Closet Mission 2018 Conclusion


For the final post of 2018 I thought it would nice to grab a coffee and sit down for a little chat on the couch together. I’m about to switch on my out-of-office reply, stay in my pjs all day and transition into full-on holiday mode. Good friends are heading into town, family gatherings are lined up and our bags are just about packed for a very exciting trip. But before I sign off I wanted to take a look back at 2018, my first year running Style Bee full-time, see where I ended up with my 2018 Closet Mission and share a few of the highs and lows of the last 12 months.

If you’re interested in any of that, great! Grab a hot drink and join me in a comfy corner, ideally with a furry pal, and we’ll take a look.

Today’s post will cover: 

  • Where I ended up on my 2018 Closet Mission
  • A few high points of 2018 – Fears faced and goals met
  • A couple of not-so-high points – Realities of solopreneurship
  • My biggest takeaway from 2018
  • A note to you! 

Style Bee - 2018 Closet Mission Conclusion


I love a good progress assessment. Checking boxes after tasks completed and crossing out goals like a boss. But when I don’t finish an assignment or something gets left incomplete, the resulting anxiety can be overwhelming. I’ve touched on my perfectionist complex before but it wasn’t until this year that I found it truly stifling at times. In an effort to maintain my current ‘just let go’ mindset,  I won’t be grading my closet mission performance as I have in the past. I’m simply going to note my initial goals for the year and share how I feel about them now. No contrition over unmet objectives or under-delivery on promises. Just an easy, expectation-free check-in on where things are at before embracing the 12 months I have ahead. So here goes!

1 | TRY A REAL CAPSULE CLOSET – I didn’t end up following through on this 100% and I don’t think it was for lack of discipline, in fact, I think I’m disciplined enough at this point not to really need a capsule closet. Honestly, it’s such a buzz word and trend in the fashion world now that I find myself almost averse to the idea simply because of its popularity. That said, I know a capsule closet can be a wonderful tool and has helped so many that have put the concept into practice. In exploring the idea, I’ve realized that I love seeing how other people assemble their capsules but I get more out of thinking about a capsule and planning one than I do actually living one. At this point in my life the restriction feels unnecessary but the concept still offers a lot of great practices that can be applied to my own style and approach to my wardrobe. So perhaps there are no hard and fast capsules in my future but I’ll continue to use the theory behind them for sure.

2 | DEVELOP A BETTER SYSTEM FOR CLOSET ANALYSIS – This one I can proudly cross out and emphatically check off my list for the year! I haven’t done a final assembly of my wear count lists for 2018 yet but when I’m back in 2019 I’ll be doing just that. I’m excited to continue the process going forward and to keep leaning into the hard data for better closet assessment. If you’re interested in the idea, here are my wear count posts: West Coast Part 1, Part 2, July, August, September, October.

(continued below)

Style Bee - 2018 Closet Mission Conclusion

3 | ENFORCE A MORE PRAGMATIC APPROACH TO COLLABORATIONS – This is one of those goals that’s a bit of a moving target. I find my satisfaction with how I’ve handled this one varies depending on my state of mind, work load, business development and closet contentment. Most days I feel really good about how I’ve been able to balance my consumption with my brand partnerships and other days I just want to say no to all collaborations and new product forever. There are a lot of variables that go into my decision to work with brands and I truly do my best to not overload my readers (or myself) with too much newness, while still trying to keep the content fresh, inspiring and informative. I re-read my thoughts going into 2018 and the sentiments I outlined still ring true now, so I’m considering this a sign that I’m on the right course.

4 | SHARE MORE STYLE PERSPECTIVES – I’m so happy with the style profiles that I was able to produce this year and feel honoured that such smart, inspiring and genuine women were willing to share their words, style and perspectives with us. I feel like I got to know each person better through our collaborations and was able to support their work in a meaningful way. I look forward to introducing you all to more folks in 2019 too! Read my interviews with Marielle, Jen and Elim.

