My Outfits



I'm going to regret this, but here is a sampling of outfits from my 28 piece wardrobe. They're more "combinations" than outfits, since all I mostly do is change my shoes. This isn't a capsule- it's everything I own. There's nothing in storage or rotated seasonally. People ask if it was difficult for me to stop shopping or minimize my closet to this point. Well, I grew up poor, and then I was in a relationship where one partner had complete financial control. So, I guess it was easier for me. I was used to not having much, and I had to consider another person when shopping before. 

Now I have the luxury of choice and can spend my own money again, but my wardrobe is a lot smaller than when I moved to Paris. I only kept things I bought or chose, that told a story about me alone- not the person I disappeared into. It's funny, I actually dread shopping now. I don't even enjoy browsing secondhand. I didn't get to this point until I found these clothes, so I guess it's a little like love- once you find the right stuff, you're happy, so you stop looking.

As my wardrobe shrinks, I don't replace much (actually I can't think of anything) due to wear and tear (UPDATE: Immediately after posting this, I caught my tights on something sharp and they ripped. I weirdly mourned them, because I'd had them so long, I got attached to them without realizing. I got another pair of Swedish Stockings). I only replace items as my size and aesthetic change. I have enough that clothing rests between wears, and though some things are over a decade old, nothing looks like they'll wear out anytime soon. I also have color! Green and blue and peach and touches of red. Psychologically I prefer muted shades that don't make me stand out much though. This stems from a traumatic experience I had going to my chic Parisian neighbors' apartment in a gingham shirt with floral print jeans, which is the most Ohio outfit ever, and being the only Crayola colored one in a sea of neutrals. Catherine Baba can get away with that-  not me.

I don't have to do laundry as often as people might think, since most of my clothes are natural fibers like wool, which is moisture wicking and resistant to odors (I don't know where my tights were when I took these pictures- I NEVER wear ankle boots with bare legs, the very idea makes my skin crawl). I mostly just wash clothes after a trip (at the very least once a month, washing dresses, my wool skirt, and coats less frequently- once or twice a season). I like to freshen them with shower steam between washings, and spot clean as much as possible. If you don't have a steam iron, dampen a white, lint-free cloth and press a hot iron lightly over it to remove wrinkles and gently clean coats or dry clean only items. 

I try to be strategic about fabrics. That way I can layer and prepare for unexpected weather without bulk. Linen is seasonless, and my 40+ year old lightweight camel hair coat is the warmest thing. It's temperature regulating, so I use it from spring to the dead of winter without sweating on the metro. I only have a handful of synthetics- even though I eat vegan, I think secondhand wool and leather are less harmful overall, and more practical for harsh climates. I don't really know what's worse, microplastic pollution or the cruel ways we abuse animals (and people!) for clothing. To me, nothing uses less resources or does less harm than something that already exists, although the secondhand market mirrors the fast fashion model in many ways.

Now to my favorite part- the math. I have ten tops and five bottoms and they all (technically) match each other and most of my shoes. For example, one black t-shirt or ribbed top yields approximately 17 outfits. That's over 150 combinations excluding coats (I say 150 because I don't really like mixing knit fabrics with woven fabrics. One of my friends wore the button down with my knit circle skirt, and she looked cute, but I have all of these weird hangups about mixing textures). I've even worn the Oui shirt with my midi length skirt and heels before. I didn't like it, but it's an option.  

I need to wear dresses a few times a week. Mine are cut so I can wear them layered under skirts or tops, and two I wear with sneakers, netting over 25 combinations. To factor in both coats, I multiply 175 outfits by three for 525 combinations, or around 18 outfits per piece. These calculations are probably wrong, simply illustrative of the fact that you don't need many clothes to have options. However, just because I have 28 items doesn't mean everybody else should too. If you have a large closet, don't take this as a personal affront. I maintain that a minimal wardrobe is not necessarily a sustainable one, and the pursuit of a perfect capsule wardrobe is largely a waste of time. I'm usually too busy brushing out my pin curls to care what you wear anyway.

Paris to Go

49 comments:

  1. Unless you're poly.... LOL

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  2. Not ill fitting at all, but how did you find so many items that fit through only secondhand shopping? Do you tailor everything? I’d love to start transitioning my wardrobe to secondhand, but the cost of tailoring negates the savings in my area.

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    1. With the exception of the white Equipment shirt I don’t buy anything if it needs initial tailoring to fit- for me it’s too risky, I buy only secondhand so if they can’t take something in I’m stuck with it. I did tailor things as I lost weight though.

