wow! so many of you resonated with the post last week about my intentional shopping method. it makes me feel so much less alone in this season of slowwwwwww growth. all over my life, but also with my closet. i honestly just get annoyed now when i need something so desperately because i want to be able to say no and spend that money on a flight.
but also i have a full-time job and i can’t wear Birkenstocks to work… 😉
so even though i would love to just not buy anything at all, i need to be okay with buying a bit every now and then. which is the thought process behind intentional shopping: being intentional about what you buy so you can streamline your money towards what you really love, whether that’s supporting your family, traveling or investing in hobbies.
i got a lot of questions about how to find and fill those gaps in your closet, basically where to put your intentionality to work.
i love that question! but full disclosure, it’s taken me about a year to wean my identity from the latest and greatest trend to focusing on what i need. IT’S HARD. i love style but i also know that my heart is way more full when i travel or do photography or get dinner with friends than having one more piece of clothing in my closet.
but ALSO: this has been the most i have felt myself in my clothes because i think and plot and try on until i am absolutely sure.
so let’s get started!
how to find the gaps //
essential tip: purge before you look for the gaps.
set that aside in a line by itself because it is C R U C I A L.
otherwise clothes you don’t actually wear or don’t fit will be super sneaky and fill those gaps, leaving you confused when you go to pull an outfit together and “can’t find anything to wear”. this used to happen to me all. the. time. for example, my friends would be like oh let’s go to dinner and i’d look at my bursting closet thinking to myself, wow i have nothing to wear.
what?!?!? but there’s so much clothing, my mom would say! and i agreed. but nothing i wanted to wear or felt like me.
it’s because i had bought things willy nilly on sale or because other girls were buying them, only to leave them hanging there for months (or years #imtheworst).
so step #1: purge. i wrote a three part series last summer about that process if you want to read about it more! here’s at the links to Part I, Part II and Part III!
the next thing you need to do is evaluate what you already have. this can be super revealing and a bit shocking. on both sides — either a slap in the face that you have way more than you thought or a reality check that you really do actually need what you thought.
for example, just the other day i was annoyed with buying more work clothes and went through my (small) closet only to find a couple more tops that were hiding and also made a point to see what i could pair together to make it seem like i have a new outfit. sometimes it just takes one new pair of pants to make m a n y new outfits! i have a post in the works for these pants but i want to share them with you now because they filled a gap (work bottoms) AND created so many new pairings because of their neutral color. sneak peek.;)
step #2: take inventory of what you already have
if it helps you to write this part down, do that! i divided categories like such:
work tops/night out tops (trying to sync these up so i don’t have to buy double!) vs. casual tops
works jeans (1 pair of flares, 1 pair dark wash skinnies, 1 pair of black skinnies) of vs. very casual jeans (1 pair of boyfriend jeans, 1 pair of levi’s)
…etc, etc! you can also look through your jewelry, bags/clutches, shoes, work out clothing and anything else you put on your body! 😉 some other gaps i identified alarmingly quickly: lack of bras that actually fit (#nevernotgrowingandchanging), simple jewelry i actually wear, work appropriate summer shoes and dresses that were appropriate for more than running errands or going to the pool.
#3. identify the gaps and quantify what you need to buy to fill them. not want. n e e d. yes, i could buy 10 pairs of shoes to wear to work. but i really only need maybe 2-3 if i’m being real and also if they serve in two gaps – both to work and in my daily life.
how to fill the gaps //
it’s pretty simple! i have a little note on my phone with my gaps and it’s the BEST thing i could ever do when i want something because i double check with my note, which decides for me if i buy the item. obviously sometimes i say yolo and buy a white maxi just because, but i really try to stick to this note. otherwise i am frustrated time and time again with those darn gaps. in the past 9 months, i have bought a new bra, new work shoes, black jeans, jewelry, and casual tees all because of that note! and i am slowly filling the gaps in my closet. it works wonders! i try not to advise unless i’ve heeded the advice. 🙂
why don’t i just show you mine!
and that’s about it! i usually reevaluate every 3ish months. since i have fewer pieces of clothing, i will really be kind of continuously doing this method as i wear through items. but isn’t that wonderful? to live in such a materialistic culture and wear something to the point where you can no longer? that is countercultural and so good for us. less is more.
