Black Pants – not off the list

Last time I shared my closet wishlist with you. One of the items on the list is a pair of black pants. I removed my only pair from my closet, because the fit wasn’t quite right. So, I had no black pants. Autumn is around the corner and it was my intention to get pants that I could wear all through winter. If you want to see Belinda and I discussing our lists, follow this link:

In the meantime I went to Potchefstroom ( a little university town) to help my daughter move into a new flat. She has very little closet space, but she absolutely loves clothes and never wants to part with any – even if it doesn’t fit. I had no expectations of her purging her closet. She surprised me by not only initiating a purge, but being brutal. She let a lot of stuff go.

what is left of her summer wardrobe

I usually don’t fit in any of her clothes – she is a size smaller than me and also shorter. She got rid of a lot of cool clothing, but I didn’t think that I could get use out of any of it. To my delight she had a pair of black pants that were a bit too big for her. I tried them on and they fit! I love that they are high waisted and loose fitting. The rest of the clothes that she removed, she donated to our second hand clothing store,

her donation

There were things I had to consider, before taking them. They are made locally in South Africa, but they are from a fast fashion brand. Also the fabrics used to make the garment are polyester and spandex – not a natural fiber in sight. And lastly, I won’t be able to wear them in winter.

I can overlook the brand and the fabrics because I didn’t buy them and neither did my daughter. She was gifted a lot of clothes by someone who didn’t fit in them anymore. I am also saving them from a landfill.

I don’t have a pair of black pants in my closet. So, I decided that if I can get five different tops to wear with these black pants, they are still worth keeping.

I easily found five tops that I can pair with the pants. And I think I definitely have more that five – black pants go with almost everything. I have to keep a pair of black pants on my list though – for winter.

Matilda xo

Cotton vs Linen


I actually have three long-sleeved, white cotton shirts in my closet currently. I love the feel of cotton, the breathable aspect of the fabric, especially as I live in a very warm climate, and I love the versatility of the long sleeves. You can button them and pull up the cuffs, or unbutton the cuffs and roll them up. In cooler weather, you can obviously wear the sleeves down.

Lately though, I have been doing a little bit of research regarding the sustainability of cotton. It is a natural fiber, and it does biodegrade after time (as sometimes, chemicals can be used in the process of creating the fiber). However, from planting to harvesting, enormous amounts of water is used. Even when growing cotton organically, without the use of fertilizers or pesticides, the amount of water is astronomical, and that sort of makes this fiber a less sustainable option than other natural fibers available.

Because of our focus in 2020 to be more focused on Slow Fashion, I want to be more aware of the clothes I bring into my closet. This is not only looking at how much I buy and trying as far as possible, to avoid fast fashion, but also taking into consideration the fibers used to create the garment, and the process taken from start to finish of a particular garment.

Hence my research on linen. I found out that linen is grown from the flax plant. It was the first fiber ever to be woven into fabric! And that was long before fast fashion, so it caught my attention. As it’s grown, it does not need to be irrigated. Yay! That’s a win already. The process taken to create the fiber is the fiber is combed from the stalk and then spun into yarn. This process is what makes the fiber quite a luxury feel. If left untreated, this fiber is also completely biodegradable. Check! It is a strong fiber, and is long-wearing. Another win! I want to keep clothes for longer. When organically grown, no pesticides are used. Yet another win! The workers aren’t harmed and any run-off doesn’t harm the environment.

For those of you who have been following MSJ for a while, will know I shop off a list. On that list, is a white, button-down linen shirt. When I find the right one, I will replace my cotton one. I won’t just be throwing my cotton one away. It will go into our store: Belle Whimsy, ( as it is still in great condition. Someone else can love it and appreciate it, keeping it in the cycle for longer.

I will definitely keep you updated as to whether I find my shirt or not. Watch this space.

