WIW [favorites: April/May]

I hope you gals don't mind indulging me with a photo-heavy post so I can get these outfits in my YLF blog :) These are my favorite work outfits from April and May, excluding this week which I'll (hopefully) post tomorrow. Unfortunately I don't have time to do up my usual editing and collages, so I'm just including an image or two per outfit; please pardon the color/contrast inconsistencies and occasional wind-related blurriness.

Not going to write about each look, but here's a quick rundown of "newer" (SS15, FW14) items. I've also put these Finds, and anything still available, first:

  • Red printed hi-low tank (SS15)
  • Rose gold sparkle sweater (SS15)
  • Faux-leather capris (SS15, wildcard and totally love 'em)
  • Black pleated trousers (SS15, gift from the lovely Claire)
  • Blue watercolor dress (SS15)
  • Dalmatian pointy flats (SS15)
  • Navy floral sweater (FW14)
  • Dark plaid skinnies (FW14, from Suz though YLF this season)
  • Cream block-heeled booties (FW14)
  • Leo clutch (FW14)
Everything else is older, and actually a pretty good representation of the all-season items that are currently in my wardrobe. Even though these outfits are all prior to my recent closet edit, everything here remains in my wardrobe -- probably a big factor for why these looks were faves. I'd basically been wearing items from the edited section already, but having the excess cleaned up helps quite a bit! I've been repeating a lot more (for those who know me, that's a big shift), both entire and partial outfits; several of these have been worn a couple times now. (#3, 6, 12, 14, and 17 were in the running to wear to the meetup if the actual outfit I wore didn't work out.)

I've also been strict with myself about keeping in mind my findings on Collection ROG Aida and where my style is headed and, coupled with the closet edit, I've since been feeling much happier with my outfits.

Comments, critiques, thoughts and questions welcome!

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WIW 05.16 [YLF Seattle meetup + little updates]

Hello ladies! It's been a while, my apologies; work has been extra busy and then I managed to injure a tendon in my dominant hand which restricted computer time to work only for a good while. Work continues to be busy but at least I can freely use my hand again! Here is what I wore to the Seattle meetup this past weekend, which you've now also seen in the fun photos Angie, Ann, and Anna shared [1 | 2].

This red tank is new for the season, bought back in March when I was in Arizona for Spring Training and snuck away for some shopping with Claire (so fun!). For spring I've been enjoying wearing it with cropped jackets to really highlight the long back hem, and especially with this little red jacket. Other than the tank and sunglasses, the rest of the items are older favorites. Accessorized with white, gray, and gold/taupe; finished off with a peachy-nude lip.

In meetup loot news, I bought three jackets -- a soft long white blazer, a bright orange tailored blazer, and a taupey-silvery lightweight fabric moto (personally selected by Ann ^^) -- and an oversized gauzy white scarf with little pompom tassels (would you gals believe that I didn't have a white scarf??).

In hair news, my stylist and I decided my hair isn't thick enough for the longer layers I was thinking about so we're going to emulate the round look with short layers and go for a more 80s metalhead thing. Will probably take through summer to get to the final shape and length, so we'll shape it a little closer each month or so.

And in wardrobe news, the day after the meetup I was inspired to finally hunker down and do the first half of a very necessary and a long overdue sweeping closet edit/purge. Once through has reduced about a fifth, and I'm hoping to reduce the same amount or more with a second round soon. I find this aspect of wardrobe management particularly difficult but even at only partially complete, I am already appreciating the results.

As always comments, critiques, thoughts and questions welcome.

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While we're all considering hair...

I've sported my angled bob a couple years now. Really would like a change, and have been hemming and hawing about what to do for a good while. It's really tough to find good curly hair inspiration that isn't "that curly cut that everyone has", is actually curly vs. straight hair that's been curled, AND that will work with with my fine&thin hair (all the best cuts need THICK hair!). I'd been working towards the round 70s style in #1/2 since December; I've got a variation of it currently, still with a slight angle. But now I'm really digging the bordering-80s style in #3/4.

