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You know those weekly roundups that people do on their blogs? I love them. Although I don’t currently have my own version on Espresso and Cream, I soak up the roundups from other people.

Recently my dear friend Laura posted a round-up which included a link to the blog Un-Fancy. It was all about creating a capsule wardrobe. If you’re like me and have no idea what a capsule wardrobe is, then check this post out. As I was reading the post, all I could think was, “Yes! That’s me!” 

Truth be told, I have a lot of clothes in my closet. It’s a little ridiculous how many items of cute, nice clothing I have. But when I go to get ready in the mornings, I have the hardest time finding something I really love wearing. I have a handful of dresses I love, a favorite pair of jeans and a few shirts I go to time and time again, but the rest of the items in my closet just sit there looking pretty 90% of the time. That’s crazy talk!

I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way, but I’m incredibly sick of spending money on clothes I don’t really love. It’s wasteful and frustrating. So I decided to take the Un-Fancy challenge.

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How does the challenge work?

1. Pair down your wardrobe for a single season to just 37 items. (okay, I cheated and included 40) This doesn’t include workout gear, pajamas, undergarments, swimsuits, and/or jewelry and accessories. The items should only include pieces you really love and get super excited about wearing. Keeping this in mind helped when deciding what to keep. I just kept asking myself, “Do I really love this piece? How often have I worn it lately?”

2. Store all your off-season clothing somewhere else. Put all the in-season items that you took out of your closet for the challenge in a box for storage. I love that you don’t need to throw out the clothes just yet. If you really miss something you can go get it from the box. It made it much easier to part with these items.

3. Don’t buy anything new for the full season! Yikes! That made me nervous, but thinking about the money I’ll save each month in our clothing budget got me excited. I’m planning on putting that money away for the next three months for the next step…

4. After you’ve made it through one season, you can start to think about the next season’s capsule wardrobe. Some summer pieces may transfer over into the fall season and so on, but you can only have the same limited number of pieces. You can, however, make purchases for this next season. The idea is that after a full season of doing this experiment, you’ll get a good feel for your true style. And since you can only have 40 (or 37) items in your closet at any given time/season you’ll make smarter, more “you” purchases. I’m guessing the items I buy will also be more expensive and higher quality. Less = more!

5. Keep doing this for a full year. At that point you should have a fully fleshed out capsule wardrobe. After that, you enter maintenance mode, slowly and carefully adding pieces only as needed and only if you truly love the item you’re buying.

Does anyone else feel as excited about this idea as me? Something about it speaks to my inner minimalist, and more than anything I’m driven by having a closet full of curated items that I deeply love. The prospect is so appealing! I’ll be sharing more photos of my Un-Fancy challenge this summer using the group hashtag #unfancy and following the blog’s writer, Caroline Joy on Instagram for inspiration. I would encourage you to take up the challenge, too, if you’re as frustrated as I am!

Has anyone considered taking on a challenge like this? Is anyone on board for doing the Un-Fancy challenge with me? Let me know! I would love to follow along with you on your journey!

Madison

StitchFix April Box 1 | Espresso and CreamIt’s been a while since I did a Stitch Fix review, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t still been receiving boxes every month. To be honest, I was just a little lazy when it came to snapping photos of my last two fixes, so I had nothing to share. But now that we have more sunlight (aka time to snap nice photos) the reviews have returned.

In the past, I’ve been very vocal about my love for Stitch Fix. It’s a great concept, and I really loved getting unique pieces of clothing sent straight to my door to try on at home with other items in my closet. However, the last three fixes I received, I’ve been incredibly disappointed with the service and the pieces that have been sent to me.

After my last fix, I was so unhappy with my fix (I returned everything) that I e-mailed Stitch Fix to share with them about my displeasure and some of the issues I had with the items they sent. The customer service person (they have great customer service, by the way) was incredibly helpful and suggested I refresh my Pinterest board in addition to providing more detailed feedback about what I wanted in my next fix.

It had been a while since I had updated my board, so I created an entirely new board called “For My Stitch Fix.” I carefully curated each photo on my Pinterest board so as to create a really accurate picture about what I did and did not want. I also specified that I wanted my fix to contain neutrals, classic pieces that could be worn for many occasions and for years to come, and that I didn’t want much if any color in my fix.

Unfortunately, this fix was almost as bad as the last one. I felt that the stylist had completely disregarded any and all feedback I had provided previously and didn’t take the time to look at my Pinterest board at all. Here’s what I received:

Stitch Fix April Box 2 | Espresso and Cream1. Kut from the Kloth Denim Jacket: I love jean jackets and was excited about getting this basic piece in my fix. The only jean jacket I own is from Old Navy and is a darker, thicker material so I was open to purchasing a second that would be a little lighter and more versatile through the summer months. The denim was SUPER soft and incredibly comfortable to wear. This jacket was a little more expensive ($78) but I knew I would wear it a lot.
Verdict: Keep!

