1 Dress 10 Different Outfits

So often we stare in our closets half awake and glossy-eyed muttering the same 5 words "I have nothing to wear." This immediately sends a red flare to our significant other because more often than not, those very unassuming 5 words are followed by a weekend shopping spree. 

Unfortunately, this is a problem we cannot shop our way out of even though many of us have tried. In fact, shopping only complicates it. We'll go to the mall, add more clothes that feel new for a week or two, then slowly find those same clothes melting into our full closets. Until once again we find ourselves speaking the same 5 words, 8 weeks later. 

So it got us thinking... what if the next time you felt those same words slipping off the tip of your tongue, you instead made a conscious change in your behavior? Choosing to style your way out of the problem, rather than shop.

Let's take this sleeveless button up shirt dress as an example. It's simple and spans across all 4 seasons. For you, it might be a button up shirt or a long sleeve shift dress. You can pick your poison based on your closet.

To prove less can be more and feeling bored can inspire creativity, we took 1 core item and turned it into 10 different outfits. 

**Don't worry these were all shot in one day... we thought you might need a break from the whole 10x10 challenge

The Dress

1. Long Sleeve Tee, Dress, Belt, Ankle Booties

2. Trench Coat, Dress, Ankle Booties

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3. Dress, Cable Knit Sweater, Tights, Ankle Booties

4. Dress, Knit Vest, Heels

5. Jean Jacket, Scarf, Dress, Tall Boots

6. Turtleneck, Dress, Belt, Tall Boots

8. Turtleneck, Dress, Belt, Flats

8. Leather Jacket, Scarf, Dress, Ankle Booties

9. Jean Jacket, Dress, Belt, Skinny Jeans, Ankle Booties

10. Anorak Jacket, Scarf, Dress, Ankle Booties


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The Great Black Friday Debate

What began as a quiet work lunch in downtown Cincinnati—replete with french fries and small talk—soon became the Great Debate of 2016 as soon as the words “Black Friday” were mentioned.

For Cladwell’s developer Robin, Black Friday means:

“Excitement, energy, people! There's nowhere better to do people watching than Black Friday in a New Jersey mall. Black Friday is definitely my favorite fall holiday.”

On the other hand, our designer Alison sees the day as synonymous with:

“Unnecessary chaos. Destructive consumerism. And the epitome of my least favorite parts about the holiday season.”

So what do we have here? Two people, both with an education in design and a commitment to the idea that it's not about getting more, it's about getting smarter with what we have. Yet, two incredibly differing opinions.

Americans spent over 2.4 billion dollars in stores last Black Friday. So, let’s face it, some will boycott this Black Friday, and some will consider it a “holiday." Like politics, it's a topic we all seem to have an opinion on. Here's the debate Robin and Alison had.

**Note the smiling faces. No french fries were thrown or co-workers harmed during this debate.

**Note the smiling faces. No french fries were thrown or co-workers harmed during this debate.

Robin vs. Alison: The Great Black Friday Debate

What have been your experiences with Black Friday Shopping?

Robin: "I don't usually buy a lot during Black Friday. A lot of mall stores I like don't actually give great deals that day. I go because it’s really fun bonding time with my family. We stay up all night and hang out with a bunch of crazy people. It's the one time a year I get to shop with my mom and my sister. I don't get to go home a lot, and Black Friday has become a female bonding tradition in my household."

Alison: "I've never gone shopping on Black Friday, so instead I've just experienced it through the terrible news stories that come about the next day. "Two people dead after Best Buy stampede!" Like, WHAT??? 

So no Black Fridays for me; instead, I experienced them through my mother. Now that the kids are grown she tends to stay home, but she used to wake up at the crack of dawn to partake. I just remember that I used to be a bit sad about that. The holidays are one of the few times that all my siblings come home, and we have the entire family under the same roof. With mom out of the house all day, Friday felt like a missed opportunity for all of us to be together during one of those few days that we had."

