Duchesse’s post on Tuesday prompted me to retrace my own wardrobe/style steps over the past year. In looking back over pictures from the blog and finishing up my January closet purge, some broader themes became evident. I’d started out the year with the intention of upgrading and refining my wardrobe, continuing in the direction of simple, dark neutrals. But toward the middle of summer, I became a bit (!) obsessed with color, resulting in some experimentation and some mis-spent clothing dollars, before I finally invested in a comprehensive professional PCA (Personal Color Analysis) in December. (Wish I’d done this earlier.) The good news is most of my “experimental” pieces were accessories or inexpensive cardigans, no major investments.
I didn’t track my spending in 2011, and probably would give myself a heart attack if I added it all up now.
But water under the bridge, yada yada. Here’s what I’ve come away with:
1. Second-guessing myself rarely ends well. When I hear myself saying “It’s not really me, but…it’s so pretty/such a bargain/one-of-a-kind/such a great fit/such a gorgeous color/my friend really likes it…” I need to pay more attention to the “it’s not really me” part of that sentence and walk away.
2. No turning back the clock. I can’t go back to more tailored clothing, or styles rooted in reprising the past. Even tailored jackets on their own feel wrong now.
3. Shopping/buying out of habit/boredom. I still do too much of this.
4. Boots! I haven’t yet gone wrong with a pair of boots. Whether “shooties,” ankle boots or knee highs, boots seem to fit seamlessly into my wardrobe, always feel right, and remain one of my Power Items.
5. Skirts and Dresses. I re-discovered skirts and dresses over the last 12-15 months. Especially with boots (see #4.). Key are knit pieces, flattering and comfortable cuts and styles.
6. Black will always be a part of my wardrobe. I know stylists and color analysts rail against it. But I still love the simplicity, edginess, elegance and ease of black. Yes, I’m trying to supplement my neutrals with some grey and taupe, but there will always be a place for my black pieces.
7. I have officially given up on the White Shirt (Crisp™, or otherwise). Just doesn’t work for me. Marinières on the other hand, still hands-down winners.
8. There’s nothing wrong with a uniform. I need to tape this to my mirror and say it seven times a day as an affirmation. Despite my expressed desire to cultivate a uniform, as soon as I feel I’m getting close to one I find myself getting distracted and drawn to pieces outside of my tried-and-true parameters. The most stylish women usually have developed a uniform that they tweak and update. I need to tune out those voices that say “it’s boring,” and “but XYZ is the look for Spring!” (see #1).
9. Love on others, not for me: menswear look, über-feminine, full skirts, the Chanel suit look, anything too structured, fussy or twee, bows, most ruffles, classic Preppy, sheath dresses, mixed patterns, the kate spade aesthetic, lots of bright color.
10. Knits, knits, knits. Other than my denim jeans, knits have become the backbone of my wardrobe.
11. I don’t have a designer clothing lifestyle. Accessories perhaps, occasionally (bags and scarves), but my body, life and style demand clothing that’s comfortable, practical, flattering and versatile. And washable. I also have little need for any dressy or “occasion” clothing; we just don’t have events in our lives these days that demand that level of dressing up (a shame, really, but still).
In some ways, it feels as though I keep covering the same style ground, circling back around. Too much of #1, I guess.
Did you do any experimenting with your style over the last year? Have you come away with any insights or changes in how you approach style?
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