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  • Wednesday, April 2, 2014

    If you feel like you have nothing to wear (don’t we all!), the solution may be as simple as cleaning out your closet. It’s said that we wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time, so it’s only natural that we’d stress over our style with so many unused items clogging up our wardrobe. Give yourself a fresh start this spring cleaning season by weeding out the items you never wear, coordinating the items you do, and making your closet space an inspiring haven filled with your absolute favorite items. To help you with this process, we’re sharing our favorite tips for cleaning out your closet and curating the right wardrobe for you.

    Image via Live Simply

    Before You Begin:
    1. Find a friend or family member to help you sort through your stuff if you’re not the best at letting things go. It’s easy to get overly sentimental about your belongings partway through the closet clean-out process, so having someone there to help you be realistic could make all the difference.

    2. Spend a little time thinking about your wardrobe and style. What are your main issues with your current collection? Are you expressing yourself through your clothing the way you’d like? Decide what you want your style to reflect so that when it’s time to clean, you’ll know which items you’ll be looking to keep and which items won’t line up with your desired aesthetics.

    3. Invest in some new hangers. Flimsy plastic or wire hangers won’t help you preserve your favorite pieces, and some hangers have slippery surfaces that cause your favorite dresses to end up on the floor. Buy a set of wooden, velvet, or cushioned hangers to give your closet a lush, uniform look, or decorate your current hangers for a pretty makeover.

    4. Decide on storage space for items you’ll want to keep around, but shouldn’t have hanging in your closet at the moment (heavy coats, sentimental items, etc). Perhaps you can hang them in an extra closet, pack them in boxes to put in the attic, or store them in an empty set of drawers.  

    5. Come up with an organizational layout to arrange your clothes in once the items are pared down. One way to organize is to arrange by type of item; you can hang tops together, dresses together, sweaters together, and so on. From there you can arrange each section by type of sleeve, fanciness level, or color if you so desire. Plan to arrange your clothing by whatever pattern makes the most sense to you and will help you utilize your wardrobe on a day-to-day basis.

    6. Get excited! The process of cleaning out your closet may sound exhausting, but think forward to how free you’ll feel once you get rid of the items that are weighing you down. If you need more motivation to clean, remember that having extra space in your closet means you can reward yourself to a few new items once the process is complete.  

    Image via My Peep Toes

    Time To Tackle:
    1. If the whole process of cleaning out your closet seems too daunting, try breaking down the work into categories. You can focus on paring down pants one day, dresses another, and so on. If you opt for this plan, just make sure to schedule it out so that you make continuing the process a priority!

    2. Begin by moving your absolute favorite, most-worn items into a special pile of items to keep. As you move these pieces, check for damage and consider tossing items that have been over-worn.

    3. Create two other piles in addition to that christened “keep” pile -- one for items to donate/swap, and one for items to throw out (anything with holes, hopeless stains, etc).

    4. As you move through each item in your closet, ask yourself these questions:
    - Does this item fit me at my current weight?
    - Is this item flattering?
    - Is this item something I’ve worn in the last year?
    - Does this item fit my style and the rest of the wardrobe?
    - Do I feel good about myself when I wear this piece?
    If you can’t answer “yes” to these questions, it’s time for the item to go!

    5. If you’re not sure about an item, try it on. Most of the time there’s a good reason why you’re not wearing the items hiding in the back of your closet, and trying them on might remind you what that reason is.  

    6. If you’re in the process of losing weight and want to keep the smaller items around, put them in a storage spot for the time being. That way, they won’t take up closet space for the time being and won’t discourage you from loving yourself at your current weight if your weight loss journey takes a little longer than expected.

    7. Keep an eye out for nice items that don’t quite fit but could be easily altered. If you want to give these pieces a chance, place them in a bag to take to a tailor. If a month goes by and the bag is still sitting in a corner of your room, they become items to donate.

    8. If you have heavy coats and boots that you won’t be wearing until fall arrives, store them in one of the spots you set aside to keep your focus on the season at hand.

    9. Remember that your sentimental items (band shirts, prom dresses, etc) can also go into storage, as well as maternity clothing you might be using again in the future.

    10. Don’t forget to sort through your shoes and accessories! Are you really going to use that old purse again? And it might be time to say goodbye to the scuffed heels.

    11. As you put the items you’re keeping back in your closet, slip them onto your new hangers and arrange them according to the organizational layout you came up with. Ta-da!

