Self-expression is everything that you do that others can see.

If you base what you do and what you look like on what you THINK is expected of you, you won’t really like your life and everything in it.

Now, the first time you read that, it may sound very obvious.

But most of the decisions that we make are based on external expectations!

We have been taught that a happy life means having a family, it is hard to be different, if you are someone who doesn’t want children you will find yourself having to explain yourself million of times!

We live under the impression that it is your fault if you seem to be unable to choose the right education and the right job from the available options, it seems to work for everyone else, you must be at flaw if it doesn’t work for you!

And you know that if you don’t know what to wear it simply means that you aren’t very good at spotting trends and that it is YOUR fault if you cannot find the joy in fashion!

That is only a snippet of the ideas that exist that put a little, or a lot, of pressure on you.

We are not taught that it is okay to be doing something differently, just because you feel you want to.

And that means that you feel right now that miss something in your life.

That is where I come in.

I help you to be who you really are, and take decisions from that place.

I believe that you KNOW what and how you want to do things, but it is just snowed in.

You have been taught not to believe in yourself.

In your veins runs blood that thinks it’s not good enough.
The cells of your body are trained to keep you form speaking up, because that might make you the next target.
You looks are devoted to not-stand-out and to be appealing to as many people as possible.

I help you to find the strength to believe in yourself and your dreams.

To make sure that you do what you need to do to create that life.

That life that you love to wake up to.

You can live you life as an Icon.

I believe everybody has an inner Icon that wants to come out, but we keep that from happening, either through self-sabotage or because of how we are brought up.

An Icon knows who they are, what they want and how they want to do it.

They have a unique style to them, that is anchored in their authenticity.

There is just so much fake, there is a need for real and for honest.


Being who you are, while others can see you, is hard.

It is the most vulnerable thing you can do.

But not being who you are, drains you.

If it is bad, it will get you a life that you do not really want.

(speaking from experience, see the about me page)

At any point you can start to take back your life.

(Or your marketing.)

And start to share a message that you truly believe in.

Show up for yourself unapologetically.

Wherever it is you want to be seen.

If you, like most of my clients, want to finally do what you really want to do and how you want to do it, we need to talk.

Most of the people I work with want to be honest and real in their communication, in their lives.

They want to be authentic and free from the fear that holds them back.

Let me know if you want that too, cause I dig that sh*t.

I want to help you to feel strong and be successful because of who you really are, not despite of who you are.

Are you hiding?

Hello creative changemaker with a mission! 

Tell me, are you hiding?

Do you get up in the morning and consider the people that you might run into when you select what you want to wear? Would you want to dress more outgoing but you fear eyes looking at you when you pass?  

At the same time you are working on your mission, on getting your work out there and being noticed, but that isn’t doing what you like it to do, just yet?

How would dressing up the way you want to, unique and possibly in your face, help both situations? What would it take for you to dress up uniquely, be proud of who you are and where you stand, and how would that help both you and your work to be more successful?

My name is Marjolein, and I help creatives with their self-expression. While you would think that being creative means you have plenty of ideas on how to express yourself it is often more difficult for them to dress the part. No matter where a creative brain looks there are always limitations! There are limiting beliefs about what you are supposed to wear, and when you need to go straight through them in order to be who you are, as creatives will often have to, you will feel them more intensely too…  

Yet, it is the most important thing to do for you to feel more powerful. When you can be who you are under any circumstance you will feel confident, up to any task and will leave a lasting impression on others.  

What could happen when you show up confident to any presentation or situation that you are invited to? What could happen if you feel confident enough to share your deepest thoughts and stories online? What would happen if you would be strong enough to say what you feel you need to say under any circumstance? 

I know what it is like to put limitations on your own self-expression. What it is like to look around you in order to discern if what you are doing is “OK”. To only self-express within the limitations of the people around you. It means you can only show a small part of yourself. 

I also know what it is like to show up as myself. To dress as pure as I can. And with each garment that comes in my wardrobe I get closer to the real me. It means that I 

am growing more confident, that I will speak up when I feel the need to. It means I do not mind comments, the person commenting often will simply suffer by their own limitations. Besides, I mostly get compliments. 

And I have no problem with being visible online anymore. If I feel the need to share something I will. Whether that be in text, video or some of my work. When I feel the need to take the stage to share my story I will. 

It means my business grew too. Because the business of a creative individual is probably the most closely related to their own personality of any other form of business. It means that when you are strong enough to show yourself, your work will be stronger too. 

If you want to break those limiting beliefs about how you look, if you want to show up as the strong person that you are, wherever you want to be actively present, you might be the person I am looking for. I coach people that feel the need to be real and create for the public eye. People that want to develop and break down a ceiling or two in the process. People that know there is a strength to showing up as who they are on all occasions.

Stop hiding and start showing what you are made of!

Get in touch with me for a free 1:1 coaching call, to check if we are meant to work together!

Rethink on Facebook

You have probably seen this already, but from the 1st of March Rethink your wardrobe will be on Facebook for a max of 15 people.

I know you might be done with the online stuff that is going on, right now. All the webinars, the videos, the meetings. You don’t really want to be looking at another screen after you have been enjoying the blue light all day already… But this is not another online training. Most of the time you will be looking at your wardrobe, your life, or your reflection, not a screen.

You know that I hate and love fashion at the same time.

I never know exactly how to put into words how it makes me feel when something that I love so much, that is part of my identity, that I feel a certain responsibility for, is cause for sooo much stress and despair for other people.

