It’s our time…

On our way just over a week ago, to go property hunting in Underberg, South Africa.

As we embark on our trip to Underberg, a sleepy farming community at the foothills of the Sani Pass that takes you to the mountain kingdom of Lesotho, I can’t help but feel certain excitement. You won’t understand what I’m talking about unless I share a bit of our back story.

Just over 11 years now, Johann, my husband of 9 years and I, made the controversial decision to leave our previous marriages behind, and give our love a chance. It sounds sordid, but our love story began a very long time ago. At the tender of age of just 16 years old, we met for the first time. From the very beginning, we were inextricably drawn to each other. But, there was some major issues. We both came from extremely dysfunctional families. We were both the oldest children of four, and we’d both borne the brunt of our parents’ dysfunctional and abusive relationships. That’s not what I want to focus on today, but I’m giving you some of the history in order ofr you to try to understand that finally allowing ourselves to be together 11 years ago, was not a decision taken lightly.

In our teens, up until the day before Johann’s 21st birthday, we had a tumultuous relationship, but we always knew we loved each other. It was just that our versions of love, were far from healthy. At the age of 21, Johann made the decision to break off the relationship for good, and he entered a relationship that would last 20 years.

The betrayal was immense. I felt stuck and hurt and rejected. My life continued in a downward spiral, where I tried to fill the void with other relationships, always looking for that elusive ‘love’ I’d felt with Johann, but never finding it. I had two relationships that were semi-meaningful and from each of those relationships, I had a child, so at the age of 25, I found myself as a single mom with two daughters. There was much trauma and wounding within me, but I didn’t know it. I was surviving – literally – one day at a time.

There were periods in my life where Johann would reappear and my heart would be an ugly mess for a while after, trying to regain some sort of normality again. Every time I saw him, I would struggle to find balance again. Eventually I married, and my first husband knew all about Johann before we got engaged. He knew my heart belonged to another man (my words to describe why I couldn’t feel the same kind of love for him), and he chose to marry me anyway.

We spent years in conflict. Trust was a huge issue in our lives. After 5 years of marriage, we had a son together, but if the marriage was strained before, having another child, added yet another dimension of discomfiture. Looking back, instead of taking away things that added confusion to my life, I ended up adding layer upon layer of murky uncertainty, with every new and major decision I made. In hindsight, I was adding layers of muddled perplexities to my initial, shaky existence and sense of self.

When my son was 3 years old, I crashed. I hit an all-time low. I was suicidal and my children weren’t enough reason to stay alive. Fortunately for me, at that time, a close friend sensed there was something immensely wrong and she managed to get me medical help. After a series of blood tests, we discovered I was suffering from un-diagnosed and completely missed, post-partum depression. After 3 months on anti-depressants and hormone corrective therapy, I seemed to get to a place where there was light again. After further months on anti-depressants, I began to feel like I was finally, maybe for the first time of my life, beginning to sense I could take some control of my own life.

I knew I wasn’t happy in my marriage, but circumstances in the form of church and being in leadership roles there, prevented us from being completely honest about our situation. Actually, I was prepared for the honest road. I realised that my entire life up until then, had been lived in a fog, and I wanted to claw my way out to the light, one muddy leopard crawl at a time. My husband was having none of it. He was used to a wife who didn’t think for herself, who went along with his delusions. They were mine too for so many years – my whole life in fact. Finally, I felt like I was thinking for myself for the first time ever. I wanted change. I asked him if we could consider marriage counseling. He wouldn’t. For him, the stigma of an imperfect marriage was too much to bear. How could we, who in public, appeared to have it all together, be seen in our pastor’s office with problems. I suggested we fin someone who didn’t know us, a qualified therapist. He still didn’t think there was something wrong. For him, we could pray our way out of this mess.

This new awakened self, began to question many things. I started to question every area of my life. I had nursed for 21 years. I knew I no longer wanted to do that. My son was struggling in the education system. I knew I wanted to make a different choice with him. I seriously questioned the church. I am not saying that church is wrong, but it wasn’t serving me. I was broken and no one knew. To be fair, my husband didn’t ‘allow’ me to share but I felt like they had failed me. And I was deeply questioning my marriage.