    Image via My Peep Toes

    Afterwards:
    1. Take your pile of donatable items to a charity, or plan a clothing swap with friends. Either way, you’ll make sure that the items you’re getting rid of are being used by someone else.

    2. Decorate! Add fun wallpaper to your closet, find a new way to display your jewelry, or invest in cute shelves or hanging organizers. Giving your wardrobe a personal touch will help you appreciate the clothing you have and remind you of the style you want to reflect each day.

    3. Keep tabs on what you wear by switching the direction of your hanger once you've worn something that season. That way, you can get through all of your items (or most of them) before turning the hangers around to reset your wardrobe. If you spot pieces that aren’t being used, you can reassess what you’ve kept and toss even more. You can also use sticky notes for this method, or move used items to the back of the closet to help you single out which ones you never touch. This method will not only help you spot the unused items, but will reassure you that you’re not repeating your outfits too often if that’s a concern of yours.

    4. Enjoy your pared down wardrobe for a few months without allowing yourself to buy anything new. After you've seen what you really have and what you might be lacking, treat yourself here and there. Make sure that you really love those new items you buy, and if not, return them before it's too late! You don't want to ruin your hard work by bulking up your closet with items that will never be worn.

    5. Remember that cleaning out your closet is a chance to reinvent your style! As you add new items to your collection, seek out pieces that match the values and aesthetics you want to embody. Maybe it’s time to add fun prints to your collection of monochromatic items, or perhaps you want to polish your casual style with some sophisticated editions. Now is the time to make changes by gradually building the wardrobe of your dreams.

    We hope you’ll be inspired to clean out your closet this spring! Having an organized wardrobe will not only make it easier to get dressed in the morning, but will improve your personal confidence and your gratitude towards your belongings. Do you have any tips for cleaning out your closet? We’d love to hear your spring cleaning tips!

    xo,
    Ruche


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  • Tuesday, April 1, 2014

    Before we get caught up in April showers, let's look back on the month of March! In case you missed any of these moments, here are some of our favorite posts and highlights of the month:

    1. We launched our spring lookbook this month! Take a look at "Flourish: A Life Inspired by Spring Blooms" for spring fashion inspiration and watch the accompanying video for an uplifting story. And for more information on our experience with the lookbook, go behind the scenes! We loved working with flowers and filling the office with the first signs of spring.

    2. Later on in the month, it was finally time to unveil our new bridal collection and lookbook, From This Day Forward! We started a new Facebook page to correspond with our latest offerings, so make sure to "like" Ruche Bridal to stay up-to-date with all things wedding-related. We're thrilled to bring our Ruchettes this new, affordable wedding collection and are excited to carry an assortment of authentic vintage items in addition to our selection of new dresses and accessories!

    3. In conjunction with our new bridal collection, we've begun a new series on the blog focusing on our Marketing Coordinator and Stylist, Sam and Sarah, and their engagement journeys. The first installment launches last week, so make sure you meet the gals before next week's update!

    4. March was a month of learning to branch out! Our blog post on little acts of courage has inspired us to try new things and share our creativity with the world around us. We hope it'll encourage you to face your fears as well!

    5. We've immersed ourselves in amazing music this month! Are you a music-enthusiast interested in collecting vinyl? Our helpful Beginner's Guide to Buying Vintage Vinyl will show you the ropes!

    6. In celebration of our lookbook, we took some time to delve into the language of flowers. Take a peek at our blog post to discover what message your favorite blossoms hold and which flowers make the best gifts due to their meaning!

    7. We focused a lot on styling denim and chambray this past month (it's just so versatile!), so we couldn't help but research the how our the fabric came to be a wardrobe staple. To learn about the origin of your favorite jeans, take a look at our Short History on Denim.

    8. If you weren't aware, we're pretty obsessed with 31 Bits! We started carrying many of their new pieces this month and can't resist collecting them all. To learn more about the organization, take a look at why we love the brand!

    9. Due to the ever-present thought of spring break this month, we focused on planning road trips and weekend adventures that we can fit into our free weekends. If you're planning on a little getaway, take a look at our road trip snack ideas, our spring bucket list, and some inspiring checklists for the season!

    10. Spring always seems to arrive with a full social agenda in hand! To prepare for the occasions ahead, we put together a collection of pretty outfits you can wear to daytime weddings, weekend brunches, and evening soirees.

