Let go of your junk

  
It’s easy to accumulate junk in your personal space. I’m not just talking about closet space, but literally around the house. If you’ve got a shopping addiction or sentimental attachment to things around the house, you know you’ve got a space full of junk that just has to be thrown away at some point in your life.

I recently participated at the Colombo Flea Market so it was a really good opportunity to clear out my wardrobe and get rid of items that I had never worn, used or wanted anymore. For those who are stuck with a bunch of junk in their space, I thought I’d share a bunch of tips on how you can let go of it all and start anew.

Start slow
It helps to have a support system. It could be a best friend, a sibling or relative you are close to, but it should be someone who is not emotionally attached to what you have in your space. It should also be someone who can help you during the cleaning out process and help you sort through the items you want to keep and/or giveaway. I did the cleaning out on my own so it literally took me a week to sort through clothes, shoes, bags and also accessories. It helps to take your time while doing this, give your mind a day or two to process your decisions and get used to giving away some personal items from your life.

When it came to clothes, I made a mental note to giveaway items that I had not worn in the past two years. Shockingly, I had so many that fit into that category so they all went into the junk giveaway pile – clothes, shoes and bags. Some of the other clothes, I made myself literally get into each and every one of them and see if they fit or if I liked how I looked in them. If they didn’t fit or I didn’t like how they looked, they went into the giveaway pile. I also made use of taking snaps of the clothes I wore and sent them to friends for approval – if I should keep them or not. This also made it a lot easier when it came to making the hard decision of parting with some of my favourite clothes that did not necessarily flatter me anymore.

I did the same with shoes (apart from the ones I had not worn in over two years). I walked around in them, did a bit of a hop and a skip to see how well I could move in them and also checked them for wear and tear. Whatever did not fit the bill went out of my shoe boxes. I had plenty of shoes that were peeling and were pretty worn out so they went into a separate waste pile. I had to do the same with some of the handbags I owned. Some of the straps were beginning to peel, some had discoloured with wear and others…well, I just had not used and didn’t see myself using.

  
Hard decisions
I have to admit that none of these were easy decisions to make but I felt like this would not just cleanse my closet, but also help cleanse my soul (getting all sentimental here). I felt like I needed a change and the best way I could do it was to get rid of the junk in my personal space. When it came to my accessories, especially earrings, I dumped literally every pair I owned into the giveaway pile. I have not changed my earrings in over a year and did not see myself wearing another pair so why collect dusk over the space? I also wear the scarf around my head so my ears are covered (hence the no need to change earrings) so…out they went.

With everything that I had left, I began reorganizing. Do this in the most convenient way possible that would make it easy for you to find items in your wardrobe. Hang every top and dress you own and pile away the pants and jeans. Cardigans and other add-on items of clothing could do into another pile and space in your wardrobe. Organize this way so that it helps you when you have to get ready to go out. I also find that labelling boxes (I use boxes for my add-on items and shoes) helps because I know exactly what item is and do not have to pull out clothes and make a mess of my closet.

Use these tips to do the same around the rest of the house – the kitchen, the living room and so on. There’s plenty of unused items that someone else could possibly use so think of it as a sustainable way of clearing out your space. If you do not want to do this alone or have a sentimental attachment to things, get someone to help you. Do not rush the process. Be mindful of what you are giving away. If someone else can reuse it, donate it. Otherwise turn it over to a sustainability organization like the Colombo Flea Market and they will recycle it.

Good luck!

**As published in the Ceylon Today newspapers**

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Looking forward to summer!

It’s summer pretty much all year round in my country but we do have the occasional chilly week or so in December and January. Apart from those two months, you’ll see plenty of sunshine in my tropical home – Sri Lanka. So I think it’s pretty apt for me to say that I know what I am talking about when it comes to summer trends and styles because hey, that’s all us Lankans wear all year long!

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I find that prints never really go out of fashion, no matter what season or time of the year. Whether it’s tribal, animal, floral or geometric, prints have a way of staying in trend. Here’s a classic example of a printed dress that can be worn in any season and any time of the day (really!). I love that it is also in very basic colours – black and white. It can be accessorised in pretty much any way you want, with similar coloured pieces of jewellery, handbag and shoes or even spiced up with some colourful bright add-ons.

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If you’re going to be rocking prints, you’ve got to give the print mix a go! Who says you can’t mix prints with prints when it can look so good on you? Take the above image for example and see how amazing the outfit looks on the women. It’s got the right kind of colours for summer and works so well with each other to create a unique look. Once again, you can accessorise anyway you like with a solid toned colour or amp it up with some bright hues for a playful look.

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It’s up to you if you want to wear long or short dresses really. I’m someone who doesn’t wear anything short so the longer options are the ones for me. However, I find that the occasional short print dress can also be worn if paired well and rightly with a pair of leggings or stockings. What I love about the three above images are the pops of colour, fusion of hues and also the not so drastic but still there prints. Nothing too loud and over dramatic. The third image is a classic example of something I would actually wear, and that tan camel coloured handbag is total gorgeous with the dress!

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Gotta say that this is one of my favourite finds! Okay so this might not scream summer or day time casual chic but you can certainly pull it off if you downsize the accessories and put your hair in a ponytail or braid bun. This could totally work for a mid-evening and late night summer kind of look too however and that’s what I love about this dress – it’s versatility.

If you happen to find similar pieces in a store near you, I kindly suggest you pick it off the rack and go pay for it. Prints aren’t going anywhere this year!

Xoxo

From functional to fashionable

Burberry '14
Burberry ’14

Handbags today have multiple purposes for their existence. They not only stand for holding items that are needed on a daily basis when heading out the door or out of the country, but also as a fashion statement in the world’s growing and evolving wave of must-have accessories.

