Happy Birthday, 30.

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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 Pinterest. White button-down shirts, a casual black dress, strings of everyday pearls. Printed bottoms and versatile 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

  • A literary/style/birthday post. I love it. Those printed pants are amazing. Oh my gosh. I love them! Mom outfit that’s not a mom outfit.

    Ditto on the editing. We are slowly ridding ourselves of about 70% of what we own to make room for our next baby. It’s been cathartic, emotional, and freeing. Stuff be gone! xo always

  • Happy birthday to you! =) Less is more rings true for me as well. Wishing you a delightful day!…. + new season of your life.

  • Happy birthday! It is also my 30th birthday today, and you have made me feel significantly better about it. I have been struggling with the thought for the last few weeks, just because I am not quite where I want to be in my life, both personally and professionally. But your encouragement to edit, and live with less is such a comforting thought.
    Thank you for brightening my day!
    Wishing you all the best for your new decade!

    • Awww, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, DEAR!!! I wish the same to you – hope you chase those dreams, lady. :)

  • This is a wonderful post Erin, it’s so nice to hear your perspective, and I love the word for the year idea. Edit is such a powerful one that I too may be taking on soon. It’s so easy to let “things” take over our day to day, when really, that’s not what’s important. Happy Birthday! And happy year of 30!

  • Happy B-day! funny thing, my friend and i have this thing when we consider that the day of your birth-day is like a re.start of the year for you, you start your own personal” year. Making more sense if i tell you my b-day its jan 29 so, i feel like a have a do.over/reset button and that s when MY year offiacilly starts. Hoping i ve made some sort of sense i wish u a happy & blessed new year! ♥ editing. wisdom long cousin, maybe. Regards and kisses!
    P.

  • Happy birthday!! Love the post. You look amazing too. Does not look like you had a baby :) What’s your secret?!

    • Awww, you are so kind, Caitlin – thank you! No secret – just a very active baby to chase around! :)

  • Happy birthday Erin!! What a journey it has been for you – I’m glad that you’re still sharing your journey with us. Big hugs!
    x
    p/s- you’re gorgeous.

  • Happy Birthday!
    I’m 29 from may, but I feel like I’m just om my way to 30.
    There were definitely already some changes in my life. Small ones with big results. I live with more awareness for myself (body + mind) and that’s just what I needed.

  • Happy birthday!!!
    Time to celebrate with your loved ones!!
    And again interesting words.
    About two years ago I decided to try “stop to shop”. And really, it brings peace. No need for all those things and clothes. Of course, occasionally I do buy something, but then I think about it first and try to choose a local and ecological alternative and something that will last. Which is totally compatible with my vision for design: something that is well designed and that you really love and think is beautiful will last longer, because you value it more and want to keep it. (sorry for the poor english, I’m Dutch-speaking, so cannot write so beautifully as you do).

  • Happy belated birthday, Erin! Life in my 30s has been pretty good to me. Hope it will be for you as well. Best wishes!

  • Happy Birthday Erin! You’re so very right–the 30s are utterly fantastic and empowering. And I’m super impressed with your word “less” (even though it might mean this year is not *our year), such a smart choice.
    xo
    Bridget
    pippascabinet.blogspot.com

    • Hoping our year comes soon, my dear. ;) It totally will, I can feel it just beyond the horizon! And thank you so much!!!

  • People have been calling me ‘Mom’ for 8.5 years now, but your phrase ‘As she became more, I became less’ perfectly articulates some angst I’ve been feeling. As a Mom of three, my editing is long overdue and much needed. Happy Birthday, and thank you.

  • Erin, this is such a sweet birthday post. I think I’m going through some early birthday reflection lately (my bday is 12/22). It’s nice to pause and think about where you are and where you want to be. As always, your style is impeccable and your thoughts are so spot on.

    Happy birthday!!

  • You had a very busy 30th birthday….love the Clementine launch video! I know many more good things lie in store for you this year! Happy, Happy Birthday, Erin!

  • Happy late Birthday Erin! The thirties are awesome, especially with a baby. Good for you on the clothing edits – your basics look comfortable, classic and chic. May you continue to edit what needs to be edited going forward! = )

  • Happy 30th birthday! New to your blog but bookmarking and becoming a reader! I also turned 30 this year and am feeling a bit burned out on the “more-ing” as a L.A. resident. I’m planning to spend the next decade slowing down, savoring and enjoying no matter where I may be and what the pace is like in that city (a personal challenge, no doubt!). Love the looks and the photos!

    • Awww, I love hearing this! And as a former L.A. resident, I can absolutely relate. Best of luck to you, dear, and happy late bday!

  • happy birthday erin! you & your blog have been such an inspiration to me for so long now! and i’ve got about a month and a half til 30 and culling out the crap in my casa and closet so this post is extra poignant for me. as always, i love your perspective.

  • Happy birthday lovely lady! I have to tell you, you remind me so much of Julie Andrews which, in my book, is the highest of compliments! :) I hope your day was wonderful!!
    Xo
    Alix

  • Firstly, Happy Belated birthday!
    I promise 30’s are even better than the 20’s.

    I also wanted to say this so resonated with me and where I’ve gotten to – leaving work as an online product manager craving things more real & physical. Working on apartment diet to do exactly this, not just on our wardrobes but our homes…edit & simplify and …make space…help others make that space (so many new & different things come in too).

    So thank you! And a fabulous year to come!

    PS when I went to put our URL in the website like look at the post that autofilled! It felt too much of a ‘coincidence’ to edit out.

    • Ah, thank you so much, Nat! I loooove hearing this perspective – you’re so kind to share with me. :)

  • PPS Omg and I didn’t write thanks for your blog and sharing your awesome style & thoughts with us!

  • Happy belated my dear – you share the same b’day as my dad so now I will never forget! And welcome to the 30s club – it really is quite grand. I’ve never missed my 20s not for even one day. And congrats on the closet edit – I forced one on myself as well and actually couldn’t be happier. It leads to more conscious buying because anything you now add as real impact! It’s a great feeling – I do hope you enjoy!

  • such a thoughtfully written post, i would love to see what your ten items would be! i am challenging myself this winter to go south (we live in NC in the winter, and denver in the summer) with only one backpack suitcase that carries every-single-thing i take (even my laptop!). it’s a little tricky being winter and winter things being bulky, i might be dressed like the michelin man heading out of here haha!

    • Ha – I LOOOVE that idea! For me, I think it would be this: high-waisted skinny jeans (black and denim), gray mens v-neck tee, white button-down shirt, black button-up dress, black pointed flats, casual black blazer, black booties, a vintage graphic band t-shirt and a patterned scarf. :)

      • good list! wish me luck, i’m packing later this week, i’ve issued the same instructions to my husband, he’s in a panic.. “i might, no i definitely think i need a back-up just in case bin of a few things” haha! not me though, i’m going for it (:

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