So I'm thinking keep the volume up at eye level (which I always do anyway), then rounded shape around my head to the chin with wispier curly bits that hang long underneath. Kind of uneven. Haven't had actual bangs since I was a kid probably, not sure my hair will behave as nicely plus my forehead is quite small so it may not be possible. It'd take a while to get the length in #3/4, the final shape would probably happen near the end of summer. What do you ladies think?

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Style direction thoughts (AKA: Thanks, ROG!)

After playing quite a bit with the nifty Random Outfit Generator (ROG) today, I've discovered some interesting things about my wardrobe and the direction my style, apparently, should be headed next. It's not news to me that I'm headed on a (slightly) new path; I'd already jotted down lots of notes about what I had been thinking that direction was, and I've actually been ruminating on this for almost a year now (and taking little baby steps in that direction). It's more a surprise to find that I might not have been quite right about it!

I use my Finds to collect anything that I'm drawn to, things that I'd probably get if funding and fit and space weren't an issue. Using the ROG to generate actual outfits was quite illuminating, in a totally different way than simply browsing through the Finds. What I found was that comparing the ROG with my wardrobe items versus with my collection items revealed a much larger disconnect in style than I'd expected (handy pretend-to-be-Aida links included, if you're so inclined). Of course, my wardrobe section is very incomplete compared to what's available in my entire closet -- in particular it veers spring/summer and active casual because that's what I focused on heavily last year -- but also because I did most of my wardrobe building pre-Finds. And there's definitely more cohesion to Collection ROG Aida which is probably due in part to the much larger number of items to work with and her unlimited funding. But even so, it's quite a useful thing for comparison.

Collection ROG Aida wears:

  • More textural rich pieces
  • A bit more Urban, and bit Funkier/Quirky
  • Far more drape, both top and bottom
  • More cardigans
  • More tees and blouses (less shirts and sweaters)
  • More prints than expected
  • Less neutrals
  • Longer lines
  • Greater variety in bags/footwear

We both wear:

  • A lot of white
  • A lot of plaid
  • Primarily 3-season pieces
  • The same few jacket styles
  • Mostly pants/almost no skirts
  • A pretty soft overall feel

Now in reality I'm not sooo far off of Collection ROG Aida, but there were a ton of generated outfits that I quite liked which I wouldn't be able to emulate using pieces I already have. There were also a couple of pieces I own (toppers in particular) that just didn't seem to go with any of the outfits generated, and while that may be due to the small sample size, in reality I do find it to be the case within my actual working wardrobe as well. And of course, wearing less sweaters isn't practical for my (very wet and mild) climate but I think perhaps it's time to update my blouses.

More interestingly, there were a few things about Collection ROG Aida that I had already figured out on my own that I need to start working towards (texture, more urban, better variety in pieces overall) BUT many of her qualities were actually a bit of a surprise. Two in particular:

  1. Drape. I'd been itching for more tailoring since last spring, yet there in my Finds it's all full of drape. Right now a lot of my drape is manifesting as oversized, which is not really the case in my Finds.
  2. Less neutrals. I'm pretty much a neutrals gal at heart, but clearly I'm hankering for even more color (and print).

There was also one additional thing that was a big surprise: Not nearly as sporty-luxe as expected. I'd planned on adding more of those pieces this season; in fact I'd made it one of my goals at the start of the year. I'm not sure whether Collection ROG Aida just isn't that sporty or if  haven't been seeing sporty things that appeal to me, but either way I think I will now prioritize this a bit less.

So! Thanks to the ROG I've got a MUCH better idea about what I need to do moving forward style-wise. And while I don't have the unlimited funds of Collection ROG Aida, I'm hoping that a few smart purchases will get me closer to her. Now to reconfigure my shopping list to reflect what I've found... Then go shopping ^^

(And as a final note: I'm certainly not going to use this as THE hard-and-fast indicator of where I should be headed because the Finds are contingent on what's available online that can be collected by YLF; there's always a good list of things that I'm on the hunt for which never materializes at retail, plenty of pretty things that can't be collected, and some pieces that I collected in prior seasons that I might not collect again now. But absolutely a useful tool to help visualize! And far too much fun to play with.)

