Slow Fashion October

My plan was to have a post all about Iceland written up and shared by now, but it's proving quite a bit harder than I expected. My goal is before Friday this week, so we'll see how that goes. 

Until then, I wanted to share some thoughts on Slow Fashion October. If you check out the #slowfashionoctober feed on Instagram, you'll get a feel for how lovely it is. There are so many different styles of creating, mending and best of all choosing to reject Fast Fashion and find responsible alternatives. It's truly inspiring.

I've found some wonderful articles and thought provoking pieces that I thought I'd share. Pick one or two and maybe you'll find some inspiration to choose quality over quantity in your closet.

Breaking it down by the numbers

How to dress like the real you. "We often use our clothes to cover up our insecurities and mask our flaws. I urge you to contemplate your motivations, your fears, and your goals. "

Just a little monkey doing what monkeys do.

Cheap jeans!

No one wants your old stuff.

My biggest recommendation when diving into slow fashion is to start small: pick one item you'd like to mend instead of replacing, knit that beanie you've always wanted, or maybe just save a bit more for a shirt you know was produced in ethical conditions. Every penny, every action can make a difference. It's so empowering when you realize that you can vote for the sort of world you want to live in with your purchases. We really can change the world, one baby step at a time.

Fall Style

One year ago, I started my first capsule wardrobe and began an informal education in my style and a reset of my shopping habits. I'm pretty sure I thought that this year I would be able to pull out my capsule from last fall, stick in my closet and be completely happy with it.

Surprisingly, that's mostly true. A few things have worn out since then and I've outgrown a few others. Every season finds me more content and comfortable in the clothes I wear.

I've also started putting things into storage during off seasons and unpacking them feels similar to buying a load of new clothes. This weekend I unpacked my fall sweaters and long pants. It was like meeting old friends and this whole week it's felt special to wear my cozy things that I haven't since the spring.

I didn't really "need" anything new this fall, but I did add a few things. And they were pretty Icelandic centric. Before we left, I had to get a rain coat and long underwear. I wore both every single day we were gone and bought them thinking about long term wearability, so they should fit into life at home as well.

I also knew that the wool products in Iceland were going to be exquisite. We arrived planning to pick up a fuzzy souvenir or two. I found one traditional sweater (lopapeysaat the Handknitting Association of Iceland and that thing is crazy warm. I'm going to have to wait for Michigan to cool down before I can wear it at home.

Finally, my absolute favorite is this sweater. We were perusing the racks at one of those duty free shops in the airport before we left when we found it. I have NEVER bought something from one of those places, but they got me this time. I figured since I loved it 100% and I wasn't going to have another chance to get something like it, we should go for it.

And I have to say I made the right decision. No regrets. I looked up the brand afterwards and loved it even more. Supporting smaller brands with integrity has to be one of my favorite things. 

For now I'm very happy with what I have available in my closet. Once winter rolls around, I may have identified a gap or two, but for now I'm more than content to cozy up with what I have.

Prep + Packing: Icelandic Road Trip

In a week, we'll head off on our big adventure for 2016: an Icelandic road trip.

Dave's been dreaming of it since he was a kid and I eagerly adopted his dream as my own. Since then been talking about this trip for years. This "kidless/adult/working/healthy" stage of our lives is unique in that we have fewer responsibilities than we will someday, but affording a big trip like this still takes quite a bit of financial and logistical planning.

I saw a quote that said early adulthood was the "time for small paychecks and big memories" and couldn't help but smile and agree. We're so grateful for freedom to explore and the means to do it.

This trip has been on again, off again for over a year, but finally in June we pulled the trigger, bought plane tickets, booked a camper van and dove deep into road trip research. The planning has been my favorite geography lesson. Our google road map is filled to the brim with awesome things. I didn't know about the My Maps function on Google Maps until wishing for a tool like it. Lucky for me, Google had already seen the need and filled it. I have loved building our own customized road map filled with all the fun things we want to see:

So far, the goal has been to be as educated as possible and then go with the flow once we get there. The biggest tip we've received from Icelanders is to "follow the weather" so that's our official plan, everything else could totally change once we get there. 

Another thing we keep reading is that "there is no wrong weather in Iceland, only wrong clothing." This had us a bit worried, as the average temps during our visit will be in the 30s to 50s (˚F) range and we'll be camping. However, after a bit of research and purchasing some long underwear, I think we're going to be just fine. After all Michigan isn't artic, but I think it's done a fine job preparing us for cold weather adventures.

