WIW 04.30-05.04 Inspired by Nature Edition, and a possible style shift

This season's Picture Perfect Challenge was, as usual, a delight to participate in an infinite well of inspiration! Once again, thank you Bella for organizing and also a big thanks to all who participated, be it by posting outfits or by commenting!

This go-around I tried to plan my outfits ahead of time a bit more than usual because of the large number of overlapping color palettes. Normally the colors alone are enough to inspire me, but this time I was really (and I mean REALLY) inspired by the hazy, surreal moods that all of these photos share. It was my top priority in the outfits I envisioned for each photo. Which, upon reflection of the week, leads me to the following realization:

It's actually been a little while coming, but amped up starting at least a couple weeks ago with Angie's post on the street style she and Greg saw while in Japan, and then further magnified with this challenge: I am 100% feeling soft dressing, both in terms of fabrication AND color. Now, I am not completely sure if this is a true style direction change, or influenced by the fact that it's currently so on trend, or if it's just a seasonal thing since my boho side comes through much stronger in spring/summer. Most likely it's some combination of the lot.

Regardless of what it is, for the moment this is actually quite a shift for me IF I decide to pursue it as an overarching style direction; I do already mix in some soft outfits, but certainly don't dress that way primarily, and I am more interested in "soft" in terms of fabrication and vibe rather than color because, hey, I loves me my brights! It will be interesting (impossible?) to try and keep the punk side of my personal style evident with this shift, though. Fun stuff :D

Challenge Outfits:

  1. Monday (inspiration discussed here); worn to work, then out for tacos. I'm always trying to get volume-over-volume looks to work with these wide legs and am very pleased with this one, I think I finally found my formula for it! This is a new necklace, my current favorite pendant.
  2. Inspiration for #1: African elephants at twilight, Chobe National Park, Botswana by Frans Lanting.
  3. Tuesday (inspiration discussed here); worn to work. Getting "soft" to work while including jeans is another challenge, as is "soft" with brights, but I think they both worked nicely here. My biggest takeaway from this is the messy fanned bun, though; I'm sporting it again today :D
  4. Inspiration for #3: Water lilies (Nymphaea nouchali), Okavango Delta, Botswana by Frans Lanting.
  5. Wednesday (inspiration discussed here); worn to work, then out for dinner. I love pairing both orange and fuchsia with red, though I'm not seeing as much red+fuchsia this year compared to last. As a member of Team Blazer, I would have been infinitely happier with a soft blazer instead of a cardigan, but it does look nice.
  6. Inspiration for #5: Stone Canyon Petrified Sand Dunes and Reflection, Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Arizona by Jack Dykinga.
  7. Thursday (inspiration discussed here); worn to work. My second favorite outfit of the week, simple and soft and muted. I could take my no-jeans week back to this day, haven't had a pair on since Wed's outfit! (Feels weird.)
  8. Inspiration for #7: Morning Mist, Rock Island Bend, Franklin River, Southwest Tasmania, Australia by Peter Dombrovskis.
  9. Friday (inspiration discussed here); worn to a typography conference. My favorite of the week, and I think the fan favorite as well. I am not sure why wearing all brown makes me feel like a wall of brown, but wearing all taupe/tan doesn't make me feel like a wall of skin ;)
  10. Inspiration for #9: Tortoises at Dawn, Galapagos Islands by Frans Lanting.

Whew! 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.


  • Angie replied 7 years ago

    You score a big fat 10 for your stunningly executed challenge outfits!

  • nancylee replied 7 years ago

    Aida, your creativity astounds me. SO inspiring!

  • shevia replied 7 years ago

    Aida I do so love reading your thought process. You are such a great combination of analytic and artistic, I really appreciate that. So in terms of your change of direction, I totally know what you mean about not knowing if it is internally, externally or seasonally driven, but, really, who cares? You do look fantastic in brights, but I also love you in softer looks like 1 and 9 above. Well, I watch with interest - thanks for sharing and inspiring.

  • Isis replied 7 years ago

    What a fab week! I love them all, but #9 is a masterpiece!

  • Diana replied 7 years ago

    Aida, I love all these outfits! Such creative interpretations of the photo, and I am really digging your softer looks too! I think #9 is my favorite.

  • Angie replied 7 years ago

    I had to come back and say that I really like your reflection. The next leg of your style journey has begun!

