CSO Style Profile: Phoebe Miner

Phoebe Miner: Living With Only What She Loves

Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting my wonderful friend, Phoebe Miner, in her new home and new life in Arizona. Phoebe and I have been in Colorado and New York City together, and now she has started a new chapter in Phoenix. Since I’ve known her, no matter the city, Phoebe always creates a space that reflects her taste and is eclectic and warm yet clean and serene. This aesthetic translates into her personal style, which has a foundation of classic basics like white button-down shirts and great denim, spiced up with interesting accessories and pops of color. She is one of those people who always seems to be wearing the right thing, and would be able to host an impromptu dinner party that looks straight out of a West Elm catalogue.

Phoebe has experimented with capsuling her wardrobe, (if you’re not familiar, the capsule wardrobe is a very limited wardrobe, usually 30-40 pieces, that all mix and match so you can have a more streamlined collection with fewer items), and has implemented many other practices that keep her life in order. An organizing realization for Phoebe has been moving from place to place. When she moved from Colorado to New York City she brought everything with her, held onto it for the 2 years she lived there, even if she didn’t wear it or use it, and then moved it back to Colorado when she left. This year when she moved to Phoenix, she did things a little differently. “I never want to have to move that much stuff again. You have to have the wardrobe for the life you’re living now, not the life you might have,” Phoebe said. She was able to let go of all those clothes she thought she would need for her life someday, that had been weighing her down from city to city, and only kept things that work for her right now.

When Phoebe shops, she asks herself, “What do I really want? What will I really wear a million times? What will go with a million things?” This helps her to avoid impulse purchases that aren’t really “her.” “I keep up on magazines, but mostly I’ve developed a sense for what works for me. I can go through a store and know if something will look good on me. I like basics best.” There is so much to be learned from Phoebe’s philosophy, as it is much easier to avoid a disjointed wardrobe where you end up with a lot of things that never get pulled out when you have this sense of your personal style and what suits you. Clarifying this before you keep adding to your wardrobe is essential to only have pieces that make sense for your lifestyle, and that you wear repeatedly and feel great in each time.

Beyond having defined her style, Phoebe has always had a knack for organization. This is apparent in her drawers of Kondo-style folded t-shirts, her uniform white hangers, and all of the extra breathing space she has in her walk-in bedroom closet. “My closet has always been organized by color and sleeve length. I didn’t know until college that most people don’t fold their underwear.” Her bedroom is always tidy but stylish. For example above her dresser is a bulletin board, filled with a few inspiring images pinned up, but also used to pin her collection of statement necklaces in a row. This keeps them from getting tangled, but also allows her to easily see what she has – how perfect!

I asked Phoebe if she finds it easy or hard to get rid of stuff, and she answered: “Mostly hard. I’ve gotten better at it, but I do become attached to objects. I have that mentality that I might need this in the future and I don’t want to buy it again. I’m able to let go of things if I haven’t worn it, if I’m going to have to move it, or if it doesn’t make me feel good. I have to be in the right mood to get rid of things though.” Well it seems like she has been in the right mood a lot recently, because her space appears to only be filled with things that she really loves. Framed family photos, favorite books, and a few special knick-knacks all have a designated place where they can be easily enjoyed. The same goes for her closet, in which every item looks like something I could see her wearing that very day.

Kondo-Style Drawer Organization
Phoebe Miner

Phoebe’s DIY dresser that she salvaged from Goodwill and painted in a bold yellow. The pegboard above displays some favorite images and long necklaces.

Phoebe's Style Profile: DIY Dresser and Pegboard

The benefit of being organized for Phoebe: “I know exactly what I have and how to put together an outfit. If I need a white shirt I know what I have and where to find it.” That is a theme of her organizing philosophy, knowing exactly what she owns. Phoebe said she doesn’t understand people who clean out their closet and find things they forget they had. “How can you forget that you own something?” she said. If you know what you have, you are much less likely to buy duplicates, and you can choose things that you know will compliment what you’re already working with.

Beyond just her clothes, Phoebe uses organization to keep all aspects of her life running smoothly. As a busy graduate student, she doesn’t have time to be scrambling every month to pay her bills, so she sets everything on auto-pay, that way she never misses a bill. Phoebe is a self-proclaimed list maker. Like many of us, she likes the process of writing everything out, and then crossing it off as she completes a task. As for her schedule, she says: “I like to look at my calendar all mapped out for a couple of weeks. The visual is important. It’s the same with my budget. I like to have graphs and charts and I check that almost every day. I keep track of everything.” It’s hard to imagine things getting past her. Phoebe exudes togetherness and has a calming energy to those around her. I can’t think of a time I have seen her disheveled, because she always plans ahead. “I’m organized because I know the steps it takes to get there.” Yes, she certainly does.