Downsizing…

This week I’d like to focus on the task of downsizing. I think we all go through a phase where we have too much stuff and not enough space (or perhaps have filled that space with meaningless items); and then we begin to purge. Lately I’ve been thinking more about downsizing and how I want to get back to what is important.

Last week I went through my closet – which I’m sure you all can picture is set up like a temple. Everything has its place, matching wooden hangers, shoe boxes stacked to the ceiling, drawers meticulously hold folded sweaters, accessories and miscellaneous all neatly arranged. I realized two things while looking at what to keep and what to sell.

First I realized life is too short to wear anything that doesn’t fit properly (that eliminated a good chunk as I am a very slim guy – 5ft 8 / 115 lbs. / 26-inch waist). I’d been buying clothes for years that were a little too big because nobody in the industry sold slim extra-small dress shirts/t-shirts. Pants/jeans were far and few between because again the 26-inch waist wasn’t a thing until recently (and even then, getting a 32-inch length inseam combined with that is impossible). Once I eliminated what I didn’t wear, I realized that I was basically wearing the same pieces repeatedly – why? – because they were all slim/extra small or within my waist size and fit properly (thus I looked better in them). I held onto so much stuff purely because I spent money on it (way to drink the total Consumer Kool-Aid).

The epiphany I had was that I also needed to shop differently. I can still get a new piece here or there – but going forward it must fit properly – otherwise it’s a no.

The second major thing I noticed as I decluttered my sanctuary to the fashion gods, was that I double up and don’t wear something for fear of ruining it. I have two jackets that are almost identical (but different price points; one cost double than the other) – which do you think I wear more? It’s something I need to acknowledge because going forward I need to be more aware of what I’m buying, and I need to lose the fear of wearing something just because it was more expensive.

After finally rummaging through my closet and reaching the back wall, I started looking around at the rest of my apartment. When you take the time, you notice everything you are not actually using and it begins to feel like you are empowered to change it. I had a stack of pillows that needed new shams – they are finally getting onto the couch.  Old laptops that needed to be recycled over a year ago – gone. So much that could be used or perhaps should have never been purchased in the first place – it was a relief to go through and re-evaluate everything.

Some items will be donated, some sold; and others recycled; in the end, life is going to hopefully get much simpler.

What is cluttering your life? What could you do without? Is your closet on the verge of exploding because it is packed to the walls?

A scarf from Vienna…

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Scarf from Vienna: Bonita Men .

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View of the Stephansdom and the Innere Stadt from the Riesenrad at the Prater.

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UNO City – United Nations – Vienna International Center from the Riesenrad.

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Stephansdom – at the heart of Vienna.

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Up close look of Stephansdom tiled roof.

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Expanse of Vienna from the Stephansdom. The Hofburg and Spanish Riding School are middle center/right; home of course to the Hapsburg empire and the world famous Lipizzaner horses . In the background we can see the rolling hills of the the Vienna Woods.

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Votivkirche 

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Cafe Hawelka (Official Website below)

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Schloß Schönbrunn

Since re-affirming my goal of one post per week, I’ve been thinking about why I started this blog to begin with. All this contemplation has brought me back to this thought…before the blue bow tie there was a scarf from Vienna…

During a short visit to Vienna, Austria in 2011, I found (without realizing it) my first tangible idea of mixing my travel memories with fashion. On my way back to Pension Hargita, where I had booked a room for my three night stay, I glanced in the window of a chain store called Bonita Men located on Mariahilfer Strasse. This bustling thoroughfare is a well-known shopping area in Vienna, and since it was getting a bit chilly being November, I thought I’d stop in to escape the cold and the crowd. All the way back on the furthest wall was a shelf of wool scarves, with all sorts of vertical striped patterns. One in particular kept sticking out at me. It was red, white, brown, and orange. As I stood there I thought, red and white – the Austrian flag, brown and orange – autumn/November. What a perfect piece to remind me of this day in Wien (Vienna). It is one of my most commented on pieces to this day, and its story is one of my favorites. I hadn’t yet realized that I was collecting my memories in pieces; however, it was in a sense a foreshadowing of the bow tie and everything else to come.

As a self-described travel addict, I find throughout my apartment all these little reminders of the places I’ve been, the memories I’ve made. It always makes me laugh a little that the most common things we use on a day to day basis are attached with the most array of emotions. A coffee cup from Hamburg, a scarf from Vienna, leather shoes from Paris – each serves a purpose, a function – and yet there is more to it than just a vessel to drink from, a bit of added warmth on a chilly day, a piece of tread between our feet and the ground. What these items contain or are made up from is more than just clay, wool or leather; it is also memories, moments in time.  I drink from my Hamburg coffee cup I think of my friend Martin, we were one of the first million visitors to the Elbphilharmonie after being only open for 111 days (opened November of 2016 – we visited in early February 2017). I put on my leather shoes and I am with my aunt and cousin; shopping along the Rue du Commerce just a stone throw away from the Eifel Tower. I wrap the scarf around my neck; Café Hawelka, Stephansdom, the Prater, and Schönbrunn – all feel so near, yet it was 6 years ago.

Think about your travel mementos and memories… what comes to mind?

Photos:

Scarf from Vienna: Bonita Men

Trip to Vienna November 2011

 

Anza-Borrego

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To the people of Southern California this winter season has brought a generous amount of rain – and it has been well received. Following years of drought, California has now received enough rain to fill her reservoirs and have water to spare – relieving much of the state from severe drought conditions. Another added benefit of all that rain combined with the many days of sunshine is the super-blooms seen across many deserts in the state. Anzo-Borrego State Park had people literally lining up to see the epic super-bloom that has lasted from the end of February and into March.