It is like your kid, your awesome amazing fantastic kid, of whom you are proud and have tons of love for, has wrecked something really bad. You kid has hurt another child. And with your whole being you want you kid to make it right with the other child. You want your kid to understand what it has done wrong. Because this is not your kid. Your kid and the way you know it, would not do this. In its core your kid would never hurt others in this way.

It tears you apart inside.

To me fashion is the ultimate form of self-expression and a liberator. When you know what you want to wear and start to not-care what others think, wearing what you want feels incredibly powerful. Fashion is also the source of my biggest moments of creativity. Not just with my hands. Yes, I love making stuff and often that means that I accidentally fall in line with some of the world’s greatest designers. Designs that you do not see on the street very often and even less in the stores will be in my wardrobe.
But the creativity that I talk about is not just what is coming out of your hands. It also means channeling a sort of out of the box thinking that we are not used to doing with clothes. Instead of looking outside, I look at my core-values and try to find out what I need to do in order to have my clothes fit in with, well, me!
The fashion that I know and love is sustainable, or at the very least meaningful. Because non-sustainable fashion just makes me feel bad. It doesn’t make my steps feel light, it doesn’t make me shine, it doesn’t make me feel good about my clothes.

And it hurts to see fashion being a problem to others. I cry a little every time I see a documentary about the problems in production. About the horrible ways in which items are produced, how animals and people are treated. I know from experience that working in fashion comes at a personal cost, not just in a factory far away but also in the fashion-design-hubs all around the world.
It hurts even more to realize that this kind of suffering has no point. If we would feel fantastic looking in the mirror then maybe I wouldn’t care so much. That means that all the money and effort that goes into clothes would pay off, but it doesn’t! The fashion struggle continues in our own wardrobes! There are only a very few lucky people that feel fantastic in their clothes every time. Come to think of it, probably there aren’t any people that feel great with who they are all of the time. That hurts me too. Fashion is supposed to make you feel better, not worse. If you were to get out of bed feeling not so great, getting dressed in the morning should make you feel better, not worse. Most of the time clothes and the way we experience fashion is making you feel worse.

I want to change this.

Because everybody deserves to feel fantastic in the clothes that they wear.

Do we put so much time and effort and money into our clothes to feel bad?


We do that in order to feel great!

So lets! Let’s start to feel great in the clothes that we wear!

The Rethink your wardrobe group is an experiment. I want to find the best way to help people get the most out of fashion and self-expression. I am still going to put as much as I can into it so if you want to join I will send you a PWYW PayPal link. If PayPal is not for you or you have nothing to spare just let me know, I am sure we can work something out!

This Rethink your wardrobe course is for you if you aren’t feeling that spring in your step when you are dressed in the morning. It is for you if your clothes cannot get you out of a bad mood but rather put you into one. It is for you if you want to be more sustainable but trying to be more sustainable is a hassle and sometimes feels too negative and like a burden. It is for you if you want to finally feel confident enough to wear those bright colours and those combinations that you think you love but are afraid to wear. It is also for you if you feel your clothes are a bit boring. If they aren’t showing off the real you, because the real you is way more fun!?!

After 8 weeks your wardrobe will be more aligned with who you are in your core. You will be more confident because you trust yourself. You know exactly what you want to wear! Trends will have less grip on you, you know where to get your clothes. You will be more creative with your wardrobe, and you will never buy an item again that you are not going to wear. You know that curating an amazing wardrobe is a continues effort and you know how to have fun with it. If all that doesn’t do it for you, at the very least you will have a sorted out wardrobe, where it is easy to find things and you know exactly how to keep it that way!

Send me a message in any way and I will get back to you!

We are stuck in a loop.

It is morning. You are getting ready for the day. You count your blessings before sitting up in your bed, as you have been training yourself to do. But then, when you start to open the doors and drawers from the cupboards and closets that hold your clothes, you can’t help to feel a little disappointed again. While you are trying to decide what to wear today, you ponder over what you should be having in your wardrobe. What is it that is missing from these items that would truly make you enthusiastic about your looks?

Here is the thing, though, we are so stuck in how we experience fashion that we do not see a way out. Sure, you try something every now and then. You try to buy more sustainable, or only second hand for a year. Or a stop-shop all together. But it doesn’t seem to really work well, you do not get that great feeling from your clothes that you know you deserve.

There is not one thing that you could change to make sure you love what you wear. There are many things and it is difficult. It is difficult because one thing leads to another. You feel like buying something new because your wardrobe sucks. It is not as good as it could be. Because it sucks you buy something new on a regular basis, thinking that you are on a budget. You buy something that you will stop having an interested in soon, and BOOM, you have yourself another average item that adds to the feeling of craving something new.

This is the loop that we are stuck in, and that you need to break.

If you cut the cycle with better habits you will turn it in an upward spiral. A spiral that will continue to develop and grow upward together with your personality. While it works its way upward you will start to feel better in your outfits. That will be the time when you realize that changing your habits works, that you have the right and the means to feel as great as you want to feel in your outfits and how you look.

The Rethink-program will help you to break with the habits that are keeping you down. It tackles the 4 main reasons why we keep adhering to this cycle using lessons from fashion itself.

The 4 main reasons why we keep ourselves in the same cycle are;
The high beauty standards we keep putting ourselves up against. They are all around us, but it is thanks to ourselves if we allow it to have a bad impact on our lives and how we feel.
The need for new that exists because the items that we have in our wardrobe already are horrible.
The price per wear; we are used to a certain price-range, quality and look of the items we buy. We need to change how we look at quality, price and background story if you really want a different feeling from your wardrobe.
Shopaholic; we misinterpret the vibe we get from wearing something new with feeling good about yourself. Your old outfit should be able to give you the same feeling as a brand new outfit, if it doesn’t it is not good enough for you.