5 | CREATE AN ATHLETIC WEAR CAPSULE – How bad is it that I completely forgot about this one? Probably not a great sign, but at least it’s one that I can easily pick up on again in 2019. I learned a lot about responsible athletic wear this year and have discovered some awesome options for work out clothes that are made consciously. It’s really just a matter of sitting down and compiling them all. So consider the directory forthcoming in 2019!

Style Bee - 2018 Closet Mission Conclusion


I always find it much easier to pin point shortcomings and missed targets than I do successes but when I was looking back on this year I realized that I managed to face quite a few fears and hit some pretty significant goals. Maybe this will seem like I’m patting myself on the back but I think it’s important to acknowledge when we’ve accomplished goals we’re proud of. This becomes particularly necessary when you work alone, as I do, and there is no boss or co-workers to celebrate with. So hopefully you won’t mind me sharing these with you!


1 – SUPPORTING MYSELF FINANCIALLY – This is a fear everyone faces when they decide to take the leap into self-employment. I had previously worked for small businesses and as a partner in one but never completely solo. Being able to earn what I need to support myself by doing what I love has been an incredible career experience and I feel very fortunate to be able to do so! That’s not to say there weren’t ups and downs and a few dips into my savings but as a whole I made it happen and no matter where the future leads I’m pretty darn proud of that!

2 – HOSTING AN IN-PERSON WORKSHOP – I’ve never had stage fright or minded giving presentations in front of a room of people but somehow hosting my own workshop and sharing my work in person felt incredibly daunting. I decided to lean into that feeling when I agreed to host a workshop at a local library. Luckily, the attendees were all lovely people and seemed very interested in the topics I covered. I think I may have actually helped a few people look at their style and connection to clothing in a new light too! You can get all the topics we covered and worksheets in my Define + Streamline Toolkit. At the moment, I’m not sure if I’ll host another one but we shall see!

3 – LIVING + WORKING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COUNTRY – Before Dave and I packed up and drove 5000 kms to spend the spring in Vancouver, I’d always lived within an hour or so of Toronto and had always relied on having my own space to work. Our time in BC was exciting, challenging, eye-opening and affirming. It was also a great team-building exercise for our marriage. If you’re interested, check out my Vancouver and Victoria City Guides.

4 – DOING A PODCAST INTERVIEW – This was something I’d thought about doing for a long time but the right opportunity hadn’t yet presented itself. When The Healthy Maven‘s Davida Kugelmass invited me onto her podcast That’s So Maven, I decided it was a now or never opportunity to take the plunge. Turns out it wasn’t nearly as scary as I’d thought (thanks in large part to Davida’s kind and welcoming way) and I was reminded of how much I love discussing slow fashion and different ways to approach it. Listen to the episode here

Style Bee - 2018 Closet Mission Conclusion


1 – COLLABORATED WITH MY FAVOURITE BRAND, ELIZABETH SUZANN – When Liz Pape’s head of media reached out to ask about co-hosting the Spring 10×10 Challenge, I literally squealed and did a happy dance. It was truly a dream come true! We had a great time working together and it really felt like so much I’d worked towards was coming to fruition. I still have to pinch myself to confirm that it all really happened.

2 – WORKED WITH DAVE ON DESIGN PROJECTS – I got to flex my interior design muscles and creative instincts on a couple of exciting projects with Dave (my partner/husband) this year. One of them is well under way now and the other will come to life this spring. We work really well together and it was so nice to have another outlet to apply my design and style skill set to. You can see what Dave gets up to @ruhlbuilds.

3 – TRAVELLED WITH MY DEAREST FRIENDS – I have a small but mighty group of very close friends. Whenever we get together it’s as if no time has passed but visits are few and far between since we live all over the world. Spending time with them all this year was definitely a highlight. These women inspire me to no end and always fill my cup to the brim with love. I don’t share a lot about my friends or personal life but you can see some of our travels in my Amsterdam + Antibes packing post.