                                |  Parka  |  Hat  |  Hiking boots  |  Swimsuit  |  Sweater  |                        |  Raincoat  |  Down vest  |  Camp shirts  |  Shirts  |  Long underwear  |  Hiking pants  |    |  Snow boots  |  Scarves  |  Mittens/gloves  |  Wool socks  |  Leggings  |  Camp Shoes   |  

Lots of layers and different options for the variety of hikes and sight-seeing we have planned. I'm thinking I might even throw in 1 nicer outfit for when we spend our last night in Reykjavik. We've also waterproofed everything that was a realistic candidate for it, including our hiking pants, boots, vests, etc.

Little side note: the fact that I've grown up comfortable in both Austrian and American cultures has given me a slight fear of looking/acting like a tourist. (Heaven forbid I'm ever caught wearing white tennis shoes as street shoes in Austria! Sure sign of being an American tourist.) I'm mentally aware that there is no way in the world to get around this when visiting a new place, but I still end up with nagging feelings. This can't be unique to me, but I wish I had a better way of dealing with it than just telling myself to stop being silly and trying to ignore the feeling. 

Anyway, I could gush about all the things I expect Iceland to be, but I'm pretty sure I can't even imagine right now. We love adventures and wild places, we're psyched out of our minds to have the chance to experience a true wilderness. We decided to head over during the shoulder season, when the daylight is shorter, but the chance to see the Northern Lights is bigger and the high season crowds have left. Hoping to have many places all to ourselves.

Summer Capsule

All done! When we hit fall it will have been a year since I started this. It’s been fun, but I’m also excited to see what comes after the strict rules of the capsule. I’ve been thinking alot about how easy it is to bring things into our home without thinking and that is something I really want to become even more aware of. I wonder what’ll help with that.

Super happy with the way this one turned out. Added a bit more color back in. I didn’t mind the neutrals of my spring closet, but a little color will be fun for the warmer weather. I bought all my new items from Everlane, Thredup, or thrifted. I really enjoyed filling in some gaps and now that I can easily spot my “needs” it takes no time to fill them.

I considered leaving off any shoes other than my birkenstocks, because those are my holy grail of footwear. I’ll be wearing those 90% of the time. I already had all the other shoes, so I might as well give myself options if I ever want them. Also, I ended up with 35 items, but I honestly didn’t even count until right now, so the number has really become inconsequential and I know that I don’t need as much as I’ve felt I do in the past.

I’ve really enjoyed this exercise, and am grateful for it. I have never gotten dressed with such ease or felt so good about what I wear. I’d highly recommend it for anyone who is frustrated with the state of their closet.

Capsuling: the next step?

Officially my spring capsule should have ended in 2 weeks (Mid-March to Mid-June), but with the arrival of the 80s on our weather forecast, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t tapped into my summer box a while back.

I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to capsule for the summer, but I think I will to finish out the year (that’s my type a personality shining through). It’s been a great structure to support building better shopping habits and a functional wardrobe. But I don’t need to continue  counting, strategizing, photographing, and sharing the items like I have been. Capsuling has been a great tool, but the habits it’s taught can now sustain themselves without the strict rules.

All this to say, my season of capsuling is drawing to an end. I’ve learned so much that I’ll use going forward and can only recommend going through any part of the process yourself. As I’ve thought about it, these are the biggest lessons and advantages I found:

  1. Budget. I never went over mine. Even the times we decided on a smaller budget, once I had a strict budget I stuck to it. And the boundary of a budget was more freeing than restricting. Weird, right? But true and so great.
  2. Shopping impulse. It’s gone. I used to get a feeling of panic in my stomach when I walked into a store, like I needed to find the deals or else. These days, I only shop at the beginning of every season. I look at stores as a place to peruse and maybe get some inspiration to note for the next season, but I feel so free these days. The deals are there for me, and they will still be there when I need them.
  3. Style. I think I’ve found mine. I used to buy things because it was on sale, it was a color I didn’t have, I felt like I should, etc. Being so disciplined helped me cut through the crap and give myself permission to just wear what I love every day.
  4. Authenticity. I’m being true to myself. For example, I love Birkenstocks with a fiery passion, so I wear them — almost daily. I think before I dressed more for others and according to expectations I assumed other had of me. Letting go of those is so great and I couldn’t be happier.
  5. Comfort. I honestly just feel good in my clothes. I don’t know that I ever could have imagined saying that. I like what I wear and I wear what I like. And I feel damn good in it.

If you’d like to know what I’ll shamelessly be wearing on repeat this summer, it’ll be some variation of the below outfit: