Thursday, March 1, 2012

I Thought It Would All Be Figured Out By Now...

This outfit happened by accident. I wore the jeggings for comfort. I love the orange of this new tank and i'm a 'wear it now' type of gal, so on it went. I'd been wondering how the orange would look with this blouse since the moment i decided to get an orange tank. Finally, when i unexpectedly needed to leave the house these boots were the most obvious choice, as they cover more of the jeggings.

While i was wearing this look, I really liked it. My natural inclination is to clothe myself towards the dressier end of the spectrum, so coming up with a casual outfit that i really liked was a great surprise. I'm also becoming more and more taken with the idea of dressing in accord with circumstances, which for me means casually. When i was younger i'd dress however i liked and happily sported vintage cocktail dresses in burrito shops. But as the years passed, i felt that i'd 'done that' and became intrigued by the challenge of expanding my style spectrum. These days faboo casual looks attract my eye even more than dressy ones do.

However, something clicked when i was wearing this look. It's been over two weeks since this happened and i still have a lot of unanswered questions about it.  I don't know if the 'click' was due to this particular outfit or if it was just time for that idea to wend it's way into the old forebrain. One way or another, it hit me - i really am capable of having the wardrobe i truly want, in every single area of life - from 'going to the opera', to hanging around the house, to sleepwear - all of it. Now, as many of you know, this has been my expressly stated goal and purpose ever since i started this blog (and before!). In fact, until this realization hit me i didn't even know that i didn't believe it all through my bones.

Like the post title says, when i began this wardrobe project a year and a half ago, i figured by this point i'd have things pretty well wrapped up. I'd have my go-to sewing patterns (altered to fit perfectly), my reliable shopping outlets, i would have settled on a sensible yet fun wardrobe size and be on a 'one in, one out' regime. But this last realization has me feeling a bit 'back at zero'. I know i'm not, yet i also know that i have farther to go than i have already traveled. While this seems like it should be discouraging, it actually feels exhilarating! I see now that i will be able to take my personal style to places i hadn't even considered, to have a much wider range than i thought, to feel totally myself in areas i thought were just not even worth thinking about.

This blog post is pretty unusual for me. I generally have something very definite to say about style and the particular outfit i'm showing. This time, all i can do is let you know that i had some ill-defined insights which were somehow connected (or maybe not) with the clothes onscreen, and which seem to indicate that after eighteen months of considered study of the subject i realize i've barely scratched the surface.

All i can say is that i sincerely hope that the same thing happens to you someday. And if you have already been thus blessed, we want to hear about it!


  1. The blouse is both very pretty and (in the first photo) does a good job of camouflaging you against the background of leafy trees! :) And I like the juxtaposition of the flowery print and the tough-looking boots.

  2. I love the orange peaking out. I am wearing orangy colors today too! I think it had to do with our warmer weather. I just felt bright.
    Did you make your jeggings? They look really neat.

  3. The jeggings really work on your figure,very flattering.I also the like the muted color of the blouse with the pants. The pop of color is really cute under the blouse. The contrast toughness of the boots works with the delicate looking fabric of the blouse.. I'd say you are hitting many of the "rules" of how to make an outfit work and look interesting. I am with you I am trying to come up with interesting casual looks too. Now that I am retired this is a challenge because I'm used to business casual. Now what I need is "sassy casual". I am not even close to that yet.

  4. I too love the jeggings on you - very flattering. And I also love it that you can't wait to wear something new: I always consider that a sign of a great purchase! AS to the spectrum of dressed-up vs casual, I think you are blending it nicely according to how to you feel, and it's working out very well, IMHO.

  5. Thank you Sue! i got a kick out of the inadvertent camo as well :)

    Hi Debbi! yes, orange is so fun to wear when you get that hint of spring. Actually, these are Mossimo juniors jeggings from Target. I tried on the women's version but these fit better.

