FPWTF: Lauren McKinney

FPWTF: Lauren McKinney

One year ago I opened my closet door, thumbed through a hodgepodge of florals, ruffles, peplums, and plaids…

and realized that I didn’t love anything. 

My closet was packed, but I still found nothing to wear. 

I labored over each piece, attempting to create cohesion in a haphazard wardrobe that was built on fast fashion and end-of-the-year sales. With no knowledge of capsule wardrobes, I searched YouTube for “effortless fashion” and stumbled on Signe Hansen’s YouTube channel, “Useless.” Her methods were entirely revolutionary to me.

Was it really possible to be stylish and love my wardrobe without having an overflowing closet and a surplus of money? 

Consumerism’s grip on my wallet (and mind) told me no, but Signe’s videos told me otherwise. So I began the process of reinventing my wardrobe. 

One year later and I’ve sold almost everything I reluctantly wore and have funded my new capsule wardrobe almost entirely from those sales. Now I dress myself in no time, everything matches, and believe it or not, this smaller wardrobe has made me more creative and given me way more outfit options. 

The past year has totally flipped my fashion philosophy on its head. Creating a capsule wardrobe has honestly changed my life. It sounds dramatic, I know, but not only do I spend less money on clothes, I also understand the implications of everything I purchase. 

So, what is a capsule wardrobe? 

In short, my capsule wardrobe has three components: an all-year basics component, a seasonal component, and an all-year color scheme. I only keep/buy what I love so my closet is lean, and I like it that way. My basics stay in my closet all year, and I supplement them with two seasonal wardrobes–spring/summer and fall/winter. 

The basic and seasonal wardrobes, once put together, can create endless outfits. Because I follow a color scheme that I love, everything matches everything else. If you’re curious about creating your own capsule wardrobe, Signe Hansen has an entire video on how to start. 

My Fashion Philosophy: CFEE

I never even had a fashion philosophy before I started capsuling, but being intentional about how I shop forced me to create a fashion philosophy. I summarize my fashion philosophy in four words: classic, feminine, easy, and a touch of edge. And ultimately all of these words must nod to the ethical and sustainable

CLASSIC

Channeling Audrey Hepburn’s timeless style is easier than you think!

The concept of classic elegance is something I value so much. Why? Because it’s timeless while at the same time being eternally interesting. Some of the greatest style icons of the Western world dressed in beautifully tailored yet effortlessly simple pieces (think of Audrey Hepburn, Jane Birkin, Grace Kelly, and Princess Diana—I could go on). Today, I’m heavily inspired by the quintessential French woman, and whether or not she actually exists, the concept of having well-constructed pieces that transcend time is one that inspires my closet. 

Jeans, a button-down shirt, and a good pair of shoes will never ever get old.

FEMININE

French Girl Style We Can't get Enough Of - STYLE REPORT MAGAZINE

Much of today’s fashion is androgynous, which I honestly love on other people. It’s cool and Scandinavian. However, I find myself maintaining an air of femininity in my closet. This manifests in the form of flowing silk blouses, pearls, the occasional ruffle or floral print, and of course, pink—I’ll never stop wearing a beautiful pale pink.

Fashion blogger and YouTuber Audrey Coyne does a fabulous job of constructing feminine and timeless outfits. She’s shaped my closet so much. And who can ignore Jeanne Damas? She’s the epitome of French girl fashion.  

EASY

/var/folders/pq/0ppqbdqd3wlcypl7hygfy56r0000gn/T/com.microsoft.Word/WebArchiveCopyPasteTempFiles/6cef564008eed8d100e65fce35e78064?width=1024

Ease is essential in any wardrobe created with the intention to last. Whether or not I’m intentionally avoiding the piece, I find that if wearing it makes my life harder, I just won’t reach for it. The paradox is that a truly easy piece probably wasn’t easy to find (in that I couldn’t just walk into the mall and purchase whatever I saw). Ease and wearability post-purchase require research and intentionality pre-purchase. 

EDGE

The leo flats are out 🐆💥 similar (mainly ethical) options can be found by screenshotting this image and opening it in the @liketoknow.it…

Edge adds an element of interest in a wardrobe that is mostly built out of classic and feminine pieces. Edge keeps me modern. Simple things like wearing a pointy-toe boot, having jeans with a frayed hem and layering jewelry create a subtle coolness that complements the altogether softness of my wardrobe. Signe Hansen and Anine Bing are my edgy inspo. 

