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.

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.

21 Comments

  • shevia replied 3 years ago

    What a brilliant idea! Now I have to go pretend shopping to see what ROG Jaime with unlimited funds wants to wear. Super fun.
    Ok, back to you. So you are attracted to more drape AND more color and pattern. That is interesting, because I, perhaps wrongly, associate drape with neutrals. I think the Trina Trunk top that Angie recently featured would be perfect for ROG Aida - is this true?  What is an example of a quirky touch ROG Aida would like to wear? Ooh I could go on and on!

  • Caro in Oz replied 3 years ago

    Clever :) I was going to ask the same questions as shevia. It's interesting about tailored & drape, I love both together in an outfit e.g. fitted jacket with a longer draped top underneath or harem pants with a tailored shirt. 

  • abc replied 3 years ago

    You are light years ahead of me on your style evolution. It's really interesting to read your analysis. I can't wait for the next phase of your journey. I am interested to see if what you are drawn to (drape) ends up making you as happy as what you're wearing now.

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    This is absolutely fascinating and what a great idea! I want to come back and think some more about this later, but in the meantime, thanks for alerting us to these distinctions. 

    I wondered if one reason ROG Aida may enjoy drape so much is that she doesn't have to deal with possible fit/ flattery issues in those items; i.e. in imagination they always look great, but in reality, possibly not. Or maybe that is just Suz projecting what always seems to happen to her!! (I have a yen for drape but drape dislikes me.) 

  • Joy replied 3 years ago

    Your observations based on the ROG outfits are so interesting. It will be fun to see where they take you. I've been wanting to experiment with drape, but it usually is overpowering and does nothing for me. ROG Joy wears mostly all neutrals with the occasional pop of bright color, more neutral than expected.

  • replied 3 years ago

    Ok - full disclaimer here first:  I though the whole ROG thing was an April Fool's joke. I didn't realize it was actually meant to be used .  Gee, I'm really alert today :) 

    I find your analysis interesting, Aida, and also appreciated Suz's insight into why the disconnect - i.e - do many of us assemble "wish list" collections or pictures of things we are projecting a great look/fit from?  I know I'm totally guilty of that - and it's frustrating when there is a difference between our two selves like that.

    anyways - interesting dialogue, and thanks for sharing!

  • Sara L. replied 3 years ago

    Interesting post and interesting questions raised in the comments.  I'm also drawn to items that may not look good on me in real life so I find that observation from Suz quite perceptive.

    lisap - I think it was meant as an April Fool's joke but people are finding it useful beyond it's original purpose. 

  • Runcarla replied 3 years ago

    Interesting use of the ROG. I've noticed a disconnect between two of my Pinterest boards that has me musing on where my style direction is going. One board is an inspiration board (aspirational) and the other is a copy cat board (combinations I'd like to duplicate). One has a very limited palette of mostly neutrals, and very refined lines, whereas the other has lots of colour! My actual closet is somewhere in between!

  • Angie replied 3 years ago

    Very interesting, Aida. You're into drape and cardigans? Big Surprise. But why not. Go for it. 

  • Alassë replied 3 years ago

    Very interesting and thorough write-up, Aida! Thanks for sharing.

  • Beth Ann replied 3 years ago

    I'll have to try your experiment with my own finds -- fascinating.  I have noticed that my pinterest boards is full of solids and neutrals, when printed tops are spilling out of my closet. 

    Could some of this be explained by what's available?  What the stores are stocking?

  • Beth Ann replied 3 years ago

    P.S.  I'l loving cardis again, as well as drape.  But it has to be updated and strong --- not delicate or conservative.

  • rabbit replied 3 years ago

    That's interesting!  Could it be not so much a style shift, but an extra style addition? A missing piece?  

    I often use finds for hunting and contemplating a specific missing wardrobe piece -- so this spring there is a lot of pink, white and red in my finds.   Also I've been hunting a pearl gray bootie forever basically so there are probably multiple iterations of that in my finds collection.   My actual wardrobe has a lot of dark colors and many more 'basics' than my finds.   I think to accurately do this experiment I'd need to recreate my wardrobe with copycat/similar items in my 'finds' wardrobe, and keep collecting anything I'm particularly drawn to, regardless of whether it's on my 'hunt for this' list or not.

  • E replied 3 years ago

    This was such fun to read! No advice really, but I'm looking forward to seeing you play with more drape & colours/patterns. 

    I'm in the middle of a style shift for warm weather dressing, or an addition rather: I want to start adding lightweight wide-legged trousers, which requires blouses with fitted waistlines. Luckily I've managed some good ebay finds & am now set! I'm looking forward to playing with the new silhouette, although I might have overestimated how much time this new climate will give me to wear warm weather clothes! :o

  • rachylou replied 3 years ago

    Oh how very interesting to compare. (I ought to take more advantage of the functionality.) I really like the idea of more drape for you.

  • Aida replied 3 years ago

    Thanks so much for all the insightful comments, I really appreciate
    them!

