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    What to Do on Sunday to Look Your Best All Week Long

    The Sunday Scaries is a phenomenon that plagues us all one way or another. Whether you’re stressed out about some big work project coming up in the next week, all the public speaking you’ll have to do on Zoom meetings, what you’ll wear on that date on Friday, or how you’ll actually muster up the motivation to meal prep, the one thing you shouldn’t have to worry about is feeling confident and put-together all week. Maybe you’ll even work a bit smarter or more efficiently because you’re not fiddling with an ill-fitting garment or worrying about your chapped lips all day. 
    1. Find your inspiration
    Every Sunday, I sift through every style and beauty inspo board I’ve got to figure out what exactly I’m excited to wear that week. Some weeks I’m in the mood to dress to the nine’s every day, and others I’m living for athlesiure. Whatever your vibe is, figure it out before you even step foot in your closet or makeup collection to figure out what you’ll wear all week. Knowing what kind of pieces are striking your fancy makes it way easier to build outfits that are exciting to you rather than just pulling pieces together. 

    2. Line your outfits up in order in your closet 
    Once you’ve decided how you want to dress, you can actually focus on putting outfits together. I keep an “outfit ideas” list in my bullet journal to make this even easier for me, but go through your closet and pick out what you’ll feel comfortable in and excited to wear all week. This can be five trendy, fall outfits, or it can be five iterations of your favorite sweats and T-shirt combo; whatever you’re wearing, just get yourself excited to wear it. If your clothes are hanging, then this is an obvious one, but if you have them in drawers, you can set them up in a specific drawer for the week, lay them out on a dresser, or just put them on a different side of your closet. 

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    BIO-INDIVIDUALITY means that no body is the same. While science and medicine is constantly in search of the perfect diet or the perfect supplement, every body is different. We react to ingredients differently, require nutrients differently, and crave foods differently. While one diet, lifestyle, or food may work for your body, it wouldn’t work for someone else’s. This is why I preach being your own guinea pig to find out what’s best for YOU. . And just like there’s no diet that’s right for everybody, there’s no skincare that magically improves everyone’s complexion. I want to introduce this bio-individual approach to skincare as a call to gain intuition on what’s best for YOU. Formulating your skincare routine based on the needs and reactions of your skin and lifestyle is the secret to get that “I Woke Up Like This” glow. . PS—I found @atollaskinlab this past year… it’s that cute little bottle with MY NAME ON IT… and it’s the most revolutionary skincare company I’ve found that understands the principle of bio-individuality. You get your own personal serum based on your concerns, pH levels, etc., which like, how bougie and chic is that!? Use code: “JOSIE20” to get your first serum and skin analysis kit for $20 #ad #skincare #holistichealth #iinhealthcoach #beauty #beautyhacks
    A post shared by JOSIE SANTI | Health Coach (@josie.santi) on May 6, 2020 at 2:06pm PDT

    3. Sort through your beauty routine
    After watching about a million “Shop My Stash” videos on YouTube, I’ve created a similar process of my own. Since I do my makeup at my desk and my makeup is held elsewhere, I bring everything over for the week that I want to use and put it in one of my drawers. On Sundays, I go through my collection and see which products I want to continue using that week and which I can put back. Usually, this is about a few things: how much use I’m getting out of them (I have a fair amount of products and like to use them all!), how convenient they are, if the shades are right (we are entering “fading summer tan” territory right about now), and what matches my inspiration for the week. Then, I go pull new products to use, whether it’s new products I’m trying or old favorites I want to add back into my collection. This is also a great time to pull forward items based on the events of the week. For example, I knew I’d be busy this week, so I grabbed my handy tinted brow gel instead of worrying about my shaping wax (which is amazing but a little more time consuming). 

    4. Do an at-home peel or resurfacing mask
    Now that you’re ready for the week, it’s time to pamper yourself. After you double-cleanse, go in with an at-home peel or resurfacing product to give your skin a deep cleanse and exfoliation. There are products like this for every skin type, even if you have really sensitive skin. Make sure you choose a product that contains hydrating ingredients that will balance your skin as it exfoliates, such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, aloe, and other naturally-derived oils. You can also search for products that are made for more sensitive skin types, such as those containing mandelic or salicylic acid, as those are milder. I’ve created a whole Sunday ritual that I follow that includes a special skincare routine focusing on this type of product! 
    It’s imperative to read and follow the directions—many of these masks are meant to be left on anywhere from three minutes to 10 minutes. Don’t leave it on for too long to avoid irritation! 

