Before I delve into the topic of today’s post, I’d like to say a few things about my last article, “Putting Together a Dressy Wardrobe Capsule.” Judging from some of the comments I received, I realize that I wasn’t clear enough about some aspects of that post. I had originally intended to put together a true formal wardrobe capsule, but then I realized two things: I own very few true formal items and I rarely attend those types of events. So instead, I put together wardrobe options for the occasions when I get more dressed up than usual.
Some of you wrote that most of my outfits in the post would be things you’d wear to work. If I worked in an office, I would very likely wear such outfits to work, too. However, I live in a very casual community in Southern California where t-shirts, jeans, and flip-flops reign supreme. Thus, what’s considered dressy around here may not mesh with that description in your part of the world. Even if our environments and lifestyles are widely divergent, I still hope that my “dressy” wardrobe example was useful for you.
If what you will need for more dressed-up or formal events is different from what I showed, you should definitely compile your dressy capsule in line with those considerations. If you are interested in writing a guest post depicting a true formal wardrobe capsule, please contact me, as I would welcome such a post!
A New Post Series
With all that said, let’s move on to the topic of today’s post, the launch of a new series for “Recovering Shopaholic.” If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that I started keeping an outfit journal last July. In this journal, I record what I wore on a given day, where I went, how I felt, and what I’d change about the outfit, if anything. This journal has been instrumental to the process of refining my personal style, and I previously shared some of what I learned two months into starting the journal. I continue to learn new things about myself and my wardrobe and style preferences over seven months later!
In today’s post and future installments of this series, I will share some of my outfit photos, along with my corresponding outfit journal entries. This first post includes four of my outfits from last fall, three of which were problematic in one or more ways and one that received a “10” rating. I will also reveal the fate of the pictured items and the changes I have either made or intend to make as a result of what I wrote.
Outfit #1 – Looks Aren’t Everything
Where I Went: Lunch with a friend
- The outfit looked nice while I was standing still but was a bit “fussy.” The tank top is getting stretched out at the bottom and had to be re-adjusted frequently, and the jacket is a bit tight under the arms.
- My hair also got “poufy” and probably should have been put up and out of my way.
What I’d Change:
- Wear a low-heeled shoe instead of the flats for a more stylish look (this is a wardrobe gap for me – casual black heels).
- Replace the tank with one that stays in place well.
- Replace denim blazer with one that is a better fit (this has been on my list for a long time, but I haven’t been able to find one!).
- Perhaps wear my black moto jacket with black caged sandals for a higher rated ensemble.
- Another option would be to wear my black tie-waist sweater instead of the denim blazer.
Follow-On Notes: I still have all of the pieces of this outfit, but it is a priority for me to replace both the black tank and the denim blazer. I also plan to find a pair of casual black sandals with a low heel this year. The skirt is still one of my favorites and I still love all of the jewelry pieces I was wearing.
Outfit #2 – Some Things Can’t Be Dressed Down
Rating: 8/10 (I would have rated it lower today)
Where I Went: Hair appointment
- Pretty good overall – “casual-ish,” stylish, and reasonably comfortable (elastic waistband dug into my skin a bit when I sat down).
- Skirt still seemed too dressy and “churchy” even with the casual accompanying pieces. It’s really hard to dress this skirt down and it was the weak link in the outfit.
- I definitely need more casual skirts and better black sandals. Also, perhaps I should find more current looking purple jewelry.
What I’d Change:
- I would either change the shoes or the skirt, as they didn’t work well together. Black sandals would have looked better, but I need better “walkable” ones. My pewter Indigo sandals would have worked better with the outfit, too.
- I’d wear a different bracelet (you can’t see the bracelet in the photo, but I felt it was too “blingy”).
Follow-On Notes: I no longer have the tank top, skirt, or bracelet I was wearing that day. While I loved the color of the tank, the ruffles in the front were too fussy for my more minimalist style. I hope to find a more streamlined version this spring/summer (a short-sleeved top would work as well). The skirt was just too difficult to dress down and I didn’t love it, so I let it go. My hope is to find two to three casual skirts that are shorter and narrower this year. I will likely let go of more of my old skirts once I find some suitable replacements.
