Letters to Santa

Posted on November 18, 2018

[ My letter in the year 2017. ] Once a year, I make a list and pray that Santa is real. He is not. But here we go :

santa

A set of pajamas similar to these. No pattern or prints. Plain and navy blue. Sustainably made or second hand. Not poplin, but flannel.

This gardening tool set.

Any outdoor plant. Fig plant would be nice.

The wizard and the Prophet : I belong to both these worlds. The environmentalist who thinks humans need to be responsible about our interaction with the natural resources. The techie who thinks we should colonize other planets, invest heavily in renewable energy, invent ways to make it rain when needed, subsidize lab grown meat, … This book is for me.

Any sort of loose tea leaves.

Any good book that you have read and want me to borrow.

Vintage clothing in navy blue.

….


 

I have had this draft as a running list since September. This was pre-California wild fires. Dear Santa, I am fine. Please be generous to the folk affected. Are you real ?

Please consider making a contribution if you can.

Style Rules for my Unborn Daughter

Posted on November 17, 2018

Who wore it better ? the niece or the aunt ? 

I became an aunt (again). She is tiny, charming, funny, adorable, high pitched, bright eyed, porcupine haired, innocent, smily, bossy, reactive, strong, ….. bundle of a human. Welcome to our world, little one ! You have already made us all happier by a mile. Babies are born wild and we the humans try to civilize them in our own unique ways. The aunt in me has been plotting :

  1. You shall be dressed in navy blue and in tiny versions of adult clothes until you come of an age where you can choose. None of that disney merchandise and acrylic bunny suits for you, if I have any say in it.
  2. Braids, pigtails and man-buns are non negotiable. So are jumpsuits, dungarees and rain boots. I hope you enjoy the outdoors and getting dirty.
  3. You shall be kind to our dog and cat. Being a gentlewoman starts with learning how to treat our animals.
  4. You will have the minimum possible amount of clothes when you are of the growing age. But know that it be alright and the rules will relax when your body stops rapidly changing.
  5. I hope you wear second hand clothes and feel proud about supporting the sustainable fashion movement. I hope you don’t see glitter and polyester as a necessity coz it really hurts the environment.
  6. “Trust not the heart of that man for whom old clothes are not venerable.” Thomas Carlyle.
  7. I will buy the highest quality I can afford and take care of my investment purchases. I will save some of them for you when I grow out of them – physically or mentally. You will inherit them and are free to decide if you want to wear them.
  8. Style is a simple way of saying complicated things. I want you to develop a point of view. I want you to have the highest standards for what makes it in your good graces and into your closet. 
  9. I hope you develop a tendency that dislikes shopping. Buying what you need and enjoying clothes is different from aimlessly grazing the shops.
  10. When I give style advice, do listen. But make up your own mind. The feminists have fought a long and hard fight so that you may choose for yourself. I look forward to your help in breaking some of the style rules I created for myself. I look to you to question my dogmas. Help us keep our hearts young. Come shake us up.

Additional Reading : 10 things your father should have taught you about style. 

On Shoes

Posted on November 10, 2018

“What about your shoes ?”

Every conversation of mine about excess consumption/sustainability has a skeleton hiding in the closet. I have lots of shoes. Depending on who you ask, they are classified as an excess or a reasonable vice.  It is usually the men who complain. Women are kinder. We seem to “get” shoes. We can rationalize investing on shoes because our feet seldom change size while our bodies do. We can even tolerate painful shoes because we see it as a trade off. If I go out to an event/wedding/dancing with my girlfriends, we experience pain as a sisterhood. It is never “my shoes hurt”. It’s : “Our shoes hurt. Lets sit down for a bit”. Everyone understands. The wrong shoes can ruin an outfit – we are taught. The right ones can play with proportion and form. It’s all true – in my opinion. Or is it ? My shoe inventory below. [I have a pair in India and some exercise shoes that arent shown in this post.] Items with a * were purchased second hand.

Ballet flats : *Rag & Bone.

Mary Janes : *Carven.

Sandals: &OtherStories

Loafers : *Saint Laurent

Oxfords : Officine Creative

N.D.C Made by Hand

Heels : *Manolo

*Manolo.

*ByFar

Sneakers : Bensimon

Black Boots : *Church’s.

