What I wore
(I posted most of these on Instagram this week, just not here)
6397 black Shorty Jeans | bought these from La Garconne on sale, they’re 100% cotton and size 28
Zady Alpaca sweater | gift from Zady to review
Golden Goose superstar sneakers | secondhand from The Real Real
Patagonia Nano-puff jacket
Everlane wool/cashmere beanie
Petit Bateau iconic crew neck tee | size 18Y – mentioned in my Best of | White Tees post this week
6397 Shorty Jeans
Golden Goose Superstar sneakers
Added Everlane cashmere crew | replacement for cropped cashmere crew, courtesy of Everlane
Ulla Johnson Nadia overalls | size 6, sold out
Everlane cashmere crew | size small
Golden Goose superstar sneakers
What I watched
Well, I jumped on the bandwagon and watched Minimalism, the documentary, on Netflix this week. I enjoyed it. Although I still wholeheartedly reject the notion that many minimalists smugly push that you *must* be a minimalist to be happy and have a fulfilling life. It’s inspiring, absolutely, but whenever I watch or read anything about minimalism, I’m more often than not left feeling guilty and inadequate because I’ve tried & failed to be a minimalist. And honestly, why do all minimalists make it sound/look so EASY? They mention in passing how difficult it was, but don’t ever go into depth. It’s not easy trying to minimize at such an extreme level. Especially if you’re in a relationship.
I recommend it if you’re interested in minimalism at all, it’s well done. I would just caution against getting too caught up in minimalism as a panacea for everything. Just as having more “stuff” isn’t the answer to our problems, neither is having less “stuff” – “stuff” isn’t the issue, it’s ourselves and our internal dialogue and struggles. I realize that finally. Less stuff is better for me, I feel more “free” and comfortable, but it hasn’t made my life all rainbows and unicorns either.
What I read
I read The Bird Box after quitting Salvage the Bones. Then I started Dark Matter, and quit that. I liked The Wayward Pines books by Blake Crouch, but this one is just too predictable. Now I’m reading How Proust Can Change Your Life. I’ve never quit so many books in a row in my life…I think I’m just easily bored lately?
One interesting side effect of both the minimalism documentary and the The Bird Box (it’s about a “post-apocalyptic” world in which everyone survives by keeping their eyes closed outside) I read is that I woke up the morning after worried about what I would do if/when we had a zombie apocalypse/plague/nuclear war and I somehow survived and no power, how would I read now that I’ve gotten rid of all my books and keep everything on my kindle? A serious problem. I joke, sort of, but it was slightly anxiety-producing. But I thought it was really funny that’s one of the first things I thought of. Not how will I eat, or SURVIVE, how will I somehow have some normalcy and get some pleasure out of whatever life there is left. You may remember I “kondo’d” all of my books quite some time ago, only keeping a few that had very special meaning. I’ve added some back in, but have thus far avoided buying physical books as much as I used to.
Until yesterday. In a comment Catherine mentioned The New Garconne – so I ordered it. I’m looking forward to reading/looking at it. Although it makes me wonder, is my style starting to lean that way? More gamine? moderne? masculine-as-feminine? It appears that way. I am drawn towards loose, comfortable, easy styles, and flat shoes LOL…
I’ve been working on my married without children post all week and it’s slow-going/emotional. I think I’m going to just sit down and write stream of consciousness over the weekend, and see what comes out. This week has been rather busy still anyway, since my step-son is still here. ah, the irony !! 🙂
I’ll also do more on my daily routine, and will be working on sustainable shopping on a “budget” of $100-$200/month. Any other ideas for topics you’d like me to write about?
OH!!! I did buy the Clyde jumpsuit from the Elizabeth Suzann sample sale this week – black, size medium. I feel very lucky to have been able to checkout, I tried to also get the keaton duster, but it sold out in my cart before I could reach checkout. Did anyone get anything? I think I’ll do a swap post if there’s enough interest for people who need to swap sizes, and then of course, there’s always SLOWRE for consignment…
Have a great weekend!!
