Saturday, December 31, 2011

There Is Hope!

Well, i thought i'd try for an 'uplifting' post to finish the year. I know that many of you, like i am, are somewhere along a journey of re-thinking your style and re-populating your closet. Over at the You Look Fab forum, in the last couple of weeks there have been a few 'When does it get better?' threads.  People who have spent many hours on their style project and are wondering when it all starts to get easier.

Which is why i am showing you these two outfits in particular. Neither is the most stylish, the most flattering, or the most outrageous i've ever put together. But those last two words contain the beauty of these two looks -neither was 'put together'. In fact, both were just pulled out of the closet in desperation with very little consideration besides 'I've got to get out the door!'. Yet, later in the day i realized that i was physically comfortable, felt authentic (thank you Patti!) and appropriate and i liked the way i looked!

All of your work and toil does pay off!  A year and a half ago if i'd reached into my closet for something likely and rushed out the door - well, i did try that then and it's not worth revisiting. But i've reached the point where my closet is largely stocked with well thought out pieces that suit my figure, my tastes, my lifestyle, and each other. In short, i've stacked the deck in my own favor.

I'm not trying to toot my own horn here (well, maybe a little.....) so much as let anyone who is feeling frustrated know that you can do it too! All you need is a plan, the ability to learn from mistakes, and the determination to stick with it for the long haul. Everything else can be worked with or around.  True, i can sew and i have had training in the visual arts (both of which most people can learn as well). But my budget is pretty limited, and it's very difficult physically for me to do much shopping.  Every one of you has strengths and weaknesses too - storm your noggin and figure out how to work 'em! Research your questions in blogs, join a forum and participate, start your own blog and ask your readers what they think. Stick with it long enough, try enough crazy things and you'll get there! I promise.

How are you all coming along with your own style goals? Can you grab a decent outfit out of your closet in two minutes flat or are you having trouble getting started?  What's the most brilliant idea you have come across regarding style and getting dressed this last year?

Happy New Year!!!


  1. Good for you reaching this point in your style journey - I can relate to the throw whatever on to be comfortable, warm and so you can get out the door fast. I used to look pretty dishevelled and awful - now I think I've got a uniform that works better and at least makes me feel more put together.
    Happy New Year to you!

  2. Love this: "I've stacked the deck in my own favor" -- way to go, Steph! When you can look at an outfit and say "that's so me!", you're in a good place.

    I really like all these looks on you (love that embroidered blazer). What I have to guard against is some native laziness that takes over on non-work days -- you inspire me to pump up the volume!

  3. The Process: Throughout the past 3 years I have worked on improving my style and trying to developing my 'look'. As a more mature woman I wanted to have a 'look' that is mine. I refuse to be jerked around by the fashion fads anymore but want a fashionable wardrobe. Don't get me wrong I love to look at fashion magazines but trying to figure out what will work on me has been a daunting task.I have worked in three areas to build a better wardrobe: finding my right silhouette, learning which colors work on me, getting a good fit and knowing what are the correct proportions on me and fine tuning the the details such as shoes and accessories.
    Taking a multitude of pictures of myself as silly as that might be has really helped me develop what is better on me. I have had so many clothes that are really cute just not on me. So I am getting better at figuring it out and it has been a fun journey. You have really made me think about a lot of issues concerning wardrobe choices. It seems I'm doing a lot of paring down these days. Why have a clogged closet? I'm wearing what works and getting rid of the rest. The ladies that shop at my local Salvation Army are very happy!:)

  4. What a wonderful embroidered jacket! It's crazy, but when I started blogging, I thought I had a fairly well-defined, but somehow boring style. Blogging for me has been an excuse to break out of my box and along the way, I've discovered things that worked...that I would never have imagined previously. I owe the blogophere a lot for the encouragement to be inventive.

  5. What a lovely way to end 2011 - reading your blog and seeing you in that velvet jacket in this post! Happy New Year, my darling daughter!

  6. You know I'm wild about that second outfit. :D
    I can't get dressed in two minutes but close. I have a friend who marvels that she can call me up for an impromptu nice lunch out and in ten minutes I look great. Same method you use.

    I try to learn from both my acquiring and my purging. I don't shop for basics or what I "should" have. I try to shop intuitively and just get what calls to me. This often signals a new direction and leads to purging. Also, the principle of buying what I like because it all comes together.

