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Chelsea talks with YouTuber Christina Mychas about getting rid of 60% of her wardrobe and embracing a "minimal-ish" lifestyle.

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Hello, everyone and welcome back to an all new episode of The Financial Confessions.

It's me, your host, Chelsea Fagan, founder and CEO of The Financial Diet, and person who loves to talk about money. And when it comes to talking about money, as we've addressed on this channel before, it's hard for many people, especially many women who do make up the majority of the TFD audience to think about spending, and discretionary spending, especially, without thinking about how we dress ourselves.

It can often be sort of written off as a vain, or superficial, or I guess many other words that basically often boil down to just things women like. But dressing is not just a question of aesthetics. It's not just a question of looking a certain way for the pure sartorial pleasure of looking that way, although it can be.

And we interviewed YouTuber Mina Le recently, and I'll link you to our interview with her in the description, who is someone who uses style not just as a means of getting around, but also as a means of personal and creative expression, who is experimental with her style, who ultimately uses style as a way to express herself similar to any other form of artistic expression. But more than that, for most people, and again, the pressure is even higher on women, how we dress ourselves and present ourselves in the world goes far beyond just the sartorial, or the creative, or the artistic. It's about how we're perceived, how seriously we're taken, the kinds of jobs that we may be able to get, the spaces in which we can move around, the connections we form, the way people judge us.

And yes, to an extent, some of this is unfair. And all of this is often extremely classist. But for many people, for example, who might come from a lower income background or be struggling financially, being able to present themselves aesthetically in a certain way can often be a means to perhaps bettering their situation.

They are perceived a certain way when they go into a job interview, for example, or even just walking down the street. The way we dress defines so much about the experience that we'll have. And again, for many people, it's also just really fun.

However, for other people, like another recent interviewee of mine, Hannah Louise Poston, shopping, and clothing, and dressing ourselves, styling ourselves can become a compulsion. It can be something that we use that real world necessity I talked about to justify a whole lot of ultimately very unnecessary spending. People become addicted to shopping.

And for many women, again, for whom the pressure to look and present a certain way is so strong, it can become a vicious cycle where you feel that in order to be the sort of person you want to be perceived as, you have to spend money in order to get there. My guest today is someone who has been in that cycle and who has broken herself out of it to an extent that she refers to as minimal-ish. She's a bit of a queen of the capsule wardrobe and didn't just totally overhaul her style.

She also overhauled the way that she spends, and thinks about money, and created a pretty fabulous YouTube channel in the process. There's a lot of practical information there about building a capsule wardrobe, about dressing yourself, about finding a style that's affordable and versatile. But there's also a lot about the experience of changing the way that we shop for these things and changing the narrative in our minds that tells us that new and more are almost always better.

So without further ado, I'd love to welcome my guest today, YouTuber Christina Mychas. Welcome, Christina. Hi, thank you so much for having me.

I'm so excited. I'm fangirling a little bit right now too, just by the way. My goodness, well, thank you.

So obviously, I teed that up a bit in the intro. But I would really love to hear, obviously, a bit about what you do, but also the sort of process that led you to becoming minimal-ish, as you call it. Yeah, so I was-- I'm a pharmacist full time still by trade.

And to get into that profession, I accrued a ton of student loan debt, over $120,000. And throughout that time, I just remember-- because, I mean, pharmacy is a fairly high earning career. You can live comfortably working in that.

And the whole time through school, people would tell me, oh, don't worry about the debt. You'll just like pay it off easy no big deal. So I kind of had that narrative in my mind all throughout school and until I graduated.

And all throughout that, I was still a huge fan of fashion, makeup, shopping. And essentially, kept just essentially spent all of my disposable income on shopping, to a point where I was basically self sabotaging my financial future, because I was carrying this huge student loan debt, this huge burden of debt, but not thinking about my finances, thinking about what that would mean, all the while, still-- all the while, shopping, and just kind of-- just living that life, trying to live that fabulous like, OK, I'm a high earner. I'm going to look good.

I'm going to get high end brands and look cool. So that's kind of where I put my focus, thinking that, oh, I'll just pay off this debt someday. And I can kind of do it all.

Do you feel that being so heavily in debt, in some ways, sort of enabled the sort of compulsive spending in the sense of like, well, I'm already so screwed financially? Oh, yeah, I would say that all the time. I would make a joke out of my debt.

And be like, people would talk about being in debt, and be like, oh, well, I'm at $120,000. It's almost-- it was almost like a flex, like a sad flex sometimes. And yeah, I would definitely be like, oh, what's another $50 or $100 on this debt?

It's a drop in the bucket at this point. So I might as well go for it. So definitely, I would use that as an excuse, for sure.

Now, during this time, were you paying your debt? Were you just paying the minimums? What was your relationship to getting out of that debt?

I was pretty much paying just barely over the minimums. And my minimum was around $1,100, $1,200 a month. I also moved from a small town where I'm from to Toronto, which is one of the bigger cities, higher cost of living.