As always, comments, critiques, thoughts and questions welcome!

EDIT: Further clarifying thoughts, taken from below:
I've continued mulling over the ideas here and have come to some clarification on the issue of drape. Nearly everyone mentioned/questioned it, which is good. What I was looking at as "drape" should, I think, actually be expanded to a collective of drape, fluidity, and motion. That's what I am looking to add more of, and the key there is add -- I don't want a whole closet full of D/F/M, just want to supplement with more pieces of it.

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For Angie: Dark cropped pants with light footwear

Ok so after reviewing my last year or two's summery outfits, I actually do the white with dark cropped pants less than I thought I did (probably helps that I don't wear cropped pants all that often, and also that a hard drive crash last spring cost me a chunk of my photos so my records are incomplete). Here's most of what I found, with longest pants at the start. #1 is the only one from this season, I wore it earlier this week actually (aside: suuuuuuper high happiness, holy cats!); I suppose those pants are closer to full-length than cropped but I included them anyway. #8-10 start to kinda employ those tips so they also probably don't count, but they are light footwear when probably dark would work "better".

I'm noticing that oftentimes the white footwear is "bookending" a white top, or at the very least a lot of exposed skin (which on me may as well be white), so that's probably a big factor to why I feel like they work well. I think as long as I include enough skin or lightness elsewhere in the outfit, I'm personally just more comfortable with lighter footwear than with black. No need to answer (rest those wrists!), just wanted to share :)

(Of course, feel free to comment ladies! Work continues to be super busy, but I'm hoping I can get some outfits posted up soooooon <3)

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WIW 03.09, 10 [white and blue]

Short work week, as tomorrow morning I'm off to Arizona for a much needed week of baseball and sunshine ... and a shopping date with Claire, woohoo! :D

#2 Monday - I've been having fun using these mid-rise pants the way I would proper high-waisted pants, if I wore them. Paired with a boxy cropped sweater and an only-visible-when-I-move layer of black underneath (cami, socks). Cream booties for bookending, long silver earrings to add a little extra vertical integrity, and orange lipgloss because it's my favorite with white+blue. You can see why I'm not into high-waisted pants for me -- I won't have any torso left!

#3 Tuesday - Felt inspired to pull out my own very boxy top after seeing Neel's fab outfit this morning. This ponte top is very stiff and very rectangular, pretty opposite what's underneath. Even the neckline is stiff; the faux-leather piping causes it to stand out resulting in a flower-pot effect along the neckline. Paired with flared jeans to balance the volume (plus the fitted thighs add some structure), black pumps to pick up on the black trim, and plum lippie because it felt the least expected with the white+blue.

#4 Detail photos.

Hope you gals have a fabulous week! Comments, critiques, thoughts and questions welcome.

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WIW 03.02-06

Work outfits for the week! Sorry I can't write as much as I usually would, but this has been (and will continue into the weekend) an insanely busy work week. Detail photos all together at the end; did gunmetal nails for the week. Cliff notes for each outfit:

#2 - Monday. Haven't worn this little knit blazer in a couple years, but it keeps surviving the Purge because its sunny shade of orange is one of my faves. Tried to offset the less current shrunken fit by wearing my slim white BFs up higher (making them look like relaxed straights) so the proportions are more similar to high-waisted pants. Gold accessories and bright candy pink lipstick because, you know, it wasn't bright enough already.

#3 - Tuesday: This started as an attempt at Angie's recent Lemon, Light Blue, and Cognac ensemble but I didn't like how earthy the cognac felt with the already rustic gingham and distressed light denim; swapped it for white, my favorite for this color pairing. Silver accessories and soft pink lippe for extra contrast against the bright golden yellow.

