I’m posting some more outfit photos today. While this has often been a nerve-wracking thing for me to do, I feel better about it this time for a few reasons. For one, today’s photos are of ensembles I actually like, in contrast to the last few installments (here and here) of unloved looks about which I was seeking advice from Bridgette Raes. Additionally, writing “Who Are You Dressing For?” last week helped me to turn a corner. I now feel more able to dress for myself after processing and sharing my feelings about being overly concerned with others’ opinions.
It’s Okay If You Don’t Like My Outfits
You may or may not like the outfits below, and I’m okay with it either way. What’s important is that I like them and felt good while I was wearing them. Of course, I’m still in the process of evolving my style (read my thoughts on that here), so I shared photos of my favorite looks with Bridgette Raes for her input. Since I hired Bridgette to help me improve my style, I was open to her feedback on how I could enhance both my problematic and favored ensembles. What helped a lot was that she’s not only a professional, she also had a very clear idea of my objectives as a result of the comprehensive questionnaire I completed prior to our first meeting.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Bridgette liked many of my favorite outfits “as is.” In fact, she told me that she was very impressed with the looks I was putting together. She saw a night and day difference between my favorite outfits and the less loved ones I had sent to her previously. She said that it was almost as if she was looking at two different people.
As I mentioned in this post, Bridgette basically told me I should stop trying to make old, sub-standard, no longer my style pieces work when I have so many good items in my closet. Today’s post showcases some of those good items, as well as the advice Bridgette gave me for making my best looks even better.
My Signature Style
I selected around twenty favorite outfit photos to send to Bridgette before our second virtual styling session. There were many more skirt and dress ensembles in the mix than pants outfits, mostly because our session occurred in the heart of summer. When the weather is warm, my preference is for wearing skirts and dresses and I’ve happily begun to embrace maxi silhouettes this year. However, I did include some pants and jeans outfits from earlier in the year to review with Bridgette, too, as I wanted our session to be as helpful and informative as possible.
When Bridgette saw the photo of the teal and black striped bandage-style top below, she said that outfit exemplified my style. The top is just the type of modern piece with intelligent details that Bridgette feels expresses my style aesthetic. The same is true of the cobalt and blue top with horizontal and diagonal stripes. She also loved the forest green thermal top with floral details, as it’s a great color for me and matches well with my casual lifestyle. While she thought the black wrap-style top looked chocolate brown (which she thinks would be a good color for me), she thought the shape accentuated my waistline nicely and paired well with my favorite pair of boot-cut jeans.
Bridgette liked how I paired burgundy with grey in the jeans ensemble below and was also a fan of my maxi-dress outfits. She really liked the cobalt blue color for me, as well as the surplice-style black dress and striped moto jacket (one of my best buys this year!).
She was also fond of the three knee-length dress outfits I sent her. She liked how I paired the cobalt dress with the black belt and how I highlighted my narrow waist with the navy dress (which actually looked purple on her screen). She favored the necklines on both dresses and loved the leopard print sandals. She was also a fan of my brown-tone leopard print dress paired with the denim blazer and red shoes. These are three of my favorite dresses which were all worn multiple times this past summer.
Improving Upon Already Good Looks
As I mentioned above, Bridgette identified ways to improve some of my favorite looks. She felt the first outfit below was still a little on the “churchy” side as a result of the swishy and less modern skirt. However, she really liked the top half of the ensemble and told me it would look great paired with white pants (which I don’t have – have never found any I like), black jeans (just found some!), or dark denim jeans (have a few pairs). She also suggested pairing the skirt outfit with black sandals instead of silver for a more balanced look. I’m going to re-style this outfit and others and show some of the results in a future post.
I included the second outfit in the photo above because Bridgette suggested that I try pairing the black and white print top with the black skirt in the coral jacket outfit. She felt that the top might help to modernize the skirt, particularly if I paired it with my turquoise sandals (which are shown in the photo below). I love this idea and look forward to trying it out now that I’ve been reminded of Bridgette’s excellent advice through writing this post!
I have posted the black tank and red striped skirt outfit here before and it was a favorite look of mine during the long, hot summer that only recently drew to a close. Bridgette loved the skirt and thought it would look nice paired with a denim jacket or a chambray shirt. I’ve worn the skirt with my denim blazer (shown above) many times. While I don’t have a chambray shirt, I can see how the skirt would look nice in that type of pairing. Bridgette’s other suggestion was to switch out the silver sandals for black, which I’ve done regularly ever since I purchased comfortable black sandals (shown with black maxi-skirt below) back in July.
The outfit on the above right is one of the few ways I still like to wear the open cardigans that were closet favorites for years. Bridgette liked the clean look of this outfit, but said that I could kick it up a notch by switching out the black peep-toe shoes (which skew a bit dressy) for my new burgundy ballet flats (shown in this post). I can definitely see that working well, but the pants might need to be hemmed slightly since the peep-toes have a low heel.
New Accessorizing Options
Bridgette felt that I could improve upon the first outfit below by switching out the black accessories for one of the other colors in the floral tank top. She really liked the idea of highlighting either the mint green or red tones in the top through my accessories. She could see me wearing a mint bib necklace, red earrings, or a sharp red blazer with that ensemble (but not all together, of course!). She even thought yellow accessories would look nice with the top, but preferably not close to my face, as yellow is not one of my best colors. Another recommendation she had was to pair the floral tank with the black midi skirt in the photo above, which is something I’ve done.
