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If you’re a longtime listener, you probably know that at the beginning of 2023, I created a style bucket list for myself full of tasks designed to solve some little struggles and move my style forward. Well, it’s time to see how I did. Let’s get started

Hello, gorgeous. Welcome back to the everyday style school, the podcast that gives real lifestyle advice to real life women. If you’re new here, welcome. I’m your host, Jennifer Mackey-Mary. I’m a wardrobe stylist who has been dressing everyday women for over 20 years. And I’m the founder of everyday style, where we are on a mission to inspire women to love the way they look and give you the tools to make getting dressed easy. If you’re a longtime listener, welcome back. Thank you for choosing me again today. I know you’ve got lots of options, and I always appreciate it. My friends, I have missed you. As you may know, I took an unexpected unplanned winter break, I got the flu, and it knocked me on my butt for longer than I’d like to admit. And even when I felt better, I sounded terrible. And I decided to spare everyone that and just take it easy for a few weeks. I hope you had a wonderful stress free, stylish holiday season, and that you’re ready to take on a new year I know I am. Today I’m kicking off 2024 by reflecting on how my 2023 style project went. If you remember last January, so long ago, I created a bucket list full of 12 style related things I wanted to do over the course of the year. Some are easy, some are not so easy. Some are important, some were not so important. Today, I’m holding myself accountable and sharing what I did and what I didn’t do. And the lessons I learned along the way. Like most resolutions or goals, I started off strong. And then honestly, I forgot about this little project for a few months. As I was planning my winter shows last fall. I was like Ooh, yeah, I better take a look at that, see where we are. And even though I wasn’t officially doing them for quite a few months, I managed to check a few off naturally. Now this episode was originally supposed to be two parts. But because of my break and trying to stay on track for our shows this winter, today, I’m covering a little over half of them. And then part two will be available next week. As an extra credit episode for our style circle members. You’re ready to get into them. Let’s do it. bucket list item number one was get a bra fitting. In January, I shared that I boobs don’t really fluctuate in size. Due to my breast reduction over 20 cache, it’s almost 30 years ago. Now that’s wild. But as a person who gives style advice, I thought I should take my own and just go for a fitting. So did I do it kind of let me explain. When I was cleaning out my office closet, I found a bunch of brand new bras. The same style I always wear in a smaller band, bigger cup, which if you’ve listened to my bra fitting episodes, you know all about Sister sizing, I bought them during COVID At least the first part of COVID when I was like I’m going to work out every single day. And I did hence the need for new bras with a smaller band. Then the I’m so sick of not going anywhere. I’m just going to eat my feelings part of COVID set in and they got a little snug, I went back to my others. I didn’t even take the tags off of most of them. So fast forward to the summer when I unearthed them from the back of the closet where I had probably meant to return them and didn’t I try them on they fit great. So yay, for me getting four brand new bras that are the proper size. I did however, get a professional fitting when I went to Selma, because I was there and I was like, You know what? Why not? I said I would do it. I’m going to do it. But it didn’t tell me anything. I didn’t know it just confirmed that I was wearing the right size. So what did I learn from this one? What were the lessons here? First, I am terrible about returning things. stick a pin in that thought because we’re coming back to it later. Second, I know my bra sizing I mean that’s it just doesn’t really change. But I had been slacking on replacing my bras. And that needs to be something I practice as well as preach. It’s funny in June, I had a photoshoot. And when the photographer showed me a raw photo in her camera, I was horrified. I was like why do my boobs look so low? This is terrible. Am I really walking around like this? My bra was on the tightest Chuck. The straps were adjusted, but I was not looking perky. I know you’re probably like wait, I didn’t see any new photos from June. Yeah, exactly. I didn’t use any of them. So I got new bras, the girls are back where they belong. And the biggest takeaway here for all of you is that the lift for your bust comes from the band, not the strap. And when the band has gotten stretched out and worn out, it’s not doing its job anymore. So even if you’re in the right size, it’s an aren’t going to give you the look you want to give. So replace