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  3. Your wardrobe posts have inspired me to clean out my closets this weekend... (I got a good dose of inspiration due to the fact that I read through every one of your archived posts this past week)

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    1. Aw I can’t believe this! I’m so happy! Tell me how it goes :)

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  4. "If you don't have a steam iron..." I was expecting some great magic, but it still required me to own a real iron which vastly overestimates my ability to be an adult.

    But I love seeing this! It's pretty different from what I wear. I love seeing someone with skirts in their wardrobe.

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    1. Lol you are a homeowning, educated real adult! Same here though, every year I say I'm going to buy an iron but then I tell myself shower steam is enough. I love that every zero waste person has a different style and doesn't stick to the same aesthetic, it shows it's possible for all types of people

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  5. I had to pause and imagine for a moment, what a "poly" wardrobe looks like. I like to imagine there's a good bit of leather and strappy bits.

    I love your outfits. You look a force to be reckoned with. Your outfits tell us you've taken ownership of your own personal power.

    I truly hope you have!

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  6. I've looked and I can't find your belly! I'm currently working on streamlining my wardrobe (it's intentionally going to take a long time) and hope to get to the point where everything matches everything else.

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    1. You are too sweet :) it took me years too, I like the idea of intentionally and slowly tackling it- it minimizes mistakes and waste! Keep me posted on how it goes!

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  7. I love your posts Ariana! You inspired me to declutter my wardrobe and I am currently at something like 49 items. I got a lot better at figuring out what I will actually wear and I no longer shop for an imaginary life and I try to buy classic pieces I will wear for a long time.
    I am glad you are posting again! Love your outfits. You look like a model.

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    1. Alina thank you so much for telling me this! I'm so happy, I hope you love your wardrobe. Buying for my fake life was such a problem of mine. But I see me growing old with this stuff (well maybe I shouldn't grow old with the short shorts). And you are so sweet

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  8. How did you find a vintage coat without shoulder pads? Did you remove them before wearing?

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    1. So it didn't come with shoulder pads originally, the shop owner where I thrifted it from said it was the original lining (it appears to be the original lining anyway, with the Dior imprint) which makes me think it never had shoulder pads. It has a rounded shoulder cap that don't collapse, even without the use of padding. This coat predates the 80s shoulder pad craze and was long after New Look so I guess it just wasn't trendy at the time it was made.

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  9. *doesn't collapse ugh I need to stop doing these on my phone

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  10. Pretty sure "I'm too busy brushing out my pin curls to care what you wear anyway" is my favorite thing you have wrote to date! As much as I used to panic as a high schooler about not wearing the same thing too close together now it's my jam. A coworker recently said "I love when you wear that striped shirt, it's my favorite of yours." Well it's my favorite too and I'm going to wear it as much as I damn well please! I'm just exhausted trying to think of so many options! I've got better things to do!

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    1. Yes! That is the highest compliment! I read a book once that said a French woman wears the same dress over and over again and considers it an accomplishment when her friends say what your coworker did... I don’t think that’s true in Paris anymore, at least not with the women I knew, but I was the same as you in high school, and now have no qualms about wearing the same thing over and over! The ceo of my company often is photographed in the same outfit and then when she came to visit our training class she was wearing the same thing- it made me feel better- if one of the most powerful women in America can repeat outfits so can I !

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    2. Interestingly, I've seen Anna Wintour of Vogue magazine photographed many times in her shift daisy dress. It's her go to and utterly perfect.
      Best,
      Patricia

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  11. from one escaped ohioan to another, you look as beautiful as ever in these pictures. you really do.

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  12. I'm always excited to see a new post from you! I really enjoy your writing style. I know what you mean about not wearing ankle boots out and about with bare legs - I don't have a real reason for it, but I just... can't contemplate it. It doesn't feel right to me, visually.

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    1. I'm the same way. Ankle boots need a clothed leg. I look trashy without tights or jeans if I'm wearing ankle boots.

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  13. You are radiant. I’m so glad you got rid of that pompous prick and are finding your voice again. Cheers to you. I have been rooting for you all year!

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  14. Your coats and dresses are so beautiful on you. The cuts are striking.

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    1. Ah you have flawless taste in fashion, coming from you this is such a high compliment! Thank you!

