Lessons From My Outfit Journal: 2016 Style Shifts and Goals

Almost two years ago, I started keeping an outfit journal as a way of better getting into touch with my personal style and helping it to evolve.   Although I had previously taken photos of my outfits for at least a few years, I believed that capturing my feelings about what I was wearing would be even more beneficial.  Well, I was right!  At this point, I can unequivocally state that my outfit journal has been the most important tool in my style evolution. And since it continues to produce benefits, I have no intention of giving it up anytime soon.

Style and outfit journal

I’ve shared a number of insights from my outfit journal since its inception and have recently created a separate category for these posts, if you’d like to check them out.  In today’s post, I’m going to highlight the shifts I feel my style has made in 2016 thus far, as well as my style goals for the rest of the year and beyond.  Most of these shifts and goals are a direct result of my outfit journal, as I capture my feelings there about what I wore and what I would change about each look.   Over time, these thoughts have led me to make changes and try new things.  Also helpful to my journey are the “outfit of the day” (OOTD) threads on Facebook.  Seeing what others are wearing and reading their and others’ comments about those outfits (and mine) has helped me to increase my style awareness and make changes to what I’m wearing.

Tried and True Style Elements

Before I delve into what’s changed, I’d first like to highlight some “tried and true” style elements that I loved in past years and continue to love.

  • Stripes – Not only are stripes my favorite pattern, but they remain my signature style.

Stripes outfits

  • Bright toppers – I continue to enjoy wearing my favorite jewel-toned coats and cardigans on a regular basis.

Bright coats

  • Cobalt and black – This is my go-to color combination and I find that I’m wearing it even more often than I did last year. It’s almost as much of a signature for me these days as stripes are.

Black and Cobalt

  • Burgundy/purple – In addition to black and cobalt, shades of burgundy and purple remain my favorite hues to wear.

Burgundy and Purple

Rediscovered Styles

This year, I have recaptured my love of wearing scarves and necklaces.   I find that a scarf is an easy way to dress up the simple jeans and t-shirt combination that I wear much of the time.  Alternatively, a fun necklace can easily liven up a minimalist ensemble.  Interestingly, paring down my scarf and necklace collections has led me to wear the remaining pieces more often.  Sometimes when we have too much of a given type of item, it’s hard to find our favorites in the mix; thus we don’t wear them. Smaller, tighter collections make it easier to pull a scarf or necklace out and include it in an outfit.

Scarf Outfits

Necklace Outfits

New Styles and Silhouettes

While the style elements mentioned above have been in my repertoire for quite a while, I have introduced some new looks since the beginning of this year.  I’ve enjoyed shaking things up a bit by adding a few alternate pieces to my closet and by combining pieces that I never paired together previously.

  • Asymmetry – I got into asymmetry to some degree last year, but I have fully embraced it in 2016. I love how it adds both edge and modernity to my style.

Asymmetrical Items

  • Vests – Vests have been a “game changer” for my style. I love how they can update a look, as well as dress up a casual outfit.  My new black puffer vest (which reverses to a white and grey pattern) works well for my cool weather dressed-down lifestyle and also injects some fun into simple ensembles.

Vest Outfits

  • Shorter toppers with pants – For years, I’ve mostly worn longer toppers with pants and shorter toppers with skirts and dresses. But this year, I decided to try pairing some of my mid-length jackets and cardigans (which now feel too long for my skirts and dresses) with pants and jeans.  I like the look with wider-legged pants, as it creates a more balanced proportion than the long and loose open cardigan style that was my mainstay for years.

Pants with shorter toppers

  • Long toppers with pants – I’ve enjoyed pairing long toppers with pants, including my new duster cardigan and black longline vest. My black velvet blazer has also been rescued from “dressy” territory to be paired with jeans and other casual pieces.

Long topper outfits

  • Sandals with pants – After growing tired of wearing boots every day and in an effort to wear my jeans and pants more in warmer weather, I decided to try pairing them with sandals. I feel the look is more “open” and laid back and is a more balanced look with short-sleeved and sleeveless tops.

