Timeless lessons on wealth greed and happiness

I just finished reading the most exiting, light and funny book I’ve ever read on finance. It’s called “The Psychology of money and written by Morgan Housel. Morgan is a blogger at The Motley Fool, an advisor at The Collaborative Fund, that lends advise to startups, and a writer for the Wall Street Journal.

After finishing this good read , I realised I have sinned against quite a few of the financial laws Morgan Housel presents. And the chances are, that you have too. Since to this day there are more people in the world not being wealthy financial investors, compounding or trading stocks. If you just happen to be on the other side. This is not for you, leave your info, so I can maybe hire you later on to give finance lessons on zoom lol.

The book has a very handy summary of the most important advise at the end of the book. Handy because if you want a recap some years or time later, you don’t have to flip through the whole book again. It would be so amazing if other non-fiction writers would do that standard.

So here below, in a nutshell, Morgans’ witty take on finance and investing:

Go out of your way to find humility when things are going right, and forgiveness- compassion, when they go wrong. Because in your finance life, you’ll have highs, you’ll have lows. So stay humble when you are riding your high, and forgive yourself and others when times are depressing.

Less ego, more wealth: saving money is the gap between your ego and your income. The less you care about the opinion of others and the less you care about your image, the easier it will be to save money.

Manage your money in a way that lets you sleep at night. Don’t take unnecessary risks.

If you want to do better as an investor, the single most powerful thing you can do is increase your time horizon. Time is the most powerful investing tool. It makes little things grow big and it makes big mistakes fade away.

Become OK with things going wrong. You can be wrong half the time and still make a fortune.

Use money to gain control over your time.

Be nicer and less flashy. No one is impressed as much over your possessions as you are.

Save. Just save. you don’t need a specific reason to save.

Define the cost of success and be willing to pay it.

Worship room for error: A gap between what can happen in the future and what you need to happen in the future in order to do well is what gives you endurance. And endurance is what makes compounding magic over time.

Avoid extreme ends of financial decisions.

You should like risk because it pays off over time.

Define the game you are playing and make sure your actions are not being influenced by people playing a different game.

Respect the mess. There is no single right answer. Just the answer that works for you.

I think most of this advise speaks for itself, but if you’d like to know more I strongly recommend the book. It’s published by Harriman House and available, well, everywhere!

It’s the most romantic time of the year and I’m having a big romance with Coach handbags right now.

Lett’s dive in to the deep end of the history of this well known American household brand. I think I can explain my obsession for this brand because it originally had such a strong connection with sports. And I think that this connection just makes me not see it only as a luxury brand. It’s luxury but it’s strong. It’s luxury but it’s tough. It’s luxury but it has a drive. And, it’s luxury but it’s also the girl next door that drives to her baseball game on Sunday. Basically, Jen Aniston in a baseball cap, J Lo on her down time in at leisure. These are all images that come to mind when I think of Coach. For me, although Coach handbags are feminine and classy, that first connection the brand had with baseball will always make me think of the brand as the brand of bags for the tomboy, the girl you can’t mess with, the girls in a league of their own ( referring of course to the Geena Davis, Madonna film). It’s just about that little extra flair you can’t putt in to words, and Coach definitely has it. The fact that the brand also has a foundation to educate children and to empower women, is just the icing on the cake on my statements made about why I love Coach, like I love Jen Aniston.

Coach was founded in 1941 in a family run workshop in a loft on 34th Street in Manhattan. It was a 6 people workshop at the time that solely focussed on designing sturdy leather wallets. In 1946 Miles Cahn and his wife Lillian joined the company. The couple eventually buys the brand just a few years later. Miles, a baseball coach, noticed that the leather used for baseball gloves was very soft, very strong, and had a nice cognac colour that only got better with the use of the glove. Et voila, signature gloved leather by Coach was born there and then. It was only a matter of time that Lilian urged her husband to change his focus towards leather handbags for women. Out of all the coach bags, the vintage Coach bags, made in New York, are really the ultimate bags for me. I’d never dream of selling my true blue NYC Coach bags, as they are getting to be a real rarity and harder and harder to find.

In 1961 Bonnie Cashin, a sports pioneer, joined the brand. He made sure the bags got side pockets, a place for coins and he redesigned the bags in brighter, fun colours opposed to only the baseball tan.

In 1979 Lewis Frankfort made sure the brand got sold in big department stores while focussing on opening more Coach stores.

