Beyond the Denim Jumper: Summer Edition



Fashion used to be a HUGE part of my life. I lived and breathed TJ Maxx and Salvation Army racks. I used to consult Instyle Magazine much more than my Bible. I still have a giant three inch binder full of outfit ideas (going through that monstrosity is next on my list!)


There will always be a part of me that is thrilled by beautiful colors, lush fabrics and the perfect pair of jeans (especially if I can get them for a great price). But, now that I am a busy mom of three young children (messy and fast children…) I have found that I need to be realistic, creative and resourceful to find outfits that are fun, fashionable and functional. After many years of allowing this minimalism process to unfold, I am now at a place where I LOVE what I have to wear and do not feel the need to endlessly shop.


When I started this journey towards a more intentional lifestyle I had over 300 clothing items! Now I have about 35 for the cold months. If you feel overwhelmed by the process, the best thing you can do is BEGIN. As you discover what items really flatter you and make you happy, a pattern will emerge that will help you shop more intentionally in the future.

These are my rules for the items I keep:


1. It must make me happy without reservation (ala the KonMari Method)

2. It must fit me now

3. It must be modest and easy for me to move from one activity to the next (cleaning, teaching, running errands, etc…)


I also make other rules for myself to keep in my wallet to remind me when I shop.


1. Colors must be rich and vibrant. Jewel tones look best with my coloring.

2. The fit must allow for me to move freely. If I don’t feel comfortable, then I wont wear the item.

3. It must go with more than 3 other pieces in my closet.

4. Unless it is a special occasion, it must be under $10

5. My favorite top cuts are: scoop neck, rayon blouses and stretchy knits. I love embroidered pieces for layering. Pants should be tight with a little bit of stretch- they should be mid-rise. Skirts and dresses should reach my knees.


*This personal set of rules has come from many years of noticing what items I LOVE and hold onto for many seasons.


A couple things to note:


1. I do not have a fashionista budget. I usually spend $10 a month on myself for new/used clothing

2. Many of these items can be used year round (BONUS!!!)

3. While I feel that this collection is nearly perfect for me, there are a couple things that are still on my wishlist. Especially a good pair of black flats with good arch support- any leads? 🙂 Keeping a short list of things I NEED, helps me to be patient for the RIGHT item. It helps me to spend my money wisely and to not accumulate clothing that does not bring me joy.

Here are some of my favorites for Summer (Mind you, Michigan summers are perfect for layering- most of you won’t be able to get away with long sleeves. I find that my fair skin needs the extra protection)


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In addition I have a few cap sleeved tees for playing and working:

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as well as some jean shorts and pants that work with anything:

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My shoes consist of:

a pair of flip flops, a pair of keens, wedge sandals that are cute and comfortable, and a pair of peach mary janes that can go from town to the woods (when I need them to 😉 )

My amazing and creative mom has sewn me several colorful and gorgeous layering pieces that I will be featuring in my next frugal fashion post all about Fall!

How has simplifying helped you enjoy your wardrobe more? What are your biggest stumbling blocks?


4 thoughts on “Beyond the Denim Jumper: Summer Edition

  1. Biggest stumbling blocks… the what if. Letting it go rather than keeping it for the girls or for repurposing either for myself or some other project. I so need change!

  2. I totally understand that! I bet you can imagine the things that had in my closet 😉 What if…. I need to go to a Cambodian festival this weekend, or what if Christopher Reeves asks me to re-shoot Somewhere in Time next month. I had to finally realize that I needed to dress for who I am right now. I am pretty awesome at being myself. You are beautiful and amazing in who you are right now too 🙂 xo

  3. Love that you’ve incorporated so much color and embroidery into your wardrobe! Most of the capsule/minimalist wardrobes that I see are lots of neutrals and black… *So* not me!

    1. Thank you! I agree! I used to feel like I was doing “minimalism” the wrong way. I detest neutrals. I believe that you can build a minimal and cohesive wardrobe that is anything but boring 🙂

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