Brown Boots :*Santoni

Gifted for review : Arete Goods. Repetto 

Pants : Hope. Sweater : Everlane

He Said : There is some difference but its not significant enough to buy all these shoes.

She Said : A touch of pink makes the outfit more playful. The ugly shape of the square toe and the comfortable heel is a middle finger to the painful pretty shoes out there. The plaid adds pattern in a subtle manner. You don’t quite see it unless you have the eye for such things. The Manolo block heels are as comfortable as ballet flats and they deserve to be worn for being the perfect shoe shape. They subtly alter my proportions and make the legs look longer. The ballet flats are a uniform. I can justify owning a few to rotate because I wear them on most days of the year. The red oxfords are my power shoes. You wear them for color therapy and some morale boost. In winter, you need boots. You need two to alternate to give the shoes rest between wears. I have them in brown and black. They maybe insignificant visually, but they feel different. I don’t wear wild clothes. Shoes are the only way I can play with fashion. I need all this.

He said : Did you make all this sh** up right now as we speak ? You have something to say for everything don’t you ? How can I reason with you ?

She said : I know I have excess. I have not been able to de-own shoes. I can’t give sermons on ‘buy less’ after I have finished buying my excess. I know that. Some actionable items going into the future :

  1. I am currently not looking to downsize but I acknowledge the area of excess.
  2. Given how much I own, what I can do is put a cap on buying more. I am doing the French 5 challenge.
  3. There ! The skeleton is out of the closet. Writing this post made me very uncomfortable.

The history of ethics is a sad tale of wonderful ideals that nobody can live up to. Most Christians did not imitate Christ, most Buddhists failed to follow Buddha, and most Confucians would have caused Confucius a temper tantrum.

– Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.

Putting aside the ‘consumption talk’, lets talk shoes.

.

RULE 1 :
INVEST IN YOUR FEET. IT WILL CHANGE HOW YOU MOVE. 

.

They don’t have to be Manolo’s or Common Projects but they have to be a well made pair. Bad shoes can ruin your feet and add to anatomical troubles that come with aging. Please don’t become a fashion victim. I often look back and wonder “how did they convince women about needing corsets ….” I think the future women will look back at us and wonder about our footwear choices. Heels might one day make it into the academic books on fashion victims. It could be a decade from now or a century from now.

Invest in your every day shoe rather than into an evening wear outfit. Sarees/pretty dresses get worn twice a year to be seen and then forgotten by strangers. The shoes will work on your behalf every single day and help you stay active. Invest in your everyday life.

RULE 2 :
KNOW YOUR THRESHOLD FOR ACCEPTABLE QUALITY.

.

Even stitches and good leather makes the shoe beautiful to look at. But the shoes should have the right balance and technical construction to make it walkable. I don’t have the knowledge to identify it just by looking at the shoe. I try to stick to the brands from my shoe history that have done good and the heritage shoe companies. I buy gently used pairs second hand to be able to afford them.

RULE 3 :
KNOW YOUR ESSENTIALS.

A brown boot, a black ballet flat, a black loafer, a red oxford  – are my must haves.

RULE 4 :
KNOW YOUR BANDWIDTH

I am not into making outfits. I am more of a uniform wearer. I wake up, pick out the garments I am craving the most on that morning and throw them together. I don’t have the mental energy to process through a line up of shoes on an regular basis. I usually have 3 pairs of shoes out every season. I rotate though them for the 3 months and switch them out once the season changes. Having everything out overwhelms me. I know my limits.

My bandwidth : 3.

RULE 5 :
KNOW YOUR PROPORTIONS.

Short legs + block heel + mid/low rise pants = illusion of longer legs

Toned legs Vs lankly legs Vs chubby legs alters this equation.

The horizontal lines created by where the the waist band sits alters this equation.

The hem length of a dress alters this equation.

Pay attention to the ratios and proportions.

RULE 6 :
DRESS DOWN YOUR HEELS.  

Let the heels be simple. Heels with embellishments is a bit much.

Let the flats be interesting. The color. Or the cut. Or subtle embellishment. Or unexpected detail.

Wear heels with pants. Wear flats with your dresses.

RULE 7 :
LOAFERS & OXFORDS ARE FOR EVERYONE. 

