Spring dark horse purchases and thoughts on the happiness factor

One of my goals this year is to try and focus my style more sharply, and be stricter about achieving a more cohesive urban/punk/70s look. I know I haven't posted any recent WIWs (working on that) but I think I've been doing OK with what I've already got in my closet (not all of what's in there jives with this for one reason or another). So the prime area of focus for this idea has been on new items I bring in, coupled with how I put them together each morning.

However as a somewhat eclectic dresser, it is sometimes difficult for me to figure out when a purchase that steps outside of my desired style vibe is worth getting and whether I can successfully work the piece into my style. I have been trying my best not to use the "I don't really wear cardigans and I don't have any other purple, buuuut I should really keep this no-longer-worn flyaway cardigan in case I ever want to wear purple" idea both while shopping and while closet editing. Very hard for me, but I'm improving!

So, along with some very Aida-like spring purchases (e.g. cream moto vest, boxy light-wash denim shirt, white slouchy clutch...), I also recently purchased two dark horse items: A sleeveless button-up blouse with a teacup blue floral print (#1), and a baby-blue-bordering-periwinkle kitty-print boxy button-up (#2). I had been waffling on whether to keep these and determine if they are in-line with my style goals. Ultimately I decided that while they aren't exactly an obvious choice for my urban/punk/70s style, I will be keeping both items because:
  1. Even though these aren't colors I normally go for, these mid-tones actually work quite well with the rest of my wardrobe, and soft blue is my current color crush
  2. I can already think of so many ways I would wear them
  3. And most importantly: they just make me so happy to wear!!

Using the happiness factor concept for these items has, much to my surprise, helped keep me more focused on the rest of my purchases: by making the oddball item decisions easier I find I'm spending a LOT less time worrying about whether or not to keep those types of items and can instead focus more of my energy on the things that are more in line with my overall style goals. What a revelation!

And yes, I do need those few oddball items :)

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • replied 6 years ago
    Well, I think they are both excellent finds, and I love them on you!
  • Raisin replied 6 years ago
    These look like great Spring purchases!  I think you will wear the, well, with many outfits.  I too struggle with not getting rid of items because I should keep it in case....when really I'm never wearing it.  I have one cardigan left just because of this! Lol.  You're doing great!
  • Transcona Shannon replied 6 years ago
    Both are beautiful on you Aida. And sometimes an item just speaks to you and you gotta listen! I'm also finding the Happiness Factor a great way to help with choosing an item and deciding on whether or not to keep it.
  • Mona replied 6 years ago
    #2 is just gorgeous on you, Aida! So nice to see you in these springy fresh colours. It is great to find items that make you feel happy. Where are the blouses from, Aida?
  • Aida replied 6 years ago

    Thanks for the kind and wise words, ladies!

    Ceit, thank you! I've been waiting a couple years for the right whimsical/conversational print and had long ago decided it needed to be kitties ^^

    Raisin, that is my biggest purging hangup! I still have more in my closet that could probably go but I am happy with the progress I've made so far. I'm a terrible editor once an item makes it into the closet :(

    Shannon, yes! The cat shirt especially speaks to me. I am finding that I can't judge an item solely on happiness, because since my tastes are wide many things make me happy. So I need to be more focused on the final goal these days.

     Mona, the first blouse is from Urban Outfitters and the kitty shirt is from the GAP :)

  • ironkurtin replied 6 years ago
    Happiness is so important.  These look great!   Enjoy in good health!
  • Diana replied 6 years ago
    Both are fantastic on you, Aida!  I think there is always room in one's style for the "happiness" purchases.

    I tried that cat print shirt too... I really wanted it to work but it was too long and straight-cut for me. 
  • Day Vies replied 6 years ago
    Well, I love blue and white I think if these pieces make you happy then more power to ya! I agree that when you have a very clear idea of what you are trying to do with your style there isn't as much "is this me?" while shopping or regret when you get home. I learned that too oddly enough once I found my style descriptor.
  • Aida replied 6 years ago
    IK, agreed and thanks!

    Diana, yeah the cut on the shirt is certainly very straight! It is a little long on me too, but I'm OK with that since it's a BF style shirt (and find it hilarious to even think about my husband wearing this shirt heh). I am hoping the fabric softens up a bit (100% cotton, yay!) as I do enjoy large boxy shirts on hot days. Sorry to hear it didn't work for you :(

    DV, I agree! It may take a while to get to that point, but having a strong sense of direction certainly helps.
  • Tina.b replied 6 years ago
    Aida, I want to inject more of your urban/punk/70's look into my own style. Your style really resonates with me. I find that I'm perhaps not as clearly defined style wise as I would like to be. Thus I have too many temptations in terms of the pieces I want to try and ultimately end up incorporating into my wardrobe.