For years, Johann had come in and out of my life, but it was always just a quick visit as he was passing through the town I lived in. A coffee here, a phone call there. Never anything that would or could threaten either of our marriages. My husband always knew if Johann and I had had a conversation. Because he knew our history, he was wary of these ‘connections’, and rightfully so. Although we never crossed any lines, (we were just two people who’d known each other, catching up), my heart always engaged. I didn’t know it at the time, but once we got back together, Johann shared he’d felt the same.

At the age of 40, I made some decisions that my husband didn’t like. I made decisions as an individual. I left the church. I left nursing 2 years before to open a small business, which I sold at 40 years old. I took my son out of school, after a long disagreement about what’s best for my son with my husband. Only after presenting many case studies and other people’s personal journeys, did he finally concede this might just be the best option for my son. I was changing before his eyes, and he didn’t know what to do with this new person, this thinking woman, this person who’s opinions differed from his, this person who was growing in a different direction to the path we were on. To him, I was unraveling. All of a sudden, we needed to go to couple’s therapy. But for me, it was too late. Something was happening to me. I couldn’t give it a name, but it was freeing. For the first time in my life, I was becoming an autonomous being…

To anyone who has ever been a co-dependent, and who has done the work to move from that place into a place of wholeness, you will understand what I’m saying. I didn’t know that my whole life had been lived in a fog, but I knew it now. I was very aware that I was emerging from a deep sleep and I felt like I was alive. The couple’s counselor could see that my husband and I were on very different wave lengths. He told us in no uncertain terms, that he felt our marriage was over. My husband fought against everything. It was during this time that Johann and I reconnected, after I’d broken off all communication with him just a little over a year before. Although we’d only seen each other a handful of times since I’d married my first husband, because of the way my heart felt after seeing him, I wanted a clean break. We’d by now, not seen each other for 11 years. Yes, there were the odd annual phone call from him at New Year. Yes, there was an email about every 2 years, but no physical contact. But now, it was me who reached out. It was just a message and this was the first time ever, that any contact had been initiated by me.

We planned to meet. Everything in me felt like it was coming alive in anticipation. I had no idea how he felt. All our emails, phone calls and messages over the past 11 years, were uninspiring and bland. We shared niceties, sharing only about our families and the daily goings on of life. We’d never shared anything personal. And so we met… I was sitting in a coffee shop and he walked through the door. He’d aged far more than I’d expected and he looked so much like his dad had so many years before. My heart leapt in my chest, but I managed to stand up and give him an obligatory hug. My skin was on fire. I never in a million years, expected to feel this way. I often speak to my friend’s about my “God voice”, a soft, inner knowing that I literally feel around my heart. That day, I heard, or rather felt the voice saying, “You will grow old with this man.”

And I guess that’s what we are now doing. There’s so much meat in between then and now, but I just want to share this. Because of the way we found each other again, because of the intense hurt we caused our families, because of our ‘affair’, we put ourselves last in this equation. We sacrificed us, to make sure our children were doing well, to make sure our exes were taken care of. Although no one felt like it, we never prioritised us. And our relationship suffered deeply, but we are acutely aware of that now. So a year ago, we made the decision to sell our home and move to a place where both our hearts are happy. We are in the process of doing all of this now. Our home has sold and we are looking for a property in the mountains.

A view from the accommodation we stayed at whilst house-hunting.

Follow this blog for more about our new adventures and our new life – finally.

Belinda xo

Spring Tonal Looks

It’s Spring time! In South Africa, we don’t usually experience much of the transitional seasons, especially in my part of the world. However, this year has been somewhat different. This year, going into 2021, we are expecting El Nina, which is a high rainfall season. Because of the early rains in the summer, we are experiencing cooler weather, which is wonderful, as we can wear long-sleeved tops and long trousers, without over-heating.

Neutrals

Neutrals are anything but boring, despite what one would think. There is always something very chic and elegant about a full, head-to-toe, neutral look. In this particular look, I’m wearing all old items, which is my jam! I love buying pieces for my closet that will work for years to come. This top, bought last year, is a wrap style body suit. It’s 100% polyester, which is something I no longer buy, if I am purchasing new clothes. It was purchased at https://www.forevernew.co.za It’s a lovely, grey/beige toned snake skin print and works perfectly with these beige, cropped trousers. These are also 100% polyester, but they were thrifted, so my rule doesn’t apply with items that are already in the cycle. Polyester can definitely not be worn in our summers, so also work well in this rare, transitional season. My nude heels are a purchase from Zambia (Kitwe), when I visited my cousin in April 2019. They’re so comfortable, and even with the 7cm heel, don’t hurt my feet at all. These are from https://www.bata.co.za/brands/bata-insolia/

Blush Tones

A soft, pink shade, always works for the Springtime. It speaks of blossoms and petals and new life. The softer tones, are perfect. paired with peachy heels. These shades just blend well together. I find that they also work for light and dark skin tones. This shell camisole, was a purchase from a small, independent little store in Underberg. I forget the name of the store but it is also 40% polyester and 60% viscose. I think it would also work in warmer weather because of the blend. I also purchased this top in August 2019. The cardigan is a purchase from when I visited my daughter in Oman (Muscat), in 2017. It has held up well considering it’s a fast fashion find from Matalan; https://www.omanavenuesmall.om/shops/matalan I love these trousers and when I found them in Woolworths; https://www.woolworths.co.za, I ended up buying them in 3 different colours. They’re about 2-3 years old, and made from 100% viscose. A great find for sure. I still have all 3 items in my current closet. The peachy-pink heels are from https://www.forevernew.co.za but also no longer available as I bought these in late 2018. To be fair, they’ve not been worn much as I find they don’t offer much support to the base of my foot under my toes, as I walk. They’re the kind of shoes, that although they look comfortable, only get worn by me, if I’m going out to dinner (or taking fashion photographs).

Tonal Greys

I do love a cosy knit. This gorgeous one here, is a sweatshirt-style, but a knitted piece from https://desray.co.za/ I have had it for at least 4 years now. I think I have about 4 grey knits so this is my key to a piece lasting a long time. If you find a colour you love, buy a few different styles. That way, you don’t end up having to wash one great knit too many times in a season. It’s a lightweight knit, so great for layering under a hoodie, jacket or blazer in colder months. These cotton trousers and about 2 years old from https://www.woolworths.co.za/dept/Women/ They won’t be available any more, but I do find that every season, Woolworths brings out great styles of pants in different colours and fits and great fabrics too. These moccasins are a very old purchase from https://www.poetrystores.co.za They’re suede and becasue of our dry winters, they have held up so well. They key with suede shoes, is to not wear them in the rain, They will last you forever.

White on white

I’m ending this post by sharing a favourite combination of mine. An all white look, is stylish and chic, but especially so, in the Spring/Summer months. This cotton, Broderie Anglaise top was also an old purchase from Greece. We visited Athens in March 2018. It’s also held up so well and I’ve worn it loads. This look would also work with a button down shirt, especially in the cooler weather. The trousers are a thrifted find. I’m not a fan of wide-legged trousers on myself. However, I have found that there is a way I can wear them without my legs looking even shorter. Tailoring! I had the hem of these taken up so they sit at just the right place on my foot. I need to wear them with heels, but that’s another tip for shorter women to look taller, or at least, more in proportion with a wider pants leg. These heels are from early 2019 purchased in Zara; https://www.zara.com/za/ Unfortunately, they won’t be available anymore, but you can find similar styles in almost any high street store. https://www.poetrystores.co.za also have a lovely, similar, white shoe that could work instead of this style.

I do hope you found these Spring outfits inspiring. They sure were fun to create. I would love to hear which one was your favourite.

Belinda xo

Contentment

Ever awoken to the feeling of, “All is well”? I’m talking about a deep and solid knowing that everything is going to work out, regardless of what the current circumstances look like?

Currently, we are in the midst of a global pandemic. I have swung the full gambit of the pendulum, from believing there is a global, governmental conspiracy, to just being at peace with staying home and being on my own with my immediate family. Within this tumultuous, emotional whirlpool, we are still living our everyday lives. Our lives don’t stop because we’re collectively going through something else.

During Covid, I have lost three family members to death. First, my cousin passed away from a cardiac arrest. She is only one month older than me. She lives in a different province, and at the time of her passing, no inter-provincial travel was allowed. Yes, we could get special permission for funerals, but I don’t live in a first world country, with easy access to the powers that be to grant these permissions. It was just too much at the time. Her immediate family, had their own private and quiet affair.