Stitch Fix April Box 3 | Espresso and Cream2. Chevron Maxi Dress: This was the worst item in the entire fix. It was so off base from what I had asked for (classic pieces, not much color, etc.) that I was really confused. Seeing this dress made me seriously question if the stylist had looked at any of my feedback or requests. I love maxi dresses, but I’m not a huge chevron person and I’m really not a fan of those bright colors, especially together.
Verdict: Return!

Stitch Fix April Box 4 | Espresso and Cream3. Floral Tank: This tank fit fine, but it looked a bit like a loose sack on me. I don’t mind flowy tops when they’re cut properly, but this was not the case with this tank. I couldn’t really see myself wearing this pattern, either. A little too much color and certainly not a staple to be worn time and time again.
Verdict: Return!

Stitch Fix April Box 5 |Espresso and Cream4. Distressed Denim Skinny Jeans: I’ve mentioned in my style profile that I am looking for items that can transition from work to casual wear. The distressed nature of these jeans and the giant hole in the knee made it very easy to decide that they weren’t for me. I can’t justify spending $98 on jeans that I can only wear on the weekends with friends in a casual environment.
Verdict: Return!

Stitch Fix April Box 6 | Espresso and Cream
5. Striped Maxi Skirt: I don’t really know where to begin with this skirt. The colors were really bad, the combination of bright green and a dull grey just feel flat. And the material was super thin, which I don’t ever find very flattering. I couldn’t see myself wearing this skirt anyone except maybe as a pool coverup or at the beach.
Verdict: Return!

So, as you can see, I ended up keeping one item and returning the rest. I do love the jean jacket I got in my fix, but I think what bothered me the most was that it didn’t seem like my feedback was listened to in the least bit. Stitch Fix, to their credit, reached out and offered to make it right this next time around, so I’m hoping that my next box will be more my style and catered to me personally, rather than just a bunch of “trendy” generic items.

You can best believe I’ll be posting again when my fix arrives next month! Fingers crossed for better results next time.

Have you used Stitch Fix? How do you feel about the service? Personally, it seems like as they’ve grown, they’ve had a hard time keeping up the quality and integrity of the personal styling service that is included with each fix. Is anyone else in the same boat with me? Or did I just get unlucky with a few bad fixes in a row?

Madison

*Affiliate links used in this post. If you sign up for Stitch Fix using this link, I will get a $25 credit to my account.

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When it comes to makeup, I will be the first to tell you that I know very little. I rarely mix-up my look, I tend to stick with the same neutral eye shadow for work and special occasions, and the idea of lip color scares me to death. I think my experience with wearing too much makeup in middle school really scarred me for life. Sure, I wear makeup most days, but I don’t wear much. I’ve always wanted to know more about how to properly apply makeup for my face shape, but it’s always been a mystery to me, despite the fact that I’ve read a million articles in magazines like Allure.

With New Year’s Eve just around the corner, now is the perfect time to try something different. I stumbled upon the most amazing beauty blog a few weeks ago, and it’s totally rocked the way I have been applying my makeup. I am, quite possibly, the last person on earth to discover the blog Maskcara, but in case I’m not, you should go check it out asap. The post that inspired me to try something different with my makeup was her post last month on face shapes. I’ve seen a lot of face shape posts, but this was by far the best and most detailed post I’ve read. Plus, it included more shapes than I’ve sen in the past.

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Above I’ve taken two photos. The one on the left is sans any makeup at all. The second is my new makeup application following Cara’s guide for an Oblong face shape. I think I’m probably somewhere between oblong and rectangular, so I picked the shape that seemed to be the closest fit. Sure, the change is subtle, but I think it makes a big difference in the way the makeup shapes and highlights my features. And the great part is that it required only a few new items and very little extra time!

Here are the products I used: 
Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer
Bare Minerals Original Foundation
Bare Minerals Warmth 
L’Oreal True Match Blush 
Almay Liquid Eyeliner
Cover Girl Lash Perfection Mascara

Are there any other beauty blogs that I should be reading? I would love to add a few more to my daily reads! 

Madison

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A few weeks ago I told you about a clothing swap I did with a few of my favorite bloggers turned real-life friends, Justine and Kayla. Well, the items they sent my way arrived and I’ve taken note of my first impressions below.

Next week I’ll be sharing the final installment in this series, where I share how I styled each item. But for now, you’ll have to settle for a sneak peak!