your bras regularly. Alright, bucket list item number two was to solve my shoe storage challenge. If you recall, I’m trying not to kick my shoes into a big pile, or leave a Hansel and Gretel trail of footwear through the house like I normally do. I wanted it organized. So it looked nice, and that I could find things easily. Did I do it? Nope. And if you’ve ever read the children’s book, if you give a mouse a cookie, you’ll understand why, if you haven’t read the book, here’s how it goes. If you give a mouse a cookie, chances are he’ll want a glass of milk to go with it. And then a straw, and then a napkin, and one thing leads to another, and so on and so on, and so on. And I think that one ends with them either on a farm, or building a new house, something ridiculous that started with just a simple cookie. So it went with my shoe storage. I’ll tell you all about that. The best place for me to store my everyday shoes for the season is in my laundry room off of the garage. So I’m not tracking dirt through the house. But our laundry room has a really long shelf or counter on the wall made for folding clothes. So storing anything underneath there means you have to really dig for it, you have to like get on your hands and knees and go digging. And all this space above the counter is kind of wasted as well. I have never once folded my laundry on that counter, who wants to stare at a sad blue gray wall and do the worst household chore, not me, I would rather fold and watch TV or hang out with my family or something. So instead of being a functional folding space, this long counter is just a repository for all the things that no one knows what to do with, do you have one of those areas in your house, it’s the worst. Anyway, in order to create functional shoes to work in that room, I’m gonna have to rip that counter off the wall, which means the wall will have to be repaired and repainted. And obviously, I’m not going to repaint it with the sad blue grade that I hate so much. And then if I do freshen up the walls, the floor doesn’t look very good. Which is why my husband and I have spent many weekends looking for new floors for our entire main level, this little shoe storage thing has taken on a life of its own. So yeah, big fat zero on shoe storage solution. And no lessons learned on organizing my shoes. However, there is something I want to talk about. In my original episode, I asked you all to send me your shoe storage solutions, your ideas, and thank you so much to those of you who did. But I also got a whole bunch of DM saying things like how I needed to give myself grace, or go easy on myself. And I found all of that really interesting because in general, I give myself a ton of grace. And when I think about style, I think I probably take it less seriously than pretty much anyone else dispensing style advice on the internet. So I don’t know what came through on that episode. But I assure you I am okay. And my shoe storage challenges aren’t dominating my life, I promise. But thank you for checking in on me. And then there were those of you who deemed me to say that kicking your shoes into a pile isn’t a big deal, and that I should just accept that’s who I am and not worry about it. And I think this is something worth talking about. I am a big believer that whatever challenge someone is having whether or not you think it’s a worthy struggle, they have the right to have it, they have the right to be challenged by it. Being okay with kicking my shoes into a pile isn’t working for me. Because for me, finding shoes that work for all my foot issues is difficult, and they usually cost more. So keeping them nice is important to me, I can’t go through the struggle of finding shoes at work over and over and over again. Now, I don’t think that people should make up problems where there aren’t any. And that’s probably an episode for another day. But on the other hand, if something bothers someone enough to want to change it, it’s a real thing to them. And they should honor that. I’ve seen this a lot over the years. And it’s usually with salespeople in fitting rooms. A woman would be trying on a dress or a skirt and she’d say something like, I don’t know, my knees just look weird. And the ever helpful employee would always say, Oh, girl, you’re crazy. Your knees are just fine. You can wear anything, no one’s noticing your knees. And then she would send her away to tell someone else that’s cute. You can wear anything that’s on they know how to say is that’s cute. You can wear anything. But to the woman trying on that dress or skirt. The only thing she can see is her weird knees and telling her it’s not an issue isn’t helpful. The lesson here is to respect other people’s challenges. Whether or not you think it’s an issue. I really try not to be a life coach on this show. One thing I noticed in oh my gosh, anyone who gives advices they start in one area and then all of a sudden they’re giving advice on how you can live your life better in all areas and grow I don’t know how to. I don’t know how you should live your life that I really don’t I can help you find pants. I can help you make getting dressed easy, but I’m not going to be your life coach. So I try really hard not to do that. But it might be worth listening to your response. When someone talks about a challenge or a struggle that you personally aren’t experiencing. Make sure that you’re just validating it just saying, Yeah, I can see why that’s a struggle for you. Or oh, wow, I’m really sorry, you’re going through that. Telling people, that’s not a big deal. Don’t worry about it. Not helpful. All right. Speaking of shoes, and my tricky feat, bucket list item number three was fill in the missing basics in my shoe collection. We have talked ad nauseam about my tricky feet on the show. And while I tried to do this bucket list item, it didn’t really