How to look great with a minimal wardrobe: style lessons from Stephanie

by Sylvia

how to dress minimal
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When I wrote about a minimal wardrobe recently, one of my readers introduced me to Stephanie from Odyssey Home. I was very attracted to her minimal yet edgy style, so was very keen to find out more about her and learn how to embrace a more minimal wardrobe. I’m very pleased that she agreed to this interview!

Hi Stephanie. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for 40PlusStyle. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I am from the southern US. I have lived in a lot of different places, had many careers, and I enjoy new adventures. I have a tendency to reinvent myself although I believe I have now reached a point of consistency.

all black outfit

As a point of reference which age group do you belong to or perhaps you are willing to share your age?

I am 47 years old.

Can you tell us a bit more about your blog. Why did you start a personal style blog?

I started the blog in early 2009 as a way to visually document what I wear, and as a way to connect with similar-minded individuals.

black top with white shorts

You call your blog Odyssey Home. Why did you choose to call it that?

I began Style Odyssey on blogspot and recently changed to Odyssey Home with custom domain. I had wanted to eliminate the word style since it had become overused but I decided to keep odyssey. Each name I considered was already taken until I finally went with Odyssey Home – the “home” of personal style and good design. I realize the name may give an impression that my blog is all about home decor, which I do feature, but truly the focus is on personal style in all areas – as the blog’s sub-header reads, “wear, dwell, live”.

How would you describe your style?

Minimally designed, wearable, contemporary. A nod to the avant-garde with a bit of a “dark” aesthetic.

What would you define as the main components of your style? What makes an outfit truly Stephanie?

Black. Sometimes white or other neutral. Usually monochrome, save for color on the lips and sometimes nails. A notable absence of extraneous details or unnecessary elements. Casually elegant, surprisingly practical. Slightly subversive. I favor the work of niche, directional, non-mainstream designers.

How do you go about choosing your clothes and what inspires your outfits?

I choose clothes based on fit, cut, quality, fabric and of course price. I like pieces that are different, that have an edge. Getting dressed for the day, my choices are based on where I’m going, what I’m doing, and of course weather. I am inspired by others who share the same aesthetics; by architecture, art and design; and by the natural world.

versatile black dress

You have a very unique minimalist style. Why did you go that route?

I didn’t aspire to be a wardrobe minimalist, and I don’t mind the idea of having a large wardrobe as long as everything functions as wearable and versatile, and makes sense stylistically. My goal was acquiring a more practical wardrobe with consistent aesthetic. I was tired of trends, shopping for fun and random acquisitions. I didn’t want to think much about getting dressed every day. I decided to sell what didn’t work, start over and re-focus my shopping efforts. Now virtually everything in my closet goes with everything. It is quite liberating.

What are the keys to making a minimalist wardrobe work?

Consistency. Editing what doesn’t work. Shopping with a purpose.

bauhaus t-shirt

What do you see as the main benefits of a minimalist wardrobe?

Ease of dressing, a consistent style and more time for other things.

Do you ever miss not having more colour or variety in your wardrobe?

No, I don’t. I lived a long time in a colorful, tropical paradise; and I work in the visual arts. Therefore, I have plenty of glorious color and visual variety in my life. However, I would like to add a certain color to my wardrobe, probably just one item, but I’m still looking for the perfect hue and cut.

short black dress

How would other women that aspire to a minimalist wardrobe get started?

My advice is to take a good, hard look at your wardrobe and lifestyle, and don’t be concerned with terms and descriptions; “minimal” can be different things to different people.

Has your style changed at all after turning 40?

Yes but it’s because of my own evolution and not directly related to whatever age I happen to be.

black and white

Do you believe in dressing ‘age appropriately’ and what does it mean to you?

I’ve never thought much about age appropriateness or changing one’s personal style because of a particular decade of life. Obviously one ought to consider what works on the body and what doesn’t but this is true for any age.

Would you say that at this stage of your life you are now more, or less interested in fashion, style and the way you look?

Except for a handful of designers, fashion doesn’t hold much interest for me. Personal style interests me. I try not to dwell on how I look but as a person of vanity, I do have those tendencies!

black minimal dress

Why is the way you look important to you?

Isn’t it important to everyone? I’ll attempt to answer: I am acutely aware of how things appear to the eye. I am an artist; it probably comes with the territory.

Which outfit on your site is your favorite outfit and why?

It would be too difficult to choose one.

Do you have any other style tips for women over 40 that you like to share?

Be who you are but find an outlet for self-expression that is not fulfilled through style alone.

Do you plan to continue with blogging and how do you see your blog develop over the coming years?

I plan to continue as long as I have time and ideas. We’ll see where it goes…

Anything further you would like to add?

Thank you, Sylvia.

white dress

Note from Sylvia: As you may know I feel that most women over 40 should wear more colour, but some women, like Stephanie, seem to look amazing in black. I am very attracted to her style which features a lot of my favorite elements. I like the consistency, yet variety and edginess of her clothes. The statement  “Now virtually everything in my closet goes with everything” is a very important one if you aspire to a manageable wardrobe which always gives you something to wear. I believe you can still achieve a minimal wardrobe without giving up colours or different styles. I will explore that idea further next week as part of my wardrobe editing series. So subscribe to updates through RSS or newsletter, so you don’t miss it! Be sure to check out Stephanie’s website at Odyssey Home.

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Margie

Love Stephanie’s style.