#4 - Wednesday. Was in the mood for something cuddly for a very long work day -- cashmere sweater, wooly shorts, sweater tights, faux-shearling lined boots, BIG furry scarf, soft knit hat... Yep that should do the trick ;) Coral lip gloss with parted-and-lifted hair to help counter all the charcoal.

#5 - Thursday. Angie had commented about seeing gals in HK wearing cropped pants over leggings, and this pairing has been stuck in my head since. Today was finally the right weather to try it, totally love the effect although I know this won't be everyone's cuppa. Worn with my longest sweater for a long torso look, but offset to more normal looking proportions by the tall pumps; chose this boiled wool pair for the extra color and literal texture, as my black patent pumps felt too similar to the crops. I equally enjoyed the legging+crop pairing with a shorter top and pointy flats, which I'll wear in the near future. Finished with red lipstick for a little shot of color.

#6 - Friday. Also haven't worn these ultra baggy flares in a couple years; last time around they got 4" heels, so they're super long. For today, they're held up higher with a zebra belt (bonus: peeks out whenever I move) and paired with taller heels (2.75"). I'm mulling over hemming them for 2" heels to wear as a BF-alternative this summer, not sure; they're verrryyy baggy. Decided to play up the volume and pair with a voluminous top. Black accents for contrast, and soft pink lipstick to keep my hair as the primary dark contrasting element.

OK, well, I guess it still ended up long! Comments, critiques, thoughts and questions welcome ^^

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WIW 02.16-21, 24-27

Hi ladies, it's been a while ^^ Work has been extra hectic! I've been checking in on the forum and dutifully snapping outfit photos every day even though I haven't been posting, and promise that I've been representing YLF well. I've got some favorites picked out from the past few months which I'd really like to have in my YLF blog, so if you gals will indulge me I'm going to do a photo-heavy post of winter favorites and weekend looks soon. As much as I want to get back to posting more regularly, I probably couldn't go back to daily or near-daily until the end of the month or so. In the meantime I'm starting with two weeks of work outfits, sorry for the overload ;)

I haven't really been shopping so all of these outfits are composed of "old" items, as is the case with much of what I've been wearing overall this season. Since our winter has been so mild (sorry to the gals who are buried in snow!) I've been able to use several pieces from this past spring/summer's purchases (in these outfits, the white skinnies and windowpane trousers). Everything else here is at least a year or more old. I have been grateful for the mild weather since it's allowed me to mix my all-season items in with my fall/winter pieces to keep things feeling fresher! In particular here: a couple of pieces were purchased for fall out of season last spring (the marled sweater in #1 and the colorblocked cashmere sweater in #5), one is a gift from my sis (the holo clutch), and just two are actual "new for fall" purchases (the chain detail booties and the leo clutch).

Not going to write a whole thing about each outfit, just a brief thing or two:

  1. Inspired by Angie's ensemble to mix ink, brown, gray, and black but obviously sans ink (has olive and denim blue instead).
  2. I don't know if I'll participate in the high-waisted pants trend, but I have been enjoying tucking into my few mid-rise bottoms.
  3. Also still enjoying mixing pastels with black.
  4. An old favorite combo. Didn't end up wearing it without the jacket.
  5. A take on mixing black,red, and white with some gray thrown in for good measure (more colors! more patterns!).
  6. Another take on mixing black, red, and white with my skin acting as the white element (a perk of being pale). You gals have already seen this on Angie's Westfield Chinese New Year's blog post.
  7. Detail photos for the week. Plum lippie in 1, 3, and 4; orange in 2; cherry-pink in 5; nude-for-me peach in 6.
  8. Even though it's been fairly dry I haven't worn many of my wider pants this winter. This is a favorite outfit from early last year.
  9. A little romantic-tomboy in dark and moody colors. I normally wouldn't wear my hair down with an outfit this dark, but the huge swathe of lace on the neckline of this sweater goes a long way to making me feel light enough.
  10. Haven't worn this dress in a couple years but the wintery colors and light fabrication make it quite nice for spring-like weather!
  11. A more standard weekend look for me, but I needed the outfit to also work for a hockey game in the evening. Made sure to incorporate several black elements to help the exposed black tights balance better.
  12. Detail photos for the week. Plum lippie all week.
Overall, despite being only somewhat happy with my current fall/winter wardrobe I am still quite happy with the way I've been able to style those pieces this season, particularly when I'm able to mix in items from my spring/summer wardrobe which, stylistically, resonate better with me.