The Rethink program, (you can find more information here) works to cut the cycle at those four points.

How does it do that?

You know by now that I do love fashion. I just do not love the generic sell-more boring fashion that most of us have in our wardrobes… I’ll run you down some thing that you can take from the fashion industry that you can incorporate in your daily life so you can can get to a wardrobe that is better, too!

First up, the designers approach. You have been dressing yourself your whole life. You know what you like and what you don’t. It is just not enough in the center of your attention. If you get this more to the forefront you will never by an items again that you do not like!

Go into your wardrobe, and find out. Find out what you like the most, in terms of quality, shape, colour, print etc etc. The things you do not like? They might also be able to tell you something. But focus on the positive for now, kay? We like to keep an upbeat vibe because sometimes dressing is simply hard!

Second, how to be your own muse. Designers and buying teams work with a representation of their perfect client. You should be your own muse. It might be hard to look at yourself as a source of inspiration, but there really is no other way to be happier with your wardrobe. You should not dress for anyone but yourself!

There are many ways for you to feel better. For now I will leave you with one particular one that is going to make a change for you in all parts of your life. Let the compliments sink in. We tend to step over compliments and accomplishments with ease while we linger on the things that we did wrong, or that didn’t go well. Next time somebody gives you a compliment, reply with a “Thank you very much”. Do not try and write them off to other people that may have helped you. Do not stop to think that is was a piece of cake and that anybody could have done it. Let them sink into your heart. Remember them, write them down, repeat them, anything! So you let them give you the great feeling that you deserve to have.

Another thing that we can change is our state of mind. There is a lot wrong with current fashion. We have a strained relationship with it, where it could be a benefit and a joy in our lives. We try and dress so others might accept us, for example, or we give trends power over us by thinking that what you wear should be in line with current fashion.

In the course we will learn to recognize this and what you can do about it, cause it is kind of a big subject. For now I would suggest that you stop following accounts and things that give you a limited idea of what fashion is. Stop yourself being influenced by anything its sole purpose is to sell more. No more magazines in your post, no more newsletters in your email. Do not follow brands anymore that try to sell you more of the same. Clean them up, flush them out! Exterminate them!

We will look at how the world influences you. How others look affects how we want to look. What others believe to be important affects what we feel is important. How things are designed and made has an effect on how they look and feel. So how can you be aware of this, influence it and make changing easier for yourself?

There is a lot going on in the production of fashion. I recommend you find a documentary, prep yourself up on a couch somewhere and watch it. It is not going to be nice. But the clothes you wear are directly responsible for a lot of hurt. You know this already unless you have been living under a rock. If you allow yourself to take in the details it will be easier to change.

How do you influence the world/ environment around you? The struggles you have with your wardrobe are not isolated to you alone. You know that others might struggle with the same things, we are all people living in the same communities. The moment you take the freedom to express yourself the way you want to, you might be able to help others to do the same, because they see you confidently do it.

For now I would suggest to train your brain to be positive about others that look different to you. Stop making jokes at the expense of somebody else that didn’t get the trends right. Or that is wearing something you think is inappropriate. You are reading my blogs, posts and email because you are struggling with how you look. How you feel or want to feel, doesn’t match with how you look form the outside. I can guaranty that there are people out there that feel a bigger mismatch between how they look and how they feel. It is harder for them, start creating the freedom of expression for other too, you might feel more freedom for yourself too!

That is it, for now! I hope these tips might help you to increase the fun you have with the outfits you create for yourself. I hope if I were to meet you in the street at some point, I would be able to see who you are and what you stand for in life. There is just more fun in it, that way!

Jealousy as a guide.

When you look at how you look, it is normal to also look at how other people look. Lets take a look at at that!

Okay, that was a joke, I am not saying it is a good one. But I want to talk to you about how and why we, yes look, at other people, especially when it makes us feel bad!

Obviously if you can look at your friend, who has just lost all of her pregnancy weight and looks stunning in that newly (made) dress, you can feel different things. If you only feel good, for her, than you are fine. But if you look at her and get ideas in your head like, I wish I looked like that, or; if only I could also lose those extra pounds that I carry around, than something needs to change.

I have seen different ways of how people are tackling jealously. For example, they try not to feel it, which is understandable, as you might actually not feel super well about not wishing your friend to feel great. Some take it as a que, they make themselves think of compliments to give to others when they feel a streak of jealously coming up. I imagine telling your friend she looks lovely with clenching jaws still comes across as slightly false. You might want to start a different approach to tackling jealousy.

Jealousy can help you to plot a course for a life that you love. It might make you feel horrible until you realize what you need to change and put your energy towards that. Or it will stop hurting when you have realized that you just cannot change some things and you need to change your perspective.

You see somebody that has something you want and you can feel the “auch” coming up from inside. That might be things that they own, or they have a relationship or a child that you want but do not have. Or it is that girl around the corner that seems to sport the right colours every year, that gets you thinking: “every f*ck*ng season she nails it”, that sort of thing. The feeling lingers inside yourself like a sort of; If only I had or, If only I was….

Hate to brake it to you, but that rocks.

There is something inside you telling you what is not right about your life right now. But that doesn’t mean that all you need to do is get what they have and than the feeling will disappear. Think about it like this, what if you would have that dress that she is wearing, combined with those shoes, would they really look good on you? Or would that simply be her style that you are emulating? So what is it that your jealousy is trying to tell you?

Your jealousy is trying to tell you what you need. In the case of the fashionable girl around the corner, you do not want that dress and those shoes, but the confidence that what you are wearing is perfect for you. You need to feel and think through this jealousy to find out what it is that makes you feel this way. It is never what you think it is about initially. Something superficial will spark jealousy, while the solution is on a deeper layer.

I want to share with you a personal story, to illustrate… I am a tall brown-haired Dutch girl. My family is pretty strong. My grandfather is rumored to have saved his tractor from a ditch in his heydays using only his hands. My brother singlehandedly lifts washing machines up stairs and my mum used to be a pretty good shot putter in college, according to my dad…

Knowing what my genes are, I still used to envy short and petit build women. I felt they were closer to how women were supposed to look. And if I was unhappy with how I looked I decided that eating less was the way to go instead of working out. Working out would make me look bigger in no time, because I would increase the size of my muscles.

Eating less to look more like how I wanted to look had never worked for me, not in the way that I wanted to anyway. I was just too tall to be petit! It was absolutely ridiculous to want to be so different from who I was. I was just unhappy with who I was and decided that the total opposite was the way to go. I had to do some inner work in order to tackle this one.

That didn’t start with how I looked, nor with my wardrobe. I had all kinds of characteristics that didn’t fit in with what I thought a woman should be like. Not just how she should look but also what she should endure, how she should express herself and how she should live her life. And they didn’t make any sense with who I was.

But I had tucked that away somewhere far.

Only until I started to give myself some room to be and show who I was, often starting with what I wore, I started to realize that I didn’t want to be a long haired blond delicately playing the violin. Or the harp. With her perfect long fingers and her long eyelashes. I am a girl that sometimes listens to Rammstein, loves Lara Croft and knows a thing or two about Klingons.

in the background of this picture there is a little something that I would have never added to my home a few years ago… Can you recognize what it is?

The funny thing is, I always liked Lara Croft. She is more a role-model from my past than my present. Why I gave the idea of the perfect woman being petit more attention that Lara, has to do with feeling insecure and a negative feeling of self-worth.

Now, today, totally accepting the Lara in me, I am working out more than I ever did before. And I love it. It has shaped my body in a way that I would have never liked in the past. But changing my perspective means that I do love how my body looks now. I am not saying it is perfect, but it looks strong. (Want to know something funny, for those of you struggling with your weight, I now weigh exactly what I always wanted to weigh. Letting go of looking trying to look like a skinny model meant I now have habits that work better for who I am…)

It also means that I do not want to look like a petit woman anymore. I still think they look fantastic, and I mean it. It doesn’t make me feel envious anymore. Because they look great, but what the you-know, I look great too. Those things can co-exist. And if you do not feel that I look great, you are not ma thang!

Making clothing personal.

Are you as creative as you would like to be? Tell me, do you have some pieces of fabric lying around, bought for a project that you thought of years ago? Or maybe you are thinking about an outfit that you used to wear, but is not sold anymore. Would it not be great if you could in some way make that outfit again?

This blog is for those people who want to be creative with their hands and make stuff, but who somehow feel held back. At the end of this article I will share 4 tips with you about how to start to be more creative.

repairing is caring

I share what I am making, on my socials… Sometimes it is an upcycle or recycle project or it might be something that had to be handmade from scratch, because it does not exist in the way that I like it. In any case, it is not that I want you to purely make things; I want you to start questioning how and why you get the things that end up in your wardrobe. By sharing my creative project I want to show you that you can do things differently.

Being creative with your hands and making stuff certainly helps when you want to own items that are important to you. There is no equivalent to making a dress that is perfect in colour, perfect for your shape and exactly the story that you want it to be!

Much of why we dislike what we have available for ourselves to wear is because it is a generic fashion, and we are not generic people. We are individuals who have a distinct taste and style and feeling for what beauty is.

When you think about your wardrobe, what feelings come up? When you get dressed in the morning, does your wardrobe make you feel better, or worse about the day ahead?

I help people to learn to curate garments into their wardrobe rather than just buying things. When you curate the items into your wardrobe you take real care that they suit you and your values perfectly. Being creative helps when you are able to make and change garments so they are bespoke, perfect for you.

always in the making zone

But, whether it is due to the stigma of being creative or a steep learning curve, it is sometimes difficult to just go ahead and do it. When somebody else is being creative, they make it look so effortless!

Here are four tips that can make it easy for you to unleash your individual creativity safely, so you can start enjoying expressing your personality.

1- how to be more confident
This is a mindset issue. I won’t go into the stigma of creativity and why it is there, that is a whole other story, but I can tell you that doing what you want in terms of fashion and clothing will make you happier. If you feel held back by voices in your head that tell you to not do something because it is silly or make you stand out, know that you are limiting yourself. It is you trying to listen to voices of people who are not even real. You are already slowing yourself down before you have even met anyone’s critical eyes. Do you want to live your life by the rules of others? Or do you want to live life being an authentic version of yourself? Ask yourself, if you keep holding yourself back because you do not want to stand out, what is the cost and what do you lose?

2- take it easy and learn
If you are a beginner, know that you are allowed time to learn and make mistakes. Just start! Start by repairing something with a silly button. Just because you like it. Make a simple top from your imagination. The thrill of making something that once existed only in your head can become addictive. Sadly, if we did not have any role models around us when we were younger who regularly were in the process of making or repairing, the learning curve can be huge. If you have never touched a sewing machine, it can be hard to learn how to thread a machine; and to understand why it needs such an intricate path before you can start sewing!