What I Thought of Justine’s Items
Item #1:
Leopard-Print Scarf
First Impression: This is totally my type of accessory! I love my leopard-print flats from Banana Republic so this is going to fit right into my wardrobe. Plus, it’s guaranteed to fit!
Item #2: Striped Target Dress
First Impression: I loved this dress when it arrived! I love neutral colors, I love stripes, it was totally me! And, I sent something similar in skirt form to Justine, so it was a little funny how our styles seemed to overlap. I could tell right away that this dress was going to be a little more form fitting, so I was a little uncertain about how I would feel about that, since I don’t usually gravitate to dresses like that.
Item #3: Blue and Black Calvin Klein Dress
First Impression: I avoid sleeveless, crew-neck dresses like the plague because I think that they make my shoulders look super broad (full disclosure: my shoulders are super broad). So when I saw this dress, I could tell it wasn’t really going to be a fit for me and my body type. However, I’m thinking that perhaps I could style it with a cardigan so you can’t tell it is sleeveless.
Item #4: Tan H&M Blazer (Justine cheated and sent something as a bonus)
First Impression: I love blazers and I love neutral colors. This one was a hit from the moment I saw it! I can imagine a lot of different ways to wear this right off the bat. Major win!

What I Thought of Kayla’s Items
Item #1: Red Banana Republic Long Sleeved Top (from Kayla)
First Impression: When this shirt first arrived, I was a little unsure about it. Red is one of the colors I do enjoy wearing, but the neckline isn’t something I would typically gravitate toward. However, after pairing it with a few different skirts, and seeing how it looked in photos, I’m a fan! I could totally see myself wearing this to work with skirts throughout the winter.
Item #2: Hunter Green Sequin Tank (from Kayla)
First Impression: I really liked this tank! It’s super easy to pair with a bunch of different outfits and it adds just a touch of glitz without being over-the-top (read: I can wear it to work!)
Item #3: Pink Gap A-Line Mini Skirt
First Impression: My first thought was that I loved the cut of this skirt since it is more of the a-line variety. However, the material is a little dressier and has some sheen, so I’m not entirely sure how/where to wear it. We’ll just have to see next week!

Want to see what Justine and Kayla received in their boxes? Check out their posts HERE and HERE

Madison

 

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Another month and it’s high time I did another Stitch Fix Review! I slacked on documenting my fix last month and returned my items before I had a chance to document what I kept and returned. I’m back on the ball for November.

This month’s fix was a bit of a mixed bag. There were a couple items I really liked and a few that left me scratching my head. By far, my most successful fix was the box I received in August, but in each of the boxes I have been sent, I’ve found at least one item I genuinely love. All in all, I would call that a win, and I’m still totally loving the service. If you haven’t signed up, you can do so HERE (affiliate link!).

Also, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how much items in a Stitch Fix box cost, so I’ve included prices for each item I received this month. I have selected a specific price point for my items. However, you can select a cheaper option or a more expensive option if you so desire. I opted for the middle of the road option.

Item #1: Teal Green “Everly” Hi-Low Long Sleeved Dress
Price: $68
Observations: This dress was a beautiful shade of teal. I loved that it had long sleeves (a big bonus for me is when a dress has long or 3/4 length sleeves) but the material was super thin and I couldn’t really see myself wearing a maxi hi-low dress in the late fall and winter months.

Keep or Return: Definitely return!

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Item #2: Burgundy 41 Hawthorne V-Neck Dolman Top
Price: $48
Observations: I had a really hard time with this top! It fit really well and the shade of burgundy was really nice. It seemed like a great top for wearing around the holidays and throughout the winter under jackets and cardigans. However, I was unsure about the style. It was fitted at the bottom around the hips and loose around the midsection and had looser arms. Usually, I prefer tops with a bit more structure since they seem to wear better and last longer.

Keep or Return: I debated for a long time but ended up returning it.

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Item #3: Green Tulle Faux Fur Hooded Jacket
Price: $108
Observations: This jacket was a major disappointment for me. I think I’m going to specify in the future that I don’t really want my fixes to include outerwear. When I buy a coat or jacket I usually take a long time to decide on the perfect, high-quality piece. It’s a splurge item that I really make an investment in for the long term. Although this jacket was a nice weight, the way it fit was pretty horrible (baggy and frumpy looking) and I couldn’t really see myself getting much use out of it.

Keep or Return: Return!

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Item #4: Burgundy Moon Collection Stud Detail Skirt
Price: $78
Observations: I feel in love with this skirt right away! The material was thick and heavy, which I felt was perfect for fall/winter, especially in Minnesota. And I really liked the fitted waist and a-line shape. I was so bummed when the skirt turned out to be way too big on me. I’ve requested this skirt for my next fix in hopes that the size down will fit better.

Keep or Return: Sadly, I returned it.

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Item #5: Off-White 41 Hawthorne Horseshoe Stud Detail Top
Price: $58
Observations: This top was love at first sight! I typically gravitate to items that have interesting or unique details and patterns that are different neutral shades. Although the material is thinner, I like that it makes a great layering piece and the sleeves hit right above the elbow. Another thing I love? The little metal studs around the neckline and on the sleeves. I’ve already worn this top 4 or 5 times since I got it.

Keep or Return: Keep!

Have you tried Stitch Fix? What have you thought about your fixes?
Madison

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