Saturday, May 18, 2019

The chic closet

Over the past few days I've had a closet sorting experience and it has been such a fun and uplifting time.  When I find my shelves and storage baskets have become disorderly it's great to have a tidy up and sort through.  Surprisingly (to me), it doesn't actually take that long and I uncover some real treasures.  Not treasures in the sense of, 'Oh I forgot I had a Chanel bag', but more so in how I put outfits together.

My favourite way to sort my closet or any organising project is to take everything out, put back only things which are my favourites and which give me an excited feeling inside.  It's fantastic to see how good the decluttered area looks when I do that!  I then  look at the items which are left and decide what to do with them.

Some are seasonal items that I still like so I'll check they are clean and in good repair and put them in a different closet.  Some might be a bit snug but I love them so I save those too.  Other things might have never been any good on me, too scratchy or just plain worn-out looking and those ones can go.

I'll donate the things I don't like and perhaps take my not-pristine items and use them for everyday wear at home or loungewear if it's appropriate.  An example of this are a couple of tee-shirts that I loved over summer, but now they are every-so-slightly pilled and it can't be shaved off with my lint shaver, so I'll use those for days at home and I don't have to worry about the dogs jumping up and snagging a new tee-shirt (it's happened more than once...).  Anything that has a mark, stain or hole goes straight into the bin or is chopped up as a cleaning rag (depending on the fabric it's made of).

I also brought back into my closet winter clothes that I want to use now and it's exciting to see my winter wardrobe coming together.

My final satisfaction as I was finishing up today came from looking through my scarves.  Instead of thinking, 'I'll put all my wooly scarves out since it's winter', I went through them and took out the ones that made me happy (a la Marie Kondo's 'spark joy').  Some of them are wooly; some are silky (and the fur collar is faux).  I selected about a dozen or so favourites from my scarf stash and it's exciting to have a curated collection for the season.  I ironed the silk scarves and folded them so that they look beautifully neat, and enticing for me to choose for an outfit.

As I went, I did a few running repairs such as snipping out scratchy labels, lint shaving jerseys, sticky-rollering some items which attract fluff and I even had the brainwave to sew belt-loops like jeans have onto a pair of pull-on stretch jeans that I was going to donate because they slide down and I'm forever pulling them up - unchic :)  I'm so happy with my belt-loop project because I love those jeans!

But back to the treasures thing; now that I've gone through my clothes, pruned them out and hung all my current season items, there are new pairings which pop out.  Items such as a red v-neck long-sleeved tee-shirt that I never wore (despite being beautifully soft, a good fit and in excellent condition), I am now wearing with my light grey-wash stretch skinny jeans (of the belt loop project) and a cozy grey scarf with a penguin print (better than it sounds!).

I've already bought a few new items for winter, but in doing my closet tinker I have found that I really don't need anything else for winter which is quite thrilling.  It's not that I am banning myself from shopping, but I'm just really happy with what I already have, and I also prefer to have a free-swinging closet (versus a jam-packed closet where you can't move anything along the rail).

I know for most of you it's coming into summer, but it doesn't matter, summer or winter we're all looking at our wardrobes for the season.  Please tell me, what has been your experience with your closet this season - exciting or frustrating?


If you need a bit of a boost, I invite you to peruse my 30 Chic Days Series.  There are four in total, so you won't be short on inspiration.  I had such fun writing these; who knows, maybe there is a fifth around the corner...?

The original series in 2010 sparked off my book of the same name.  It started off as a spur of the moment thing where I wanted to re-remember my chic principles for a whole month.  It's amazing the kind of momentum you can gather when you stick at something for thirty days in a row, and obviously being chic is a worthy goal :)

I hope you enjoy them, and if you'd prefer, there is a Kindle or print version.  All four series are in one volume and they are inexpensive too - $2.99 for the Kindle eBook and $9.99 for the paperback.
I have had requests to put all the series together into an eBook and I thought this was a great idea.  I have polished everything up and also added a chapter at the end with different ideas on how to curate your own '30 Chic Days' experience.  Such fun, and I hope you enjoy having this on your device or in paperback for enticing snippets of inspiration. The print copy is 278 pages long so there is lots or inspiration to be had!

Friday, May 10, 2019

One of my favourite ways to travel

In the past month I've travelled out-of-town four times, one driving and three on an airplane.  Only within New Zealand though, not overseas.  Sadly two of those times were for funerals, but my trip last week was purely for fun - tagging along on an overnight work trip with my husband.