As always comments, critiques, thoughts and questions welcome!

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some belated thoughts on silhouette variety

Along with Angie's post on outfit variety last month and Una's (and others') posts on her silhouette challenge (1 | 2, WIWs: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7), I've also had some thoughts on variety. The idea of silhouette variation has driven my outfits for several years now, but it's not something I've fully hashed out. So I'm glad to finally get some motivation to write it all out and have it in one place.

When I think about where I get my variety, quite a lot of things come to mind -- style, color, print, structure, fit, silhouette, proportion, dressiness, juxtaposition, layers... However, if I really bear down on what's most important to keep me from feeling bored/rutted, it's silhouette and proportion. I could keep other elements constant and change just silhouette/proportions and feel fairly content; but changing just colors/patterns in the same basic uniform? I'd be bored in a hurry. Of course once the weather officially turns for worse there's an extra handicap there to consider, and that's a whole challenge in and of itself!

I didn't actively participate in Una's challenge, because I vary silhouette quite a lot during a given week already. But as always, seeing everyone's WIWs and reading their thoughts was super insightful! What this all did make me realize is that, for me, "silhouette" is less about an encapsulating silhouette formula (like, say, tunic+skinnies+boots) and more about just the bottom half.

And that a dozen new tops doesn't come anywhere near as wardrobe refreshing as one new type of pant! I suspect that part of this is due to the fact I tend to be drawn to the same styles of tops, which I've tried hard to improve over the past two years (some interesting posts on the subject by Angie, exactly one year apart: 1 | 2). That's not to say that my tops are necessarily basic or plain, they just tend to be of smaller silhouette variety.

These days my bottoms include: skinnies (normal, roomy, slouchy), relaxed, slouchy tapered, BFs (full length, cropped), flares, wide legs, cropped, culottes, various lengths of baggy shorts... And I'd be happy to add a few additional styles (upscale track pants are top of the list). And and that's not even getting into skirts, which I don't love nearly as much as pants/shorts and yet still manage to have a good variety.

The shoes are a lesser part of the variety, but since I'm a shoe gal you know there's variety there anyway. The main shoe variety seems to come from shaft height (tall boots, mid-calf boots, booties, shoes, sandals) and heel height. Because of that there ends up being some overlap on what feels "different" day-to-day. E.g. A heeled bootie is about the same variety as a pair of pumps, flat booties are often the same as a pair of flats, all tall boots are the same, etc.

More importantly, when reflecting on what I have been wearing the past year, I was thinking that my bottoms-to-tops ratio must be fairly evenly matched. I had expected it to be something like 1:1.5, but when I actually looked at the numbers much to my surprise I found that in reality it's closer to 1:2.25. This solidifies another hunch I've had: I generally have good tabs on what's in my wardrobe and what I wear, but if I was that off in my ratio thinking then I need to get some serious culling going with my tops -- clearly there must be a fair number I'm just not wearing any more. This will be my goal through the end of the month: to really get in there and get serious about each top I have in my closet.

For fun, I'm including my last four week's work outfits. The first week had no weather handicap (rare and awesome!), week two had mild rain, week three had snow, and week four had heavy rain. I tend to default to skinnies+tall boots in the rain, but there are certainly other options. Thankfully I now have a good assortment of booties, along with some varying types of bottoms that work with them. I just need to remind myself so I don't get stuck all winter!