In 1985 Miles and Lilian Cahn decide to focus on their goat farm and making their own goat cheese. Crazy plot twist, I know. They sell the business to Sara Lee- that places Coach under their Hanes branch.

In 1996 : Reed Krakoff takes the lead as creative at Coach, thanks to Krakoff’s innovative designs Coach grows into a world known luxury brand. To be honest I do like the real vintage bags better to Reeds designs.

In 2016 Brit Stuart Vevers takes over from Krakoff. Vevers, previously creative at Loewe, Mulberry, Calvin Klein, Bottega Veneta, Marc Jacobs…transforms Coach on a whole new level. The brand also gets Selena Gomez and later Jennifer Lopez as ambassadors to speak to a younger and broader audience. Jay Shetty, former Monk, has a spot at the Coach YouTube channel since this January, speaking as a Coach, on purpose and other life related topics.

As for Vevers. I love the fact that he didn’t eliminate the cc logo, rather giving Coach a more mature, serious look by making the logo smaller ( and nicer looking in my humble opinion). He reinvented the vintage classics bags. These have a simple but evergreen design, making the vintage classics real classics to stand the test of time. He also has added some humor to the brand, launching bags with rockets, or adding Snoopy designs. I feel like some of the bags are seriously winking at the Marc Jacobs brand. And that’s a very good thing, we are all in desperate need of a little humor and playfulness these days.

Here are some amazing designs by Stuart Vevers. Available at Coach.com

Hearting all of the below styles but I seriously pick the Champion X Coach belt bag as my valentine.

To my fellow Europeans, it’s a UK site, I don’t know what the deal is with Brexit customs right now. So…better check before you buy!

An ode to my unworn wardrobe// wintercapsule

I guess since I am wearing my cosy oversized jumper loose pants outfits day to day while at home…I kinda forgot about what REAL dressing looked like.

Temperatures dropped in Belgium this weekend and the word is that the weather Gods are gifting us snow tomorrow. Best excuse ever to bring the winter capsule wardrobe out. After all.. I’m a sucker for knitwear and oversized coats.

Continue reading “An ode to my unworn wardrobe// wintercapsule”

Gucci, the brand for the lonely. #LOVED.

In these challenging times we are all going through right now. I feel like nothing can truly lift the spirit of a human being than a beautifully crafted handbag and some good old gossip or sassy family drama. So, I’d love to tell you about the history of the Gucci brand on this little old blog.

Continue reading “Gucci, the brand for the lonely. #LOVED.”

Effortless chique from home

Since the second lockdown, I have been wearing pretty much the same stuff. I like to wrap myself up in cuddly warm clothes, but also be presentable when someone ( aka mostly the delivery guy 😉 ) is at the door, or if I have to run a quick errand.

It’s Sunday, so I’ve thrown my at home style in to a little capsule.

Et voila, 99 pct of the time I’m wearing a soft bralette, no stiff bra’s for cocooning. No better time to let the boobies free! Everything else is already so restricted. LOL.

Then I mostly wear a faux leather legging or faux leather jogging pants. I don’t know what they are called. But I’ve got them second hand on vinted ( and they came new with the tag on! ) & to me that was the perfect upgrade from regular joggers. Cozy cashmere socks from veritas that I happily got pre lockdown. Ugg slippers, although I have pretty regular grandpa style ones instead of these listed here above.

A long sleeve and a grey or black cashmere jumper to finish off this look with extra warmth.

I recall spending the first lockdown in a pink ( what was I thinking ) sweater from Bonjour Ben.

But, let’s call this lockdown 2.0. We’ve gotten a bit wiser about what we’re in for, and so did our style.

Running errands? Just slip in to the sneakers and layer up with a warm coat or blazer, depending on the temperature.

Have a great sunday

Love, Maureen

Some outfit pics from that weird period before fall embarks…

Yes. That is me kissing my plant..

Love, Maureen

Preparing your closet for fall- on a budget.

If you’re anything like me, a change of season gets you super exited beyond compare, to start re -vamping your wardrobe.

This might seem hard when you’re budgeting or attempting a no spend year.

Ok. It’s hard for me. It’s super hard for me, I love clothes but I decided to challenge myself, and now I have to show my character and not spend money on clothes, for one year. Ugh.

I have to be honest. I really, really really got the itch last week when the temperatures dropped.

But instead…

I inhaled and started to clean out my wardrobe.