The notions of feminine / masculine are a social construct and ever evolving. Never apologize for wearing shoes with a solid construction. We deserve them.

Menswear inspired shoes on women can add a lot of interest to an outfit given that they aren’t as common on the street. [ I see women wear oxfords with a small block heel in vintage photos. ] Even if they don’t look right, I will continue to wear them. They are durable. They are practical. They are walkable. Comparing the construction of most women’s shoes and an average men’s loafer with the price tags makes me laugh out loud. Best sole per dollar goes to oxfords in general.

Walks can be a great source of pleasure. Oxfords are my equivalent of sneakers.

I like the look of dresses with oxfords.

I like how oxfords look when the ankle shows.

I like how oxfords look when paired with an oversized blazer.

Look for the right shoe shape. Round toe oxfords can look chunky and outdated. Having a sleeker shape helps.

RULE 8 :
SAY YOUR VOWS. SAY YOU NO(s) !

No to tolerating painful shoes. Heels can be too high in an unhealthy and dangerous way.

No to toe cleavage. They are as attractive as love handles. The illusion of an ill fit is something I would like to avoid. [ I read an interview by Mr. Louboutin where he states that he makes shoes for a certain type of dainty foot and enjoys watching women squeeze their feet into these shoes resulting in cleaving. WTF ! Looks like the foot binding days aren’t completely behind us. ]

No to peep toe. I want clean lines on my shoes. Toes are not an attractive body part, IMO. Why do people flaunt it by punching holes in the shoes ? I will never understand.

No to platforms. No to high heels. No to the idea of sexy that came from the shoes worn by strippers and the porn industry. ( No, for me. Please wear what you like. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. )

No to pointed toes. ( I wear a not-so pointed version of them that don’t hurt my narrow feet but I am aware of the inconvenience. )

No to skinny heels. ( I am for block heels. Let them go out of fashion. I will continue to wear them and buy more on the second hand market. )

No to flip flops and thong sandals.

Walk away from shoes that are not make for walking. Have you held a Porselli ballet flat in your hand ? H&M ballet flats fall in this category too. The soles are so thin that you can wear them out in a season. We women buy this sort of thing in the name of ‘feminine’ and ‘dainty’. Mr. Louboutin publicly states that his shoes are not made for walking. We give him awards and hundreds of dollars to experience the pain. Are we ornamental beings ?

Notes to self : Walk away. There has never been a happy ending after a day in painful shoes.

RULE 9 :
RESIST THE SNEAKERS FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE.

Eventually, sneakers will conquer all the feet on the planet. I can see it happening. This maybe the last decade for me to wear other kinds of shoes before they become outdated. I can see leather becoming an ethical gray area as the planet gets more polluted. I think I will make the switch eventually. I like canvas sneakers with rubber soles but I want to put them off for now.

RULE 10 :
WORN IN, THE BETTER.

Never apologize for wearing shoes with scuffs, patina, tear and cracks. ( I, however learnt to polish my shoes and shine them. I hide the imperfections. If you clean the shoe soles regularly, you don’t even see the indentations. )

Head-to-toe worn-in clothes with scuffed shoes may not be acceptable in most social situations. One worn in item per outfit however – adds to the effortlessness quotient.

RULE 11 :
IF YOU THINK YOU ARE TOO IMPORTANT TO POLISH YOUR SHOES, YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN’T BUY LEATHER SHOES.

Dignity of labour. Enough said.

Leather enters my closet as a by product of animal cruelty and tanneries that produce toxic by product. I owe it to the shoe to take care of it.

Leather is skin that you got to clean and moisturize.

Clean your shoes every month. Use shoe trees. Give them a day’s rest between wear. Don’t let them collect dust over time. Don’t let them sit in the direct sun by the window/door. I store mine away in shoe boxes in the garage. I bring out 3 pairs per season and rotate through them. Cleaning 3 pairs per month is a manageable chore. Do it while watching tv. I condition them once per season. If you wear your leather shoes in the rain, seal them with wax or spray treat them.

Some very good products : Shoe trees. Leather care.

RULE 12 :
FEMINISM APPLIES TO SHOES.

I have been called out for walking up to women and saying “I cant believe you wear those heels. They look like torture. Are you in pain ?” Of course she is in pain ! The pain of having me being condescending on top of possibly painful shoes. What she wears is none of my business. Her choice.

