Posted on 16 Comments

The Summertime Blues

Blues Come In All Forms

#1 - Black & Navy Striped Dress and Chambray Shirt
#1 – Black & Navy Striped Dress and Chambray Shirt

Earlier this year one of my goals for this blog was to talk about dressing stylishly while on a fixed income. So true to my word I’ve made very few clothing purchases over the past six months because frankly I don’t have the same resources at my disposal as I did prior to my retirement.

Like most women, I enjoy the feeling I get when I put on a new pair of shoes, dress, blouse, jewelry, you get the point. Not being able to afford such luxuries gives me the blues then I recall being on the struggle bus when my children were young and how I resorted to creatively mixing and matching outfits—there were times I felt like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat because some of my combinations were pure magic.

#2 - Chambray Shirt & White Textured Pencil Skirt
#2 – Chambray Shirt & White Textured Pencil Skirt
#3 - Chambray Shirt, Gray Cami and Blue Jeans
#3 – Chambray Shirt, Gray Cami and Blue Jeans

So it is with magic and the color blue in mind that I was able to create the three ensembles pictured in this post (descriptions at the bottom). The best part of pulling together these outfits is none of the pieces are new. As a matter of fact the cute second-hand fabric Etienne Aigner slides with the kitten heels, from ThredUp (an online consignment store-see comment at the bottom), ended up costing me nothing because I used credit received from selling some of my clothing last summer.

NYPD Blue & Abigail

While the tragic events of the last few days have been on everyone’s mind, I want to share something positive. In one of my recent posts, Mug In A Box, I announced a hashtag campaign that goes hand-in-hand with the message of this blog and that is acceptance by helping people to understand that people with disabilities are people who have the same feelings as everyone else.

#4 - NYPD Police Cruiser with Abigail Style Mug
#4 – NYPD Police Cruiser with Abigail Style Mug
#5 - #‎AbbyOnTheMove‬ Abby in the Big Apple | New York City
#5 – #‎AbbyOnTheMove‬ Abby in the Big Apple | New York City

Currently Abby has shown up in a few places and the one that made me smile big time was some of the locations in New York City. One of my very good friends is married to a New York City Detective and he was so thrilled to help in #AbbyOnTheMove campaign that he took a number of photos, including one of his police cruiser, because he recognizes the importance of how we perceive people, with and without disabilities. Thank you Joe for your part in putting Abby on map and for all you do to serve and protect.

Image Descriptions:

#1 – Black & Navy Striped Dress and Chambray Shirt | A navy & black striped tank midi dress goes well under the chambray shirt (I would tie the ends of the shirt at my waist) and Etienne Aigner mules. This looked is completed with a hombre navy & natural straw floppy hat, large shades, silver necklace, earrings and black rhinestone cuff bracelet.

#2 – Chambray Shirt & White Textured Pencil Skirt | This outfit includes a white textured pencil skirt with a navy/white paisley oblong scarf which I would use as a sash tied around my waist. Accessories include silver and blue statement necklace and earring set, silver cuff bracelet and a blue glass ring.

#3 –  Chambray Shirt, Gray Cami and Blue Jeans | The chambray shirt and mules are paired with skinny jeans and gray cami which would be worn under the shirt. Accessories are a faux leather necklace with a silver medallion, silver & turquoise Aztec inspired earrings and silver cuff bracelet.

#4 – NYPD Police Cruiser with Abigail Style Mug that says “My Friend Is Bold Blind And Beautiful”

#5 – Image Tri-photo collage: “Together we are breaking down barriers and revealing common ground!” Abigail Style Mug in NY on a CitiBike, Metro Kiosk, NYPD Police Cruiser

Note on ThredUp: While I was able to navigate the site using magnification I found the descriptions could be enhanced for people who cannot see very well or at all. One of my friends who uses JAWS had an extremely difficult time trying to navigate the site. 

Wishing everyone a nice weekend! ~Steph



Posted on 33 Comments

Wardrobe Woes? Conquering the Chaos

The Bane of Your Existence

Closet packed full of clothesEvery day it’s the same drill: You shut off the annoying alarm, contemplate getting up, contemplate calling off work, get up, put on the coffee, use the comfort station (fancy description for toilet), take your shower, contemplate calling off work again, consume first cup of java, do hair, do makeup, inhale deeply, then open the closet.