The second outfit above has only been worn once so far, but I loved it. So did Bridgette, but she felt it would look more modern with my new caged black sandals (pictured in this post). The black and cream patent sandals I paired with the dress and blazer are dressier and less modern. The strappy black sandals would take the look to the next level and add some of the edgy vibe I’m looking to cultivate.
The shoes were the issue in the coral blazer and zigzag skirt outfit, too. At the time when the photo was taken, I didn’t have a pair of comfortable, non-dressy black sandals, but now I have two! That’s great, as Bridgette thought the look would be more balanced with black shoes to better coordinate with the top, skirt, and my dark hair.
The final outfit photo was taken shortly after I received my blue sandals as an early Christmas present from my mom. I am new to wearing colored shoes and I went a little overboard with matching them to other elements in the ensemble. I thought I was doing a good job in using blue accessories, but it ended up being too “matchy-matchy.” Bridgette made a few recommendations for improving this outfit:
- Pick just one place to echo the blue of the shoes (i.e. either the bracelet or the earrings, which have a turquoise bead at the end).
- Bridgette recommended replacing the turquoise bracelet with a black or silver one instead.
- I could also do only the blue shoes (there is some subtle blue in the dress, too) and wear silver earrings and a black bracelet.
New Ideas to Try
I love having some new outfit ideas to try and really liked the suggestions Bridgette gave me for amping up my favorite looks. I haven’t had a chance to play with all of the options as of yet, but I look forward to doing so very soon. The final post in my Bridgette Raes styling series (unless I hire her again in the future) will show how I implemented Bridgette’s advice. This post will go live sometime within the next month or so.
I hope you’re finding this series both interesting and helpful. I still don’t love posting my outfits on the Internet, but I did feel less trepidation this time since I’m much happier with the looks above (and learning to value my opinion above all others). Also, I know that while not everyone will love what I wear (is this ever true for anyone?), I’m loving more of my outfits as a result of my work with Bridgette (see all of the posts in the series: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ) and my daily outfit journal.
If you’re struggling at all with your style, I highly recommend doing at least an hour of virtual styling with Bridgette – learn more here (I did two hours and look how much I got out of it!). Yes, hiring a stylist is an investment, but it can end up paying for itself many times over. I feel far less likely to make buying mistakes now that I’ve honed in more on what does and doesn’t work for me.
If paying for a styling session isn’t feasible for you right now, you may want to try keeping an outfit journal. It’s free, easy, and can really help increase your awareness and improve your style. Just do it for a month and see how it works for you! Another option to explore is Imogen Lamport’s “Evolve Your Style” course, which Mette recently recapped on her blog. It’s still only $5 U.S. (price is increasing soon) and seems to be one of the best deals going. I intend to do “Evolve Your Style” myself very soon after Mette’s glowing endorsement.
“Flashback Friday” – What I Was Writing About a Year Ago
I forgot to do Flashback Friday the past two weeks, but I’d like to get it rolling again. Below are a few “Recovering Shopaholic” posts from last year at this time. I know many of you weren’t around back then, so this is a chance for you to read what I was writing during the earlier days of the blog. For long-time readers, it may be fun for you to revisit content you read the first time around. I always re-read the posts Bridgette Raes includes in her “Throwback Thursday” round-ups (most recent one here) and get even more out of them the second time.
- “Wanting Less and More at the Same Time” – As human beings, we can sometimes be walking contradictions. We often say one thing and act in a completely opposite manner. This is definitely true when it comes to many of us and our clothes. We love getting new clothes, but we often become overwhelmed with having those same clothes. In essence, we want more and less at the same time. This post explores this dichotomy of desires.
- “A Different Kind of Shopping” – Shopping for defined wardrobe needs is an entirely different activity from the type of mindless buying that many shopaholics do. We don’t tend to lose ourselves when shopping for things we need. Mindful shopping isn’t exciting or sexy; rather, it’s utilitarian and functional. However, this different kind of shopping can be incredibly satisfying. With shopping, as in many areas of life, we benefit from placing our long-term satisfaction over short-term enjoyment.
- “My Beefs with the Fashion Industry” – This post was a long time coming and was actually pretty cathartic for me to write. I had (have) a number of complaints about the fashion industry and let loose with all of them in this thought-provoking post. My “beefs” include lack of variety, low quality, poor manufacturing ethics, sizing inconsistency, constant sales, and more. Be sure to read the comments on this post, as readers chimed in with their own fashion industry beefs.
Your Thoughts and Survey Reminder
I hope you liked today’s post and the “blast from the past” links above! Now it’s your turn to chime in. Feel free to share your thoughts on the topics of this post, as well as any of the “Flashback Friday” links above. You’re also welcome to ask any questions you have for me or make suggestions for future blog posts.
A big thank you to all those who have completed my reader survey thus far. At the time of this writing, I have received over 350 responses, but I’d still love to get your input if you haven’t had a chance to take the survey yet. It only requires two to three minutes and is completely anonymous. I will share a summary of the feedback I receive in a future post. If you’d like to include your input, please click here. The deadline is Friday, November 21st. I appreciate your helping me to make this blog even better moving forward!