My Capsule Wardrobe- Singapore Edition

pelo gardrob VER2-page-001

As I always say, wardrobe has been the easiest and fastest field of minimalism for me. I can push top 5 if there was a list of the most disorganized people in the world (even after all that decluttering).

Regardless, the wardrobe is the tidiest place in my home, thanks to capsule wardrobe.

When I started decluttering, I said goodbye to bags of clothes. I had been hanging on to clothes from college years. I realized in my first round of declutter that I had a hard time saying goodbye to branded goods, like a Mango sweater that was beyond wear and tear. You can read about my first decluttering adventure here.

What I learned from having a capsule wardrobe?

I always wanted to make a visual layout of my wardrobe, and I said now is the right time. It took some time, but it’s totally worth it. Here’s why.

This layout serves as a visual memory tool for me to see how my style changes over the years. I was shopping with a friend one day, and she pointed out that I like soft, natural colors. I said yes, but I was saying, no, I like vivid colors! inside. Because I was still stuck in my college years and early twenties. I used to wear vivid greens, pinks, reds, purples. And what’s more, I really liked having different colors on.

şenlik 121
this is me in 2010, last year of college. I loved my copper hair, matched it up with green top, pink backpack, red nail polish and I was wearing my favorite sandals that day, in red!

Until a few years ago, I stuck to my jeans- tee style. The dress code was casual in the colleges I worked at, so I said to myself, I’ll always be a jeans and tee girl. When I moved to Singapore, because the dress code in schools here are somewhere between casual and smart (no jeans allowed), I had to adjust my style.

I always had a few dresses in my wardrobe but rarely wore them. Here I try to wear them as often as I can, because they are really airy and in humid Singapore, that really helps. But I struggle with the desire to ride a rented bike on my way home, which I can’t if I wear a dress that day. Biggest struggle ever 🙂

I also learned to LOVE the 3 linen shirts that I have. A bit harder to iron than tees but it gets easier if I iron them while they are still damp.

I bought 8 of the 30 items in Singapore: 2 shirts, 1 t-shirt, 1 dress, 2 pairs of pants, sandals and a backpack (an unused secondhand Anello for just 38 dollars, yum!). And I sold a pair of pants and my no-longer-used North Face backpack for 40 dollars. I really like secondhand shopping in Singapore, will probably write a separate blog post on it. Stay tuned!

As Singapore has a tropical climate, we have the same weather everyday, around 30C degrees, always humid. So no need for a seasonal wardrobe. I really like it on one hand, you don’t need to think about changing your wardrobe and preparing for winter. But I miss cooler weather and autumn on the other hand.

What do I have in my capsule wardrobe?

pelo gardrob elbiseler

Dresses: As I said, I started to wear my already existing dresses more. I was gaining and losing weight over the past months, so it is just easier to wear dresses. I pair them with sneakers or sandals, so they make me seem a bit smarter although I was wearing sneakers.

I had bought the black dress for a wedding ceremony but now I wear it to work too. It’s like my go-to dress for both work and fancy events. I now understand all the fuss about the little black dress!

pelo gardrob bluzler

Tops:  The biggest change for me in this group is to move from tees to shirts. At least half and half. 🙂

In this year’s capsule I’ve got 3 tees. The black one is from Zara and the white one is from Esprit. Unfortunately both of them lost shape. Even the high quality t-shirts lose their shape and it is really disappointing. The pink one that my mom bought from a local store has proved to be much more durable, which is really very interesting.

I’m recently having a love affair with linen. It’s comfy, it’s both fancy and playful, it’s sustainable, it lasts for a lifetime. What else could a girl ask for? 3 of the shirts are linen, and I cannot get enough of them.

pelo gardrob pantolonlar.jpg

Pants: I haven’t realized I have six pair of pants until I decided to make this layout. I certainly don’t need this much, but because of this losing-gaining weight thing, if one fits, the other doesn’t. So I can’t say goodbye to any of these yet.

2 of these are blue jeans, which honestly I haven’t worn 6 times in the last 6 months. In Turkey, jeans are usually okay in summers, but in Singapore, hell no. It simply was a bad choice to bring jeans here, but as they are high quality, they stay.

The Uniqlo culotte pants are my favorite bottoms in this wardrobe, I wear them all the time when I’m not working. The other three are work pants, which honestly is enough.

pelo gardrob ayakkabılar

Shoes: All of the shoes I own except black sandals are at least 2 years old. When I started working in Singapore, I bought some flats but they ruined my soles, so I sold the expensive one and just threw away the cheap one, it went in to a terrible state in four months (never buying cheap shoes again!). Back to sneakers!