What’s your biggest problem with Black Friday and why?

Robin: "I don't really have problems with Black Friday. I realize I would probably feel differently if I were working retail. I definitely don't love standing in the long lines, especially when you only want to purchase one or a small handful of things. I view these long lines as opportunities for retailers to innovate and do something creative, which they don't really do, but I think we could see some cool experiences there one day."


Alison: "The Friday after Thanksgiving is a free day! No work, no doctor's appointments, no meetings. Total free day. You bet your ass I'm not even going to think about spending those free hours in an overcrowded shopping mall surrounded by hundreds of strangers I've never met—eventually emerging hours later with fifty new purchases I didn't even know I wanted. No chance.

Instead, I'm going to spend that afternoon taking my sister to lunch. Or visiting with my aunt I haven't seen in three years. Getting coffee with my best friend so she can catch me up on married life and the children they're planning for. Or maybe even taking a "me" day! But at the spa, alone, with relaxing music, and a glass of wine in hand. To me, that's what the holidays are really about! Not the wine, entirely... but family and friends. Having laughs and making memories. Enjoying time together and being thankful that I have a roof over my head, a table full of food in front of me, and a group of people surrounding me whom I care about."

What’s the best part of Black Friday and why?

Robin: "The best part is really just getting to stay up all night with people I love. We always have a blast. I also just enjoy shopping, seeing what’s new and feeling the textiles and seeing what other people are wearing. It's just an exciting night. So many people are out in the middle of the night. And you know what to expect—I even enjoy the challenge of finding great parking (which I always do). It's not for everyone, but I love it."

Alison: "not applicable..."

So, Alison and Robin may (ok, let's be honest...will!) never agree on this topic. But, there's something they can agree on. The holidays are about spending time with family and loved ones, and Black Friday shouldn't get in the way of that.

We here at Cladwell believe that happiness doesn't come from clothes or shopping but from meaningful experiences and relationships. Having a finish line for your closet frees you from an endless cycle of shopping. We want you to take the time for more important things. Things that don't take up space in your dresser drawers. Things that really matter.

But heck, if you want to go join in the hustle and bustle of Black Friday, knock yourself out. Robin will be there. But if a day at the spa or one spent with the family sounds better, do it. That's Alison's plan. The point is, whatever you do this Friday, do it because it matters to you, not because you feel like you have to. This Black Friday, you run the show. Don't let the panic of a "good deal" run it for you.


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Why I’m Not Boycotting Black Friday

As I was sitting down to write a post about Black Friday, I found myself with a case of writer's block. Staring at my computer, endlessly contemplating my thoughts around this seemingly made up holiday.

Why was I having such trouble writing this post? Was I even a true cynic?

After all, it wasn’t that long ago when I rolled out of bed at 3:30am only to find myself bringing home an array of items, including but not limited to a Dirt Devil and a pair of tall gray boots I never knew I needed. When it hit me…

Black Friday is the mere representation of what it means to make an impulse purchase. The worst part, retailers count on it.

Stores aren’t spending a quarter billion dollars in marketing because they want me to get a “good deal.” Instead, they want me to come to their store because once I’m there, they have research that says I’ll buy more and more and more.

Maybe it’s the self-induced food coma that has altered my judgment in the past or the fact that I’m really bad at math. My guess is the latter. But at some point I realized buying a $20 Dirt Devil (not on my list) for $10 isn’t saving $10; it’s losing $10. 

I personally couldn’t handle reading - or writing - one more post about how I was a terrible person for participating in Black Friday; guilt wasn’t helping the situation. But I could use a post that reminded me, and hopefully all of you, that this Friday is actually no different from any other Friday during the holiday season. Having a list and sticking to it is the only way to keep yourself from an impulse buy.

So consider this your reminder. This year you won’t find me boycotting Black Friday. You also won’t find me standing in line. What you will find is simply one more Friday. Let's treat it that way. 


