Musings & Miscellany

Simple Style

It’s Personal!

Happy day, reader dear!

It’s May! Happy May Day (belated) to all!

I SO wish we had a long weekend to start off May here in the US. We need a rest to prepare for the onslaught. For many, May feels like the out of control snowball in the cartoons. The school year is coming to a close and with it all the pressures of year end. University graduations, moving students home, or out into the world. Mother’s Day (Here in the US.) and search for the perfect gift, too late as usual. (I’m in this camp.) The unofficial start of summer that is the Memorial Day Weekend holiday. And of course, all this is still complicated by Covid. Summer vacation plans… Do we, or don’t we?

After the chaos (May-os?), we make it to June. Somehow summer seems simpler. Less hurried. Cook out season begins in earnest. A big salad on the table for supper sounds just about right. Feet up on the patio furniture. Strawberry season. And peaches! I’m longing to see fireflies in the grass.

Which brings me to Simple Style. What does Simple Style mean to you? I’ve written about Simple Style before, but it’s time to reevaluate what Simple Style means to me. At this particular moment in time. (And what a moment it is!)

My Simple Style

Why do I keep coming back to this question? Because I crave more simplicity in my life. And my life doesn’t look like it did five years ago, or even two years ago. Right now simple means less. Less in my closet. Less clothes. Less shoes. (Thank you, mold attack of winter 2020 for helping me out with that.) Less handbags. Less jewelry. Less scarves. Less scarves? Whoa, Nellie! I’m not sure I’m there just yet. I am feeling called to take a closer look at everything in my world and evaluate whether it’s in or out. Is it really serving me? If not, it’s time for it to find a new home… With someone who it will serve!

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.  William Morris

Why does this prove so tricky? Because everything CAN be useful. But I need to ask myself IS it useful? Now. At this point in my life? With what I already own? Yes, I’m talking about you, jeans in the storage box that are too snug. And you, skirt that was for another color palette in my life.

Simple right now for me means paring back further. Asking the questions Useful? Beautiful? Answering honestly. And listening to that answer.

For clothes, there are two aspects to beautiful. Not only Is it beautiful? But also Does it make me (feel) beautiful? (Because for me, beauty is an important value.) I can think of a few pieces already that don’t fit that bill. Most of them are at odds with my color palette. Hmmmm. It looks like my simple style involves paying my color palette more heed. So my Simple Style will be colorful!

How About You?

What does simple mean to you? Is simple rustic? Homespun? Minimal? Plain and unadorned? How do you define Simple Style? Does summer feel like a more simple season in your world? Is simplicity something you need more of this year? Does style factor into your definition of simplicity at all? I love to hear from you… Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Stylishly yours,

10 Comments

  • NATALIE K

    Liz, I think of simple style as very plain and unadorned. This is NOT me! I understand hy you ant to simplify your life ith less. I’m a more kjnd of girl! Summer is simplier in so many ays. I kno it’s nice ith simplier salad meals and my husband grilling out. That is no for us but soon it ill be just too hot for grilling. My husband had red hair so he doesn’t do ell in the sun. One thing saves the day…SUNSCREEN! Ladies, Please use sunscreen! Our lives have been crazy because my husband has had surgery and is recovering. Folloing shortly after ill be a knee replacement. Life is a bit crazy! I’m unable to drive at this point so that is stressful needing someone to drive you. But, The LORD continues to bless!! He is so good to us!!

    • Liz K

      I’m certainly a more girl in many ways, but I feel like that calling for less is coming from someone I cannot deny… Glad hubby is recovering. We have a knee replacement in our future, too! For Mama, so I expect July to be an interesting month.

  • Sally in St Paul

    Ironically, “simple” is a complicated concept, isn’t it? Simple style for me is NOT minimalist. Curating a minimalist wardrobe or building a minimalist outfit can be very difficult and can take a lot of trial and error. (Sort of like how an “effortless” “natural” look is usually neither effortless or natural.) For me, I think simple style would involve relying on my go-to outfit formulas. For the current weather in MN, one formula I could do day after day is jeans, short-sleeved T, long-sleeved cardigan, scarf, stud earrings, and ballet flats/oxfords/sneakers. (If I were in the office instead of working from home, I could readily substitute a pair of colored jeans or other pants and save the blue jeans for Friday.) This isn’t simple in the sense of having a small number of pieces, but simple because the specific categories of pieces are already defined. And those pieces are themselves pretty simple and basic and easy to put together (versus pieces that are architectural or tailored or have interesting shapes or proportions where you can’t just pop any shirt with any bottom and know it will work). It’s also simple because I can grab a scarf and just pick colors from it to fill out the rest of the outfit. It’s much easier for me to gauge quickly whether basic garments in various colors will work together than to determine if various silhouettes are compatible (that generally requires a try-on). This doesn’t result in a super-creative or daring outfits, but if it’s reasonably colorful and harmonious looking, and it contains a scarf so I recognize myself in the mirror haha, that works for me as a simple style.

    • Liz K

      Simple certainly is NOT simple, Sally! And often people equate simple style or a minimal wardrobe with the minimalist aesthetic (Think white and stark home decor.) Simple style, and even a simple wardrobe don’t have to be colorless or stark. I LOL’d at your comment about effortless style not being effortless. I’ve spoken about that at length in interviews and with women’s groups. (You choose where to make the effort and reap the effortless–on the intake or the daily dressing.) I love your definition of Simple Style that works for you. I think having a handful of dead-easy outfit recipes makes style a whole lot more simple. I think you hit the nail on the head with specific categories being defined. Super creative and daring outfits aren’t likely to fall into the Simple Style category! Although some Japanese designers walk this line beautifully… Simple is certainly in the eye of the beholder!

  • CimmieS

    Simpler for me? It’s smaller items, especially from among my late mother’s bits ‘n pieces. Usually I’m an excellent non hoarder; clothes, accessories, home decor, not used in past 12 months? Out! BUT, my Lil Mum’s little things, diaries, furniture pieces… They need to go after 8 years on first June. Certainly not simple.

    • Liz K

      Oh, Cimmie! I understand how hard that is. Simple isn’t necessarily easy. If it helps at all, I find the container concept, or number limits helpful. (That’s just how my brain works.) For example, I can keep all the posterity pieces I want as long as they fit into “this box.” Or I will choose the three or five pieces from Mama that have the best memories and keep those. For me it’s easier to assume it’s all going away and select what to keep, rather then looking at the pile and saying “What will I give away?” It’s a subtle difference, but powerful. Thinking of you as that difficult anniversary draws near…

        • Liz K

          Happy to help, Cimmie! Although I’m not sure what idea? Do you mean the two questions? If so, enjoy the process and the cleanout! (Just make sure you have enough items to cover you between laundry days!)

  • CiM

    This is another good post from you, Liz. Fits with life now, things I’m considering, thinking through, and acting on. Thank you for sharing yourself and your thoughts. You are appreciated.

    I value your contributions, ideas, and this space. As ever, glad to have “found” you. 🙂

    xo Cathy in Missouri

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