February! So rainy. So cloudy.
I’m trying to evaluate my progress on the following:
🌊 Depth – do textures, layers, and accessories provide a feeling of richness? Are there small, medium, and large shapes throughout the outfit?
✨ Whimsy and wonder – my general aesthetic goal is to have outfits that feel like they could be out of a storybook (see the My Style page for more details on this). Erring a little on the dramatic side is good.
☑️ Goals for this month – this month I wanted to try making more outfits with jeans, since I haven’t been getting a ton of wear out of mine (I just have two pairs of the same washed-black straight-leg jeans).
See part 1 for more detail.
I was on vacation in NYC for the first couple days of this two week period, and I missed a photo on the first travel day. I wore a white fisherman-cable-knit sweater and black culottes with my pointed-toe patent leather lace-up boots and my long wool coat. I had a extra outfit pic from going out in the evening though. Column1 Row2 outfit photo is a pic of an older outfit, but I wore a very similar outfit and didn’t get a picture (beige cable-knit sweater instead of this… similar off-white sweater).
I decided to just write this before my final outfit of the month in the interest of just finishing it, since I have a bunch of other posts I want to write and I think the outfits here already give an idea of how I’ve been doing.
(click image to view full res in new tab)
And for reference, here was the first half of the month:
Based on how I felt I did in the first two weeks, my goals for the latter half of the month were:
- attempt an outfit with cropped orange cardigan
- attempt an outfit with cropped tan cardigan
- outfits with long cardigans when it isn’t raining
- outfit with a scarf
I didn’t get around to making an outfit with the orange cardigan, but I did try working in the tan cardigan. A bit unfortunately the day I got around to doing it was rainy, so I was limited in my footwear choices. Normally I would have liked to have styled it with more vintage-y shoes and trousers rather than jeans. Overall I think this looked okay but it still didn’t really feel like an ~outfit~ to me, I think largely because the base outfit was so utilitarian and the basics were basic. So even though I added a scarf it was sort of like adding an icing rosette to a plain cake. Like, it’s okay I guess, but it doesn’t disguise the fact that the items individually and together are very plain. There’s a poster on reddit WAYWT, ruthannr94, who usually posts sneakers-tshirt-jeans-hoodie outfits, but every one of her individual items really extra and every one of her outfits is awesome. They’ve been a real inspiration for me to invest in more fun basics, even though she has a very different style from me. That way any thing I throw on can be fun, I don’t have to try and shoehorn it into being more interesting than it is. Hence one of my goals for 2019, which was to only buy items that increase the average visual interest of their category.
Anyway hopefully I can figure out better ways to style this scarf-bandana in the future. I agree with alaskanweredork’s comment on the instagram post that the bandana-shaped styling of the scarf is okay, but the rest of the outfit doesn’t exactly vibe with it. I do love the little tassel details. I’m thinking it would work well in an outfit with some culottes and pointed toe boots, which are both a touch more western.
The first outfit I wore the bandana with was also one of my long cardigan looks. I liked it (left outfit which was worn more of the day) less than the previous one because it didn’t feel very balanced as described in the caption. I think it would have looked better with just the top+skirt+tights and some sort of boots. I didn’t have a load of time to iterate on this one but I guess at least I have one more thing to keep in mind for the future.
I did have some outfits I made wrt the specific outfit criteria I did like!
This one for long cardigan + scarf + jeans I liked overall, although in retrospect I think it does still lean a bit top heavy. The shoe+sock combo was fun at least.
Compare to this similar one without the scarf. I don’t know, part of it might just be that I’m still not super used to seeing myself in scarves, but I generally have liked all my True Winter outfits from east coast vacations which had scarves, so I think it’s more of a proportions issue in the ones I haven’t loved.