4 – GREW MY INSTAGRAM FOLLOWING TO OVER 50K – Honestly, I don’t put much weight on my follower count. I know that those numbers are not a valid indicator of my success or the value of my work. People with far fewer followers are producing work that blows me away and the same goes for the opposite scenario. That said, 50K was not an insignificant milestone to reach and I’m honoured that so many people are interested in what I’m putting out on the platform. If you’re one of those followers, thank you!

Style Bee - 2018 Closet Mission Conclusion


I consider myself a problem solver and I don’t like to dwell on the negative, no matter the situation, but as the saying goes, you can’t enjoy the good without experiencing the bad, or something like that. The good news is that from each of these lows I learned something valuable that I’m bringing with me into 2019 and can use to prepare myself for what is sure to be another roller-coaster year as a solopreneur.

GETTING ACCUSTOMED TO RUNNING A BUSINESS THAT IS ON DISPLAY FOR THE WORLD – Running your own small business is one thing, but when the world can see your every move and judge every project you share that’s a whole other level of exposure. It’s tough enough when strangers and potential clients determine your value by likes and followers but when those close to you start doing the same it can really hit a nerve. I know, it goes with the territory of blogging and my skin is getting thicker when it comes to this but some days are easier than others!

STRUGGLED TO FIND CREATIVE DRIVE – I thought I’d waltz into 2018, finally having time to fully devote myself to Style Bee and be overflowing with creative drive and new ideas. Unfortunately, this was simply not the case. I had some ups and downs in my mental health, which played a part, but I also believe I was tapped out from the start. I came into the year drained after pushing so hard to grow this space and maintain a demanding full-time job for several years prior to taking the leap. I’ve also come to realize that my creative energy doesn’t always present itself in the form of a great blog post concept. Sometimes it’s pulling in a completely different direction and it’s okay to follow it.

DECISION FATIGUE – I found that making decisions for Style Bee was one of the most exhausting aspects of my job this year. I’m sure other small business owners can relate to this too. Trying to avoid saying yes to the wrong projects and no to the right ones was a constant stressor. I realize that having opportunities in the first place is very fortunate but the pressure to make the right choices was almost completely debilitating at times. In 2019 I’m going to do my best to trust my gut and follow my inner compass more closely.

FEELINGS OF ISOLATION – Working alone and from home, can be very isolating and sometimes you don’t notice how lonely you are until something good or bad happens. It’s in those moments that I sometimes felt that there was no one to turn to. Luckily, I’ve met some incredible people through the blogosphere and a few of them came through in a big way when I needed support this year. Thank you friends! You know who you are and I just hope I’ll be able to return the favour one day.

I LET SOCIAL MEDIA DEPLETE ME – We can all relate to this one I’m sure. I spent way too much time aimlessly scrolling, diving down rabbit holes and letting my mood, body image, moral integrity and self-worth be dictated by complete strangers. In 2019 I’m going to be making some changes to how I interact with various platforms and I already feel a weight lifting!

Style Bee - 2018 Closet Mission Conclusion


One of my biggest take aways from this year was realizing that Style Bee and I are not one and the same nor are we mutually exclusive. Of course, there is a lot of overlap between me and this blog but personal decisions and business decisions won’t always line up perfectly and that’s okay. Style Bee is a brand and while it is an extension of me, I am not the brand. I am a person doing my best to pursue my passions in a way that aligns with my values and helps other people do the same. Most importantly, my self-worth is not dependent on or determined by the success of my blog or business. Now to just remember that going forward!

Style Bee - 2018 Closet Mission Conclusion


Reading the kind words and entries during the holiday giveaway really filled my heart with gratitude and love for everyone who puts their trust in my work and spends time here on Style Bee. When I learn that some folks have been reading for years I am truly humbled and honoured. Although the world of fashion and style can often be seen as vapid and shallow, I don’t take my approach to it lightly. Every post I share is given a lot of consideration and I truly put my heart into this space. Knowing that this blog has been encouraging and of value for people in their everyday lives makes all the long hours and late nights well worth it. Your support is the reason I’ve been able to pursue my dream job!

THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart, for being here. I wish we could each enjoy a cup of tea or coffee together on the couch, but for now, this little corner of the internet will have to do.

I’ll be taking a few weeks off to rest and prepare for a new year but I’ll be back around the middle of January and can’t wait to finally reveal an exciting project that’s been in the works for ages.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season and all the very best for 2019!

Lot’s of love,

– Lee the Bee

Style Bee - 2018 Closet Mission Conclusion

I’d love to know what fears you faced this year!

What were some of the goals you set and reached, or perhaps didn’t reach?

Did you experience similar lows or rough patches?

Style Bee - 2018 Closet Mission Conclusion



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This post was not sponsored but contains affiliate links. When you shop via the links above I may make a small commission from a sale. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Style Bee! As always all opinions are my own.

Leave me a comment here!

  1. Sarah Winton says:

    I would totally fail on an athletic wear capsule too! Congrats on your first year working for yourself!

  2. Kelli says:

    Lee! Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve been following you for years–but I feel like I understand what stylebee is truly about so much more after this post. It is inspiring to see someone take the leap to do what they love, and it’s inspiring to know that it’s possible to have the strength to do it when it’s not always perfect. Here’s to 2019!

  3. Whitney says:

    Happy New Year, Lee!
    Thanks for your honesty and vulnerability in this post, it’s so refreshing, and I think it’s something that sets your blog apart from the rest. I’ve been reading for a few years now, and I’ve learned so much from your blog. I’ve also been introduced to many small, sustainable clothing brands, and I’ve made purchases from a few of them (Power of My People, Elizabeth Suzann, L’Envers, and Only Child). So please know that your hard work is appreciated and it’s making a difference.
    Also, THANK YOU for not putting advertising in your posts. I find it so intrusive and overwhelming (and just plain confusing sometimes) that I’ve pretty much stopped reading blogs that use in-post ads. Your blog is a breath of fresh air! xo

  4. anna maria says:

    Hi Lee –

    I love following along. Your one reflection on creative drive hit home for me, too! I am currently reading a book called Rest by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang where he discusses the lifestyles and schedules of highly successful creative people – from authors like Hemingway and scientists like Darwin. He breaks down the scientific studies that show how creativity flourishes. Anyway, thought I would pass along the suggestion if you haven’t seen it before and might find it helpful/inspiring!

    Cheers to 2019!

  5. Sophie says:

    Happy holidays Lee! Thank you so much for all the work you do – it’s really apparent that you put a lot of time and effort into this space and I love reading your blog! Best wishes for 2019!

  6. Lauren says:

    Hi Lee! A bit late to the post-party, but I wanted to say that I really enjoyed reading this and your honesty and, for want of a more wholesome word, transparency really gave me a lift and I suspect is the reason why so many of us have been reading for years now. You have truly fostered the growth of a wonderful community here, so thank you! Mental health, indecision, and the expectation for creativity and inspiration are ongoing battles for myself, and I appreciate that you’re so open and real about it all. All the very best for 2019 – I look forward to seeing what you get up to and how your journey progresses 🙂

  7. Erin says:

    Love your blog! Looking forward to athletic wear! I feel like that’s hard to find in blogs, but we all love wearing it! Happy new year 🙂

  8. Laura says:

    Merry Christmas Lee! Thanks for all you do and your honesty and vulnerability. I’ve learned to enjoy enjoying clothing and aesthetics (to not feel guilty or consider it frivolous) through reading your blog. Thanks so much and see you in 2019!

  9. Chloé says:

    Hi Lee,
    I’m joining the other readers to thank you for all the great work you do at Stylebee. I’ve been reading the blog for a few years now (3 to 4 years), which I discovered thanks to Caroline’s blog Un-fancy.
    I never miss an article, and I really enjoy the quality of your content, style and writing. It’s always inspiring, and helps me to play with what I already have in my closet.
    I love your tone and what we can guess of your personality by reading the blog, seeing your stories (+ Dobby ^^), podcast.
It’s considered, fresh, and respectful. I feel like you’re adding a touch of calm instead of buzz and agitation.