Grechen! I was reading your post and got to the part about the zombie apocalypse and how you would read books. My thought was, “Oh no, I think she should buy the hard copy of The New Garconne,” and then I saw the next paragraph! I’m so glad you ordered it and I think you’ll really like it. I found it inspiring and the pictures are gorgeous. Definitely a book to keep around and thumb through again and again.
I watched the Minimalism documentary and completely agree with you. They interviewed a “minimalist” with six children, but it was in a restaurant and they never showed his house! I was dying to see how you get rid of all the stuff that kids hoard. And one of the filmmakers lost his mother and got divorced in the same month, which was obviously traumatic and he needed a change. I don’t think it works the same way for everyone.
Have you read the Tana French books? They really hit the spot for me lately as far as thrillers go, maybe I should try Blake Crouch next!
I feel truly lucky with the Elizabeth Suzann sample sale – I got FOUR things I had my eye on! Her stuff is pretty far outside my budget normally so I was very grateful for all the gems that were marked down. If anything doesn’t fit or work, I’ll be back to see if anyone wants them.
Grechen Reiter says
yes i read one of those books, but i don’t remember which one! and i think i have another on my list at the library, i’ll have to check again.
i really liked wayward pines, they were quick, but interesting, dark matter is quick, but blah.
wow!! lucky you! i can’t wait to hear what you think about your ES pieces. i was really hoping the sale would be items that were available immediately 🙁 oh well…
Grechen Reiter says
catherine, the guy with six kids is leo babuta – i’ve been reading his stuff since he started, before he was a “minimalist” – he writes zen habits, which i love. he’s really interesting, and it would have been really cool if they featured him more. his journey has been monumental. i thought the same thing about filming him in a restaurant…i was like, hmmm…house too cluttered? i mean no judgement, just that 8 people in san francisco can’t be that “minimal” LOL
i can’t wait to get the book – thanks for the recommendation!!
I get what you’re saying about the minimalists and feeling like you’re not doing “enough.” If you’re trying to be more thoughtful about what you consume, and thinking about how experiences can be more fulfilling than things, that should be enough. In some ways, I feel like some extreme minimalists are not much different from hoarders–it’s two sides of one coin. And then there’s always the issue of what people present publicly and not showing their “real” life which you are familiar with from the fashion / lifestyle blogging world.
Grechen Reiter says
I feel like I dabble in minimalism/zero waste but I haven’t made it to the standards most of the blogs I read. Example: the two ES pieces I scored in yesterday’s sale! Harper sweater and Lara top. 🙂
I had looked at the ES site at 7:45. Started a 9 hour (yesit was awful) meeting at 8. I finished my first piece at 8:32 and grabbed my phone to order and the pieces I wanted were gone. If you get any Georgia tees or Harper tunics please think kindly of me. I live in both of those. As I think it’s 18 but feels like 8, I’d adore the wool Harper tunic to be all cozy.
I had not heard of Golden Goose before you posted them, but what makes them that fabulous??
Thanks for the info! I wasn’t familiar with him, but I’ll look him up. I totally agree, it’s hard to get others on board, and I can’t imagine trying to convince 7 other housemates. 🙂
No comment, just wanted to be added to your email list. Found your blog today, and loved it. Congrats on the ES jumpsuit! I had my eye on them, couldn’the believe how fast the sample sale sold out. Cheers for ES!
I always look on SLOWRE but the sizes are usually too small for me Im an 8-10 🙁 So any girls who did buy Elisabeh Suzanne and its too big put it on SLOWRE)
Thank you for the tees column and will be checking out JPOrganics and JP
I missed the Q and A session but I do have a couple- I didnt see this one if it’s a repeat, sorry
1. Where did you grow up? You mention stores like Loehmans, and other retailers and I think New York! 2. Since you live in a hot climate what undergarments do you wear to hold your bits in when its summer?