    Renee Rouleau
    Triple Berry Smoothing Peel

    This is my current favorite at-home peel. It feels like you’ve gotten a facial in under 10 minutes!

    5. Focus on hydration
    If you’ve ever had a facial, you’ll know a short portion is usually dedicated to masks and peels, but once that’s over, it’s all about moisturizing your skin. Think of this in the same way. You’ve done your peel; now, you want to hydrate and soften the skin.

    6. Don’t try new products
    Although it’s exciting to get really into your skincare routine on a Sunday, avoid using any products that you’ve never tried before or don’t know if they’ll negatively impact your skin. The worst feeling is waking up on a Monday morning to a breakout or allergic reaction from a new product you were so excited to try. Stick with the basics here until you know what works for you. Pro tip: I always try new products on a certain night every week (for me, it’s Monday) because I know that if I wake up the next day with a breakout, I don’t have anywhere to be! 

    7. Do a deep teeth clean
    When was the last time you really got in there with your toothbrush, floss, and mouthwash? Your little two-minute hourglass timer for brushing your teeth from elementary school is calling your name. Grab your electric toothbrush and toothpaste of choice and do a full two-minute clean. Then, use your gloss, making sure to even get your molars and any plaque sitting on the top of your teeth. Swish around some mouthwash, add in some tongue-scraping, and your teeth will be looking shiny and brand new. 

    8. Do a facial massage
    I recently embarked on a journey to do facial massage every day for a month, and while I did fail and lose at around day #18, it made me appreciate it in a whole new way. Facial massage is definitely a self-care moment full of relaxation, but I’ve also noticed that my skin looks better. I wake up feeling refreshed and glowy from whatever oil I used, and it feels like my products penetrate better. I almost always follow a video, like this one from the LOML Lisa Eldridge and this playlist from another YouTuber I love who swears by facial massage. You can use your hands, a jade roller, a gua sha, or my favorite: ice rollers. 

    9. Try an at-home blowout
    The best mornings are when my hair is already done. When all that’s required of me is a simple touch-up, my morning is filled with bliss. So, be the person you want to thank in the morning by doing your hair before bed. I often find a blowout can look even better after you’ve slept on it because it has a little extra hold and grit. Our editors are obsessed with this Revlon styling tool that makes achieving a blowout at-home a total breeze. With a few products, you’ll feel like you just hit the salon. The key is to add dry shampoo before bed so it soaks up any oils throughout the night, leaving you with even less to worry about in the morning. I also use a boar bristle brush before bed, which according to celebrity hairstylist Irinel de León will absorb the oils from your scalp and brush through to the ends, keeping your roots clean and your ends moisturized. More

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    8 Fall Pieces I’ve Been Wearing for Years and Will Never Stop

    To be totally cliché, October means my pantry is stocked with pumpkin products from Trader Joe’s, Hocus Pocus is officially on repeat, and it’s still averaging 90 degrees in southern California. I love LA, but it’s a real bummer heading to Starbucks and not even wanting a PSL because it’s too hot for anything but a cold brew. Alas, the fashion show must go on: no matter the temperature outside, there are a few key pieces I have worn on repeat every year, whether freezing in Chicago or overheating in Los Angeles. Here are eight fall pieces so good, I’ve been wearing them for years (sorry in advance for the mirror smudges that won’t leave me alone no matter how often I clean this thing). 
    1. Shearing Moto Jacket

    I’ve had this same jacket for almost five years now, and it is not only the coziest item I own, but it is also probably the edgiest (I don’t do “edge” very often). Whenever I wear it, I immediately feel a lot cooler in style and a lot warmer in temperature (see what I did there?). It’s cozy inside but effortlessly chic on the outside, making it the perfect fall jacket I’ll never stop wearing. 