The Singaporean teachers I work with sometimes tease me when they see I come to work in sneakers: “Are you going jogging afterwards?” “Your shoes look comfy!” I get the sarcasm, but I don’t mind. 🙂 pelo gardrob aksesuarlar

Accessories:  I’ve got a backpack, a  shoulder bag and a sling bag. The Anello backpack, which I bought secondhand, is everything I ask for. It’s spacey, it’s got tons of pockets (one for laptop too) and it’s waterproof, very important in Singapore’s rainy weather.

My shoulder is really special for me because I designed it myself. It’s quite plain, but the dimensions and the inner compartments are just perfect for me. My mother-in-law had it sewn by a leather bag tailor (I didn’t know it was a profession, a dying one, to be more precise). It’s one of the best gifts I ever got.

Watches: I love my watches! The first one is a vintage Swatch from 1997. This is one of the earliest gifts from my husband, I believe it was a new year present for 2014. I love the design and the quality. Every time I take this to a Swatch shop to change batteries, shop assistants are amazed and they want to take pictures with it. Little do they know he bought it for less than the brand new Swatches, which are deteriorating in quality.

The second one is a Fossil. I had been eyeing on this for some time, and I grabbed it in a sales two years ago. I recently conditioned it with coconut oil, and it really helped.

Jewelry: I’d already said goodbye to my big collection of jewelry items which are not gold or silver. I have here in Singapore two necklaces with me, but I never wore them. I’ll probably put them in a safe because they have sentimental value and I don’t want to sell them. But I can’t see myself wearing them often in near future.

What have I not included in this list?

Loungewear: 1 home dress, 2 tees, 2 pairs of shorts, 1 set of pajamas

2 pairs of shorts, as I want to sell these and buy a new one.

Training: 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair of yoga pants, 1 tee

Verdict:

Preparing a list and an outlay  has been illuminating for me. I  got to understand my style better, and if I am to shop, it makes me understand what I do and don’t need.

It definitely is not the best wardrobe out there, but it reflects Pelin in 2018 perfectly. I recommend it to you to try preparing a list or a visual of your wardrobe as well, I had a lot of fun preparing it!

p.s. As a person who learned how to use a computer in Windows 95, I was of course going to prepare this visual using Paint and Word. So forgive me about not-the-best picture quality. 😉

Favorite Place- Humlegården

Weekly photo challenge: Favorite Place

I love parks and gardens, that’s no secret. Wherever I go, the first places on my list are parks and gardens. However, the first park I ever saw on my first trip abroad remains to be my favorite: Humlegården in Stockholm. I had seen an old picture (believe it’s from 1880s) a couple years before I went there, and I used to dream about going there and seeing it myself, the same, now 300-year old trees captured in a 150-year old photograph.

Humlegarden, wintertime, 1880s.
Humlegården , wintertime, 1880s.

Once we arrived in Stockholm, we found that our hotel is only ten minutes walk away from Humlegården, so it’s our first stop in the Scandinavia’s capital. It doesn’t disappoint.

IMGP0279
Humlegården, autumn, 2014.

 

Humlegården, Stockholm
I like to think these are Yoko Ono and John Lennon. For some reason everywhere in Stockholm during that trip, I felt Lennon’s presence.

I’m a park junkie, there are many parks close to my heart, but Humlegården is the dearest of them all.

Aloes in Wonderland

Rediscovering Alice in Gardens By The Bay (Singapore) was real fun. The pictures tell all the story, but this time among Aloes.

weekly photo challenge: story

IMG_6854
Curiouser and curiouser!
the cheshire cat, alice in wonderland
“we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.” “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice. “You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
alice in wonderland
Alice:How long is forever? White Rabbit:Sometimes, just one second.

I live in a neighbourhood where…

IMG_6726

you can take a meditative walk which makes you feel you’re in a forest,

IMG_6719

IMG_6645 (1)

where you get off the metro to a lovely lakeside garden with pagodas and monkeys and birds and all kinds of gorgeous plants with huge leaves,

IMG_6720.JPG

where it is so safe that bicycle theft is a red alarm,

IMG_6695.JPG

where just about every shade of green continues to amaze you.

This is Jurong, Singapore.

Photos: 1. Palm View Garden, Jurong West

2-3-4. Jurong Lake-Chinese Garden

5. Jurong Lake, near Lakeside

Tour Guide

Continue reading I live in a neighbourhood where…

The Road Not Taken


It cannot be a coincidence that both Koray and I love the poem “The Road Not Taken”. I’ve always loved the things that aren’t that popular,  stayed away from best-sellers even though I felt they were good, and always had the urge to try unfamiliar things. Now I can’t say that I’m a courageous person, but when it comes to taking the road not taken, you can count me in. Part of the reason for this, I believe, is that the crowds disgust me. I can’t stand being in a place where there are too many people. And, when traveling in Japan, we of course wanted to see the attractions, and avoid the crowds at the same time. That is a difficult task, as in some attractions there were thousands of people. Going by our instincts, we found the roads less traveled by, and that made the whole difference.

