I can’t believe it’s been close to two months since I shared the last post in my “Lessons from my Outfit Journal” series (see the two previous installments here and here). I have been keeping my outfit journal since July 2014 (more on why and how here) and have been learning a great deal about my wardrobe and style preferences since that time.
One of the things I’ve learned recently is that I now prefer wearing slimmer styles of jeans over the wider-legged jeans that were my mainstay for years. In today’s post, I share four looks that feature boyfriend style and straight-legged jeans. While I’m not a fan of true skinny jeans for comfort reasons (I have varicose veins and a painful nerve condition), I have embraced these two new styles in addition to my boot-cut stand-bys. I show the outfits from least to most favorite and share my outfit ratings, where I went, my thoughts about each look, and what I would change in the future (if anything).
If you’re at all dissatisfied with your personal style, or if you look in your closet each day and declare that you have “nothing to wear,” I encourage you to keep an outfit journal for at least a month or two. You’ll be surprised at how much you learn through the process! What’s more, you’ll very likely become a smarter shopper through better understanding which of your ensembles are “home runs” and which ones fall flat. I know that’s been the case for me…
This outfit journal post is a bit different than the two previous ones in that I really like all of the looks shown. I didn’t see much that I wanted to change about any of the outfits below. I guess that’s a good thing, as it means I’m wearing more of what I truly love (my LIWI challenge is working!).
One quick note… I actually liked all of these ensembles better in person than in the photos. My husband and I are trying to improve the quality and accuracy of the outfit photos, but neither one of us is a photographer. Plus, this isn’t a flashy style blog. I’m mostly just documenting my process and hoping that you’re able to learn something from it. It’s not really about my outfits themselves as much as it’s about the journey and what I’m learning along the way.
Outfit #1 – Teal Cardigan
Where I Went: Massage appointment and errands
- I really liked this outfit and felt good in it. I like the silhouette of slimmer jeans with longer tops, which is a new look for me.
- I felt comfortable both physically and emotionally in the outfit and I felt like I looked attractive. I even felt good without the cardigan on and still thought I looked polished.
- I used to be uncomfortable in slimmer cut pants, but since I’ve lost some weight, I feel better wearing those styles. I’m sure I probably looked fine in them before, but I still have lingering body image issues (from my long battle with eating disorders – I wrote about that in this post) and feel much more comfortable in my body at a lower weight.
- This was my first time wearing the new cardigan and the first wearing of the tank this year. I felt very happy in both. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but there are sequins at the bottom of the tank (there is a diagonal section of them). I like having that little extra bit of “fanciness,” but don’t feel that it’s over the top.
- The jewelry pieces are all old favorites from over ten years ago, but I still enjoy wearing them. Now that I’ve pared down my jewelry collection and can better see what I have, my best pieces are seeing more wear. There are some definite benefits to having a smaller wardrobe and a smaller jewelry stash.
What I’d Change:
- Nothing I could think of really. The jeans felt a bit loose, but they were comfortable and the boyfriend style is supposed to be kind of baggy.
Follow-On Notes: I later decided that I wanted the cardigan to be a bit more fitted, so I took it to my tailor to be taken in on the sides. I am happier with the fit now.
Outfit #2 – Waffle Top
Where I Went: Lunch and shopping with my mom during her visit to San Diego in late February
- I really loved this outfit and felt like myself in it. I felt comfortable, casual, and stylish and appropriate for the activities of the day. This is how I want to dress for most of the events in my life. Not that I always want to wear a waffle top, but I liked that I didn’t feel too dressed up or “churchy.” I’m ready to let go of the “church vibe” for good, unless of course I’m actually going to church!
- I felt like I looked slim in the jeans. I really love these jeans after my recent weight loss (not sure how much I lost, but my clothes fit better now). Before that, I was much more self-conscious about the size of my hips and thighs.
- I loved all of the pieces I was wearing, including my turquoise accessories. The accessories are pretty subtle, but that is usually my style. When I wear jewelry that is too large of too much of a “statement,” I feel uncomfortable and often end up taking it off.
- My hair was the weak link in this look, as it got kind of frizzy in the humidity. I realize, however, that I notice that type of thing far more than others do.
What I’d Change:
- My hair, but I still don’t know what the heck to do with it! I’m doing better with it than I was last summer, but it’s still not ideal. I’m sure I will figure it out eventually, though.