    It’s also very interesting to follow the evolution of the blog since you started to work on it full time. 
Since I live in France it’s not easy to support the blog (the import process and taxes are a bit tricky with small brands + I also try to buy local whenever possible) but I am the proud owner of an only child top. And I hope, soon, jewels and aces earrings. 
So thanks also for introducing us to those great brands, and also your blogger friends through style stories.

    I wish you all the best for this new year, and can’t wait to discover what’s next on Stylebee ! 

  10. Jo says:

    Hi from Hamilton! I don’t comment much on blogs but this one was so good I had to say something.
    Really enjoy your blog. Be encouraged! Your honesty is refreshing, in an era when everyone attempts to present perfection on social media!

  11. Anna says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Lee. I’ve been reading your blog for three years or so. Your focus on sustainability and quality writing make you stand out.
    I’ve got a minimal closet (mostly black, white and soft neutrals, focusing on natural materials and textures) and come to Style Bee for inspiration for developing my personal style.
    I work as a journalist in Europe and (as they say) need to be dressed to interview anyone on a given day, up to a prime minister.

  12. Martine says:

    Hi Lee,
    I follow your blog since a few years and I love to see how you take your blog to a new level.
    I love the way you inspire me and show me the possibilities regarding style and slow fashion.
    This year was the first whole year for me working in a store and no longer at the office.
    I have been very worried that we couldn’t manage it financially and that I would have to go back to the office.
    But we did manage, eventhough I work parttime and that has made me so much more happier in life.
    Regarding my wardrobe, I always wanted to only have in my cupboard what I love and with my fall/winter wardrobe this year I have finally achieved this goal.
    I have much less clothing than before but I love wearing each piece.
    When I want to buy something new I really think about it a lot before buying it, or not 😉
    So I have learned a lot already.
    I also bought my first ES piece this fall, the Florence pants.
    Something I was thinking about ever since I first saw ES on your blog, a couple of years ago.
    After having it tailored I love wearing it and I’m sure it will become a staple piece.
    And I also bought the Everlane wide cropped pants…. also a great love!
    Here in the Netherlands this kind of pants are so hard to find, so I’m really making a statement when I wear these (no one else has something similar) but they make me feel a power woman :-).
    I wish you very happy holidays and all the best for 2019! Enjoy your weeks off.

  13. Hannah Winebarger says:

    Thank you so much for your openness!

    A fear I faced: walking away from the only career I’ve ever had for something completely different and foreign to me, including being away from my youngest baby full-time. And…. I’m loving my new job 🙂

    Goals not met: my house is no more ordered and I have not begun exercising or even stretching postpartum.

    Something I’ve been working on pretty well: a new job meant an opportunity to refresh and update my wardrobe. I’m dressing more professionally on a regular basis than I ever have before in my life and I’m proud of the work–failures and successes–I’ve done as I craft a wardrobe that works with me and for me.

  14. Dalaine says:

    I also just found your blog this year and I love it! I really like your style. You are so thoughtful about how you put outfits together. I love hearing your thoughts on why you choose particular pieces to create an outfit. Reading your blog has been incredibly helpful to me as I try to make my own wardrobe “slower” and more ethical. I was delighted to find Elizabeth Suzann through your blog; I am waiting for my first order from them to arrive. Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. Trisha says:

    Hi Lee, I’ve been reading your blog for 2 years now. I’ve learned so much about the ethical fashion world and discovered really amazing brands (like Elizabeth Suzann) thanks to you! Thanks for creating this community to share and experiment with style.

    I love all your clothes!