    I keep up on current silhouettes and take what I like. Otherwise, I tend to look backwards and acquire some version of what I liked in the dim past. There's a throughline. I don't care a whole lot about figure flattery in terms of catering for every little deviation. I look for, depending on mood, an energy to my clothing or a gracefulness. Sometimes both combine. If the clothing has verve and/or gracefulness, it seems to flatter my figure just fine. And I guess I play a constant game of hide and seek. Might have a form fitting top but under an open, floating top piece. Might have boxy looking clothing from the front but perched atop the rear at back. Oversize knit tops that alternately float away and collapse against the figure. That's a new thing for me. I like some definition at midriff and the tops can do this in their own way.

    From purging, I recently realized that I am attracted to the idea of raincoats with warm liners but in real life they are a shifting nuisance to wear and I have purged every single one over time. I also realized that I have tended to acquire raincoats - I once had 19! - but they are completely impractical. In warm weather they are too hot and steamy and in cold weather they are chilly. I still have some raincoats but have gotten rid of most and won't look at any more. Leading me to realize that I'm sick of trenchcoat style. Not for me the list of Must Haves, I guess.

    Most of all, this is exactly what has been on my mind lately:

  7. It's encouraging to see the evidence that effort and will can culminate in the realization of a perfect capsule. I'm inspired to keep trying!

  8. Happy New Year, Steph! I love those gloves and that gorgeous embroidered jacket.

    How are you all coming along with your own style goals?
    - I don't know that I have any style goals, other than to have fun with what I wear.

    Can you grab a decent outfit out of your closet in two minutes flat or are you having trouble getting started?
    - Yup, easy peasy! I love having the occasion to go out and to put together something fun and exciting!

    What's the most brilliant idea you have come across regarding style and getting dressed this last year?
    - Not to be afraid to try something new. Wear what I love and encourage others to do so as well.

  9. I love the first outfit especially. With this one, I can really see the connection discussed in the book, The Triumph of Individual Style, where the floral patterns in your clothing reflect the curl pattern of your hair!

    As for my own style goals, I do feel like I'm getting there (finally!) I feel like I've made more progress in 2011 than ever before.

    Can I get an outfit together in two minutes flat? Sometimes, but not always. I've finally figured out how I want to look. But budget constraints require that I build my wardrobe very slowly. The good news is that I'm making fewer mistakes these days with my purchases.

    The most brilliant idea I've come across regarding style?
    --I've learned that not only does it help to avoid unflattering shapes and colors, but that by being extra-selective and sticking to only the *most* flattering styles for me, I can get dressed even more easily, and be happier with my look.

  10. oh gosh, i'm on the run and will come in later to respond - just have to say you ladies have gone ABOVE AND BEYOND with your comments here!!!

    Thank you all so much, there is a lotta smarts in these comments and it's even more exciting to read about all the progress you individually have made towards your goals, durn it, it's downright inspiring :)

    Sheila, i love it and it's a great motto "...have fun with what I wear." Yes to that! Happy New Year All! steph

  11. Goodness!
    Veshoevius, you are the last lady i'd associate with a uniform of any kind - knowing that you find them helpful gives the concept the best endorsement yet!

    Hullo Patti! 'native laziness' - i know it well :) i have found that a blog provides a very good counteracting effect!!!

    Hi Adrienne! "I refuse to be jerked around by the fashion fads anymore but want a fashionable wardrobe." Hear hear! your process is eminently sound and is yielding fantastic results! Anyone who is starting or stuck, read Adrienne's comment carefully and go study her blog toot sweet!!!!

    Terri, Happy New Year! that's a great sum-up of what the style blogworld has to offer. Beyond imagining - there IS so much marvelous creativity out there!

    I love you too mom!!!


  12. Vildy, NineTeen Raincoats!! you have to admit the idea sounds so darn practical ;) What a wonderful way of interacting with your wardrobe and the style world - the ebb and flow sounds so organic! and i love the way you have of describing it...

    "And I guess I play a constant game of hide and seek." that's a fun way of putting it, and actually a great principle to follow in getting dressed! it also addresses the article you link to, in a little unexpected way.

    Hi P! heehee, i'm glad to be of service, ma'am :)

    Hi Judith ((((Big Hug!))))

    Hello Sheila! i love your philosophy and it's good for life in general! i'm very excited to see what you come up with this year, you've been outrageously even more brilliant than usual recently!! it boggles my mind how you do it - but i cannot argue that it is done.

    Hello Ms. M! Thank you, it is so great when you 'get' a concept like that - really fun!

    you lay out precisely the pros and cons of a limited budget. having the constraint actually gives time to think and evaluate, which is to the good. And i agree with you - sticking to the items where you just love to death how they look on you does create it's very own aesthetic!

    it's almost like magick (big eyes)

    Happy New Year Everybody! steph