Wardrobe Inventory

Posted on November 3, 2018

I do this exercise every year :

Set a timer for 10 minutes.

Sit someplace with a pen and paper.

List everything in your closet without looking at your closet.

This exercise is a reality check. If you love everything you own, you should at the least remember it right ? If you wear every thing you own, you should be able to list it. If you cant recall a big percentage of garments, something is not right and it should be acknowledged. Even if nothing is to come of this exercise, I like making lists and here is one. Every garment is a data point, for future analysis.

wardrobeInventory

Calculate your recall and precision rate. Percentages aside, the number of clothes you forget is a pretty honest indicator.

My numbers : The clock ran out on me. I could list 44 out of 52 garments in my closet. The garments I couldn’t recollect off the top of my head, are the ones I wear the least or the ones I don’t really need but have held on to.

Some totally un-substantiated hypothesis :

< 40% recall rate : You are the average first world consumer who has too much and uses too little of her closet. Perhaps a shopping fast will allow you to notice the things you already own ?

50-70% : You could be in the top 20% among the first world consumers. Shop your closet to re-discover the rest of your closet. Rediscover the forgotten gems.

70-90 % : You maybe the 2% among the first world consumers. If you can write it all down, I assume that you edit your closet regularly and know whats inside it. I would think its alright to forget a few ? Are we meant to remember everything we own ?

100% : A women in control of her closet. All the minimalists I know can list everything in their closet. All the curators I know can list what is being shown in their gallery. All the editors I know can list what made it on to the rack. Irrespective of the size of the closet, you are at-least aware of whats inside. This is a good sign.

[ If you do take this test, let me know your results and your interpretation of your result. ]

Other indicators of a tamed closet :

Your partner should be able to list most of what you own. [ It’s a good thing when people see you repeat outfits. It’s a sign of intimacy with the garment and with you. ]

Your friends/coworkers should be able to recognize most of your clothing. An optimal closet is one where everything gets worn often.

You see wear and tear on your clothes on a yearly basis.

You don’t haul clothes. You buy a garment or two occasionally. You don’t get rid of piles of clothes. You let go of a garment or two seasonally.

The tendency is say no more often than saying yes.

When you buy something and bring it home, you are able to stand in the closet and say “I needed this garment in-spite of everything else I own”.

Your closet gives you a sense of calm and not add to the chaos of daily living.

How many years do you think it will take you to wear out your clothes ? How does it compare with your life expectancy ?

If I die today, will anyone want to inherit the clothes ? Or will it all rot some place ? Will it all be unloaded on to a thrift shop ? Will the thrift shop accept the contents ? Will be it a burden on the future generations ? Will it end up in a landfill ?

What is the right closet size ?

I don’t know. I publish a closet inventory every year with an intention of collecting data so that I may answer that question, one day in the future. I have all my needs & wants met by this closet of mine. It’s not the number but the items in it but the utility of the garments in it, that made it right size for me. I am from India. I can never, in my right mind say ‘this is my minimalist closet’. An average Indian owns much less than half of what I own. I have long abandoned the idea of owning the smallest closet possible. What I have, is my idea of abundance. I have shifted the focus to building a closet where I don’t hoard or waste clothing. This is what it took to make me content. Writing down this list made me happy and grateful. The items with a * were purchased second hand.

Long Sleeve Tops:

*Merino wool turtleneck – black

* Merino wool turtleneck – navy

Merino wool tshirt – gray

*navy and white stripes.

*navy and gray pinstripe wool top

*Isabel Marant embellished blouse

Shirting :

*The Row silk – navy 

*Reformation floral – navy 

*Ganni polka dot – navy

Equipment linen shirt – army green

*Equipment sleeveless linen – army green

*Theory pinstripe silk shirtnavy & white

Son De Fleur linen shirt – navy

*Chambray shirt – blue

*Current/Elliot denim – navy.

Pants :

*R13 black denim

*Black trousers, Hope

Citizens of Humanity – pale blue

Everlane chinos – black.

COS karate pants

*Black jeggings, J.Brand.

Short Sleeve Tops:

Everlane tshirt – white/indigo.

