I was looking for or shop to fill specific holes in my wardrobe.  But then I could never find what I was looking for. I eventually adopted a uniform for work, using shirts with my school’s logo on it, and didn’t sweat it. But when I left my brick-and-mortar school to teach virtually, I didn’t need them and didn’t have a budget for new school shirts, so used what I had.  My uniform has settled into t-shirts and either shorts or pants, depending on the weather.  Occasionally, a dress or nice outfit is thrown into the mix for zoom meetings or if I have an event after work, but not often, especially since I take breaks to go for a walk midday.

It reached the point it was time to jazz up the wardrobe, but I dreaded shopping .  Some of my friends and favorite YouTubers mentioned the mail order fashion goody boxes, and I wondered if that might be a way to go.  I settled on Stitch Fix and thredUP as my goody box options to compare them and share what I learned. Let me start with a little background on both.

Stitch Fix uses personal shoppers and special algorithms to find items at your price point to send you new items on a one time or recurring subscription basis, based on your profile you create—I chose every 3 months, I’m not looking for too many things and prefer over time for both budget and closet size reasons. You pay a $25 deposit for the clothes that, if you decide to keep anything, credits toward them.  I was surprised by how detailed the profile was and was lucky enough to get a referral credit to try it out for free for my first box (I did have to pay the difference for anything I decided to keep).  It arrived within a few days of submitting and I got 2 cute outfits—a black jumpsuit and a blouse, sweater, jeans, and boots, as well as with a card on how to work them into different looks.  Both super cute, but the jumpsuit ended up being way too long and, while I liked the look of the blouse, jeans, and sweater with the boots, I already had the boots in another color and wasn’t a fan of the style of jeans they sent, so only kept the blouse.  Processing was super easy—I logged in, selected what to keep (the blouse), gave reasons for what I didn’t like on the others to help my stylist for future boxes, and was charged the difference for what I kept (they do give a good discount if you keep everything, too!)  I then put them in a return shipping bag that was included and dropped it at the post office within the 3-day turnaround time.  Pretty simple.

ThredUP uses a similar process of a profile with lots of questions about style, pricing, etc., has you choose a subscription option (I chose 3 months for this one, as well), pay your $10 non-refundable deposit that also credits towards any items purchased and it arrived within a few days, as well.  The thing about thredUP is that it is consignment items that are in good condition—some of my items arrived with tags still on them! In this box, I had 10-15 items to choose from and a style card with these, as well. I had several tops in both long and short sleeves, shorts, pants, dresses, and sweaters. Anything I wanted to keep, the $10 went towards, then I simply put the other items back in the box they arrived in, affixed the label, and dropped it at the post office within 7 days.  I also went online to give feedback on what I like and kept (the long sleeve with buttons and the short sleeve blue) and don’t like for what I returned.  There wasn’t a way to choose what I was keeping and check out immediately, as with the other company, so I assume it will reconcile when the package arrives back to them (it had only been a couple of days over the holiday weekend at the time of writing, so I am not sure yet). I also love that, should I have good quality clothes I want to part with, I can also sell them through their company, too.

My thoughts? Both were a great experience. I got great products, had time to choose them at my convenience and was able to see how they paired with items in my closet already, and liked how easy it was to return items I didn’t want to keep.  They were both good quality items that were things I was normally drawn to or may not have picked for myself typically but liked getting to try them on. I didn’t opt for accessories in either profile, so other than the boots from Stitch Fix, can’t speak about jewelry, bags, shoes, etc. I like that both allow me to give feedback to my stylist for my next box so they know what I like and don’t like to pair with my profile.  I like that thredUP is second hand, so I feel a bit better about the items and don’t have to necessarily worry about production information or business practices on my conscience, but neither are producers, simply middle…people? I also like that thredUP sent more items to choose from, but I know that is cost based. I plan to get another box from both in April before deciding whether to keep one or the other, or cancel both, especially since I am only looking for a few new items to spruce up my wardrobe. I also want to add that they do sell items by the piece without going the goody box option.

If you’ve tried them, or any others, I’d love to hear your experiences!  If you want to learn more about either company, here’s a link to their ABOUT US information to learn more about their backstory and business practices:  Stitch Fix About Us  and ThredUP About Us

If you are looking to try them out, I have a referral code for you that will cover the cost of your first box deposit, and credit towards any items you keep, plus it earns me rewards for shopping.  They are linked below.

ThredUP referral code: http://www.thredup.com/r/UZP0VT

Stich Fix referral code: https://www.stitchfix.com/invite/x2fv8858dw?sod=w&som=c

Let me know your thoughts, either commenting here, or find me on Facebook (search private groups for Addicted to Teaching) or on Twitter (@addictedtoteac1).  Happy shopping!