    2. Cream-Colored Blazer

    Yes, I still have the black blazer I got from Forever 21 before my first big-girl internship, but this cream-colored satiny blazer just feels so much more on-trend. I love pairing it with all-black so it really stands out and updates the look. A lighter-colored blazer will seem like the less obvious choice, but alas, it’s so easy to pair with everything that you’ll be tempted to wear it every single day. 

    3. Trench Coat

    OK, this trench coat might be the item I’ve had the longest and, dare I say, the best purchase I’ve ever made. I first bought it nine years ago (wait, what??) and have worn it almost every season since. However, my favorite season to wear it in is fall. I’m not even sure what scene or movie I’m referencing, but when I put it on, I immediately picture myself as Audrey Hepburn on a crisp autumn day, only with less poise and comfier shoes. Wear with basically any fall outfit because it goes with everything (trust). 

    4. Western Bootie

    I love a good bootie (who doesn’t come September?). I love a good bootie so much that I am usually persuaded to purchase a couple of new pairs every year (though my overflowing shoe closet will try to tell me how much I don’t need them). However, year after year, I subconsciously go back to this western-style bootie. I think it’s a combination of the interesting accents that make it stand out from the average black shoe, or how the western style perfectly contrasts with the preppy blazers and sweaters I live in during the season. Either way, my western-style booties aren’t going anywhere (if you couldn’t tell by the tarnished toe).

    5. Animal-Print Sweater

    Back in my cold Chicago days, this sweater was on work OOTD rotation every week. When it’s chilly and cold outside, all I want to wear is the top that feels most like wearing a blanket without going full Snuggie territory. No one (hopefully) noticed that I chose comfort over style because the eye-catching print looks like it was a conscious fashion decision and not the warmest piece I could get my hands on. I don’t care what anyone says: animal print will always be in-style–especially in cozy knit. 

    6. Plaid Blazer

    As I write this article, I’m learning that all of my work milestones are marked by blazers (is this how Carrie Bradshaw feels?). My mom gifted me this blazer before an internship I had while studying abroad in Paris (if a tailored blazer doesn’t help you overcome imposter syndrome, I don’t know what would). These days, it’s put to use for a more fashionable purpose than impressing my old boss. I love it with light wash jeans for a style contrast that’s perfect for the season. 

    7. Statement Sweaters

    One of my favorite life hacks during fall (maybe this is obvious to everyone, but I’m still going to call it a life hack): the statement sweater. You’ll stay cozy and warm with minimal effort, all while looking picture-perfect for Instagram. Cozy knits with interesting details and elaborate accents are a must-have in any girl’s closet, if for no other reason than tricking people into thinking you put some effort into getting dressed. I have a particular thing for ruffles and statement shoulders, but you can also look for bright colors, bold prints, or pretty tailoring.

    8. Statement Shoe

    Full disclosure: this is only the second fall that I’ve owned these boots, but they deserve an honorable mention, and I’ll tell you why. Like the statement sweater (above), I have had a statement pair of boots every season since I knew what boots were (like, back in the Limited Too days). A couple of years ago, it was OTK boots; the year before that, it was studded boots (I used to be so much edgier); and years before that, they were probably from the Lizzie McGuire x Target line and had sequins. The point is that a statement boot will be your go-to all season long. You can completely transform jeans and a sweater, or keep your summer skirts in rotation while the boots keep legs warm. Win, win, win!

     

    What fall pieces do you wear every year? More

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    The Cozy Sherpa Sale You Don’t Want to Miss

    If sherpa and fleece weren’t already one of the best parts of fall, in 2020, their status as our favorite pieces of the seasons have been set in stone.As the temperatures are dropping and we’re preparing to hibernate until spring, we’re stocking up on the coziest pieces possible—from the softest sherpa jackets to the warmest fleece we can find. And some of our favorite (and cutest) ones we’ve found yet this year have come from Abercrombie & Fitch. A sherpa jacket with leather trim? That’s the piece we never knew we needed until now.
    If you haven’t gotten your hands on their famous sherpa or fleece just yet, you’re in luck: this weekend only, their top-selling sherpa and fleece pieces are on sale for their lowest prices yet. Trust us: these are going to sell out quick.