    What were your highlights of the month? Let us know in the comments below!

    xo,
    Ruche


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  • Tuesday, April 1, 2014

    If you've seen our past Style Files, it should come as no surprise that Tieka of Selective Potential is our latest Ruchette of the Month. From her on-point rustic style to her honest, heartfelt blog posts, this Michigander shares glimpses of her daily life in a way that inspires readers to cherish the beauty of the everyday. A talented graphic designer to boot, this gorgeous gal is proof that dedication to your hobbies pays off and that adventure can't help but find you when you're dressed in a cute cardigan and ankle boots! Read on to learn more about Tieka's optimism and style.

    Describe your style in 3 words.
    Feminine, wearable, and of course, rustic. ;)

    What are a few things currently on your Ruche wish list?
    I love the Weekend in Wichita Crocheted Skirt, and I'd pair it with the June Cutout Booties and the Tidepools Embroidered Peasant Blouse. So pretty for spring!

    Why is fashion and personal style important to you?
    I've always loved personal style, because it's fun and it makes me happy. It gives me something to look forward to. Personally I feel like anything you can participate in daily that can bring happiness to your life is a really powerful thing.

    What's the purpose of having a lifestyle blog?
    I originally started my blog to help me discover my own personal style. Once I figured that out, I kept blogging because it encouraged me to live more. Because of my blog, I've taken so many adventures, traveled to the most amazing places, and met some of the best people I've ever known. I've also grown personally. I'm better at photography, social media, networking. It even helped me land my full-time career as a graphic designer!

    Our motto over here is to #LiveBeautifully. What does living beautifully mean to you?
    Living beautifully to me means that you are living your life in a way that makes you happy. I'm a firm believer in happiness, and whatever you need to do to make that happen. Surround yourself with people that lift you up, spend your time (or spare time) doing the things that you enjoy, laugh more, don't be so hard on yourself, and continue to move forward as the best version of yourself.

    Tell us the first thing that comes to mind:
    Favorite season: Autumn
    Instagram or Twitter? Instagram
    Cocktails, wine, or beer? Cocktails
    Keys, phone, wallet, and... Burt's Bees lip balm!

    Last but not least, what is your favorite thing about being a Ruchette?
    Every time I visit Ruche or the Ruche blog, I leave feeling so inspired. I always look forward to the new lookbooks, the blog features, seeing the styled outfits, and reading the interviews of other inspiring Ruchettes. I love how Ruche fits so many unique personal styles, and all types of girls in the community. It inspires my wardrobe, and my life. I feel lucky and proud to be a Ruchette!

    -- Tieka, Selective Potential

    Tieka's blog always inspires us to live beautifully; her optimistic outlook and charming style are truly contagious! For more on Tieka, browse through Tieka's featured Style File posts and her 7 Items, 7 Outfits feature!

    xo,
    Ruche


  • Tuesday, April 1, 2014

    To get this darling desktop background, simply download here!

    This month we're decorating our desktops with this gorgeous floral backdrop from our recent bridal lookbook shoot. We know April showers bring May flowers, but it's never too early to decorate with some beautiful blossoms! Our free calendar is available for use as an inspiring desktop background, or can be downloaded to your phone or iPad to brighten your day on the go.

    May you live beautifully this April!

    xo,
    Ruche


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  • Monday, March 31, 2014

    Image via Seventy Nine Ideas

    ...we would certainly look like this! There’s nothing like a peaceful afternoon spent in dappled sunlight with delicious food and someone sweet! Whether the day calls for a ladylike display of wine and cheese, macarons, or a rustic spread of biscuits and jam, we think picnics are the perfect way to slow down and enjoy the moment.

    Live beautifully,
    Ruche


  • Sunday, March 30, 2014

    Print via Moorea Seal

    We believe in taking the optimistic approach in life. Look around and find the positive in your day to day and we guarantee you'll live a happier life.

    xo,
    Ruche


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  • Friday, March 28, 2014

    We all know this scene: you’re at your local thrift store or flea market and you spot a bin of vinyl records. You carefully thumb through them, admiring intricate artwork and the faces of artists both familiar and foreign. You land on an album that speaks to your heart- but what next? Whether you’re a casual listener or thinking of beginning a collection, buying vintage vinyl can be tricky, so here are a few things to keep in mind before purchasing!

    Image via A Beautiful Mess

    First, inspect the sleeve. Are the edges or spine torn, worn, or frayed? The sleeve of an LP, which is short for long-playing record because of their 10-12 inch diameter, is generally an indicator of the shape a record is in. But don’t fret- if the album art is what you’re truly in love with, it may be worth investing in as a piece of artwork.

