10 Wardrobe Rules Every Woman Should Follow

Last week I posted a list of 10 things women should never buy cheap. Today, I’ve got a list of wardrobe rules every woman should follow. No need to go out and buy a bunch of stuff, these are just 10 simple guidelines we ladies need to keep in mind while putting our wardrobes together and getting dressed.

I’m excited to get through these!! You ready for this?

10 Wardrobe Rules Every Woman Should Follow

1. Start with the basics.

LBD. Black trousers. Pencil skirt. Black pumps. Dark wash jeans. Basic white tee. These are just a few of the basics that make up the foundation of a good wardrobe. I haven’t written that post yet lol, but if you need help piecing it together, here are a few posts you can check out:

Wardrobe Essentials

Back to Basics: 14 Timeless Pieces You Shouldn’t Live Without

25 Items Every Woman’s Wardrobe Should Have

Wardrobes should be as unique as the women who wear them. Your basics are going to be a bit different than mine but the main idea is to have those pieces that are classic, trend-proof, versatile, long-lasting and flattering to you and you’ll have the perfect foundation for a great wardrobe that will fit your needs and lifestyle.  

2. Quality over quantity

Don’t worry so much about have a lot of clothing rather than having good quality pieces. I can attest to the fact that this can be difficult when you’re working with a real limited budget. But whenever possible, always choose a couple quality pieces rather than filling your closet with lots of cheap stuff that will fall apart on you after just a few wears. 

3. Just because it’s in your size doesn’t mean you can wear it.

Seriously, if I had to choose just one out of the ten on this list, this would probably be it. Not trying to be mean but let’s just please be honest–some ladies wear things they have absolutely no business wearing. Just because your size is on the tag doesn’t mean it’ll look good on you. And this goes for all sizes. There are things I pull off the rack that look ridiculous on me when I try them on. There are things that slender girls can pull off that not-so-slender girls can’t and there are things that curvy girls can wear that slender girls don’t look good in. Just because it looked good on your friend, in the magazine, or on the mannequin doesn’t mean it’ll fit you right. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Shop for your body type; don’t just blindly settle for whatever’s in right now. If you’re not sure what looks good on you, bring someone with you that will tell you the truth next time you go shopping. You want to look your best not some lesser version of someone else’s style.  

4. If you’re not 100% sure, don’t buy it.

And while you’re out shopping, consider this rule. It has been my cardinal shopping rule for years and has served me well. If you’re not 100% sure, don’t buy it. Think about those things in your closet that you bought on a whim. Maybe you wore it once. But you probably didn’t. You wish you hadn’t spent the money and now it’s just taking up space because you keep telling yourself that you’ll wear it one day. 

That feeling in your gut that tells you maybe you shouldn’t buy something? Pay attention. Those are your instincts kicking in and they may very well be right. Unless you’re a fixer-upper, don’t buy fixer-uppers. If it doesn’t fit quite right, isn’t quite the right shade, isn’t a reasonable price, doesn’t go with anything else you own, then think twice before you purchase. I usually throw pieces in my cart and walk around with it for awhile and then consider it again to see if I still really want it. Granted, there are times when you just have to suck it up and buy something but most of the time, if you’re unsure, chances are you’ll forget about it once you get home.  

5. Class over trend.

Coco Chanel said that “Fashion changes but style endures,” and I think she’s right. Think about what we were wearing 10 years ago. Fifteen years ago. Twenty years ago. And even though trends come and go, I think we generally have a good sense of what looks classic, especially on women. Some things never go out of style. This is why it’s important to build on basics, not trend.

It’s okay to have trendy pieces if you happen to like them but don’t build your wardrobe with them. Every woman can take classic and tweak it to fit her personality. Coco Chanel also said “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” I don’t think I own anything Chanel so I’m not trying to brand promote but I agree with this statement too. You’re not trying to make a splash with some fantastically hand-crafted, complex wardrobe. You’re trying to build something that’s functional, long-lasting, and unique as you are.   