    no code necessary, prices as marked

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    12 Fall Pieces That Are So Chic, They Basically Style Themselves

    So you want to express yourself and look your best, but don’t always have the inspiration or energy to pull off a runway-worthy every day? We get it: styling inventive, Insta-worthy outfits is not always easy. Our trick is finding strategic pieces that are so chic, they’ll look effortlessly fashionable with even jeans and a T-shirt. Some pieces are closet basics, some are of-the-moment trends, but all of these clothing items are so effortlessly chic, you won’t need much else to pull together a killer OOTD. Read on for 12 fall pieces that are so stylish, they basically style themselves:
    1. Cropped Puffer

    A puffer coat is one of the few items that is as functional as it is stylish. Not only will it keep you warm and be versatile enough for any occasion, but all you need for a sporty-chic look that’s more street-style than athleisure-wear is a pair of skinny jeans and booties. Try a cropped version that hits right above the hipbone for extra trend points.

    2. Knee-High Boots

    Ah, knee-high boots: the style that replaced OTK boots to become 2020’s shoe style of the season. Trust me on this one: they’ll look so chic, it won’t matter what you wear them. Try monochrome neutrals so the boots stand out, or just skinny jeans and a sweater. Bottom line, you can’t go wrong; no matter what you wear up top, knee-high boots will steal the show.

    3. Denim Jacket

    And now for a closet basic that you typically reserve for transitional days of spring and colder evenings come summer: a denim jacket can actually look really good in fall too. A light-wash version stands out perfectly against a black sweater and black jeans or trousers (cold-weather staples), resulting in the easiest outfit formula ever and a way to reinvent your denim jacket. Don’t forget your classic booties!

    4. Animal Print Accents

    Will animal print ever get old? The answer, of course, is no. Women have been rocking animal print for decades, and we’re not stopping anytime soon. Specifically, animal-printed accessories completely transform any basic T-shirt and jeans or sweater dress. Try a variety of cow print, leopard print, or snakeskin in all your shoes, purses, and belts. 

    5. Leather Trousers

    Faux leather trousers are all the rage these days, and, while they may look intimidating, they’re incredibly easy to style. Since they’re such a statement piece (without being too “out there”), all they need is a basic long-sleeve tee or sweater and a seamless pair of booties. Throw in some eye-catching accessories if you want, but I guarantee all eyes will be on your stylish trousers. 

    6. Knee-Length Cardigan

    A knee-length cardigan is another piece you probably have in your closet that you might forget is not only cozy, but chic too. The longer hem is a little more elongating and unexpected than a shorter cardigan, so you can pair it with straight-leg denim and a tucked-in tee. You’ll look as cute as you’ll feel cozy. 

    7. Leather Blazer

    Leather is always big come fall, but this year it’s popping up in everything from pants to skirts to blazers, and I am here for it. Opt for a faux leather version that updates any basic jeans and tee to a more trendy and luxe look than your work blazer would (sorry work blazer, we still love you). 

    8. Sherpa Coat

    Maybe it’s staying at home for seven months straight, or maybe the fashion and comfort stars are aligning, but fall’s biggest trends also happen to be the coziest. Exhibit A: the always-chic and warm sherpa coat that literally goes with everything and makes the simplest outfit Instagram-worthy. 

    9. Flare-Leg Denim

    Sorry, mom jeans: there’s a new denim in town. The pants you wore every day of middle school are officially back and better than ever. Think: light-wash, semi-distressed, and slightly oversized throughout the leg. Pair your flare leg jeans with pointed-toe booties and a simple sweater/tee combo up top. 

    10. Belted Shacket

    I’ll be honest: when I first read the word “shacket” on the H&M website, I thought it was a typo. Low and behold, shacket is the crossover between “shirt” and “jacket” that we never knew we needed until now. It can be worn as a shirt with pants or unbuttoned over a tee or sweater, making it two pieces in one. The trendiest versions come with belts for a cinched waist and a defined silhouette.  

    11. Textured Sweaters

    Another basic that’s eye-catching enough to update the most boring outfit is a sweater in ribbed material or chunky knit, and it has the potential to be your go-to item every day until spring. Look for stand-out textures in warm fabrics to wear when you want to look cute, but don’t want to think too hard think about it.