3- get a pro to help
If you want to create something that is a few levels above your own abilities you can ask a professional to help. Give part of the process to someone who knows what they are doing. You could even give your design to a studio. They can make your outfit. That way you are able to use your imagination and express yourself.

4-co-creation or customisation
Another way to unleash your creativity is by using the multiple customisation options on the internet. That way you are creating a unique piece, and you cannot go wrong. Take you favourite colour combinations or an artwork or emblem that is important to you. It takes a bit of time, sometimes it feels like a puzzle, to create your perfect shoes, bag or shirt but the end product is certainly professional looking!

I have many more tips, but the thing is, they are also very personal. Maybe you are not held back by limiting ideas of self-expression. Maybe you just do not know how to sew and do not know where to start?

Like I said, creativity is key to showing who you are. When you want a wardrobe that makes you happy, that inspires you and is a true representation of who you are, you have to be creative.

I have written an e-book that explores the problem of our impersonal wardrobe and why this is hurting us. But do not worry, it is not a negative look on current fashion practices! I have included several different ways to get out of this system and confidently challenge the status quo in fashion.

Start by expressing yourself and taking the space that you deserve.

Life-decision making; like waves on a boat.

Some of you know my journey in terms of fashion. I have been talking about how I used to be creative, and had my own unique way of making a wardrobe; and how I lost that confidence during my fashion education, where I took what fashion is and the way fashion was supposed to work from my teachers and my fellow students.

But, obviously, I let that happen.

I do not blame my teachers nor the rest of the class (or the world, for that matter). There was something going on inside of me that let this happen. Who lets this part of their creativity be taken away if it is such a major part of their personality?

Well, it seems that I am someone who is prone to take over what other people are doing. I am someone who takes what they see around them as normal and is actively trying to make sure that she is part of that normality. My fashion habits have been the last to go and the first to come back.

As a child I have felt out of the ordinary. I come from a small town where there is not much room for being different. School couldn’t quite figure out whether I was stupid or smart. I liked sci-fi rather than the typical pink-princess stuff. Childhood has a way of amplifying how and why you are different to other people too, you know what I mean, right?

Then there is that part of me that knew it was very important to find out what my parents wanted of me, so that I could do this and feel connected to them, or maybe I should say, not disconnected. It is always difficult to say exactly what part of your early childhood made a mark in how you turn out as an adult. You are so young when most of the learned behaviours became integrated into your system. And when they are integrated into your system you start to treat the world the same way, getting back confirmation.

I learned to reply and respond to my parents with what I thought they wanted. And later this behaviour is projected onto friends, teachers and so on. I remember my decision making process. If I didn’t know what to do, I would ask a friend. Their response made sense to me, because I could not get to a decision myself. I went ahead and did it the way she recommended. I am sure you can see the danger in that.

Going through life like this makes you feel like you are a boat bobbing on the waves. The waves decide where you are going. I responded to whatever was going on around me, rather than checking my emotional compass and steering my ship…

How long a paper boat survives is completely depended on its surroundings….

A few years ago, I started to question and challenge my behaviour. Mostly because I saw how I was responding to my children and I didn’t like what I was seeing. I wanted to change my behaviour because I saw them turning out like me, with the same struggles that I had. I want to raise them so they know how to control their boat.

This change focused mostly on what I was doing in the moment. When you get tired, how do you respond to your children? When they aren’t doing what you want them to do, how to you respond? Those are all emotional responses. So in order to change how I was responding to them I needed to find out what I was feeling and why. I think that is the first time that I started to tune into my heart and out of my head.

Later something happened within our family that made an impact on me. Let’s just say, my boat crashed. I was stuck on the shore with parts of wood all around me. (If I make a joke here, and said I was looking for a basketball to talk to, do you know what image I have in my head?) Anyway, there was no way that I could go any further like this. I was totally disintegrated.

My boat crashed… It can’t take the waves of life.

You need to know that at that point I had a perfect life. I had my health. (Okay, I could do with some healthy choices, but I was fine) I had four fantastic kids that no longer were babies. (Babies are lovely but they take a lot of your energy caring for them.) I just moved to a big house that was pretty much my dream house or in any case the perfect house to raise those kids in and to live happily ever after.

I had been doing what I was supposed to do. Find a husband you can rely on, have some kids, buy a house and do some creative things in your spare time when you are not taking care of those other things that I mentioned. I guess I was living a pretty good life, by society’s standard.  

But it didn’t feel like my life.

It hadn’t been easy to try and make this work, don’t get me wrong. I worked hard to believe that it was fine, by distracting myself with things that do not matter. It takes energy to try and do what I thought other people wanted of me. And I thought it was normal to sacrifice yourself as much as I did in order to take care of the babies.

I was tired and didn’t know where to go, to get rid of this horrible feeling; my life was flashing by without me participating in it. I was shipwrecked on the coast. “Go go gadget boat” didn’t work, “huub huub barbatruc” wasn’t going to get me off either.

I first had to accept who I was and be okay with that. I am somebody who questions everything. I am somebody who thinks a lot and loves to be alone. I am somebody who wants to carve a different path because then I feel like I am alive. I feel best when I learn. I have learned that if I do not fit in, it is an asset not a problem. All of this is fine.

But when you accept who you are, you also need to accept how you feel. When you start to listen to what you are feeling you are going to have to take action. You cannot be who you are and ignore what your heart is trying to tell you.

It was hard in the beginning, because, people want you to be who they know you to be. It feels as though they try to push you back to your former self. From the moment it got easier to trust my gut, I got happier. I might not be exactly where I want to be, but that is not the point, is it? I allow myself to make decisions trusting my heart, and that is what makes me feel alive (And happy, did I mention happy?).