i am kicking off a series today that i am very, very excited to share! and that i kind of invented. i have always like the idea of a capsule closet and follow quite a few bloggers that use that system. for someone who loves style as much as i do, i also love the ease of opening my closet to a wardrobe curated with intention and attention so the attraction of a capsule collection was strong!
but the more i thought about it, the more i realized that it just doesn’t fit my lifestyle. most of the women that are doing it are moms or entrepreneurs. which makes PERFECT sense! less thinking, less shopping, more ability to mix and match when you’re too tired to be creative.
i also just don’t have the budget right now to buy all the necessary items and i like the idea of buying pieces over time instead of being rushed to find them right now. a capsule wardrobe, for those who aren’t familiar, is a collection of pieces that can be worn together in various ways and are typically bought at a higher price point since the capsule can be worn for many seasons.
so i am starting my own thing. it’s called intentional shopping. after i read Seven by Jen Hatmaker last summer, i purged my closet and because way more honed in on what i NEED, filling the gaps in my closet instead of randomly buying shirts at h&m and going on shopping sprees in the nail polish section of Target.
however, this style of shopping is s l o w. it requires lots of buying, trying on, pondering, switching out sizes and pairing with other items already in your closet. not only that, but it takes even longer for someone fresh out of college where the wardrobe was extreme high’s (cocktail dresses for events and tops for going out) and extreme low’s (yoga pants and oversized t-shirts).
but i am really embracing the slow style. yes, i have worn the same 7ish pairings of the same 5ish tops and two dresses and one pair of shoes while i order and compare prices and quality. but the upside is that when i win, i win big. i love the piece and i am so happy that i waited. i want my whole closet to be done yesterday. but i also want to travel and decorate my apartment and grab dinner with friends.
one of the biggest takeaways from Seven was when Jen talked about how she realized that people don’t really care or notice what you wear — or if you outfit repeat. and then tying that to living abroad and seeing women wear the same beautiful piece multiple times a week, i was sold on less, exactly what you like and want pieces is more.
so i’m calling this style of shopping “intentional shopping” and what does it mean for you? it means that if i recommend something here, you can bet your bottom dollar i love it. no more impulse buys, no more “fast fashion” (okay, maybe occasionally) and lots more buying pieces i love.
i also wanted to share this with you all because i was beginning to feel self conscious that i will be sharing some clothing with higher price points, especially since i use my employee discount at Anthropologie and the URBN brand stores. but i just love the idea that in a couple of years, i’ll have a closet full of nice pieces that fit well in all the right places and have purpose in my closet. it takes longer, but the result is me reaching for clothing and shoes that i love and make me feel good.
so this outfit!! this one i am proud of because dresses have been the most challenging gap of my closet to fill — partly because everything looks like a tunic on me since i have daddy long legs. this dress has been a constant since i bought it a couple of weeks ago. there’s no need for a camisole or special lingerie which is great when it gets hot and i don’t have to layer with weird bras or camisoles. i have been especially loving it with a pair of statement shoes like these espadrilles!
they’re like my shoe-mates. gahhhh i feel so happy when i wear them. 🙂
quick quip about intentional shopping: this does not mean it can’t be fun pieces like embroidered shoes or statement earrings! it’s all about how much you like it and how often you will wear it.
for example, i would love to buy this really cute pair of fancy heels for when i would need fancy heels. which at this point in my life? is probably VERY rarely. so even though i love them, i wouldn’t buy them now.
on the flip side, let’s say i see a pair of booties for $200 and i know i’ll wear them work at least twice a week. i’d buy those.
it’s all about filling the gaps in your closet with pieces that make you feel good.
these shoes are just seriously me in a nutshell. i love that they’re work appropriate but feel a boho and very Anthro chic. i have also paired them with jeans and a couple tops — i get compliments on them all the time! i honestly forget about DSW all. the. time. so when i popped in and saw these, it was a good reminder to head over there every once in a while! i like to know that if i wear a pair of shoes and don’t like them, i can return them which is why i tend towards Nordstrom, Macy’s and Anthropologie but i knew these were definitely not going back. i have a post coming up soon all about espadrilles and my favorites because i love them so much — they’re just so summery – both work appropriate and perfect for dinner with friends!