    12. Plaid Trousers

    Plaid is not only reserved for school uniforms and ’90s punk (even though Gwen Stefani rocked it); a standout plaid piece like trousers are comfortable enough to feel like your stay-at-home joggers, but look chic with a basic sweater or tee. Whether you’re relaxing at home, hopping on Zoom meetings, or taking #OOTDs for Instagram, plaid trousers will be your go-to. 

    What’s your favorite piece for fall? More

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    Our 20 Favorite Items From the Shopbop Sale

    There are a lot of things that bring me joy in this life (a fancy overpriced latte, using too much parmesan on my penne alla vodka, and releasing the clasp on my bra after a long day in public), but nothing quite compares to the feeling of getting hit with that “your order has been shipped” email. Sometimes, I even respond with a “thank you, I love you” message back.So, when I heard Shopbop’s Fall Event was in session, I whipped out my laptop with unmatched speed and got to scrolling. If you’ve never shopped at Shopbop, you’re in for a treat. I don’t buy designer pieces often (you know, because I spend so much money on overpriced lattes and parmesan cheese), but when I do, Shopbop welcomes me with open arms. Their hand-picked collection of designer items and investment pieces are a fashion guru’s dream. Our team sifted through all 203 pages of sale items to bring you our 20 favs and trust us… you don’t want to miss it. 
    Now through October 16, get 15% off orders over $200, 20% off orders over $500 , and 25% off orders over $800 with code FALL20!

    use code FALL20

    Source: @shopbop More

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    I Tested 5 Different Pairs of Faux Leather Leggings—Here’s What Made the Cut

    As a Sag Sun, Virgo Moon, I’m not someone who particularly needs validation per se, but I’d like credit where credit is due. I’m a cool girl who has a tendency to try new things, which often leads me to both write about them but also share them in my day-to-day life. And the #1 thing I’d like some credit for is being the first person in our office of many to sing the praises of Spanx’s faux leather leggings. I got them exactly a year before everyone else I know, meaning I had a whole year of softly admiring them before the storm that was Faux Leather Legging Fall and Winter™ hit TEG in 2019. I’d like my credit, but I also see why everyone went nuts over them: they’re durable, beyond comfortable, ultra-flattering, and pair with basically anything from a fancy sweater and heels to sneakers and a sweatshirt. They’re a staple in all of our wardrobes, but as more inexpensive options have hit the market, I was dying to see if they lived up to the hype. I ordered four other pairs to compare to my beloved Spanx, and the results were surprising to say the least. 

    Spanx: The Reigning Champ

    I tried these on last just to give them a true comparison to the contenders, and as I was trying on the others, I was like, “OK, maybe these Spanx ones aren’t even that great.” I kept thinking of all the good things about the others that the Spanx didn’t have. Then, I put them on my body and remembered. These are truly just the most comfortable leggings there are, and they are so compressive, which lends to just how flattering they are. They smooth every bump and crevice there is. 
    I went through quite the journey the last two years with these being terrified to show my crotch, but I’m really over it and don’t care anymore. Unless it’s like an actual serious camel toe situation, it’s just my body, and it’s fine. But my favorite way to wear these is definitely with a long cozy sweater like this one!
    As someone who rarely believes in an investment, I think these are one of the few things I’ve bought that have truly held up and are unlike any other pant out there.

    Aerie: The Closest Dupe

    Our editor Jess grabbed these during Black Friday last year, and I was enthralled when she wore them to the office and I couldn’t tell a single difference. While they were on, they looked exactly the same as my Spanx pair. So when I saw they came out again this year (in a few other colors), I grabbed a pair. The black was out of stock in my size, but I tried the olive for a little ~something new~. 
    Here’s the deal with these: I would say that they are the closest dupe you’ll find. I liked that they are lined with fleece, so they’re much thicker and warmer than the Spanx leggings. The only thing they’re really missing is the compression, which I discovered through this experiment is where the Spanx really shines (pun unintended). 
    I am normally an XXL in Aerie, but these were way too big on me. You’ll notice I had this problem with almost every pair I ordered, so I’m not sure if I am ordering the wrong size for myself or if they run big, but I’d say when in doubt, size down with these! 