It doesn’t mean it isn’t scary. I have no idea if this is going to take me where I want to be. I have never trusted the compass of my heart in this way before. So how the h*ll do I know this is going to work? On the other hand, I have all the proof I need, to know, that thinking my way through life isn’t going to make me happy. That, for sure, isn’t going to make me feel like I have lived a full and fantastic life.

I think that most of us feel the burden of “what other people might think”. And I think that we are limiting our self because of it. I feel it is my duty to try and get people to let go of others’ opinions and to help guide them in developing their self esteem and more specifically in what they wear.

For me fashion has always been a way to express myself. In the beginning of this blog I told you that my creativity in fashion was the last thing to go and the first thing to come back, after a period of not being who I was. But truly, my fashion values, never really left me. I don’t think that people close to me can recognise this period from my clothing. I think they have always seen me as free spirited and my clothes showed that. The difference is that I am now seeing it as my strongest asset, definitely not something unworthy or odd. 

It is not normal, or is it?

Are you happy with the content of you wardrobe? If your wardrobe isn’t working for you, you could ask yourself, did you work for your wardrobe?

Most people are unhappy with their wardrobe to such an extent that it seems normal. To illustrate this, do you remember the last conversation you had about your clothing? For me, it seems conversations are often about somebody acquiring something new, and they are still on a high. Rare conversations range from the sustainability-issues with our clothing, how (and if) to repair clothing, making clothing as a hobby, or where you should go shopping in the first place. But most conversations are about people’s uncertainty about what to wear to some event, what is okay to wear often at somebody else’s expense…   

From those conversations it is clear that there is much uncertainty. Most people think it is their own fault that they do not have the right garments in their wardrobe. And  perhaps, it is, but not because of the reasons that you think.

All you need to do to have a better wardrobe is simply fill your wardrobe with trendier items, right? Or more sustainable ones. And you need to organise better. Oh, no, I know, you need to find out what colours suit you. Maybe you should hire a personal shopper to help you out? Or invite somebody in your home and together go through your wardrobe. They know how to combine things together, right?!? I am sure somebody else can tell you what to wear, because, well, they know. Sure. 

Or maybe you should take a step back and figure out what you are trying to accomplish anyway.

With what you have been doing now, going through the regular steps with the regular solutions, you will keep getting the same result. 

I am not telling you anything new, you know this. 

 If you keep shopping in the same stores that you have always been going to, you are not going to change the results in your wardrobe. Buying the same labels that are in the garments that you are throwing out is not going to help you change the feeling that your wardrobe gives back to you. 

If you want to change your wardrobe you need to change the habits around your wardrobe. You not only need to change how you get your items, you also need to change how you think about fashion.

Let me give you a little insight. We think that fashion needs to make us feel good about ourselves. We look at shallow solutions to solve our deeper issues, like feeling alone, ugly or in other words, unworthy. Brands and trends will give you a story that results in a temporary, quick fix, which some call an addiction. The thrilling rush of buying something new, buying into a made-up story, makes us feel good for a while. 

This buzz doesn’t last. The rush that I mentioned lasts for hours(!) to days depending on which report you read. It will not be long before these newly bought items will change and feel like the older items you already own. And your wardrobe will still give you the same uninspired feeling that you have always been feeling. 

Fashion can mean so much more to you. 

If you are able to turn it around, then you can experience fashion the way it is meant to be.  Instead of making you feel like you are not good enough it is supposed to show your individual self. Instead of making you feel ugly or fat, it is supposed to excite you. Instead of making you feel like you cannot wear fashion like you should, it is supposed to support you and show you off. Instead of making you feel like you are not good enough, fashion and the clothing that are in your wardrobe are supposed to make you feel like you matter. 

Upcycling is a personal choice and was a habit change for me.

Your wardrobe is supposed to be a reflection of your personality not of last year’s High Street shopping trends.  

Fashion and how you buy matters, not just to other people. Sure, how often you wash makes a difference in our environment. Where you buy might make a difference to the local economy. Personally I am a big fan of buying Fairtrade because it makes a difference to the people making my garments and the farmers who are farming the cotton. 

These choices eventually have a reflection on me. On what emotions I feel when I open my wardrobe. Did I make things myself? Was it a communal effort? Was it an item that challenges the current status quo? Or did I make a difference in the life of an emerging designer? All the different emotional states I had while buying my garments come back to me when I open the doors of where I store my items. They reflect what I find important in life. They reflect who I am. Some of them might even reflect who I want to be…

I help people to create, or curate as I like to call it, an inspirational personal wardrobe. I use the word curate because I feel we should think about the pieces in our wardrobe as artworks. And our entire wardrobe as a collection. Yes, even the basic pieces. Even the tops and shirts that we hide underneath our outfit. They are the closest to our body, they are the closest to our hearts, they deserve some attention too! 

Curating an inspirational personal wardrobe is a lifetime’s work, because your personality will be changing and your wardrobe will reflect this; and it is ok that you can see the development that you have been going through. Would you diss every experience that you go through that has shaped your personality once you’ve been through it? Of course not!

It is difficult to change your habits if you are unable to look at them objectively. It is also difficult to change as you have been buying meaningless items for so long. If you haven’t done so already I invite you to download my ebook. In the ebook I go further into what is wrong with how we experience fashion at the moment; and how you could distance yourself from it and learn new individual habits. I hope to show you how we are actually harming ourselves with the habits we have and how to step up and change this.

Treat yourself: Buy nothing.

for english scroll down…

Je vrijheid gelimiteerd.

Pas je koopgedrag aan en kies voor; jezelf!