Everlane t-shrit – navy

Wool gray t-shirt

*APC polka dot shirt

*Steven Alan chambray sleeveless

Dresses :

*Steven Alan shirt dress – navy

*Stella McCartney shirt dress – black

*Celine tent dress – navy

*No-label midi shirt dress – navy

Goat sweater dress – navy (Too tight)

*Vintage denim dress – navy

*Current/Elliot ikat maxi – navy.

*Celine tuxedo dress

APC indigo maxi dress

*Zara Red wool dress

Sweaters :

Everlane cashmere – gray

Everlane cashmere – navy

Iris & Ink cashmere – red

Gray and white stripes

*navy and pink stripes

*navy and white stripes

Jackets :

Zara leather jacket – black

*Vintage leather jacket – red

Trench :

Zara polyester duster – navy

*Everlane swing – khaki green

Coats :

*Celine double wool black coat

*Stella McCartney mauve coat

In Storage :

AllSaints drapey wool jacket – black.

APC polka dot top – navy ( at the tailor )

Black blazer.

Burberry trench ( need to sell ).

filler
Some notes :

  1. The major chuck of inventory is the same as the list from April 2017. Else, using the word ‘sustainability’ on this blog is pointless.
  2. I expect a shelf life of 3-7 years with regular wear from the garments in my closet. I am no longer terrified of aging and death of garments. [ Valar Morghulis. Valar Dohaeris. All men must die. All men must serve. If it applies to men, it definitely applies to clothes.] I wont save them out of the fear of wearing them out and buy more on the side. I don’t intend to take them all to the grave with me. To be honest, I consider it a successful purchase only when a garment is worn out in a reasonable amount of time. Given the size of my closet and the fabrics I choose, I wear out about 2-10 garments a year depending on the condition of the second hand garment when I purchased it. If you bike/use public transit/do physical labour, clothes wear out sooner. Let them wear out. Replace them with more current pieces when they do.
  3. Knee length dresses no longer work for me. I am more comfortable in midi and maxi dresses.
  4. I have added sweaters and t-shirts this year. I call it ‘the Californication’ of my closet.
  5. I wore out quite a few of my silks in the last year. I sold them as a lot on Craigslist. The buyer was a very young woman from our neighborhood and I could see the glee in her eyes when she tried on the Burberry blue shift dress. She saved me the trouble of listing it on eBay and making trips to the post office. This is my lazy approach to decluttering.
  6. This year, I purchased my first floral print shirt. It feels very festive when I put it on. I am also trying out high waisted pants from COS. While I like how they look, I dislike how they feel. I can’t bear to have the fabric pressing on my stomach after I eat a full meal or chug down a mason jar full of water. The fashion pundits talk of ‘pants sucking it all in’ but to me, it screams “corset”.
  7. I put on 6 lbs this year. After months of hoping it will go away, I realized that it’s here to stay. The leather jackets don’t zip up anymore. Is it possible that your shoulders have gotten wider in your 30s ? ( I would like to think that its the yoga, burpees, digging and heavy backpacks. But how can I differentiate what I want to be true from what is true ? ) The Celine tent dress pulls at the shoulder when I swing my arms. Now that Phoebe Philo has quit Celine, I want to keep her pieces as a collector or sell for profit. The Stella McCartney pinstripe dress needs repair and the fused lining has made it impossible for me to do it myself. The Zara trench needs repair or the donation bin. I am in need of some wardrobe housekeeping.
  8. The most worn garments in the last year : Zara trench, Everlane navy cashmere sweater, R13 black denim, Steven Alan shirt dress, Son De Fleur linen shirt and Ganni polka dot shirt. The least worn are the APC indigo maxi and the Tibi maxi dress.
  9. My special occasion wear : maxi dresses. They are easy, effortless and comfortable while threading the line between not-so-ordinary and I-am-a-peacock-look-at-me.  The dresses I own do that well. [ A recent observation : if your entire party is dressed in little black dresses, you stand out for wearing something with visual saliency. But if your entire party is peacock-ing, you stick out for wearing something understated. I seem to be in both these situations because I am an Indian immigrant. ]
  10. The oldest clothes in my closet are from fast fashion brands. Someone suffered to make them for me. I am trying to get every possible wear out of them as an ode to the people who made them.
  11. My mother is in America for 6 months. She has a trench coat and some tunics that I get to borrow. She wears some of my dresses as tunics. I love dressing her up. Its my way of paying it backward. Every year, I get some clothes as presents/hand-me-downs from friends and family. I need to dye them indigo or navy blue to be able to use them. I haven’t processed by batch coz I currently don’t have a place to dispose the used dye. Pouring it down the drain is also not recommended. Inspite of being a natural dye, if I pour it into the soil in my backyard, I can’t grow plants on that lot. Some countries allow the harmful synthetic dyes to be dumped into the local rivers. The gardener in me cringes at that thought.
  12. I don’t enjoy finding organizational hacks and doing closet edits. I do seasonal capsules instead. Not everything hangs at once. The knits + t-shirts get folded and go into a dresser. I have a 1950’s style small closet in our bedroom. My color palette tames the visual clutter. I enjoy the negative space as much as the clothes that hang. Capsules provide it.
  13. I associate personal style with entropy. With time, I may experiment but the chaos needs to reduce over time. With time, I want to be left with a minimalist closet with a uniform. I would like to be left with my old and most fav clothes.
  14. While I love reading wardrobe inventory posts on blogs, I think these lists should stay private. Closets should have a sense of mystery and romance. Somebody in the world should wonder “what will she wear today” and appreciate your outfits. It could be a spouse, a co-worker, a friend, a child, a date, a friend you share sartorial secrets with, a stranger, a blog reader, a cat, …. Inventories give away too much information. I won’t open the door to my closet and show it to you unless you are a confidante in real life. But since I blog about minimalism and sustainability, I need to publish this list every year in the spirit of being transparent and ethical. I can’t chant “Buy less. Buy better. Make it last” otherwise can I ?

