If you spend a good chunk of time on Instagram searching for ethical OOTD inspo, then you may have come across @DearlyBethany. We discovered Bethany on Instagram nearly a year ago, while she was in the midst of a year long project: posting her outfits every single day to show the versatility of a conscious and curated wardrobe.
Working against the culture of over-consumption by styling the pieces you already own plus investing in ethical options can be challenging. Which is why we wanted to learn more about Bethany’s journey toward a thoughtful closet, in the hopes of making the whole process a little less daunting for others.
Read on for our interview with Dearly Bethany.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Last year I documented my outfit every day to see how I could find my personal style as a petite. I’m a little bit vintage inspired. A little bit Parisian Inspired. A little bit artist inspired. I try to shop artisan and ethically as much as I can.
Outside of that, I love trail running, painting portraits, and reading books (mainly historical fiction, hi fellow Outlander fans 👋). My art turned into a career as a designer by day, and that has inspired me to use my design principles in my wardrobe .
My family and my faith are what molds me and holds me together every day.
Why did you decide to start 365 days of outfits on Instagram?
My closet had several items that were hard to match and create an outfit. I never took the time to really invest in what I wore. I wanted to document how my style would change after a year of investing in a cohesive wardrobe that represented my personal style. I was at an age where I felt investing in my style was more important than ever before.
I knew that taking photos of my outfits each day would help me decide which shapes and styles worked best for my body shape. Doing this publicly on Instagram allowed me to meet other people with similar styles and find out about new brands. My heart is so full from the people I’ve become friends with through this process.
What do you think your followers have taken away from the experiment? Is there anything you've learned from the experience?
People voice to me the same concerns on their closets that I started with…Nothing matching, feeling not as confident as I could be, things not fitting properly. It’s important to get to the root of it all, and it’s okay to start over to make a wardrobe that suits you.
I’ve tried to do this consciously, so I’ve reached for handmade/artisan pieces, ethically made and sustainable fabrics whenever I could through the process. It’s been exciting to see more transparency from companies as time has passed, which has really come from this growing demand that so many others online share about.
You are a self described "minimal-ish" - what does that mean?
I limited myself to about six colors to create more outfits with less pieces. So the style and color scheme is more minimal, and I can do more with less. I say “-ish” because it’s not perfect, and I’m always trying new ways to evolve my style. I don’t avoid trends strictly, but I do so consciously.
If you had to reduce your wardrobe to 10 pieces, what are the essentials you can't live without and that make the most outfits?
While I don’t consider myself a capsule wardrobe type of person, the first step I took in recreating a closet was investing in the basics. It looked something like this:
1. Black Jesse Kamm Ranger Pants
2. 1 pair of jeans (I kept my old Levis and had them tailored)
3. Everlane white silk shirt
4. Vintage skirt
5. A casual tee
6. Tradlands linen button down tee
7. A seasonal coat/jacket. I have one from Free People that I wear all year long.
8. Everlane silk cami
9. Elizabeth Suzann silk shorts
10. Free Label Jumpsuit :)
What are some tips you would give someone recently inspired to pursue a minimal-ish wardrobe?
Start with basics - white and black / neutral basic pieces, like listed above. Make sure everything fits your body properly by taking them to the tailor (it makes such a difference!).
Next, add jewelry. It will elevate any basic outfit. I tend to reach for gold or brass handmade jewelry that isn’t necessarily gaudy, but can be layered together.
Add handbags that meet your lifestyle and can be used in different ways, like a tote.
Make sure you have proper outerwear for your climate. I have one raincoat by Stutterheim, one umbrella, a pair of old wellies, and one seasonal jacket.
It can be difficult to determine what is high quality. Do you have any tips on how to choose quality garments?
Garments that are handmade tend to be higher quality. I love to find vintage clothes too, which have proven their quality through time. I want everything in my closet to last, so I would buy one pair of shoes instead of 3 cheaply made pairs if they are sturdy and can one day be fixed by a cobbler.
You've been vlogging lately! What inspired you to start this new project? And what are your goals?
I dream of one day having a true vlog, but I have been putting up more curated content on my YouTube channelbecause I have more time on the weekends now that the Year of Outfits Challenge is done. I now just post 5 days a week on Instagram.
I’ve been posting fashion and book related videos for a couple of years, but never this frequently, so it has been very rewarding to do that. Video makes me feel much closer to my online friends.
Bethany is featured in our Jesse Jumpsuit
What is in the future for "Dearly Bethany"?
I will continue to share my outfits 5 days a week on Instagram, and there will be more curated videos on YouTube covering all sorts of style related topics (3 times a week).
I’m excited to post more painting videos (one just launched)! Painting is my favorite hobby, and I love to share about it when I can.
Down the road, I’d love to run a blog on my website. Right now I sell pieces from my closet there, but with more time I hope to document much more there.