Posts Tagged ‘nyc’

Six Items or Less, Day 29: The end of the road.

October 5, 2010

Tomorrow is the last day of Six Items or Less for me. I’m slightly relieved since this weekend I’m going to three fancy events — a rehearsal dinner, a wedding and a family photo shoot with my future peeps-in-law — all of which require a somewhat polished appearance, and I don’t think anything in my six items much less the rest of my closet fits the description. Although, let’s be honest, I’ll probably end up wearing the blue J. Crew popover that’s defined my SIOL experience to one or all of these events anyway.

As a little gift to myself for getting through SIOL/getting my first paycheck at Ye Olde New Job, I bought the red beanie you see above from Yes Jess. It’s getting chilly in these parts, and since I lost my favorite purple beanie last year, I have nothing to wear on my head — I don’t want to be caught unprepared. Besides, I needed something bright and amazing to enliven my mostly navy wardrobe.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting… to Participate in Six Items Or Less

October 4, 2010

To the relief of  at least a few members of this blog’s readership, I finally did some much-needed laundry. This writer is wrinkle- and coffee stain-free once more (at least for now). Still going strong in my blue popover and jeans, y’all. *fist pump*

Looks like the folks over at Six Items or Less are getting ready to unveil their new site and start another leg of the experiment en masse! Hooray! In honor of the occasion — as well as the final three days of my own Six Items or Less stint — here’s a list of dos, don’ts, always-es, definitelys, maybes, etc. to help you prepare for the mission, if you choose to accept it.

1. Stock up on lots of good-quality underwear and socks. You’re going to need them. I suggest getting them in cotton and like colors to cut down on laundry costs (see below) and spruce up your palette — despite my somewhat stark, monastic ramblings earlier, I firmly believe that variety is the spice of life :)

If you’re a man, I kindly suggest you proceed to tip #3.

2. If you’re a woman, now’s the time to invest in one or two comfortable, high-quality bras. In case you didn’t know, a good bra…

  • might require a fitting at one of those lingerie specialty stores (you know exactly what I’m talking about; every town has one!). I strongly suggest that every woman endures five minutes of minor discomfort / embarrassment and get fitted. You’ll be glad you did.
  • will probably be more expensive than you’d like but is worth every penny
  • will make whatever you’re wearing (even if it’s the same six things, over and over) look good and feel comfortable

Remember, a bad bra will make you feel and look unpolished and uncomfortable no matter what you’ve got over it.

3. When you’re trying to decide on your six items, don’t choose anything that needs to be dry-cleaned, washed on delicate, rinsed in rosewater by the light of the full moon, etc. Everything you choose should be able to be washed in cold water and dried in a washing machine. No wasting time here.

4.  Do expect to do laundry more often than you have been. There’s no such thing as waiting an entire month to do laundry again in The Land of Six Items. I’ve had to do it about once a week (gasp!).

5. On that note, when you do do your laundry, expect to only have to do one big load (or maybe two medium sized-ones). I purposely didn’t choose anything white in my six items so that I could throw all of it in the wash without worrying about colors bleeding. It was a big money saver (and good for the environment, too).

6. If you’re not doing it already, brace yourself to wear clothes two, three, four or, in my case, as many as nine or ten times between washes. If you live in Brooklyn, you’re already at an advantage, because no one between the ages of 18 and 34 seems to bathe or wash themselves regularly anyway. If anything, you’ll just fit right in.

7. Raid your friend’s and family member’s closets (with their permission). I feel like the only thing that was really missing from my Six Items or Less experience was a greater sense of community (I’m sure this will be at least partially remedied with the new site!). As I mentioned in my last post, I didn’t have much to work with outside of my six items anyway, so it would have been nice to rely on a few close friends for accessories, scarves, jewelry, etc. It gives you more opportunities to talk about the experiment in a meaningful, constructive way with people you care about, and it helps decrease any feelings you might have to spend money on those things that aren’t included in your six items.

8. Take this opportunity to relish the small things. If you happen to be a lazier, relatively unadorned sixer like myself, you will begin to take a new-found pride in personal hygiene — brushing your teeth, flossing, combing your hair.