Early on, handbags (or rather purses or pouches as they were known as) were used by both men and women to hold seeds (food), medicine and tools. Where this functional asset truly originated from and when lies in antiquity but religious scriptures, ancient drawings and so on go on to make us believe that they have been in existence for centuries and more. Egyptian hieroglyphics depict men donning purse-like pouches tied to their waists; the Bible on the other hand describes Judas as to having worn a purse as well. Peasants and farmers alike wore pouch like bags filled with seeds and other grain items. Priests of the ancient times were also known to have saddle bags that held religious items like crosses and little scripture books.

Age old pouch
Age old pouch

14-17 Century
The earliest of times during which purses came into use were that of the Medieval Age. Both men and women were known at the time to attach small pouches (the size of a hand, not more) to hold their most important items. Pockets were not invented so these pouches were tied to the girdle of their attire and secured a rosary, fruit, small daggers and even pieces of paper. The pouch would hang from the girdle on a long cord and would vary according to the fashion, status, and lifestyle of the wearer. They were often made of goat’s or cow’s skin and therefore varied in colour too. Rich and higher class men and women often attached embroidered and ornamental pouches whilst the poor and lower class folk attached bare ones to their girdles.

It was during the 14th century that medieval purses and pouches became associated with marriage and betrothals. It became a symbol (a common wedding gift) given to the bride by the groom and often decorated with embroidered love stories on the skin. During the next two centuries, pockets were invented because pouches and purses were easily snatched while attached and so they also became varied in sizes depending on the items the owner wanted to secure inside.

At the dawn of the 16th Century (Elizabethan era) when women’s skirts expanded to large and enormous proportions, bags took a small role in simply being held under the skirts and also evolved into cloth ones used as a carry-on. Satchel-like bags became a common sight depending on the women’s background of upbringing and men held their little bag pouches inside their breeches. Swete bagges became a rave amongst the aristocratic folk who filled their bags with sweet smelling materials like lavender springs and perfumed balls of cotton. Gradually, towards the end of the 17th Century purses and bags became increasingly sophisticated and a symbol of stature.

18-20 Century
By the mid 18th Century, men and women were leading busy lifestyles and often travelling to and fro. Their necessities could not be carried in a mere pouch or bag and so luggage bags (hand-carry) came into existence under the name ‘handbag’. As history goes to say, many of the top names of today’s handbags got their start as luggage makers (in contrast to the previously made purses and pouches which were made by dressmakers). For example, Hermes bags were founded in the year 1837 by Thierry Hermes, a harness and saddle maker, while Louis Vuitton was a luggage packer for the Parisian rich and wealthy.

Tangy orange
Tangy orange

As the 20th Century turned in, handbags became more than just hand-held items. Women who went out and about carried medium sized bags now called the Dotty bag and working women wore slightly larger and structured bags such as the Boulevard bag. Leather shopping bags and briefcases for men also came into being. After WWI, the structure of the handbag evolved once more. A new type was introduced, one without straps or handle and known today as the clutch. The first few productions of this hand-less handbag were often decorated with geometric designs and motifs that were inspired by the era. It became a symbol of sophistication for women to simply tuck it under their arm in a nonchalant manner. New industrial material like plastic and zippers came into use, and bags were gradually made to match an outfit.

Envelope clutch
Envelope clutch

By the 1950’s the satchel bag, shoulder bag and clutch were in vogue. Big names like Vuitton, Hermes and Chanel took to accessorizing and colour coordinating bags. When fashion changed, so did the accessory. When long skirts and tiny waists were emphasized, small bags grew popular and implied beauty and sophistication. Reptile skin and silk accessories came into being as well. Shoulder bags with dainty chain straps came into existence thereafter, and later ‘flower power’ introduced a romantic and ethnic range of handbags with the addition of buckles and zippers to complete the look.

Tote on!
Tote on!

The latter part of the century paved way for a more health conscious lifestyle and so sports bags became the rave. Prada also introduced the first unisex bag made of nylon. Kate Spade entered the market and flourished with a range of spunky and funky handbags that were essential as well as fun to carry. The Fendi Baguette is unmistakable (shape-wise) and became popular around this time too.

Handbags today
Once again, men and women celebrate handbags (in their own way). Brands like Vuitton, Michael Kors, Tory Burch and Dior have made their mark when it comes to accessorising with the right kind of handbag for the season, location and whim. Handbags have also now become a focus on many runway fashion shows throughout the year with designers vying to create the latest and best style, shape, colours and structure as a carry-on item. It is a known fact that people went crazy with their demand for handbags by the year 2006. The demand was so great that the prices also shot up skyward. A good example was the Hermes Berkin that had a starting price of US $8,000 and had a long list of waiting customers for years.

Striking blue
Striking blue

The women of today are stay-at-home mothers, professionals and entrepreneurs. Handbags carried by these women are not just a symbol of stature and sophistication anymore. It is a vital piece of accessory in her day to day life. For holding the house keys, work files and folders, the kid’s diapers, her makeup on the go, a fruit bar, an extra t-shirt or even a pair of shoes, the purposes of carrying a handbag differs from one to the other. It is all about personalities and trends in today’s world. What was hot yesterday might not be so today. What is suitable for carrying all the baby items cannot be used for donning to a formal party.

Gucci all the way
Gucci all the way

The same goes for the opposite sex. Men are once again becoming comfortable with accessorizing and donning man bags. Whether it’s for work, to the gym or a casual day out with the pals, you’ll gradually become familiar with noticing that men carry a particular type of bag along with them. They are more structured than ever, masculine and uber chic. What was initially a functional accessory has transformed into the most fashionable and most wanted item on the markets worldwide today.

As published on Ceylon Today Newspapers
Images were taken off Google

Have a great day everyone!