And then on top of that, I was still just shopping and sort of spending all of my time doing that, yeah. So obviously, you went through this kind of transformation with your wardrobe, especially, and your belongings, really kind of getting rid of a lot of it, rethinking a lot of it. Can you talk about the intersection between going through this with your material things and with your wardrobe, and how that related to your finances, and how you were handling your finances?

So I kind of-- I had a sort of rock bottom moment. So towards the-- when I was, I would say, deepest in my compulsive shopping habit, I would be ordering things constantly. I would shop when I was happy, shop when I was sad.

Any of my free time would be spent shopping. And that's actually when I discovered Hannah Louise Poston, by the way. So she sort of inspired a lot of this.

So we all sort of overlap, which is really, really cool. But I bought a pair of luxury boots that cost more than my rent. And I knew that I couldn't afford them.

I would be constantly scolding myself about money. And I would tell myself, OK, this month you're going to be better. You're going to pay this much more than the minimum on your loan.

You got to get out of this. You're just stuck in this cycle. So I bought those luxury boots, knowing I couldn't afford them.

But I kept them anyway. But that was also the moment where I was like, OK, you need to change everything about what you're doing. You're going to stay really stuck.

You're not going to-- I had a lot of visions for what I wanted to do in my life, like traveling, things that everybody sort of envisions for themselves, traveling, or owning a condo, or things like that. That all costs money that I knew I wouldn't be able to achieve in the cycle that I was in. So I just knew that within my stuff, and constantly acquiring new things, and chasing this image, chasing luxury brands and all that stuff while still being-- essentially living paycheck to paycheck, getting further and further into debt, I knew I just had to-- I had to make that change.

And so within that, I started de-cluttering. And within starting to get rid of my stuff and really paying attention to what I owned and spending some time with it, not only did it make me understand how much I had spent. But it also, over time, helped me sort of curb that compulsion to shop all the time, because I had started to familiarize myself with what I already owned.

Can you just break down the practical details of what you got rid of, what you kept, the rules that you placed on yourself when you made this big change? So I would say I started with my closet, because that was definitely the place that was exploding the most. I was buying makeup and skin care, too.

But my clothes and my closet was definitely the place that had sort of blown up. So I started there. And I was-- I started with the whole konmari kind of method, where you just pull everything out.

You go through each thing one by one, does it spark joy, are you excited about it? So I started there and did multiple declutters over, I would say, over years. So getting rid of-- sorry, you wanted to the rules around that, too?

The rules, and then sort of giving us a sense of what you kept, what you got rid of, all of that stuff. OK, so in terms of things I kept, over time, I would keep things that I knew I would wear a lot. This is something that I wear every single week.

And through those declutters, you can start to see, oh, maybe I wear a lot of blazers. I wear a lot of jeans, a lot of t-shirts. So maybe I don't need to keep these five or six silk slip dresses that I've literally never worn or forgotten about.

So I started by keeping things that either I wore all the time or things that I just wasn't really ready to let go of, whether it be occasion pieces or pieces that I paid a lot of money for, that kind of thing. That was an initial barrier. And what I got rid of was just things that I opened up my closet, and I was just like, why do I even have this?

I forgot I had this. I've never worn this in over a year. So I gave myself a timeline of have I worn this in the last six months, and do I plan on wearing it in the next?

So that helped me sort of create a hard line of if I want to keep it, I have an opportunity-- I'm giving myself this opportunity of six months, which I think is generous to see if I actually use it. And if I didn't, then I would end up getting-- then I would end up selling it or decluttering it in some way. Roughly percentage wise, how much of your wardrobe was left after that?

I did about three to five declutters. After the first one, I would say I probably got rid of around 30%. At this point now, I have gotten rid of around 60% of my initial wardrobe that I started with.

And do you still buy things every now and then? Oh yeah, yeah, for sure. The thing about-- I went from a compulsive shopper to, I would say, kind of extreme minimalist in the sense that I was really trying to get this Pinterest 30 piece wardrobe to be a valid internet minimalist kind of thing, to adhere to that.

But the thing about-- the thing I sort of realized about shopping is that it's not like-- you can-- if you have a compulsive relationship with it, it's important to understand that, understand your behaviors, your triggers. But you still will need to shop at some point, whether it be at the grocery store. It's hard to disconnect the relationship between spending money in a healthy way-- or sorry, it's hard to-- basically, you can't give up shopping.

So for me, a lot of my channel is about having a healthier relationship with that. And so for me, I still love clothes. I still love fashion.

So I've allowed myself to-- allowed myself to evolve in my style and the things that I want to buy, but just doing it a lot healthier, mindful, and less compulsive kind of way. Do you have specific rules that you have around how you buy things to kind of avoid getting into the same cycle? Yeah, so my favorite thing is to put it on a wish list.

So because I mean, TikTok, Instagram, influencers, I still get influenced and triggered by that kind of stuff. I love the way something looks, and it's kind of my style. And in the past, the way I would shop would be kind of like that Ariana Grande song, I see it, I want it, I got it, just bought it type of thing.