All in all, I have really enjoyed seeing and reading about everyone's experience with this, particularly as someone who makes doing this a key stylistic priority. And even though I have confirmed to myself that bottoms variety is my most important tool to keeping from feeling rutted, I have no plans to stop all those other varieties that I enjoy ;)

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! As always, comments, critiques, thoughts and questions welcome ^^

EDIT: Ok well I did a little number crunching and thought I'd share. Across the four weeks, I wore 62 different pieces across clothing, shoes, necessary accessories (hats, tights, giant scarves..). 13 different bottoms (5 repeated). 13 different footwear (5 repeated). 27 covers both tops (18) and toppers (9), almost as much as bottoms+footwear!

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WIW 11.24-26 [three work outfits for a short week]

A more-casual-than-usual week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, and being extra busy for the short work week. The first two outfits didn't pass my feel test and I consider them "Feel Fails", outfits that may look alright, objectively, but made me feel off while wearing. The first outfit was simply not warm enough for the day (I was expecting it to be much warmer than it turned out), though I'd have been perfectly happy wearing it if the temps were 60F+; I also had tried very hard, unsuccessfully, to make that outfit work with black accents (including footwear) and I think I had some residual annoyance towards that throughout the day. For the second outfit, I'd gotten up a lot earlier than normal so wasn't quite fully functional when getting dressed; the style mix didn't feel right there. On the flip side, today's outfit makes me feel super happy! In fact I think I'll wear it again this Saturday for hosting our annual Friendsgiving dinner.

#2 - I started from this outfit on Pinterest, with the idea to wear all light blue with black accents. Initially there was a black belt and black booties, but ultimately I wasn't happy with the look so after much hemming and hawing and trying more black things, I simply tossed that idea and swapped the black for silver (belt) and gray (boots). Felt much better, if a bit too cold. Otherwise accessorized with soft hair (really good hair day! yeah!!) to offset some of the boyish lower half, silver circly earrings, and plum gloss for a touch of darkness. Trench to handle the gloomy weather and watercolor purse because I find it a cheerful (and fitting) option for wet weather. Were I to do this over for that particular day, I'd swap this silk blouse for my aqua sweater and swap the trench for a heavier coat.
  Newer: blouse, jeans, belt, boots, clutch
  Older: trench, earrings

#3 - This one started with the glittery rain boots, as it was pouring pouring pouring all day. The top half is a favorite weekend pairing, and the bottom was one my sleep-addled brain recalled wearing not long ago. As I said above, the mix of styles threw me -- I'd have been happier by swapping to either tall boots (for an overall rugged-cozy vibe) or a soft drapey tee (for an overall urban vibe). The outerwear is what made me realize what was off, since it looks more fully urban; for work I'd go the urban route,for weekend I'd go with the rugged-cozy (and maybe swap the hair up for a slouchy knit hat). Hair up because it's good for rain, then accessorized with dainty jewelry (spike earrings, key necklace) and rusty red-orange lip gloss for a touch of color. Trench for the rain, giraffe scarf for some extra warmth, and black lined clutch for a touch of chaos + fun print mixing. I will say that the feeling in this got better as the day wore on, so perhaps this should only be a partial feel fail ;)
  Newer: pants, boots, earrings, trench
  Older: shirt, cardigan, necklace, scarf, clutch
 
#4 - After the past two days "feel fails", today I relied on favorites: the boots/pants pairing, olive/navy color combo, and of course my favorite plaid shirt. It's surprisingly warm today (61F!), but I decided I wanted a jacket just the same. My sis gave me this knit blazer a little while back and I thought the BIG stripe would be a fun mix with the busy plaid. Accessorized with some glitz (giant crystal studs, sequin clutch) and finished with a swipe of cherry-pink lip gloss. This is definitely a happy way for me to wear brown ^^
  Newer: earrings
  Older: shirt, jacket, pants, boots, clutch

#5 - Put all the earring/lippie/ring detail photos together so they'd take less room.

Comments, critiques, thoughts and questions welcome!

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