Saturday, April 7, 2012

Report On Repeats

As you know, around the end of last year i decided to let go of my decades-long remixing compulsion and repeat some of my fave outfits, for heaven's sake!  One quarter of the year later, i have yet to repeat a look verbatim. However, i have reaped many benefits from my 'resolution'.

i was tickled at the way the bottom of the tunic peeked out below the jacket - like a peplum

To help in my repeating efforts i started a 'GRAND SLAM' folder. This includes all outfits i loved unconditionally. I loved the way they looked, i was physically and emotionally comfortable wearing them, they are right in line with my style sense and goals, they're appropriate for the occasion and activity. Surprisingly and very happily i'm at around 30 outfits now, and i need to add a handful (i haven't updated this folder since January).

I heartily recommend starting this kind of folder or list yourself. It's handy for repeating looks of course, but also for getting a visual 'style statement', identifying wardrobe holes and wardrobe workhorses for shopping lists, identifying color and texture holes and workhorses, and getting a feel for how potential wardrobe additions will fit into your existing closet. This type of document is also plain fabulous for cheering yourself up when you're feeling down or like you're in a style rut. How fun to inspire yourself for a change, instead of looking exclusively to others!

the first inspiration look

These two looks were spawned by the GRAND SLAM folder without being strict repeats. I came up with the first look the afternoon before a busy day. I like to lay out my entire look (down to jewelry and undies) the night before to make the morning less hectic. I checked the weather, and since i was feeling kind of scatter-brained i took at look at my GRAND SLAM folder for ideas. As it happened, the first look in the folder was it! Cute, not too dressy, shoes very easy to walk and drive in, and i was really feeling the column of dark color with a light colored contrasting jacket and hat on top.

I pulled the black embroidered tunic out (the only piece which occurs in both inspiration and final looks). I'd worn my black cargo capris recently and was still in the mood for them, and as they also create a dark column with the top they were in. The original look features (!) my Bass oxfords. My Bass Lamont boots are the same leather, last, and heel, plus they look great with the cargo capris. Perfect substitute. My Anne Klein for Vogue Patterns jacket would have worked well, but the jean jacket is just a touch warmer and stretchier. The day was predicted to be a kind of cool, so i chose the denim. I wore i tank under the tunic and wool socks for warmth as well.

re: accessories. Same earrings, same watch, but i'd restrung my pearl necklace and mixed it up so that it's a shorter length but with bigger pearls (i also used bright orange embroidery thread and added a big grey pearl as an accent). In a closet cleanup the beautiful 'snow lion' scarf resurfaced, adding a nice lighter accent to replace the hat (which is a little fussy for driving and wrassling a pooch).

I did not wear this particular iteration out on the public thoroughfares
Really, the importance of color-coordinated layering in our Bay Area climate cannot be overemphasized! The day turned out to be gorgeous and much warmer than predicted. As the day wore on, off came the scarf, the jacket, and finally the tunic. Visitors from out of the area, take my example to heart when packing and dressing for the golden state! I was relieved i wore a modest and snazzy tank under the tunic instead of a ratty old cami. Not that i have any of those.

inspiration look numero two
My second almost-repeat is much closer to it's inspiration, and i wore it 'as is' all day. I was having family and friends over for food, baking, haircuts, gabbing through the afternoon and evening. I wanted something easy to move in, a bit festive, and shoes that i could stand in for a long time. Honestly, the last criteria wasn't a deal-breaker as in my own house i could easily take my shoes off and go barefoot or even change my shoes every hour if i felt like it! But, that was my mood that day and i figured why not indulge your mood in your dress, given all the areas where you cannot indulge.

However. I'd come up with the inspiration look during my  "walking look" project and my favorite part was the way the patterns on the belt and the top worked together. The jeggings just set off the top and belt perfectly, and they are excruciatingly comfortable! I didn't need a jacket indoors (plus you can see the top better without it). So the main thing was what shoes? I'd been thinking about my black lace socks since i'm considering getting a similar pair in navy (the better to highlight the russet tones of my Fossil Savanas), and you know how much i love my rugged contrasted with lace. Done deal!

I really enjoyed this outfit - it was pretty and had just enough detail to feel festive for guests, with all that stretch i was completely physically at ease, little boots were perfect for a "sit up stand down go go go" day. It seems whenever i start some challenge or resolution it turns out differently than i thought, but i can't recommend starting your own "GRAND SLAM" file enough!

Raise your hand if you keep a record of your best looks. If you don't, tell us why not and we'll peer-pressure you into starting!


  1. I don't formally keep a "best looks" folder, but it's really easy to visually scan my Tumblr archive and remind myself of ways that I wore things. And I do!

  2. Hm, I may have to try my one pair of lace socks with my boots! I love the pearls with the first look. And I love your signature, the rugged and the feminine together.