Two months later, her brother, not three years older than her, also passed away. His circumstances were somewhat different. sadly, he was an addict and after many family issues and drama, which is common in the life of an addict, he was ‘disowned’ by his siblings and took to the streets. During the early months of the pandemic, as many homeless people as possible, were housed in shelters. He passed away in such a shelter, under what conditions, I have no idea. He has not been a part of my life since for the past 25+ years, so although I felt a sense of sadness, it didn’t really touch me personally. My sadness was more linked to his life choices and to the fact that his death was solitary and lonely. My sadness was also linked to his surviving half-brother, who experienced deep anguish and pain and guilt, although we all know, given the opportunity to make different choices regarding his drug-addicted brother, he would possibly again choose the same way.

Just yesterday, my aunt who was married to my mother’s oldest brother, lost her second husband to cancer, renal failure and eventual total organ failure. This death reminded me of my mother’s. He was released from hospital, where he’d spent two weeks, of which 10 days, he was ventilated. He was Covid-free. He was released into his wife’s care on Sunday, and passed away peacefully, with her holding his hand and caressing him with love, just yesterday, two short days after arriving back home. One evening, in the beginning of his hospitalisation, she, my aunt, contacted me, distraught with concern that she would never see him again. We’d just received the news that he had developed pneumonia and due to his weakened state of health, was ventilated. She was advised to prepare for the worst. As we all know, no visitors were permitted to see him during his time in hospital. This was her greatest cause for concern. She didn’t want him to die surrounded by strangers who might not be able to take the time to just ‘be’ with him when he passed from this realm to the next. We spoke for an hour and I tried to allay her fears, by reminding her that all of this was out of her control. I counselled her to remain positive and to trust that there would be someone who would have the time to sit with him and hold his hand. I am ever grateful that he was able to be released from hospital and be able to die at home, surrounded by love and people who care.

Happy 29th Roxann xo

So this morning, I am surprised that I have woken up feeling lighter in spirit. It is my daughter’s 29th birthday today. My husband woke up early and I’m a light sleeper so 4am it was then. We were able to sing to my daughter and shower her with gifts I know she loved. My heart feels free and at peace. Amidst the uncertainty of 2020, amidst unemployment, amidst not knowing if the buyers for our home will qualify for finance, amidst being concerned for my son, daughter and granddaughter about where they will live and how they will cope next year once we move away… Amidst all this uncertainty, I know that all will turn out well. I just know…

Belinda xo

Creating ‘Hygge’ in my South African Home.

8 April 2020

I was chatting via message with Matilda this morning, and sharing my confusion and fears about the state of the world at the moment. She responded by saying she’s minimising how much of the media coverage of our current state of affairs, she’s choosing to take in. I admire that. I wish it was me. I teach others to just ‘be’ and to take a moment at a time, but I truly find it difficult to do for myself. Yesterday, I was listening to a podcast by “The Mustards”, and they were chatting about how to create ‘hygge’ at home, so after chatting with Matilda, I first went for a walk. It was much needed.

So what did I learn about ‘hygge’. It’s a Danish word for all things cosy. The Mustard’s describe it as the prevailing essence of one’s home. It apparently gained notoriety in 2013 or so, as a concept of what most Danish homes ‘feel’ like. Directly translated, it means a hug. It’s associated with all those great aspects of comfort and joy. This got me thinking. I don’t have an ugly home. I love my space. My home is filled with things that bring me peace and comfort, for the most part. The things that does destroy my peace, is an untidy, messy home. So, whilst on my walk, I made a decision to change up how I’ve been maintaining my home since lockdown. Let me explain a bit better.

I find light brings me joy, especially soft light. This little space in my bedroom, conjures up ‘hygge’ for me.

Prior to lockdown, I had a housekeeper that came in four times a week. Because I knew she would come in often, I really didn’t pay attention to what was needed to actually maintain a desired level of cleanliness and tidiness in my home. My housekeeper hasn’t been in since the 3rd March. This is now the seventh week I’m doing my own housework. My daughter who lives with us, helps me with the tasks, but we usually do it every Monday and Friday. I made a decision whilst out walking, that I am going to break the work up, and do a little bit every day and that way, stay on top of things and don’t let anything get out of control. This way, I can be more relaxed and actually enjoy my space. I also realised that I was allowing myself to become anxious and overwhelmed by the tasks.

