Why Cladwell Can Help You Style Your Clothing After Your Stitch Fix or Amazon Prime Wardrobe Box Arrives

I was sitting at the dentist and he asked me what I do. (I’ve always wondered why dentists ask you questions while they have their hands in your mouths). But somehow through this, I said, "It’s kinda odd, but I work for a clothing company that doesn’t sell clothes. We help you figure out how to wear the clothes you already own."

Suddenly, he put down the tools that he was about to shove down my throat. “Well, that’s just brilliant.” (He paused, perhaps reconsidering his career choices). “I can’t think of a person who doesn’t need help with that. Cause there are so many people who sell clothes. Maybe too many. But nobody helps you wear them.”

There are plenty of people helping you put clothes in your closet. But no one is helping you wear them.

“Nobody helps you wear them…” Nobody helps you during that painful moment in front of your closet every morning. That’s where you’re all alone by yourself, trying to figure out how to mix and match the countless items in front of you. That moment when you opt for the jeans and t-shirt (again), because you don’t have a lot of confidence in the other options.

We’re not throwing shade on Stitch Fix or the new Amazon Prime Wardrobe box. In fact, we see the value in someone literally sending you clothing because maybe shopping makes you sick OR there’s just no time for shopping in your season of life right now.

You have the ingredients [to make outfits]. Let us give you the recipes.

We love the convenience of a Hello Fresh, sending you the ingredients and the instructions for how to make meals every week. But here’s the deal: you may be getting the ingredients to outfits with a clothing service, but how about the recipes? How about the way to mix and match these items? Ever. Single. Day. Cladwell helps you wear the items of clothing you already own - no more shopping required.

The reason shopping is endless is because we are continually bringing home new clothing from stores (or receiving it in boxes) and we don’t know how to wear what we buy. That’s where Cladwell comes in. Tomorrow morning, instead of standing alone in front of your closet, try opening your phone and looking at three expertly styled outfit suggestions based on what’s in your closet and what the weather's like outside. Yes, our brilliant stylists want to help you right there - in front of your closet - every morning. You don’t have to do this alone. You don’t even have to do it yourself.

Let Cladwell Help You Style Your Clothing After the Box Arrives.

As I walked out of the dentist thinking about that line over and over again… “But nobody helps you wear them,” I got a text from a friend. This is true story, folks. It said,

“I just want you to know that at this moment I’m wearing an outfit that was put together for me by the Cladwell app and I love it! I love that app! I hate choosing my clothes!”

"Nobody helps you wear them"… until now that is. Cue relief. Here comes the sun…


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For Those Of Us Who Want To Slow Down.

We all “like” articles about slowing down on Facebook - as if voicing our assent and approval will somehow rub off on our lives and create the slow paced stories we desire. Well, as the moments and hours and days of our lives fly by, there’s no time like the present to actually learn how to cultivate this practice. Bad news is, it won’t be as easy as liking an article on Facebook. But the good news is, that it is possible to create new habits in our lives through our hearts, words, and actions.

Begin by thinking about what you really love.

In his book Simplify, Josh Becker writes that our “actions follow our heart.” He writes,

Our actions will always follow the true desire of our heart. What our heart believes and loves always determines the path of our life. We can mask our true wants for only a short while. Without a true heart change, we always return to our heart’s first love.

Is it truly time for family and friends and rest that we value? That we love? Because if "slowing down" isn't the "true desire of our hearts", then our words and actions and well-paced lives will never follow.

Next, Create A New Vocabulary:  

Picture a lazy Saturday spent at home with friends or family - simply outside together or tossing around a ball. When a friend asks, “What have you been up to this weekend?” We reply, “Oh nothing.” Nothing? Really? Taking time to recharge ourselves, to build important relationships, to enjoy the homes and lives and friends we’ve been given is nothing?  

But, when there’s a million things on the to do list, we respond by saying, “We have tons going on. I’m so busy.”

We need a new vocabulary.

Spending a day enjoying what is important to you isn’t merely “passing the time” - it’s not “nothing.” In fact, it’s a great big something. By our words, we are glorifying what’s busy. How then can we justify slowing down if with our words we call it “nothing”? Why don't we affirm with our words that rest is valuable; because it is in these slow moments that we pause, prioritize, and consider carefully what the shape of our lives should be.

We must begin with our vocabulary, which should be shaped by what we love. If these moments of rest and "pause" are important to us, then let's start talking like it. Stop justifying and glorifying "busy." Instead, prioritize rest with your words.

Finally, Make a List and Take Action.