9. Similarly, I recommend using your money to buy quality experiences instead of “things.” For instance, pay to get a really good haircut or manicure. Sure, it won’t last forever, and it might seem a little indulgent. But you’ll get to relax as well as meet and converse with the kind person offering you the service. I guarantee buying a bracelet at Target won’t give you that. Besides, I’m terrible at painting my nails; I’d rather hire a professional to do it.

Any fellow “sixers” have good advice that I didn’t mention here? Chime in!

Six Items or Less, Day 27: A 700-word treatise on clothing.

October 2, 2010

Well, I did it. I wore the same outfit five days this week. I actually went into my dirty laundry yesterday morning, pulled out the blue popover with the coffee stain on the front, unsuccessfully attempted to shake out all of the wrinkles and wore it to brunch. I didn’t work yesterday, so there was no need to look or smell particularly good. I don’t know whether to feel proud of or disgusted with myself.

I went back and re-read what I said the other night about Six Items or Less, and I feel like I need to explain a couple of things. I want to make it perfectly clear that I’m really, really, really glad that I decided to do it. In fact, I’m already thinking and talking about doing it again. It’s just that, like any mildly challenging undertaking in life, it’s been both exactly what I expected and not at all what I expected at the same time.

I’ve had a strange relationship with clothing for as long as I can remember. When I go shopping or flip through a catalog, I tend to gravitate toward pretty, feminine styles, and if I had an unlimited amount of time, money and patience, I’d probably wear them. As for what I actually do wear, I’m a tried-and-true champion of comfort and practicality. For instance, I like the way skirts look on others, but I don’t like to wear them because I don’t like the idea of having to restrict my range of motion in order to make sure I don’t flash the people near me when I bend down to plug in my computer cord.

That mentality reaches further than just clothes in my life. About two years ago, I stopped wearing make-up to work because it took too much time to put on and usually irritated my skin. Around the same time, I stopped blow-drying and putting styling product in my hair because I was tired of, once again, wasting time on something that was damaging my very fine, straight hair and never achieved the desired results anyway.

All of these aforementioned decisions have not been easy at all. I don’t walk around patting myself on the back or thinking that I’m better than other people, because guess what? I’m a total mess. I’m just as much of a consumer-driven, money-obsessed superficial narcissist like everybody else my age in America, and the only reason that I’ve forced myself to cut these things out of my life is because I want them — I actually think I need them — so badly that I think if I don’t have them, I’m going to be an ugly failure. Seriously.

The honest truth is that I want to be cute, I want to be stylish, I want people to “ohh” and “ahh” over what I wear, I want to be one-of-a-kind, and I want to feel younger than my 25 years. But I’ve traveled down that road so many times in my life, and it’s just not worth it. I actually ended up feeling more inadequate than I did to begin with, because there’s always — ALWAYS — someone cuter,  more stylish, etc.

Besides, if the coffee-stained popover isn’t enough of an example, I’m just inherently lazy.

At the risk of sounding slightly melodramatic, let me say that with only three days of Six Items or Less left to go, I’m at the end of myself. I’m bored. I’m uninspired. I’m pulling out dirty clothes and re-wearing them again and not even trying. Instead, I just look like myself, unadorned, and whatever that means — whether it’s cute or ugly or weird — doesn’t matter, because why should I have to explain who I am without frills?  I’ve never known before what it’s like to not think about my appearance, but when you only have six items to choose from, it’s a little easier to forget.

Like I said before, I thought that, for me, the point of Six Items or Less was going to be to find out how creative and interesting I could be with next to nothing. But I think that it’s forced me to stop thinking about what I wear altogether. Maybe I’m getting to my point a little too late, but I’m thinking more about who I am and how I define myself when I’m not worrying about how I look.

(Photo courtesy of Farmhouse Vintage)

Six Items or Less, Day 25: oMg whatever lolzzz :P

October 1, 2010

Wanna know the truth? At this point in the game, I’m just bored .

I wore the same things three days in a row this week. THREE DAYS IN A ROW. I didn’t even take the trouble to change my sweater, accessories or shoes. To tell you the truth, I probably would have worn the same things today, too, except that I noticed that I had a spot of coffee on the front of my popover last night and tossed it in the laundry. Because I really pride myself on my devotion to a professional appearance in the workplace. Or something.