Glasses: Ted Baker 

Button Down: J.Crew

Jeans: Tom Tailor Denim

Boots: Palladium 

Looking past the façade of San Diego…

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Having moved recently to the San Diego area from the Upper Midwest, I sometimes find it to be extremely difficult to be in this new place I call “home”. I like having four distinct seasons, I love having lush greenery and placid lakes around me, and I miss the slower paced life that was my hometown and surrounding state of Wisconsin. Oddly enough I never really think of the United States or American as my nationality and always seem to run away from being the typical American.

I am as I’ve mentioned a traveler; and anybody who can relate, all share the standard trait of wanderlust. I used to travel on average once a year to Europe, and this year I had to cancel my pre-booked trip a week before departure due to moving to California (ugh the disappointment).

So what does this all have to do with San Diego and this supposed façade? Well, when you not only have to cancel a vacation to a place where you feel most comfortable, and you leave your hometown and state, you are no longer surrounded with landscapes that you enjoy; the place you move to becomes your enemy and you no longer find it appealing. It seemed to me that everyone believed that San Diego is a piece of some glamorous SoCal life. In my mind I thought that this place was filled with people who are too busy and self-obsessed, the lifestyle is super exaggerated and overrated (and horribly expensive), the landscape is boring and brown (the palm trees are awesome I will say) and that I couldn’t come to terms with calling this place “my home”.  How could I relate to a place that I quietly disdained because of inner bias and judgement?

It finally came to me this weekend while at Balboa Park; and it seems to me that the façade I had placed on San Diego has been lifted. I realized that it is going to take more time to meet people and form bonds here, after all it is a huge city and I came from a town of 3,600. Second, the weather is great (still finding it hard to accept no snow or cold in November and onward through winter). Lastly, has anyone ever been to Nice, France? What about Valencia, Spain? It took some actual looking around for me to realize that I am living a semi-European life right here in Southern California. Take a moment to Google images of Nice and Valencia, and you will see a lot of similarities with San Diego. This is by no means a substitute for going abroad; if you are however trying to give a new place a chance and are struggling, then seeing the similarities to other places you would enjoy can help. Now mind you the south of France is probably just as expensive as SoCal, but it was a mindset that I would love to go there, but I’m living it right here and now.  If I could accept the south of France so easily, well then it could be twice as easy to accept Southern California.

Outfit:

Glasses: See Eyewear

Polo: Uniqlo

Messenger Bag: Tom Tailor

Pants: Gap Skinny Khaki

Shoes: Palladium

 

About the writer…

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Hey, my name is Wade; I am the guy pulling the strings behind The Blue Bow Tie Project. Let me start off with a warm welcome again to my blog and new project!

I recently transplanted to San Diego, California from a small town in Wisconsin, and since I feel like I’m starting the next chapter in my life (making new friends, adjusting to a new job, new city), what better way than to open up and share my passions with the world.

Let’s start off with some background…ok so I covered that I moved to California from Wisconsin (born and raised – lived there 25 years)…what else…starting the blog… I know, let me fill you in about what I do in my spare time. It would be understated to say that I LOVE travel. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a passion for other cultures and languages. You’ll find this out soon enough if you continue to follow my blog and what I’m doing. I also dabble in acrylic painting and interior design, speak German fluently, cooking, and if I can get near some snow; enjoy cross country skiing. One of my favorite activities is getting dressed for work or going out; planning outfits is a source of inspiration for me.

We’ve touched on hobbies and interests…next let’s talk about family. Most of my immediate and extended family is back in Wisconsin, all living within the same city/county. I also have family in Wyoming, Florida, a few extended relatives in Germany, the Czech Republic, and Canada. I’m a very family oriented person, and keeping those connections is now more important than ever since I am further away from them.

So there you have it, a little bit more information me and what I’m all about.

Thanks for reading!

Wade

Outfit:

 

It all started with a blue bow tie…

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Hello and welcome to my blog! It is my goal within these posts and pages to share with you my perspective on fashion, travel, and lifestyle. Let’s start with the most important question…why call it The Blue Bow Tie Project?

Well, it all started with just that; a simple, label-less blue bow tie.  At the very least, it was this blue bow tie that made me realize I had for some time been partaking in a hobby of collecting clothing over the course of my travels. Furthermore, that I liked my outfits to tell a story.

Belgium – 2015. It was during a trip to Brussels with my aunt and cousin that I happened upon the inspiration for this blog. We were going around secondhand and vintage clothing shops, when we walked into Gabriele Vintage in the Rue des Chartreux. My cousin noted from a website that Lady Gaga herself had shopped in this very store; so we just had to stop. As I perused through the tiny, but well stocked racks and shelves of couture from yore, I happened upon a silk, label-less, midnight blue bow tie which caught my eye. I instantly picked it up, along with two others, totaling about $20.00, a very good price for three silk bow ties (mind you the exchange rate). It was not long after purchasing this simple bow tie, that I realized I had in fact been saving memories of my travels considerably different from your typical souvenir. Every time I wore this bow tie, and someone commented on it, I had a story to tell, much like other pieces of attire I had purchased in the past. It was this realization that sparked the concept for The Blue Bow Tie Project.

I hope to all who read or follow my blog, that they will not only find inspiration, but perhaps an insider tip or two, a laugh, a connection.