    These top the list at the least expensive option, coming in at $16 a pop. Sometimes my takeout lunch costs me $16. I was expecting these to be pretty lackluster based on the price, but Target actually impressed me. This is a really thin material that actually kind of replicates the Spanx without all the compression. If you’re strapped for cash, these aren’t a horrible option. But they weren’t my favorite either. I’d rather spend a little more on the Aerie (wait for a sale!).
    I ordered an XXL, and they were definitely almost a full size too big, so I’d size down if you’re between sizes. 

    Amazon: The New Beau 💞

    When I ordered these, I expected very little. I ordered the largest size and was really worried they wouldn’t fit me, but the size chart sounded right to my measurements (a major plug here to take! your! measurements! if you’re an online shopper) and the reviews were outrageous. I have never seen so many positive reviews for any item of clothing, let alone a legging from Amazon. When they arrived in the mail, I opened the package in my elevator because I was so intrigued. I pulled them out and laughed so hard. “There is no way these will fit,” I said as I was cackling trying to pull these up my ankles. 
    Then, I had a real Kombucha Girl meme moment when I pulled them on and said, “Oh, hey, wait…” They pulled all the way on and looked AMAZING. I definitely wouldn’t say they’re a dupe for the original faux leather legging from Spanx, but … dare I say it … I like these so, so much better. My biggest gripes about the Spanx leggings are that they are freezing cold in the winter because they’re a super-thin material that wind blows right through (just Chicago things) and that they lose their leather-look a little too quickly for my liking. These solve both of those problems, as they are lined with fleece (excuse me while I cry) and have a real leather look instead of a shiny coating. I wore these to a patio brunch last weekend and got dozens of compliments from strangers—exactly how you know they’re a winner. 
    As I said, I was really surprised by the fit, thinking they’d run small (my experience with most things on Amazon), but they did not! I would recommend ordering your usual size. 

    BP.: The “Meh” Pair

    If you couldn’t tell by my thumbs down, I really did not like these. Similar to the Amazon pair, these are a more “leather” material than a shiny coating like the Spanx. I thought that would make me love these, but the fit is just poor. I ordered my usual size in BP. (XXL), and I was swimming in the fabric. I especially noticed tons of fabric gathering at the crotch, which was annoying because I already am self-conscious about the legging crotch situation, and this made it so much worse. When I had my sweater pulled down, these almost looked more like pants than leggings, which I’m not against, but because the top is a legging look, you can’t get away with pairing these with crop tops and bodysuits. Everything about these was just “meh” to me. It was like everywhere that Spanx, Aerie, and Amazon hit the mark, these fell majorly flat. They’re only a little cheaper than the Spanx and are actually more than the Aerie, so I would say you can probably skip.  More

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    Don’t Miss It: J.Crew Is Having a Massive 40% off Sale This Weekend

    One day, I’ll put a chastity belt on my credit card in hopes of saving money and hitting “add to cart” a bit less, but today is not that day. “Why is that?” you ask. Well, ladies and gents, I love a good markdown and this weekend, J.Crew is taunting me with 40 percent off of everything. You heard me correctly. But, in the off chance you didn’t, I’ll say it louder for people in the back: J. Crew is having a 40% off sale. Including new arrivals. I’m a sucker for a discount on a good day but the fact that this is happening at J. Crew has me attempting first-time backflips and jumping for joy. For those of us who have been waiting to stock up on investment pieces that will stand the test of time (denim, blazers, suits, cashmere, and more), it’s our time to shine! Keep reading to shop our favorite picks from the promotion and use code SALETIME for 40% off at checkout. 

    use code SALETIME More

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    I Finally Organized My Closet—Here’s What I’m Ditching vs. Keeping