Honestly.. I’m not happy that summer is almost over.. I say almost because it’s not, but here in Belgium we have had some rain and cloudiness and well, it feels like autumn. I also feel like I haven’t enjoyed summer to the fullest because of the pandemic. I didn’t take a real vacation or went abroad. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. I feel like it’s even harder to accept that all these months just passed by & there is not a real way to catch up.

If anything I’d want to make a budget to go twice on vacation next year, but because of everything being so uncertain these days, I’m not sure even these vacations will even happen.

Hope this explains why although I’m excited for fall. I’m also a bit sad.

Anyway, enough with the mixed feelings. Back to our wardrobes…

First of all, If you’re still working from home or hardly leaving the house for anything else than running errands, you might not feel the need to prepare your wardrobe for fall.

I considered staying in the ‘meh’ state, but in the end I decided it would make me feel better to clear my wardrobe for the season to come, and continue to get dressed as if I had somewhere to go.

I felt like it might give me some hope for the future and that the state we are all in will pass some day.

And now for the tips

What I always preach to anyone willing to listen is to dress for the life you have, instead of the life you want. In this case, you can take this advice with a grain of salt. I believe we all need to dress for the life we have right now, and the life we want, and even up this a bit to spark some goddamn joy.

But it is still true, we should dress for the way we spend our time. If you’re a sports teacher, it makes no sense to have a closet full of pencil skirts. If you love pencil skirts, and you’d want a life where you’d wear them, then you’d have to alter how you spend your time. Maybe plan a few evenings out per week, so you get to wear your pencil skirts. Ah, the stories clothes tell, you have no idea.

Look at what you have in your wardrobe, and take out the things you wear all the time. Even if those are not the things you love the most, you’ll need them and you’ll need to try to build the rest of your wardrobe around these items, for now. These items are what you’ll keep wearing, realistically.

If you don’t like the items you’re wearing 90 pct of the time, there might be something else going on. Our clothes do translate our feelings to the outside world. But, that is another issue. For now, try to build around what you wear the most, even if you’d like to change that up in the long run.

Building a versatile wardrobe that you actually wear is a marathon, not a sprint.

Be real about all the stuff you don’t wear. Try to sell it on depot, or postmark, ThredUp or Vestiaire Collective. If you’re budgeting or trying to get out of debt.. You should also set a budget aside for clothes, because it’s just so that every season you’d like to shake up things in your closet just a bit. Don’t deprive yourself, just budget for it. I decided to go on a no spend for a year, just to detox but after this year I will be making room in my budget for clothing.

If you clear out your closet and sell what you don’t wear you’d be able to set up your budget for the next season with the money you’ve made today.

I love bold prints and bright colours and maxi dresses, but I never get enough wear out of them and honestly even if it is vintage.. You still need to pair that bright vintage dress with the right jacket, shoes and handbag in complementary or contrasting colours. If you want a style like that, It means that you’ll need a lot more clothes or accessories to match. Thus these kind of styles are more suitable for bigger budgets.

Don’t despair if you do like a more bohemian, bright coloured style,. You can still attain it with a smaller wardrobe and a smaller budget. But it will just take a lot more effort and trial to find the right pieces.

I mostly suggest to people with a small budget to go for classic, plain pieces that you can wear over and over and style in different ways. Try to nail down your colour palette by choosing 3 main colours that not only flatter your complexion but seemingly blend well together.

Textures: This is such a luxurious thing to do and it is so easy. You can play with the same colours in different textures. This is the summum of chique. I don’t understand why so little people apply this trick.

Repair and tailor : Maybe you can dye some items. Maybe some skirts need to be shortened a bit just to have that particular flair. Whatever it is. Don’t give up on the clothes you own so easily.. Try to make them fall proof by altering or try layering with items of a thicker fabric.

Maintenance: I didn’t spend any money on fall clothes, as I’m on a no spend.. But I did buy some things to help me keep my clothes in good shape. A trimmer for my knitwear, a steamer, shoeshine for leather handbags and shoes.

Handbag. One good structured handbag does make or break an outfit. So if you must invest, consider investing in this. It doesn’t have to be designer or expensive, it just has to lift up your outfit and bring it together as a whole.

I don’t like must haves, because they are just super personal, but I’ll write a short list below with items you can’t go wrong with.