I love the minimal completeness of packing for travel.  You have to consider carefully what clothes you'll need, what toiletries, which book, my Kindle and journal, and I always look forward to choosing a single perfume to take with me.  Lately I've bagged a few samples from various new perfume releases so it's a wonderful treat to have a 'new' perfume for a trip and without the bottle to carry home too, as I'd finish up the sample over a few days.  And I love that samples come with an atomiser now too; so much nicer to use than the tiny glass tubes where you pull the top off.  I always used more than I wanted to with those!

What I also love about packing for a trip is that you have only what you've chosen to take with you; it's like the ultimate decluttering.  There is something very freeing about having only a fraction of your possessions with you; a carefully curated inventory of the things you love the most and which you think you will need.

But today's post is not about *actual* travel, it's about armchair travel.  I borrowed a fabulous library book called 'Intimate Chanel' (on Amazon here) and it's a serious contender for my home library.  It is different to other books on Coco Chanel in that it was written in conjunction with her great-niece and god-daughter.  She said she and Chanel were close for over forty years, from her birth until Coco's death.  Imagine being able to call Chanel 'Auntie Coco'!

So, I wrote down a quote from this book which I've never heard about Chanel before, and it's this:

'Coco Chanel had a wandering spirit but lacked the curiosity to travel the world, preferring the world of armchair travel, of journeys of the imagination and daydreams, and prompting her to declare: "I make all my best trips on this couch." '

This is me!  As much as I enjoy going away, I don't do it that often.  I love being at home and having a simple and routine life.  Aah, but that doesn't mean boring, no, because I am always travelling in my mind, just like Coco did.

Even as I say these words though, there is a secret shame, like I should 'do the real thing' and want to travel.  That I am hiding out, making things up and not living my fullest life because I prefer to keep my travel plans small and instead live my best life in familiar surroundings.  I know it's an odd thing to voice, but perhaps you feel the same?

I know there are those who live to travel, but I am not one of them.  And with my limited study of Coco Chanel (I adore her style and to learn more about her but have not read every single book of her life), it seemed that she didn't go far either.  To England is about the extent of her travels from what I've seen, but likely she traveled within Europe because everything is so close.  Not like New Zealand where you really have to make an effort!

I have a great aunt who met Chanel (you can see my post about this here), and she said she never spoke English, only very, very fast French.  And I mean, if you lived in Paris, would you want to go far?  I wouldn't!  Everything is right there.  The beauty, elegance, elan, panache, and inimitable French style.

I always loved the scene in the Sopranos when Carmela visited Paris (handily it's a clip on YouTube here). "Who could have built this?" she whispered, as she gazed around in wonder.

I have been to Paris once, and I know I will go again - I have definite plans for my 50th! - but you can live an equally fulfilled and elevated life I believe, by traveling in your imagination, just like Coco did.  She had her cozy Paris atelier and her creative life.  That's what I try to create here at my home.  I write my books, I love to sew and have been doing more of that lately, and it's wonderful.

So please tell me, are you a traveler of the imagination like Coco, or do you love to hop on a plane.  I think you can be both, so you don't have to choose.  And please, tell me something else:  have you ever been to Paris?  What were your thoughts?  Or if you have somewhere else which cast a magical spell over you, please share where :)  I want to travel there in my mind with you!

For me, when I landed at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, it was wonderful to be surrounded by people speaking French, like it was a normal everyday thing!!  I know, I'm just being silly, but it really lifted me up.  Then, as I caught the train into the city with my friend to see homes we passed and then the city buildings.  It really was like a dream, and to stroll along the Champs Elysee (no doubt with all the other tourists), it was very happy-making.  I know when I return it will be different, and yet completely the same.  I can't wait!

PS.  If you haven’t read my book Thirty Chic Days yet, I’d love you to!  It’s all about putting on your French-tinted spectacles and approaching your life in a whole new way.  My approach is to make little improvements every day that are fun and easy.
Life is too short to do all the things we ‘should’ do – where’s the enjoyment in that?  I prefer to make mini upgrades by enticing myself along in an elegant and pleasurable way.  It’s easier to stick to and you get better results too.
You can read Thirty Chic Days on Kindle or in paperback, and it’s available on Amazon here.
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