6. Cling wrap is for leftovers.

Ladies, can we please stop with the skintight from head to toe? Now, I have to tread lightly cause, as a slender girl, it’s super easy for me to just wear super-fitting clothing without the worry of bulges and bumps. But that doesn’t mean I should. Back to what I said about not wearing something just cause it’s in your size. Let me just be real candid–if you’re concerned about your weight or trying to lose some pounds or inches, wearing tight-fitting garments just exacerbates the problem; you just end up highlighting the areas that are least flattering and it’s not doing yourself any favors. On the flip side, if you’re like me and it’s hard to even put on weight, tight-fitting garments can make you look skinnier which can be misconstrued as sickly. 

Everyone has their take on this but I think there is a way to tastefully wear pieces that fit your form without looking like someone painted on your clothing. Marilyn Monroe is quoted to have said, “Your clothes should be tight enough to know you’re a woman but loose enough to show you’re a lady.” I think that’s a good place to start.   

7. Be practical.

There are times when I’ll see something in the store or in a magazine and think, man, I’d love to have one of those! But truth be told, I’d probably never wear it cause it doesn’t fit my lifestyle. When shopping, consider your lifestyle. You may need a special occasion outfit every so often but that’s what they are–special occasion outfits. Spend more of your resources on what’s practical, affordable, and classic. That way, you’ll have a wardrobe that’s functional rather than a closet that’s full of stuff you never wear.  

8. Wear the proper undergarments.

I’m just going to put it out there — I don’t want to know you’re wearing a thong. And I don’t particularly want to see your panty line either. And make sure your bra matches the style of top you’re wearing (i.e. halter top, halter cut or strapless bra). But please do wear a bra! And make sure it fits so it doesn’t look funny beneath your blouse or t-shirt (I’m talking bulges and dips if you know what I mean). If it’s got a thin skirt, buy a slip–yes, I know it’s old-fashioned but they make ’em for a reason. There is an appropriate undergarment for every outfit you could possibly wear–please consider that when you’re getting dressed. I have probably broken more undergarment rules than I care to recollect but, from now on, let’s just be conscious of what other people might see when we’re out and about. Life has enough awkward moments without panties and bras getting in the mix.  

9. Learn the art of mix and match.

This is when your basics come into play. I learned the art of mixing and matching partly cause my dad is great at it and partly out of necessity (I didn’t always have the latest and greatest in fashion as a kid). I’m super glad I did cause it’s an invaluable skill. Mixing and matching pieces that you already have will make you feel like you went shopping for new things. It’ll take a few tries but have fun with your clothing and see what great outfits you can create. Some people have a natural talent for colors, patterns, and textures and some don’t. It’s okay if it takes you some time to get the hang of it. Play it safe and always get the opinion of someone else you trust (I did this the other day and learned, 2 minutes before walking out the door, that what I was wearing wasn’t working).

10. Modesty is the best policy.

This could be a whole post all on its own so I’ll keep it short. Everyone has their own personal take on modesty and that’s fine but here’s the bottom line: modesty begins in the heart. You need to consider what your intentions are. I’m going to be honest, there are times when I have to stop myself because I need to rethink what I am wearing and why I am wearing it. Think about the image you’re creating with what you put on. You want people to see you the person not you the body parts. I read this really great article the other week and I think the writer sums it up beautifully.

The Bare Essentials: What I Tell My Daughters About Modesty  


Do you have rules about wardrobe that you live by? Leave me your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to hear them!

-Elyssa

 

7 Reasons Why You Should Be Reading Books

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The last paper I wrote in college was a 20-something page piece on the reading brain and why it matters. I did 12 weeks of research only to barely cover the surface of a subject that I grew to love more as the term progressed.  I’ve always been a bookworm and writing a paper on why it’s so important to read was extremely fun ( I know, really nerdy).

This blog is hardly the place for such a long paper but I do want to share some things I found out while researching this project. So, lister that I am, I came up with 7 Reasons Why You Should Be Reading Books.

7 Reasons Why You Should Be Reading Books

1. Reading strengthens your brain.

According to Rita Carter, science writer and presenter of BBC’s documentary, Why Reading Matters, the brain doesn’t have a central reading system. Reading happens in, what she calls, a “cerebral internet”.  In other words, it takes several regions in different areas of the brain to make reading possible. Maryanne Wolf, author of Proust and the Squidsays that, unlike all other human behaviors such as vision or speech, reading has no direct genetic program that is passed from parent to child. We’re not born with neurological ‘reading tools’. Our brains form connections between regions designed to perform other functions in order to process and understand written language. Rita Carter interviewed Dr. Cathy Price of University College in London who gave a simplified explanation of how this works:
“There are no areas of the brain that only respond to reading. All the areas that are involved in reading are also involved in recognizing objects, in speaking. In order to read, it’s the connections between the visual inputs and the component sounds that need to be linked together. So this doesn’t involve any new brain regions. What it involves is stronger and more efficient links.”
Our brains possess what is called neuroplasticity, which means it is capable of learning new things and forming new habits by making and strengthening new connections. Reading is one of the best examples of this. The more you read and deepen those connections, the more you’re exercising and strengthening your brain.

