January Style Sudoku

January 2019 style sudoku — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

After doing no style challenges in 2018, I started feeling the itch to tackle them again in 2019. I’m currently trying to not buy anything wardrobe-related and would like to keep it going for at least January and hopefully longer, so diving into a style challenge felt like the best way to get the most out of my closet and keep things feeling interesting! I went way back to one of my first style challenges, the style sudoku, which I did twice in 2016 (see the fall version and the spring version), and felt inspired to bring it back this year. I’m planning to do one in each season and really challenge myself while also helping me curb any unnecessary spending.

A style sudoku is exactly what it sounds like if you’re familiar with sudoku the puzzle. Basically, you choose four tops, four bottoms, four pairs of shoes, and four other items (accessories, jewelry, outerwear, etc.) and arrange them in a 4x4 grid so each row, column, and corner makes a complete outfit. (You can also make outfits out of the diagonals and the inner “squares” of the two middle rows if you’re so inclined!) In my past style sudoku challenges, I shared the diagonal outfits, too, even though diagonals aren’t technically included in a real sudoku.

Navy vest, striped tee, flannel shirt — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

Below is my style sudoku and what I’ll be wearing every day for the next couple of weeks as of this past Sunday! I ended up with a color palette of mostly black and navy, which kind of surprised me, but I went with it instead of forcing it to be only black or only navy. For contrast, I added ivory, grey, olive, and red items as well as a striped tee and plaid flannel shirt. I quite like how it came together.

I included a few items that haven’t gotten much wear recently: my grey chunky knit cardigan, blue flannel shirt dress, striped tee, and black Frye boots. My “accessories” are the cardigan, dress, beanie, and vest. The dress was something I really wanted to incorporate and play with so we’ll see how it goes! I’m planning to wear it three different ways.

I’ll be breaking down what I wear into three different blog posts and detail what I did on each day, how the outfit worked for those activities, and the weather. As you can probably tell, we have precipitation in the forecast…I’m really hoping I wear my Hunter boots on the correct days and won’t be stuck wearing one of my other pairs of boots on a wet day! I thought about maybe omitting shoes because winter weather can be so unpredictable, but after staring at the forecast for what felt like forever, I think I can manage with just these boots.

Below the sudoku, you can find the item details. I’ll be sharing a daily photo of my outfit over on Instagram stories (check out my “Style Sudoku” highlight) and then posting them here after a few days have passed. Let’s hope I’m not too sick of these items by the end!

January Style Sudoku: 16 items, 14+ outfits — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair


Grana cropped cashmere sweater / no longer available; similar by Everlane

Everlane authentic stretch high-rise skinny jeans / exact

Madewell ‘Regan’ ankle boots / exact from Nordstrom (limited sizes) or exact style

ModCloth waffle knit cardigan / no longer available; similar by Banana Republic


Grana flannel shirt dress / no longer available; similar denim dress by H&M

Marc Fisher ‘Yommi’ chelsea boots / exact from Nordstrom Rack

Madewell high-rise skinny jeans / no longer available; similar by Madewell

LOFT striped tee / no longer available; similar by LOFT


J.Crew ‘Pixie’ ponte pants / no longer available; similar by J.Crew (limited sizes) or similar by Old Navy

Madewell flannel ex-boyfriend shirt / no longer available; similar by Old Navy

J.Crew ribbed pom-pom beanie / exact style

Frye ‘Melissa Button’ tall boots / no longer available; similar from Nordstrom


Hunter original gloss chelsea boots / exact from Italist

Uniqlo ultra light down vest / exact or similar from Amazon

Amour Vert ‘Kendra’ cable knit sweater / no longer available; similar from Bloomingdale’s

Madewell high-rise skinny jeans in olive / exact (limited sizes) or similar by Old Navy

The January Cure: Where art thou, motivation?

I mentioned in a couple of previous posts that I signed up for The January Cure hosted by Apartment Therapy for the first time. The idea behind it is to do a small, manageable assignment every week day (with larger tasks over the weekend) to refresh and organize your home for the new year. I was super excited about the idea of doing small tasks every day to clean and organize after the craziness of the holidays. I signed up in mid-December, and I was totally ready to go, but decided to just relax my way through the holidays and get going with the refresh on January 2nd, the first day of the Cure.

Even though I had such high hopes and good intentions, I’ve done very few of the tasks so far. The problem is twofold: I haven’t had much in the way of time to do most of the assignments, and even if I did have time, I seriously lacked in motivation. I don’t know why; I usually love working on organization and am dying to get our house in order (it’s embarrassing to still be living in unorganized chaos—and I’ve been living here for going on two years). It’s January 11th, and I still have most of our Christmas decorations out. (The goal for this weekend is to get those put away at least.)

I really wanted to write about the process, but this update is quite lackluster. It’s real life, though. Ha. Here’s where I stand on each of the assignments so far:

Day 1 / Declutter a drawer

I’m counting this one because I reorganized/cleaned up all of the drawers in the dresser in the guest room over the weekend. I got rid of a bunch of old papers I had in there and tidied up the drawers that house reusable bags and the guest towels. I reminded Korri that he has approximately 10,000 ESPN magazines living in there (he told me he has every single one since the beginning…). I didn’t do anything with them. It’s hard to declutter when half of the clutter is your partner’s clutter, ha! I would love for him to go through his stuff because I would like to move gift wrap stuff to one of the drawers.

I decluttered one of the junk drawers in our kitchen (yes, we have more than one…working on that) and most of the drawers in our master bathroom and in the guest bathroom, so I’m not feeling too bad about the drawer situation. I need to reorganize one drawer in our master bathroom, and I should go through the drawers in the guest bathroom and declutter/reorganize/maybe add some drawer dividers for toiletries, but they really aren’t bad right now.