When I started doing Six Items or Less, I imagined myself digging into the depths of my closet and unearthing a ton of untapped resources — jewelry, hats, belts, whatever — that would make the same six pieces look completely different every day of the month. I  would prove my creativity, individuality and adherence to a sustainable lifestyle with a series of cute outfits and quirky posts.

Then I actually started digging into my closet. You want to know what I found? Not much. I have three belts. Until recently, I owned only two necklaces, one bracelet and no earrings (even though my ears are pierced!).  My most relied-on “purses” are actually my North Face backpack from high school (still going strong) and a series of grimy canvas tote bags. I own less than half the amount of shoes that my gentleman caller has, but considering what he does, I guess it’s not too surprising.

I sold and gave away the majority of my clothing when I moved last year. A lot of superfluous crap was gotten rid of in the process, and since then, I’ve made a habit of going through my drawers and closet every month or two and weeding out things that I don’t need. Pretty soon after starting the challenge, I thought that I needed to reinforce my accessories arsenal and buy a bunch of cute things that were interchangeable with my six items. But wouldn’t acquiring more “stuff” be entirely AGAINST the spirit of Six Items or Less?!

Are we really defined by what we wear, whether it’s “bigger” pieces or accessories? Don’t answer that. Bottom line: Acquire less, act more. No one’s going to remember what you wore; they’re going to remember how much you cared.

That’s what I think, anyway :P

P.S. I inadvertently acquired another accessory last weekend… an engagement ring (see pic!).

Six Items or Less, Day 19: Skirting the issue.

September 26, 2010

I had to cave yesterday and today and WEAR THE SKIRT. Don’t worry, Susan, I shaved my legs :)

As soon as I put it on, I remembered why I’d been postponing wearing it: There’s a partially ripped seam around the pocket. Not a huge deal — a needle, a bit of thread and a few minutes will do the trick — but it’s a more urgent issue when you have only two other bottom pieces to rely on. Looks like it’s back to jeans for the remainder of the challenge — or at least until I get navy blue thread.

I feel weird about wearing skirts in New York City anyway. For one thing, it’s getting colder, and for another, call me old-fashioned, I’m always worried about modesty when going up the stairs in the subway station :)

Finally acquired some quarters, so I’m going to take care of the laundry that’s been a thorn in my side for the past week or so tonight. Photos coming again soon…

(Photo courtesy of lacklusterco)

Six Items or Less, Day 18: CRISIS.

September 25, 2010

I had a close call yesterday morning.

All week, I’ve been wearing either my Log Lady blouse or my green Lacoste polo on top, so yesterday, I thought I’d ring in the weekend right and give my blue J. Crew popover some much-needed play. TGIF and all that, right?

Well, it wasn’t in my closet or my dresser. After a couple of minutes, I found it. Crumpled in a ball. In the bottom of my laundry bag. With a toothpaste smudge on the front of it.

At that moment, I was faced with a conundrum that, in most instances, could have been easily solved by simply finding something else to wear, but in this case, left me with three equally unattractive choices. Do I wear…

1. A wrinkled, visibly soiled shirt that’s been fermenting in a pile of other dirty clothes for a week?

2. A green Lacoste polo that I just wore the day before  (and also needs to be washed)?

3. A polyester/rayon blend blouse that I love dearly but provides little to no ventilation in this muggy transition from summer to fall (and yep, you guessed it, needs to be cleaned)?

I actually spent a few minutes hemming and hawing, half-dressed, trying to decide what to do. For me, one of the most appealing aspects of Six Items or Less was that it seemed to reduce the amount of time normally wasted on trying to decide to what to wear. Except for this time around, in which my limited choices were making me waste more time than usual.

I finally settled on #2 (just wearing what I wore the day before), but I almost caved and decided to grab something else. PHEW.

In other news, it’s 18 days in, and I’ve managed to still adhere to the “or Less” part of Six Items or Less — I still haven’t worn my skirt, so my count’s officially at five items. Preeeeeeeeeetty impressed with myself.

(Photo courtesy of Accessory Addiction)

Six Items or Less, Day 15: The Halfway Point.

September 23, 2010

It’s Day 16 of my Six Items or Less challenge, and I’m currently LIVE BLOGGING from my apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. What you see here, my friends, is my look from yesterday — the Crystal Castles look — the exact halfway point between the beginning and the end of my decision to wear six and ONLY six items of clothing for the month of September.