    I am soooo with you on feeling the soft dressing thing (the bright yellow jacket that you saw me in on Saturday was soft and so was the blouse). I am personally taking it even further by adding an extra lady-like vibe to my look. Very into trousers and skirts and leaving my jeans. I am for the most part over hard edge - although nothing will ever separate me from my denim jackets, denim shirt and 20 eyelet Docs.

    #9 is KILLER sublime.

  • Sarah A replied 7 years ago

    I wish I had an earthshattering comment to add but really, I just enjoyed reading your thoughts and looking at your lovely outfits!

  • Amy replied 7 years ago

    Aida, your interpretation of these photos is pure genius. I love seeing your creative and beautiful combinations!

  • Aida replied 7 years ago

    Thanks for the great comments ladies, I really appreciate them! I'm thrilled you all liked my interpretations, and very happy to read that so many of you enjoyed reading my thought processes as well. #9 is pulling ahead as a favorite already ^^

    Shevia, in all honesty it took me a long time to accept that both the artistic and analytic halves of my brain were "allowed" to play with fashion at the same time; I am very grateful that I can describe analytically what my brain is trying to do artistically. And you are right, I shouldn't worry too much about what's driving the soft dressing desire and just go with it!

    Angie, thank you for your insight, I am intrigued and excited to move forward with this next leg! I think my current and most immediate gaps are soft blouses and a soft blazer or two, so that is where I plan to focus first. I LOVED the yellow blazer you wore to the swap, it was such an amazing piece! I need to spend a little careful consideration time in my closet and set aside the harder-edge pieces I don't feel like wearing for now (though most of my jeans will probably stick around). But I hear you on the denim jacket and shirts, those certainly won't be going anywhere for me either! EDIT: While these are all in the direction I'm headed, #9 is certainly the one that's closest.

  • Angie replied 7 years ago

    Sounds like the next leg of our style journey is very similar, Aida! Inge will be joining us on this same leg :). Your cascading curls add to the look. A shorter back length would work nicely with your new style direction too.

    Pack your hard edged stuff into a holding zone, and see how you feel in 6 months from now. Of course - we can't live without our denim because we live in Seattle!.

    Thanks for the compliment on my yellow blazer. I bought it in Chicago during the gathering. Fun memory for a fun piece :)

  • goldenpig replied 7 years ago

    Wowee zowee! All these outfits are fab, esp. #9! I love your style reflections! If this is the softer side of you, I can't wait to see more! You still look plenty edgy to me with the black nails (genius tie-in to the tortoises, BTW!).

  • Transcona Shannon replied 7 years ago

    Well you know I loved all of your outfits in this challenge and I'm very much looking forward to seeing how this possible new chapter in your style book develops.

  • replied 7 years ago

    I loved reading your reflection, Aida! I think you have the perfect body type to try some of these softer silhouettes. Of course the softer colors are fab on you too. I think we should be allowed to test the waters for a season, and not feel beholden to make a commitment to it right away. I think Angie has given you some really good advice, and I'm excited to see where your style takes you next. It would be boring if we stayed the same, I think!

  • Aida replied 7 years ago

    Natalie, Shannon, and Claire thank you! It is a lot less intimidating to start a new style journey leg with such wonderful support <3

    Angie, woo I'll have two super stylish ladies blazing the path with me :D I'm actually looking forward to setting aside my hard-edge stuff, and usually I fret closet organization and clean up! How short are you thinking for the hair? It could use a cut. I keep waffling between leaving it long and boho like now or going for a short inverted angled French-ish bob, but I haven't really considered a longer cut that has a shorter back.

    Claire, very good points! Because I'm already fairly eclectic in my style and love to experiment, I always worry a little about whether something is a true change or just a quick infatuation you know? I do feel like this is a true change, though.

  • Angie replied 7 years ago

    I'm sure you'll do a great job at closet re-organizing :).

    I'm thinking just a little shorter than shoulder length in front and shorter in the back. Curly.

  • Aida replied 7 years ago

    Ooh I like the sound of that, something similar to the bob I was picturing but longer. I will have to see if I can find photos of something I like in that type of cut! Thanks :D

  • catgirl replied 7 years ago

    Ooh, Aida, your reflections are always so brilliant. And your outfit interpretations are just PERFECT. The last one is my absolute favorite of any outfit you've posted, and that is saying a lot.

  • rae replied 7 years ago

    #9 feels SO YOU, Aida. Very Euro-chic yet earthy and edgy at the same time. And soft in a restrained way... not a gushy mushy fluffy way. Elegant yet fun!

  • Jonesy replied 7 years ago

    I love the new style direction, and I love the idea of a bit shorter 'do on you! I agree with several others that #9 is super-mega awesome! Love those slouchy trousers!

  • ManidipaM replied 7 years ago

    Explore away, Aida! We're already enjoying the way you're leaning!

    I usually find I have a split in dominant style or a reversal of ratios anyway between summer and winter. It's just practical and pragmatic. Sunny days want softer, soothing, muted or pastel colours, bleak smoggy gray days want *colouring up*, and grey days of sheeting rain want black and gray for easy maintenance *and* brights. Similarly with silhouettes, it's waist-surrendering and floaty, breezy for summer; but snug, close-to-the-body layers in winter. And it's clear which side feels more boho!

  • Inge replied 7 years ago

    I love all your outfit interpretations in this challenge, Aida (those slouchy trousers look divine on you!), and am super excited to see where this new style direction will take you.

    And yep, I'm right there with you and Angie. For several months now I've been in a trousers, skirts and dresses (a little hard to execute since I don't have all that many frocks:-) mood. I've been feeling very drawn to soft fabrics and feminine silhouettes, and that's a trend I'm eager to explore further. (denim shirt and denim jackets are still favourites too though:-)

    Looking forward to seeing you sport a slightly shorter do, I just know it will look fantastic.

  • Aida replied 7 years ago

    Thank you VERY much ladies!! I was starting to feel a bit nervous about this new direction, but after all of your awesome comments I have to say all I am feeling is excited! I took Angie up on her "no denim for a week" challenge this week which is actually helping me get some focus as well, and I'll post about that on Friday.

    Una, hopefully I can work these slouchy pants into other equally fab outfits, I'm a bit worried that I peaked with this first one ;) I thank you sincerely for your comment!!

    Rae, "gushy mushy fluffy" is just how I DON'T want my soft dressing to be, so I am very glad to hear that you feel it's not :D

    Jonesy, you knoooww, I think I got my first taste of proper soft dressing after I bought the JCrew avocado silk shirt which of course I purchased after seeings yours ^^ (also, I'm wearing said shirt today). I think I've really been headed slowly that direction since!

    Manidipa, I am the same way! My 70s side definitely veers to boho in warm weather and glam in cool weather, both in terms of clothing and accessories (and I'm all about the 80s all year 'round, of course!). I also do swap my neutrals seasonally, lots of white and gray in summer, lots of black and charcoal in winter (though I am actually working on shifting that to charcoal and gray, and lessen some of the black). I am fully expecting to take this soft dressing into fall and winter, which will be a whole new thing for me!

    Inge, thanks for commenting! The soft fabrics are what drew me into this idea for sure. I feel like I could happily replace all of my tops with silk blouses! I hear you on not having a lot of frocks, I've been slowly working on adding dresses as well; though all the ones I'm drawn to seem to be jersey and I'd really prefer to get some woven dresses! I hope you'll have a chance to post some WIWs of your soft looks, I can just imagine how amazing this style is going to work for you! I am excited for us :D

  • Lisa replied 7 years ago

    What a great style reflection. It's going to be fun watching your style shift. I notice I am really drawn to very bright colors lately. And although I will always love my jeans I recently picked up not one but two pairs of cropped trousers lately. I figure I will try them instead of shorts in the summer. I'm always cold in shorts even on our really hot days.

  • Aida replied 7 years ago

    Thanks for the comment Lisa! I too find myself drawn to very bright colors, more and more each year it seems. At the moment I'm feeling perfectly split between VERY bright colors and VERY pale neutrals. Jeans will certainly always be a staple for me too, but I have to say after wearing these AT slouchy trousers and then my GAP trousers yesterday I'm really really feeling the trouser love. I think cropped trousers would be an excellent choice in place of shorts for you, especially if you're usually cold! Did you get them in bright colors? I'm dying to find a pair of lightweight culottes, myself :D

You need to be logged in to comment