i hope these posts help you find work clothes that you can also fit into your life outside the 8-4 hours. building a more “professional” wardrobe is killer for me because i refuse to buy something super business-y that i wouldn’t wear in real life. some other pieces i have added over the last months are this top from ann taylor loft (they have like 1 piece every couple of months that i love! it’s a very odd store relationship hehe.) and this blouse from free people along with those black jeans and nude flats. this dress was a win last summer. i wear it with a jean jacket to work and feel just a bit more ania in my cube. all of those pieces were more expensive but i’ve worn them over and over and over!
although my closet is growing ever so slowly because i have become so critical of every piece i buy, i really love and would recommend everything i keep so you can always count on the integrity of my suggestions!
do you have any dresses you’ve purchased lately that you love and wear to work?! it’s been by far the hardest thing for me to find — everything is so short on me. 😉
can’t wait to continue to slowly but surely share style posts, including one next week that will help you find the gaps in your closet and what to fill them with!
the story i tell myself with blogging is that no one reads this. that it’s a waste of time. that i have no influence, that girls have other cooler bloggers to read with huge budgets and sponsorships and legitimacy, and i am no different than any other girl on the web who has style and a cute room. i mean, who doesn’t have a good IG feed these days? why am i different? does it make me prideful to think that i am different, that i have a unique voice, that girls my age would benefit from my musings and advice? also, people must think i’m a lunatic. i mean, do they wonder who takes my photos? do they think i make money from this? does anyone else do things anymore just because it makes them happy? do i need a reason to blog — whether that’s money or fame? do i repel people with my honesty? would it be better to be cool and vague? ugh, i’m not good at being cool and vague.
okay i just typed that in like 3 minutes. seriously. WHAT. brene brown writes a lot about how we make up stories in our heads and we live those fake realities. never have i ever resonated with something more.
i have been so in my head about this space lately and i just don’t even know why!!! and i have a feeling you might have a story you’re making up in your mind about your life that is reaaaaaally far from the truth, too. i feel (*felt) crushed by expectations with this blog and they’re all placed on me by me. anyone else? you’re not alone.
so i am rewriting the story i tell myself about my blog. from now on, i am going to tell myself that girls look forward to my posts, knowing that i’ll bring the raw and vulnerable and joyful. that people enjoy my style and learn how to dress like they have a closet straight from Anthro heaven but in reality sometimes buy their clothes at the thrift store. that someone might take my advice on designing an apartment on a budget that makes you happy to come home.
you might be wondering where this came from. that’s valid.
a girl DMed me on instagram this week and asked me for recommendations of other blogs to follow who keep it real – you know, gals in their twenties who love lovely things but also know that life isn’t one big, beautiful Instagram feed!
i was so stumped.
i suggested a couple girls who have blogs/instagrams that are beautiful accompanied with beautiful words but i was genuinely struggling to think of bloggers who write alongside me in this niche of real-life 20-somethings. actually, now that i think of it, i don’t follow any other bloggers that are my age.
then this got me thinking about my blog. y’all know i’m a thinker.
these are the questions that popped up in my head: what do i want this space to be? where does photography fit in? what kind of content do i want to post? how seriously do i want to take this? what do i need to do to give myself time to create weekly content? what are the posts with the biggest number of readers? why are they the most ‘popular’? would i ever do sponsored content if this got to that point? if so, what would i do?
yeahhhhhhh. i think a lot. both a blessing and a curse. 😉
all these questions stirred in me a need to just re-introduce myself and share my dreams for this space so you can see if you want to follow along. i just want to level the playing field, so to speak. my biggest fear as a blogger is that you won’t relate to my content because i feel like a 20-something that has it all together.
because i totally don’t. for example…
i literally almost just cried trying to get to this darn coffee shop because i felt so overwhelmed by lots of little things and a weekend that sped by and oh shoot i need groceries but wait where is my budget currently and then my dead succulent fell over in my car that i wanted to return and dirt got everywhere but who cares because i still haven’t made time to vacuum my car since i wanted to BACK IN APRIL and i looked at the gas gauge and frik me i’m almost out of gas. then i remembered i forgot the memory disk of photos i wanted to edit at home and OH MY GOSH IT’S ALREADY ALMOST 3 JEE ANIA JUST SCREW THE PHOTOS AND GET TO THE CAFE. then i got weepy again because i just was kind of lonely and hadn’t hung out with friends in a while and do i even have friends bah humbug post grad is hard and i am dramatic and can i move to colorado yet wait should i buy a ticket to colorado no wait until you get paid this week to figure that out and then i made some chicken and then i melted of heat in my apartment and THEN I FINALLY MADE IT TO SAID COFFEESHOP MULTIPLE HOURS LATER.