Follow-On Notes: I didn’t write this at the time, but now that I look at this photo and the one above, I realize that the jeans might need to be hemmed slightly, as they are pooling a bit at my ankles. However, this is kind of a personal preference thing for slim-legged jeans, though, so I’m not sure how I feel about it. Sometimes the talls are a bit too long for me, but the regular lengths are always too short. I guess I’m not tall enough for tall sizes.
Outfit #3 – Pink and Black
Where I Went: All-day conference
- I really liked the outfit and felt it struck the right note for the occasion. I was also physically comfortable in it, which was important when I was sitting all day long.
- Like with the first outfit above, I wrote that I liked the longer top with slimmer jeans silhouette.
- I liked the jewelry, too, and thought the necklace looked much better after the modification I made to it (see this post for before and after photos). Before I altered it, I felt it was “too much” and never wore it. I’m now enjoying wearing it in its more subtle incarnation.
What I’d Change:
- I would wear a different bra with the tank or have the tank taken in at the sides. Although it wasn’t really warm enough to take the jacket off that day, I would have been uncomfortable wearing just the tank because my bra was showing.
Follow-On Notes: I ended up having the straps on the tank shortened a little bit. Now I can easily wear the tank alone without having to worry about displaying my bra to the world. I know that showing one’s bra was a “thing” for a while there, but it’s not my thing!
Outfit #4 – Printed Tunic
Where I Went: Charity comedy show
- I loved the outfit. It was a very different look for me in multiple ways, but I was happy with it. This was the first time I wore the new tunic (that I bought in February) and only the second time I wore the jeans that I purchased a year ago (now I really wonder why I didn’t wear them before!). I was very happy with both pieces except I wish the sleeves on the tunic were slightly longer. Story of my life with my “gorilla arms”!
- I loved the coat. It was a wardrobe “benchwarmer” last year and I’ve only worn it twice this year, but I want to keep it around. It’s too dressy for most of my life occasions, but it comes in handy for those rare occasions when I go out and want to dress up a bit more.
- I like the tunic with slim pants look and would like to wear this style more often in the future.
What I’d Change:
- Maybe wear my hair up and back, as it kind of bothered me that evening.
Follow-On Notes: I re-wore this outfit just yesterday. I still really liked it, but found the tunic kind of annoying when I was walking around a lot. I’m not used to having my tops be quite so long. I think I will confine the wearing of the tunic for events when I am more stationary. I loved it at the comedy event but not so much for shopping with my friend yesterday (more on the shopping in a future post!).
I hope you enjoyed this third installment of my “Lessons from My Outfit Journal” series. All of the outfits shown above were worn within the past two months and I was happy with each one. My track record is definitely improving and I’m satisfied with more and more of my outfits as time goes on. I still have a few “duds” in the mix here and there (perhaps that will be my next post in this series), but they are fewer and farther between these days.
As with the previous posts in this series, I’m going to distill down a few lessons that I learned from the entries for the outfits shown above. There aren’t as many as in the last installment, but here are a few things I learned:
- I need to give alternate styles and silhouettes a try more often, as I’ll never know what I might like unless I take some risks.
- But when I do try new looks, I should stick with just one new item in a particular style until I’m absolutely sure I will love and wear the new option.
- I prefer more subtle and minimal accessories over statement pieces.
- I need to make sure I’m comfortable wearing my tanks alone if I end up taking my jacket or cardigan off. This requires moving around a bit and making sure my bra doesn’t show.
- Some styles (like tunics) work better for some types of activities and not others. It may take some trial and error to understand the right types of clothes to wear for our various life events. It’s a good idea to “test drive” new styles for lower impact activities so we’re not stuck wearing something we’re uncomfortable for many hours at a time.
- I need to come up with a few new cute and stylish ways to wear my hair up so that I can easily change my hairstyle when my hair starts to drive me nuts.
I will probably continue having a theme for all of my outfit journal posts, as things seem to flow better that way. While I showed only 2015 ensembles today, I still have lots of outfits from last year to share and my lessons from those journal entries were more profound than what I highlighted today. However, I think that even the smaller lessons can make a big difference in our lives, so I plan to mix up my entries for that reason.
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?
I know I asked these same questions in the other posts in this series, but new people are always finding the blog and others who didn’t comment at previous times may choose to chime in now. Regardless of whether you’re new or have commented many times before, I invite you to share your thoughts with me and your fellow readers! Comments about my outfit journal entries and insights are also welcome (as long as they are respectful, of course). I always learn so much from what you all share, so feel free to join in the discussion.