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  15. Ariana I like your blog a lot but please please please stop apologising for your body!!! I just find it so unnecessary. I am sorry you feel that you have to talk abo you yourself this way. You are beautiful but even if you weren't, there is no need to talk or think like that!!!! I hope I don't offend you by pointing it out. I live in Sweden where women generally avoid this kind of thoughts and you would definitely never say such things if you have children.

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    1. You are so sweet, thank you so much for your concern. I am just joking but it is also part of my upbringing I think. That's interesting women in Sweden avoid those thoughts- I have the perception that women in Sweden are supermodel gorgeous, at least every Swedish woman I know is!

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    2. Dear Ariana, I realise that those comments are related to your upbringing, just trying to make you aware of it more. We are all different, you are unique, we all are. You are fortunate to have a healthy, strong body. It allows you to do anything you want. It carries and keeps alive your brain, which makes you who you are. You are the most beautiful you will ever be now. Enjoy it, celebrate it. Ignore whatever voices from your past that made you doubt your body, your beauty, yourself. Find your own voice about your body. You are you and you are enough xxxx

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  16. As always, I love your posts! Especially the ones about your wardrobe. With love from Sweden (as well) :-)

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    1. Fanny, you are just the sweetest! Thank you <3

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  17. Hi Ariana!

    I've wished for so long that there would be a chronologicol way to read your blog. Your archive only goes to 2016 for some reason? And I can't seem to find the date when you publish.. Maybe I just don't know where to look? I'd be so happy if you fixed this! I really love your blog! And if my English is weird it is because I'm Swedish.

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    1. Hi Natalie! Your English is perfect! My English is weird haha. Thank you for the suggestion. I just added an archive page in the menu above with all the posts by date and title. If you click older post or newer post at the bottom you can read every post too. The dates of the posts are only in the html link, I did this on purpose because I couldn't figure out a cute place to put the date with this blog design (which needs an upgrade) haha. Plus I want it to be more like a resource or an encyclopedia than a typical blog.

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  18. Ariana, I’ve read a long for awhile now and feel I’ve seen you grow up right in front of me. I love seeing your smile and your triumphs and your photos have gotten so good! So nice to see how many outfits you can make with only a few pieces. Makes me feel like I can finally clean out my closet this spring. Please keep writing, I always look forward to new posts.
    Xx, Rori

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  19. Hi Ariana, long time reader and first time commenter. When you mentioned that you snagged your stockings, I wasn't sure if you've seen this before:

    https://gippslandunwrapped.com/2017/09/13/fabulously-frugal-hair-bands-made-from-upcycled-clothing/

    It's a great option for reusing old stockings!

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    1. Sorry for the late reply- I love this, didn’t see it before, but I use tshirts and socks to make curls in my hair sometimes 😂 it’s called the halo or the donut method and that would be the perfect use for this hair band tutorial...

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  20. Hi Ariana, will you introduce your wallet? I wanna buy a brand wallet but I think that's so not zero waste...XDDD

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    1. Hi! So I actually keep everything in a pocket in my purse, and my cards in a little change purse my grandma got in Korea decades ago, but if you want a brand, there are so many nice designer wallets secondhand! That way you can get what you like without expending virgin resources.

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    2. Thank you so much for your reply:)

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  21. Hi Ariana ~ very inspirational - loved your outfits and your blog :) I LOVE Paris, love France ... and somehow you have achieved that effortless style of French women ..without being French! If you are ever in the market to "recycle" that raincoat, please let me know. You have inspired me to pare down my own wardrobe, and get back some time in my own life. Thanks for the fun posts.

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    1. Aw thank you I’m so glad to hear all this!!! 💕💕💕

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  22. Hi Ariana,

    Your blog has pushed me to think about sustainability. I'm trying only to purchase clothing secondhand. I have my eye on a pair of K. Jacques sandals, but they're pretty worn. Have you ever tried to replace the footbed/insoles in a pair of sandals?

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  23. I discovered your Instagram page just today Ariana, and have been reading all of your posts - love your blog so much! I feel like I'm playing catch up on my whole life since becoming vegan back in September - it feels like years of blind consumerism are now in plain sight and I'm completely turning things around.

    I haven't been happy with my wardrobe for some time and am going to be taking all of the pieces I never wear (which is most things) to the charity shop, but I know that creating a wardrobe that way will take much more time.

    This might be against your ethics of not buying from new, but do you have any recommendations of brands which make good quality, long lasting clothes that would be a worthy, life long investment?

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