Thank you Grechen! Have a great weekend
Just wondering if a James Perse sample sale is coming up also? If so will you let us know? I read some older posts and James Perse had an online sale around end of January last year…
Grechen Reiter says
i rely on consignment mostly for SLOWRE, so everyone send your larger sizes in, please! !!! 🙂 i definitely need more consignment, it’s been a little slow lately, although i do have some good things going up next week… i am thinking of some new ways to add inventory also…
i think i might do an AMA every month, it was fun!
to answer your questions though:
1. i was born in Indiana – columbus, but moved to central florida when i was 2. So that’s where i shopped loehman’s – we also had one in atlanta, although as i got older i wasn’t a huge fan of the communal dressing room LOL. we moved to the atlanta area when i was 13, and that’s where i started high school. then leo and i moved to austin in 2010, and then to dallas in 2013. et viola!
2. i wear the same undergarments in warmer weather too, and they don’t bother me at all, in fact, they alleviate sweaty-thigh-syndrome…when it’s really hot, i will wear boyshorts under a loose, flowy dress (like my eileen fisher linen one) – i don’t wear the fitted JP dresses much when it’s SUPER hot.
Grechen Reiter says
things sold out in seconds on ES – that’s what happened to me THREE TIMES when i tried to order a pair of shoes. i gave up.
honestly, GG isn’t ALL THAT FABULOUS. but they’re really good. here’s what i like/appreciate: the ankle is cut really low, which is much more flattering on me, there’s a hidden wedge inside the shoe, which gives very subtle height and elongates the leg ever so slightly (you can really tell), and it’s lined with terry, so you don’t HAVE to wear socks. they’re also made in italy. i wish they were a little more comfortable, so i probably won’t start collecting them like some people do, but i’d been wanting to try a pair forever, just to see for myself what all the hype was, so i’m satisfied 🙂
Christine M says
Congrats to everyone who scored an ES sample (or two or four)! I didn’t luck out – I wasn’t in the right place at the right time – but I might have gone for that wool Ida trench.
I think Jen’s observation on the minimalists having a lot in common with hoarders is spot-on. I have another half-formed thought or two on this – especially regarding public face vs real life – but should probably watch the film before saying anything further.
Grechen, do you know if the Everlane cashmere crew sizing or style has changed from last year? I’ve been curious about trying the small since I don’t love how the medium I bought last winter fits me. I ask because they keep mucking with the V-neck. I think it’s changed three times in three years. I tried one of this year’s and HATED the fit. Too roomy in the body and too tight in the arms. (I love the wool cashmere square crew though. It’s a different type of knit – a heavier weight with lots of structure.)
Grechen Reiter says
i can’t tell you now, but stay tuned very soon 😉 i promise i’ll post about it….
Grechen Reiter says
oh, can’t want to hear your thoughts after you watch the movie!
i haven’t tried any previous versions of the cashmere crew – i do have the cropped cashmere crew from last year, and the cashmere is definitely different – thinner, less substantial. the fit of the small is perfect on me, pretty much just right everywhere. i wish it was a little shorter, but otherwise very good. don’t love the quality of the “cheaper” cashmere honestly
i find the cashmere v-neck very annoying – i’ve had two of those and gave them to my sister. the fit is just WAY off…
Grechen Reiter says
oh, i hope the lara top works out for you, but if it doesn’t…. 😉
I know where to send it!
I received the Stronghold jeans today and they fit perfect! It’s been so long since I’ve had button fly jeans in my closet! I’ve missed them!
Check out Pedag Terry Insoles. Amazon has good prices. I hate wearing socks when it’s hot out so I just slip a pair of those into whichever shoe that I’m wearing at the time and I don’t need to wear them. I also actually just bought the wool ones for winter since my feet have been freezing. The terry is washable so you can just throw them into the wash after a few wears and they last usually an entire summer for me doing that.