see? just a girl here on the other side of the screen.
the girl talked me in to a salted caramel frozen coffee. all i wanted was a water. and by talked me into, i mean to say that i was feeling sorry for myself and wanted to pregame the ice cream i am going to get later. sue me.
so can i just hit refresh on this blog and stop wondering if my content is blog-worthy and just treat this as a diary of a 23 year old who wonders if she’ll kill her plants and if her hair will ever grow and if anyone feel vulnerable as frik in their first job? because that’s what i’m about to do.
i want to fill a gap that i see in the blogsphere which is for all you gals that wonder if their future husband sometimes dreams of traveling the world together and has a Pinterest board of engagement rings even though they are nowhere near marriage but totally already know what robe they want to get ready in the morning of and the flowers they want in their bouquet and sometimes just stands in their living room wondering at what age one should buy an adult couch for their apartment instead of the floral grandma couch that currently sits there for you when you get home from a long day of work and also how long you can let chicken sit out in the water before it goes bad? anyone?
so let me introduce myself.
hi, i’m ania! no one calls me ania elizabeth if you were wondering. i needed a name for the blog and decided my first and middle name was cute together and didn’t want to deal with changing it when i get married. no no, i am not about to get married. single and ready to mingle and eat a pringle. actually jk, i can’t eat pringles! i am allergic to wheat, soy, egg whites and most nuts. yes, i understand it sounds like my life is over etc etc but i can still eat ice cream. so rest assured that i am doing juuuust fine. i used to post recipes and such here but honestly, in this season of my life, i am just eating on a budget so i can pay for my travel dreams and new photography gear! and little plants. and things for my apartment. i know i will have a season of life when i am married and have a husband who i want to cook for and kiddos that i want to please but right now i am completely fine with eating simply.
for those of you who think i work at Anthropologie for a living, i totally could see how that was perceived from my IG. but it’s just because my 8-4 isn’t as, well, aesthetically pleasing since i work in a cube — although a very CUTE cube, i must say. 😉 i have a post coming soon about how to feel comfortable in a business environment that looks a little more corporate than you were expecting with tips for decorating your space and making it feel like you. along with how to dress “business-y” without losing your own personal style!
i do all things creative for a leadership institute here in st. louis — design, branding, advertising/marketing, collaborating on photography/videography projects, event support, etc. and i really like it! is it exactly what i thought i would be doing post grad? nope. not even close. i wanted to move to a new city, preferably in the West or abroad, working for a small agency surrounded by creatives so i could learn and work hard, proving myself. or working at the UBRN headquarters in Philly! no where in my brain did i want to move back to st. louis. but i have been trying to live open to His plan for me so i don’t miss out on something amazing while i pursue what i think i need and want so i said yes to this opportunity and i’m very glad i did.
but something else you must know about me is that my work has never and will never been my defining character. i love my job and the change we’re making in the world. seriously. never seen so many man-tears in my life! but it is also just a job. and when i leave, i leave it at work! no matter how meaningful work is, it is just work and that is not where my value lies. plus i love my life outside of that cube so very much!
which brings me to the majority of what you see on my Instagram – ma vie quotidienne as seen through VSCO filters.
oh gosh, how do i explain my outside work life? yeeeesh. i do a lot. i just live large, ya know? this is not meant to get morbid all of a sudden, but before the age of 21, i knew about 7 kids my age who passed away. i think at some point, it just really seeps into your bones after funerals and seeing families being broken apart and teen suicide stories that life is short. and that the days may be long but the years pass in the blink of an eye. so i don’t live half arse. i am not about to waste the days that were stolen from others.
so my outside-work-life includes:
playing around with photography. i used to tell myself that if i wasn’t making thousands off of it, i shouldn’t do it. but that’s not really the point. i just like to create beautiful things and sometimes my head gets so bogged down by what i see that i need to capture it and bring the image to life. it is also my way of showing the daily beauty that many pass over in pursuit of whatever the next big thing is or the next stage of life brings. i’m building a separate site and IG for that to be revealed later this summer! i thought that at first i wanted to keep my blog and photog together but i don’t want to be a blogger that needs a professional quality photo for every post and you all didn’t follow me to get spammed with girls in wedding dresses so when that is live, you can follow along if you’re interested! and i’ll post a couple on the ania elizabeth account every so often.
