This month I continued easing casual outfits back into my wardrobe following the purchase of the white pair of sneakers. Doesn’t really make for a frame-worthy collage, but it’s been an interesting process. I think eventually I’d like to get back to optimizing my outfits from the scope of weeks rather than just for an individual day because I like a feeling of consistency in my wardrobe (and just feeling like I’m on top of my style game), but I’m enjoying focusing on a different aspect for a change.
And for anyone who’s new, the whole schtick of this blogging project for me is to understand what makes outfits work or not for my personal style preferences and lifestyle. This involves a load of critiquing but I view it as a mindfulness and sort of exercise and not as an “I’m shitting on my outfit choices because I think they’re terrible” thing.
Some of the usual
These are some looks that I think fit into the same sort of styles I’ve been going for – the loosely vintage-inspired, earth-toned, occasionally witchy. I haven’t been too thrilled yet with the spring/summer-fication of this style subset. I’m finding the short sleeve button-down I got a few months ago quite versatile (I haven’t worn them all out yet, but last weekend I tried on a bunch of outfits with it), but I realized that my warm weather tops in this style category are somewhat lacking. I have plenty of basic tanks and tees, but ones that have more interesting necklines or sleeves or have buttons are harder to shop for, so I’ve only got these (off-the-shoulder blouse pictured I wear as a scoop/square neck top):
I really like the cami, but I prefer to have a cardigan over it for work (of which I think right now I only have one that goes with it, limiting outfit combos). The two puff sleeve blouses I like but I just don’t find as easy to style as the boxy button-down shirt because they are so poofy.
In particular the Uniqlo one is just cropped enough that it’s fiddly to keep tucked in, and the crew neckline and plain design can feel stuffy/religiously modest if I’m not careful in how I style it. And while the mustard top is easy to wear, I’ve just found it less versatile due to the color (for my wardrobe, olive green and dark spruce green are the real neutrals).
I’ll keep trying to build more looks around these, but I’ve also been keeping an eye out for warm weather tops. I’m telling myself that I can’t buy any unless they fit into this style category (aligning with one of my goals for this year which is that every new item needs to increase the average visual interest of its category of pants/tops/whatever).
Anyway, on to actual outfits:
Tried and true fitted crewneck top + midi skirt + oxfords/pointed-toe boots + drapey coat formula for a day where I just wanted to look nice. In particular, the dramatic coat with oxfords or lace-up boots always makes me feel like I’m going to whirl off on a story involving orphans and scheming in an ambiguously old-timey era.
My four other midi skirts hit pretty low on the calf so whenever I wear this I always feel like the proportions are off. Here the top is 3/4 sleeve which I think doesn’t help with my perception that the skirt feels a bit shrunken.
I’ve mostly purged “flat” fabrics like jersey from my wardrobe, so I’m usually pretty happy with the depth from texture in most looks I put together now, but I always feel particularly on the ball when I have some (p)leather or (faux) suede in an outfit, because it’s extra substantial and stands out more from standard knits than just… other types of cloth. I think this skirt works great with the drapey coat because the shininess prevents it from blending in too much.
I don’t love 3/4 sleeves but I do like the mini cable-knit pattern in this top. Having a few tops that look sweater-y but are really more of a shirt thickness is nice for when I don’t like to figure out how to tuck it into pants/skirt hammerspace (also for when the weather is warmer)
I watched a few too many Lisa Eldridge videos the night before so I was inspired to do a bolder makeup look than usual. I also wanted to wear comfortable shoes, but I don’t like wearing super casual looks like leggings/tee/sneakers with heavy makeup because it reminds me too much of teenager outfits. I decided that a classic sort of all-black romantic/punk look would work with heavier makeup so I went with docs and a lace blouse.
I suppose this top could count in the warm weather collection, but I usually try to avoid black tops for spring/summer tops out of practicality, and also for the ‘storybook style’ (vs just witchy/goth).
Apparently one way I springify my outfits is by swapping patent leather lace-up pointed-toe boots to cutout leather lace-up pointed-toe boots 🙃. But actually though, the outfit keeps a similar autumn color palette while retaining richer textures. I think the cutout pattern on the boots keeps it from looking too weird with the straw bag*, and the thick 3D striping on the t-shirt holds its own against the pleather (vs something like a lightweight jersey tee).
The t-shirt top combined with a sleek mini skirt does result in a more modern vibe than I ideally shoot for in the “storybook style” part of my wardrobe.
*Growing up in the SF bay area where there aren’t distinct or extreme seasons has made me give minimal shits about appropriate seasonality of items beyond whether they make sense for the weather at the time I’m going to be outside. Idk, I haven’t really heard anyone in person who seems to care about this, although fabric cohesiveness one of the more common constructive crit comments I get on the femalefashionadvice subreddit to which I usually respond that I am aware, but don’t care.