    As for the tops, I love both of them. Blue is my favourite colour and I especially adore both those shades. And I love a good print (especially when a small animal is involved).
  • Deborah replied 6 years ago
    I think they are both great items Aida and I don't see that they are so differnt they don't meld with your style.  The colours are very attractive and do suit you.  There are so many things we can worry about and consider when choosing clothes and outfits and I do think our 'happiness factor' should be a major consideration.
  • pil replied 6 years ago
    No wonder you have a blue crush, the color is really nice on you with your dark hair and fair complexion. You can totally work those into your 70's style.
  • Isabel replied 6 years ago
    This certainly is not your 'style"  but it sure as heck should be !  Both looks are just fantastic. Who says that you can only have one, strict, sartorial ideological style ?  Plus you have something that always screams Aida in a very artistic and edgy way : your hair !  Your perfect eyebrows and no make-up also really add to your style. 

    I think that the happiness factor is the holy grail of clothes. No ?
  • bj1111 replied 6 years ago
    sheesh...if i kept everything that made me happy i would have no room at the inn...

    but you look so fresh in that color.  no wonder it makes you happy.
  • merwoman replied 6 years ago
    Love both of these pieces on you Aida! Such a fresh colour combination - and suits you beautifully!
  • Aida replied 6 years ago
    Thank you for such wonderful and insightful comments! I am glad to hear that this thought process resonates with you gals.

    Tina, thank you! Your style really resonates with me, too! Urban 70s sisters :) I hear you on experimenting; experimentation was my primary objective for the last several years until I ultimately decided to narrow it down to reduce wardrobe hectic-ness. And while I was able to identify my favorites as urban/punk/70s I'm still not fully there with my wardrobe. These days I satiate my desire to Wear All The Styles by trying not-my-style things on while shopping for fun (but no buying!), and especially by helping friends with different styles shop for their needs which I really enjoy.

    Deborah, those little considerations can certainly overshadow the ultimate happiness sometimes. You are right that these aren't too different for me: the cut of the tops are both shapes I already wear, which makes them easier to work in. So it's really just the color/print that's different for me; I don't really do florals nor whimsical prints. Can't say that anymore, eh? :)

    Pil, thanks! I always look fondly from afar at the pastels that pop up in springtime, which don't work so well for me; I am happy to see more mid-tones this season so I can participate in the lightness!

    Isabel, aww thank youuuu especially on the wild-hair/little-makeup decision (both of which are quite deliberate as you know). I find myself recently thinking often that maybe I need heavier eye make up to make the rocker thing more obvious, so thank you for validating that should I just stick to my guns and I don't need to do that <3

    BJ, YES me too! Which is why I first look to see if an item fits into my overall style goals. If not, it'll often make me less happy just by identifying that and can be eliminated from consideration. But if it still makes me very happy then I have to reconsider.

    merwoman, thank you! White is definitely my favorite pairing for these mid-toned soft blues.
  • shevia replied 6 years ago
    How about #4, you look incredible in both tops? Really they are both perfect on you. I wonder if it is possible to wear something really well and it not be part of your style. Of course individual pieces might flatter without being you, but if you can put together entire looks that seem so right, is it possible it can still not be your style? (Forgive the pre-caffeinated musings.)
  • Aida replied 6 years ago
    Shevia, yes I do think that is possible. I can put together a fully bombshell or a girly/retro look that works very well and looks good... but isn't me. There's certainly something to be said for working WITH your shape, but we don't always like the things that work best for us. I think the real skill comes from incorporating those things you like in a way that DOES work with your shape, even if not optimal. Example for me: when I wear pencil skirts I have to pair with a lot of slouchy elements; sure, it hides my small waist but I feel a lot better in it. A confident face and pose go a long way, too ;) Also, thank you!
  • kellygirl replied 6 years ago
    I love these on you, Aida! The midtone pastel with the white is just so pretty and fresh! I love the softer side of your style. I'm glad to hear that someone else has a hard time staying focused while purging and shopping:)
  • Karie replied 6 years ago
    I like both of these on you, they're so whimsical and pretty! Sometimes it's a good idea to shake up our style, isn't it?
  • Debbie replied 6 years ago
    I love both of these you. The colors are great and some days we just need things that make us happy.
  • Beth Ann replied 6 years ago
    Love both of these --- they're "novelty" prints in classy, clean forms.  I think these can be integrated into a lot of different style personas.

    You look fresh and ready for Spring.  Ladylike without a hint of twee.
  • CocoLion replied 6 years ago
    I love them on you!

    This is why I like having a really general style direction.  Something like modern urban leaves a lot of room for new discoveries without feeling like you have to re-examine your style rubric.
  • Tanya replied 6 years ago
    I love both tops on you, and while I am not used to seeing you in that shade of blue, it looks really pretty on you!  We are also kitty shirt  twins - tough mine is navy with white kitties.

