It’s been a little while since I last shared some entries from my outfit journal (see the most recent installment here), so it’s high time for another post in the series. For those who are new to the blog, I’ve been keeping a journal of my outfits since last summer. In this journal, I write what I wore, where I wore it, how I felt about my outfit, and what I would change if I had it to do over again. I also try to take photos of my outfits most days so I have both a visual and written representation of what I’m wearing. This process takes me just minutes each day and has helped me tremendously in improving my personal style and wardrobe satisfaction.
I’m going to do a mini “series within a series” beginning with today’s post. I will share two outfits from last summer as well as two outfits from this summer. The outfits I’ve selected from last summer are ones that I don’t think work for various reasons. I will share what I wrote about these outfits last year, as well as anything else I notice today about why the look didn’t work. I will also comment on how I would change the ensemble if I were wearing it this summer. The outfits from this summer are ones with which I was quite happy overall. The reason for sharing the new looks is to highlight what I’ve learned as a result of keeping an outfit journal for over a year. I have learned so much and I feel that it shows in what I’m wearing now and how my outfit satisfaction has increased.
In today’s post, I am including one skirt outfit and one dress outfit each from 2014 and 2015. Stay tuned for at least one or two more installments in this mini-series. I may even dig up some outfits from earlier summers to feature, although I won’t have outfit journal entries for those.
2014 Outfit #1 – A Problematic Skirt
When I Wore It: October 12, 2014
Where I Went: Running errands with my husband
Thoughts/Feelings at the Time:
- I felt attractive, well put-together and relatively casual.
- I was a bit uncomfortable in the skirt, as it was kind of stiff and just barely fit around the hips.
- The outfit was somewhat fussy overall, as I had to adjust the skirt, top, scarf, and my hair fairly often.
What I Wrote that I’d Change:
- I wrote that I would change the skirt. I mentioned a less flared black pinstriped skirt that I had in my closet (that I recently passed on) or one of my two black midi-skirts. I also considered that I might wear a maxi-skirt instead (either black or grey) with flat shoes.
- I put the skirt “on probation” that day, but I never ended up wearing it again. This outfit was my one and only wearing of the skirt, which I had purchased at a consignment store earlier in the year.
How I’d Wear it Today:
- I agree with what I wrote last year that the skirt was the “problem child” in the outfit. I like the rest of the pieces, but the skirt didn’t work because it was too long, too flared, and too fussy.
- I don’t have any shorter skirts at present that would be a good substitution (I’ve had trouble finding shorter skirts that work for me), so I would probably wear a maxi-skirt instead.
- If I wore a maxi-skirt, I would wear one of my flat pairs of Ecco sandals with it (either metallic or black).
- I would like to find 1-2 straight or very slight A-line skirts that end at the top to middle of my knees. If anyone knows of a good resource for this, please let me know. I will more than likely need to find a retailer who carries tall sizes in order to get the length right. True pencil skirts don’t tend to be flattering on my frame, but straight skirts work well for me if I can get the length right.
- I would also probably tie the scarf differently so it would be less fussy and perhaps wear my hair back in a ponytail for a hot and humid day.
2014 Outfit #2 – Dress and Jacket Proportion Issue
Rating: 9/10 (I was surprised to see that I rated it so high – I would rate it lower today…)
When I Wore It: November 29, 2014 (yes, we often still have warm weather then – we get late summers here…)
Where I Went: To a movie with my husband
Thoughts/Feelings at the Time:
- I felt comfortable, sufficiently casual, and stylish.
- I wrote that the grey blazer made the outfit more cool-toned, which was better for my skin tone.
- I hadn’t worn the necklace in years (I’ve had it since the late 90’s), but I still really liked it and was glad to have kept it and brought it out again.
What I Wrote that I’d Change:
- I wrote that the dress is a little too low-cut and that my bra would sometimes show a bit on the right side. An alternate bra or a camisole (I don’t own any, believe it or not) would help to mitigate that effect.
- I would put my hair up because it was puffing up in the humidity. It was very humid here last summer, so I had a lot of days on which I wrote similar comments. I need to be prepared this year with some up-dos that I can easily do when the humidity goes up and my hair gets bigger. (Does anyone remember the “Friends” episode where they went to Mexico and Monica’s hair kept getting bigger and bigger? I loved that episode and that’s exactly what happens to my hair…)
How I’d Wear it Today:
- When I look at this outfit today, I am much less satisfied with it than I was last year. It has that sort of “churchy” effect that I’m trying to get away from.
- I would lose the jacket, as it’s cutting me in half visually. If I needed a topper, I would use one of my tie-waist cardigans (one is shown below) or pick up a cropped shrug to pair with the dress. The dress actually looks a lot better on its own, as it highlights my narrow torso well (see here).