    Fun fact about me: I’ve moved 10 times (soon to be 11) in the past nine years. No part of me loves moving… no matter how many times I settle into a new space, I just can’t seem to get the moving process down to a perfect science. To say that it’s one of my least favorite activities is an understatement. But, if there’s one positive to packing up once a year and relocating, it’s having the forced opportunity to come face-to-face with my clothing of “add to carts” past, sort out what I want to keep, donate, or sell, and facepalm myself for not wearing the one item I swore I would get use of upon purchasing.I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as a hoarder but I will admit that I have plenty of faults when it comes to accumulating pieces in my wardrobe. First being that I am a sucker for a good sale. The limit to the number of times I’ve bought an item for the markdown alone simply does not exist. When I see a red sticker price, I become blind to reality and will overlook what otherwise would be a wardrobe deal breaker for me (i.e., a far-too-large and non-refundable floral dress from Madewell that mocks me every time I sift through my closet). 
    My second fault is holding on to pieces that “might be useful for a costume party.” Oh yes, ladies. I’m talking mesh, sequins, sparkles, and the whole nine yards. And to absolutely no ones’ surprise, these items sit in the back of my wardrobe, take up prime real estate, and wait longingly for the chance to be loved again. 
    And last but not least, I am a creature of habit. I prefer neutrals over color, opt for comfort, and return to my foolproof outfit combinations time and time again. But every so often, I think, “I should step out of my comfort zone.” That’s when I’ll buy something pink (gasp!), purchase a trendy item that “looked really good on that one IG influencer,” or invest in something I saw our fashion editor rock in the office pre-COVID. While there’s nothing “wrong” with the pieces I add in my feeble attempt to be cooler than I actually am, they simply don’t get as much love as the other pieces in my wardrobe.
    Four hours, two dramatic “I cannot go on” breaks, and a couple of sweat droplets later, I accumulated four garbage bags of clothes to donate, sell, and toss depending on their condition. In an effort to live a more minimalist life (and make room for new pieces, of course), here are the items I’m ditching and the ones I’m holding on to for dear life this season:

    Before:

    After:

    Ditching: Right idea, wrong fit

    When the blazer trend came back with a vengeance, I ran to my local H&M and eagerly walked to checkout with three of them draped over my arm. Unfortunately, I missed the mark on these guys in the size department. I bought each to fit like a glove and I’ve learned after a few seasons of styling that I prefer a larger, oversized fit. I’ve added some mediums to my collection which I’m super happy with but, now, my fitted blazers don’t get a lot of attention. 
    Same goes for this plaid, sherpa-lined jacket that I loved when I bought it. I don’t know if I’ve shrunk it over the years or if I’ve just “grown,” but no matter how cute it is, I simply won’t wear it. Feeling like the Michelin Man when I squeeze into it/having limited mobility of my arms is not the move. 

    Ditching: Mesh

    This one doesn’t need much of an explanation. There was a short period of time in college where the trendy girls wore mesh tops/bodysuits with a black bra underneath. I could never work up the courage to actually wear them and, looking back, I am elated that that is the case. Regardless, I’ve been holding on to them for the off chance that I can use them in some kind of costume setting but I’ve firmly decided that if a costume calls for mesh, it’s not the costume for me! If mesh ever decides to rear its head and come back into style (the only shock left of 2020), I’ll reevaluate at that time.

    Ditching: The quarter-zip that’s seen better days

    Alright, I’m not going to lie… this one hurt. This Patagonia sweater has been with me through many trials and tribulations of life. It’s soaked up tears born from a bad breakup, been wine-stained during iconic pizza nights with my pals, and been washed with darks and denim galore in many unforgiving community laundry situations. Given the fact that this sweater was a beautiful shade of ivory at one point in time, I would deem it to be one of the most worn, sad-looking articles of clothing I’ve ever known. I think I’ve only worn it twice in the past year so I think it’s an appropriate time to part ways. Thank you for your service, you will be missed.

    Ditching: The “it was on sale” Madewell dress

    I bought this floral Madewell dress at their end-of-summer sale and there were three things that doomed this purchase from the start: 1) I didn’t need it (I have an impressive amount of floral dresses), 2) I didn’t really even want it, and 3) it was a final sale item. I know how careless that sounds… but a Madewell dress for $25? I couldn’t pass it up. To my demise, it didn’t fit me right and was non-refundable. Classic.