Belinda xo

The Urge to Purge

7 January 2020

I’ve already cleaned the fridge/freezer and the oven. Every beginning of a new year I get the itch to organise, clean and also get rid of things I don’t need or want anymore. I haven’t purged my closet recently, except to remove damaged clothes. They had to be really beyond repair. The most important reason for this is that I had so little clothes for a while that I just kept everything. (You can read more about that in my previous blog post Then the tide changed, but I didn’t. So now I have an urge to purge.

My summer wardrobe before the purge

My winter clothes are packed away, so this process will only involve my summer wardrobe. I excluded active wear and I only have three T-shirts, so I will be hanging on to them too. I also left out my jeans, because I rarely wear jeans in summer.

I took the first step and removed all the items I wear regularly. This is a pile of clothes that I love. The clothes that I know I will wear for a long time.

After I removed the clothes I wanted to keep

Next I made a pile of clothes that I wasn’t sure about. I asked myself what I didn’t like about each item and why I wanted to keep them. Do they have sentimental value, or do I feel guilty about not wanting to keep perfectly good clothing? If I was still unsure, I would try it on and decide then.

Everything else that was still left in my closet, I took off the hangers and folded them. I didn’t even look at them again until the keep pile was back in my closet.

The little pile on the left is for my daughter and the rest is going to our second hand store:

Most of the give away pile is going to our second hand clothing store – My daughter, Karla, will get the few items she’s been nagging me about.

My closet after the purge

I now have 31 items of clothing in my closet. The next step will be to mindfully make a list of clothes I need and want. I really don’t want stuff in my closet that I don’t wear. I want to make better choices.

And of course I will always try to first find what I am looking for at thrift stores. If I have to buy new it will be from a slow fashion brand.

Matilda xo

Slow Fashion 2020

30 December 2019

I can’t say that I have a lot of clothes, but I don’t think I have too little either. It is all relative, don’t you think? A capsule wardrobe usually has between 25 and 50 pieces, which includes clothing, shoes and accessories. Most capsule wardrobes have 30 items or less. But what about minimalists? I feel that they are a bit extreme at 10 items.

My summer wardrobe

My one son is a minimalist and for summer he has three pairs of shorts, five T-shirts, one pair of shoes and a jacket. Underwear, sleepwear and socks are not in his capsule. If he has to go somewhere formal, we are in trouble. To put it into perspective, he is 19 and not working yet. So he can still get away with shorts and T-shirts.

Getting back to my closet. Most of my clothes are pre-loved and gifted. Which is great, because it saved me a lot of money when I needed to be very frugal and I inadvertently became part of the slow fashion movement. At that time I didn’t know about slow fashion, capsule wardrobes or ethical shopping.

I was just so grateful to have good quality clothing to wear that I accepted everything. And sometimes, because you have so little, anything is better than what’s hanging in your closet at that moment. So when Belinda asked me to join her at My Style Journey, I was clueless about fashion and style. Now, thinking back to that moment, I’m aware that Belinda took a huge risk. She just believed that I would do better. I did become better, but so did she.

Along our fashion journey this year, we became aware of how fast fashion affects the environment and how unethical the manufacturing process can be. We educated ourselves on ways to minimise our own impact on precious mother earth.

Fast fashion is a term used to describe a widely implemented phenomenon and business model. It describes companies that imitate styles and trends seen on the runways at fashion week and recreate them at a much lower price and quality to sell to the mass market. And with access to a seemingly infinite amount of online shops, it is easy to shop cheap, fast fashion.

Slow fashion is the antithesis of fast fashion. It is the movement of designing, creating, and buying garments for quality and longevity. It encourages slower production schedules, fair wages, lower carbon footprints, and (ideally) zero waste.

The slow fashion movement pushes against the current norms that everything can be easily discarded and replaced. It is a conscious, mindful lifestyle choice that is opposed to instant gratification. The focus is on quality and not quantity.