Pants with sandals

What I’m Moving Away From

In addition to adding some new styles and silhouettes to my wardrobe, I’ve also started to move away from a few of the looks I used to love wearing:

  • Grey – For many years, grey was my secondary staple neutral after black, but it no longer holds my favor. I feel that the medium tone grey I used to love washes me out. Perhaps a different shade of grey would work better for me, but the color in general would likely be problematic if and when I decide to transition to my naturally gray hair.
  • Solid white – White also used to be one of my staple neutrals, but I now feel it looks harsh and unflattering on me. Off-white or another softer shade of white might work better for me, but I mostly prefer to wear white as part of a pattern (i.e. stripes) rather than on its own.
  • Loose over loose – While I still like my mid-length open cardigans with slimmer-fitting jeans, I no longer like how they look with boot-cut or wide-leg pants. I feel that the combination overpowers my frame and looks too conservative and even frumpy (I hate the word, but if the shoe fits…).
  • Flats with jeans – I used to love pairing ballet flats with my jeans, but I almost never wear this combination anymore. I feel that I look shorter and heavier in this look, especially if I’m also wearing a longer topper.  I’m sure the flat shoes would look better with a shorter top and/or topper, but I prefer to stick with some sort of heel when wearing pants.  Even a small heel makes me feel longer and leaner.  Fortunately, I don’t own many flat shoes anymore.  I’ll keep the ones I still like (e.g. my black AGL flats, which used to be a favorite) in case my feelings change in the near future.
  • Plain solid t-shirts – The problem with plain solid t-shirts is that they either need a topper or exciting accessories in order to look polished. This isn’t too much of a problem in cool weather, as I’d likely need to layer anyway in order to keep warm.  But when it’s warm out, I don’t want to feel like I need to keep my jacket or cardigan on so that I don’t look boring (check out this post to see how I re-worked such an ensemble in the “outfit lab”).    I’d much prefer to wear tops that are interesting enough on their own and don’t need many bells and whistles.

Here are a few pictures of the types of looks I’m moving away from:

Grey outfits

No longer loved styles

Style Goals for the Rest of 2016 and Beyond

The most important part of my outfit journal is the section in which I ask myself what I would change about a given look.  What I come up with helps me to formulate both my shopping priorities list and my style goals.  Here are some of my personal style intentions for the remainder of 2016 and next year:

  • Standalone tops – I would like future tops that I buy to include prints, interesting details, or texture such that they will look good on their own and won’t require a topper or a lot of accessorizing.
  • More edginess – I like that I’ve added a bit of edge to my style and would like to incorporate even more as time goes by. I don’t think I’ll need to buy many more pieces in order to accomplish this goal, but it would be nice to have a few more edgy accessories to wear.
  • More asymmetry – This is a style element that I’ve grown to love. I’d like to wear the asymmetrical pieces I have more often and add a few more to my closet as well.
  • More black, black and white, and monochromatic ensembles – Most of my outfits include color, yet I’m always drawn to black outfits, as well as black and white and monochromatic looks. Since this is clearly a style preference of mine, I’d like to translate it more into my own ensembles moving forward.
  • Easier, more stylish hair – This is a “biggie,” but it’s also scary for me. Probably the most frequent note I make under the “what I would change” section of my outfit journal is “better hair.”  As you know from my recent post on my hair woes (as well as this previous one), hair is a loaded issue for me.  I don’t think my hair will go from being a bone of contention to an area of delight anytime too soon, but I do plan to explore alternate styles and ways of better dealing with my hair.  Hair is our most important accessory and it’s time for me to start maximizing mine, plus I really want to escape from “hair prison.”   This is a key goal for me as I move into my fifties.

Conclusion and Your Thoughts

I’m sure I will come up with more style goals over time, as well as additional favorite styles and looks I’m moving away from.  But the looks I’ve included in this post are a good start.   It was very helpful for me to go back and look at my outfit photos and journal posts.   I feel like I’m on the right track with my style and am happy to be evolving in terms of what I wear and my sartorial likes and dislikes.

Now it’s your turn to share your thoughts. I know that not all of you maintain an outfit journal or take photos of what you wear, but I’m sure you have opinions on what is and isn’t working for you.  If not, why not take some time to consider the following questions:

  • What style shifts have you made in the past year or so?
  • What colors, cuts and silhouettes are you embracing? Which ones are you moving away from?
  • What are your style goals for the remainder of 2016?
  • What helps you to evolve your style?