  1. A striped long sleeve or wool sweater. You know these nautical, French like,  always in style kinda ones.
  2. A grey simple grey wool sweater, a little oversized always looks chique.
  3. Over the knee boots. Yaaaaaaaaaas! Because how nice is it to be able to wear them without having to wear a pantyhose. Freedom in a boot!
  4. High waist -makes you seem longer and tucks everything in well -straight legged jeans. Ankle flanker or not. It’s up to you. I find that ankle flankers are really cute with ankle boots.
  5. A silky mid length skirt. You know slip dress kinda material. You can combine this with everything. And I do feel like the sheer gloss on these makes them
  6. A dress you can take from day to evening. For instance, a slip dress. You can wear this dress in every season because it’s so easy to layer.
  7. That big chunky vest or a wool ( nice and warm ) blazer that you can layer over all the above and that you can use on cooler days when you are still searching for your perfect autumn/ winter coat.
  8. A perfect white T-shirt with a loose fit. For those moments or days you’d rather start all over again.
  9. A black T for the same reason.
  10. A turtleneck in the colours you’ve chosen for your ( capsule ) wardrobe.

Concerning shoes

If you’re anything like me, you’d like a good sneaker to go with your outfits, and an ankle boot in a neutral tone. That’s it really, all the rest is excess because you can style any outfit with either a classic shaped sneaker or the right kind of ankle boot. Yes, even a dress works fine with both.

Jewelry

Jewelry is the sugar coating of your wardrobe. I used to want to stand out by wearing special kinds of clothes, now I try to make my style unique by adding the right accessories. Quality jewellery is a nice investment in your wardrobe and can really set you apart.

What are your go to essentials for your fall wardrobe? And how do style your wardrobe, without breaking the bank?

Love, Maureen

Capsule wardrobing part six: Finding your style with Vogue’s quick fire questions.

Going from nothing to wear to ready to wear.

How did I get to this low point, you might ask yourself. Well, my friends, having absolutely nothing to wear when your closet is stacked with clothes can be caused by many factors. I will go over a few later on this blog  but this one is a very probable one; you haven’t set a goal for your closet. If don’t know what you want from it, then how can it serve you ?  What happened to me for a while is that my clothes no longer represented who I was mentally. We evolve and so do our closets.

Let’s start with you haven’t set a goal for your closet.

In order to set a goal you must know a) Who you are & what you want from your closet. You also have to know what you want from life since the two are very intertwined and how we dress is certainly a reflection of our inner life. b) Your lifestyle.

What does your daily life look like?

A lot of methods play together in this one. We can draw a map of our lives, where we go, who we see on a regular basis, what our jobs, daily and leisure activities are. For instance, during quarantine I only wore 2 long cotton maxi dresses and leggings with a tee. and I wore a jeans with a blouse to go to the supermarket. This was about 90 pct of what I wore. I wore 2 nice dresses on the rare occasions I saw my friends and I wore my pj’s. It’s amazing how little you actually really NEED. Now, out of quarantine and in to the work field again, things get to be a bit more challenging again. I can’t stress how important it is to make clothing choices based on your actual life instead of your fantasy life. We can take a picture of every item in our closets while wearing it and examine how it makes us feel, or we can create a mood board reflecting a person we want to be. We can also design a look book or choose some key pieces in our closet that we absolutely love. These are all good steps but let’s start simple with some quick questions to warm up. Nothing too drastic. Les connaisseurs wil see that I am a fan of British Vogue’s quickfire questions. It’s fun, easy, and a great way to start defining your style and thinking about it without too much effort.

This is a quick exercise that you can do anywhere. Don’t think about it too long, try to answer as fast as you can. Trust your intuition.

Write down the ones that appeal to you the most :

Lace or leather

Bold or Italic

L.A or Seattle

Ready to wear or vintage

Heels or flats

Vampy or ingenue

Denim or leather

With a twist or simple

Sporty or romantic

Tomboy or girly

Fitted or flared

Cover up or revealing

White T-shirt or white shirt

Polkadots or stripes

Stars or stripes

Midi or maxi

Biker or bomber

Bohemian or chique

Mini or maxi

Comfy or classy

Velvet or lamé

Avant-garde or sporty

Chain or ribbon

See through or covered

Black or navy

Blue or black

Sixties or seventies

Onesie or nonesie

Edie Sedgwick or Jane Birkin

Pink or red

Sheer or leather

Dare or detailed

Prom or street

Uggs or heels

Dirty dancing or disco

French or Italian

Paris or New York

Look at all the words you’ve written down, can you visualize a look ? Does it make you think of a certain muze or someone you know? Can you see yourself building these elements into your wardrobe? To make it even more fun you can try to find a quote or invent one based on the words you’ve got.

