The Wholehearted Wardrobe is turning 1! Thank you all so much for being here as I’ve navigated my first year of blogging, shared my feelings about getting dressed, talked with you about my day-to-day and worked to manage the growing audience I have.
When I asked you on Instagram what you’d like to see as my blog turns 1, most of you said that you wanted to see a roundup of my favorite outfits that I’ve worn over the past year, and to hear what I’ve learned since starting this blog. And I love those ideas.
Before we get started, I want to quickly recap just how much has happened over the last year, because I can hardly believe it myself.
- I got married.
- My husband and I bought a house.
- I started this blog
- I rebranded this blog.
- I transitioned this blog from WordPress to a self-hosted site.
- I was accepted into several affiliate marketing programs and ambassadorships.
- I was accepted into Ethical Writers.
- I started contributing to The Minimalist Wardrobe.
- I traveled to Europe four times.
I thought I’d start this post with my five favorite outfits from the past year, and then we could move into what I’ve learned. When I recap these outfits, I also want to tell you a bit about my feelings about them, or what I was doing that day, because some of them are my favorites for reasons other than the outfit itself.
MY TOP 5 FAVORITE OUTFITS FROM THE LAST YEAR.
This is a pretty basic outfit, and the only ethically made items are my Cuyana small carryall tote, my Windblown Jewelry horizon necklace and my Berg and Betts watch. But when I posted this on Instagram, I was really struggling with the loneliness of adjusting to married life when none of your friends are married. And my community delivered with some of the best advice and kindest words I’ve ever received on a post. This outfit reminds me of that kindness.
This outfit was one of my Summer 2018 10×10 outfits. I’m wearing the Tradlands Soleil Dress, VETTA boxy blouse (my favorite shirt in the world) and Zuzii slide clogs. I LOVE this outfit because it’s something I never would have put together if it weren’t for the 10×10 – layering a shirt over a shirt dress?! It’s also one of the outfits where I felt at my most creative. This reminds me I want to wear this again. Why haven’t I worn this again?
This outfit had me feeling very Léa Seydoux in Spectre. You know how she wore that breezy, gauzy dress in the Morocco scenes? Channeling that here. The top is Reformation (old – I’m sorry! You guys always ask me about it!) and the pants are the Ozma of California Morocco pant. How appropriate. I’m actually wearing these pants as we speak. I wore this on a beautiful Sunday spent hanging out with my friends Megan and Emily.
This outfit is the Tradlands box top in golden gingham and a pair of jeans – pretty basic. But it is the first piece I got when Tradlands invited me to be an ambassador. They are the biggest brand I’ve ever worked with, so seeing that invitation from them in my inbox was SO exciting. I won’t lie, I shrieked when I saw it. It’s also one of my best-performing Instagram posts ever.
THIS. OUTFIT. The shirt is an older striped tee from LOFT, and the pants are the VETTA capsule culottes. The only reason I haven’t repeated this outfit is because one of the buttons for my detachable suspenders fell off, and I’ve been incredibly lazy about sewing it back on. This photo also reminds me where I started. This was taken in the kitchen of our 900 square foot apartment when I first started sharing my outfits. It was the only room that had decent natural light at the time. Now I take most of my pictures with a self-timer, in front of the fence of our condo backyard, if you were ever wondering. When this picture was taken, I knew I wanted to be a “real” blogger, but wasn’t sure if I would ever get there.
You might also notice I look a bit different. This was right after our wedding. My hair was a lot lighter (I love it! I need to get back to this color) and I was quite a bit thinner, which you’ll notice in my face primarily. That’s because while I might look happy, I was really struggling with depression at this time, and had just started taking my antidepressants. They made me gain a bit of weight in the months that followed, but I feel a lot better, and that’s what is important. I have no doubt that this medicine saved my life.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED.
The biggest thing I’ve learned is that blogging is hard. I don’t want to be the sort of person who pats myself on the back, but there is so much negative conversation floating around out there about bloggers and how they “Get free clothes just for posting pictures of themselves” so I want to pull the curtain back a bit on how hard I’ve worked to build my community.
I spend 20-25 hours a week blogging, and when I started out it was maybe even more, to try to get the visibility for myself. Most of this time is spent writing, editing photos, maintaining the back end of my site, researching products and engaging with people on social media. Would I do it again, knowing how much time it would take? One-hundred-percent yes. To say this has been a labor of love would be an understatement. There are nights where I’ve written until one or two a.m. to meet a deadline, on top of finishing grad school and having a regular day job, like everyone else. I’ve been exhausted sometimes, but it has been so worth it. I’ve made $0 since starting my blog, save for some of the gifted clothes, but have invested a lot into it, from the design, to the hosting, to my camera. I hope one day it’s more than just an expensive hobby.
I’ve also learned how hard it is to put yourself out there, especially as someone who is deeply sensitive to the criticism of others. Some days have been harder than I ever imagined they could be. That’s the part I really don’t love about it. Have I cried over my blog? YEP. But growth is painful, you know?
If you want to start a blog, or grow a blog, the number one thing to recognize is just how much work it is, and it goes so far beyond the content itself. I don’t even have a big or wildly successful blog, and I’ve found this to be the case more than anything else.
At the same time, I’ve also learned about the immense kindness of the slow fashion and minimalism community. I know the names of every person who followed me and supported me when I had 500 followers, and I still see you there (well…if you still follow me, which happily most of you still do!), cheering me on when I get a gifted item. Thank you for that. I also will never forget the bloggers who shared my page and helped me grow – because NOBODY does it alone. Jess With Less gave me the share that pushed me to 1,000 followers, which was the tipping point for my page. I hope you know how much that meant and means to me. To the women who see other bloggers as friends and not as competition, I love you. You rock.
I’ve also gained a lot of practical knowledge which I’m grateful for. When I’ve asked anything, from the best way to wash raw silk to what clothing items I should purge, you guys have delivered. Having a community has helped me refine my personal style, and I’m excited to continue that journey with all of you.
If you asked me if I knew how my blog would grow back when I took that photo in the kitchen, I would have said no – but that I hoped for what I have now.
Thanks for being here – I’m looking forward to another great year.