Please respond to the above questions and/or offer your insights on the topic of style evolution in the comments section of this post.

About Those Accountability Posts…

Some of you may have wondered what happened to my April accountability post.   I’ve decided to move these monthly updates to the Facebook group (where others also share their accountability), but I will still do shopping and wardrobe goal reviews here on a quarterly basis (see my 2016 goals here).   I know that many readers enjoy the accountability updates, but they take a very long time for me to put together and I’ve decided that I’d rather dedicate that time to other types of posts.  While I continue to experience challenges with my shopping and wardrobe, I have far more difficulties in other areas of my life.  In that vein, stay tuned for an update on my 2016 balance goal very soon.

37 thoughts on “Lessons From My Outfit Journal: 2016 Style Shifts and Goals

  1. Your beauty really shines through. That’s what I notice first. I especially like the pictures with the scarves that draw the eye to your face and help frame it so strikingly.

    What has influenced me most lately was reading The Lost Art of Dress. It’s about the role home ec teachers had in shaping how women dressed but which was largely overthrown in the 60s.
    I lived through those times and yes I wore those mod clothes but I dislike the blockiness and stiffness of them. The book mentions that straight skirts are not made for movement and are destined to show wear wrinkles because of this, plus you need at least 6 inches more width at the hem than your hip measurement for gracefulness. That’s one thing I had been feeling on my own. So I’ve gotten rid of most of my straight skirts. The remaining few may follow as well, as I have time to try on and evaluate my feelings.

    I’ve also been experimenting with looser fit clothing and liking it. I did used to often wear deliberately oversized clothing when I was a small size but it’s a very different thing when you’re five feet and size 12.

    I picked up a tee shirt the other day that was a revelation to me. I don’t tend to own many actual tee shirts. I always read about people’s struggles to find ideal tees. This was a Jones New York inky navy tee with wide set white tiedye “stripes” and it had binding at the vee neck and beautifully cut short sleeves. I tried it on hurriedly at the thrift store but when I got home and took another look, I was thrilled with it. The sleeves even stood out from my arms in a jaunty way. I bought it in a size larger than I would normally wear. I think this made a lot of the difference, too. Otherwise, tees often feel constricting and even suffocating to me, definitely not the comfortable garment everyone praises.

    Another thing that made a difference was working through the Five Things exercise that featured on GretchensCloset blog. I’m not usually great with these kinds of things so maybe the timing was right. Right off the bat, I could see that I needed to name 2 brands/designers and not just one. Ralph Lauren and Dolce and Gabbana. I have an obvious dichotomy . But when I got to naming a handful of items I would choose to keep/rescue above all others, I was quite surprised that none of my GoTo pieces that I wear all the time and depend on were contenders. It’s not that they’re particularly plain basics but more that the pieces I really cared about as defining me were quite standout and I do wear them.

    Howver, I also recently acquired a trio of the more preppy style dresses that I wanted for around the house wear – but can be worn going out. They’re sleeveless princess seamed cotton knit that are cut so that the skirt will flare out in folds beneath the hips. They’re white and pastel basketweave and I like the cooling look they have for summer. I like that they’re waistless, though I have a waist. What’s new for me is that these dresses and the tee I described are cotton knit and I usually avoid that as being too sweaty, saggy. And these aren’t. Also, the dresses are shorter than I’d usually wear and are above the knee. I wore one shopping with the family today and didn’t notice anyone fainting from shock at my wearing something “too” young.

    I also tried on for a lark an LL Bean cotton sweatshirt cardigan jacket. I’ve never tried on a jersey or ponte blazer before that wasn’t either sticky-out-y or strangely flaccid. This seemed to meld to my body and never fought me when I moved. It had a weird, loose half belt in back but also had a spare button. So I made an extra buttonhole and used all three buttons and thus tightened the back belt some. And I felt thoroughly jaunty.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Vildy, and for sharing so much about your own style evolution. The book The Lost Art of Dress sounds quite interesting – it’s one I hadn’t heard about before. I think it’s great that you have found some new styles and fabrics that work well for you. It’s always wonderful to find tees that work well. It used to be easy for me, but now they feel like needles in a haystack! I was thinking of doing Grechen’s “five things” exercise as a blog post, perhaps even tomorrow or next week. It’s simple but could be very instructive, as it was for you. I may be surprised at what I learn. I hope your style will continue to evolve in a way that’s pleasing for you (and I hope you will continue to share your thoughts from time to time).