Pretty much a direct repeat from last month. Tried with the sleeker boots instead of the lace-up ones. I think it looks fine, but I do think it’s more fun with a top-to-toe visual interest that the lace-up detail brings.
I am really digging this tomato plant color combination. Red-orange and olive green which imo avoids the Christmas combo association. I got this shirt a few months ago when it was too cold to wear short sleeved linen-blend shirts, and I’m excited to finally bring it into rotation!
Wore this to go see another SF ballet performance that was part of the subscription package for this year. Classic flattering sort of silhouette and items. I’m happy with how much texture I worked into this outfit. The metal details on the moto jacket, tassel detail on the purse, lace godet inserts on the dress, and faux reptile pattern on the pumps all work to give the monochrome black more depth (though were not captured very well with my phone camera).
Sneakers and Wide-leg Pants
I think I have enough thoughts on the subject that I’ll just write another post on sneakers with wide-leg pants. But a big theme this month was seeing how I feel about the various looks I tried. The short of it is that 1) I like having it as an option and feel comfortable with it, but I’m still not super into the look for my personal style. I enjoy having the different style subcapsules and sneakers with wide-leg pants is more of a streetwear feel which I’m not too into, and 2) to avoid looking too casual I highly prefer having a red lip with the looks.
- “Let’s just pick all the Conventionally Flattering™ styling options”
- “farmers market bitch” – someone on reddit described their goal aesthetic as this which I think is a great description of this outfit 😂
- “trying to be comfortable and look inspired by East Asian street style but mostly I just keep thinking of the silhouette all the guys had in middle school PE circa 2005 with giant shorts and sneakers”
I thought this was one of those outfits where it looks flattering and is a no-brainer classic combo, but isn’t very interesting. I’m not sure if I just got pushed up by the Instagram algorithm or people just really like seeing simple flattering outfits but this got about twice as many likes as a typical post of mine 🤔
Did a simultaneously more casual and more styled version of this look from earlier in the week with sneakers, but adding a purse, makeup, and buttoning the collar all the way up. I’m actually wearing this for the third time in a week today, so I might as well photograph another two versions of it for a separate post a la Extra Petite’s shoe swap series.
For a long time I probably would have died rather than wear a conservative shirt, midi skirt, and white sneakers on the premise that it was a Frumpy Old Lady look, but after seeing enough Asian street style photos on Pinterest I’ve convinced myself it can be A Look and it’s cute.
(Both photos are from wear.jp account on Pinterest.) I think of this as one of those more advanced outfit combos where if I want to convey it’s an outfit for fashion it’s helpful to have more current and/or purposeful looking hair, makeup, and glasses because of the casual and/or loose-fit nature of the components. Frankly I don’t think I would wear this combo if I still had my old limp haircut and glasses.
I think of it as a slightly less extreme cousin to the “model off-duty” looks that actually require a lot of work making sure everything fits and is styled just right and everything around the tee and leggings and sneakers ends up being super high-effort/fashion e.g. a sharp bag and sunglasses, and styled hair.
And here are two outfits I got in featuring some of my vintage t-shirts. I enjoy finding 70s/80s/90s stuff that has a band tee aesthetic but is actually tech themed (the first one is from the 1992 ACM programming contest and the second is from an Intel research offshoot called BiiN).
New light wash straight leg jeans that I’ll be doing a review on later. I ended up ordering the same style in petite curvy sizing but it hasn’t arrived yet. I don’t think this look would have the same vibe at all with medium-wash skinny jeans. Straight leg is more 80s/90s vibe and the light wash and light tee create an elongating effect. I think black jeans would also work (divides up the body but the leg line would stay long since the boots are black) but I wanted a less [Lego Batman voice] DARK AND INTENSE look on this day.
I find this skirt + bare legs + boots is more flattering when the boots have a pointier toe, because otherwise the area and shape of the shoe area is similar to the lower leg area and ends up feeling blocky, especially with a top that isn’t black (more blocks to the outfit). But I’m also more comfortable wearing that combo to work with a non-heeled boot and I think stylistically docs make sense. I did like the look overall, but why am I here writing this if not to point out every detail I consider when putting together an outfit.
Again, my goal isn’t to always wear the most conventionally flattering styling, but it’s definitely something I always consider. If something is a less flattering option, I try to make sure it does something to contribute to the proportions/visual interest/emphasize the look I’m going for (i.e. these docs for a more punk feel).
Anyway, I’ve hit over 2k words on this post and I’m going to just call it now. I think it may be better overall in terms of producing Digestible Content for the Modern Age as well as my own time management to write shorter blog posts on the subtopics discussed here. Like doing one post on midi skirts with sneakers, one post on vintage tee outfits, one post on my spring-summer tops, etc. I still like having the record of the collages as well as how I’m feeling about things overall so I will still keep that up, but I think I’ll split out long-winded discussions of specific outfit sets into their own posts.