Cleaning out my closet

Remember when I wrote about my relationship with my wardrobe? Turns out, I'm not alone in this feeling of disconnect. Lots of you said you also feel like you have nothing to wear, even though you look inside your closet and clearly there are clothes. 

Now, I have an update for you. This is not a sponsored post. I'm simply sharing the story of how in one month's time, I feel like a new woman. How I now have a minimal, not that expensive, mixy-matchy spring/summer wardrobe. I suddenly don't mind going places, because getting dressed is easy.

Here's what happened. I got some help. 

I started by downloading Megan Brandle's free DIY guide to help me edit my own closet. In some cases I had to disregard the criteria for whether to keep or discard some things. If I had been super strict, I would have literally been walking around with no pants on. 

After I cleaned out my closet, I bought a shopping session with Megan. It's something that I planned and saved for, and it's something I'll do again. She offers so much time, attention, and value, and already, I've learned so many things that I didn't know. Like:

My style is sporty, with a hint of traditional. 

My color palate is winter, and I need low-contrast colors by my face.

And, it's possible to have a real-life Pretty Woman moment with all of the shopping bags, but instead of being on Rodeo Drive with a rich man's credit card, you're at the Outlet Mall, celebrating 50% off sales and coupons. It really is possible to get what you need on a budget. 

Before we went shopping, Megan came to my house to assess my closet even though I'd done the editing on my own. She made a list of essential pieces that I needed, and she stuck to it. 

Our shopping trip took about four hours. All I had to do was show up and the dressing room was ready, which is crazy. I mean, look at this:

Seriously? I thought I might pass out when we went to the next store and she came out pushing this cart.

At first I was overwhelmed by all of clothes, but I quickly realized that she'd pulled several sizes of the same thing. As soon as I tried something on, Megan was able to quickly assess what was going to work and what wouldn't, so the whole process was fun and efficient. 

Here's something that really sunk in for me: Ladies, it's not you. It's the clothes. (Tweet that). I tried on a few pairs of shorts and they didn't fit well, and it was so hard not to take it personally! It's a confidence killer. But then we found some jeans that fit perfectly (at Gap! On sale!) and it helped me find some power in the key shopping rule, if it doesn't fit and if you don't love it, it's a no. (Rule for life?) >>Tweet that.

I only bought a few things that broke the $30 mark, and if it did, it fit the criteria of being an investment piece: a nice dress or shirt that I plan to keep for a long time. 

The other thing I learned is that how I see myself in the mirror isn't always an accurate reflection. (Tweet that) One time, Megan said, "Let me take a picture of you in this." And when I looked at the picture, I realized that I loved what I was wearing, but when I first saw myself in the mirror, my reaction was much less sure. 

Speaking of mirrors, here's a screenshot of a text I sent to Abby, showing one of my outfits:

I've never known how to dress for spring when it's still a bit chilly outside. By the end of the morning, I'd shed the scarf, and then the jacket, and I was all, "Wow! Layers are amazing!"

My overall takeaway is this: It's important to be intentional about the things I own. (Tweet that) It makes a lot more sense to invest in a minimal and highly functional wardrobe than to waste time, money, and energy on things I don't like and won't use. I think this is true for a lot of things, so starting with my wardrobe will help me make smarter choices in general. 

Thanks again to Megan Brandle. She's a gem of a person, and she's a pro at making you feel comfortable in your own skin. She's works virtually and in-person. You can get her free DIY closet edit guide and learn more about her style sessions here. 

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Happiness is an inside job.

I listened to a podcast recently about how women's overall happiness has been declining for decades, and that Generation Xers like me were the guinea pigs—testing out the concept of "having it all". It inspired my most recent post for Best Kept Self.

I wish I had access to this data 15 years ago, when I first began to struggle on the path to success, home, and family. It would have been nice to know that I wasn't alone. I didn't understand that the inner conflict and pressure I felt was normal. It didn't mean that I was doing something wrong, or that something was wrong with me.

Luckily, when I was in my late 20s I had a valuable conversation with my doctor. That conversation changed the way I made choices moving forward. It was the beginning of learning how to make authentic living a priority. I write more that in a recent post for skirt.com

I hope you'll take some time this week to check out these posts and let me know what you think:

The Key to Success on Your Own Terms for Best Kept Self

There's No One Right Way to Be a Woman for Skirt.com

As I continue to work on my memoir, the themes of redefining success and learning to live authentically are some of the big ones for me. The more I peel back the layers of my own personal story, the more I understand that the path to happiness is an inside job. 

Thanks for reading and sharing! You can join the conversation by leaving a comment below. To get new posts from Angie Mizzell delivered to your inbox, click here to subscribe. 

 

 

the things that matter take time

We're redoing the living room in my house. I'll write more about that project at some point in the future, because if you're like me, you love to see the before and afters. But there's also something that's harder to love, and that's the big, huge middle in between. 

So while I'm in the middle, I'll share what I posted on Instagram yesterday: 

"I finally finished painting the living room. It took three weekends to complete. That's the thing about this season of life... Everything takes much longer than I imagine it will. But, it's teaching me to get clear on my priorities, what I value. Painting the walls, writing a book, raising three children... It all takes time. When I think of it like that, I begin to appreciate the day-to-day steps that sometimes feel like a grind. Living a good life, with intention, is a process. A daily practice." (view on Instagram)

But a week or so earlier, when I was closer to the beginning of the painting project—when it was new and exciting and I wasn't yet in that long, long middle—I posted this: 

"The more I work to make my home feel like home, the happier I feel. So, up and down the ladder I go." (view on Instagram)

It's interesting how things that bring me true joy can feel like a drag sometimes. That's something that I never quite expect. But here are some ways I get out of the funk: (click to tweet)

-I reconnect with why I'm doing what I'm doing. 

-I acknowledge how much I've already done. After a long day, when I'm tired, it often feels like I got nothing accomplished (I feel like I'm in quicksand! I say, when I'm being dramatic). But when I pause to think about it, I'm surprised by all of the milestones and small wins I've neglected to celebrate. 

-I shift back to the present. Too much focus on the goal can get overwhelming. So, even though it may take me several weeks to paint one room, there are many things I enjoy about the process. I love the way the light shines in. I love opening my laptop and blasting Spotify. I love the sound of the kids running in and out, playing.

Are you in the midst of a long middle? What keeps you going? What helps you maintain perspective?

And, since this post was inspired by my revelations via Instagram, I'll leave you with one more: Cate doing her thing on the hoola hoop, made more fabulous with the Boomerang app.

I wonder if the key to happiness is simply allowing it?

This post was inspired by my musings on The Abby + Angie Project, an Instagram project dedicated to seeking and documenting the good amidst the daily grind. Follow us and join the fun by tagging your good moments #moregoodlessgrind.

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