Fushimi Inari Shrine ve Mt. Inari, Kyoto

We arrived at Fushimi Inari station by using JR Nara line, and it was just two stops away from Kyoto Station. Fushimi Inari is the #1 tourist attraction in Kyoto, and it’s not hard to understand why. The shrine which was built in 852 AD, gained fame when the emperor’s wish for rain and abundance was granted. Since then, thousands of people donated a Torii gate when their wishes were granted, so Mt. Inari was soon full of corridors made up by orange-red Torii gates.

IMG_2008
The entrance and the biggest Torii gate.

The biggest gate is at the entrance, donated by a leader who wished for his mother to recover.

So the corridors of Torii gates offer a magnificent, almost intoxifying experience walking through them. The gates go all the way up to the top of the mountain.

When tourists come here they take photos like these: (source: http://jpninfo.com/11830)

Fushimi-Inari-Taisha-Shrine-3

Fushimi-Inari-Taisha-Shrine1
isn’t it pretty awesome?

When we arrived at the shrine and started walking through the Torii gates, the situation was exactly the same: the people were trying to take the best photos, without anyone in the background, while keeping hundreds of people waiting. And most of them probably couldn’t take the plunge to go all the way up, so they turned back after the first hundred meters or so. At this point, disgusted by the crowds, we saw a signpost saying if we turn right, there are two shrines 50 and 100 meters away. So we decided to get some air and visit them, and maybe come back and continue walking through the gates again. I’m glad we did! At first we weren’t keen to climb all the way up (233 metre high and 4 km long- sometimes very steep path, which took around two hours), but if we climbed along with the others our only experience was walking through a thousand red gates. But on the road we took, a forest with huge bamboo trees were waiting for us!

IMG_2673

It turns out the shrine 50 metres away, was actually 50 metres above, so it took us half an hour to get there.

IMG_2708
The bold lines are the main road, and the one on the right is our path. The writings with kanji indicate the small shrines.

When we saw this map, we decided it would be a waste to go back, so we kept climbing to the top. Two hours later, we had climbed 233 metres. As tiring as it was, it was the highlight of my Japan trip and one of the best experiences ever.

IMG_2729

There were lots of moments we felt eerie and freaked out. The only noise was our footsteps, rain and the birds’ singing. All of the shrines and graveyards we passed by looked abandoned except for one, but the candles kept on burning despite the rain. And a cat followed us for a while, which scared Koray as I had told him before that spirits can take the shape of animals like foxes or cats. 🙂 And in Japan it’s not common to see stray cats,  especially on a mountain. It was probably a monk’s pet or something, but as there was nobody around, I admit it was a bit scary.

IMG_2725.JPG

I really like hiking, but as I’m not very good at sports, I always felt I’d be left behind if I join a hiking or a mountaineering group. But here, among birds and giant bamboos, in the eerie silence of shrines, I made the best hiking ever.

IMG_2740
And happy ending!
IMG_2752
Behind me is the main road where people usually take to climb to the top.

On our way back, we took the main road and we got really happy we didn’t take it while going up. Aside from an observatory terrace and thousands of gates, there wasn’t really much to look at. And as it was all stone stairs, I imagine it was harder to go up.

Mt. Inari, without a doubt, one of the most exciting places for me in Japan.

 

Click here for all blog posts about Japan.

First Impressions on Japan and the Japanese

  • Most Japanese can’t speak English.

I read a lot on this, but I didn’t expect it to be true. I can say with relief that, in fifteen days, I met maybe two or three people who could speak proper English. There were some times that they understood me, but I didn’t understand them. 🙂 Luckily, Japanese people are very good at using body language and making use of maps, so except for food it wasn’t a big problem in daily life. Since my husband and I are Muslims, we had quite difficulty in finding out if there is any pork or raw egg in meals. So if you have dietary concerns, I strongly suggest that you learn the Japanese phrases (and the possible Japanese answers to them) to ask if the food contains meat/pork/raw meat/raw egg etc.

  • They are both under the effect of Western culture and not.

 


source: unsplashed

 

When I saw Stradivarius, Bershka and Zara all next to each other in Dotombori, Osaka, I almost felt like home. While it is possible to see people in kimono, yukata and traditional attire on the streets, Japanese people are usually under the influence of Western fashion. All working men and women wear suits (it is even possible to see women who wear ties)

 

  • Kawaii everything

img_0873
I guess this kid must be famous. His pictures were all over billboards.