    Ditching: The trendy splurge item I never wore

    When visiting New York City one summer, I found myself in a trendy, overpriced boutique and was talked into this jacket by one of the sales associates. If I told you how much it was, you would probably spit the contents of whatever you’re sipping on all over your computer screen. The price of this jacket was so absurd but, for some reason, that did not stop me from being persuaded that I needed it. The jacket itself is fine, it’s just not my style. I kept promising myself that I would incorporate it into some outfit formula, but in the four years I had it, I just couldn’t seem to pull it off.

    Ditching: The first-time interview clothing that’s so not me

    OK, to be honest, I never liked any of these items from the start. When the time came for post-grad interviews, I needed a ‘fit to impress my potential employers. I walked cluelessly into Ann Taylor at my local mall and let one of the associates dress me (and by that, I mean that I sold my soul to the Devil). I abandoned my personal style to fit a cookie-cutter look of what I thought was a “professional investment” and honestly, I haven’t looked at them since my first interview in 2016. If I need to interview again at any point, I’ll pick up options that can be dressed down and incorporated into my everyday wardrobe.

    Ditching: The “out of my comfort zone” color I swore I’d wear but didn’t

    I’d say that, in life, I have a good sense of who I am as a person… that is until I find myself adding non-neutrals to my shopping cart. I don’t know what it is, but I’ll just never be a “pink” person. But does that stop me from thinking“wow, Jess looks gorg in blush pink, I should give it a try,” and attempting to swerve out of my comfort zone? Of course not! I’ve found that I can still experiment with other colors (burnt oranges, deep blues, and olive greens) without looking in the mirror and feeling like I’m staring at a complete stranger.

    Ditching: Non-versatile graphic tees

    Don’t get it twisted, I love a good graphic tee. But when I say graphic tee, I mean the ones that are oversized, can be tucked in with mom jeans, dressed up with a blazer, and made edgy with a leather jacket. I’m looking disdainfully at you, I-would-die-for-John-B. long sleeve (pictured below). If it didn’t pass the versatile vibe check, I didn’t keep it.

    Ditching: Unforgiving jeans

    I just simply don’t need the negativity of unforgiving jeans in my life. It is my personal opinion that all jeans should have a bit of stretch. Over the past few years, I’ve gained some weight (pandemic stress eating didn’t help my situation, it is what it is) and while most of my jeans still button, this pair is stubborn as hell. If a pair of jeans can’t handle me post-gnocchi at my favorite Italian restaurant, they don’t deserve me at my best. Bye, Felicia.

    Keeping: Oversized blazers

    If I haven’t yet made myself clear, I am obsessed with oversized blazers and I get so much use out of them. I have two right now (black and plaid) and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. They’ve been the perfect solution to Chicago’s “it’s not cold now but it will be later tonight” woes, will be great for styling business casual outfits we return to office life, and are super trendy with a graphic tee and hoop earrings. 

    Keeping: Loungewear that I’ve worn at least once in the last three months

    I’ve accumulated a lot of loungewear over this past year and I am not mad about it. Staying home during the pandemic has shifted my wardrobe priorities and, right now, my cozy clothes are getting a ton of attention. I’m sure there’ll be a day where I’ll have to sort through and edit out some of my comfy pieces, but thankfully, today is not that day.

    Keeping: Jackets for layering

    Disclaimer: Last year, I had so many bulky jackets that I had no choice but to downsize. At that time, I kept one of each jacket (leather, denim, faux fur, trench, shearling, etc.), so I truly didn’t need to do much organizing in that department this year. Nonetheless, I still did a once-over to see if anything could be sacrificed, but gleefully decided I was happy with my collection as is. 

    Keeping: Chunky knit sweaters

    OK, don’t come for me, but I truly believe there is no such thing as too many sweaters, especially when you live in a climate that threatens sub-zero temps in the wintertime. I kept all of my sweaters with the exception of those that were uncomfortable (yes, they exist) and/or didn’t fit well.

    Keeping: Maxi/midi skirts

    I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Midi and maxi skirts have changed my life. I’m already phasing them out for this fall (I had a few good runs with a chunky knit sweatshirt + long skirt + sneaker combo) but I am so looking forward to their return when the temps rise again. More