Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: stylist


This weekend, I went on a little shopping trip with Jess of Hell Or High Fashion. I learned so much during the first time we went out. What I learned made shopping for myself much easier. Everything I bought during that original trip felt like such a refresher, I haven’t been gunning for new clothes in a while.

I’ve been in love with my closet ever since.

But as the seasons have changed, I wanted to add a few things (romper, jean vest, mustard everything) to my closet and so I hired Jess for a quick trip this weekend. She did not disappoint.

We shopped at Forever 21 and H&M, and I left with enough pieces to reinvigorate my wardrobe for the next 6 months.

Back at home, I thought I would go through and pull out a few things to donate – new stuff in, old stuff out. But it seemed that adding in these new clothes created two problems:
1. I fell in love with all of my clothes again and
2. I suddenly felt like I had too much clothing

One of the benefits of doing the closet consultation with Jess in Feb ’13 was that I got rid of many things that clouded my wardrobe vision. In fact, I don’t think I even had a vision and I certainly didn’t know how to shop for my personal style. Example: before Jess’ help, I had 5 ill-fitting pairs of jeans I would guiltily avoid while wearing the same perfect-fitting pair of jeans every day forever. Getting styled gave me permission to ditch the old / ill-fitting pants and just live in the one to two pairs that I loved.

But, back to Sunday. I found that I had many a clothing item in my closet and dresser. In fact, I pulled out all of my dresses and counted.


Somehow I went from someone who, pre-styled, wasn’t sure if she liked dresses, to acquiring a large stack of them in under 2 years.

On top of that, I was reading about Elise’s attempt at a capsule wardrobe and remembering the tiny house doc we watched, and I suddenly didn’t feel so good.

Had I over-shopped? Should I have purchased one amazing pair of jeans instead of the 3 dresses or 4 shirts I picked up? Did I need to donate stuff I still loved just to make room for the new?

It was too much at the time, so in that moment, I gave up, and instead of organizing my clothes, I cleaned the living room and set up our October decorations. Much better use of my energy.

But I still wanted to do something to feel better about the (what felt like) immense amount of clothing I now owned.

As I wore a new dress to work on Monday and then again yesterday, I thought about the number of dresses I had… and then the idea for a small personal challenge popped into my head.


The rules are simple – I plan to wear one dress per day for the month of October without duplication. I’m pre-posting, so I’ll be a few days ahead of schedule (as of right now, 3 days to be exact). And I plan to share some little story or vibe about each day/dress.

And we’ll see how it goes.


Update: Haircut

Last month, I cut my hair off on a whim.

It was probably a year since my last hair cut and it had gotten so long it felt gross. When I realized it was long enough to donate to Locks of Love, I jumped at the chance. Donating it takes the sadness away from the shock. Like 12 inches shorter…

And I’d like to note here that I am not normally freaking out about my haircuts. My hair is wavy, so it hides shitty cuts well, and it grows so darn fast in the SoCal heat that even a disaster will grow out in a month.

So what’s working?

  • Showers are short and easy. No more struggling to get gobs of shampoo out of my hair.
  • The time it takes me to get ready is much shorter. And no blowdryer needed.
  • When people compliment me on it, it seems random, like they truly want to say “Gah! I love your hair!”
  • Way less choices with how to wear it.
  • Only needing a hat when I go running. None of this braids / hair-ties / ponytails business.
  • Waking up from naps, having it blown out from the wind on a car ride, and it still looking good.
  • The curlier / bigger hair, the better.

What’s not so awesome?

  • Way less choices with how to wear it. It’s either down and curly or falling out of a very small ponytail.
  • I don’t love it. I’m not sure why. I love the idead of it. I enjoy the compliments, but it doesn’t truly feel like me yet.
  • Having it in / on my face and neck so much.
  • Sunburn on my scalp!
  • Thinking that I either need it longer (right past my shoulders) or even shorter (which is kind of a scary thought right now)

It is truly odd, though, to have a haircut where most of the time I think it looks like crap and yet, all of the feedback I’m receiving about it is super positive. Not sure what to make of that, but it’s the biggest observation I’ve made so far.

What about you? Have you ever gone with a radical hairstyle change and felt unsure about it?

Monthly Nutshell – February 2013

The shortest month and yet, the longest month. The I-can’t-believe-I-live-here-and-wear-flip-flops month. My birthday month.

Carter was sick.

We hosted our own Superbowl party of 3.

In a rousing coffee hang with a friend. I named my need for indulgence. (Just writing that now makes me feel giddy and guilty at the same time).

My feelings of absolute shit peaked. Or more so, hit bottom.

Took a day off from work…and asked for help.

Started reading Imajica and I love it.

Listened to a podcast about bliss and started to feel better. It was encouraging.

We celebrated 7 months and 7 days on Valentine’s day. I sent everyone hedgehogs.

We accidentally hiked 11 miles.

We celebrated valentine’s day with a scavenger hunt, drinks and Mexican food. H made heart-shaped pancakes.