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Street Style: Weather Changes

In the month of November--so far--in Cladwell's home-base city of Cincinnati, we've experienced a temperature swing from 70º to 40º to 80º to 28º and back to 70º. It means we gotta stay on our toes and check that forecast every morning.

Hey. It's me again. Levi. Yeah, a guy with the same name as a clothing brand works at a clothing company. Some call it a coincidence, I call it fate.

Anyway, enough about me, let's talk about everyone else:

People are really wonderful. One of my highlights is meeting new ones. I understand that those kind of interactions exhaust some personality types, but for me it's energizing. There's a song by Hozier called Someone New where he sings, "And so I fall in love just a little ol' little bit / Every day with someone new." I get it. I feel the same way.

So, here are some of those people that I've fallen in love with the past few weeks.

Julia's simple and comfy fall afternoon outfit.

Julia's simple and comfy fall afternoon outfit.

Fall boots courtesy of Frye London.

Fall boots courtesy of Frye London.

Kathryn with a big, cozy blanket scarf. Perfect for the days that hit us with 40º in the mornings and 68º in the afternoon.

Kathryn with a big, cozy blanket scarf. Perfect for the days that hit us with 40º in the mornings and 68º in the afternoon.

Lauren shows us how good cropped pants can look with nude flats and a perfectly subtle scarf.

Lauren shows us how good cropped pants can look with nude flats and a perfectly subtle scarf.

Lauren has a lovely and simple approach to accessories. Just enough.

Lauren has a lovely and simple approach to accessories. Just enough.

I like to tell a story about how his satchel is actually filled with custom-hewn wizard wands. 

I like to tell a story about how his satchel is actually filled with custom-hewn wizard wands. 

David puts these tones of brown and gray to good use.

David puts these tones of brown and gray to good use.

Petra's shoes caught my attention, and fortunately she was walking my way.

Petra's shoes caught my attention, and fortunately she was walking my way.

"My husband said, 'you don't need new shoes.' I said, 'no, I do.'"

"My husband said, 'you don't need new shoes.' I said, 'no, I do.'"

This is Charlotte. Her big scarf speaks volumes about how we feel about fall weather. She tried to make excuses about her penchant for Target clothing. But we care less about what brand it is, and more about how it makes her feel. And it looks like she feels great.

This is Charlotte. Her big scarf speaks volumes about how we feel about fall weather. She tried to make excuses about her penchant for Target clothing. But we care less about what brand it is, and more about how it makes her feel. And it looks like she feels great.

Natalie's Chucks have stories.

Natalie's Chucks have stories.

"I pretty much just throw stuff together." Well, Natalie, you're throwing it well.

"I pretty much just throw stuff together." Well, Natalie, you're throwing it well.

Matthew shows us how to dress for an evening out in the fall.

Matthew shows us how to dress for an evening out in the fall.

Hey, can you tell me about your bowtie? "Well, it's pretty much just a piece of string." Suffice it to say, we like Matthew's accessories.

Hey, can you tell me about your bowtie?
"Well, it's pretty much just a piece of string."
Suffice it to say, we like Matthew's accessories.

Barbara said about her outfit, "it's back, black, and black."

Barbara said about her outfit, "it's back, black, and black."

I'm in love with the simplicity and detail of Barbara's Common Project sneakers.

I'm in love with the simplicity and detail of Barbara's Common Project sneakers.

My friend Un-Jin with the perfect amount of color popping off those socks. Hanging out in our neighborhood Wine Bar + Coffee Shop. Yeah, it's as magical as it sounds.

My friend Un-Jin with the perfect amount of color popping off those socks. Hanging out in our neighborhood Wine Bar + Coffee Shop. Yeah, it's as magical as it sounds.

Joe with the layers.

Joe with the layers.

This Halie. I couldn't help but notice those boots. Halie works as an optician at Frameri, and she loves to let her glasses do the talking.

This Halie. I couldn't help but notice those boots. Halie works as an optician at Frameri, and she loves to let her glasses do the talking.