Now, here’s where we get down to the nitty-gritty:

  1. Make a list of what’s important

    These are the things that you love and value - the things that make life, "life” for you.

  2. Make a list of what's urgent.

    The urgent are those things that need to get done but aren't necessarily the priority. Yes, some things will "give"… it may be social media, it may be doing the dishes that evening, it may be the extra project at work.

  3. Prioritize the important and fill the rest of the space with the urgent.

    Ever see that rocks and sand analogy? Fill the jar with the rocks (the important) and then fill in the sand (the urgent) - and that's how everything fits. If you fill the jar with the sand first, then the rocks never fully fit in. This ensures that the foundational things always make it into a day. This ensures that the thing that gives at the end of the day isn't the important but the "urgent."

  4. Do it again and again and again. Make it a habit.

Now, Begin!

There will always be dishes to do. There will always be deadlines. There will always be these urgent needs (that we can’t ignore). But are we allowing our lives to be shaped around the urgent instead of intentionally shaping our lives around the important? Are we letting time slip by - executing all our urgent tasks and never basking in the slow, good moments?

Slowing down is a choice - one that begins in our hearts, our words, and our actions. And if we truly love the shape of the slow, prioritized life, then let's make it a habit. Today. Because life is too short not to slow down.


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Boyfriend Jeans 6 Ways

The borrowed-from-the-boys look is one that is lovable and wearable. It's a nice break from ultra-feminine styles or the pressures of wearing such form-fitting clothing. And when it comes to denim, there's no need to worry 'cause you can rock this style while still looking polished in your favorite pair of jeans (having your cake and eating it too, am I right?).

Skinny jeans, we still love you, but for those of us that wear jeans frequently, we're happy to have a second option. Here's a few ways we styled our boyfriend jeans for lounging, going out, warm days, and cooler evenings. 

1. Keep it simple - and comfy.

  • Make it easy on yourself with a breezy t-shirt and comfy kicks. 
  • V-neck from TJ Maxx, Converse + Baldwin Jeans (Made in Kansas City).

2. Gym shoes work, too!

  • Different shoes = instant sporty vibes.   
  • Lady & The Sailor Tee (Made in the USA), Nikes (similar) + Baldwin Jeans.
Alexa-Boyfriend-Jeans-1.jpg

3. intermingle a ladylike top & heels with your boyish jeans.

  • Your jeans can take you places - even a nice dinner or event. Put on a swipe of lipstick and your favorite accessory for an extra oomph! 
  • Off-the-shoulder top from consignment, Mossimo heels, + Baldwin Jeans.

4. Business meets casual.

  • A blazer and heels with your BF jeans is a great way to look polished without feeling too stuffy. And with a fun pop of color underneath, you can take the blazer off for a "going-out" look you can dance all night in (yes, we encourage dancing). 
  • A vintage DKNY blazer, Free People bodysuit, Mossimo heels + Baldwin Jeans. 

5. Easy, Warm days. 

  • Grab your favorite summer tank, simple sandals, and a hat to block the rays and you're ready for sunny weather in your boyfriend jeans!
  • TJ Maxx top, hat from local boutique Kismet, Gap sandals, + Baldwin Jeans.

5. cool, Fall nights. 

  • It's all about balance - a fitted sweater and heeled booties juxtapose your slouchy jeans.
  • Madewell Sweater, Free People booties, + Baldwin Jeans.

Here are some boyfriend jeans we love: 

By AG Jeans (Made in the USA): "The Ex Boyfriend" Slim
By Gap: a fun, embroidered version
By Madewell: The "Boyjean"
By Good American (Made in the USA): High Rise Boyfriend


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Lies The Fashion Industry Will Tell My Daughter

This is my daughter, Charleston Jane. When it comes to clothing, Charleston is free. She loves her dresses, leopard prints, and hats - not because a magazine told her to, but because she just likes them. She never worries about money, her body, or being trendy. She loves what she wears, and wears what she loves. It’s simple.

This is not just Charleston’s story. This is where all of us start with clothing: totally free. Our clothing starts as a visual representation of our authentic selves - our preferences and our creativity.

The Lie

But if her story is anything like it is for most women, this freedom will not last. Over time, she'll start to listen to magazines, marketers, and society.

Eventually, the lie creeps in; that you - in your natural state - are not okay and you need to buy something to be accepted. The skill of modern fashion has been to take the things that are unique about you - your height, dimensions, proportions - and neutralize them by buying clothes. If you’re tall, buy flats. If you’re curvy, buy vertical stripes. This leaves our closets entirely too full, resulting in cluttered hearts, minds, and homes.