Practically speaking this means buying less and second hand, searching for ethical brands and better quality clothing. Once you own something, take care of it. Don’t think of clothing as easily disposable, but always consider repairing, donating or upcycling as good options to keep them out of landfills. We love buying pre-loved clothing so much that we have our very own second hand clothing store – Belle Whimsy Clothing

Belinda has already changed her relationship with fashion. She is buying much less than before. She knows her style and has a list of things she still needs or wants. No more impulse buying. I am so proud of her. Read her blog post on slow fashion here:

These are all pre-loved and gifted

Belinda had to reign in her spending, but that is not what I struggle with. Spending too much money on clothes is clearly not a problem for me. To tell you the truth, getting me to buy clothes is like pulling teeth. I don’t shop and I don’t scroll through online stores. I most definitely do not subscribe to any newsletters from retailers. The problem is I also don’t own a lot of clothes that is my style. I am not even sure what I like, to be honest.

What I need to do is go through all my clothes and only keep what I will wear. A lot of the items are beautiful and I love to wear them. The rest will be donated to Belle Whimsy Clothing or to a charity shop. Then I can make a list of clothes that I need or want in my capsule wardrobe and set out, mindfully, to purchase those things.

Here’s to a happy slow fashion 2020!

Matilda xo

My Commitment to Slow Fashion.

by Belinda


17 Pairs of Blue Jeans and my White Jeans

Every end of the year, it is my practice to take stock of the past year and to see where I can improve myself in different areas of my life, for the coming year. In 2019, I started off very well committing to buying only one item each of the following per month: one item of clothing, one accessory, one pair of shoes and an item of makeup. For me, this didn’t include any replacement items eg. if a foundation finished, I gave myself allowance to replace it.

All my shirts sans tee shirts. This can definitely be more edited.

It all fell apart after “No Buy September”. It was as if, because I didn’t buy in September, I had this desire to somehow ‘catch up’. I felt like a miserable failure. For the rest of the year, although I have definitely bought so much less, my rule went out of the window. I actually didn’t buy any more new shoes after September and felt I needed to just reign myself in. The one thing I’m extremely proud of is I didn’t buy even one pair of blue jeans for 2019!

Some of my Shoe Collection!

So, going into 2020 where fashion is concerned, Matilda and I are changing everything up. The entire focus of our business will be “Slow Fashion.” For Matilda, not much will change. She’s adopted this approach years ago. It’s how she lives her life. I however, have made a conscious commitment to incorporating a slower approach to fashion for this coming year. I admit I’m a shopaholic but 2019 and my rules for shopping throughout it, have changed me on the inside. I have almost completely stopped all impulse buying but here are a few ways I’m going to further alter my shopping habits this year…

The rest of my summer shoes. I know this is too much!

1. If I do online shopping, I will add things to my basket and leave them there for a minimum of 30 days before purchasing. I feel this will give me the opportunity to look for an alternative that is either more sustainable although new, or a pre-loved option.

The rest of my trousers, all arranged in colour combo.

2. I will not visit malls unless for a specific purpose, and I won’t meet up at a mall with a friend for a coffee. There are other places to meet that will provide less temptation.

3. I have decided not to impose rules on myself regarding numbers of items for shopping, but where I am going to be strict is to challenge myself as much as possible, to buy pre-loved. If I cannot find the item pre-loved, I am restricting myself to sustainable, ethical and local brands.

My edited tee shirt pile. Very proud of this.

4. I’m going to be transparent. Once a month, I will write a blog post, including each and every fashion item I’ve purchased that month. I think besides keeping me accountable, it will also help me to visibly see what I’m adding to my closet. Doing this sometimes gives one a bit of a shock!

My dresses and skirts.

So with these few guidelines in place, I’m trusting that 2020 will be a year of a more edited closet for me. Hopefully, my closet will look less full than it currently does. I will be going through the closet, as I usually do each season, and remove items I don’t tend to wear. Here’s to a far more conscious fashion year than the one I’ve just done. We can all do better, one choice at a time.

Belinda xo