I know that you — not unlike the countless millions of other Acorn Archive readers — have probably been wondering how its writer has been holding up. You’ve probably been sitting there at your respective office desk, kitchen sink or steering wheel, unable to concentrate on the more urgent tasks at hand, silently asking questions like, “Which two, exactly, of her six items is she going to pair today?  Is she going to buck her pants-only regimen and finally introduce the much-awaited skirt into the mix? Or is she going to blow all of our minds and find a way to wear not only two pieces a day but, I dare say, three?”

Well, to answer all of the above questions in one fell swoop: It’s super boring. I’m doing little to no laundry;  it takes about five minutes to get ready every day; no, I’m NOT ready to shave my legs and therefore have NOT worn the skirt yet; and the only thing I’m convinced of is my need to embrace accessories like jewelry. Jewels in my crown, y’all. You know what I’m sayin’?

Well, I guess it’s Fashion Week or something.

September 11, 2010

In honor of the occasion, I’m taking this opportunity to share some of my own thoughts on fashion and how it relates to my newest personal challenge, Six Items or Less, which is now five days under way and pretty much exactly what it sounds like: Choose six items (or less) of clothing and wear only those six items (or less) for 30 days.

I read this article about a month ago; shortly thereafter, I found this. I honestly don’t know if I’m ready to take the extreme measures required to give up all but 100 of my worldly possessions, as mentioned in the first article. But I think that whittling down my wardrobe as suggested by the folks who started  Six Items or Less is a good way for me to move in that direction and do a lot of important things all at once: Conquer my drive to acquire/consume things, force myself to be creative in limiting circumstances, free up some closet space, save money doing laundry and, of course, have fun.

I started the challenge on Sept. 7, 2010. These are the pieces I settled on:

  • Bright green short sleeve Lacoste polo
  • Light blue J. Crew popover
  • Navy blue J. Crew skirt with pockets
  • A pair of Levis that I inherited from a friend
  • A really, really, really old pair of other Gap jeans from high school
  • Light blue Steven Alan dress (in case things get fancy)

(And in case you were too lazy to click the link and read the rules, the Six Items do not include undergarments, socks, shoes, accessories, pajamas, workout clothes or outerwear.)

I have to be honest and say that five days into the challenge, I haven’t experienced any feelings of great personal sacrifice. This might have something to do with the fact that I’ve been wearing the same six pieces of clothing for the past several months anyway, which might have something to do with the fact that I’m extremely lazy and generally lack any disposable income. As much as I love to read fashion blogs, go shopping and spend hours drawing clothes that I wish I had but will most likely never be able to find or afford, I really only stick to wearing a few pieces that are near and dear to my heart. The only time something gets bumped out of the rotation is if I give it away or damage it beyond repairs.

In other words? So far, so good. Pictures coming soon…

Buried treasure.

August 30, 2010

Here’s a good recipe for overcoming materialism: Pack up all of your worldly belongings, move to a new city, relocate within that city four or five times over the course of a year for good measure, and then, once you’ve arrived in an apartment in which you think you’ll be staying for awhile… Finally unpack everything.

I’ve been wishing for a lot of things — a lot of material things — lately, but I’ve discovered it’s a lot less expensive to open an old suitcase and rediscover things that you completely forgot that you had.

SUCH AS… !

• The afghan my great-grandmother made for my mom when she went off to college in 1973. My tastes weren’t sophisticated enough in my younger years to appreciate the color palette. Then one day a few years ago, I walked into my parents’ room, saw this in their armoire and was like, “Uhhhh… this is amazing. Can I have it?” To which my mom said, “Yes.” This has been in storage since the winter for obvious reasons. It may be a little too early to bring it out again, but I don’t care. It will be making an appearance on my bed shortly.

• One of the hardest parts about moving was trying to decide which books to bring along. I ended up bringing a conglomerate of new books, old favorites… and some real wild cards, such as The Elements of Journalism (a college textbook I never sold back), Telling True Stories (another remnant from my college days) and, embarrassingly, Your First Novel, which I’ve never read. I picked up the Donald Miller book earlier this year (pretty good) as well as the Shakespeare ($1 at a library sale). The copy of McSweeney’s Thrilling Tales was a loan from a friend with whom I’ve been long out of touch. There are plenty more where these came from, too.