In ons dagelijkse leven zijn we vooral bezig zijn met het vergroten van de aanschaf van nutteloze dingen. We hebben grotere huizen nodig om oze dingen in kwijt te kunnen, en als dat niet meer past dan gaat het gewoon naar de opslag. Waar we vervolgens natuurlijk ook weer voor moeten betalen.

Toen we nog verzamelden voor ons eten was het hartstikke nuttig om meer te willen. Diegene die altijd meer wilden hadden meer kans om te overleven in tijden van schaarste. Alleen komen we nu om in de dingen. Alles wat je op een schem ziet en zelfs de praat van de mensen om je heen zal je motiveren, stimuleren of eigenlijk zelfs brainwashen om je het gevoel te geven dat je iets moet hebben.  Want dan ben je wel blij, gelukkig, tevreden, mooi, geliefd, gezellig of weet ik wat. Dan is je leven compleet.

Onderschat niet de overheersende kracht van je aankopen.

 Vergeet niet dat bij elk ding dat je nu koopt een volgend ding om de hoek al staat te wachten. Bijvoorbeeld een mooie nieuwe broek, die kan niet zonder top. En eigenlijk andere schoenen want die je hebt staan eigelijk niet goed onder deze lengte broek. Ow en die top is wat licht van kleur; tijd voor huidskleurige lingerie. Klinkt herkenbaar?

Jongens, zeg nou eens eerlijk, behalve naast het heerlijke gevoel van iets gaafs gekocht te hebben, (vaak duurt dit maar een dag of een paar dagen!) heb je dan niet meeteen al weer een schuldgevoel? (wat veel langer duurt dan die paar dagen?!) Is je budget er wel voor gemaakt? Je weet eigenlijk ook wel dat het waarschijnlijk slecht geproduceerd is en meer dingen kopen werkt nu eenmaal niet mee aan minder milieu-problematiek.  Dit allemaal slaat een gat in je ziel.

Een manier om daar wat aan te doen is simpel: stop met kopen! Voila! Meer geld in je pocket om ergens aan uit te geven wat wel de moeite waard  is! Dus laat die tassen staan en loop vrij verder!

Wat zou jij doen, zonder de beperkingen van Kopen?

Hier zijn een paar tips uit mijn assortiment:

  • De allerbelangrijkste; probeer na te gaan waarom je wil shoppen? Ben je eenzaam? Zoek je entertainment? Ben je opzoek naar afleiding van iets waar je eigenlijk mee moet “dealen”? Ben je opzoek naar inspiratie? Probeer erachter te komen wat het is en doe er wat aan. Een rondje wandelen door het bos helpt in de meeste gevallen…
  • Ga in plaats van shoppen eerst eens een middagje je kast opruimen. Ik weet zeker dat je geïnspireerd bent aan het einde van die dag, dat je outfits herondekt of anders gaat stylen.
  • Inspiratie shoppen. Ga shoppen maar koop niks. Helemaal niks nakkes nada. Doe inspiratie op. Kijk wat je goed staat en wat niet met pas-sessies.
    Dat je een winkel instapt, dat iemand je zelfs helpt, hoeft nog helemaal niet te zeggen dat je pe se iets moet kopen. Je hebt gewonnen wanneer je helemaal niets in je tas hebt aan het einde van de dag! Je zult enorm geïnspireerd zijn, juist omdat je niet met ogen kijkt die vragen: “Zit hier iets voor mij tussen?”, maar met een blik van; wat is er allemaal te zien? Misschien kun je wat dingen passen die je grens verleggen? En als kers op de taart? Je mag zeker terugkomen over een week of twee wanneer er een artikel is dat je maar niet uit je hoofd kan krijgen. Als dat echt zo is weet je eigenlijk wel zeker dat je het artikel gaat dragen tot het naadje!!

Meer tips, of zin in een heusse mind-set-change? Stuur me een berichtje en we kunnen kijken wat we kunnen betekenen voor elkaar!

Treat yourself: Buy nothing.

In our daily life we are allowing ourselves to be distracted from things that matter to us, by things that don’t. We are allowing ourselves to be caught and restrained. In order to get happy we are being told what to eat, to wear and to buy. Than we get busy trying to eat in the right place, wear the right outfit, buy the new gadget.  The end of the day just leaves a tiring feeling and we know true happiness didn’t happen again today.  

It often feels as if you have no choice. Everybody is doing it. It is normal.

This restraint is keeping you from feeling free. Buying your way into happiness and filling the emptiness is impossible. It will never stop. Every new item you get into your house is just coming attached with new options of what also needs to be bought after this.

You are not limited by yourself, but the products you buy will try to do just that…

An example, you bought a new vase. Just after you bought it, it feels fantastic, looks great on that table! But it could actually need a new tablecloth underneath for it to look greater (off to the store or just your phone, as you do not have time to go to the store now…)  Later, as the mechanisme of fashion goes by the design of the vase is going to feel old and boring. At one point the thing it is not doing anything for you anymore. It is just there. At a later point, after you have changed the tablecloth you will find yourself looking for something else.

Because this item didn’t really connect with you, it didn’t work for you. You were groomed into buying it by very diverse mechanisms.

 Even worse, it might be making you feel bad, unconsciously. You know well that all this buying is bad for the environment and because you didn’t buy it fair-trade you can be sure somewhere along the process of making it somebody got hurt. Apart from that, you might even feel guilty because you went on a shopping spree and you haven’t got the money, not really.

You cannot cut the strings but you can drop the bags.