2. Reading boosts your empathy.

BBC’s Rita Carter also brought up the fact that stories can help us become more empathetic. According to an article in Psychology Today, we were meant to tell stories, they provide order, and they connect us with others. Stories give us space to exercise our emotional responses to other people’s situations. John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns talks about this in an episode of Crash Course

“By understanding language, you will, 1). have a fuller understanding of lives other than your own, 2). will help you be more empathetic…Reading critically and attentively can give you the linguistic tools to share your own story with more precision. Reading critically gives us better tools to explain corporate profits and broken hearts and it also connects us to each other.”

3. Reading increases your vocabulary.

I especially like this one cause I love trying out new words that I find in books.  It is true that we pick up words from television and conversation but the truth is, we don’t speak the way we write. Written word is much richer lexically than spoken word. In other words, we use better and more varied words when we write than when we speak. The same goes for syntax–we structure sentences better when we write.  A great study done by Anne E. Cunningham and Keith Stanovich explains that children who read will have a richer vocabulary and better grasp of syntactical structure than their peers who watch television.  Reading enhances their ability to process language, both written and spoken. And because our brains are plastic, it doesn’t matter what your performance was like in school, the same can be true for adults as well. 

4. Reading makes you a better communicator.

This is points 2 & 3 at their best. A rich vocabulary isn’t the only pre-requisite of good communication. Effective communication is a two way street where both parties must take turns at being sender and receiver. Understanding and sympathizing with another person’s situation (empathy) and the ability to effectively express yourself verbally makes for a great communicator. Why? Because it’s not only about having something to say but also ensuring that what you’re saying is of value and how you’re saying it is thoughtful and appropriate. Because there is order, logic, brain connectivity, and emotion at play when we read, we are strengthening those areas that make us effective communicators.     

5. Reading actual books is a unique experience.

This isn’t something I was able to add to my final paper but I still find it important so I’ll include it here.

I have a Kindle and I think it’s a great way to consume material on the go but there is something about reading an actual book that is unique and beneficial in ways that cannot be recreated by any other medium.  An article in Medical Daily says that the tactile experience of holding a book, turning the pages, and moving from left to right aids in the ability to comprehend and remember the text. E-books, with often fragmented text and links to the net also disrupt focus and concentration. Your brain is going through a very complicated process in order to read and actual books facilitate this process better than e-readers.   

6. Reading is the best way to relax.

I didn’t include this in my paper either but I think it’s also important. One article I came across in my research explained that a study showed that reading is a more effective stress reliever than taking a walk, listening to music, or drinking a hot cup of tea. Subjects of the research experienced lowered heart rate and decreased muscle tension.  Reading helps us relax, and takes our minds off the day’s commotion which makes it the perfect thing to do before going to sleep. 

7. Reading is super attractive.  

Lastly, this also didn’t make it my paper but as much as this is my nerdy opinion, I’m not the only one who thinks this. You’ve heard it said intelligence is sexy? It’s so true. Why? Because readers are more emotionally and cognitively intelligent.  A well-read person bolsters their knowledge base and that makes them better conversationalists. When you read broadly and smartly, you have more to offer in your relationships, your families, your careers, and your communities making you more interesting, useful, and, well yeah, sexy.

If you don’t consider yourself much of a reader, then I challenge you to change that. Reading is a privilege and something we shouldn’t take for granted. History tells us that the number one way people kept control of others was by keeping back the written word (think Dark Ages and American slavery). We know knowledge is power; take advantage of it.

In my opinion, I think a good percentage of the mischief people get into would vanish if they would just read good books. And while I’m all for good literature, I’m also an advocate for great non-fiction. If you currently read mostly novels, re-consider your book list and add a healthy dose of spiritual growth, history, social science, biographies, art, business and other subjects that will give you insight and help shape a healthy, well-informed worldview. It’s a part of good maturity which this generation could use more of.