    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.

    I think the main issue I'm having regarding drape using my current pieces is that right now my drape is coming almost exclusively from oversized pieces. Which is fine, except that many of my particular items are now simply toooo oversized and have slipped over to sloppy; they're large enough that the structural tailored points are no longer behaving that way. I'm feeling that I mostly want to reign in that volume and make sure that there is ample structure, and/or some architectural integrity, with new pieces that earn their way into my wardrobe. So that'll probably be the main way I get the D/F/M, but I would also like to work towards less welts and longer tops (bonus if they've also got interesting hemlines).

    I'm feeling a lot better having that all sorted, so thank you all! Replying individually shortly :)

  • Aida replied 3 years ago

    Jaime, here are some of the quirkier pieces I have in my Finds (mostly from prints, apparently). I'd totally be happy to have the lot, and do own the minty koi print scarf.

    Caro, I enjoy both fully soft and mixed tailored-soft outfits, though I think I mix a lot less than I used to.

    abc, I very much appreciate your comment about whether drape will make me happy to wear, that's what got me thinking about the idea of collective drape, fluidity, and motion. You're totally right -- pure drape, especially if unstructured, would NOT make me happy to wear!

    Suz, Lisa, and Sara, yes it can be tricky can't it! Ahh the multitude of items that look great in theory but not-so-much when we put them on. Yes, I have that issue often! Particularly in tops (hard to fit for me), which is probably why Collections ROG Aida has such great tops ;)

    Joy, sounds like your two selves are close, that's great! I associate your style as being heavily neutral, is that not right?

    Carla and Beth Ann, my closet it somewhere in between all of my inspiration collections too (that's probably a good thing). I do find that with Pinterest in particular, my outfits boards are much more neutral than what I actually like to wear. My hunch is that's partially because for the urban styled looks I like, most people wear them heavily neutral. Perhaps you're finding something similar as well?

    Angie, hah yes it is surprising! I talked about the drape above already, but the cardigans might be a reflection of my wishing for more actual winter weather this year ;) I will proceed cautiously. I do enjoy having a couple of them around though, and the few I have left desperately need to be updated. We'll see!

    Rabbit, yes definitely. In my case, my Finds are full of pieces that I would actually be interested in buying and there is only marginal duplication (although, really, how many white blazers does a gal really need to collect??) I do feel that there is some shifting going on, but for the most part I'm looking at these findings as what will be added to my existing wardrobe. I can't turn over the whole thing, after all! The experiment certainly needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but I found it was still a very interesting visual exercise.

    E, looking forward to seeing your wide-leg trouser looks! I definitely enjoy wearing my lightweight pairs in spring/summer, much more than the heavier pairs in fall/winter. They're a fun silhouette change up for sure.

    Rachy, I'm curious, what kind of drape are you picturing for me? Also PS: I'm into Country Punk for my weekend wear. Not sure my version and your version are the same, though ;)

  • Staysfit replied 3 years ago

    This is a fascinating analysis. The ROG has proven to be a wonderful tool for you. I look forward to seeing how things evolve now moving forward.

  • catgirl replied 3 years ago

    Aida, what a smart use of the ROG. As usual, your analysis is fascinating and will require more than the two sentence response I have time for at the moment. I will be back!

  • AM replied 3 years ago

    I'd be interested to know what you wrote in your notes regarding your style shift before you played with ROG. And how you would describe where you are now. And how you would describe where you're headed with this new shift.

  • Aida replied 3 years ago

    Thanks for taking the time to comment Staysfit and Una! (Take all the time you need ^^)

    AM, I'd say the major change is to my overarching style preferences; previously it was a fairly broad "70s, urban, euro". But I want to both simplify and narrow the ranges to reduce my eclecticness. I'd like to move forward with "70s/80s glam, urban/punk, and soft rock" (that last one being a not-too-clever pun about adding more obvious rock elements but still keep lots of softness).

    My notes about spring prior to this experiment (not including trends):

    • Urban Glam -- 70s/80s
    • Soft Rock
    • Sporty Luxe
    • Country Punk (weekend)
    • White, olive, blush, light blue, gray, red/orange, touches of navy
    • Soft, gauzy layers
    • Minimally maximal

    This is still the direction I'd like to go. The ROG helped me realize more specific elements to look for with the pieces I bring in. So drape, yes, but with significant structure; more texture, interesting hemlines, longer tops. Perhaps a bit less on the sporty luxe, we'll see. It's more the individual items on my shopping list that will change (haven't done it yet).

    I'd say my current style state is limbo. Somewhere between previous
    style leg and where I'd like to get to next. I have been working to
    style my outfits over the past 6-8 months, in particular, to work more
    with the shift even if my current items aren't 100% there. Gotta work
    with what I have! Some days it's tougher than others. There are still
    plenty of "good" outfits that feel more like they're a step backwards.
    Some days I change out of them, and some days I don't; I'm often much
    happier when I do.

    EDIT: Had to trim down my crazy ramble above!

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