WIW 04.23 soft dressing catalyst

I have one last outfit from April I wanted to share :D This is the outfit that got me seriously thinking about soft dressing, and whether or not it was a true directional change or just a fleeting eclectic feeling.

I wore this to the dentist, errands, work, and later out for tacos. I am not usually out and around so many people, so I was pleasantly surprised to get quite a few compliments on this outfit at almost each stop I made during the day. They were primarily on the color combination (Claire! This is the one I mentioned that one time about the oddball colors.), but one lady commented that the whole soft vibe was unique which is what got me thinking about all of this because I felt super in this outfit and could happily wear variations of this all summer.

This outfit has a mix of soft (silk, suede, colors, hair) and structure (button-up buttoned up, tie knot, denim); I'm realizing I'll need to find ways to mix in some structure to make soft dressing work for me, and this feels like a great example of the mix I'm after. As Rae eloquently put it, I'm going to work towards "soft in a restrained way" (thanks Rae!). Coupled with the last two weeks, this all feels like a crash course in the new style direction!

Comments, critiques, thoughts and questions welcome!

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.


  • Transcona Shannon replied 8 years ago

    Wow. I don't even know where to start with this. I guess first of all, the colours combined here are so beautiful together...and somewhat unexpected, which I like. I love how the blue in the scarf picks up the blue shoes. The soft blouse works beautifully over the slim fit (a.k.a. more structured) jeans and then the scarf adds another soft element. But the buttoned up collar of the blouse gives it some structure despite its flowy fabrication. The whole outfit is visually interesting and has a few small juxtapositions that keep it from being anywhere near predictable. I'm looking forward to watching this new style emerge for you Aida!

  • Jonesy replied 8 years ago

    Love the colors and the softness of the blouse and scarf! I can see why you got so many compliments!

  • rae replied 8 years ago

    Ooh, I can see why this sent you off in a softer direction - hey, I had a similar I-can-wear-this-all-summer moment with my own soft blouse. There is something so easy and breezy about it. And I'm glad you got some use out of that bit of analysis... that phrase hit me right away when I saw your other post. Before, soft dressing struck me as really fluffy and weak in some way, but you changed my mind!

  • cheryle (Dianthus) replied 8 years ago

    Here are the aspects of the outfit that caught my eye.

    The blue in the shoe echos the blue in the scarf/tie. The soft denim allows the brights to play unimpeded. The softness and flow create a romantic feel but the shoes and jeans keep it from being overtly feminine.

    I really like it a lot.

  • K. Period. replied 8 years ago

    Beeeeeautiful! I love the color combo in this. I'm a big fan of muted greens. Pairing the muted green top with bright blue is beautiful. It really makes the blue color pop and lets the green be a subtle background. Fabulous!

  • replied 8 years ago

    Mmmmmm! Chartreuse and sapphire! Love it. You are rocking the soft blouse. The other elements would be normal for you, would they not? And waist surrender is not exactly something new for you either. The blouse itself is tailored and structured, but just made with *blouse* material instead of crisp *shirt* material. The blouse, untucked and the scarf all add up to be soft on the top half for sure. I'm excited to see how this soft dressing thing plays out! :)

  • Aida replied 8 years ago

    Thank you Jonesy and K!

    Shannon and Dianthus, thanks for the detailed breakdown of what you each liked about this outfit! Very helpful for me.

    Rae, those silk button-ups are just fab right? This is my only silk blouse, and I sure wish I could afford to buy several more. I will absolutely be keeping your phrase in mind as I move forward :D

    Claire, yes very spot on analysis, much of this is "normal" for me with just a few small changes making a big difference. I actually wore a similar look to this quite a bit last year with my crisper cotton button-ups, but this year I'm definitely feeling the silk. Though I will say I'm expecting to wear my jeans far less than last year which should be a pretty big change as well.

  • catgirl replied 8 years ago

    Oh Aida, this is such a fabulous model of your new style direction. Is this the Nexx shirt? Seems like it's becoming a cult favorite around here. I love how your analytical mind and your creative heart conspire!

  • MsMary replied 8 years ago

    Wowzers! I love this! We are kind of on the same wavelength because I wore a similar top in a similar color, with blue and a neutral, today too! I love your new direction!!

  • Aida replied 8 years ago

    Thanks Una and Mary!

    Una, this blouse is from JCrew last year though I think the Nexx comes in a similar shade. I'm debating picking up a Nexx blouse because an orange and emerald silk blouses are on my "must get" list for this season while those colors are around!

  • shevia replied 8 years ago

    Well I selfishly hope you keep considering your style direction because I love reading your analyses. But this is such a great look for you - unique, distinctive, flattering, you! Perhaps I can allow you to continue with this as long as you analyze every iteration?

  • ManidipaM replied 8 years ago

    Aida, this is just spectacular. Pretty *and* edgy. You should be proud as a peacock of this look.

    (And count me in as another one selfishly intrigued by your new style direction, since I've had 'structured soft' on my rubric-in-development for a while)

  • teeandcee replied 8 years ago

    LOVE! Especially the tie look. Love the colors, the softness with the shirt, the shoes....did I mention I love the tie??

  • celia replied 8 years ago

    It feels good when we have this moments of finding something that feels just right.
    On the whole I think the outfit keeps the integrity of your style, it's the details that make it look softer.For me I don't see it as much as a new direction but as another layer of interest you added to your outfits.

  • Sara L. replied 8 years ago

    I love this "soft" style! I'm very drawn to it but have never been able to incorporate it into my own look. I especially like the peacock scarf.

  • Kiwichik replied 8 years ago

    In love with the peacock scarf & cobalt shoes like the new direction you are taking but I liked tge old direction too.

  • Aida replied 8 years ago

    Thanks for the lovely comments ladies! :D

    Shevia and Manidipa, you two are inspiring me to get caught up on my blog since I break down each outfit with more detail than I do here; I'm always unsure if people enjoy reading all that. You know how when work piles up it's hard to get started on it so you put it off longer? This is the problem I'd been having. I'll try to get it going again :)

    Celia, I think you are right that this is very similar to my usual style but with softer details. I feel like just moving to soft details won't be enough to satisfy me though, so I definitely want to soften up more major components as well (primarily wearing less jeans and more soft trousers/skirts).

  • Louise replied 8 years ago

    Omg I love the peacock scarf! It really zings with the green shirt x

  • Aida replied 8 years ago

    Thanks Louise! I'm a sucker for all things peacock, both print and colors :D

  • Angie replied 8 years ago

    Chiming in to say nothing other than that YOU ROCK.

  • cheryle (Dianthus) replied 8 years ago

    I came back again to look at the tie. Did you tie it like a men's tie? Windsor?

    There is a little shop in the building where I work that is selling soft chiffon summer scarves in nice colors and patterns and I am thinking of emulating your look.

  • Aida replied 8 years ago

    Thank you Angie :D

    Dianthus, yes I did tie it like a men's tie. I think I use a half Windsor knot? I really love using my silk scarves tied this way, can't wait to see yours! EDIT: Ok, yep looks like a half Windsor, this image looks like how I tie them.

  • replied 8 years ago

    I don't do "hard" or severe dressing styles, but feel much more "me" in soft styles.
    For instance: 3/4 sleeve cardigan vs structured jacket, A-line skirt vs pencil skirt,
    flowy top vs close fitting structured blouse, flats or wedges vs 4 inch stilettos.
    Does that make any sense?

  • Aida replied 8 years ago

    Shabbychick, thanks for the insight into your soft dressing, it definitely makes sense! I do generally prefer harder-edge styles, so when reading through your list it appears that my style preferences are just the opposite of yours :) I don't think I would feel like me in a fully soft and non-structured outfit; I certainly need to have a bit of tailoring, and plan to continue to mostly stay away from sweetness because that just feels so unlike me. For example I much prefer blazers to cardigans, so for that preference to work with soft dressing I hope to switch to blazers in a soft fabrication as opposed to blazers in stiffer materials that are more strictly tailored. It will be interesting to find where "soft" best fits into my style, and so far it's looking mostly like fabrication and vibe as opposed to the type or cut of an item.

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