    • Vildy: that is a great book. You might also like designer Elizabeth Hawes’ book “Fashion is Spinach” for a fascinating, contemporaneous window into American fashion for the early 20th century. You can find it in PDF for online.

      Your dresses sound intriguing. Would you mind sharing where you got them?

      Thank you

      • Sorry for the delay in answering. I have read Fashion is Spinach a number of years ago – thanks! The dresses are NY & Company. I got them at a church thrift store for about a buck or two apiece. I recently saw a duplicate of one I got, except with pockets. I love pockets and my friend tried to talk me into getting the backup – but I already have 3 in different colors! – and… pockets! But I didn’t.

        I think there’s a lot of NY & Co dresses similar to these on eBay. If you want to see what they look like, they seem to have this year’s version on their website in both patterned and plain. It’s a little different with a back keyhole neckline but quite similar. It’s under casual dresses and they call it Pleat Neck Flare Dress. Mine don’t have the pleat neck but they do have princess seaming. Much of a muchness, though. 😀

      • I looked at their fit finder for this style. The ones I bought were a medium – ‘cuz that’s what there was – but the fit was fine with me – snugger through bust and fine fit otherwise. Their fit finder tool said I would take a regular size L (I’m 5 feet tall and they asked for size and type for a well fitting dress I own and I answered 12 petite) So I see what they did there and also their product picture looks somewhat looser than what I have/what I liked.
        So I think their fit tool works really well.

  2. You look great in the photos. I especially like the asymmetric pieces and the shorter toppers, plus the scarf with green in it. I think the white in small blocks looks really good – but I have the same issue, I hate white on myself, but others without prompting have said it looks great. Sometimes its just a matter of letting the eye adjust. I’d hang on to your favourite grey pieces, as grey can look lovely with grey hair, plus in the photos the other colours are not very bright, the grey coat might look better with e.g. electric blue.

    You might remember I started a ‘project 60’ two years ago – I’m now nearly half way through (can’t believe that two years have passed since I found this blog)! So the sumer will be a time for taking stock of progress. But I’m definitely with you on injecting more ‘edgy’. I’ve bought a small number of quite dramatically different pieces, i.e. very wide pants in bright blue, some black palazzo pants (http://www.uniqlo.com/uk/store/goods/184619), plus some wide, cropped pants. they have injected a breath of fresh air into my wardrobe, and I enjoy wearing them. A key thing for me has been to worry less about what is ‘flattering’ and take a few risks.

    • Thanks for your compliments, Alice. You may be right about needing to let the eye adjust with white. I’m not letting go of the grey pieces just yet, but I don’t love them like I used to. I agree that they look better with brighter colors. I’m glad you are continuing with your “Project 60” and making good progress. I like your palazzo pants and could see myself wearing something similar (too bad there is no Uniqlo close by). Sometimes just a piece or two can really change our wardrobes. I have found that to be the case with my vests and asymmetrical garments. Good for you for taking more risks! I hope they continue to pay off for you.

  3. Hi Debbie. I love the black striped chiffon top. I think you look so stylish in black. I also like the cobalt & purple outfits & the asymmetric pieces. Your style is very cohesive which is what I lean towards. I used to have long (blonde)hair and used to wear very clean lines & mainly neutral colors to avoid looking girly. Now my hair is a short bob I’ve introduced floaty colorful items. The big change I’ve made recently has been to lower my heel, I formerly wore 5 inch shoes/sandals but I’ve dropped to a 3 inch which I’ve found so liberating. There does seem to be more choice of stylish footwear in lower heels so I don’t feel my style has been compromised. I am making better choices with new purchases as I now shop for items that enhance my wardrobe, and as I buy less I can justify better quality items. I think being happy with my wardrobe is really helping with the approaching 50th birthday in August!