How The Fashion Industry Creates the Lie

You see, the fashion industry will make over $130,000 off of a woman’s insecurity throughout her lifetime. In fact, as advertising budgets ballooned, the average number of items in American women's closets went from 36 to over 120 (almost 400%), since 1930. Most of these items are ones that we don't actually love and seldom wear.

Just picture yourself walking through the mall. The images you see are excluding you from “the club” unless you buy what they’re selling. They show pictures of people wearing denim jackets who are in bliss and say, “If you buy a denim jacket, you’ll be happy like us!” So we buy it. Then a month later, they’re all wearing leather jackets and saying, “Buy a leather jacket, you’ll be pretty like us!” And we buy it. And then a month or week later, it’s bomber jackets. The lie is incredibly effective at creating lifelong consumption.

Truthfully, there is a well-funded conspiracy to keep women (like my daughter), discontent with themselves and their clothes so that they will buy more and more.

Although my voice is small compared to an industry that benefits from my daughter's insecurity, as Charleston's father, I will continue to fight the lie that tells her to buy more and be someone she's not.

How To Fight The Lie

Here is where I enter the picture: I, Blake Smith, am the CEO of a fashion company. I’ve spent the past 5 years of my life in the industry whose fundamental driver of growth is the exploitation of my daughters.

And this is the core insight that I’ve found about the lie: it is effective and it sells stuff incredibly well.

However, in my five years at this company, I’ve learned something else about the lie: it can be healed. You do not have to keep feeling the way you feel, but, you need a strategy. In my time of working with tens of thousands of women, I’ve found there are two main tools you need to combat the lie, so you have something to fall back on as you walk through the mall. Here they are:

1) You need a better narrative of yourself.

What do I mean by that? Picture yourself back in the mall or looking at an ad. The lie is saying, “We’re okay, you are not.” In order to combat that, you need your own narrative of “No - actually, I am okay. I am already happy.” So how do you develop your own narrative? What worked for me was to sit down with someone I love and ask them, “What makes me good for other people?” Maybe they say something like, “Your sense of humor is helpful in tense circumstances.” Listen to that. That is you. Knowing what makes you valuable stops the lie in its tracks.

2) You need to develop your own taste.

By developing your own taste you create a counter-message to when when the lie says, “You need to buy white ripped jeans now!” How do we do this? Give this a try:

  • Hang up all your clothes.
  • Turn the hooks around facing you.
  • Each day when you wear something, turn the hanger around to face the other way.

What you’ll discover after a month of doing this is that: 1) we only wear about 20% of the clothes in our closets on a regular basis, and 2) those items that you actually wore are the core of your taste. What do you see? Certain colors, cuts, or fabrics? The pattern and rhythm you see within your closet is important. It becomes the filter through how you will make purchases in the future. So, when they say, “You need white ripped jeans,” you can say, “Actually, no, I don't. That’s not me.”

In a sense, it is returning to your inner 3-year old. Figure out what you love, and wear that.

By creating your own narrative, and developing your own taste, you can be equipped to combat the lie when it pops up.

Back to Innocence

The truth is, for most of us we may never get back to the innocence of childhood like my daughter. But, we can combat the lie. We can grow out of it. We can become stronger! We can become people who stand on our own, and we can lead others to a place of freedom.

If this entire industry can spiral out of control with one simple lie, “You are not okay,” then I want to drive home the opposite of this lie - the opposite of the magazines, the opposite of the brands: “You are worthy of love.


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A Must Read For The Summer from Design For Mankind's Erin Loechner (Plus, a Free Book Excerpt)

If you’re looking for Erin Loechner’s bio, you’ll find that she’s passionate about “slow living, mold-breaking and window-down, top-of-the-lung car singing.”

And that’s why we’re big fans of our friend, Erin around here at Cladwell.

Founder of Design for Mankind and author of Chasing Slow, she speaks honestly and openly about learning to tune out the fame and frenzy and instead focus on what’s most important in life. As we read her work, we were welcomed into a “new-fashioned lifestyle”: one that makes us thoughtful about our perspective on life and our priorities.

And to her, this new-fashioned lifestyle touches every area of life – from our hearts to our closets. The goal being that “all that remains is what you love.”

Because it’s truly enjoyable… because it’s keenly insightful… and because it’s just deeply true, we’re recommending that all our friends put this on their must-read list.

Ready for this life-changing read? Well, the best news is that we have a sneak peak for you. Jump into Erin's story in this chapter about her capsule wardrobe journey in Chasing Slow.


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