So today, after getting back from my walk, I put a load of washing in, swept the floors, changed the bin bags upstairs and gave the floors downstairs, a quick mop. All of this, didn’t take me 45 minutes, yet I felt accomplished, peaceful and able to sit down in peace to have my brunch, without thinking about unfinished tasks.

Taking a bath with soft candlelight, brings me joy.

It also occurred to me that there are areas in my home, that bring me a sense of coziness. My bathroom is such a place. I love going in there, lighting candles and having a bubble bath with lovely scents. I enjoy the quiet in there and especially love the sensation of water on my body, washing away the dirt of the day and swirling around my skin in a way that makes me feel most alive. A deep, warm bath, with zero noise besides the soft splashing of the water, is soothing to my senses.

I discovered that there’s a spot in my sitting room where the rays of sunlight in the morning, are muted and gentle, that is cosy to me. I enjoy sitting there, having my morning tea, pondering the day ahead. It’s not a particularly quiet spot, especially with my three year old granddaughter all over the house, but it’s aesthetically pleasing to me. The soft light, is again soothing.

Another favourite space is my bedroom, especially when my bed is made up. It’s something I always tend to do – when I get out of bed in the morning, I immediately make up my bed. This brings me joy. I’m not the type of person that can sleep in an unmade bed, and if I need to go upstairs during the day and enter my bedroom, the sight of it made up for the evening, brings me a sense of satisfaction. I love the smell of fresh linen, so changing the linen each week, is important to me.

Knowing what brings me joy, what creates an atmosphere of coziness in my home, helps me to shift my focus from the outside world, the world I can’t control and the things that conjure up fear in my heart. I simply lay down on my bed in the evening with a book, or put on the telly to watch a favourite series, switch the soft lamp on next to my bed, and bathe in the awareness of the peace that surrounds me there. As Matilda mentioned this morning, I cannot change what’s happening ‘out there’, so I’m making the conscious choice to deliberately center my life around those things that indeed bring me inner peace and joy. And, as we often discover when we take the time to go inward, it’s the little things – and that for me is the light. To be more precise, soft, flickering, creamy, barely-there, downy light.

Belinda xo

Re-wearing Items from my Capsule

28 April 2020

I never thought that having a capsule closet would prove such fun. Not only is it quite a bit of fun, it’s also versatile and most of all, I love knowing exactly what’s in my closet to wear. It makes getting ready in the morning’s such an easy task. I know, I know… We aren’t all getting ready every day. I’m also not doing this every single day, but for the most part, I’m making an effort. Because we’re not running around, meeting people, and going out, my clothes van be re-worn as they’re just not getting dirty. Hence the experiment of re-wearing pieces from the previous day, to prove to myself (not any of you), that this capsule really is as versatile as other ‘experts’ say.

I started out with a pair of viscose trousers from Woolworths. I had three pairs of these trousers in different colours in my closet. I took this neutral one out for my capsule, as it goes with almost everything else I’d selected for this particular capsule. They are comfortable and fit my petite frame well. I do think they’re supposed to be more cropped, but they fit me at a flattering place just above my ankle, so they work well for me. I wore them with a pair of espadrilles and this greyish/green boucle top. I decided to re-wear the top on the second day, this time with a pair of black jeans. These jeans are a little tight for me around my waist and thighs, but they didn’t used to be, so hopefully, once we get moving again, I’ll tighten up this area again. I changed out the neutral espadrilles for a pair of pearl-encrusted black espadrille slip-ons. For Look 3, I kept the black jeans and slip-ons, and just changed up the shirt. This is a peasant style, embroidered shirt. It’s not really the fit I go for any longer, but I do find the colours are perfect for my closet and the style works for my shape.

In Look 4, I leave the top untucked and add a relaxed pair of light wash denims. I swap out the espadrille slip-ons, for a pair of leather slides. As you can see here, although there’s quite a bit of material in this top, it’s soft enough to not be too voluminous, so it can be worn this way without it adding too much bulk to my frame. In Look 5, I kept on the light wash jeans, and added a striped, bat-wing tee. I gave it the slightest tuck in the front but these jeans are quite low-cut, so I don’t want to bring too much attention to this part of my body. I have a rectangular shape. In this look, I also swap out the black leather slides, for a pair of white ones. This is an easy look to wear and I’m glad I didn’t get rid of these jeans. There have been quite a few times I’ve wanted to, but end up keeping them as I don’t have another pair in this wash. They are by far, not my most flattering pair, but it’s all in how you wear them.