And now, I try to create some separation between that wanting and the buying. So my first rule is to put it on a wish list and wait at least 24 hours, sleep on it, create that separation. And oftentimes, I'm really interested in buying higher quality, long-lasting pieces that will ideally survive any declutter that I choose to do later on.

So sometimes, that costs a little bit more money. So in that sense, I want to be able-- sometimes, I'll wait even a month or more, because my main, main rule is how am I paying for this thing? Can I pay for it in cash right now.

Or can I pay off my credit card bill at the end of the month, because I just have a hard barrier of I'm not going into debt for fashion anymore. Can you talk a little bit about why you think that shopping for aspirational, if not outright designer, clothes was such a thing for you, especially from more of like an emotional, mental, psychological place? Yeah, I thought that it would-- I thought that I could buy my way into wealth and an image of success.

I thought that buying those things meant success. And that by having those things, I would move into even more success. But really, if anything, it was holding me back from the future that I really wanted, because all of my money was going there instead of into working on making a plan and reaching the other goals and other visions that I had for myself.

Can you talk a little bit about your-- I'd love to hear a little bit about your background financially in terms of what was your experience with not just money, but things, material things growing up that maybe led you to have that view of buying aspirational stuff as what makes you successful? Yeah, oh man, the childhood trauma. Let's talk about it.

Let's get into it. [LAUGHS] Yeah, I would say that thinking back on it, there was definitely a lot of toxic relationships around. I remember I had a friend group in elementary school that were very-- they were more well-off kind of rich kids than we were. So at the time, back in the '90s, 2000s, The Gap was something that was really cool and aspirational.

Nike was too, I don't know. But I never had that stuff. I would wear hand-me-downs.

Or my mom would patch my jeans for me. And I would get made fun of for that. It'd be like, why don't you get that fuzzy Gap sweater that everybody has kind of thing?

So I think it goes like that far back, in the sense of I think it's kind of an acceptance thing. You want to hang with the crowd and match up to the level of your peers. Yeah, I definitely relate to that heavily.

I think, as I was talking about in the intro, I think where it becomes really tough is that it is true that, to a certain extent, presentation and personal grooming are going to be factors in how you get perceived, the opportunities you have, the way that you are able to move through the world. And I think that especially if you're trying to ascend in class status, kind of change your opportunities, there is a point to which there's truth to that, and which it is helpful to present yourself a certain way. But I think, often, and again, this was definitely my case, when I was in a bad place with money and spending, it's very difficult to identify where there are extremely diminishing returns.

Looking like you are put together, like you are wearing things that fit, like you are wearing things that are clean, and well kept, and all of that stuff, that will get you far. But then past that, getting into the designer, having 10 of everything, having all the latest trends, that's where it starts to be-- there's no real, practical purpose for it. No, but I fully agree.

And with that, too, it's like-- yeah, you start with maybe buying something from Banana Republic was a big deal at one point. But now I have that. And it's time to ascend to Saks Fifth Avenue or Gucci.

And you keep raising the bar, and raising that-- it's always like a moving target of more and more. Did you have specific brands or stores that were really big triggers for you? Oh, I was a full tilt Aritzia girly.

Interesting, Aritzia. I wouldn't have-- [LAUGHS] And I think it's because where I'm from. And that was-- Aritzia is like a hot shot.

All the top Toronto girlies wear head-to-toe Aritzia kind of thing. So when I first moved to Toronto, too, that was something that I think also contributed to a lot of my shopping at the beginning, because it was-- I had access to all these stores that were not in our local mall and things like that. So it was very exploratory and very new at the time, too.

And then I got to this point where it's like, everything I wear, top to bottom has to be Aritzia. It has to be brand new. And yeah, that's-- I was a dedicated shopper there, for sure.

But so that store specifically kind of gave you the feeling of I'm one of these girls. I'm one of these girls that I aspire to. Yeah, because they were-- they were cool.

They were effortless. They were on trend. But it also kind of worked in corporate, too.

You could be like a trendy, effortless corporate gal, for sure. That's interesting. I wonder if-- This aspirational-- definitely part of this aspirational thing that I kept chasing.

I'm trying to think of what the equivalent to that would be in New York City. But to be fair, New York City is such a fashion Mecca, that I feel like there's just 18 million versions of that. But I will say like one of them, especially-- a little less so now, but there was a four-year period where Reformation had a chokehold on that specific type of girl.

And it doesn't help that you have to be quite slim to wear most of their clothes. So obviously, that I'm sure, was a factor. But there is, I think, you mentioned the word effortless.

And I think that is something that, for women, is, especially a certain type of woman, is such a massive social and cultural pressure, is to seem like you're not trying through the act of trying extremely hard. Yeah. Which is, obviously, it's one of the many catch-22s that women kind of have to live with.