A Quick Note About Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion

This capsule wardrobe journey has shown me the importance of caring about where my clothes come from. The documentary The True Cost reveals that the textile industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world; it could easily be the least ethical industry as well. Caring about quality, the earth and people is something that I can accomplish based on where I shop. I’ve purchased 90 percent of my capsule wardrobe secondhand, and when I shop for new items, I always shop ethical brands first. I’m no expert in this, but every small decision makes a difference. 

So…

Building a wardrobe is an ongoing process, even a capsule wardrobe. However, capsuling has made getting dressed in the morning exponentially easier. I highly recommend checking out Signe Hansen’s YouTube channel. Now, I love putting outfits together, and I love talking about how transformative this process has been for me. Fashion doesn’t have to be hard.  

FPWTF: Anecia Ascalon

FPWTF: Anecia Ascalon

This series is called “Fashion Philosophies and Where to Find Them.” After spending time in many corners of the world, I constantly come back to how amazed I am at people’s ability to express themselves through something as simple as the fabric they wear. My contributors come from all over the world, and this is how they have shaped their own personal style as it relates to their identity. 


New Jersey native Anecia Ascalon draws her fashion inspiration from current trends, as well as some nostalgic fads. Here she is, pictured in a classy cream ensemble, perfect for any season.

I have always cared about the way I look. My appearance, and how others perceive it, has historically meant far too much for me.

Clothes help me feel confident. Wearing a black turtleneck, Levi’s, and a chic coat, I feel self-assured enough to slay my day.

Back to Basics

There are three main things that I value in clothes.

Number one? Projected maturity.

I want my outfit to convey that am, at least on some level, an adult. I might not have it all together, but I can certainly dress like I do. Dressing like the woman you want to be is a major step in becoming her.

Number two? A sense of modesty.

The balance between sexy and demure.

I want to look attractive, but not because of my body. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I personally feel more grown-up when I’m covered up.

I used to wear cleavage-baring outfits, which did make me feel attractive, yet was left consistently empty when I didn’t receive enough attention based on those looks. Now, I hope that my smile and personality can be what makes me most beautiful, all while looking physically put together.

The final, and maybe most important, value is effortlessness.

I don’t like thinking too deeply when putting together an outfit, and I don’t want to look like I’m trying too hard either.

My Closet

Sticking to a neutral palette and basic silhouettes helps. It’s easy, stops me from buying things I don’t need, and I don’t have to try and match colors together.

If something isn’t white, cream, beige, brown, grey, or black, I’m probably not going to buy it. 

The only exceptions to the rule are cute dresses or summer blouses that I can throw on with jeans.

A couple things I don’t like wearing are:

  • short dresses
  • colorful shorts
  • navy, red, orange, or purple
  • shoes that feel too chunky
  • anything with any kind of applique.

My Style Evolution

I get style inspiration mainly from Pinterest, my friends, and people I see out and about. Sometimes you don’t realize something is cute until you see it on someone else. I have also always loved the ’90s-esque look and will literally never stop wearing high-waisted jeans.

Overall, the main thing for me is confidence. If something makes me feel amazing, then I’m going to wear it.


For more of Anecia’s style, check out her absolutely aesthetic Instagram @aneciaascalon!

Be sure to subscribe to see more from this series! Looking forward to sharing these stories with you all.

FPWTF: Reagan Perritte

FPWTF: Reagan Perritte

This series is called “Fashion Philosophies and Where to Find Them.” After spending time in many corners of the world, I constantly come back to how amazed I am at people’s ability to express themselves through something as simple as the fabric they wear. My contributors come from all over the world, and this is how they have shaped their own personal style as it relates to their identity. 


There are few things I love more than new clothes. I’ve been that way my entire life. Growing up in the South, there is some strange obsession with appearance and looking your best all the time. The Southern woman tradition is rooted in pearls, seersucker and smocking. I wore lace socks and a big bow to my sixth grade graduation. I never wore pants to church, and I had a new outfit for almost every holiday and special occasion. 

When I moved to Baltimore, the style seemed so backward. It’s like it wasn’t a priority at all. Now, after living in Washington for the last eight years, the trends here are so different from what I grew up wearing. 

Back to My Roots

My love for fashion started early, and I believe I was directly influenced by my Auntie Kathe. She lived in California–a completely different style than I had ever seen. When I was in elementary school, she started making me clothes, buying me really abstract/unique pieces and sending them to me in a huge box a few weeks before school started. It was my favorite time of year because I knew there would not be a single person that had what I was going to wear. 