    After inspecting the sleeve, carefully remove the record from the jacket and hold it up to the nearest light source. It may have a layer of dirt or dust, which can is an easy fix with a dry brush or special vinyl-safe liquid cleaner. Things like fingerprints can be easily removed and small, hairline scratches in the vinyl, as long as sparse, usually won’t drastically affect the quality of the sound, so don’t let those put you off. When inspecting the record, check for things like deep scratches, marks, and, most importantly, warp in the vinyl- these can cause the sound to distort or record to skip.

    There is also a huge market for vintage records online. From auction sites to specialized websites, if your dream record doesn’t make the cut in person, you can always find another copy on the internet. When browsing records online, you can determine the quality of the record by the grade given by the seller. There is a grading system used for vinyl that is as follows:

    Mint or (M): Mint means that the record is flawless and appears to have never been handled or taken out of the sleeve, which will also be in perfect condition. This is very rare when it comes to vintage records and can usually mean a much higher sticker price!

    Near Mint or (NM) or (M-): Near Mint means the record is in excellent condition and is relatively flawless. There might a scuff on the record that does not affect the play or very minor wear to the cover, but it is almost perfect.

    Excellent or (E) or (VG++): Excellent indicated that the record has a few minor scuffs that do not affect the sound of the record at all and there is only slight wear to the album cover.

    Very Good Plus or (VG+): Very Good Plus records typically show their wear. They still play well, but their flaws are visible to the naked eye. There will also be some aging to the jacket in the form of yellowing, tears, or marks.

    Very Good or (VG): Very Good records may show their wear, but they still play well. This grade of record usually plays with surface noise (some crackling and popping) and the cover of the record will be visibly worn.

    Good or (G): A Good record will be easily identifiable. It will have visible wear and damage on the vinyl, but will still play. Unlike Very Good records, the surface noise will be continuous and more audible. The artwork on the cover will be worn and there may be a ring where the record was inside. In addition, there may be writing on the cover or tape where the spine has split.

    Using this system can be tricky because one’s Near Mint may be another’s Excellent. The subjectivity of the grading system can sometimes make buying online more difficult than easy, so keep this in mind when purchasing via the Internet!

    Image via A Beautiful Mess

    Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Whether you’re buying in person or online, get the scoop on the record you’ve set your sights on. Where did it come from? How long have they had it? Inquiries are a great way to get a history lesson and learn more about the care previously given to your record.

    Once the record is in your possession, make sure you have a plastic sleeve for the album and paper inner sleeve for your record to protect it from accidentally falling out of the jacket and keeps the dust away. Plastic inner sleeves can stick to the vinyl, so they aren’t necessary, especially for those in warmer climates. Heat can adversely affect vinyl, so always store your precious records away from vents, fireplaces and direct sunlight. It is also imperative to store records standing up to avoid warping!

    When you’re ready to play your record, place the disc between faced-in palms on the very edge of the record to avoid leaving fingerprints. Carefully set it on your record player and enjoy the soothing sounds of your latest purchase (dancing optional).

    xo,
    Ruche


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  • Thursday, March 27, 2014

    Happy Spring, Ruchettes! It’s a bit difficult to differentiate between the seasons in sunny Southern California, but we’re excited that those of you in colder climates are beginning to defrost. In honor of the warmer weather in store for us all, here are some fun ideas to add to your spring bucket list! We hope that adding some (or all!) of these plans to your agenda will help you cherish each moment of the season.

    Image via Sinclair and Moore

    1. Eat outdoors: Take advantage of the improving weather and gorgeous flora by dining al fresco. Sit outside at your favorite restaurants and cafes, or pack a yummy picnic to share with friends or coworkers.

    2. Dabble in a new hobby: If you’ve had a hobby on your maybe-one-day mental list, make it a priority this season to truly give it a chance. Learn a song on the ukulele, try your hand at origami, learn to knit (maybe you’ll have a finished scarf by the time fall rolls around!), or make your very first cherry pie.

    3. Discover your new signature smoothie: With the influx of seasonal fruit and veggies at your local farmers market, spring is a great time to experiment with smoothies. Test out a green smoothie to kickstart your morning, or unwind in the afternoon by sipping on a berry smoothie.

    4. Add color to your wardrobe: If you tend to shy away from bright tones, ‘tis the season to step out beyond the neutrals. After you make room in your closet for a few new pieces, liven up a favorite outfit with a pop of peach or coral.