happen. I bought a lot of shoes this year. But I still have a relatively small and somewhat limiting shoe collection that I can actually wear on a daily basis, I’m really struggling with dressier shoes. But I am so fed up with not being able to find shoes that work. Then I went ahead and I scheduled the surgery that I have been putting off for three years, I had the procedure done on my left foot and 2020 and I have been putting off the right one. Since then, it’s really hard to find two convenient months to be in a boot. And this is a big one, it’s my driving foot, which means I will be totally dependent on other people to get me around for eight weeks. And that’s been tough to wrap my head around, I can’t, I just like to go where I like to go right. But it’s time to just do it and solve the problem. I have bought and returned so many shoes, or I have bought and kept so many that don’t really work. It’s made my shoe collection, just a huge pile of nothing to wear. And I need to solve this once and for all. So even though I didn’t accomplish this one, there’s a big lesson here. Sometimes the workaround just isn’t worth it. And you need to solve the actual problem. Hopefully for you that’s less involved than surgery. But I see this with things like what women will do to avoid tailoring. Just tailor the pants. Don’t buy weird buttons and straps and tapes and this and that just solve the problem. If you’re constantly trying to solve a problem by doing everything, but solve the problem, the easier solution is probably just do what you need to do. If I can do it, you can do it too. I’m going to skip to bucket list item number five, which was to add basic but non statement pants to my closet. You know I am all about pants being the key to a great wardrobe. But last year I noticed that I had two categories, statement pants, velvet plaid sequins, bright prints, colors, all that kind of stuff, or jeans. That was it and a couple of like black trousers that I wasn’t really wearing. So I set out to round out my wardrobe with bottoms that were easy to wear on an everyday basis. But we’re a little bit more interesting than jeans. This is the first bucket item I did. And it’s actually what sparked the entire idea since I’ve already started adding some before I did the episode. The parameters were that they needed to go with sweaters and sweatshirts, sneakers, ankle boots and uptight booties, they had to be comfortable enough that I’d want to wear them working from home, but polished enough that I can wear them out and they couldn’t be plain black. Friends, this is one of the best things I did for my style this year. I ended up with two pairs of Prolon cords a pair of houndstooth pants from Target, which I got more wear out of those $20 Target pants and just about anything else last winter, and a pair of gray plaid pants from democracy clothing. They’re from their athleisure line.

What a fantastic word athleisure. Love it. I will link to a similar pair in the show notes. They don’t have the same ones that I got. But I can at least show you what I’m talking about. Adding these gave my wardrobe a ton of versatility and polish. And my work from home wardrobe got a huge boost. A couple of months ago, we did our signature style challenge in the style circle community. And I challenged myself This wasn’t part of the official challenge. But it was just something I did for myself not to wear jeans for the entire length of the challenge. It was like 10 days. And these were the pants I reached for over and over. And I was reminded how easy it can be to boost your style. As long as you have the right pieces in your wardrobe. Like I’m always saying, if you don’t have it, you can’t wear it. And sometimes we have these ideas about a really great outfit or how we’d like to look. But we don’t have the pieces in our closet and we can’t make it happen. But I think the biggest lesson here is that it’s really important to clearly define what you’re looking for figuring out in advance how I wanted to wear them where I wanted to wear them and what I wanted to wear them with made it really easy to find the right things and end up with pants I’d wear over and over again. Instead of just Going into the store and randomly looking for stuff that might work. I was like, I was a hunter, right? This was not gathering this was hunting and that made all the difference. All right, the next bucket list item we are recapping is number six consign my clothes. This came out of the epic, unplanned wardrobe purge I did a while ago, there’s a whole episode about it, you can check out when I ended up with a lot of really good stuff to get rid of. I normally just donate things because it’s easier, right? They will call and say, Oh, we have a truck in your area. We need your clothing donations. And I’m like, Yep, good, get them out, done. But this time, I was determined to try consigning them. And I tried, I really, really tried. I gathered up the best of the best things that were still super current or high quality like premium denim, or brand new things with tags still attached. And now is the point of the show where I would like to share my secret shame with you. My name is Jen and I am horrible about returning online purchases. Terrible. They usually get shoved in my office closet with good intentions and then promptly forgotten about. It’s one reason that I prefer not to shop online because there’s a