  3. What a delicious post! Yes, I did catch on to the impromptu peplum. A girl after my own heart.

    I don't photograph my outfits and when I jot down the elements or even make a drawing, I find I'm too impatient to look through. :) I've been using a combo of your idea of being your own influence and that of Simple Isn't Easy where one option is to make the Best outfit you can with the piece and call it a day. Yes, I don't have to be so rigid as not to be able to borrow a piece from a pre-made outfit but it is calming to have all the work done beforehand.

    My closet is a miserable affair. It's smallish (but not too small for the amount of clothes I have ) but the light is horrible. And I don't want to take the doors off and vacuum my clothes when they collect household dust! So I took 2 rolling racks - 2 because we're on the cusp of two seasons here - and placed outfits there after I'd worn them and liked them enough to have those components be The Best matchup. I like seeing the actual clothing, palette and patterns.

    I also use this with purging. If I can't make any outfit that I would be pleased to wear, the item goes. It may make a great outfit - I'm good at finding clothes for my clothes - but just not one that *I* want to wear.

    I ask myself some basic questions: is it sleek *and* voluptuous? No? Then is it breezy? Mostly I want a non-boyishly built gamine. And good lord, what'll I do as I get older and older? Has anybody ever seen a senior adult gamine? I've got a lot of homework to do.

    Also, there was a synchronicity between what I've been doing lately and your reply to Sal's post on Chic. I had discovered the joys of lining the bottom half of my eyes (not the water line) and it reminds me of my own personal 60's (the era but I suppose my age, too!) without bothering about all the mod clothing. And I've been wearing a "necklace" of a bronze metallic large bow/bowtie barrette on a navy ribbon. Makes my soft blue eyes much darker. Now, instead of getting dressed and then putting makeup on, I line those eyes first. And the outfit has to go with that. :)

    It solves my problem of liking to have attention paid but loathing to have people comment on my clothing. I feel like my eyes are very prominent, so I feel I am getting attention paid to *me*.

    1. Vildy, to quote you, my single small closet is also a "miserable affair" - especially the no lighting part. I bought one of those battery-operated round push lights and move it around where I need more light. It really helps :)

  4. I do take photos of my outfits and keep the ones I like together. I have realized by doing this that I have a fashion formula that I wear often. That is sweater/blouse with slacks. Usually I use a scarf or necklace to accessorize them. I also have a knit top and loose long sweater combo that I wear also. I found out that I'm not much of a skirt girl. I like dresses more. I had not realized this until I kept a photo record. My emphasis is to find outfits that have more color and pay more attention to fit that I had in the past.

  5. and I LOVE the rippling of the black cargoes with the rippling of your black shirt!

  6. I have no problem repeating outfits -- I think I've been wearing the same outfit for a month! :-O

  7. Until I started blogging, I repeated a *lot* - and I think I am getting back to that way of dressing to a degree. Why not wear what looks great? You look wonderful in your "favorites"!

  8. Hi Cynthia! i've always admired the knack you have for keeping your looks organized via your blog. Very smart!

    Thank you Terri :) go for it, wear those socks! one thing i like about pairing opposites is it's easy to change the proportions according to your mood. another way to get more variety out of less stuff!

    Hullo Vildy! that Simple Isn;t Easy idea is quite wise. The best you can is a great way to go and avoids beating yourself up over useless ideas.

    and oh how i'm drooling over your rolling racks! in college a dear friend worked in retail and had a nice sturdy rack plus a pro steamer. I've been yearning ever since ..... sigh ...

    "If I can't make any outfit that I would be pleased to wear, the item goes. It may make a great outfit - I'm good at finding clothes for my clothes - but just not one that *I* want to wear." This is something i've truly been realizing the last few months and it ties in with our ideas on chic. True style and true chic involves refusal - i've posted a number of looks here on the blog that are flattering, stylish, comfortable - but they are just not in line with my style 'true north'.

    Especially these days, with so much flat out variety readily available a woman could wear flattering outfits in different style personae every day for a month! But in that case the focus would be all on the clothes, not the woman. I like your strategy of 'all about the eyes' for exactly the reason you give. Wonderful!

    Hi Adrienne! "I had not realized this until I kept a photo record." That is the best reason for keeping some type of record and very succinct. That's the crux of it - you have no idea of what you're not noticing until you notice it!

    I love your 'uniform'. It keeps things simple in life while offering so many opportunities for variety in silhouette, texture, color, and pattern. Brilliant!

    Vildy - thank you! the pants are a very tight woven cotton which makes it's own noises, like a sail snapping.

    ha! Wendy, we can relate ;) altho when i'm wearing boring stuff i still mix it up.

    what is worse? wearing the same outrageously gorgeous look every day, or boring, drab, unflattering but different day to day?

    Happy Sunday! steph

  9. I love all the looks, but especially the white jacket, the pearls with the casual wear, and your lovely curls! :)

  10. oh, thank you Lynne! i've been enjoying pearls a lot these days - & i don't see any reason why you couldn't wear pearls every single day in your line of work! heehee, have fun, steph