How Would You Describe Your Personal Style?

5250293e2587e6ee302c64c5838250c1.jpgIt’s been such a lovely week, even through all the windy days and umbrellas going inside out. It’s the kind where you walk around feeling your mind smiling because even though it’s cold there’s a certain positive feeling inside of you that you can’t quite explain. Even when they’re days where I felt a bit down, they were simple reminders of what I’m grateful for. Over the years, I have more appreciation for the saying, less is more. This means purchasing items you really know you’ll wear again and again over the years, rather than a sporadic purchase. It also means letting your style speak for itself.1202153Personal style reflects how we may feel, how we choose to express ourselves and sometimes it might evolve or change over the years. I recently talked to a dear friend about personal style. The most important thing is wearing things we feel drawn to, inspired by and comfortable in. They’re simply pieces of clothing that we feel we’re ourselves in, and they express our personality at a glance. What we wear should stay true to ourselves and who we believe we are. The personal styles I like are Rooney Mara, Cate Blancett, Alexa Chung, Alicia Vikander and Victoria Beckham to name a few. 1483821262.jpgPersonal style is more important than trends. There’s nothing wrong with purchasing things that are trending if you genuinely like it, but if you only purchase things because they are trending, then it’s trickier to develop your own style. That is the great thing about thrifting because you can find some treasures that may no longer be sold in most stores. I remember going through a stage of peter pan collars, florals, lace stockings and red nail polish. Over the years, I feel most myself in black, grey, nude, navy and white. Although, sometimes it’s nice to add a splash of colour!harper-and-harley_ruffle-white-top-sleeves_cropped-pants_style_outfit_2-mmvys00q4fh1oc8l1m398z29csosf2msw8rm6oy78o.jpgMinimalism is a lifestyle that encourages living with less, and more of things that we value. My first introduction to minimalism started when I discovered Harper & Harley three years ago. Sara embodies the nature of minimalism and wearing a black, white, nude and navy palette with elegance, simplicity and feminity. Before I discovered her or heard about the concept of minimalism, I used to buy an excess of clothing that I only ended up wearing a few times. Personal style can express the lifestyle we inhabit and how we want to express ourselves.

How would you describe your personal style?

The Art Of Minimalism And Letting Go Of Materials

tumblr_o4e19n0kTU1tfmhy7o1_500.jpgMinimalism may leave one thinking of a Zen garden or a spacious room. Over the years, I’ve decluttered and cleaned out many things that are not needed, or only take up space. They no longer serve a purpose, and are often a piece of paper with a note or a pair of shoes that you never wear. It’s only kept for its sentimental value. Of course, there will always be the bits and bobs that always stay with us. They give us a deep memory of a person or time. Minimalism is often known as cleaning out the materials you have. However, it is also the art of letting go and living with less. It gives time to focus on the important things in life. It means letting go of not only clothes, but having more space and time to accomplish things.

It means letting go of a friendship that may be causing you strain, travelling with only the necessities, treasuring what you have, spending less time buying, being focused on the positives, eating healthy and being more productive in your life. It makes the focus less on materials, and more on experiences and people. As someone who has period of moments where I experience anxiety, the art of letting go has been extremely helpful. It’s made my anxiety improve a lot compared to two years ago. It made me recognise how much time we can spend thinking about things that don’t matter. It also reminds us how important it is to look at the simplicity of life. The biggest creator of stress is when we imagine all the complicated scenarios that don’t end up happening.

Minimalism doesn’t mean I can’t buy this or that. It doesn’t mean that my house should feel empty or my wardrobe should hardly have any clothes. It means that in these cases, we will ask ourselves Do I really need it? and will I value it for a long time or is it something I will throw away at the end of the year. It also means not having too much emotional attachment with materials, but rather have a focus on our relationships, health, education and passions. It’s putting your time on what gives you true long term happiness, rather than the short term gains. When we live with less, we live with less negative thoughts and more content. We’re more present and spend time using our creativity, rather than consuming things.

Every person wants one thing in life, and that is to be happy. We all want to feel fulfilled and at peace in our own life. Living life with less, means that we look for our happiness in life itself, rather than the clothes, makeup, car or house we have. Minimalism means letting go of unnecessary materials, bad habits, toxic people and negative thoughts. It allows one to focus on living a more meaningful and rewarding life. Some of the richest people in life are those who have experienced the world, seen many wonderful things and met many inspiring people. They feel completely fulfilled through the experiences they have. Whereas a poor person could be someone who may live in a large house with everything, but feel completely unsatisfied in their life.

Think of when you walk to the garage sale in the neighbourhood, or walking into a store of new clothes. We are all able to choose what we buy and take home. That in itself is something we are so fortunate to be able to do. We can choose this brand or that. This style of clothing or the other. It means that there are endless options, and we have to make a choice of what we want to buy. It can sometimes lead to those buying what is trending and popular, which leads to discarding the item in the end, or some may buy what they truly like. When we buy what we truly like and need, we also embrace our own style, our differences and recognise the things we will cherish.

If I go window shopping and see a lovely coat or dress, the first thing I ask myself is “Do I need it?” and then I ask myself “How often will I wear this?”. Usually that helps me know if this is a long term purchase or simply a spontaneous purchase. That way you will know if this is something you’ll use in future. This mindset also helps when saving money, and avoiding buying several things that you won’t need in a years time. It also teaches one to really value what they have. Clothing is a great example, and when we think of our most loved clothing, we think about how it’s been worn for years and years. We can’t imagine throwing it out, unless the threads start loosening.