I always wanted to look different, and I never really worried about what anyone else thought of my clothes. (Side note: once I got to high school, I learned that my friends also looked forward to the first day of school because they couldn’t wait to see what I would wear! I call that a success!)

My summers were spent watching TLC’s “What Not to Wear.” I practically worshipped Stacy London and loved putting together looks for my friends and family. As I got older, I worked at both Buckle and Cache, allowing my love for fashion and fashion merchandising to grow.

My Fashion Philosophy

Now that I’m an adult, a wife and a mom in my 30s, my style has evolved and morphed into something I am really proud of. I’ve been cultivating and streamlining my preferences and philosophy for a while based on career, practicality and trend. 

A classy, simple look.

I live by the motto “Clothes make the man.” Obviously I don’t believe that material things are the most important, but what I wear is important to me. My clothes say “hello” before I do. Before I even introduce myself, shake your hand or hear your voice, what I’m wearing has already done the introduction and given you an impression of me, whether I like what it has to say or not. That’s why I pay close attention to what I put on for every occasion. 

My Closet

Here are some general rules of thumb for my style.

  • My clothes don’t have stains and rips.
  • Tears are strategically placed.
  • I use an iron and wear a belt.
  • My shoes are clean, and my socks always match.
  • I don’t show my bra straps, and
  • I DO NOT WEAR LEGGINGS IN PUBLIC.
  • I buy shoes that I can walk in.
  • I do not own a single pair of backless shoes, (save for Birkenstocks). 

I know, I know. This seems uptight.

I sound like I’m walking into a boardroom executive meeting. 

But hear me out. 

I like being prepared. I’d rather turn down a lunch meeting than show up looking like a slob. I want to make sure if I run into someone I know (or have the opportunity to meet someone of influence), I don’t look like I just rolled out of bed. 

Sporting a classic blue jean + white button down combo.

Living out this philosophy has made me feel confident in any setting. Even if I don’t know what is going on around me, I look the part.

But let’s be real. It’s not always glamorous. I’m sitting in a Starbucks in a sweater, ripped jeans and high top Converse.

But still, what I am wearing today is comfortable to me. I feel confident and put together.

My Style Evolution: Classic, with a Twist of Lime

I like to say that I peaked in the age of emo. (Funny how music plays into fashion choices.) I played the bass guitar, listened to Evanescence and wore the thickest black eyeliner. I’d call myself a rocker, but deep down my love for a clean, classic look was always present. 

I have since called myself a mixture of Joan Jett, Kate Spade and a little Jackie O. Classic, with a twist of lime.

Grunge chic.

I love a good band tee, shredded jeans and Docs, but in the same breath, I’ll take an empire-waist, knee-length, sleeveless silk dress and pair it with stilettos. 

I would not necessarily say that I’m a trendy person. I like what I like and don’t really care if it’s on trend, goes with the Pantone color of the year, or if it was on runways during Fashion Week. I like pieces that will last a long time. Tried and true shapes and colors.

Sleek and stylish.

I’m a sucker for a white button up and crisp jeans with loafers or pumps. I tuck almost everything in. I like to mix textures. I love feminine and masculine paired. 

I have lived in Washington State for the last 8 years. The culture shock was real. I came to the state with flare, super low-rise jeans and Birkenstocks. When I looked around and saw every single female (maybe even male) with black leggings, t-shirts and flannels around the waist, paired with Doc Marten’s and a beanie, I went right back to my high school days. It was comfortable for me in more ways than one, but not “me”. When we would visit Tennessee, people would stare at us. I could just hear their eyes say “Y’all ain’t from ‘round here, are ya.” And I wanted to say “Yes, ma’am, we are. We just found another way!” 

I grew out of that phase really quickly. Almost immediately actually. My first Easter here, everyone wore black and jeans. It was then that I realized I couldn’t just conform to this fashionably laid back society. My Southern roots were still there.

The following Easter, I wore a green dress from the Limited and our little family of 3 was matching.

Picture perfect. 


To see more of Reagan’s style, visit her Instagram @reagan.perritte.

Be sure to subscribe to see more from this series! Looking forward to sharing these stories with you all.

Music Moment: Harry Styles (Pt. II)

Music Moment: Harry Styles (Pt. II)

In June 2017, I reviewed Harry Styles’ self-titled debut album. And while anyone who knows me knows that I am slightly obsessed with him, I tried to write as unbiased as possible (but hey, this is my personal blog. Let me live a little).

And yesterday, Friday the 13th, Styles released his sophomore album. Fine Line. So, here we go again. Let me preface this review by saying: I am a tried and true Harry Styles fan. So obviously I’m not going to hate the album.