But I also think as it pertains to aspirational consumerism, I think one of the things that is such a marker of wealth and status that is I think underrated, but most people feel it when you think about it, is this feeling of if you have a certain social class, level of wealth, you don't have to worry about things. You are able to move through the world with a certain ease. That it can feel like if you're wearing the right clothes, it's almost like you're wearing a disguise that you're that sort of person.

For sure, yeah. And I think with that, too, I would use-- just kind of going back to that, to tie it all in together, for example, a few years ago, I was so fixated on-- you know the Gucci slide? Everybody was wearing the Gucci slide in 2017?

The one with the fur on it? Yeah, yeah. Those always grossed me out.

In the summer, I'll see people wearing them. But either way, that was the hot-- that and the belts, they had-- that was like their peak. But I remember I'm like, if I got those and somebody saw me walking down the street, I'm like-- I had a thought to myself, oh, they would look at my shoes and they would know that I was successful.

Or they would think to myself, oh, that girl has her [MUTED] together. She has a good job, because she's got these shoes on her feet. So that's where my fixation was a lot of the time.

That's how I would translate success. So that a stranger would look at my shoes, my feet, not even my face, not even get to know me, not know me as a person, and just make a judgment that way that I was successful. Interestingly, I feel like there's a whole little subgenre of designer, really iconic designer products and accessories that I almost feel the opposite when I see someone wear them, because it's like so many people will be head-to-toe Zara, but have the Gucci belt.

Or often, they're counterfeit when they're those really iconic ones. Or the Louis Vuitton bag, or those slides you're talking about. I feel like there's now a weird sort of microcosm of designer goods that are so heavily aspired to, that they almost kind of wrap back around and are basic a little bit.

Yeah, yeah, for sure. It's definitely-- it's complicated. Funny anecdote about that, this is-- last summer, through extended family, whatever, in-laws, spent an evening with this woman, who I just like was not a-- we just didn't vibe, I'll put it that way.

But she was one of those people who's very, very, very wealthy, and very-- it's important to her that she be dressed in head-to-toe designer, but that it never seemed designer, that it be very under the radar or whatever. And this was-- I hadn't been talking to her. I didn't know anything about her.

I mean, she looked quite put together. But I didn't really think more of it than that. And she was wearing these sandals that I recognized.

I didn't know where I recognized them from. But I was like, oh, what are those sandals? I saw them everywhere.

I had just come from Italy on vacation. And I was like, I saw those everywhere where we were in Italy. And what are they?

And she was like, oh, God. And I was like, what? And she was like, they're Hermes.

And I was like, oh, well, I mean, that tracks. And she was like-- and she turned to this other woman. And she was like, oh I knew-- my husband gave these to me.

I was like, I don't even want them, because I don't want everyone to know I'm walking around in the Hermes slides. But then I was like, I'll wear them anyway. And now look what happened.

And I was like, OK, first of all, new level of mental illness as it pertains to shopping unlocked. But also it is interesting to me how at different levels of wealth and status there can be such different relationships to how we adorn ourselves with these symbols of wealth. Yeah, and how it kind of goes like, how Mark Zuckerberg wears the same gray t-shirt, but each t-shirt's $400 each or something, the inconspicuous wealth.

Yeah, so it's like you peek-- you want to get-- you want to get all these brands, and logos, and then, yeah, you reach a certain level of wealth. And then it's like, oh no, I need to hide that. But it's still expensive, just so you know.

If you know, you know kind of thing. Money is wasted on those tech oligarchs. How dreary to have that much money and spend it all on $500 identical t-shirts. [LAUGHS] So you use-- as I mentioned, you use the term minimal-ish to describe your kind of relationship to consumerism now, and specifically things like your wardrobe, personal style.

Can you talk about what that actually means to you? Yeah, to me, because, again, I think I definitely went from one extreme to another, full-on shopaholic, shopping addict to extreme minimalist, because I think when I-- so when I started, I started doing low-buy, inspired by Hannah. Which would-- the whole point is to-- you allow yourself-- to you allow yourself to indulge and buy some of those things that maybe were in your problem area.

But you don't-- so for me, within that, I found I was still really obsessing over what I could and could not buy. And it just-- instead of actually buying it, I would still really, really obsess and think about it constantly. So it was consuming a lot of my time, still.

And then when I started decluttering, I started getting into more minimalism content. And everybody talked about how happy they were with less and the whole minimalism pitch. And I got right into it.

And I was seeing results when I started decluttering. I was feeling lighter. I was feeling accomplished.

And through those declutters, I was really starting to see even my personal style, because everything that remained was sort of what I had to work with. And that's what I would be wearing every day. But over time, I started to-- I just kept diving more and more into minimalism, thinking that I'm not a minimalist unless I have 30 pieces of clothing.

Or I started to rationalize my way out of any joy that I saw in things. I saw this-- this is a lovely shirt. It's my style.

I really like it. But I don't need that, because now I'm enlightened enough as a minimalist that I just don't need these material things to augment my life in any way. So now, I find that-- and I found I was sort of really denying that part of my personality, and what brings me joy, and what I value.