Look 6 is one of my favourites. After uploading these photos, I became aware that the shirt didn’t look great in this look, but in real life, it works so well. I should have straightened the shirt up, and it would’ve been more evident how lovely this look worked. These pants are also not a high rise, but the hit me just under my belly button, so not the worst part of my body, being the rectangular shape I am. They should also be more cropped, but I admit, I like this length on me. I tucked the shirt in all the way, I love how it turned out. Adding a pair of sneakers to this look, amps up the casual vibe and it’s my favourite look of all the ones I created.

In Look 7, I kept the white trousers on, changed up the shoes for the neutral espadrilles again and added a very lightweight, beige knit. This is also a look I love. I do think these white pants work well in my closet. It’s an easy look, and looks casual but elevated by wearing this knit. In the next look, I kept the knit on, and added this skirt. I have a feeling this skirt is the oldest piece I have. It was purchased in 2006 from Woolworths. It’s 100% linen and has washed so well. It has these diagonally cut panels, that I think are very flattering. The bottom of the skirt flows outward ever so slightly at the bottom. In this look, because of the diagonal cut of the skirt, I tucked the knit into only one side at the top. This makes the look feel balanced and proportionate to me. Adding the pair of tan, leather slides, gives this outfit a little bit of interest and adds a little ‘colour’.

In Look 9, I kept the blue floral skirt but this time, added a navy tee with a navy blazer. I like the long line of the blazer, as this skirt is also a longer length. Although I feel this look does work with these flat, white leather slides, I do think a heeled pump in a darker shade, perhaps also navy, would be the most complimentary. It would also have helped to give me some height. Look 10 sees me keeping this navy tee on, adding my favourite pair of light wash jeans and a pair of navy, criss-cross slides. This is pretty much my standard outfit. I always gravitiate towards jeans and a tee, or a shirt.

So what are your thoughts? Have I chosen the items for this capsule well? I feel they all sort of work with each other. There’s definitely a ‘blue’ theme in this capsule, but that’s why I feel it works so well. The pieces work together. For me, this capsule has helped me want to get dressed most days. If not for this capsule, I honestly feels I woudn’t have bothered too much about that.

Belinda xo

Change

It was my turn to write a blog post yesterday. We usually have our posts ready in advance and neither of us like to rush. I especially need Belinda to read my posts before I publish, because English is my second language and I often make grammar mistakes. But yesterday I felt under the weather and stayed in bed all day. Belinda has an amazing work ethic and that helps me to stay committed. I do like to be dependable and it is important for me to do what I said I would. I also feel guilty to stay in bed with a head cold when there is a pandemic raging.

To find a subject to write about when my sinuses are this pressurised is giving me some difficulty. You know when you bend over and it feels as if your teeth will all fall out and your eyes are going to pop – that’s me at the moment. We live in an industrial city in a province with the highest levels of air pollution in the world, with the nitrogen dioxide levels being the biggest contributor. That’s according to Greenpeace. We live in the midst of South Africa’s so called coal belt. With many coal-fired power stations surrounding our city. Everyone living here suffers from some kind of chronic ailment. My one son uses a chronic nasal spray. For him and for me it is all in the sinuses. I can’t wait to move away from here. Anyway, enough moaning about that.

Change can be really difficult. Sometimes we don’t have a choice – like being in lockdown, but mostly change start with a feeling of dissatisfaction. An overall discontent with something specific, or in my case – life in general. I have a blanket of annoyance over me and I think I am not the only one. With all activities stopped so abruptly we all are re-evaluating what the things are that give our lives meaning.

In all honesty, I don’t think that I am contributing greatly to life. I do understand that I am important to my family and friends. I know they love me, but is that enough? Our lives are flooded with images and ideas and opinions via social media. Anybody can put anything out there. That is very good, but also very bad. It gives almost everybody an opportunity to contribute to the global consciousness, but not everybody should. And a lot of it is just regurgitating what you see. I want to believe that almost everyone has something meaningful to give to the world. I want to be one of those people. I feel it and Belinda feels it – we want to do things differently. We want to give something to life that is good, purposeful and significant.