 

 

 

 

Right : Fall/Winter closet. Left : Spring/Summer closet.  

Personal Style, Lately.

Posted on November 2, 2018

Enter Symptoms : I am tired all the time. News gives me a headache. I have a tendency to wear navy blue everyday. I think dogs are better than humans. ….

Web Doctor Diagnosis : blah blah blah …. Linked to cancer … blah blah blah …


Enter Problem : I want to find my personal style……I am overwhelmed by my closet……. …… I want to live more sustainably ……

Blogger Style Advice : blah blah blah ….. buy French Starter Kit ….. blah blah …


What is personal style ?

What you choose from the free market in a free society, wear most often over a period of time and how you wear it becomes your style. A strong sense of style has indicators. Repeat garments, an undertone, a point of view, a silhouette, a color palette, … Some men & women I have been admiring lately :

Nikaela

Writer

Nikaela

Erin

Lifestyle Blogger

Emilie Halpern

Ceramics.

Birgit Sfat

Children’s clothing store owner.

Patricia Janssen

Model

Garance

Influencer.

26072172_358730637937014_2625519349200322560_n

Laura Silverman

Naturalist

India

Haarkon.com

Jeannie Phan

Illustrater

Nick Wakeman

Director, Studio Nicholson

wethepeople_jessiebush_studionicholson_studiovisit12-1320x880@2x

Tamar Adler

Chef

tamar17_IMG_4007 herotamaradler

Dakota Johnson

Actress

Alicia Vikander,

Actress

Mari Giudicelli

Shoe Store Owner

Noboru Kakuta

Mystery Man

NoboruKakuta

Shout out to these kids for not using a plastic/polyester Halloween costume that ends up disposed after one use. My kind of style icons are kind to the environment.

 

Left : Wool yarn wing on Olive Matas.

Right : Erin’s children made their lady bug wings by painting a piece of cardboard. 

Style stalking makes me as happy as wearing these outfits myself.

White Noise : October Edition

Posted on October 28, 2018

Conservatory-archives

Source : Conservatory Archives

Sustainable denim using laser technology.

Best closet tour ever. Honest. Simple. Joyful.

A cosmic perspective on Earth by all the astronauts who travelled into space.

Would we recognize an alien if we saw one ? 

Plant scientists + gene editing = super-tomatoes. 

This home tour. 

This round up of beautiful things from a design fair. 

A quote that stayed :

The forest was shrinking, but the trees kept voting for the axe because it’s handle was made of wood and they thought it was one of them.