Met another friend for lunch and then went to her house for dinner, where I ate the craziest carrot cake ever.

I turned twenty-nine. Happy Birthday. And had the most amazing night with our friends since our wedding.

For my own birthday gift, I hired a stylist and threw out a ton of old clothing.

My sister accepted a job at Menchie’s. I finally felt better, basking in the sun. And we played the Imagine Dragons record on loop.

What I learned…from a stylist

What I learned from working with a stylist to revamp my wardrobe:

I have a serious thing for blue, particularly navy. The good news is navy is an awesome neutral. The bad news is, I need to make sure I buy something else besides the blue-ish option.

I really love dresses. They’re easy to throw on, keep me cool (I hate feeling overheated) and when they fit right, they flatter my build perfectly.

In line with point number one, my current color pallet is that of a peacock’s tail – teal, blue, darker blue, black, purple, and greens. I was amazed when Jess pointed this out, but of course she’s right. And what an interesting concept – that I have a style I didn’t even know I had – and that, while I have no idea how to articulate it, I know what I like. It also just happens that the color I went with for the bridemaids’ dresses this past summer is called peacock.

From listening to Jess talk about trendier looks, I started to see the patterns from store to store. Whether it was a super high-end boutique or a every day department store, I could see this season’s trends (bright colors like nectarine orange, peach cream and mint, denim shirts, and skinny pants with layered, baggier tops). I feel more confident that I can go into a store a year from now, pick out what’s trendy, and add a piece or two to update my style.

Layer is going to take my look to a new level. Jess said that the difference between looking like I “just threw something on” and actually looking like I am wearing an outfit is to layer pieces. This isn’t easy for me but I’m confident I can learn.

Attitude, as with anything, is everything. I’m glad I had this reminder, as I struggle with dips in self-confidence, and now I see my clothing as I way to lift myself up, rather than hide myself away until I feel better.

If I never wear outfits that are above the simple graphic t-shirt, jeans and flats, then I’ll always feel like I’m over-dressed in anything else. But if I wear cuter / trendier / styled outfits more often, it will make sense (to me and to others) when I’m wearing, say, a dress to go out for lunch with H or heels to work. While I’m always talking about lowering my bar, when it come to style, I need to bump it up a notch.

The high of wearing a new outfit and feeling awesome is so underrated. Note to self: grab a random piece of new clothing more often.

Next time most of my pants don’t fit for well over a year, I should just buy new pants. Nothing beats actually fitting into my clothes instead of just feeling blah about the old ones that don’t fit anymore. (Substitute pants for any item of clothing, including socks and bras, new bedding and haircuts).

The oldest thing I got rid of, I think, was a pair of American Eagle jeans I’ve had for 12 years, give or take. I’ve had them longer than I’ve been with H or lived in LA. They went through high school, college, snowstorms in Boston, and feeling stressed in LA. And while I am so thankful for their service – it was time for them to go. (See top photo)

I plan to report back in a few weeks, hopefully with some outfit photos, to see how I’m doing. So far, so good.

(You can grab a few style tips from the gal who helped me: Hell or High Fashion)

Out With The Old, In With The New

For my 29th birthday last week I gift myself the help of a stylist. I met Jess through her boyfriend, an awesome songwriter named Hughie. (Video of him here) Her dream is to style bands, and she’s already built a great credit list. When she and I met a month ago for coffee, I asked her what she could do for little ol’ me. Turns out, she does “closet consultations” and “shopping trips” for just about anyone. We talked dates and fees, and before I knew it, she was in my bedroom helping me sort through and donate 7+ years worth of clothing.

On Saturday, we spent  almost 2 hours going through everything I had in my closet and dresser. She kept a running list of what I had to mix and match and what I needed. And then we headed to Ann Taylor LOFT for a bit of shopping. Nabbed a couple of basics and one dress that, when I put it on, it made me so happy I almost cried. Amazing.

We ran out of time Saturday, so Sunday it was round two. We were at the mall when it opened and spent most of our time methodically shopping through Forever 21. Now, I haven’t shopped in a long time, but I am sort of a hater when it comes to crap clothing. BUT after shopping with Jess, I see the value (low price, trendy fashion) of a place like Forever 21 (…when it comes to style. when it comes to sustainability, I am going to keep my mouth shut).

She and I found some awesome pieces, including a blue faux leather jacket, a hot-hot midnight blue dress (date night!) and finally a pair of colored jeans (green, of course). And then the kicker, I bought 8 dresses! EIGHT.

My wardrobe is completely revamped. I am in love. I’ve only had a chance to wear one outfit (today’s) but I can’t wait to wear everything.

To top it all off, today I received a “cheat sheet” email from Jess detailing outfit options, what I can wear with what, and future things I may want to buy. It was the perfect gift for myself to (be)come into my own in this 29th year. As Hughie would say: BOOM.

You can find tons of style tips on her blog Hell or High Fashion (whose name I just adore).