Outfit #3 – The Ensemble Should Suit the Occasion
Rating: 8/10 (I would have rated it lower today)
Where I Went: Veterinarian appointment
- I felt too dressed up for where I went and a bit “marmy” or “churchy.” It was a good outfit but not for the occasion.
- I really liked the colors and the accessories. I don’t love the cardigan as much as I thought I would, though, as it looks too conservative (and can’t be worn open).
- I need more casual warm weather clothes and some “edgier” toppers. I need to make these things a priority for next summer!
- My hair was bad (too much “bend” due to humidity) and didn’t even look good in a ponytail.
What I’d Change:
- I would wear less “heavy” black sandals (I don’t have any that are casual and easy to walk in, except flats that wouldn’t work with the look).
- I would wear a shorter and narrower skirt.
- I would find a better way to wear my hair that would work with the humidity (bun? French twist?).
Follow-On Notes: I still have everything in the photo except for the tank top (I got rid of it because I didn’t like the lace at the top and I have a striped tank that I like better). I had the skirt taken in at the sides and I think it looks better now. I would have liked to have shortened it, too, but couldn’t do so because of the asymmetrical hem. I now have several moto style jackets, but would still like to find one in a bright color (mine are grey or black).
On my list for this year are a shorter and narrower black skirt and a pair of casual, walkable black sandals. However, I could maybe wear my black caged sandals with this outfit (I didn’t have them yet at the time when the photo was taken), but their vibe might clash with the more conservative pieces.
Outfit #4 – Now That’s More Like It!
Where I Went: Lunch and shopping with a friend
- I love both the dress and the jacket! The dress is a favorite now that I’ve had the straps shortened and the front sewn shut (easy alterations).
- I felt comfortable all day, as well as stylish, attractive, and slim.
- I also loved the accessories. I’m glad I kept the shoes (pewter Indigo sandals – a 2013 “benchwarmer”), as they are now a favorite. They are very easy to walk in and look good with maxi dresses and skirts.
What I’d Change:
- Nothing! However, I’d love to find another dress like this in a bright color (e.g. green or purple).
Follow-On Notes: All of the items pictured remain favorites. I now prefer wearing dresses over skirts and maxi dresses are warm weather staples for me. Although Bridgette Raes recommended bright shoes and accessories for me, I still prefer to wear metallic and other neutrals. I could see wearing bright jewelry with this outfit, but I’m not sure about bright shoes. Perhaps if it’s not broken (in my eyes), why fix it?
I hope you all enjoyed the first post in this series. It was useful for me to revisit my outfit journal and encapsulate some of what I learned. I was actually surprised that I rated the first three outfits as high as I did, but that just shows that my style has continued to evolve since that time. I don’t think any of those outfits are bad, per se, but they don’t necessarily live up to my new style standards, either.
I am now much clearer about how I want to dress when the warm weather rolls around again, and I have a shopping plan in place to fill in the gaps in my wardrobe. I don’t plan to buy a lot, but I intend to do some focused buying, including the following items:
- Low-heeled black sandals that are stylish and walkable
- Two to three shorter, narrower casual skirts (black, denim, bright color)
- Replacement tank tops – black, purple (plain styles)
- Replacement denim blazer/jacket (probably in a lighter wash, comfortable, casual)
If you’re struggling at all with your wardrobe or style, I highly recommend that you try keeping an outfit journal for at least a month or two. I promise that it will be an informative and enlightening experience for you!
Coming Attractions and Your Thoughts
In future installments of this series, I will share some of my cool weather ensembles, as well as some additional skirt and dress outfits from last summer/fall. While I continue to learn important lessons from my outfit photos and journal entries, some of my best insights were gained early on in the process.
I’m sharing my process and learnings with you in the hope that they might spark some “aha moments” for you, too. If you have been keeping an outfit journal or using a similar process, I’d love to read your thoughts on how it’s helped you with your wardrobe and style. What have you learned from writing about and/or photographing your looks? What other methods do you have for improving and evolving your personal style? Please share with me and your fellow readers!