  16. Coral says:

    Dear Lee, I’ve been reading your articles and following on Instagram for maybe two years or so…I’ve learned so much from you and the other amazing women (womxn? New word to me) in the ethical fashion advocates and stylists arena. I became interested for outfit inspiration, but stayed for the authenticity. Now that I’m pretty comfortable with what I wear, and (sort of) who I am wearing it, my next stage of learning is the racial and socioeconomic factors in the fashion industry – and in the influencer industry. That said, your words about social media, and “letting my mood, body image, moral integrity and self-worth be dictated by complete strangers” strikes SUCH a chord, and I don’t even post personal content online, it’s simply the comparitive aspect of social media that gets me. Please share what you’ve learned.
    Congratulations on your first year of full-time Style Bee dedication! And thank you for what you do.

  17. Dear Lee,

    Thank you for your thoughtful post. Your year in review was genuinely reflective, honest and thought-provoking, which has encouraged me to do the same.

    In 2018, I’ve been managing a full-time job as a museum educator and a Ph.D. in museum & art education. My studies focus on the Community Peace Museums Heritage Foundation, a collection of 16 small rural museums in Kenya that utilize Indigenous peace heritage traditions to resolve the contemporary conflict. For the past four years, I’ve used my vacation time to do my research work. The fieldwork has been an extraordinary experience collaborating on community projects with the Maasai, Pokot, Aembu, Akamba and Somali peoples. Even though at times, I traveled and worked in high conflict areas in Northern Kenya and on the Border of Somalia and Kenya. There I encountered military conflict and risked being kidnaped, but equally, people surrounded me with kindness and protection. It is these extremes in life that represent the ultimate contrasts in human experience, and in such I’ve realized what it is to be a human being. In August, after my final fieldwork, my energy level was depleted. All I could do is go to work, come home, and lay on the coach. It took me a month to bounce back. Now I’m into the home stretch of writing my thesis.

    At that time, your blog helped me to have a much-needed break from the intense work that I do. The Stylebee website’s closet mission category and workbooks proved a good start for me to begin to update my wardrobe. There are a few items I regret getting rid of and some purchases that haven’t worked out, but overall I’m happy with the result. In 2019, I’ve decided to take a hiatus from shopping and settle into my wardrobe by experimenting with various combinations. Overall, the experience of simplifying my wardrobe has given me a sense of calmness, peace and reflects my human ethics.

    Thank you so much for all your efforts throughout the year. I admire and respect your courage to be self-employed, and the leaps and bounds of personal growth that you’ve achieved this year. I look forward to your 2019 posts for creative inspiration, fashion advice, and ethical clothing suggestions.

    Happy holidays to you and all your loved ones, including furry friends.

  18. Brenda says:

    I just found your blog this year, but have pretty much read every post! Ha! I think I must have found you through Seasons + Salt. Anyway, although I haven’t done THAT great of a job streamlining my closet (it’s a process), I have become a lot more conscious of my purchases, where they are made, who made them and what they are made from. I also think a lot more about whether I actually NEED something, as opposed to WANTING something. I travelled a lot this year and barely brought anything home, prompting my husband to say to me, “who ARE you???” I have also gleaned a lot from your 10 X 10 challenges, especially when packing for travel. They have helped a lot. I appreciate all your posts and the work you put into them and am looking forward to what you have in store for us in 2019. Happy Holidays to you, your husband and sweet little Dobby.

  19. Denise k says:

    Happy Holidays, Lee! I really enjoyed following you this year and learned a lot?. Wishing you a fun and very successful 2019.

  20. Elizabeth says:

    Lee, this post offers a lot of food for thought. It’s your honesty that makes you and your blog shine. As for capsule wardrobes, I can’t live within those parameters daily. But, when it comes to travelling like I did this year (North Pole to the Equator) capsule wardrobes saved both my sanity and room in my suitcase. Since stumbling upon your blog this fall, I’m using more items already in my closet instead of running out to buy more. Perhaps shop owners will wince at that comment, but when I do buy, it is for quality as well as for style. So, in effect, I’m spending a bit more, but still shop the sales. And yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas with the snow coming down in K-W. Merry Christmas and many good wishes!

  21. I always enjoy reading and seeing your posts! I appreciate all the work you do and look forward to seeing what you get up to in 2019. Have a wonderful (and well earned!) holiday season and the mystery trip just ahead 🙂