An evenly-voluminous winter outfit that I still really like:
and one ~long and layered~ outfit that I LOVED. So much texture, and all the hemlines interact really well! This is almost a repeat of my NYE outfit except with a pleather midi skirt and fancy lace tights instead of jeans.This cardigan layers really well with the jacket because it’s quite thin and doesn’t peek out too much, so it isn’t too busy. I think the skirt added some good volume to the final layered look too.
The NYE outfit in question:
I also really loved all the proportions and shapes in this outfit (particularly from the oversized collar and the sock detail), as well as the forest-y color story:
Overall, I think what was emphasized by these was that I really can’t just throw on one extra (literally additional but also in the “extra”/”extravagant”/”maximal” sense) item and hope that it boosts the whole outfit. I really should be thinking about the whole outfit. I knew that already, and honestly I did spend longer putting together those outfits that were specifically to incorporate one of the goal items than I would in a random other outfit, but it wasn’t enough.
It also is making me feel that jeans are not really something that goes with my primary aesthetic, especially since many of my items individually are a little interesting, but don’t exactly glow with rich embroidery or fine tailoring. I swear I have been working on a post about splitting my wardrobe into style sub-capsules but it’s still in progress. Thinking of just integrating jeans into a sub-capsule that fully embraces the casual.
I think if I do this again I would want to do two or three outfits in the time period for a given item just to be able to improve through mindful practice. It would probably be more efficient to just spend an hour or two trying on and photographing fully-styled outfits rather than going day by day, but frankly I don’t think I would make time for that, and this method I think is still helping even if it means I have more slight misses compared to straight weeks of “eh it’s fine” looks.
Evaluating the outfits all together, the first 2 weeks had 6 outfits with some attempt to integrate a “third piece” (cardigan or outerwear and/or a scarf) for depth, while the second 2 weeks had 9. I think I actually like the first batch better overall, mainly because there’s a larger variety of colors and color values. I wore a lot of black and gray in the past two weeks and I feel like the dark colors negated the depth added by extra items (partly because they don’t photograph as well in my existing setup). It really doesn’t feel like much whimsy or wonder on the whole either. In fact given that most of my dark items are not very textured or lavishly detailed, these definitely do not vibe with the storybook/charming movie costume aesthetic I talk so much about. Still satisfied with y outfits overall especially compared to even just a few months ago, but definitely not at the goal of most days being HECK YES outfits instead of “sure, that’s nice”.
The three outfits I really liked were all slight variations or exact repeats of former outfits (not that there’s anything wrong with that – just as an observation). Perhaps next month I should focus on semi-cloning those outfits with my existing items, like how I have a couple of variations of white top + green trousers outfits that I wear a lot because I love green trousers with white tops, especially with some volume.
Until writing this post, I haven’t had anything pressing in mind for next month in terms of specific goals for March. For now I think I’ll tentatively just wear whatever outfits I come up with while continuing to try and incorporate depth and whimsy+wonder characteristics in some form in everything, and in the second half of the month I’ll make some efforts to improve specific outfits from the first half of the month.
On that note I’ll just leave with this outfit featuring the hot item of 2012 for me which I finally found at a Goodwill in NYC:
Honestly I have no good ideas popping up on how else to style it besides with black lace-up boots, but it’s such a statement I think at least for the next few wears I’ll be happy to just let it depth-wonder-whimsy on its own 😂 For everything else, perhaps I should spend more time letting myself be inspired by my primary style inspiration board which I’ve spent so much time curating ✨
Do you have any specific characteristics you’re working to move your outfits and wardrobe toward? What are they? The only other person I know of who does a similar thing is @sarahiswearing on Instagram, whose goals are to have outfits that make her feel “rigorous, alluring, and self-possessed.” There are so many dimensions of a wardrobe that can be worthwhile to improve, but personally I’ve found that intentionally focusing on a few helps a lot. I saw a lot of people in new years resolutions posts have a “word of the year” like “intention”, but on the flip side, I find that the concepts have to at least be something you can then pull out somewhat objective descriptors from, otherwise it would be difficult to reason about your progress.