really, really good chance that I’m going to end up keeping that item whether it works or not. It’s terrible and this is something that I need to work on. But back to consigning in the bin was my gently used good stuff and a lot of really good stuff with tags still on. We are talking J Crew jeans with tags still attached, a top from Nordstrom tag still attached. There were also two pairs of unworn new in the box shoes. One pair was I think Franco Sarto. And another pair was Vince Camuto. So these weren’t, these weren’t just like Target cheese right? There were also pieces from capsule photoshoots that hang on the rack behind me and my videos for the season. Like a pair of unworn leather jeans from last winter’s capsule, and a super cute again unworn, Fair Isle sweater from gap tags still on. I only tell you this because I think I’m a pretty good judge about the worth and quality of my items. I’m not being precious about my stuff where I think I should get $150 for a pair of $175 jeans and I bought in 2017. I know a lot of people think their things are worth more than they really are. But I’m actually pretty realistic about this. Did you know that there is a theory about this. It’s called the endowment effect. And it describes how people tend to value items they own more highly than they would if they did not belong to them. So we see our eight year old jeans and think, Oh, they’re worth $100. And we see someone else’s eight year old jeans and think I’ll give you 20 bucks. That isn’t what’s going on here. And I know consignment stores have their own costs. And they’re a business who needs to and absolutely should make a profit. So I wasn’t expecting a whole lot. But I was still speechless. I literally had a bin full of high quality premium denim or brand new or dang near brand new clothes that were current and in great condition. I mean, they weren’t like high designer stuff. But they weren’t. They weren’t from Walmart either. Right? They were pretty middle of the road. I didn’t bother bringing anything that wasn’t pristine. And I got the offer back. They offered me $45 For the whole bin 45 bucks for the entire bin. I rejected it on principle and I just took all my clothes home with me. I just, I don’t know, maybe the endowment effect took me but 45 bucks for all that no sewing completely unrelated news. The everyday style school closet will be opening soon on Poshmark. Each season, I have capsule pieces that were just props or turnover from my own closet, and I thought it would be fun to share them with you all. So if you’re on our email list, and you want to get some of those past capsule pieces, some of my unworn stuff, some of the things I just didn’t return, make sure you are on our email list because I will send you the link as soon as it is ready. If you’re not on our email list, head to the shownotes sign up for the free mini capsule wardrobe guide. You’ll be on the list. And we will send you a little guide on how to make 30 outfits out of just 10 pieces. It’s a great resource to have and then you’ll get all of our stuff. Alright, there were two lessons learned on this one. First, I was right all along about consignment and being not worth it. It just it just isn’t I get that. Second I need to do better about returns. That is a huge goal for 2024. I’m going to try and make it a zero gray bag situation. That’s what I call it a gray bag situation when you see that gray mailer bag and you’re like Asha sent that back. No Ray bags in 2024 but something fun is coming out of it. So I’m just going to look on the bright side. All right next bucket list item. I want to Talking about is number nine, which was to redo my jewelry storage. If you recall, because I certainly do. I found the perfect jewelry holder at Target and I told my younger daughter, it would make a great Christmas present. This is usually my secret to getting the things I want, right? She is super, super reliable. I don’t want to happen, but the system broke down. And there was no jewelry holder under the tree. And then it was sold out completely. I could not find it online. I couldn’t find it in any store I went to it was gone. Thank you to those of you who sent me links until about April, asking is this? Is this it? Is this the one though? It wasn’t. And I moped about this stupid jewelry holder until I don’t know, like June, y’all I don’t know why I was so in my feelings about this $30 jewelry holder. In my mind, it was the perfect solution to my needs. And nothing else would do. Finally, around June, I got over myself and I ordered a jewelry holder on Amazon. Was it the exact same? No. Did it solve my problems? Yes, about 90% of the way. Have I given my jewelry storage? One more thought since I bought it? No. So did it solve the problem? Yes, it did. It really did. I know this one seems kind of silly. But I think there’s one of the biggest lessons to be learned here. Sometimes we get so stuck in the perfect solution that we don’t do anything at all. Earlier, we talked about the links I’ve seen people go to to solve their problems by doing everything under the sun except just solving their problem, right? This is kind of the opposite. This is knowing the 100% perfect thing and being unwilling to accept anything less than 100% Even if 100% doesn’t exist. When I think about this one, I always remember the post by one of our community members. years ago, the denim masterclass had