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Dressing To Align With Personal Values

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“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

~Harriet Tubman

The mission of “improving humanity by changing the way we perceive one another” was my dream for Bold Blind Beauty. I hoped to empower blind women, connect sighted and blind people, and challenge everyone to view people on a deeper level.

My idea for this site evolved from my sight loss and what I experienced every time I would meet someone new. “You don’t look blind,” or “you’re too attractive to be blind,” among other misguided comments weren’t meant to injure me. On the contrary, these sentiments were an awkward attempt to compliment me and help me feel more accepting of my blindness. Ironically, the problem was I’d already accepted my blindness however those who encountered me did not.

Since I didn’t fit within the confines of others’ views of what blindness looks like then that must mean I’m not blind right? I mean how can someone who is blind put on makeup or dress stylishly? More importantly, when eyesight is diminished why should anyone care about their appearance? For me, the answer is as simple as beauty is boundless!

Image & Real Beauty

The tagline “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers” is at the heart of Bold Blind Beauty as valuing people is Real Beauty. As a creative person, I’ve always been a dreamer and believe in my heart and soul that anything is possible. I’m not sure if my dreams fuel my passion or passion fuels my creativity, maybe they are one and the same? All I do know is when you believe in possibilities you must do all you can to make the dream a reality.

Tackling image or appearance in blog posts about makeup and fashion from a deeper perspective has, at times, been challenging for me. Having worked in corporate America for many years, I understand the importance of a professional image. And while I try to incorporate more meaningful messages in my blog posts I sometimes struggle. The reality is ‘public impression’ or how things ‘appear’ are more appealing to the majority of the world. Yet the dreamer in me still believes that people crave authenticity and are open to a more genuine conversation about beauty.

My values; kindness, compassion, and social justice are important to me. Incorporating mindfulness, a recent practice of mine was the missing link that now balances my values with how I live my life. So I was thrilled to begin reading The Conscious Closet by Elizabeth L. Cline this weekend as many strategies in the book align with my principles.

What I’m Learning

As a minimalist, I am happiest when I’m purging. Doing so, in every area of my life from wardrobe to my work is freeing and has allowed me to reclaim my time.

One of the first recommendations mentioned in the book is to do a Wardrobe Impact Inventory—mine is below. I was ecstatic to find out that my wardrobe, minus socks and underwear, totaled 118 items. And the first thought that popped into my head after arriving at the total was “I can do better.” But here’s the thing, I’m making progress. Five years ago the number of pairs of shoes I had alone far exceeded this total. For the record, I now have 16 pairs of shoes including sneakers, boots, flats, and heels.

Steph’s 2019 Wardrobe Impact Inventory
TOPS
Camis13
Tees20
Shirts4
Cardigans7
Dressy Jackets2
Casual Jackets3
Denim Jacket1
Denim Vest1
BOTTOMS
Skirts4
Jeans3
Leggings5
Pants5
Shorts1
Exercise Capris5
DRESSES6
JUMPSUIT1
FOOTWEAR
Heels4
Flats5
Sneakers3
Boots4
BAGS
Backpacks2
Clutches3
Handbags2
OUTERWEAR
Faux Fur Vest1
Parka1
Dress Coat1
Wool Cape1
Anorak1
TOTAL118

While I’m only midway through the book, I’m finding it’s a goldmine of information. For example, once I counted all of my pieces I tallied the percentage of my wardrobe that I use. Next, I selected 15 different items and took photos of the labels. After magnifying the photos I was able to determine where each item was made and the materials used to make them. On a side note out of all the items I chose only one was from the United States. The majority of my stuff came from China, Vietnam, and the Philipines and a few from Indonesia, Cambodia, and Bangladesh.

Satisfaction & Less Is Enough

The Conscious Closet couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time because I’m deliberately making better choices in my life. Adopting an ‘if I’m not using it I don’t need it’ philosophy in nearly all areas of my life gives it more meaning. The bottom line, I don’t want stuff just to have it. But how do I share these ideas with others when we live in a world of overabundance? The simple answer is to share and let people decide for themselves what works best for them.

I’ve been doing wardrobe inventory for years and the difference now is I use it to identify my essentials. I can’t tell you how helpful this system is especially since I can no longer see. Simplifying the color palette of my wardrobe makes my heart skip a beat because nearly everything is interchangeable. Working with less has also made creating new outfit combinations less aggravating and more fun.