Let this sink in a while and join me next week for more on finding your personal style and building a GREAT wardrobe!

Capsule wardrobing step five : It’s all in the mix and match

Capsule wardrobing part 5/ It’s all in the mix and match

In the end, building a capsule wardrobe is like building anything in life, you need fundaments. In this case, we’re talking about (one) the basics, the white tee, the jeans, the chambray shirt…

Then to add a little flair and to define who you are, you’ll need (two) key pieces that are versatile and you can wear in many ways and with almost anything like a leather jacket or a high waisted black jeans.

And to top it all off add some (three) bold statement pieces, like cool shoes or a piece of chunky jewelry.

What counts as a statement, key piece or basic is completely up to you and your style. If you have a pretty toned down style, then a striped blazer may count as a statement piece while for others this will rather be a basic or a key piece.

Budget wise, it’s better to invest in high quality clothes in all the three categories, but if you’re on a budget I would opt for key pieces and basics first. I find that basics are as important as the structured key pieces that define your unique style. The basics are the fundaments and layers of your outfit and the chances are that you’ll wear them even more than anything else in your wardrobe.

If you don’t have a big budget, build your wardrobe slowly. No one says you have to get your seasonal capsule right immediately. Take a season or two three to really get it right, meanwhile work with what you think is still ok, but not perfect.

Statement pieces are often trendy pieces, so if you don’t have much money left to spend on them, that’s totally fine.

So after completing the first 4 steps of capsuling, it’s important to get to get your basics right. An important question to ask here is: “What is a basic to you, according to your style and lifestyle?”

For instance, I want my winter capsule wardrobe to have 5 long-sleeves that I can match with a chambray shirt or some knitwear. These are absolute musts for me, because I get cold easily and I like to wear a fresh long-sleeve almost every day in winter.  These are absolute basics to me and I finally got to the point that I stopped buying the ones that only lasted me one season. A black high waist jean is another basic to me. It always fits the occasion, can be dressed up or down, can be worn with a plain or  a “crazy’er” button down and it just makes me feel good even on days when I’m feeling a bit off. The basics are also the ones you will want to wear on days you’re not feeling it completely. They are your comfort zone. They fit right, the fabric is right, they are cut right and they blend with almost anything.

Then a key piece would be a leather perfecto in an original shape, maybe super fitting or asymmetrical. It will give some edge to your overall look and define it towards the style that you want it to. You could be dressed in a skinny jeans with a plain t shirt and throw over your leather perfecto and look like somebody completely different just like that.

Try to figure out what the basics are to you and what the key pieces are. Then think of putting the icing on the cake, aka the statement pieces.

Love, Maureen

step 4 of capsule wardrobing

Step 4 of capsuling. Drawing a chart before acting out on your style inspiration…

AND WHY IT’S SO IMPORTANT…

You first want to know what the activities are that you spend your time on day to day.

It makes no sense to dress up fancy everyday when you spend your time working at home, neither does wearing long boho dresses when you have to use your bike to commute to work.

So this is step 4.

Make an honest life chart/ pie, of your typical week. Make sure you don’t forget to write down anything you do on a weekly basis.

Based on your life and your pie/ cake eliminate everything in your style inspiration list that doesn’t fit into your life or lifestyle.

It could be that you’d want your wardrobe be something completely different than what your lifestyle and the way you spend your time dictates.

So draw out a map of all your activities. Where you work, what you do socially, what hobbies you have, the people you hang out with. The special occasions you do or do not attend. For instance, if you spend 60 pct of your time working at a corporate office, it makes no sense that 60 pct of your closet are easy clothes you wear to yoga. Your capsule should represent how you spend your time. And where you go too. If you live in London, where it rains quite often, it would make sense to have for instance 4 different rain coats. Capsule wardrobing can be about minimalism, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. It’s about having a wardrobe that works for you and buying items you’ll actually wear. If you’re happy to have only 35 items the whole year round, that’s fine too. It’s all personal. What it’s not about at all, is just buying things because they look pretty, that don’t have anything to do with your style, and just collect dust.

So. Drawing out a map of how you spend your time, that’s a must!

If you really like a specific style and it doesn’t seem to fit into your life you can always opt for a more toned down version of this. You could go for a short boho dress for instance if you use the bike daily or go for a fancy touch on your outfits that you wear working at home.

There are solutions for every style problem.

Love love,

Maureen

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