So now with minimalist-ish, I think it's having that balance in the sense that I can say no to certain things, because I understand the value that it may or may not bring. But if I do want to bring some things in, then I'm allowing myself to do that and have that balance. So it's not necessarily about reaching a certain number in your wardrobe and having a certain number of possessions.

It's about just really evaluating what brings me genuine joy or value now. When a lot of people think about things like capsule wardrobes, minimalism, et cetera, I think they probably tend to imagine a sense of style that is very-- a lot of neutrals, a lot of very simple cuts, things that are a lot of more business casual type stuff that you can wear to work, or out in the evening, or what have you. I think there's a very specific mental image of that type of wardrobe and personal style.

And I guess the question I have is kind of twofold. One, did you find that in moving towards this minimalist approach, that you sort of had to pivot your style to what is most functional and utilitarian in order to maximize the value of each piece? And then kind on top of that, if you are someone who has kind of a very maximalist style, who loves a lot of colors and patterns, and things that don't necessarily go together, how can they also access this sort of way of shopping and of creating a wardrobe?

Yeah, I think I'll start with the maximalist angle, because I fully believe that a capsule wardrobe doesn't have to be this whatever you see on Pinterest, the neutrals, the black blazer. I mean, that is kind of what my style is, because that's just what I gravitate towards. But I get a lot of comments like, where is the color.

Why don't you-- I can't do this because I have color, or because I love patterns, and things like that. And I think really, it's about-- I think everybody has a capsule wardrobe already in the sense that you can-- you don't even need to declutter it, but it's what you love to wear, what you choose to wear every single day. So if that's colors and patterns from head to toe, that's part of your capsule wardrobe, because that's what you wear.

And that's what you use. So I posted a YouTube video, kind of how to build a capsule wardrobe. And it starts-- I like to start with the closet you already have.

And that you can sift through it, and you can organize it into a hell yes, a hell no, and then a maybe pile. So if all of your hell yeses, which are-- I categorize them as things that you wear all the time or pieces that you're like, I just am never getting rid of this. I love this.

All those things that remain in that pile, to me, is the core of your capsule wardrobe. And that doesn't matter what pieces they are, even how versatile they are, to me. Because if you want to keep it, and that's part of you, then own it.

Now, in terms of the debt. So I assume you're still probably paying it. No, I'm debt free.

You're now debt free? Oh my goodness, when did you become debt free? Last summer-- July 2021.

Oh my goodness, I didn't see that. Well, congratulations, first of all. Well, my question was going to be how doing this has changed your relationship to debt pay-off.

And it sounds like it already has in a big way. So can you kind of walk us through that process? Yeah, so when I first started all of this, the whole motivation was to get out of debt.

I know you won't vibe with this, but I discovered Dave Ramsey around the same time, which I think that sort of fed into the whole minimalism thing, because I was like-- I was trying to-- I was really coupling minimalism with Uncle Dave and trying to be as frugal as I possibly could be. And having him kind of like yell at me in my ear about you shouldn't have that shirt. You shouldn't buy that shirt.

So I would really-- I kind of used that-- I used that as a tool for a long time to really get aggressive on my debt and pay it off. It definitely left me with some PTSD at the end. [LAUGHS] But in many ways, I'm glad I did it, because I did get it out of the way. And I'm privileged enough to have-- I had a decent sized shovel to do that.

But a lot of what was getting in the way of even paying off my debt in the time that I did was my consumption and my shopping habits, too. Now, you've described yourself as a former shopping addict a couple of times. How did you know to kind of classify it in that way?

And did you seek any kind of medical or mental health treatments specifically for an addictive relationship? Yeah, I've never been diagnosed. And I never sought a diagnosis.

But I sort of-- I think at the time, I was looking up like how do you know if you're a shopping addict. And I would start with how to stop shopping. And a lot of the behaviors that I was doing sort of really lined up.

So it was definitely like an armchair diagnosis of myself. But things like shopping compulsively, thinking about shopping any free moment that you had. Shopping as a way to cope when I-- I would shop when I was happy, to keep that feeling going.

And then I would shop when I was sad to relieve stress or to relieve frustration about my debt, even. And the other thing I noticed, like hiding packages or lying about what I bought. I was starting to do that with my partner.

If people asked if something new-- if people asked if something was new, I would lie about it and say it was old, or I bought it a few years ago. That's kind of where I was at the bottom. So that's when I sort of realized, OK, you need to turn this around.

And then throughout all of this journey, I have been-- I have a therapist. And I've been working with her to kind of dig deeper into the compulsions, and to even the spectrums of the extreme of I need to do everything I possibly can to get out of debt, I'm not allowed to buy anything, that kind of thing, to I want to buy everything and go on that other side. Can you share some of the helpful tools or insights that your therapist has given you about those things?

I think the main thing is self compassion. I was very punishing with myself, I'd say, on either side of it. So having compassion for yourself and realizing that, yeah, you are going through a hard time.