It’s full of all sorts of clothes, yet you still have not a blessed thing to wear. “What to do?” you ask yourself for the millionth time, as you once again contemplate calling off work one last time. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is gonna work today. “I hate my wardrobe!” you mutter as you angrily stomp away to grab another cup of coffee while you think about what to wear.

If this situation sounds vaguely familiar you can rest assured this is a global phenomenon faced by women and yes, men, the world over. There are many reasons why we find ourselves in this predicament but today’s focus is going to be on how to rectify the issue and it’s gonna take some fearlessness. Are you ready? Let’s do this!

Multi colored plastic hangers

The Assessment

Before diving into a full-blown evaluation of the contents within your wardrobe it’s helpful to have an end goal in mind. You can ask yourself questions like:

  1. What is it I’m hoping to achieve? Am I just clearing things out to make room for more stuff? Do I just want to be more organized?
  2. Where am I now or where do I hope to be in my career in the next 6 months? (For example if you’re a news reporter for a local station who doesn’t provide you with a wardrobe then you’re likely going to require more selections than the average consumer).
  3. If the long-term goal is a minimalist approach how will I be able to sustain the system I put in place? In the future for each new garment I buy am I planning to get rid an equal amount of items I currently possess?

After you’ve answered these questions begin the assessment in your closet by taking out all of your go-to pieces and set them aside. This is easy because you constantly use all of these  things therefore they are within reach.

You’ve Gotta be Ruthless

Go back to your closet and remove the remaining items, one piece at a time to decide if each will be tossed, donated and/or sold. It isn’t easy but this is where you have to be brutally honest.

Remember that gorgeous jumpsuit you bought two years ago that you just had to have but never wore? Well here it is, in pristine condition (with tags even), hanging there just as lonely and dejected as an extrovert in forced solitary confinement during spring break.

Then there’s those fabulous skinny jeans that are just a wee bit snug (originally retailed in the triple digits but you scored them for 50 bucks), every time you look at them they scream at you LOSE weight!! Who needs psychological abuse from a pair of jeans? Send them packing because here’s the thing, you understand that looking put together means wearing clothes that fit well.

Wooden drawer with one knob

Bottom line, you’re going to give, sell or toss the remainder of the closet. Yes, there can be an emotional attachment to the things you own, so to assist you in getting through this process it’s important to be objective, honest and do not linger over your decisions.

Do the setting aside of the go-tos, toss, donate and/or sell routine with your dresser, chest of drawers, armoire (wherever you store clothing). Depending on the amount of garments you own and how dedicated you are to change, this could take a few hours, days or (and I shudder to think about it), weeks.

Immediately toss the dated, damaged or otherwise unwanted clothing. You now have two categories left: sell and donate.

A word on selling: When you opt to sell your clothing there are several options available:

  1. You can do it online on your own through sites like ebay, Tradesy or Swap
  2. A brick and mortar consignment retailer like Plato’s Closet, 2nd Time Around (online too) or Consignment Pal Resale Directory
  3. An online consignment retailer who takes care of everything ThredUp, My Girlfriend’s Wardrobe Consignment Store, Delvage

If you are going to be selling any of your clothing to a consignment retailer, you’ll want to check their policies on acceptable items (some will only accept designer labels). Recently I chose to sell some clothing to ThredUp and because of the quantity of items, I took pictures (for my records) of each piece prior to shipment.

Okay, so let’s review: You’ve tossed the tossables, bagged the sellables and by now are packing up the donatables.

Bunch of full garbage bags

Remember how I said we would look at your go-tos in a bit? Okay, now’s the time to appraise your favorite clothes. Do they still fit well? Could they use some altering? Are they worn or damaged due to wear and tear? Ultimately you want to see what needs to be replaced and act accordingly.

If you keep only those things that you love you will be getting more value out of your investment. Plus, the added bonus of feeling fabulous is priceless!