And the concept of a mini wedge or hidden wedge in the shoe is incredibly intriguing. I may have to try.
I just discovered the Minimalists podcast on my road trip over the holidays, and now I’m thinking I need to watch the documentary also. I agree with you that minimalism isn’t the answer to all of our problems….it has been a little cathartic for me this week to clear out the closet of a lot of “stuff” that isn’t getting worn! I would love to get to a point of less is more, but I’m not sure how far I’ll get as I love clothes and shoes so much 🙂
Rebecca | Seven2Seven8 says
Oooh, I so enjoyed this post (I enjoy most of them, but I just watched the doc too, and am also contemplating my budget because January).
1. Minimalism — Agree. I have too much and like to live with less, in fact, I LOVE the Minimalist Game from their blog and am on my fourth round of the game, which I find concentrated and rewarding for keeping daily detritus build-up at bay when done once a year or so.
For the movie, or for some of my blogs I’ve read on the subject, I’m like “yay you don’t have anything, but why can’t I have a framed piece of art on the wall?” I like stuff. I just want to like the stuff in my life.
My approach is therefore to embrace the parts of minimalism that speak to me (it takes time and effort to take care of our belongings so collect them mindfully, whether they are shoes and sweaters or figurines or books) but generally to embrace William Morris’ key motto:
“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Nothing about that says you do or don’t need to have art on your walls.
The other piece of your blog made me think of a Q I wish I’d thought of to submit to your AMA. I need to set a budget closer to the one you mention in your post, but I also have noted that you (and a lot of other minimal bloggers) reference and wear a lot of beautiful and well-made pieces that cost more than your budget for a single item. How often are these items gifts for review vs. splurges? I bought a very nice Eileen Fisher poncho/top thing last summer and while I love it and hope to own it for years, I can’t quite imagine a world where all of my clothing basics cost three digits…
Would love to see a post about pricing and reconciliation of budget and availability. I’m not interested in filling my closet with fast-fashion disposables. But it’s really hard to justify a $50 white t-shirt when it doesn’t consistently outperform the $5 one from Old Navy, or when both have discolored pits after a season or a year. The ethics and sustainability of items go a long way, but when you’re working with a budget, it’s a tough balance to strike.
Thanks for recommending The New Garconne, Catherine, since I’ve been eyeing it for a long time. Now I’m going to get it! And I saw that Netflix has “Minimalism” so I’m adding that to my watch list and promise to keep an open mind.
I looked, but I think a lot of things were gone by that time, plus, I found the remaining items still quite pricey for a sample sale ( for example: marked from $245 to $220, or something close)
I’ve read a couple of Tana French books, and liked them. Working on getting back to The Goldfinch (“Cmon, Focus, Val, focus!!!”) Enjoying “Sherlock,” going to a lot of movies, and cocooning at home while expecting an 8″ snowfall tomorrow!
Sending back a lot of purchases. Especially disgusted that my new AG “The Beau” jeans in darker wash didn’t fit AT ALL like my more distressed pair. (Much tighter and not as comfy)
Thanks for the recommendation, McK! I hate wearing socks with sneakers, but the alternative is….less than appealing!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Dying for a white shirt dress!)
I just finished The Minimalists Documentary last night. I found the discussions about consumerism and the analysis of how we got to this point (cheap prices etc) interesting. But I did find the the lack of detail on how people evolved into minimalist packing. I don’t necessarily relate to The Minimalists well however (I’ve read a few books of theirs). I relate more to Tammy Strobel’s voice (Rowdy Kittens blog) and enjoyed her book immensely. I got a much better idea of how she got from maximalist point A to minimalist point B. More than I ever did with The Minimalists. No doubt they are sincere but I still feel like I’m reading an aspirational blog when it comes to them. I don’t feel like I know much about their personality or interests other than that they are minimalists. But it could be a gender difference too. Love all your outfits in this post!
