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#ChicLifeStyle: Design for Mankind

As part of our fall campaign with Kate Hudson, we asked some of our favorite fashion and lifestyle bloggers to share a moment of their busy, brilliant lives. For Erin of Design for Mankind, who has been blogging since 2001, this was her 30th birthday. She gave us a peek inside her home and her day as she celebrated the little moments that inspire her to live life to the fullest.

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Today is my thirtieth birthday, so naturally, I’m feeling absolutely, 100% on top of the world. Thirty sounds legitimate, like when you give your married name to the hostess at your favorite restaurant for the first time. Table for two, please. I’m Thirty.

I’ve always loved birthdays for the perspective they provide. Like New Year’s Day, birthdays are a chance to celebrate the passage of time, the wisdom gained. But with birthdays, there are no resolutions to shame and guilt ourselves into changing the pesky details of our lives that make us into perfectly imperfect human beings. Instead, they’re mile markers we pause and wave to as we pass by, leaving past years and mistakes in the rearview mirror. Goodbye, 29. It’s been real, 28. I don’t miss you a bit, 27.

ann taylor and erin loechner

Still, there’s something to be said for milestones, and I always take a moment to reflect on a meaningful word for the coming year. Last year’s word was, to be quite honest, Endurance. I had just birthed a baby of my own and was feeling tired, worn and anxious about the rocky roads ahead. I’d survived pregnancy and labor and delivery – but could I survive a transition into motherhood? (I did. And I am. And I will.) So although I’m feeling wistful about leaving such a strong and capable word behind, I’m excited to welcome a new focus for year thirty of my life: Edit.

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It makes so much sense, really. I spent a decade of my 20-something self building and growing and more-ing: working nonstop in Los Angeles, managing multiple businesses, fostering new friend circles both online and off. And then Bee arrived, and as she became more, I became less. My work became less and my time became less and my personal desires became less. (My jeans, however, became more. Let’s be honest here.)

Katherine F. Gerould once wrote, “Simplicity is an acquired taste. Mankind, left free, instinctively complicates life.” And for me, this is true. More of everything means more of everything – more fun and more ease and more results, but also more tension and more fear and more stress. And this year, I’m aiming for less.

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Most of this perspective has manifested itself internally, choosing less for myself in subconscious ways: fewer opportunities, fewer close relationships, fewer appointments on the calendar. But I’ve also realized a more conscious, unexpected twist: editing my things. Specifically, wardrobe.

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I’ve talked about this before, and am happy to say I’ve been making progress. Bins of unnecessary excess have been donated, new purchases have been thwarted. Getting dressed takes approximately zero time in the morning, and the laundry piles are considerably few. By wearing the same basics day in and day out, I’ve taken a red pen to my closet and ruthlessly edited the extra and the more and the plenty, all of which provided endless options that I’d tricked myself into thinking were necesarry. More clothing does not equal more options. Smarter clothing does.

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So what have I been wearing? Funnily enough, Ann Taylor asked me to show you, both right here and on PinterestWhite button-down shirtsa casual black dressstrings of everyday pearlsPrinted bottoms andversatile flats. Classic pieces paired with well-worn basics like denim jackets, vintage tees and thrifted scarves. Quality items with a long shelf-life and even longer list of possibilities.

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And on the morning of my thirtieth birthday, I feel thirty. I feel edited and self-aware and comfortable with less. Because less almost always makes room for more.

Image Credits: Ken Loechner for Ann Taylor

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