Screen Shot 2018-10-17 at 10.43.43 AM

LOL, was my reaction to the UN report on climate change. Bill Gates published this split up the causes : 25% is electricity. 24% is agriculture with cattle being the biggest culprit. 21% is manufacturing with plastic, steel and cement being the top of the list. 14% is transportation with air travel and ships being the biggest contributors. 6% is buildings with air conditioning and appliances taking the big chunk. Take the quiz to test your knowledge on climate change.

Social cost of carbon emissions. ( Why is India on top of the lists I don’t like ? )

Give up plastic for your God.

This chai recipe. 

I watched 96, a tamil movie with subtitles and managed to experience space-time dilation.

This wedding.

Chic? Oh, don’t you start using that filthy little word.

Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 2018 :: “Chemists have sped up evolution, harnessing a process that can take millions of years in the natural world and using it—in months or weeks—to make novel molecules that today are used for everything from “green” biofuels to cancer drugs. ”

Tips on garden design. 

Ikea’s live lagom.

I am growing cabbage so that I may make this version of kimchi.

On Fashion Victims.

This instagram account.

Banksy shredded his own panting after it sold for 1.2 mill. What a rockstar !

Will there ever be a woman’s blog that celebrates aging of garments ?

Dyson humidifier. What a sleek device !

A credible source for white papers on sustainable fashion.

THE best post on ‘finding one’s personal style’.

I would like to embroider my worn out t-shirts to resemble this top.

“Whoever creates expresses his soul through his work”

New Blog discovery : Ubierajsieklasycznie.pl   Start with these articles :

What is French Chic ?  What is preppy style ?  Approaching style.  Building a wardrobe from scratch.  Shopping method.     A timeless style.     Wabi Sabi.     Everyone has their own classics.

Nobody wants their latest purchase to become a guilt trip, but many of us are taking time for a little extra consideration beyond how something fits and whether or not it makes us look fabulous. We want to know how it was made; whether the factory conditions were safe and clean; if the cotton farmer used pesticides to grow his crop; what happened to the toxic effluent when the fabric was dyed; how much the machinist was paid; how much energy has been used, and ultimately, was it all worth it? The value of a garment includes the values it was made with, which is why designers who are doing things differently are setting the tone for a fashion industry with a fresh set of beliefs. There is no single ‘right’ way to make fashion, but there are many better ways.

Slow Fashion.

Second hand finds :

Think I need this pink scarf from Eileen Fisher Renew.

This red sweater by Dries Van Noten.

Navy and pink cashmere sweater by Steven Alan.

If you want to sell your car and fly around on this Hermes Cape. The Acne version.

For Wear Bambi to Work day.

Admired her coat for years. Found a navy blue one by Jil Sander.

This cardigan from Autumn Cashmere.

A gray cashmere sweater by Zadig & Voltaire. A red one by Hope.

When Mara Hoffman turns her gaze towards hemp : we get this maxi dress. Do you know that hemp is a carbon negative fabric ? It has come a long way from the rough textured itchy fabric I once knew.

I have wanted this scarf for a long time. But don’t want to give it a slot in my 5 item wardrobe challenge.

The trousers similar to the ones worn by Gretta in the film Begin Again.

Navy trench by Stella McCartney.

Tiny Home : The good, the bad, the ugly

Posted on October 27, 2018

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This is not simplicity. This is selfishness. What about your guests?

– mum.

Tiny home is a wonderful concept. Urban density reduces emissions from daily commute. It’s a way to take less from earth to build a home. (Cement, steel & wood have big carbon footprints.)  It’s a way to reduce needs. I tell them that I am “trying out sustainable living” but hear the usual “all this doesn’t matter”. I for one, usually smile, nod and brush off the comments. But my partner is a more social being. When my parents & in-laws decided to visit us this summer, we moved out of the tiny house and into a 950 sft cottage with a backyard. Looking back, I really miss my old home. It has taught me a lot.

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Heat map of sft usage in an average home. Much like an closet full of excess, look at the efficiency of usage. 