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Greetje

Again a good article.. I can see that a lot of Stephanie’s style has elements that you like Sylvia. As you said.
It is not at all my style, but it fits her like a glove. People will accept this from her as it is so close to her true being. Perfect hairstyle for it as well. I admire her independent attitude.
I would not have changed the name of the blog like she has. The word “style” is not overused. There are just a lot of people interested in the subject. The word style cconveys better what the blog is about than home. And I presume she wants to attract new readers. Anybody that comes across her blog will decide in 2 seconds whether to read on or not. (Advertising rules.) Then again, it is her blog, she can do with it what she likes. And she will, I am sure.

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Tangobabe

Well spoken.

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Sylvia

I adore her hairstyle and am seriously thinking of copying it! The only issue is that I could not live with the hair in my eye on one side, so perhaps it’s not such a good idea….
Yes, that is what I did and made the word style part of my name. It may be overused but I still like the word and to me it describes the best what my blog is all about.

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Locus

Ah ha so here comes something in black & white!! Wonder how Stephanie would have done with a traditional work wear attire in these shades, more like pants and shirts. I like her style and the eyewear she chose. I must hastily add that I cannot think of living in those two shades alone, considering I wear these shades 5 days a week for better part of the day.

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Sylvia

Building a minimal wardrobe on colour alone is just one way to do it. There are other ways too that incorporate more colours. More on that next week!
If you need to wear a lot of black and white for work, try making it more You by adding some colourful accessories.

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Marianne

That would be a solution for spending less money on clothes, although when I look at her wardrobe I am sure that the items are expensive. I like black and white but I think that is almost the only combination you can minimalize in. I don’t know any other colour combination you can minimalize in and don’t get bored with it. My problem is that I have a red pussycat and she sits everywhere I sit, and it takes me forever to clean my black outfit befor leaving the house. Sylvia can you advise another combination you can combine endlessly in.

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Sylvia

You are right Marianne. Many of her clothes are from Nick Owens, which is not cheap. But the advantage of this kind of wardrobe is that you can buy fewer but more expensive things.
I will write more on this topic next week!

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Nancy

I’ve been a long time fan of Stephanie’s style and the edginess of her clothing is what draws me to her blog. She’s cool and modern and edgy, something that I strive to be.

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Sylvia

Hi Nancy. Great to hear from you again!

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Tangobabe

I like her self-confidence, consistency and down-to-earth attitude. Stylewise and ideawise not my cup of tea though;-).

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Greetje

But as I said, on her it looks really good.

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Tangobabe

For sure!

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Denise

Great interview. I love Stephanie’s aesthetic. Inspiring for those of us of a certain age who feel like we should conform to society’s expectations (maybe true only in the midwest). She looks attractive and interesting. And lovely skin.

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Sylvia

Exactly Denise. This is a great example of that. Yes, she has superb skin (quite important if you are planning to wear a lot of black).
Thanks so much for giving your feedback!

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Odyssey Home

Thanks again, Sylvia. It is an honor to be featured.
I probably should have clarified my blog’s name change a bit more thoroughly. In changing to a custom domain, I naturally looked at StyleOdyssey.com (even though I wanted to drop “style”). Taken. I looked at Odyssey.com. Taken. You get the picture… :)
I’ve read through all the comments thus far and I thank each of you for the interesting feedback and kind remarks.
Cheers!
Stephanie

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Sylvia

I know it can be so challenging to find a good name for your blog that you like AND is still available. It took me forever to find my name (after registering quite a few others….)
It was great having you on the blog!

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Odyssey Home

Sylvia, it was a pleasure.
Re: blog names, isn’t that the truth! It took me about two weeks and much brainstorming to create a new domain.

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Ulla-Marie

With such a great haircut you don’t need to bother what to wear!

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Sylvia

I agree. It does to wonders to her!

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une femme

Stephanie has fabulous style, and has been an inspiration to me in moving toward a more minimalist style. So happy to see here featured here!

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Sylvia

I was late to discover her through one of my readers, but so glad I did!

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Heather Fonseca

Wow! I’m inspired. I wish I had the self control to choose one look and color and just go for it. I don’t though. I love her look. So edgy! So cool!

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Petra

Wow, wow, wow! I am a bit late in discovering this interview – not quite sure how I missed it!!! I just love her style – and her shoes! The hair is funky and this look requires a funky haircut but I wouldn’t do it, but even a very short straight bob would work! LOVE her clothes, man they are amazing! :-D

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Karen

Stephanie…..She has a classic, noncorfomist attitude towards life. period. Very inspirational. Quite edgy. I love it! and her! Just Amazing.

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Mia

Stephanie has such a great aesthetic, I always smile when a new post from her pops up. I would never have guessed her age either, she looks a lot younger! Thank you for the interview!

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Gigi

This is a great interview! I follow Stephanie for quite some time and her Odyssey is a breath of fresh air to me! Through her I found another “minimalistic” bloggers which I also follow and I must say they are so absolutely inspirational! I’m very attracted to asymmetric and aesthetics design so these bloggers were so welcome in my life. I always felt an outsider each time the words “Rick Owens”, “Gareth Pugh” , “Ann Demeulemeester” or “Yohji Yamamoto” came out of my vocabulary.

I do believe minimalism it’s a philosophy. It’s a voyage (an Odyssey!) to your inner self. At this stage you know who you are and no longer distracted with the louzy bling-bling from the outside world. Stephanie in particular, has the ability to bring the image of a self confident woman with such an artistic touch. Brilliant!

Have to say I agree with Stephanie….the word “style” is overused.

Groet!

Gigi

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Carelia

Thanks Sylvia for introduce this unique and stylish blogger. I love the way she makes black and white less boring by wearing pieces with interesting shapes and drapes. She also wears fabulous shoes which compliments her fun looks.

Mysmallwardrobe.com

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