There’s a lot to learn and even more books to learn from. Pick up a book and see what wonderful things you’ll discover within the pages!

Happy reading!
 
 

10 Things Women Should Never Buy Cheap

I am not a big spender.  

I can safely label myself as a thrifty shopper.  I head for sale and clearance racks when I walk into a store.  Some of the best pieces in my closet are second hand and I rarely buy books new.  I’m not all that concerned about brand name clothing and I have no problem with choosing the generic over brand when buying groceries.  In fact, sometimes I’ll just go without cause I can’t justify the price even if I can afford it.  However, as I get older, I realize that there are some things that are worth forking over a little extra for when you can.

Before I get into it, however, let me just clarify that there is a difference between inexpensive and cheap.  You can get good quality stuff inexpensively and you can also get cheap stuff at a premium.  I’m all about quality without breaking the bank.  Aren’t we all?

Everyone has a different definition of ‘inexpensive’.  A friend may say something like, “I got such a great deal on that dress!” And then I hear the price and think, “Goodness, that’s expensive!”  With that in mind, I’m going to speak in mostly general terms and you can decide on the price points.      

Okay, let’s hit the list.

10 Things a Woman Should Never Buy Cheap (1)

1. Razors

Okay, I have a confession to make: I’ve been using cheap razors since…forever. And I knew better too. But there is something in me that has a hard time justifying expensive razors. I. Just. Can’t. Do. It. So I went through this ridiculous dance of nicks and less-than-close shaves. Drove me nuts. Until…ahem…last week. 

I was picking up a few things at the store and I saw some of the higher end razors on sale. Before I could talk myself out of if, I snatched them up. Best decision I made all that week. I will have to get over the fact that next time, I’ll be paying the regular price but, whatever.  When you know you could raise the bar and get something better, go ahead and pay the extra bucks. It’s worth every penny. I have no idea why it took me this long to just do it.  

2. Feminine Products

Every girl has her preferred brand of feminine products. Just rest assured that as long as you can afford it, you deserve to treat yourself to the good stuff. Tampon users – cardboard or plastic apps? Yeah, no brainer here. And if you’re not wearing Depends, then there is no reason to feel like you are. Get the quality stuff, you’ll feel great (well, as good as you can during that time of the month) and you’ll never look back.

3. Sheets

On average, we spend about one third of our lives sleeping. That’s a lot of time between the sheets – you might as well be comfortable. Again, this is another thing that I have a hard time forking over the money for. But I love the feeling of nice soft sheets after a long hard day. Don’t break the bank with some ridiculously priced bed linens but get the best you can afford and really enjoy those 8 hours of shut eye.

4. Shoes

Girl, I grew up wearing Payless shoes and there ain’t nothing wrong with it. I even still have a couple pairs that are at least six years old, if not older. However, I must say there is a difference between Payless and the higher end brands you can get elsewhere.  Be kind to your pocketbook and look out for sales and clearances. When shopping for footwear that’ll get lots of wear, go for quality. They’ll last you much longer and pay for themselves more than a couple times over.

5. Undergarments

How often do we just put up with cheap cause “It’s okay, I can handle it.”  Yes, I’ve purchased the ‘two for $9’ bras and yeah they do the job.  But there’s no denying that higher end undergarments do the job much better and are much more comfortable! Besides, a good outfit needs the proper, um, foundation. Splurge a little on the front end and you won’t be replacing cheap bras and panties so often.

6. Pantyhose.

Ever buy the pantyhose that come, like, 5 in a package for about five or six bucks? Yeah, I always thought that was great cause they were inexpensive and they’d last longer than getting just one pair. But, in the words of Gershwin, it ain’t necessarily so.  Like razors and sheets, I don’t like paying out for pantyhose but I can definitely say that you get what you pay for.  If you take good care of them, one pricier pair can last longer than a few cheap ones.  They look and feel much, much nicer too!

7. Little Black Dress.

Every woman ought to have at least one LBD. The perfect dress is one that you can dress up or down, flatters your figure, and is simple to wear. Remember, you’re going for quality and inexpensive, not cheap.  I have a few of these fashion staples in my closet–one I bought at a thrift store, one on a Target clearance rack, one in the Philippines, and one was a gift.  Keep your eyes open and find pieces that fit your body well, are versatile, and don’t brake the bank.   