    • I really need to wear that top more often, Sharon. I often wonder why I don’t… I appreciate your kind words about my evolving style. I think it’s great that your new hairstyle has led you to make changes to your clothing style as well. I can’t imagine wearing 5 inch heels – even 3 inches is pushing it for me! I’m glad you are feeling good about your wardrobe as you approach the big 5-0 in August. That is helping me, too, but I have a lot more issues about this big milestone. I’m sure I will be writing more about it very soon!

  4. You’ve made some wise choices in your style change this year! I too, am a lover of grey clothes and have come to realize that only certain pieces that are all grey work for me. My biggest style change this year is incorporating slim bottoms (primarily jeggings) with looser and longer tops. I was really into all things flowy and oversized for some time and couldn’t embrace anything tight as I find anything even slightly fitted uncomfortable. I have tried soooo many pairs of skinny jeans and most of them never made it out the door – I would almost always change into something else more loose fitting the last minute. When I found the most comfortable leggings that have the skinny jean look that I admired and the comfort of pyjamas, they became my staple bottoms since 2016.

    • How great that you have found some leggings that work for you, Wendy! Just the other day, someone suggested leggings for me since I have comfort issues with skinny jeans. Seeing your comment reinforces my desire to try some out to see what I think. Since I have the same issues as you do with more fitted clothing, perhaps leggings will work for me, too (especially if they have the comfort of pajamas!). I also admire the skinny jean look on others but can’t wear it myself. Perhaps leggings will be a good compromise for me like they have been for you.

      • Yes! It’s definitely worth going to try some on to see if you’re comfortable in them. More and more brands make leggings look like jeans. Most of the tops I’ve seen on you go past your hips and longer, so leggings/jeggings that don’t have actual pockets, zipper and button closure (all the components that make skinny jeans uncomfortable) would be perfect since you can’t see them anyways. I think once you find the perfect pair, you will love the skinny jean look without compromising comfort.

      • I really appreciate your sharing this with me, Wendy, because I often admire the skinny jeans style on others but just cannot wear them due to comfort issues. If the leggings are as comfortable on me as they are on you, it could be a game changer. You’re right that we don’t need the pockets, zipper, and button closures if our tops cover that area up anyway. I will try some leggings on soon and see what I think.

  5. Hi Debbie, I really admire how thoughtful and deliberate you are in making your stylistic choices!

    On moving away from gray: I stopped coloring my hair a few years ago and noticed that most shades of medium and dark gray do not work for me any more. However, I still feel very comfortable in a very light cool heather gray.

    Generally, the change in my hair color caused a huge shift in the color of my wardrobe. I was always a warm color person (corals, oranges, warm reds, browns), but now with mostly gray hair I tend to gravitate towards cooler colors, including a lot of blue (which I almost never wore before). I can’t wear black around my face any more as it makes me look deathly ill. But navy blue works beautifully. I think with your signature colors being cobalt, burgundy and saturated green, you will have no problem with your transition.

    • Good point about grey, Izeve. I always thought that light grey would wash me out, but perhaps it would be the best shade of grey for me. I have read about needing to change ones colors when transitioning to gray hair, but I think you’re right that I won’t need to do much of that given I already have a cool color palette. That’s a relief since I am already feeling so challenged by the whole thing. I hope I will still be able to wear black, though! One friend said she was never able to wear it before but can now that she has gray hair. Fingers crossed… (but navy is a nice color, too).

  6. You look really good in all the photos, Debbie. Your style has evolved so much and your eye for what suits you has really improved.
    Previously lots of your clothes and ensembles looked the same. Now you have lots of different looks while maintaining a continuity of identity.
    Funny, when I looked at all my clothes lined up I thought they looked too same year, like yours used to but no longer do.
    Hope your health is getting better!

    • I agree that a lot of my clothes and outfits used to look the same, Michaela. I either didn’t notice (was too focused on buying more) or didn’t care before, but it started to bother me after my shopping slowed down. I’m glad to have some more variety now. It’s good that you have experienced something similar with your wardrobe. Thanks for your good health wishes. I’m still struggling, but I’m not giving up hope. I continue to pursue solutions and do my best to believe that help is just around the corner…

  7. Hi Debbie!
    Wow, you look fantastic! I love the updated you, you look so comfortable in your own skin. As for the grey, it’s that elephant grey that I too find so hard to wear. I think we’re better in a silver grey or charcoal grey rather than the mid tones.

