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I crave calm, cozy, sophisticated and organized, with a dash of femininity.
The above quote is from my last post. I didn’t plan that thought out, I didn’t analyze it or try to make it perfect, it just flowed while I was writing, and because of that, I trust it. I think that as I delve into figuring out my personal style, I will use those five words to determine what will have a place in my home.
I had been struggling with the dichotomy between my fashion style and my home style as I rebuilt my wardrobe this past fall. For a while, I convinced myself that the two were so different because fall colors were all that was available, so of course that’s what I was drawn to in stores, but that didn’t seem quite right. Then I told myself that it was because I couldn’t really wear springy colors, so I was more prone to like items that looked very different from my springy and colorful home, but that didn’t really sit well either. I spent quite a bit of time looking online trying to find other people whose clothing and home didn’t match, but all I could find was the opposite. Everyone was talking about their personal style and how that translated from one area of their life to another. I started to wonder if no one was talking about it, or if I was just different…but I think I was just wrong.
My confusion is understandable since my home style has sooo drastically changed this past year, I think it just took (is taking) awhile to come to terms with that and what it means for my decor. I am very confident and sure of my fashion style – it has been the same for many years and those five words actually fit perfectly with my clothes even though I wasn’t consciously trying to make that connection. I know that my fashion style is right and very “me” (I love my wardrobe!) and I am realizing that my home style has simply evolved (a bit of a late bloomer, I suppose) and that’s something I’d like to work on syncing up.
I’m in an awkward decor stage, kind of like when you’re trying to grow out your bangs (or re-growing all of the hair you lost postpartum). I have a few pieces I love that feel like me but I can’t help but notice the many items that stick out and don’t really make sense. I have things I want to replace but the more I get rid of, the less homey it feels. I will, of course, replenish my decor but I can’t buy a ton of stuff to make it feel homey at once (because A – I haven’t found it and B – money) so I’m left with an almost empty room with many things I’m not crazy about and an amazing basket or mirror, lol.
The temptation to purge everything I don’t want to keep long-term and start fresh is sooo strong (and will undoubtedly be even more so after I reread “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” However, since I don’t live alone and people come to my house from time to time, I won’t do that. As much as I don’t want them to see it as-is, having them see it completely empty is even worse. I feel like this journey is very personal and private and yet the unfinished product is always on display for the world to see . I know my vision for my home and that it will turn out awesome, it’s just a little disheartening when everyone who sees it “in progress” is skeptical.
I have been pondering a lot on something I heard in The Chris Loves Julia Podcast w/ Preston Pugmire (so in love with this podcast btw and I personally think the dynamic is awesome because of Preston). Anywho, a long time ago Julia mentioned that you can really like something without it being your style and that super confused me. I thought that if I liked it, that meant it was my style – that’s how I had been determining my style, by the things I liked – it made sense! I don’t like very much (crazy picky) so if the few things I do like aren’t all my style, what am I left with?! However, I think she was right, I just needed a slightly different way of looking at it. What I’m realizing is that if I take those five words of CCSOF (calm, cozy, sophisticated, organized and feminine) and ask myself, “Is this item I like going to bring me closer to where I want to be?” I can then determine either YES it is, I like it, and it’s my style or NO it’s not, I like it, but it’s not for me. I’ve always been able to do that with clothing quickly and easily so I just have to learn how to apply that to things for my home.
Before moving on, I think it would help me to define those five words and, in doing so, explain what they might look like in my home in the future.
- Calm & Cozy: plush seating, pillows, warm and welcoming, comfortable, want to sit and stay awhile, soft blankets, dim lighting/candles, place to put drink or snack within reach, soft textures, hideaway, windows, sounds of nature
- Sophisticated: primarily neutral color palette, low contrast, classic and simple patterns, enough stuff to feel finished
- Organized: not a lot of visual clutter, everything has a designated and thought-out place that makes sense, functional items kept where they are used but are made more attractive, more concealed storage than open shelving
- Dash of feminine: metallics, pink, soft curved lines, florals, flowy fabrics
When I started to look around my home, it was usually quite easy to pinpoint which items were not working and why based on those words. However, there were a few times when I got stuck. For example, I recently purchased a new jewelry box but it took me a few days to decide whether or not to keep it. What ultimately helped me was going back to what I was sure I loved and what I thought I could describe as CCSOF – my clothes.
I didn’t take pictures of the process so I’ll break it down.
- Lay out my CCSOF clothes on the bed
- Place an item I love and that is also CCSOF on top of them and judge my reaction (it looks awesome and totally has the same vibe and looks like the same person owns it!)
- Remove that item
- Place questionable item (in this case the jewelry box) on top of clothes and judge my reaction (if still awesome, yay, it just might work but if not then it’s one of those “I like it, but it’s not for me” items).
For me, the jewelry box just didn’t jive, the pattern wasn’t classic and felt a little busy so that meant it wasn’t sophisticated or calm. I definitely still like the jewelry box, and if I loved it, I would have no problem saying screw it to my CCSOF guidelines, but that’s not the case. I don’t love it and it’s not going to be an item that will add to the overall feeling I truly want in my home, so it has since been returned along with several other items that “failed” the test. Now I can use that money to invest in items that will take my home where I want it to go.
I think having this guideline will be very helpful in keeping my end goal in mind when choosing pieces. The things I allow into my home, especially since I don’t want a lot of things, should be chosen with care. These are the items that create a welcoming environment for my family and friends. These are the items that will stick out in my daughter’s memories of her childhood. These are the items that I will see for hours and hours every single day as a stay-at-home-mom. Perhaps the most important reason to take care when purchasing things for my home is that I know that the look and feel of my home directly affects my mood and the way I interact with others. That is everything.
I am very excited to have these five little words to go out into the world and look for ways to make my home feel like me and am eager to share the finished product with those I love. Time to shop!
All of the clothing items can be found on my Pinterest with direct links (if still being sold). I own and love them all!