just come out. And our women were really focused on finding the best jeans of their lives, which is great. I was so happy to see this great jeans or wardrobe changing and frankly life changing because you always have something that makes you look like a million bucks, right? So one thing that that class covers is the yoke of the jeans, and what to look for depending on the shape of your rear end, and what you want the jeans to do for you. I remember one of our members posting a photo of jeans or her in jeans that made her butt look like a million bucks. Like seriously, these were great jeans. And here’s what she said in the post. I really love these jeans. But do you think I should return them? And keep searching for a pair? With a yoke that’s an inch or two higher? An inch or two? Would a slightly higher yoke have been a little bit better? Yeah. Yeah, a little bit. Probably the difference between 95% Perfect and 100%. Perfect. Do jeans that would have been 100% Perfect even exist? Honestly, I’m guessing no, because maybe the yoke was right. But the rice was off or the rice was right. But the pocket placement was off. I have seen so many women let perfect be the enemy of really, really good when it comes to style. And I know that I say good enough isn’t good enough. And I want to 100% Completely stand by that. But you have to know when you’re taking perfect too far.

This is actually a sign of style perfectionism. And it has nothing to do with the clothes. And it’s something that we’re going to be talking about in the upcoming months. So stay tuned for that one. But you have to know when you’re settling for something that actually isn’t good enough to solve the problem. And then you will be back shopping again, in a couple of months. That’s one thing. Or you have to figure out when you found something that’s about as perfect as you’re gonna find off the rack. And then you can tailor it or you can live with just about perfect, there’s a huge difference between those two. I like to say you should shoot for a solid 85 to 90% Perfect. If you even got to 80 to 85% Perfect, it’s probably better than most people are doing now. Right? It’s a realistic goal and you’ll actually be able to find clothes instead of struggling to get dressed while searching for the Holy Grail that may not exist. Okay, the last one we’re talking about today is bucket list item number 11. And this was another huge style aha moment for me this year. That my dear listener was to find a lipstick I like I have struggled I have spent 1000s on hundreds of lipsticks. And I could just never find one I liked. So, quick storytime. days after I recorded that episode My family went to brunch with my sister’s family. Totally randomly out of the blue. My sister said that she wanted to take my niece to the lip lab at the Mall of America, which is where you can create custom lipsticks and I was like funny You should mention that it’s on my list of things to do. So we decided we would take the girls my to her one and all get custom lipsticks done. Be a fun girls day out. I went home and I tried to make an appointment for five people. There was nothing for five, four months, I thought, well, maybe they don’t take bigger groups. Let’s try four. I tried four people, and there was one appointment available the very next day. And that was that there was nothing else for free even for people on the calendar for the next six months. I was like these people are packed. This is wild, everyone wants to do it. So we decided to go and just see what happened. Maybe they could squeeze in an extra person, whatever. We got there and discovered the reason there were no appointments going forward the day after we were there is that they were closing for good. That day. That was it. That was the last day they were in business at the Mall of America. So I guess we were lucky to get in when we did. I’m going to spare you my entire lip lab review. Which was honestly not great. And just share the lesson that I learned. So I bought my makeup color card from the color guru to work from and I thought Go big or go home right? The whole point of this exercise was to get out of my comfort zone and try new things. So instead of the light neutrals, I always choose. I had our, our lipstick, mixologist, our person, whatever you want to call her formulate the brightest color on the card. It was the biggest departure from anything I own or would even attempt to try. She mixed it up. And on the first try. She matched the color card perfectly. Which was super impressive. That was amazing. Tried it and you know what, I loved it. I loved it. It was the best lipstick color I had put on my face in years. All of a sudden my eyes popped and I had a little color in my cheeks. I looked brighter, younger, more awake. All the things the color experts say the right colors do for you. And all the things I thought the right colors did for other people. I honestly thought that there just wasn’t a lipstick that would do that for me. Like that was just my coloring is dull and drab and there was nothing I could do about it turns out, turns out there was no the sad part of the tail is that when I got the final product, it wasn’t the same color as the one she’d originally maxed, it was just off, and they said they’d be happy to redo it except they were closing for good. So to add so sad. My younger daughter’s formula was off as well. So they refunded