working at Anthropologie once a week. i used to work at the Albuquerque location when i was in college on holiday. then i worked at the Fresno location while living at home with my parents last summer for about 6 months. then i wandered into Free People in St. Louis the day i moved back (i went to saint louis university!) here last November 2016 and they needed people for holiday hire so i worked there once a week over the holidays. but i missed Anthro so much. so i walked into the St. Louis location about a month ago, waltzed up to an employee and asked if i could come back because darn i miss it so much and would you let me just come in one night a week? and she said yes. the end. also, the discount helps me get clothes for work without taking away from my travel budget and candles and all the pretty little things you find in Anthro corners. it keeps me inspired and fills a big part of me that my full-time job doesn’t. and it’s another way to make new friends!
blogging here. i mainly want to focus on style, home design and my musings on the roller coaster that is my twenties. what can you expect? i think that is best answered by what makes me happy. i love braids, flowers, Pinterest, traveling, hand-lettering, trying new things, finding new places, healthy living, maybe essential oils soon if i can ever stop buying plane tickets long enough to buy the starter kit. i started out creating content based on my life. then i started creating content first and not really sharing much about my life. so i am trying to get back to the beginning! i am not letting myself believe that my life isn’t exciting enough for you all because i think what we all need is someone who lives an extraordinary ordinary life. or so i hope.
building community. not much to say there other than i love people and hosting people and planning things that will make my friends happy and sharing my life with people. that’s the biggest reason i love this corner of the web! having girls reach out and relate to me is so fun!!!! especially in a season of post grad loneliness.
hanging with my sister, brother in law and little nephew. my parents live in california (and have lived in washington, colorado and new mexico before that!) and my brother lives in denver so i love having a little piece of home here in st. louis. they’re great. and xavier is the cutest baby in the world. #notbiased
traveling. i love it. i love it so much that sometimes i work myself up and my mom has to talk me down because i get anxious about how much there is yet to see in the world and my dad is like ania, you’re 23. hehehehe. currently on the horizon aka the travel schedule i have in my head that is only final there in my cranium: california to visit my parents, denver (i miss it so much), hawaii (my friend’s truth is hawaii. end of story. i need to get her there. stay tuned.), potentially south africa to visit my friend who moved there two years ago aaaaand i want to go to thailand. and boston. and utah. and nashville and chicago again and you know, the list just really never ends.
creating and designing. i spend a lot of time per week just creating little things. i’ll turn on mumford and sons and just edit photos, design future photo shoots, pin little pictures to my wall, redesign the layout of my apartment, go through old magazines, wander through a thrift shop, snap photos of friends, write pretty phrases in pretty writing. i just like to create and i seek Beauty everywhere.
loving my faith. a while ago i read something along the lines of bloggers not posting things about their faith because you won’t attract the biggest crowd possible and i was like…..oh. that’s not the way i roll. to tell you about me is to tell you about God’s plan for my life. i couldn’t separate this space from that thought if i wanted to. which i don’t. i do vow to never be pushy because i understand that everyone has a different relationship with God and not everyone in the world is Catholic but i just wouldn’t feel honest leaving that part out of this blog.
ok. P H E W. did this post help level the playing field? do you feel like my friend now and could see me doing laundry just as much as you can picture me posing awkwardly for a photo for the blog because i love a dress and want to share it? i do hope so!
woah. i feel so good about this space again! rejuvenated! excited! hopeful! God is good! see you soon! i really want to be here twice a week so keep coming back if you liked what you read today.
ps thank you for the encouragement lately. the main reason i sat down today is because two weeks ago, i asked Him to make His plans for me clear as i struggled to prioritize this and was overwhelmed with the story in my head that there wasn’t room for me at the table. i had about five girls reach out and express how they appreciated how i showed up honest here. it was so clear it was almost uncanny. thank you for all of you who followed that urge to say something! it means so much to me every time someone reaches out. i screenshot all of them and have them in a little folder on my phone. 🙂