    5. Go on a weekend trip: Even if you don’t have time for a full-fledged spring break, make the most of your free weekends to visit a new place. Take a look at our weekend trip ideas and start saving a little extra so you can splurge on train tickets, museum fees, or a nice dinner with friends.

    May you live beautifully this spring by making the most of each warm day! Will you be completing a spring bucket list this season?

    xo,
    Ruche


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  • Thursday, March 27, 2014

    Sometimes all it takes is a little art and a sense of humor to turn the day around. That's one of many reasons why we've been long-time fans of Canadian artist, Marc Johns. His quirky, captioned illustrations bridge the gap between clever and cute, reminding us to take the everyday ups and downs a little less seriously.

    In addition to his successful website (humorously titled "Serious Drawings") and personal shop, Marc Johns has published two books of his art, and many of his drawings have appeared in magazine editorials and inspirational books. To learn more about his techniques and the tools he uses, take a look at his interview with Workspiration!

    We hope that Marc John's art will motivate you to create in a way that speaks to you and helps you navigate the world around you. To live beautifully is to stay true to you!

    xo,
    Ruche


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  • Wednesday, March 26, 2014

    Welcome to Sam and Sarah's wedding series! Our Marketing Coordinator, Sam, and our Stylist, Sarah, are two engaged Ruchettes getting married within the next year. We thought that our engaged readers could garner a lot of helpful information through Sam and Sarah's wedding planning process, so the girls have teamed up to share their experiences with you. Every two weeks, we'll be looking to both brides-to-be for their planning updates and tips, and we hope you'll learn from their accomplishments and compromised states of sanity alike. Read on to meet these lovely ladies and discover their heartwarming engagement stories.

    1. How did he propose?

    Sam: He proposed during a weekend trip with our friends in Big Bear, CA. After we all ate dinner together, he had my girlfriends convince me to go to Starbucks. I wanted to stay and relax in the cabin, but after some persuasion, I finally decided to join the girls. When we got back, the cabin was dark. I opened the back door and saw a slew of tealight candles that spelled out the phrase "Marry Me" out on the grass by the lake. He got down on one knee in the freezing 30 degree night, and I said yes! We popped the champagne immediately after and celebrated with our friends indoors by the fire.

    Sarah: I thought I would definitely know when he was going to propose, but he chose to pop the question the day after Christmas to throw me off. He asked if I wanted to go to dinner and walk around the canals in Long Beach, California to see the Christmas lights (this is a tradition we have every holiday season, but because of our busy schedules were unable to go earlier in the month). We were on our way to the canals after dinner when he made a wrong turn and parked the car. I was utterly confused, but followed him down to a pier where I ended up on a gondola boat. He wrote me a letter that I had to retrieve from a bottle floating alongside our boat, and at the end of the letter he asked me to marry him! The gondolier then brought out roses and dessert that were hidden on the boat. It was truly the happiest moment of my life!

    Sam & Josh enjoying the California sunshine together

    2. How long you were dating?

    Sam: Josh and I have been dating for a wee bit over 5 years now! We met our freshman year in the dorms at Cal Poly Pomona. We started out as friends and then our relationship developed into something more. Five years later, here we are!

    Sarah: Timmy and I started dating my freshman year of college, and have been together for 8 years!

    3. Do you have a date set or in mind?

    Sam: We booked the date 3 weeks after the proposal! It's October 5, 2014.

    Sarah: Yes, it will be March 7th of next year.

    Sarah & Timmy being lovebirds back in 2008

    4. What do you envision for your wedding?

    Sam: Here are the 5 words I’m using to describe my vision to all the vendors and people involved: rustic, outdoor, modern, classic, and autumnal.

    Sarah: The adjectives I'd use to sum up my vision are: romantic, indoor, vintage-glam, and enchanting. Mine will include both winter and spring elements.

    5. Tell us something sappy:

    Sam: We often dance all alone in my room to music that we mutually make up as we go. We're kinda weird like that.

    Sarah: Timmy and I had an unexplainable connection from the start. We came from extremely different backgrounds, yet connected on so many levels. He is my best friend, partner, and the love of my life. I would not be the person I am without him by my side all of these years. I am so excited for this next chapter!

    We hope you'll join us in following Sam and Sarah as they plan their wedding days! Feel free to ask questions below if you're in need of any wedding advice from one of these amazing gals. Make sure to check back in two weeks for the next installment!

    xo,
    Ruche


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