Kawaii can be translated as “cute”, and it is an essential part of Japanese culture. Kawaii doesn’t care whether you are a male, female, old or young. It takes you under control! Especially cartoon and anime figures are everywhere, and it is very natural to see a middle aged man in snoopy shorts or a grandma rocking a hello kitty purse. What was interesting for me is again regardless of age and gender, everyone has a phone charm. As iPhones don’t have a hole for charms, they found a way to hang their charms to their phone case.

img_0869
crosswalk fashion. source: unsplashed

And boy, there are a lot of things that hurt your eyes. My husband, Koray, is obsessive with the color harmony of belt, watch and shoes in a man. So his attention was mostly on men who care nothing about the color harmony, and some men with wrinkled shirts, which seems quite common in the subway. The most interesting thing for me was wearing socks/stockings inside sandals and defying the whole reason of wearing them.

 

img_0870
It seems the yukatas come with cell phones and selfie sticks attached to them. source: unsplashed
  • Addiction to cell phones might be one thing we have in common.

A quarter of people on subway are asleep (official Japan guide says it’s almost a hobby to sleep on subways), a handful of people are reading an actual book or an e-reader, and all the others are on their cell phones. Some sidewalks even have the “don’t text and walk” sign.

 

  • IMG_2840
    The famous philosopher’s road in Kyoto. And yes, she’s on her cell phone.

    Gender is a bit weird. 

As I mention in kawaii, cute things aren’t just limited to children and young girls. On the contrary, children wear much simpler clothes whereas everybody who feels kawaii is welcome to express it in the most bizarre ways. Besides, most men wear what I would call “feminine” purses  and  women and men alike like to dye their hair every color imaginable. There are lots of women with man-like haircuts as they are many men with women-like haircuts (and of course this is just my viewpoint of gender, as a half westerner, half middle-eastern). That’s why sometimes I couldn’t understand if someone walking in front of me was a male or a female. And maybe that is the reason why so many Japanese and Korean dramas have the theme “misunderstood gender”.

Hanazakari-no-Kimitachi-e
From Hanazakari no kimitachi e, a famous J-drama where the lead actress goes to an all-boy school dressed as a boy, why of course to be with his crush who is a celebrity athlete.
  • And then there is the onsen.
a9425b81-3a7e-45ff-ad2e-ea3e858aaf8c-325-0000002949050528
one of the onsens we’ve been to, Naniwa no Yu. The picture is from their website, it’s prohibited to take photos inside, which makes sense.

Onsen might be translated as “hot spring bath”. These are gender-segregated public baths which run water that come from hot springs. The baths are about 50-60 cm deep and most of them are around 37-40 C degrees. Besides the numerous health benefits, I found going to an onsen really refreshing and fun. In Turkey we have a similar concept, which we inherited from Roman baths, but we almost always wear a towel or even a swimsuit to public baths. In Japan though, you need to be completely naked. Not one single piece of cloth to cover your private parts. And for us it took some courage first, but then we were okay. In Kyoto we went to two onsens, and then when we went to Osaka our bus pass also covered onsens so we visited two other ones. If I had had more time I would visit more! :)What I wonder about onsens though is the gender segregation. Japanese people, so far I understood from their literature, movies, cross-dressing and such, are open to lgbtq and it’s not a big taboo as it is in the Turkish culture. But here the only segregation is through sex, male and female. Everyone can enter this place and the only exception is having a tattoo. But they don’t seem to care about the possibility of taking a bath with gay people.

  • They stick to their principles.

 

I could say Japanese people are extraordinarily polite, when I think about the lady who apologized twice for keeping me waiting in front of a public toilet, or the numerous people who so kindly (sometimes only with very successful body language) gave me directions. I was never let down when I asked for something.

908125ec-adf5-4ef9-863e-47ebd90119f0-325-00000029dd4db9de
talking about toilets… here you go, a Japanese toilet controller.

But considering people just bump into, and sometimes crash each other to get into trains without saying “sumimasen” (sorry) at all, I could say they are quite rude. As far as I’m concerned, just as every society they have an unwritten moral code and some things are acceptable while others are not. It’s just our perspective that compares the politeness with our cultural codes.

The big difference between Japanese and the Turkish I think, is that Turkish people have always had contact with neighbouring cultures, namely, Persian, Arabic, Greek, Roman and French. So our vision of hospitality and politeness has been somewhat a synthesis of the Middle East and Europe. However, Japanese had very little contact with other cultures until a hundred years ago, which makes their culture very unique and sometimes illegible.

  • Would I live in Japan?

Much as I’m in love with the culture, the answer would be a no. This is the first time I feel so foreign and so alone. It was obvious we weren’t Asian so I can understand that we caught attention, but everywhere I go, especially in onsens, people just kept staring at me. I smiled as I normally do when I make eye contact with someone, but the answer was mostly the same stare.  I feel like I could easily fit in a European country, but in Japan, I will always be a foreigner even if I don’t have the language barrier.

Sorry for keeping this a bit long, but  I still haven’t talked about my favourites: the Japanese gardens, Shinto & Buddhism, and food. And I apologize in advance if any of my views hurt any person. So until next time, Sayanora, or more friendly, ja ne!  😊