What year is it? Style’s latest album reflects Bowie, Elton John, Pink Floyd and more.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Styles admits that much of his inspiration came from “the greats” throughout music history. Music writer Rob Sheffield recounts his interview with Styles. “In the studio, while making the album, Harry kept watching a vintage Bowie clip on his phone… For Harry, this was an inspiring pep talk — a reminder not to play it safe. As Bowie says, “If you feel safe in the area that you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you are capable of being in.”

The album cover speaks for the musical style of the album. Styles kept the pink color scheme of his debut album while opting for a more bizarre photo affect.

I really didn’t think Fine Line would be as good. I just assumed he couldn’t make an album as good as his debut. Or that he would be a sellout to mainstream music. I was right and I was wrong. But overall, I was pleasantly surprised. I immediately noticed that compared to Styles’ first album, Fine Line has a more cohesive style. If I had to describe this album, I would pin it as a groovy 1970s psychedelic rock inspired one.

Harry Styles: Rock star, pop star or neither? There’s an argument to be made.

Rolling Stone was very quick to name Styles as an up and coming rock star, but I’m not sure that’s the case. Harry is not making rock music (at least, not modern rock). He is most certainly, however, paying hommage to the classic rock styles of Led Zeppelin and Jefferson Airplane. But that does not make him a rock star. Sorry.

The Overview

From the feel-good opening track of “Golden” to the existential ballad “Falling,” Harry Styles bares his soul to the world in Fine Line. The lyrics were surprisingly succinct and direct, sometimes seemingly without any creativity involved. “Cherry” even includes a voice memo of his ex-girlfriend, Camille Rowe and “Treat People With Kindness” reminds me of the The 5th Dimension. “Fine Line,” however, does a wonderful job of closing out the album with a synth-filled, moody tune.

Favorite song: She

Least favorite song: Canyon Moon

It’s been five years since One Direction broke up, and Styles is still soaring. His musical style and public image is continuously being shaped, but people can’t get enough. As Sheffield said, “[Harry Styles is] a curious kid who can’t decide whether to be the world’s most ardently adored pop star, or a freaky artiste. So he decides to be both.”

It will be interesting to see how this career continues, being that is still in the beginning stages. Styles has a lot of potential but even more pressure on this road ahead of him. Good luck, Harry.

P.S. If you’re interested in checking out more reviews, read this Pitchfork album review. And maybe comment below your thoughts on the album. Happy listening!

Life Moves Too Slow

Life Moves Too Slow

I walk very quickly.

It’s almost impossible for me to walk at a normal pace.

I bustle through my tiny town like I’m rushing through the streets of New York trying to get on the subway before rush hour.

But I’m just going to the post office.

I can’t slow down. Ever. Even when I try to sneak off to the beach for a quiet moment or two, my mind is always right there pestering me with a thousand thoughts.

What needs to be done this week?

What are you cooking for dinner?

Have you gone to the grocery store recently? Wait, what do you need?

Do you have a to-do list?

Should you reach out to him/her? Why haven’t they contacted you? Do they even care?

This week on my way to work, I was deliberately trying to walk slow. It took everything in me. Literally. I clenched my fists. I strolled and sighed as I realized how much I missed out on by moving so quickly. I felt the crisp November air and smiled. November was a rough month, which is somewhat amusing because last November was one of my favorite months. I boldly determined it was the best month of the year. I was wrong.

It’s funny–in a somewhat melancholic way–how things change so quickly. You go from snuggling warm bodies and filling your days with laughter to walking alone on a windy, dreary day surrounded only by the company of the cars passing by.

The change of scenery and pace, however, was necessary for me. Had I stayed where I was, I would have become a shell of myself. My potential would have been trapped under the weight of former obligations. My new obligations, though exhausting sometimes, are nowhere near as daunting as dealing with the looming cloud of the former.

So, maybe life doesn’t move too slow. Maybe it moves at just the right pace, but I sometimes move too fast to appreciate that.

A Window to My Soul

A Window to My Soul

“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

Mark 9:24 (NKJV)

I pray as I walk to work. I pray as I lie down at night. I pray when I am scared. I pray when I am lonely. I beg and plead to God as tears trickle down my cheeks.

Nothing.

I feel absolutely nothing.

My heart longs for an inkling–a touch from the Holy Spirit. Something. Anything.

But nothing is there. No spark. No flame. My soul feels cold, and I begin to doubt.