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Jenn with the flow-y shirt over top the flow-y dress. This is fall style, right here.

Jenn with the flow-y shirt over top the flow-y dress. This is fall style, right here.

Amanda thrifted her shoes and loved them so much she built an outfit around them.

Amanda thrifted her shoes and loved them so much she built an outfit around them.

Can I take a photo of your outfit? Clara said, "Today?! But I'm going to work." Her jacket is from a shop in her home-country of Italy.

Can I take a photo of your outfit? Clara said, "Today?! But I'm going to work." Her jacket is from a shop in her home-country of Italy.

He said he just threw it all together because everything in his closet goes together. David wanted to be "somewhat casual, but not too casual. If I want to go out tonight I'll just take off the jacket and put on my blazer." This guy gets it.

He said he just threw it all together because everything in his closet goes together. David wanted to be "somewhat casual, but not too casual. If I want to go out tonight I'll just take off the jacket and put on my blazer." This guy gets it.

What is your favorite look? Pin it to Pinterest and let us know.


Check us out on Instagram for more/different stuff throughout the week, as well as my own pictures. Let's be friends, yeah?


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Your Winter Coat Guide

Coats are commitments. True fact. So, before you begin panicking because there was ice on your car this morning and you heard Christmas carols on the radio—but you still can’t track down the coat of your dreams—we want to pass along some coat tips, inspiration, and suggestions that could help you along this daunting coat journey!  

3 Coat-Hunt Tips

1. Coats that last: From personal experience, we all know that buying a good piece of winter wear is going to be an investment. Frankly, quality coat purchases just hurt the wallet. But here’s the deal. Unless you plan on relocating permanently to the Bahamas, this is an item of clothing that you’ll wear season after season and that should be able to last. Out of every item in your wardrobe, your coat is worth an investment.

2. Coats that reflect you: But here’s the rub. You invest into this item that covers you and your clothing for five months a year. It’s a defining piece of your wardrobe that you’ll wear day after day, year after year, and the idea of personal style never even comes into play when purchasing this item. Well, it should. You should love this coat. You should want to jump up and down at the first sight of snow because you get to dawn your coat. And when you put it on, it should scream you

3. Coats that take time: If coats are a big investment (but a worthwhile one!) and you want them to reflect you, then you should take your time shopping around. Take the time to find something you love. And next year, you won't have to go through the coat-shopping-trauma-cycle all over again. 

Coat Inspiration

If you're looking for a classic pea coat, shop around for a color you love. It's already going to be white enough out there. Feel free to jazz things up with a bright color.

Traditionally, a pea coat is a formal coat. But, that's really just a matter of styling! We're in love with the casual pea coat looks this winter. And maybe tennis shoes and a neutral coat are just your thing. We love your thing.

If you live in a warmer climate (now, we've got to be honest with ourselves here) then a long coverup might be just the thing for you! It can be styled casually or formally, and it's just the right amount of cozy for a West Coaster who won't be able to bear the heat of a full coat AND a peppermint mocha.

And finally, make this coat practical. If you live in a rainy climate, then invest in a rain coat. If it's freezing, take the plunge and buy the parka. Buy what makes sense.

 

Image source for all photos above is Pinterest.com

Coat Suggestions

Anoraks can be a dime a dozen, but Everlane's City Anorak caught our eye as an ideal mid-weight layer.

$98, The City Anorak

For the lady of rainy climates, Stutterheim is the place to go for well-crafted rain wear.

$295, Stockholm Navy Raincoat

If you're looking for something both stylish and warm, the Cotopaxi Bengal Waxed Canvas Jacket for Women might be just the thing.

$199, Cotopaxi Bengal Waxed Canvas Jacket

There's nothing like a wool Everlane coat for the modern minimalist.

$195, The Premium Wool Oversized Unstructured Coat

And finally, here's a short trench from Everlane - that looks as versatile as it is darling.

$135, The Swing Trench


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