8. Perfume

Okay, I have to confess that this isn’t something I do personally.  I buy body spray from Bath & Body Works or VS, not perfume from a counter.  Why?  Cause it’s less expensive.  However, I think that’s better than buying the cheap knock off’s at Walmart.  You know, the perfume that’s supposed to be the expensive brand but has that funny after-smell? If you’re like me and you need or want to stick with the lesser expensive option in body spray, then that’s great, but IMO, if you’re going to wear perfume, wait until you can buy the real thing.  

9. Purse

I mentioned before that I’m not into brand names so I don’t care about whether something is Coach, Madden, or…whatever else, take your pick.  Seriously, I really don’t care.  But I do care about quality and higher end pieces do tend to last longer.  Every woman should have a good, quality go-to bag that they can carry around pretty much anywhere.  You may have to pay a few extra dollars but let me tell you, my maternal grandmother carried the same bag for years when I was a kid and I think it’s still the same one she carries today (I’m not completely sure).  Pay for the best you can and it’ll serve you well.

10. Groceries

In order to look and feel your best, you have to take care of your body.  That means buying the best foods you can to keep yourself as healthy as possible.  Unfortunately, sometimes it seems cheaper to eat junk than the good stuff but a healthy diet can be maintained if you’re purposeful about it.  Don’t go cheap when it comes to your health.  Buy the best quality foods you can afford and treat yourself with care.


There you have it.  Ten things women should never buy cheap.  What do you think I should add to the list?  I know we all have those special things we like to splurge on.  Let me know what you think! 🙂

– Elyssa

5 Podcasts that Make Mondays Better

I love podcasts. They are one of the ways I stay inspired, motivated, challenged, educated, and entertained.

I’m trying to love Mondays. They are a chance to start fresh, do great work, and face challenges head on.  But man, are they difficult to lean into sometimes! Just like mornings can set the tone for the rest of the day, for me Mondays really set the tone for the rest of my work week. If I don’t get Monday right, I have a hard time making up for it during the rest of the week. So I try to fill my day with things that inspire and challenge me. Podcasts are great for this.

Below are five podcasts that are currently some of my top favorites. These are what inspire me, make me think, cause me to consider things I wouldn’t have otherwise considered, or simply make me laugh! If you haven’t ever listened to any of these, then I highly recommend you check them out and you may like them too!

5 Podcasts That Make Mondays Better

1. This is Your Life with Michael Hyatt

I’m a great Michael Hyatt fan, I love his blog. I’ve learned so much since reading Platform, which I reviewed on my book blog, and since becoming a Platform University student. If you feel like you want to embrace more of what you were called to do in your life, polish your talents, tackle life skills, and cherish your relationships, this podcast is for you!

This Is Your Life


2. Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!

I love this NPR show. It’s funny and informative and I usually catch up on it during the week when I miss it on the weekend. If you just need an upper on a Monday-ish Monday, you know what I’m talking about, take a load off and listen to this show.

NPR's New's Quiz Show, Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!


3. A Way with Words

I loooooooove this show! You don’t have to be a word-lover or a book-nerd like me to appreciate this language show. Their tagline is “the show about language and how we use it,” and it’s super fun and informative and interesting!

A Way with Words


4. The Portfolio Life

I’m a great Jeff Goins fan. He just recently released the book The Art of Work which I’m itching to read but must remain on my shelf where it waits patiently for me to carve out time between school and the other books I’m currently reading. Anyway, he’s a great writer, blogs at Goins Writer, and is such a great inspiration, not just to writers, but to anyone who wants to engage in the work they feel called to do. The Portfolio Life has reeeeeeally great content and I love listening to episodes all through the week, not just Mondays :).

The Portfolio Life


5. This American Life

I’m such nerd, I know, but this is a great show. If you have never listened to This American Life, you should. It’s like what I dreamt reading the paper was like when I was a kid. You know, that consumption of great journalism that is so very dignified and intellectual and cultured. It’s well put together and tackles stories that I wouldn’t otherwise encounter. Great stuff.

This American Life

 


In the comments below, let me know what podcasts you love! I’m always up for checking out a new show!

Happy Monday, y’all!