Thursday, June 24, 2010

What I Learned From Fashion Magazines


Spurred on by another 100 Things Challenge, I have been determined to whittle down the still imposing stacks of magazines at my house. I've been reading an impressive amount in a small amount of time. Some of them are two years old and I haven't even been interested enough to open them once, which is really saying a lot. All these magazines are the consequence of one little letter saying our airline points were about to expire, so we redeemed them in exchange for piles of magazines.

Now I've always loved magazines and have meticulously read them from cover to cover. I would be so excited about a fresh copy in the mail and would eagerly anticipate delving into it. Reading them was a science and I could only turn past the part that I was at in order to finish an article in the back. Apparently those days are over, because it's obvious to me now that they no longer hold the same appeal. I mean I will even flip past without reading an article which is shocking to you I'm sure. The type of magazines I'm talking about are Allure, Glamour, Vogue, and Lucky magazines which are all similar in genre, the fashion and makeup types.

I've been collecting in my head some thoughts that struck me during my marathon reading sessions.

1. WOW, Only $100! There are often budget friendly fashion articles that always leave the editor in awe that you can find great items for under $100. I would say that almost all my items are under $100 and I don't feel that in awe about it. Even if I buy something over $100, I know that I can easily find something under $100 too. One magazine was talking about a new line of jeans that are so economical but they were still $154. I'm sorry, but haven't these people been to the Gap? Besides, they put together all these economical items on a page, and the outfit is no longer economical. None of my outfits cost as much as my mortgage payment.

2. WHO would wear that? I would never wear anything they put together. I'm talking mostly about Lucky here because I think they try to be accessible to the "common girl" shopper. Magazines like Vogue are meant to be fantasy and art and of course most women wouldn't wear those outfits. But Lucky suggests some really strange combinations that maybe will fly in NYC, but here in Texas, you might look like you dressed in the dark. I like a lot of the single items in Lucky but would not wear outfits like they suggest, which is kind of puzzling because this is supposed to be inspiration for a gal like me.

3. SAVINGS! Those blasted coupons really work because they make me want to use them. Whether it's $2.00 off a Revlon lipstick or $10 off a $50 purchase, I actually feel motivated to go seek and buy. Most of the time I don't but the point is that I want to, which makes reading fashion magazines dangerous for the budget. Also, some of them will have deals with certain websites which makes us want to shop more. At least they don't hide their motive because Lucky is the "magazine about shopping."

4. DANG, I'm Persistent! If I see something I like, I will try to find it. Maybe this is obvious but this is also dangerous because I now want something that I didn't know existed, which leads me to the point that magazines are basically just commercials that you pay to read. I know, I know it's obvious but is it to everyone?

5. You will never catch up! Trends are not style, but they are like a buffet that you can pick and choose what you like at the moment. If you bank your whole style on trends, you will be out of style before you blink. You can't try to keep up with the magazines because it is their job to make sure that you don't. I heard somewhere that if a trend ends up at Target, that it's already out of style. That may be true according to fashion standards, but should it matter to me? I want to be chic but I don't have to be a part of the super trendy set. At some point, you can't really avoid the trends. Almost everything is a trend, but some items do endure longer.

I still think magazines can be great to update you, inspire you and even motivate you to keep your look polished and together. Reading them en masse though has made me feel as force fed as french goose. It's all about marketing and I have to be a willing participant for it to work. I still love fashion and I do spend my money on clothes and beauty products, but don't be like a sheep being led to the slaughter. Know that you are being sold and not educated when you read the magazines. (I don't know what is inspiring these graphic animal references by the way!)

How do you all feel about fashion magazines? Do you feel like you are being sold on every page, whether it's an ad, or an editorial review of a product, to a fashion layout, to a celebrity interview talking about her favorite products and designers? I'd love to hear what your take is and if you even read them.

P.S. A post coming up about some Tory Burch shoes that have left me feeling uneasy about why I wanted them, bought them, but haven't worn them. I hate giving in to peer pressure!

Image from here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

How Organized Is Your Closet?


As beautiful as the picture is above, I don't think many people's closets are this minimalist and perfect. There do seem a decent amount of clothes here, but probably not a lot of variety. My closet houses all my clothes, including workout gear and casual clothing too. Even though this is a fantasy closet, I still aspire for mine to look like a version of this.

I've been thinking about issuing another 100 Things Challenge for myself. It's so therapeutic to count how many things you are letting go, like it's an accomplishment. I'm still working on my magazines and am proud to say I'm making a dent. I took a few bags to the thrift store last week too. I didn't count all those things but I'm willing to start over. Want to join me?

The challenge will go right along with the question of how organized your closet is. How would you like your closet to look? I'm sure most people have some piles going in the closet. I usually have something not hung up. We have a laundry basket in there. Our drawers are stuffed and get messy really fast. I put away out of season clothing so I only have the relevant pieces to look through. We are fortunate to have a nice sized closet and an organizing system from the Container Store. Our drawers are exactly like the ones in the picture in fact, which really helps to maintain tidiness.

Do you follow the rule, if you haven't worn it in a year, you throw it out? I will admit that I don't. I will put things on trial before I take the final plunge. It really has to be pretty evident that it's on it's not ever going to work for me to let it go to Goodwill. I downgrade a lot of clothes. Once nice t-shirts become workout shirts, old shoes become working or painting shoes, and old sweaters are like a sweatshirt to me since I don't wear sweatshirts. The only exception is if I know someone who will wear it, and then I will happily pass it along to them.

In order to have an organized closet goal, you have to ask yourself how much you are comfortable owning, or not owning. How would you feel with ten pairs of shoes, and three pairs of jeans for example? There is a buffer of excess that most people have that makes us feel like we are not in need. One may say they want a pared down closet, but would that put her in panic mode, and result in more shopping?

I think the answer is purely personal, but the idea is that we can be intentional. Maybe your closet is making you apprehensive because you can't find anything, or the clothes aren't "you" anymore. Just ask yourself what kind of closet person you want to be. I think we can all do with some paring down.

Answering the question, who you aren't can be just as telling as who you are. My don't would be a list like this:

  1. I don't work in an office.
  2. I don't go to clubs.
  3. I don't wear high heels.
  4. I don't live in a cold area.

I have a lot of "don'ts" and I bet you do too. What you do need is easy because you are wearing that every day. Begin your 100 Things Challenge with your "don'ts" and see if that gets you started.

When you are left with what you have, see how you can make your closet look more presentable. I love to organize my like things in baskets or boxes. Ikea has great boxes that make your closet look so tidy. Home Goods usually has some canvas lined baskets that look clean and polished too. Maybe you can hang your jewelry on some pretty hooks. But before you go buy anything, clean it out first! Before you buy, know what things you need to store.

So what is your ideal closet space? Do you have a large closet or a small armoire? Do you long for a closet like the picture, or is it a little too OCD for your taste? Are you ready for another 100 Things Challenge? Anyone want to link to a picture of their closet?

Picture from here.

Carolina's Fifth Birthday

We have been busy celebrating someone's much anticipated birthday around here!  Carolina has been longing for five since her classmates ...