    Hi Adrienne! i like that phrase - 'sassy casual'! and you bring up a big issue, as the fashion industry seems geared to presenting ideas on how to look younger, dressier, more expensive....

    whereas a lot of people are older and don't mind it, and don't work in an office or professional setting (or at all) - but they still want to look good and vivacious and be comfortable at the same time! i understand that with the frumpiness of so much of the dressing you see in the US many people are interested in looking snazzier.

    But how to be snazzy when casual? And when you're no longer 22? This seems to be uncharted territory!

    Thank you Patti for your kind, encouraging words! i've found that wanting to wear things right away does point to a good one.

    Happy Friday! steph

  6. Im in the process of moving my 90+ mother out of my house and into assisted living so my blogging and style have gone down the tubes for now but after next week I plan to start again and do a feature on "sassy casual" besides I need time to figure that one out too!!

  7. I'm looking forward to reading Adrienne's post on Sassy Casual, as well!
    I like the idea of dressing with a purpose and the purpose is to look vibrant, alive, interested. You can probably tell, though, that I don't do relaxing well. :D

    Was reading a series of blogposts about adding prime pieces to a wardrobe at various budget levels, including imaginary. I can save you the trouble: Isabel Marant, Hermes... Anyway, she asked whether a person considered themselves a clothes person or an accessories person. I am somewhat picky about my accessories but it's more about what I don't want. I'm definitely a clothes person. I tend to put an outfit together and say to myself I will decide about shoes and bag... later.
    A lot of the time I don't even take a bag. And I have plenty. Maybe the object was to find the one that would let me stop thinking about bags?

    I find that the more of my figure I show (clothed) in casual clothes, the happier I am with the outfit. I think my casual style might be bombshell on her day off.

    Also, I have been experimenting with dressing in fewer pieces, maybe no top layer. I thought I would feel exposed but it's working out okay so far. Though I bought a leather scuba type jacket today that I intended to wear for nice casual. I was in paradise when I spotted it and tried it on at the thrift store: Barbie pink. Not for everybody surely but it makes me glow.

  8. I really love that top on you, so pretty!
    Personally, I feel like I can finally throw together outfits that work well without agonizing over the specifics but I still can't put into words what works about them! When I shop now, it's with a very critical eye and I'm definitely drawn towards specific pieces but I am unable to define and clarify my style - which is why my blog has been so sparse lately! Any insights? (We really ought to get coffee soon, I've been so terrible about keeping in touch!)

  9. Adrienne, i am thinking of you and your mom right now - i hope it all goes smoothly and you are both happier after the move!

    Vildy - 'bombshell on her day off'!!!! That's got to be the most fun, bestest style descriptor EVAH!! it's also a great shorthand for what you've determined about your casual style - nice! i do have to say that i'm more of an accessories person - i'll start from the shoes many times.

    leather scuba jacket in bright pink.......i really try to be a good person and not be jealous. but frankly i think i need to go into a corner and sulk a bit ;)

    Yes, Ravina we just need to get in the same place at the same time! i'll e-mail you my phone #. And if it comes down to talking about great looks, or actually being able to put together great looks - definitely being able to do it is much much better!! :)

    Happy Saturday! steph

  10. Wonderful blouse, and it looks great with the tank. The whole thing comes together so beautifully. I wonder if varying the jacket would change the look entirely?

    I'm nowhere near you in my own style evolution, but I know what you mean about finding what works and makes you feel good in every single occasion. I'm stuck in the frustration stage, struggling mightily to discover balance between casual and professional looks. You've a great start though with other pieces you've incorporated into your wardrobe: the tailored jeans, the black and white floral blouse, the wonderful vintage-look lace-up booties.

  11. I wonder if it is the play of color that appeals to you about this casual look. I know when I study the blouse that the color of the tank lends a more mustard color to some of the blouse pattern, but as I study the pattern--what I'm taking for mustard could also be a shade of green.