- I don’t like the shoes with the dress for some reason. I would probably switch them out for my red sandals (shown with the dress in this post – the denim jacket in that photo also works better than the grey knit blazer) or my new black sandals (shown here).
2015 Outfit #1 – A Better Skirt Option
Rating: 8/10 (the look was more like a 9, but there were some issues with the skirt)
When I Wore It: May 1, 2015
Where I Went: Shopping, errands, and to take photos at the beach
- I felt casual and comfortable and appropriate for what I was doing on a warm spring day.
- I really liked the look of the outfit, but there were a few issues with it.
- The skirt is a synthetic fabric (I didn’t realize that when I bought it because it feels like cotton) and there was a big static cling problem.
- The tank has been in my closet for a while and the bottom is kind of stretched out and needs to be adjusted often.
What I’d Change:
- Find a way to address the static cling issues with the skirt (I am open to any ideas and suggestions you have!).
- Try putting the tank in the dryer (on delicate) to see if the bottom falls into shape better. If not, look for a replacement for it.
Follow-on Notes: I wore my black tie-waist cardigan with the outfit later in the day and liked how it looked. I would definitely wear this outfit again, especially if I can address the issues above. I feel it is true to my style and appropriate for my casual life and where I live.
2015 Outfit #2 – A More Flattering Topper
Rating: 10/10 (I don’t get many of those!)
When I Wore It: June 21, 2015
Where I Went: Movie and errands with my husband
- I loved this outfit! I felt both comfortable and stylish wearing it.
- I may have looked a little too dressy, but people wear these types of outfits all the time in the summer where I live.
- I loved the look of the new pink tie-waist cardigan with the dress. The color is good for me and the style accentuates my waist and doesn’t overpower the dress like some of my jackets do. The tie-waist cardigans pair well with maxi-dresses.
- I really loved my jewelry, too. They are all go-to pieces that I wear a lot, as are the dress and sandals I was wearing.
What I’d Change:
- The only complaint I had was about my underwear, which kept riding up throughout the day. Undergarments are so important to an outfit and can ruin an otherwise great ensemble. I am gradually replacing my stretched out underwear with new ones (and the pair I wore that day were promptly thrown in the trash when I got home).
Follow-on Notes: I wore this outfit less than a week ago and would definitely wear it again. I really love wearing maxi dresses and skirts and feel they are my new summer style. I have had so many problems with my shorter skirts that I have been wearing the maxi style far more often because I feel it works better for me. I’m sure I will wear this outfit and similar ensembles quite a bit throughout this summer.
I like to encapsulate my lessons learned at the end of each outfit journal both for myself and for readers who might need to learn similar things about their own wardrobes and sense of style. Here are what I see as the lessons I learned from the four outfits pictured above:
- Flared knee-length skirts don’t work well for my body and I don’t like the way they look anymore. I should either wear shorter, more fitted skirts or stick with the maxi length that I’ve been enjoying wearing since last summer. Maxi silhouettes also look more casual and pair well with flat shoes (which is good for my fussy feet).
- I need to have easy up-dos to do for my hair when it’s hot and humid outside. I have written about my hair quite a bit under the “what I’d change” section of my outfit journal, so I need to have some alternate options in place before it gets too hot here.
- Cropped, fitted toppers work better for me with dresses and skirts than standard blazers and jackets. The shorter, narrower silhouette doesn’t overwhelm my frame and better accentuates my narrow torso and waist.
- Don’t buy garments in synthetic fibers, as they are prone to static cling and can be too hot as well. I do much better with natural fibers. I always need to check tags, as sometimes synthetics can be deceiving and feel like cotton.
- Undergarments are important and should be upgraded whenever necessary. A bra or pair of panties that doesn’t fit properly or is all stretched out can ruin an otherwise great outfit. I need to make sure to allocate a portion of my budget to this area of my wardrobe to keep it up to date.
I think those are the main lessons I learned from my 2014 and 2015 outfit journal entries. If I missed any lessons from the outfits in this post, please let me know.
I hope you liked this installment of lessons from my outfit journal. If you have any comments or questions about what I have shared today, please share them. Also, if you keep track of your outfits and have learned some valuable lessons in the process, I would love to read about your insights. You are also welcome to write about topics outside of what was covered in this post (this is true anytime). A few of you do that already, but I just wanted to confirm that it’s okay with me. If you have other types of comments and/or questions for me or others, feel free to post them.
Have a wonderful weekend! I’ll be back next week with my June “Grab Bag” of useful links (see previous installments here), as well as more posts on wardrobe management, shopping, personal style, and trading your full closet for a full life. I really need to dedicate more time and attention to the full life issue, so stay tuned for more posts about that coming soon…