Fewer, Better Things from Cuyana



It’s been a big year for my friends at Cuyana, a direct-to-consumer brand that asks what most retailers won’t: to buy fewer clothes and accessories– choosing better pieces that last longer. They landed a huge partnership with Real Simple (set to launch May 2015), opened a flagship location in the heart of San Francisco, and launched their F/W collection, introducing slim alpaca knits, timeless silk blouses, and delicately structured shoulder bags.

And still, Cuyana’s mission remains strong and more focused than ever.

With the high level of consumerism in the U.S., most of us can’t open our inbox without a barrage of sales offers asking to be opened. Sometimes, I’d have 4 things in my cart before I had begun the day’s work.

The implications of these spending habits created significant problems for me. When I was 25, I found myself a few thousand dollars in credit card debt, and still had “nothing to wear.” The realization of a larger problem came when packages started showing up and I couldn’t remember what I had ordered. Now older, wiser, and debt-free– I’m still not out of the woods. Joe and I most often wrestle with purchasing what we want vs. what we need. My closet today, even after many purges and donations, still has an extra few pounds of unneeded weight. Because maybe, just maybe, I’ll need that cropped cream angora sweater someday.


Further upping the ante, Cuyana has made it easier to rally behind their motto of “fewer, better things” founding what they call “The Lean Closet Movement”– designed to helps us get our hands on the pieces that will work and get rid of the ones that don’t. As an incentive to do just that, each Cuyana order comes with a bag and a prepaid shipping label to send your old clothes and accessories back to the company. Cuyana will donate the clothes to charity and credit the customer $10 toward a future order.

A few holiday seasons ago, I purchased items from Cuyana for my mother and sister. Allie received a small leather purse and my mom, a leather tote. Last month, I noticed they were still wearing their bags. The leather had weathered beautifully. They each loved the design as much today as they did two years ago. In a culture of consumption, this was proof enough for me; what Cuyana is doing is working.

To live with fewer, better things is a wonderful reminder, even if it’s one we may never fully reach ourselves. I can tell you that my idea of a “lean closet” is probably different than yours, and that’s OK, as long as we’re feeling more connected and in control of what we choose to bring into our homes. Even if Cuyana products aren’t the right fit for you, consider taking a cue from the company’s mission. It’ll make you rethink what’s in your closet.

Select Items: Shoulder Bag | Silk Blouse | Leather Wallet | Leather Overnight Bag | Leather Tote (Tall) | Turkish Robe

Disclaimer: This is a post sponsored by Cuyana. I received one Cuyana product and compensation in exchange for coverage. All opinions and thoughts about their products are my own. Thank you for supporting sponsored posts! These posts make it possible for us to continue to produce quality content on our website.

BY Kate - October 20, 2014

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add a comment

  1. Christina G

    October 20th, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Love these items and the message, but I especially love how you disclosed this as a sponsored post. Yes! We need more of this transparency in the blog world.

  2. Kate

    October 20th, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Thank you so much, Christina! I agree with you 🙂

  3. Emily C

    October 20th, 2014 at 9:47 am

    You pointed me towards one of their overnight bags years ago, and I still use it and love it each time. The orange inside is so fun and bright, and it helps me see what’s in there.

    Now if only the outside weren’t always covered in dog hair… but that’s my problem, not theirs!

  4. Kate

    October 20th, 2014 at 10:54 am

    I still use mine as well, Emily!

  5. Sasha Vaughan

    October 20th, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Love Cuyana and their philosophy. Did a major closet purge a few months ago and feel more content with the clothes I do own and I have certainly made wiser purchuses since then.

  6. Liesl

    October 20th, 2014 at 10:17 am

    I took everything out of my closet and started over this weekend (avec wine) with this same principle – ditch what you don’t need and keep the goodies (and then only buy quality items that will last). It’s a refreshing mindset among all the clutter – thanks for bringing this up.

  7. Chelsea

    October 20th, 2014 at 11:32 am

    I adore Cuyana and everything they stand for. I’ve blogged about them many times over the years but have yet to really clean out my closet in a serious way. Thanks for the inspiration (and the gorgeous peek of your home)!

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    October 20th, 2014 at 12:30 pm

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  9. chaucee

    October 20th, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Love that leather tote!

  10. Jill

    October 20th, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    The whole idea stems from social justice. It’s wonderful that people in the fashion industry are beginning to understand how consumerism has gotten out of hand. I’ve worked at designer clothing stores but was always known for being a practical shopper. You don’t have to be dowdy to be fashionable! Being timeless means you’ll never have to look back at photos and think “what was I thinking!?”

  11. Kate

    October 20th, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    Jill: I have a feeling many female consumers are hardly aware of the social implications re: fast fashion, myself included. There’s a bit of a learning curve, and once you start looking, you realize you have to go out of your way to buy ethically produced products. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  12. Erin Haslag

    October 21st, 2014 at 10:45 am

    I love the slow movement in all its forms, including fashion. I think most of us go through the phase of buying from the quick fashion retailers and eventually come to the realization that investing in thoughtful, quality pieces that get better with time is much better on all fronts (socially, economically, for our closet space and for our sanity!). In my 30’s I’m looking more at selecting pieces that reflect who I am and my lifestyle, and purchasing from brands like Cuyana and Everlane (and countless other brands!) that focus on the quality and timeless nature of their pieces. I love that my closet is slowly filling with pieces I love and know I will treasure for years to come.

    Thank you for sharing this piece and the selections, Kate!

  13. Jill

    October 21st, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Erin & Kate: So very true and no one can judge because fast fashion is just so easy. Finding ethical and stylish places is difficult (& often time consuming), so it’s wonderful when people with influence and/or in the industry help all of us find options. No one has to have it all figured out right away, one step at a time 🙂 Thanks for this!

  14. Courtenay

    October 24th, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    I am completely on board with the “less is more” movement. However, as much as I would love to be able to spend top money for just a few quality products, I just don’t have that kind of money right now. I wish that meant I didn’t shop for anything, but the reality is I have to have a few things in order to look professional and put-together. (I’ve been a grad student for the past 5 years, so I need professional clothes but don’t have the money for them—quite the conundrum!) I’m really looking forward to the day when I can buy a purse for $200, a sweater for $150, etc. In the meantime, I try to make the best choices I can, which means less expensive items from places that I have already tested for decent quality (Everlane, big props to you for making things so affordable!)

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    Kate, your comment about wanting to purge your closet a little more reminded me to connect you with Caroline Rector of un-fancy.com – a minimalist fashion blog. I’m planning on doing a series of posts to document my attempt to whittle down my winter wardrobe to Caroline’s suggested (GULP) 37 pieces. Check her site out, which is beautifully designed by the way, and let me know what you think!

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