Or maybe you are trying to self medicate or distract yourself from something. Just sort of giving yourself the space and time to dig deeper into the why behind that behavior, that's really helped a lot. And I sort of do that through just mindfulness, and journaling, things like that.

Well, we have some questions from our audience for you, before we get into our little rapid fire. So this has been a very popular question, some form of do you have suggested clothing items for a capsule wardrobe that can be functional for both work and not work, specific items? Specific items?

I would say a pair of-- one thing I want to preface this with is I think you definitely don't-- what's essential to me may not be essential to you. And it's also about what your everyday life looks like. So I find these-- I find answering these questions a little bit tough, because it's so nuanced to the person.

But also, I find a lot of people just want a list. They want an infographic of tell me what to buy, and I'm going to go out and do it. So if you are sort of looking for that effortless capsule wardrobe, neutral aesthetic.

I really like a pair of wide leg, high waisted black trousers, or just in a neutral color that you love, because it can mix and match, dresses up, dresses down, looks really cool with loafers and heels or with sneakers. And then for me, I love just a plain white t-shirt in whatever cut you think is most flattering. Because I find t-shirts also dress up and dress down.

And then I love a blazer, because again, that's something that can be really cool, and casual, and I'm going to say effortless again, but also very work appropriate if you work in that kind of corporate environment. Very good advice. Anything more like accessories?

Oh, I love, I love jewelry. Gold, silver whatever works with your skin tone. I love a pair of gold hoops.

I love a chunky or minimal stack. I think accessories, for sure, really can elevate a look that you can-- and you can wear it every day, too, which I think is super easy. Because I don't want to take jewelry on and off, and that kind of thing.

Red lipstick, too, is good. We're not wearing any today. No.

How do you let go of the just in case mindset when you have to have wardrobes for work, and casual wear, and events? I find-- yeah, for me, one thing I really had to get real with myself about was that just in case was never going to happen. It was never coming.

Because the other thing is, too, is I would hold on to things, I would hold on to a lot of occasion wear, for example, just in case. Maybe I can wear this to a wedding, or I will wear this to a wedding. And then by the time that just in case scenario came, I would still bypass that dress and then wear what I wanted to wear.

So that was one thing I really had to get real with. And I think that's a good thing to reflect on, too, is are you sure you're really going to wear this? If you don't wear it now, then you're probably not going to wear it by the time that event arrives, unless you sort of plan ahead and plan an outfit around that.

But the other thing to think about, too, is I find now, I really like to-- I don't like to have separate looks for different scenarios in my life. So I find I really like to-- if I'm going to a wedding, then I'm going to wear a blazer, and some nice suit pants, and heels. And that's still my look.

And then at work, my look is still a blazer, a blazer, trousers, and a t-shirt. And then on casual, my look is still a blazer, a t-shirt and then a pair of jeans. So is there a way that you can think about what your uniform is?

And then how do you modify it to sort of elevate it and tailor it to that occasion? Well said. I would also, if I may, say that unless you're wearing like a ball gown to, I don't know, a baseball game, you can't really be overdressed.

The thing-- the idea that you have to have a completely separate casual wardrobe, I think is-- especially once you get into your-- you're an adult. If you're in your later 20s, you're in your 30s, beyond, et cetera, there's no reason that you can't be wearing a nice pair of slacks, and a nice top, and some decent loafers that you would wear to work at a lunch. And I do think a lot of people have an anxiety about never wanting to seem more dressy.

Or they'll often read that, back to the effortless comment, is I'm trying too hard, kind of. And it's like, no, I think quite the opposite. If you're looking-- now again, you don't want to look-- you're not wearing a tiara.

But if you just look very put together and as if you could go from there back to work, or to an evening out, or something, I think most people are just like, wow, they look nice. Yeah, I think it's important to have overlap between your-- for me, I'd want to pull from basically the same core wardrobe for work and play. And just because, listen, they can all be in there in athleisure.

Doesn't mean you have to be. Yeah, we love it. OK, how do you have a minimalist-- oh, this is good.

How do you keep a capsule/minimalist wardrobe if your size fluctuates. Yeah, I get this question a lot. And I used to think, oh, if you're not wearing it, just declutter it.

But a lot of people pointed out to me, even as a woman, your size can fluctuate within the month. Ain't that the truth? Yeah, and so I think that there's-- I don't want to say should, but try not to have guilt around what you're keeping, especially if there is used to it.

So if you know that your weight tends to fluctuate, or anything like that, it's not affordable, or practical, or even sustainable to just declutter your whole wardrobe for the body you have right now. And then if you gain or lose weight, then you have to buy a whole new one. I don't think most people can do that.

So I really like to utilize storage. And I wouldn't be guilty about doing that. At a time, I did have that, because I was like, oh, I don't need this.

But you have to allow your-- your body will change. Your style will change. So if there's pieces that are kind of your go-tos for a different size or feeling in your body, then I would say hold on to it.