You will be more free when you start buying less and less. Start owning less and less. You will have more time on your hands, more money in your pocket and more space in your mind.

If you need tips on how to do this I am here for you. Here are just a few tips that will help you break the habit.

when you feel the urge to go shopping:

  • Spend time reorganizing your closet. You will find some outfits that you can wear but haven’t.
  • Try and connect with yourself and ask yourself why do you want to go? Do you need excitement? Do you need company? What is it and try to fulfill that, rather than go shopping.
  • Go for a walk in the woods, rather than a store. Nature will make you feel better for sure.  And you can do some thinking.
  • Because you need a new outfit for a particular party? Go to a thrift-store. (Make it easy for yourself and go somewhere not near other stores, so you wont have the urge to go there.) In a thrift store you can buy stuff with hardly any repercussions for the environment or your wallet. And you can wear an outfit only once without regrets.

Find yourself craving for more tips to stop craving? Just let me know and I am sure I can inspire you to choose a better way specifically suited to you!

A bit more than just an old coat.

Een zware oude jas…

This coat is pretty old. With broken zippers, and sun bleached patches. It is very clear it has been worn a lot outdoor. It is just horrible. But it is not. My husband (AKA Ben) has very fond memories going for this coat. I hate it, but whatever, life would be boring if we liked all the same things. We kept it in a closet for a long time, and than Marie Kondo* came and we moved it to a place where he could see it. But it was just not right for me. It was still gathering dust but in a place where we could see it, rather than someplace hidden.

In deze jas heeft mijn man Ben jaren teams gecoached. Dat kun je ook wel zien. Ik vind het ding niet om aan te zien. Maar nadat we netjes alle afleveringen van Mari Kondo* hebben gezien, is het item in kwestie verhuisd van de kast naar een haak op de muur. Zo wordt Ben wat vaker aan die mooie tijd herinnerd. En ik aan een stoffige orange jas. Ik had dus al snel besloten dat ik er wat aan moest gaan doen….

So I send him a shocking picture! I was going to turn it into a bag, as he keeps his sportswear in bags. Wanting to preserve as much as I could from the original jacket, I kept the pockets, and the bottom had a elastic band that I could use for the top of the bag.

Ik wilde zo veel mogelijk het gevoel van een jas blijven houden. Dus de ritsen en de zakken moesten blijven zitten. Er zat een elastiek in de onderkant, die wilde ik houden en aan de bovenkant zetten als afwerking. Ik moest eerst even nog het elastiek er opnieuw doorheen halen en afknopen, het functioneerde eigenlijk niet meer. Maar wanneer de tas af zou zijn weer wel!

The most fiddly thing was trying to get the sleeves to go flat without completely destroying the seams. I pinned them flat and later sewed from underneath. The sort of the same thing had to be done with the inside, but that could be done a little less pretty.

Natuurlijk moesten de mouwen plat. Dat was het grootste puzzelwerk maar is uiteindelijk prima gelukt door het gewoon meerdere keren op andere manieren te spelden en het vervolgens dicht te naaien.

The is the result on the inside. There is even the spare button! The zippers, apart from the broken front zipper, are all functioning. It really is still a coat!

Hier de binnenkant, de elastiek van de onderkant zit nog niet aan de bovenkant maar verder is het zoals ik het hoopte.

Here I put together the sleeve to create the bottom, unfortunately the parts of the sleeve that will not be the bottom have to be discarded. But that is all of the parts that will be gone, while using no new materials, so my planet-loving heart is happy.

De twee losgeknipte mouwen zijn zeker groot genoeg om de bodem van de tas te worden. De bodem is gewoon een ronde vorm. Ik heb een emmer als mal gebruikt om het mooi rond te krijgen.

The loop to hang the coat-bag (or maybe Bagoat?) is from the part of the sleeves used to close up the sleeves even further in a case of bad weather. I just stitched them together, in between two layers finishing up the zipper. The zipper was raw so it needed an extra layer.

Deze elementen, die de jas hanger vormen, komen van de mouwen. Je kon ermee de mouwen wat verder dicht trekken. Ik heb ze gewoon op elkaar gestikt. Weer een stukje van het originele materiaal kunnen gebruiken!

So this is the end result! The hood positioned like this means it still really looks like a jacket when hanging. I am happy it worked so well like this because this idea only formed when I was already cutting the coat up.

De jas-tas hangt nu op een mooi plekkie in onze slaapkamer. Zodat Ben er regelmatig aan herinnerd wordt. En ik heb er ook meer vrede mee, al is het wel een lelijke oranje vlek. Het is in ieder geval een functionele oranje vlek.

This was all that was leftover from the coat. Not too much, right? All I used for new materials was the stitching I used in my machine.

Dit zijn alle materialen die over zijn, ik ben erg tevreden dat ik geen nieuwe materialen heb gebruikt naast het stikgaren voor in de machine. De kleur had ik nog van een ander project.

(*) Marie Kondo, wij zijn hier thuis wel even in de ban geweest van haar methode. En als je, zoals zoveel, moeite hebt met de hoeveelheid spullen die je opgebouwd hebt dat is ze zeker de moeite van de aandacht even waard. Opruimen is atuurlijk mooi, maar ik vind dat we met zijn allen beter stil moeten staan bij de dingen die we kopen. We zouden ons moeten afvragen bij de dingen die we kopen of ze voor ons op de lange termijn ook nog een “spark of joy” brengen….

(*) Marie Kondo, a new living legend, I guess. But she likes tossing things away and I think we should be more caring about our products in the first place. Make sure you only get things you really want, so you will be able to store or display them in you house visibly. That way you can use what you own.