    I totally agree about the plain tees and tops, I have struggled with this too for the same reason. I’ve recently bought some printed tops and they work well on their own or with a cardigan.

    My recent decluttered items include thin, clingy jersey tops and 3/4 sleeves which don’t work under a sweater or cardigan. On their own they are too clingy and highlight every bump and lump.

    I’ve also recently embraced mid-wash stretchy jeans! My navy tops have been transformed as a result and I’m happy to have this more casual addition to my wardrobe.

    On the whole I’m moving away from a quite plain classic look to a more vibrant and patterned look with scarves and printed tops becoming part of my new style. I feel much more comfortable and stylish as a result of this minor tweak.

    • Good to see you commenting here, Tracey. I’ve missed your lively wit but am very glad to see that you are doing well. Thanks for sharing about your style evolution here. I think you’re right about that “elephant grey.” I won’t give up on grey just yet and will try some other tones. Someone above mentioned a light heather grey, which could work for both of us.

      It’s good that you found some printed tops you like that can stand alone. I have had far too many days of feeling hot with a cardigan or jacket on because I didn’t want to take it off and have a super plain outfit on. Your new stretchy jeans sound great and like they have made a big difference in your wardrobe. I often find that I don’t wear my dark tops enough and would likely benefit from lighter jeans as well.

      Your style shifts sound like they will suit you quite well and I’m glad you are feeling more stylish and comfortable now. I have always thought you looked lovely, but I’m happy that you are feeling that more now!

  8. Lovely photos. It’s nice seeing you feel happy with your clothing choices. I’m guessing that once you feel happier with your hair color, cut and style it will add an edge and more drama to your overall image, and you might feel less need to seek an edgy look from clothing patterns.

    Me—I’m moved away from ¾ length tops. I’m keeping two that work well for me and have let the rest go. I’ve discovered that if I’m cold I want “long sleeves” and if I’m warm I want “short sleeves.” Now easily pull on a sweater or jacket without having ¾ length sleeves bunch up, ride up and cause me to fuss pulling them down. I have also simplified my make up and this change alone has brought me great freedom and ease.

    • I agree that if I were happier with my hair, I would be happier with my overall style, Terra. I can’t tell you how many times I have mentioned my hair under the “what I’d change” section of my outfit journal. But I always write “but I don’t know what to do” after that. Even if I take baby steps in the right direction there, at least I will feel less stuck, which will go a long way toward making me feel better, I think.

      I have moved away from 3/4 sleeve tops, too. In fact, I have very few left (just a few that I can think of). I also prefer either long or short sleeves now. Good for you about your make-up. Your make-up post in “End Closet Chaos” really made me think and I’d like to update my make-up soon, too. Simplifying there as well as with my hair would make a big difference in my life.

  9. Looking great, these looks really suit you, also your long dresses are great. I always think you would suit a long bob hairstyle, maybe with a bit of layering round the front for movement and edge. Bobs go well with stripes. Keeping a spreadsheet of what I wear for what activities, with comments on what works well and what doesn’t has really helped. My style is getting more casual, partly due to lifestyle changes, but also because ‘acceptable’ dress style has become more relaxed. Smart casual and casual dress is acceptable in offices, restaurants, theaters and many other places that used to demand smart dress. Recently I have moved from fit and flare towards gently fitted tunic and T shirt dress shapes. Although fit and flare suits me, as I get older I find the style can look too girlish and young. I identified the styles I want to wear for what activities at the beginning of the year, put together suitable outfits and identified a few items needed to complete outfits. I find Pinterest good for ideas, planning, and evolving my style.

    • I may end up cutting my hair shorter soon, Lynn and Emmy. I have dead ends that need to go, plus a change could be good for me (and help with the gray transition I’m probably going to do). It’s hard to escape a hair rut, but sometimes we end up wondering what took us so long.