both of us which I appreciate. But I would rather have had the amazing lipstick than a free lipstick. But what I learned is that I look better and bright lipstick that was that was the lesson I needed. The light neutrals that I always reach for and am always disappointed by. Just don’t do what I want them to do. I was the problem. It’s me. Hi, I’m the problem. It’s me right to poorly paraphrase Taylor Swift. Since that day, I have added bold reds bold corals pinks, brights to my collection. Even when I’m picking a gloss a light gloss, I pick one with a pop of color. The lesson I learned was that what I was picking was never ever, ever going to work ever. And the right thing did exist. I just didn’t know how to find it. Now a couple of weeks ago, our pal genie from the color guru did a series of Instagram posts sharing the best holiday lipsticks for each of the color types of her color types. I literally drove myself to the Mall of America the next day at Christmas time and tried her recommendation. And I am I am obsessed I’m pretty much wearing this lipstick every day non stop. Every time I wear it, I get compliments from complete strangers. It is so so good. If you’ve had your colors done by the color guru, head over to her Instagram and check out those posts. If you haven’t, that would be a really good thing to put on your own style bucket list this year. And if you use the code everyday style or tell them we sent you, you’ll get 10% off your purchase. Once you do that, go check out her holiday lip posts on Instagram and go find the best lipstick of your life. So what’s the lesson here? There are a couple first, if what you’re doing isn’t working, do something different. I understand that. That sounds so simplistic, but sometimes we keep doing the same thing hoping for a different result which again, that’s the definition of insanity, right? You got to try something totally out of the box. I was convinced that my coloring is just drab and dull and nothing would ever look great. It wasn’t me it was the lipstick. Just like I’m always saying to you guys. It’s not you. It’s the pants. Find better pants don’t change you find the right pants. Finally, and I think the most important lesson of all of this is if you don’t know how to do something, instead of struggling or giving up or feeling defeated. Just find someone who does. This is the most wonderful thing about the internet and The age we live in, there is an expert in literally everything, every struggle you’re having someone else knows how to solve. So instead of struggling with it, instead of giving up and feeling defeated, just go find help. I am not great with color. I know Brown is better than black on me, I know I’ve raised better than white. I know a few really good colors for me. And I can help people get in the right direction when it comes to color. But when it comes to these tiny little changes of what’s a little too bright, what’s a little too saturated, what’s a little too muted. I just don’t see color, the same way color experts do. And unfortunately, this is one of those things that the little tiny variations do make a big difference, right? Color is not a talent that I was born with. But lucky for me, someone else was, and I can tap into her knowledge and her abilities to fill in my own gaps. I know there are women listening right now thinking, I’m just not good at style. I’ll never find pants I love. You know, maybe my body is just so weird that there are no pants for me whatever it is, you know what, fair enough. Maybe you weren’t born with the gene that that tells you how to magically find pants. But you can learn and you can tap into the knowledge and abilities of others to help you get there. When you have gone as far as you can on your own, and you’re still struggling. Instead of giving up or settling for less than find an expert. It is the fastest path to get where you want to go. So there you have it. Seven items from my 2023 Bucket List recapped. If you want to hear the rest, it will be on the style school extra credit podcast next week. That one is just for our members. And if your 2024 goals include saving time and money, or making peace with your body, or loving the way you look, I want to invite you to come join us in the style circle. We’re going to give you all the resources you need to become a style expert. Even if you weren’t born with it. The link is in the show notes and I would love to meet you in the community. All right, I’ll see you next time and remember your everyday matters. So get dressed for it. And that’s a wrap. Thank you for listening today. If you’re loving the everyday style school podcast, I’d like to invite you to become a member of the style circle. It’s our monthly all access membership that gives you everything we create to make style easy so you can save time and money have easier mornings and more confidence all day long. You get our seasonal capsule wardrobe guides, all of the master classes we offer and our exclusive members only podcast, the everyday style school extra credit. Plus, you’re invited to the Facebook community where you can get even more style support and inspiration. I would love to get to know you and support your style journey. It’s just $19 a month, less than the cost of a clearance shirt you’re never going to wear. Come join me and make your everyday style easier.

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