I have silently struggled because I do not want to find pride or honor in sharing my grievances. But Christians are called to live in community with one another, and I am only disadvantaging myself by not seeking that community.

So here I am. Letting myself be seen–weaknesses and all. Which is truly a weird and uncomfortable thing for me. But at the end of the day, this is not about me.

I was listening to a sermon from my home church the other day about the freedom we enjoy in Christ, and it was very convicting. My heart twinged as the pastor fervently spoke. “The Gospel doesn’t save you and I just so we can twiddle our thumbs and wait for eternity… Being formed into the image of Christ is absolutely a process. But it’s a process that should be evident in your life if you claim to be a follower of Jesus. This change is not an option, it’s not a preference. You and I cannot consistently follow Jesus and not consistently grow into his likeness.”

My mind blanked. Where is the fruit in my life? I struggled to find evidence of my growing love and relationship with Jesus. I was staring into the abyss of my own thoughts.

An Aside

Let me outline what I know to be true and the things of which I am sure, despite my doubting.

  1. There is a God.
  2. I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, that He died and rose again, and that He alone is savior of the world.
  3. There is a lot I do not know.

On Feeling

“Hear my cry for help, my king and my God, for to you I pray.”

Psalm 5:2 (NIV)

I feel very out of touch with God. And it is hard for me to even write this because I do not quite know how to put into words the hundreds of scattered thoughts going through my mind.

I think the thing that scares me the most is my lack of emotion. While some find comfort in it, feeling nothing is absolutely terrifying for me because I typically swing between extreme depths of emotion. And what makes it worse is that I don’t understand why it is happening. I don’t know if it’s some hidden sin or simply a test of faith at work in my life. However, I want to reach out to my community. I am not going to pretend I am unique in this struggle.

One request I’d like to make is this: Join me in prayer. Pray for those who are in a season of doubt, myself included.

Proverbs 11:14 talks about finding wisdom in the counsel of many.
“Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

So consider this me seeking counsel. How do you deal with the chasm of nothingness in your life? My hope is to cultivate a little community that can share and grow together. Even if it is on this digital platform.

While I’m at it, I do want to ask how I can love and encourage all of you. Yes, within the community of believers, but also anyone reading–Christian or not. Comment below, if you’d like (anonymous is fine).

I am a listening ear for your struggles, just as you were for mine.

Thank you for reading.

The Side of Paris Fashion Week No One Talks About

The Side of Paris Fashion Week No One Talks About

Strolling through the streets of Paris with my Starbucks in hand, I felt extremely American. In my defense, I knew it was only my first coffee stop of the day. I made my way to the metro station, grabbed a seat and waited for my stop.

Upon walking back up to ground level, the grey Parisian sky was waiting for me. And so was the Champs-Élysées. I strolled down the street, gawking at all the luxurious shops and ran right into Fenty’s pop up shop in the Galaries Lafayette.

A quick walk through the park led me to the Grand Palais, where I saw my first fashion show ever. The photographers were lined up on the sidewalks to capture all the ultra glamorous people wearing giant sunglasses, half of whom I did not recognize at all. They all had one thing in common though: these gorgeous people strolled perfectly through the bustle of the photographers directly into the Elie Saab exposition. The music started. The show began.

After being dazzled by all the beauty I witnessed, it was time to make an essential stop at the Café de Flore. We walked in and sat down.

More Instagram influencers. I didn’t think it was possible to see so many chic people.

My friends and I sat and discussed whether the fashion industry is truly superficial or not. After all, these Instagrammers aren’t really… doing anything. They’re just here. Taking selfies and tons of pictures (in outfits that are, admittedly, super cute).

Are they following trends or are they creating them?

Who actually is creating the trends?

Do the designers and runways shows have control of the fashion world in 2019?

We dipped into a small cobblestone alley because we were tired of walking through crowds of tourists and photographers. At that moment, a Parisian woman walked by me–sunglasses on and purse in hand.

An everyday woman, yet still great style. I could totally recreate that outfit. I turn toward my friends, “All these French women own a pair of jeans that fit them just right and a great blazer. That’s really all you need.”

Maybe these are the people who create what’s new.

The everyday people. The ordinary people. I don’t know about you, but most of my outfit inspiration comes from people I see on the streets.

Sure, huge fashion houses and designers still have an obvious sway in the trends. But I think it’s becoming more common to draw inspiration from one another simply as human beings.

And I love that.


What were your favorite PFW looks? Comment below and I’ll share all my faves!
(Featured photo from Unsplash.)