The Good

Firstly, our previous home was not tiny. Most people in India live in smaller spaces without calling it a tiny house. Most people in Asian cities live this way too. I can generalize and say most people in the world live in small homes. Super sized homes are a first world phenomenon. I found our home comfortable. Some notes :

  1. There is a zen in putting things away and being organized. Not having stuff is liberating. I felt a sense of freedom. I could pack up and leave anytime without being tied down to a house. Everything I own can be packed up in a few hours.
  2. I spend 30 minutes per week cleaning it. I could use rags, a broom and natural detergents because it’s a small space. In 350 sft, the results magnify. Messy looks super messy. Tidy looks pristine. Clean looks OCD clean.
  3. It is okay to get rid of stuff. Else, I couldn’t have fit into the space without my home becoming a storage space with humans squeezing by.
  4. It inspires you to buy less. There is no space to store the excess.
  5. I invested in the few things I bought. There weren’t many rooms to furnish. I could put the money towards the one room we had to furnish.
  6. Gatherings are cozy. Sleepovers turned us into children again. A larger living room would have been nice but one doesn’t need a formal living room and formal dining room which has become the norm in suburban homes.
  7. It is possible to be very happy in a small space. We could be around each other at all times. After years of long distance marriage, a tiny home is an ointment to fix the trauma of separation.
  8. We used every inch of it daily. It’s highly efficient. All the camping gear we own ? In the boot of our cars. Capsule wardrobe system helped with seasonal clothing. Books ? Under couch, in the unused dryer, as stools, near the bed, in the closet, …. Bikes and a part of the couch lived out on the patio. Just like how we get used to the conveniences, we get used to the inconveniences.
  9. There is nothing in our home that we didn’t use on a weekly basis.
  10. I never wondered “what else can I buy for our home?” I was content.
  11. It was fairly easy to be zero-waste. Multi-purpose products like baking soda, vinegar and olive soap worked hard on my behalf.
  12. I got lucky with my compost bin. There is some community space outside that I can use. I had a patio which made all the difference.
  13. We had community pets who wandered outside and came home when they wanted.
  14. We were spending a lot of time outdoors because we didn’t want to be cooped up inside over the weekend. We went for walks. We picnicked outside. The city became the extension of our home.

The bad

These are not real problems. These are minor first-world inconveniences. Not worthy of a mention but for the sake of being comprehensive :

  1. The tiny kitchen made cooking a game of scheduling tasks. Some tasks took longer because we couldn’t parallel process.
  2. I don’t think we should build our homes for the sake of people who might visit us. We AirBnB-ed cabins for the weekend when we had family visiting. It was cheaper than paying rent for a bigger space, regularly cleaning and furnishing an extra bed room for visitors. My family found it selfish.
  3. Specific to our home, we didn’t have any natural light in our bedroom. It felt like a dungeon in the winter. Good design could have made this experience much better.
  4. When you fight with your partner, there is no space to escape each other.
  5. When busy life happens, the untidy-ness made me miserable. There was no space to hide the clutter.

The ugly

  1. The Shame. I am the one reading about minimalism. Nobody else around me is into it. They don’t understand. Our peers have bought their suburban McMansions and have been stocking it up on appliances. You are the only ones left out of the race. When your partner feels a shame every time someone comes home, …. it’s not the right living situation for you.
  2. Socializing is a problem. My closest of friends are comfortable staying over. The elders in the family complained a lot. In general, it’s not optimal to have your guests bumping into each other as they walk around.
  3. I wanted a dog.  The lack of space stopped me from adopting one.

On Tiny Homes

  1. Access to a calm uncluttered space is essential for rest and rejuvenation. It can be created in a small space if you live a simple life.
  2. The idea of excess, enough, just enough, less, more, essential, must haves, … can be re-learnt.
  3. I think camping/backpacking/tiny home living/ RV-ing changes the relationship one might have with stuff in general. Folks who travel ( different from vacationing ) have a different perspective on needs and nesting.
  4. Tiny home living is not for everyone. Folks with children, pets, aging family members, … will need more space than I do. I no longer live in one but I can’t unlearn what it has taught me about need vs want. 
  5. The French 5 challenge, 10 by 10, capsule wardrobe, … are a way to try out minimalism without committing to it for life. Similarly, I think everyone should try tiny home living for a short period of time to learn more about themselves. You may like it. You may not like it. You will however have that memory of ‘a simpler life’ to latch into, when life throws challenges at you.