I look through social media and see the eco-warriors and the human rights activists – people doing good and exposing evil. And of course, we are seeing essential personnel in a new light. They are the heroes of our time. What will the rest of us be?

Matilda xo

Exploring my Capsule Wardrobe

21 April 2020

5 Options with One Dress

In my first capsule wardrobe that I’ve ever created, I only chose one dress. I think it has more to do with the fact that we’re in Lockdown and unable to go out, than anything else, because the fact is, I love dresses, especially this time of the year. I chose an extremely comfortable and easy-to-wear dress made from a stretchy, tee-shirt material that is simply put, almost lounge wear!

Simple grey/off-white striped tee shirt dress.

The dress, seen in Look 1, is a knee-length, round-hemmed dress, with grey and off-white stripes and pockets. Pockets are always a win. We see everyone who loves a comfortable kind of style, loves pockets. I’m not really sure why because we definitely don’t walk around with our hands in our pockets, but they’re fun for taking photos. In Look 1, I just added a pair of easy-to-wear, white leather slides for a completely casual look. So let’s take a look at some of the other looks I was able to create with this one piece from my capsule wardrobe.

Adding a longer length blazer with slip-on mules.

In this 2nd Look, I tried to dress the dress up, excuse the pun… It was totally intentional. This is not really the kind of dress I would ever try to dress up. I’m not that crazy. I one hundred percent agree this is a loungy kind of dress. But for the sake of this capsule wardrobe, I did give it my best shot. And to be very clear, this blazer only made it into this capsule, because of a challenge we did with some ladies over on Instagram. It would not have otherwise formed part of this very casual collection of pieces. I think the pearl-encrusted espadrille slip-ons, give it a nice touch though. They add to the overall look I was trying to create, giving this outfit just a little something extra.

Adding a simple Chambray shirt

A Chambray shirt works well, no matter what season it is, especially if you live in a country with a mild winter. This shirt underneath a knit, or even layered over a rollneck, will look great. You can button it up, leave it open, tie it as I did here or even add a belt over it, to bring some definition to the waist. However you wanted to style this shirt, you will find yet another way. So back to this look. Look 3 was created for exactly that reason – to bring some waist definition. On it’s own, this dress is rather shapeless, so tying the shirt at the waist, brings some kind of balance and proportion to this look. In hindsight, looking back at this photo, I think adding a belt over the shirt, or even just over the dress with the shirt open, would have given it a neater, more polished look. But this look works perfectly for a day lounging around at home, with no other place to be. The casual, neutral espadrilles don’t really add anything to the look, but they do complete a casual outfit, so they work regardless.

Adding a layer with a denim jacket

Who doesn’t love a denim jacket? This has to be one of the most versatile pieces in a casual-girl’s wardrobe. It works perfectly with this dress, in my humble opinion. The proportions are also great for my frame. I have a rectangular shape, with very little definition at my waist, so hitting me at the hips, is not a bad look. I don’t have wide hips at all, so this adds no volume there. The colour of the jacket goes perfectly with the underlying colour of this particular capsule. Adding the sneaks, keeps this look sporty and of course, you know it by now, very casual. I think of all the looks I created, Look 4 would have to be my favourite.

Tonal Casual with a grey cardigan.

This cardigan is my favourite one at the moment. It’s snuggly, cosy and warm – all the comfy vibes. I added a pair of closed slip-ons to once again, you’ve got it, keep this look casual. Again, I don’t think this cardigan adds too much bulk, even though it is a bit chunky. It hits me at the right spot. Pulling up the sleeves, adds once again to the comfy look I’m going for. All in all, this tonal look works for me. I just need a little self-tan so my legs don’t completely blend in with the closet and floor!

There you have it. Five ways to wear a comfy dress during lockdown. I hope these looks inspire you to try new outfit ideas with your own wardrobe. This is not the time to be adding more ‘stuff’ to our lives, but to be truly taking stock and appreciating all we already have and love. Now, go and get started in your own wardrobes – and have fun!

Belinda xo