    I think we sometimes tend to get too focused on our style descriptors and personas.  I am yet to do all those exercises and determine where I fit, most likely because it is very difficult as I like and wear many different styles, including preppy, rocker/edgy and bombshell ( in the most classic sense).  So  I think that as long as you know what you like and makes you happy, you don't have put yourself in a certain box.
  • catgirl replied 6 years ago
    Definitely possible to wear something well that is not your style.  Case in point here:


    Aida, I love both of these items, and even more your thought process.  What a freeing concept!
  • deb replied 6 years ago
    Love #1!!!
  • Hil replied 6 years ago
    Gorgeous spring looks!

    I struggle with the idea that I can have two or more different styles and that's all good - but if something makes you happy to wear, then you so should!
  • O replied 6 years ago
    Hi Aida, it's always a pleasure to read your clearly expressed thought process which I find so helpful and inspiring. I am am a convert to using happiness factor as determinator for wearing something or not, but in my case it had stayed on that side of the equation - wearing the items I already own. It has to be brought to considering the items I might own as well. Since I don't shop much at the moment it won't be put in action often, however it's something I can't ignore any more even if I wanted to. 

    Gorgeous purchases, btw. Both outfits are beautiful and the second one is simply divine.
  • harmonica replied 6 years ago
    Both pieces are lovely! I believe that the happiness factor actually is part of owning the style and making it effortless. That way it makes sense that some items are oddball, as you put it
  • rachylou replied 6 years ago
    I love your clear, crisp thinking Aida and also just the plain fact of your having a decision making methodology. I very much like your two new shirts. They are a style departure, but style does not stand still, and both can be urban/70s/punked up IMO.
  • Lisa replied 6 years ago
    Great new purchases.  I think having just one or two outside of the box items in a wardrobe can help add some variety and spice for the days when you want to mix up your "usual" look.  Nice job!
  • Inge replied 6 years ago
    Aida, I absolutely love both pieces on you, and do get kind of a '70s vibe from the long-sleeved button-down, so I think you are right on track with your goals here;-)

    Also: that shade of light blue (of the sleeveless blouse) is stunning on you and looks amazing with white bottoms.

    Enjoy your fab new pieces!
  • Ingunn replied 6 years ago
    I love both pieces on you, Aida. The light blue color is absolutely stunning with your coloring. Great choices! I also admire how you so clearly can state your goals and work systematically towards them. 
  • cheryl replied 6 years ago
    You look absolutely gorgeous in both of these. I am a big fan of happiness factor. I think it's part of why my wardrobe is so large and why I find style descriptors limiting for myself. If I like it i'm fine with it, I don't feel it has to fit into a certain descriptor. All of that to say I would like more edge in my wardrobe but have a hard time finding those pieces and don't actively search them out. I just shop and buy what I love, lol. I love reading about your thoughts though!
  • catgirl replied 6 years ago
    Oh, and we are shirt twins - I am wearing the navy version of that shirt today, under the Theory blazer and with a floral print Liberty tie. :)
  • Aida replied 6 years ago
    Thank you all so much for the thoughtful and insightful comments, I really enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts on this idea! I didn't mean for it to sound like I only use happiness for oddball items, I do use it for everything :)

    /highfive to my kitty shirt twins in navy Tanya and Una (I must see this outfit, Una!!) :D

    Denise and Tanya, yes I hear you both on not wanting to limit myself. My "definition" isn't a rubric, or even something that's remotely straightforward. I have a few different definition systems that each cover a different style aspect and then I cross the lot to make determinations. It's complicated but works well for me, and is actually rather open-ended in many directions. I think this type of open-endedness is necessary for those who wish to be trendy; it's just not possible to incorporate enough new trends otherwise.

    Hil, I think it's perfectly fine to have more than one style persona as long as you don't feel overwhelmed by it. Though it can certainly be challenging to marry very different personas at first, and having an overarching sense of the vibe you wish to obtain can be really helpful.

    Ornella, Rachy, and Cheryl, I certainly do apply happiness quite strongly in daily styling as my mood is very strongly affected by what I am wearing. But as someone who doesn't really love to shop (it's OK but it's not my favorite thing, though I am starting to like it more again) AND who likes a LOT of styles, I just really need to find ways to keep myself focused. It's not enough to LIKE an item, it's not enough for it to just fit my style goals, and it's not really enough just to be happy; it really needs to be some combination, but happiness certainly gets a VERY heavy weight. More and more I am finding that if I force myself to be strict up front, then when it comes to styling the items that make it into my wardrobe I'm happy as a clam!

    Harmonica, good observation! If we are happy and comfortable with what we are wearing because it is true to us, it will certainly add to an air of confidence which helps make those outfits seem effortless.

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