You don't have to be using it all the time. Also, there are, A, a good amount of clothes that will suit various sizes better than others. Obviously, things that have more billowy, blousy, have some elastic in it.

There are definitely some core pieces you can have that can accommodate a few different size. But also, one thing that I feel like it took me forever to learn, because I was raised in the very specific school of femininity of women should always accentuate their curves, and make themselves look thinner, basically, whenever possible. Having always things form fitting, and what have you.

And truly nothing will look or feel worse than wearing something too small. So I do feel like erring toward the larger of the sizes you may be fluctuating in, because having something that's like a little bit billowy or what have you, you can always take things in. It's easy to get a waist taken in at the tailor or the dry cleaner.

But to wear-- to be putting yourself in a size that you are not is just-- it's a recipe for disaster, I feel. And you feel terrible all day. Yeah, my only rule is to get rid of clothes that make you feel like [MUTED],, or that make you feel like you need to be in a certain body in order to wear them, or to fit into them, if that's the motivation.

So on that note actually, so speaking of how women should dress. How do you navigate the comments about how you should dress as it pertains to your personal style, i.e., things like body type, skin color, et cetera. I don't know.

I definitely think it's about what makes you feel good, because if you try to adhere to a certain mold, even like I did, it's going to feel-- you're not going to feel good. You're probably going to feel like you're in a costume. And something's just going to be off and uncomfortable.

And you're going to be-- the clothes are wearing you and not you wearing the clothes kind of thing. So I try-- I don't-- I personally don't really pay attention to those kinds of rules. It's just more like what makes you feel good.

My friend recently told me about this whole new-- because it used to be like the pear, the apple, or whatever for body types. Apparently there's a whole new thing, where it's like-- I can't even remember any of the terms. But it'll be like boyishly romantic or-- Yeah, I think it's like the Kibbe body type.

The Kibbe body type. I was like what is this? She was like, I'm like-- damn, I wish I could remember any of the term-- Do any of the terms?

There's like romantic, classic, gamine, or something like that. There's a few. I haven't really dove deep into that.

I think a wonderful guest for future who I think talks about this a little bit would be Alison Bornstein. I think she's a New Yorker as well. But she has a lot of really great tips just about dressing more for balance, and just essentially like dressing what you like.

She's really not into the whole like body type and that kind of rules around dressing. Yeah, I was like, I just can't retain a new layer of information in this regard. Yeah, and just putting yourself into a box even more, more rules, and it's more stress and anxiety around like getting dressed.

And really, it's something that should be fun. Totally. Also, I say this with all love.

But my friend who was telling me about this is like 5' 11" and quite slim. I'm like, clothes were all designed for you. You're what was in their heads when they made the clothes.

So you can wear whatever you want. So this person is asking, do you essentially never buy anything trendy? I wouldn't say that's true, because, well, I feel like a lot of what my style is now is probably what is trendy.

It's that effortless cool girl, oversized blazers, all that kind of stuff. But I mean, I was pinning that [MUTED] in 2016. [LAUGHS] Yeah, but I think trends are fine to pepper in, to sprinkle in. The only thing I would say about trends is make sure it's something that you really want.

And have a plan to keep it in your wardrobe so that it is no longer a trend, but a classic piece in your style. Well said. Man, that girl that was like an oversized black blazer with the sleeves rolled up, and a low bun, and gold jewelry, and she had a chokehold on 2016.

Oh, yeah. She had us all in her death grip. OK, so the last question from the audience before we get into our rapid fire.

We basically just have a lot of people asking some version of like, I have a lot of items that I love but objectively no longer wear. How do I separate myself from the nostalgia? Yeah nostalgia is tough.

And I used to say, like a lot of minimalists will say, oh, just take a picture. And you'll remember that memory-- I don't subscribe to that anymore. I think that's a little-- I don't know, it's a little too stoic for me.

So if there are pieces that are nostalgic and that you never wear, I think it's OK to accept them as a piece that's used for that. So I have a old coat of my grandmother's that I never wear. It's too big.

But it's just sitting there. And I like to-- I just like to think about it, and look at it, and feel it every once in a while. And it makes me think of her.

And that's fair to have. Whereas, like I would say, even last year, I would have thought about getting rid of it, because I wasn't using it. So not everything has to have a utility.

If you want to keep it for nostalgia, do it. But if you're overwhelmed by a lot of nostalgic pieces, then I would say try to-- and I would do this slowly, so I wouldn't do this hastily or put pressure on yourself to do it all in one shot. But slowly sift through your things and see what sparks your favorite memory.

Or what's most important out of all those pieces? Because if everything is nostalgic, is it? How do you find what's most important to you?

That's very accurate. I did not know about the picture thing. I feel like it's low key deranged behavior to just have a bunch of pictures of shirts in your phone.

What are you doing? Just once every great while, you just like look at that shirt on your phone, and you're like, wow, that was a great shirt. What?