lacking not packing lol
I quit Salvage the Bones too! Quitter fistbump! 🙂
Happy New Years Grechen and friends. And thank-you Grechen for yet again introducing me to an intriguing website. You are such an incredible resource. I had not heard of Leo or Zen Habits, and with some trepidation (fearing both smugness and hypocrisy) I checked him out. First I read a scathing rebuke, so I would be ready with points to be aware of, then an interview with him about the origins of his personal journey (serious financial crisis) and then on to some of his self-work postings. I was pleasantly surprised that, from my limited reading, his website seems to offer practical advice over style. I feel like his household economic management philosophy is just basic sensible budgeting, a skill which somehow some of us have lost (including me): live within your means, which includes budgeting for debt repayment and an emergency fund, and prioritize discretionary spending (for his family yes to restaurants and movies, but as treats, not daily things.) His pause and calm down approach to being stressed-out/overwhelmed/frustrated/angry is very similar to the emotional regulation techniques that the organizations I volunteer with teach their clients (and which have helped me a lot.) I find his “unschooling” philosophy would have been a nightmare for my particular family to take on, even on a part-time basis, but do find I would like to see more of this philosophy integrated into our public school system. It’s all given me a banquet for thought.
Erin Van Genderen says
Hi Grechen! I love these types of posts, with a smattering of outfit photos and thoughts and reading recommendations. I can’t wait to see how you wear the Clyde jumpsuit – the ES sample sale looked awesome but I wasn’t about to wake up at 4 a.m. to see it (Hawaii time zone).
Sort of a random request — can you tell me more about your beloved Shorty jeans, please? I’m on the hunt for boyfriend jeans that aren’t tight and restrictive on my ample thighs (thanks, CrossFit!) and actually have the promised slouch factor I’m after. I’ve already ordered and returned what feels like a million pairs, and I’m dying for a personal recommendation. Thanks!
Becca M says
I laughed when I read that you worried how you would access your books! Those type of out there scenarios spin in my mind as well, and that specific problem is one I’ve thought about. I would make sure all my books were downloaded into the Kindle/nook/phone and get a solar powered charger. But I don’t over think things…???
Also, I’m very much looking forward to your thoughts on being childless, and the dialogue it will hopefully inspire in the comments. My husband and I are childless by choice ourselves, but that may not be how it worked out for you, so I’m very interested!
“It’s not easy trying to minimize at such an extreme level. Especially if you’re in a relationship.”
I agree there. I lean heavily on “achievable minimalism.” I hate spartan minimalists who think a minimalist lifestyle is about getting rid of as much as possible.. and then some. That, to me, is ridiculous. Minimalism is about getting rid of things that do not add value to our lives, that’s it.
I live the someone I would say is not minimalism and in fact has hoarding tendencies. We balance each other out. I would get rid of too much if left to my own devices and he would keep everything. It’s a nice balance and I think that is what minimalism is truly about.
Grechen Reiter says
yes! will do a post on my shorty jeans ASAP…they’re amazing, and now i have three pair 🙂
Grechen Reiter says
haha! yay 🙂
Christine M says
It’s so disheartening, to hear that the quality has gone down, but I suppose it’s to be expected. I mean, how often do we expect the quality of something to improve? And to expect better even with a price drop is just way too much to ask, I suppose. I see all the angry reviews at J. Crew, which used to sell beautiful cashmere, ranting about a downturn in quality (for many types of items including sweaters), and it discourages me from ever buying anything from them again. I haven’t bought from J. Crew in years and I don’t miss them at all. I still can’t quit Everlane even though so much about them frustrates me.
Grechen Reiter says
you and me both….
i don’t think the quality is horrible on the new everlane crew, but compared to the older cashmere, it’s not even comparable. it just doesn’t feel very special anymore. but i’m over it anyway – i certainly don’t need any more cashmere, i just need to take very good care of what i have and hopefully it will last me a long time.