• My first job in New York was at a very popular and profitable computer store in SoHo. That job had a lot of nice little perks, including but not limited to the guarantee that every few weeks or so, like clockwork, all employees received a set of new T-shirts. What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is my employee wardrobe: 10 T-shirts, two thermal T-shirts and a fleece pullover, all accrued in the course of less than five months. And this isn’t even all of them: After I took this picture, I realized that I was wearing one, and then I found another fleece pullover in a pile. So, yeah. I guess you could say I was, and still am, well-outfitted from my time there.

Room redux.

April 11, 2010

I’ve lived in Greenpoint for a little more than a month, and this week, I decided that it’s high time that I turn my room into the oasis I’ve desperately wanted and needed since moving to New York City in August.

I was going to start painting today, but it was too beautiful outside, so instead, I’m going to postpone painting another week, enjoy the great weather and keep brainstorming about where I want my miniature redecoration to go next. Here are some things that have piqued my interest.

One of my favorite memories from growing up was a little succulent garden that my grandpa had. I couldn’t believe that plants could be that small and intricate, require so little care and have such awesome names. On that note, I’ve been pretty taken with miniature terrariums ever since I saw them on Etsy about a year ago. I like plants, but I don’t really have the adequate space or sunlight required to take care of anything much bigger than this. Side note: That teeny, tiny, itty bitty cup and saucer with an equally teeny, tiny, itty bitty lichen sprouting of it? Officially killing me.

“green tea with lichen,” weegreenspot, $40.

Another, less charming story about me in my younger years: My mom, an interior decorator by both nature and trade, always made our home such a clean, cozy, well-put-together place, but I frequently gave her a hard time. Why? 1) Her colors of choice were red and navy blue, and 2) she liked apple motifs. It was just so… Midwestern of her (how dare she?!). Now that I’m older and slightly wiser, I need to give Anne some serious kudos for recognizing that red and navy blue are a popular pairing for a reason: They work. And as for apples, I’ve developed a inexplicable penchant for them, too. I love this seller’s recommendation to use this canister for holding tea.

“vintage red metal apple canister small,” ModishVintage, $27.

And what good is having your own tea canister if you don’t have a special mug out of which to drink said tea? This one attracted my attention because it bears the name of one of the two children under the age of 12 in this whole wide world to whom I am related and, thusly, actually like.

“Retro Chic Crown Mug Vintage Federal Glass Milk Glass,” TipsyTimeMachine, $9.

Shout a holler at your past.

“1899 State Map Arkansas,” Holcroft, $15.

Fact: Roll-top desks are the jam. Unfortunately, most of them are big and expensive. So here’s something that is neither big nor expensive that I’d like to get to satisfy my roll-top appetite until I move into roomier quarters.

“Desk Organizer,” autumnalways, $14.

When I saw this desk organizer, it made me think of one of my favorite clips from The Mighty Boosh. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Howard Moon, but my love was solidified with STATIONERY VILLAGE! Could this organizer be Binder Clip Bungalow? Post-It Palace? Or, in honor of its roll-uppable entrance, Gluestick Garage? You decide.

I kinda sorta really love anything that has to do with the Soviet Union. Not so much the spying and the state-mandated murder and stuff, but Brezhnev’s eyebrows and Zamyatin’s We and what I’ve lovingly coined as “proletariat chic” (epaulets, head scarves, double-breasted jackets, anything in olive green or industrial blue). What could possibly be more Soviet Union-y than a time-keeping device?!  It kinda creeps me out and fascinates me and makes me want to eat borscht all at the same time. Also, how much of a baller is this seller for being a MASTER WATCHMAKER? I didn’t even know those still existed. It reminds me of Dr. Manhattan’s character in Watchmen, who wanted to grow up to be a watchmaker like his father but ended up being a quantum physicist and turning himself into a naked blue dude that can travel through time and space effortlessly. I don’t know if it was a good trade-off, but there you have it.

“Vintage Russian mechanical alarm clock Vitjaz from Soviet Union period,” ClockworkUniverse, $35.