Day 2 / Make a list of projects

I having a running list of things to buy for our house on my phone, and I started a list of projects in my head, but haven’t started writing them down yet. My goal for this weekend is to get them on paper. Most of my projects involve organization and buying finishing touches, like rugs and other decor. We just discovered that the cats tore into holes under our bed’s box spring and spend time in there, so we’ll have to figure out how to close those holes so they don’t rip the whole thing! Adding it to the list…

Day 3 / Clean the bedroom + treat yourself to flowers

This was the first weekend-long assignment, and it involved everything: tidying, clearing the surfaces, washing the sheets, flipping the mattress, washing the curtains, cleaning the windows and mirrors, dusting surfaces, cleaning the floors…and treating yourself to flowers. I didn’t buy flowers because Sybil would eat them. I only ended up doing a little bit of surface tidying before feeling completely overwhelmed. We flipped the mattress a couple of months ago, but I did wash our sheets and remake the bed. A couple of days before this assignment, Korri cleared out most of his side of the room, so at least that was done. We still have a lot more work to do in here, but it was still nice to crawl into fresh sheets on Sunday night!

Day 4 / Set up an outbox

I currently have three boxes sitting in various spots around the house collecting items to donate. I will likely end up donating at least three more boxes of things once I go through everything of mine. Now I just need to actually finish going through everything and then DONATE those boxes!

Day 5 / Take a mini-meditation

This assignment involves sitting in a room with no distractions or sounds and looking around, noticing everything from a different angle / seeing it from a new perspective. I didn’t do this one, and this one is on the back burner as far as the assignments go.

Day 6 / Do a 30-minute closet cleanout

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but, shocker: I didn’t do it. I was planning to tackle the upstairs coat closet (that also houses our vacuums), but there’s a bunch of Korri’s stuff in there that I knew I wouldn’t know what to do with. This goes back to my comment from Day 1’s assignment: it’s hard to declutter when half of the clutter is your partner’s clutter. I’m thinking I will need him to commit to doing the Cure with me in the future, and that’s not easy for me to convince him to do.

Day 7 / Refresh your living room

This assignment involves walking around your living room and grabbing extra items (“visual clutter”) to store out of sight for a few weeks. The idea is to downsize the visual clutter in your space and revisit it later in the Cure. I might tackle this assignment after taking care of the Christmas decorations, but this will likely be another one that ends up on the back burner.

Day 8 / Clean the kitchen + treat yourself to flowers

This is the assignment for this upcoming weekend, so I’ll have to report back in my next update. You are to choose either the “outside” track (decluttering and cleaning every surface, including appliances) or the “inside” track (declutter the drawers and empty the fridge of expired items). I think I might tackle the outside track with Korri’s help. I cleared out our fridge a few weeks ago and it’s still in pretty good condition, and our cabinets aren’t overflowing with items (though some could be reorganized).

I’m at around a 2.5/7 as of today (not including the kitchen assignment), so…not good. LOL. I’m hoping motivation will kick in soon so I don’t drag this on for the rest of the year. (I’m totally the type of person to do that.) I think one thing is clear, though: it’s really difficult to declutter a shared space when your partner isn’t decluttering with you and when you’re not sure what to do with your partner’s clutter! I may have to just create a box for Korri and stick stuff in it, lol. I’m not sure how he’d feel about that! Do you have any tips as to decluttering with a less-than-interested significant other?

My favorite drawer & cabinet organizers:

Subtle stripes

Casual winter outfit with striped flannel shirt, boyfriend jeans, tan ankle boots — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Madewell flannel Sunday shirt in stripes — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Boyfriend jeans winter outfit with flannel shirt and ankle boots — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Madewell flannel Sunday shirt winter outfit — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Striped flannel shirt outfit with boyfriend jeans and ankle boots — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

I strayed from my usual dark color palette in the winter for something on the lighter side. We’ve luckily had a few days of relatively warm weather for this time of year (the same thing happened around this time last year, too, though it was a few degrees warmer last year). When it’s not icy cold, wet, or snowy outside, I opt to wear flats or exposed ankles simply to mix it up and so I don’t feel tired of all of my socks and boots by the end of January when there’s still a month or so of winter left.

I’m wearing another flannel Sunday shirt from Madewell. Are you surprised? ;) I’m obsessed with these shirts, and I own three of them now. I’m not usually one for multiples unless the garment is really good, so you know this one is good! I tucked in only half of the shirt to give it some shape. I don’t think I’ve ever tucked this way before because it is historically not my favorite look, but I didn’t really mind it here. I did a front tuck in this post and it felt a little bulky in front still. My boots match the subtle stripes in the shirt, which I love! I think subtle matching might be my favorite type of matching.

How’s your January going so far? I haven’t been as productive as I wish I was (I’ll elaborate more in Friday’s post). I still have holiday decorations up and my house is still a mess. At least I’m going to work, though…and getting paid for it. (Korri is a federal employee currently “volunteering”—he’s still working but won’t be getting paid this week, unfortunately.) I’m trying not to freak out about paying the bills. I’ve been contacting our Senators and Representative regularly HOPING that they’ll come to some sort of agreement and open up the government. One can only hope! I’m trying not to dwell on it.


Madewell shirt / exact style or similar
Everlane jeans / exact (review here)
Earth boots c/o / exact (limited sizes) or similar from Macy’s (last seen here)
Madewell earrings / old; similar from Nordstrom Rack or Francesca’s
Moorea Seal sunglasses / old; similar by Le Specs
Dior Addict Lip Glow in pink / exact