      I think it’s great that you’ve been keeping a spreadsheet on what you wear and have learned from it. I feel the same way as you about fit and flare now. The tunics and t-shirt style dresses work better for a more casual lifestyle. Your style planning activities at the beginning of the year seem to have paid off. I need to use Pinterest more myself, as I know it can be a great tool (but like all other forms of social media, can be a time sink).

  10. Nobody does analysis like you do Debbie! I love these posts and always learn something form your thoughts on your wardrobe.

    Here’s where I am with my style almost mid-way through 2016.

    Since I stopped winter wearing boots in February, I am really gravitating toward slim ankle pants. I seem to want to wear these over any other possible bottom on a daily basis for work. On the weekend, I want to wear slim city shorts, which I have inadvertently been calling Bermuda shorts, but these are a few inches above my knee.

    While I think I look really good in them, I am moving away from pencil skirt looks. As the weather here really heats up, I am wondering if I will want to wear my summer dresses as much as I did last year, or if I will continue to want to wear pants and shorts. While I I’ve never worn a skirt every day of the week, I usually wore one or two times a week. I noticed going back through my OOTD pics, I went a span of 6 weeks and a span of 4 weeks without wearing a skirt or dress at all.

    I don’t have any major style goals. I am just trying to wear and enjoy what I have.

    What helps me define my style? Originally, my style words/anti-style words process worked well in 2013-2015. These days, taking an OOTD picture and evaluating it critically is helping quite a bit. I don’t keep track of how I felt in an outfit, but things that I did not feel good in are either immediately removed from my closet or put on notice. Things I think I love or used to love get a second chance in another outfit. I’ve settled into a place where I love about 90% of my clothing, so this becomes a rare event.

    • I’m glad you learn from my analytical posts, Barb. It’s always my hope that will be the case for readers! The slim ankle pants and city shorts are working very well for you and your outfits look great. I like you in pencil skirts, too, but sometimes just looking good in something isn’t enough to have us continue to wear it. I’m wondering if I will want to wear skirts and dresses this summer as much, too. I typically wear them all summer long, but I may want to mix it up more and wear pants sometimes this year.

      I think that trying to wear and enjoy what you have is a very valuable wardrobe goal even if it’s not a specific style goal. You have really found your style, so you don’t need to work on it as much as some of us do. I should really do your style words / anti-style words exercise. I think I have done it subconsciously, but I think there could still be value in actually doing the exercise. I like that you put clothes “on notice” when they don’t feel good for you and that you give previously loved items a second chance. Sometimes it’s the combination that’s the problem, not an individual garment. Loving 90% of your wardrobe is a great place to be in – good for you!

  11. Hi Debbie, I really liked you in that first photo under Asymmetry. I like those proportions on you, the longish top and shorter pant. Here, the pant in shortened by the top, but I think you would also look great with pants that are a tad shorter, ‘a la Emmanuelle Alt (loads of pictures out there if you google her). I think I see some similarities between you two.

    • I am familiar with Emmanuelle Alt, Luna, and am flattered that I remind you of her in some ways. I am a slow adopter of ankle length or shorter pants because of my many years of struggling to find pants that are long enough for my “giraffe legs,” but I do appreciate the style on others and am willing to try it now. Who knows? I could love it…

      • Lucky you! I love the look but can’t do it well — short-ish legs. I was browsing through a favorite blog today (Rachel, at Truth-is-Beauty) and wondered which of the 7 basic style identities, or style blends involving the basic types, would you identify with. It is a nice read, she has a great eye for style and color analysis:

      • Thanks for sharing this link, Luna! I love stuff like that and I look forward to checking it out. Perhaps I will share what I learn in a future post, as I’m sure others would be interested in exploring the style analysis, too.

  12. I love your new style! For myself, I am also on the hunt for flattering standalone tops. I share your issues with plain tees – now I only have a handful of plain tees that I mainly wear under jackets whereas a couple of years ago I wore plain tees constantly.

    • Thanks so much, Murphy! Good for you for paring down your plain tees and aiming more toward standalone ones. I think it will make a big difference for both of us. Sometimes I still find myself reaching for plain tees when I shop, but I force myself to put them down now. Especially when it’s hot, who wants to have to wear a scarf, necklace, or topper if we don’t want to?

