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!