Frustrated with nonstop advertising trying to convince me that I NEED the latest and greatest whatever put me on the path to simplicity. Unsubscribing from retail email lists, and circulars sent by snail mail was my first line of attack. While I’d always practiced recycling my clothing twice a year I wanted to do it less frequently. Implementing a ‘something comes in, something goes out’ process helped tame my compulsion to buy.

Today, more than ever, I feel like I’m living my life far more authentically than ever before and I’m content. Being able to finally interweave my style with my values is gratifying. As I continue to absorb the content in The Conscious Closet I hope to share more insight with you.

Featured Image Description:

The image is a silhouette of a woman with her eyes closed. Incorporated within the woman’s profile is a vast galaxy of stars in shades of black, dark purple, blue, pink, and white.

12 thoughts on “Dressing To Align With Personal Values

  1. I am constantly recycling my wardrobe but get the thrill of shopping at Goodwill. Last year I got a new faux fur vest at Goodwill for around $5 and always get compliments. Today I gave in to my indulgent desire and bought a pair of Vera Wang black pleather leggings. I NEEDED them – and they were on sale at Kohl’s. I wonder how they align with my personal values???

    1. OOOO the leggings sound fabulous Kerry and YES I can see how these would be a NEED!! I agree with you on the thrill of scoring some great second hand finds. I actually get giddy.

      1. Ha, ha, ha. My husband had exactly the right reaction when I modeled my leggings. He stroked my bum!

      2. Hahahaha

  2. Wow, your Wardrobe Impact Inventory! I’m impressed. But I’m happy to see that I’m not doing bad either. 🙂 And Cline’s book really sounds interesting, I’m certainly adding to my TBR list. Brilliant post, Steph!

    1. I’m happy that you’re not doing bad either Khaya. Doing this allowed me to see where I can make some adjustments like, for example I’ve been wanting a denim dress, denim skirt, wrap dress, maybe a couple pair of jeans, to name a few and I have no problem swapping out the excess like with my tees. And I’m actually looking forward to shaving off more. The process is actually fun and it saves me money as well. The book is awesome and some of the statistics around the production and waste of clothing is staggering and a lot of it has to do with our living in a disposable society. But I think more and more people are working to make positive changes for our environment.

  3. Hmmm – a monumental task for me, I’m afraid and embarrassed to say. The author is right in that time is needed to go through the exercise. I may have to tackle my wardrobe after the Christmas season. Thank you for this inspirational post Steph.

    1. Hi Wendy, thank you for coming by, reading and commenting. When I began making more money and was able to afford a more extensive wardrobe I showed little self-restraint and at the time it felt really good. But if I’m brutally honest, I think a small part of me felt a little guilty because I wasn’t in sync with my values. The lifestyle I’ve created for myself isn’t for everyone, heck in my family there are many who don’t agree with it and think I’m “out to lunch” but this feels and is right for me. When I have too much of anything my mind is clouded and I can’t function very well. The book talks about fast fashion, and the many different ways to recycle clothing to get the best use out of it while maintaining our sense of style. I’m really enjoying it.

    2. Speaking of guilt – I know I have too many clothes and it has been on my ‘to-do’ list to cull and re-home those that I can. I’m ashamed to say that I have some with labels still attached and not worn. 🙁 I will endeavour to go through them after Christmas (perhaps in the lull between Christmas and New Year). I am also trying to refrain from impulse buying and so far, I’m succeeding.
      I will make it a priority to PM you once I’ve done it. It will keep me motivated and accountable. Lol! 🙂 xx

      1. Wendy, please don’t be hard on yourself. I think many of us feel this same guilt/shame at some point in our lives and I also think it’s important to recognize it and then engineer a plan to address it. This is a personal journey for each person and it all begins with awareness. Yes, and please PM me once you begin your journey I’d love to ride along with you. 🤗😘🥰

  4. This was interesting. I’ve never thought about counting all my clothes! It would take awhile, I’m sure. Most of them i never even wear, as I tend to wear the same ones over & over. It would be a good thing to go through it all. 🙂

    1. I’ve been wanting to do it for a few years and finally gained the courage after starting the book. I think this would have been a futile exercise had I done it before scaling down. It is good to see how many of each item you have though. The author recommends setting aside a few hours to do so and her recommendation differs from many closet organization gurus but she offers some awesome alternatives.😀

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