  13. Your hair post was a game changer for me!
    I’m not going to quit coloring my hair right away, but I was motivated by your thoughts to begin a color shift and think about how to transition to my real gray color. There are a lot of good videos about dealing with hair color on uTube.

    I am working on more flattering necklines. I have a round face, and have been focusing on necklines that don’t highlight my double chin :)) With warm weather on the way I won’t be layering so much, so my necklines need to be right.

    • I’m so pleased that you found my hair post helpful, Ginger! I have been watching some YouTube videos, too, as well as reading articles and the “Going Gray” book that I linked to last week. It’s not imperative that we make a change immediately or even soon, but I do think it’s good to question what’s right for us and work it through. As I wrote previously, there are no right or wrong answers, but I know I just HAVE to get out of “hair prison” in order to be the best version of myself.

      Good for you for working on your necklines. That can make a big difference in how you feel in your clothes. It’s kind of like what I wrote about “standalone” tops. This is especially important in warm weather. I wore a plain tee with a cardigan last night, which was fine because it’s still cool here. But once it gets hot out, I don’t want to feel like I HAVE to layer in order to look good. Best wishes to you with both the tops and the hair!

  14. I enjoy your posts on your style evolution because I feel like I am always evolving my style.
    I recently went back to school to take classes and work part-time as a tutor there. I have around 15 pieces that I have bought in the last two years that I mix and match for class and work. Half of the pieces were new, five pieces I already had in my closet, and the rest I bought on Ebay. I use my existing printed scarves and a few necklaces to jazz it up.

    I am trying to only purchase one new piece a month. I have a pretty small color palette for my school wardrobe so adding anything new has to work with at least five things and be something that I would wear for the next few years. I have challenged myself to add more prints and bolder jewelry to the mix. I have discovered that since I want everything to mix and match, any new piece that I want to add needs more consideration. Still, this seems to work for me so far.

    I specifically remember going into Anthropologie and trying on a bunch of different styles to see if something resonated with me. I ended up trying on a pair of faux leather brown pants and a dark green blanket cardigan and thinking that it was a cool look. I bought the cardigan on sale later but bought a pair of brown coated denim jeans from another brand that fit me better. These two things were the basis of my new look. I did buy a few longer cashmere cardigans off of Ebay to supplement my wardrobe. The brown denim jeans eventually shrunk in length and I replaced them with faux suede pants from the same brand.

    I am concentrating on adding a few prints and necklaces to the mix. I bought two asymmetrical tunics from Lori Goldstein on QVC in tan and gray and they work well with my existing pieces. I have also recently discovered Poshmark, Thredup and the UK Ebay.

    I saw Iris Apfel layer necklaces in the documentary on Netflix and was inspired to create a few layered looks for myself.

    As for your style, I think the asymmetrical look suits you. You might want to consider wearing the sheer striped black top under the black faux leather jacket. Also, the long vests and tunics would look nice with some bolder jewelry or pendants that are longer.

    I have been considering reworking a two of my beaded necklaces at the local bead store which offers a free workshop two days a week. You can take the tops and tunics in and create something that reflects your personality better.

    I don’t know if you find cashmere or merino wool itchy but a cardigan in cashmere, wool, or silk blend would look nice on you too and add more texture to your look. Some sellers on Ebay allow returns. You can set your search to only list sellers that that do returns or just Buy it Now listings. If I do use the auction feature, I have an account on Esnipe to bid for me.


    • Thanks for sharing about your style evolution, Maggie. I admire you for working with such a small capsule wardrobe and adding only one new item each month. It seems like it’s working very well for you. It’s great that you have been able to find pieces to found out the capsule on eBay. Thanks for the suggestions on my style. I like the idea of the sheer striped top with the black faux leather jacket, as well as bolder and more colorful jewelry. It would be fun to make some beaded necklaces at a bead store, so I’m going to look into that. As for cardigans, merino wool is too itchy for me, but cashmere may be okay. I’m not sure because I haven’t tried it in a while. Good idea to try to find one on eBay. I haven’t bought too much there, but I know it can be a great resource, especially if returns are an option.

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