That's the solution for sentimental items. So if a candle or a figurine sparks that memory, but you don't want to keep it, take a photo. But I just-- hold on to it.

Keep it. It's OK. It's not clutter.

Also, it depends on the item. But for certain clothing items, maybe investigate, could I make a little throw pillow out of this could? Oh yeah, for sure.

Could I even take a swatch of the fabric and frame it in a cute little frame because I love the pattern and color, or maybe it was significant to me as a child? There are also other things you can do with fabrics. Yeah, totally.

Yeah, that didn't come to mind. I'm so not DIY and talented in that way. But for sure, yeah, if you have a skill that you can like repurpose it and create something that you're going to love even more, I think that's amazing.

That's a great tribute. I have a girlfriend, actually, who had a dress from her grandmother that was one of those '60s dresses that had the sleeves that were lined in feathers. And she was like, I am never wearing this feather lined mini dress.

So she made a lampshade with the feathers on the trim. Oh my God, that's amazing. And it has a nice story.

So the time has come, everyone, to ask our rapid fire questions. So it's really whatever comes to mind, no right or wrong answers. You're free to skip.

So number one is what is the big financial secret of your industry. And I guess just out of pure humor, I'd love to hear it for a pharmacist. Pharmacists work 12 hour days.

And that's probably why they make so much money, I don't know. It was honestly news to me that pharmacists make really good salaries. I didn't know that.

Yeah, making sure that people take medication safely. Yeah, everyone, please be nice to your pharmacist, because we're not just sticking labels on a box back there. We're making sure that you won't die when you take the medication and correcting doctor mistakes.

It's a lot of-- it is a lot of pressure, I would imagine. Also, those doctors, as we all know, they can't write for [MUTED]. No, they can't.

You guys are also cryptographers back there, trying to decipher that writing. What do you invest in now versus what are you cheap about. I invest in clothes, for sure.

Definitely try to lean into that less, but better. So researching fabrics, fit, tailoring, that kind of thing. And just like thinking about how to keep it in my wardrobe for a long time, because I'm trying not to force myself to declutter like that anymore.

What am I cheap about? My car and my apartment. I would say, cheap rent.

Good for you, man. I was-- what has been your best investment and why? This is going to sound so like cheesy.

It would be like in myself, because I didn't believe in myself for a really long time, and just was trying to seek validation from all these external things, namely being the clothes. And going on the whole debt-free journey and kind of figuring out my personal style, all that stuff, that becomes a very personal thing. You learn a lot about yourself.

You learn a confidence that you may not have known you had. When you start paying attention to your money, where it goes, why it goes there. And then you have-- and then at the same time, also seeing progress in all of those things, it's like new confidence unlocked.

This is pretty cool. I love that. And that's not a corny answer.

That's legit. OK, what has been your biggest money mistake and why? Thinking that-- thinking that getting out of my student debt would be easy.

That definitely fueled a lot of the behavior, I think, later on. Well said. What is your biggest current money insecurity?

I think that just-- I have-- that there will never be enough, because-- so I mean, I'm doing like-- I'm doing YouTube content creation on top of this. And I would love to turn it into something a little more full time, but it also terrifies me, because it's so inconsistent. And I have a consistent paycheck and a quote, unquote "secure job" now.

So it's scary for me to take that risk. Yeah, I mean, if you're making the real coin as a pharmacist, it's going to be a while before you can probably totally replace that. But I mean, you said you're working 12 hours a day.

So I bet if you broke it down into hourly, you may be doing better on YouTube in certain cases. Yeah. OK, what has been the single financial habit that has helped you the most?

Budgeting and tracking my spending. There you go. They work together.

They work together. It's our most common answer, because it's the right one. And lastly, when did you first feel successful?

And what does that word mean to you? I think when I-- probably when I hit around like the $30,000 mark in my debt repayment, because-- I don't know, it just felt like something that-- I don't know why $30,000 was significant. But it just felt like I was getting closer to that $0 balance.

It felt closer and closer. And I was like holy [MUITED],, I'm kind of here. I'm doing this.

It's coming. I love that. And I love that it wasn't the $0.

That's, I feel like, probably an affirming answer for people who are more midway on the journey. Well, Christina, it has been an absolute pleasure. Where can people go to see more of what you do?

You can find me on YouTube, at Christina Mychas. I'm some also on TikTok, Instagram, all the same handle. Thank you for having me.

I'm so like-- this is like a dream. I'm so excited. Oh my gosh, well, it's been a wonderful conversation.

And honestly, I am not even being facetious when I say this. I'm now itching when I get home tonight to go and do an inventory of my wardrobe and purge some stuff. Oh my God, love it.

And I'm not a big wardrobe hoarder to begin with. So I'm like, but I'm like-- I could reduce it down. Yeah, for sure, just no pressure.

If you want to keep it, it's OK. No pressure. Well, thank you guys so much for tuning in.

And we will see you back here next week on an all new episode of The Financial Confessions. Bye, everyone. [MUSIC PLAYING]