Photography by Elif Yalim

Book Review: L’art de la Simplicité

Lart-high-res.jpgIf I could wrap up this book as simply as possible, I would say that it was truly inspiring, enlightening and gives us a pinch of a reminder for what we already know deep inside. Living life each day is an experience that all 7 billion of us have. If you have ever questioned “What is the meaning of my life?” then you are not alone. After reading the book, I feel that I don’t question that so intently, because there is more of an acceptance and understanding that our existence is to live life the best we can. We are here for merely a moment, and so it would be far more enjoyable to strive for a life lived with true happiness. The book touches on three sections: Materialism and Minimalism, Body and Mind.

When I first began reading the book, I assumed that it would only touch on living with less materials (eg. clothing) and only having what is important, useful and valued. However, the book touches on all aspects of everyday life and how we are all capable of living a fulfilled life. The clothing we wear each day, is important in how we feel about ourselves. The clutter in the spaces of our lives, can have a bigger affect on us than we may realise. By removing things that we do not need or that are only there because of an emotional attachment, we can surround our life with the essentials. When I lived at home as a child or even in the space I live in today, there was always a character of simplicity. This allowed more space to move around, less cleaning of unnecessary and unused objects and a greater appreciation for what one already has.

In consumerism we are convinced we need more and more, when in fact, we only need what we need. It seems so clear and transparent, yet it is often looked past, and people will spend money on things that are only to fill temporary happiness and are not for long term use. Looking after your body, also comes from what you put inside of it. Loreau talks about how we should only eat when we are hungry. As previously mentioned, many of the lessons and wisdom that are mentioned in the book are things that most of us know deep down in our hearts. It’s all a matter of practicing these values and incorporating them into our lives. She talks about how stress is created from our mind, and the level of power our mind and our thoughts have over our lives. Stress is a creation of thoughts and scenarios, which do no occur 90% of the time.

When it comes to relationships, our lives are far better lived when we simplify our contacts. Detox people who are toxic and end relationships that give you no support. Loreau mentions that “You don’t have to bare your soul to someone to be close with them.” It is incredibly true. It’s the company we are in and even the comfortable silences with a friend that can bring true pleasure. The book touches on many many other topics, however the one thing that radiates throughout is the matter of having self-love, good values and gratitude for the small things. The kindness we surround ourselves and that we act on will have a greater affect on the life we live. We have more than we need to live a well balanced and satisfactory life. It all comes down to how we choose to live it.

The key to loving how you live is in knowing what it is you truly love. – Sarah Ban Breathnach

Minimalism: Living Life With Less Things

l.jpgI was reading an article this morning from womankind, which really spoke to me, and made me reflect on the question of “How much do we really need?”. I recently purchased a book called How to live more with less, because minimalism has always been something I value when it comes to living a more simple life physically and mentally. Recently, I feel that I have been asking myself how I am living my life and how I would want to live my life each day. When we think of materials, we may think of clothes, makeup, our cup collection and magazines sitting in a pile. In the last few years, I’ve gradually made my schedule more simplified, which makes life feel less cluttered. When thinking about work and our daily schedule, I believe that it all comes down to how we organise things. Minimalism can create a much more stress-free lifestyle, by not feeling overwhelmed with everything around you.

An aspect that I changed significantly is my view on fashion and clothes. A few years ago, I used to buy clothes from fast fashion companies every weekend and at the end of the year, they would end up being thrown away or recycled without being worn many times. It made me feel that I was not putting in value on what I already have, and making a clever investment in what I wear. For that reason, I rarely buy any clothing and don’t go out of my way to shop at fast fashion stores. Most of my clothing are second hand or from the markets. I find this is a great way to embrace your personal style when we shop ethical, second hand or sustainable.

Sometimes I feel if I didn’t purchase the things I ended up discarding (clothes, magazine and so forth), how much would I saved? The truth is, I feel that in my life I would not be significantly happier earning a lot of money or owning a lot of things in the sense that object cannot provide true happiness. I believe when our relationships, work and life is enjoyable, that is what is important. We are sometimes convinced that the more we have the happier we will be, especially by consumerism and what we see around us. The more friends, the more clothes, the more money, the more this and that. How much of it do we truly need? I believe a person would be happier with a few close friends, than a group of distant friends that you only spend time to have fun with.

Minimalism encourages us to spend less, own less and appreciate what we already have. It creates a more simple environment and makes you focus on the important things in life: the people you love and the things you love to do. Minimalism doesn’t just imply towards objects and materials, but it also expresses our relationships and way of living. It makes us question the people we surround ourselves with, and tells us to let go of toxic friendships and treasure the ones who love us. Of all the things that truly give me joy during each day are the people in my life. It seems so simple and true, yet we are told otherwise by being told that we need this or have to buy that.

It made me realise how much we buy things to stay up to date, how many things we convince ourselves we need or how many people around us may be a negative influence. Letting go and embracing your self is important. Creating a peaceful space for your mind will affect how you feel and what sort of life you create for yourself. We spend a lot of money on quick happiness that wears out like a battery. Taking time to have positive self talk and learn to place yourself in a calm place in your mind will gradually make one realise how much we have to be grateful, rather than the ongoing stress that is created. Quality of life will always be far more valuable then the quantity of things we have.

beautiful art by Dan-Ah Kim