Translating Styleboards to Wardrobes and Outfits: Summer Witch, Weekend Edition

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A less angsty post for once 😛 Just having some fun coming up with some summery themed outfits using pieces in my wardrobe 🦇 I enjoy a good themed mini capsule / outfit set, and it’s fun to on pull out slightly different aesthetics from my wider closet (you can see my whole closet over at the My Style page).

Here is the inspiration Pinterest board (you can also click the image to view on Pinterest) I’m working with. It’s a more constrained set of pins from my more general Low-key Witch (more wearable) and Witchy Costume (less wearable runway sorta stuff) boards that I was feeling this season. It’s a lot less minimal than last year’s board!

warm weather witch inspiration.png

Although I generally don’t like to wear all black all the time, I enjoy doing some good old fashioned witchy style looks a few times a month. I’ve noticed that currently I enjoy monochrome black outfits more when they’re more on the ornate end than the minimal end. For colder weather I can rely on throwing on my long dramatic drapey coat, some tall lace-up boots, and/or some lace tights to get this effect, but my warm weather options were mostly plain items.

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wintry example with lots of different fabrics
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tall boots

This was like, peak summer fashion for me last year. I think this would still be a great outfit generally for a Sunday heatwave, but it’s not really inspiring to me now.

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After concluding that I was lacking more visually interesting black pieces for summer, I went out to find some fun pieces and ended up getting a long sleeved off-the-shoulder cropped peasant blouse with smocking (pictured in the red skirt outfit above), and a square neck sleeveless crop top with a zipper front with O-ring pull. I tried to find things that fit with the themes in the styleboard, as broken down in the next section.

I figured it was hard enough to find something with visual interest for summer and my current office has AC anyway, so I didn’t want to over-challenge myself too much by trying to find things that fit, were visually interesting, suitable for warm weather, and a casual office.

Inspiration Board Distillation

Click here to get a PDF guide to translating inspiration boards into wearable wardrobes

The general points I think about when going through this process:

  • What are the recurring visual elements in the style board?
    • Colors, fabrics, silhouettes, styling choices, etc
  • What makes this distinct from other similar styles? What subset of the visual elements should we focus on to keep the wardrobe cohesive?
  • What constraints does your lifestyle put on your wardrobe? Is this capsule for work, weekends, or both?

Visual Elements

Colors: Black, of course. With the occasional white/cream.

Fabrics: a combo of very luxe fabrics like leather, velvet, lace, and tulle along with classic cotton and linen (varying sheerness).

Free People

Silhouettes: Mostly sticking to the defined-waist look here. Lots of romantic silhouettes like poofy sleeves as well as some more classic contemporary-sexy combos like short shorts with a crop top.

Fabrizio Ferri captures Leila Nda, Sofia Tesmenitskaya, Grace Simmons & Yana Van Ginneken for Vogue Italia September 2015.

Styling and item details: lace-up closures, hook and eye closures, buckles, square necklines (reminiscent of corset stays), layering of sheer fabric, very strappy pointed-toe shoes, small metallic embellishments and jewelry, wide-brimmed hats

Focus

If it’s an all black outfit with more romantic / old-timey vibes you could probably convince most people to read it as witchy, whether it’s more of an earthy aesthetic or an evil queen aesthetic.

 

What is the opposite of old-timey? Futuristic!

To that end, avoiding slipping into a more goth-cyberpunk-ninja (Anyone remember that obsession with the style on reddit circa 2014-2015? That was a lot of fun.) aesthetic, avoid technical/sporty fabrics, e.g. opt for lace or tulle over athletic mesh/perforated fabrics. For shoes, avoid sneakers.

While some ripped jeans and leather jackets show up in the album, I think avoiding those would be good because 1) neither of these are great for warmer weather and 2) they will make the aesthetic lean more punk rock.

I actually think a mash-up of these dArK aNd EdGy styles sounds really fun – I’m a sucker for any sort of dramatic all black outfit. But just for the purpose of this exercise, I’m sticking to the witch theme (also because I don’t really own many pieces that would work for the cyberpunk ninja look).

Practical Constraints

For this capsule / outfit set I decided that while there would be more creative freedom due to fewer restrictions on modesty (not going for office appropriate), I wanted to keep everything in the comfortable-for-running-errands realm.

For temps I’m coming from the context of ~75F to 90F with low humidity, which is the common high for summer temps here in the East (SF) Bay (it’s usually closer to the 75-80F range most of the time, with the odd heat wave). I wouldn’t wear a lot of the items I picked (e.g. tight denim shorts) in sticky hot weather.

Items

Here’s what I picked for this set. It isn’t the most flawless earthly manifestation of the inspiration board (that would include a lot more items from Free People, Rick Owens, Valentino, and Sisters of the Black Moon 😸), but this post is meant to be a more realistically constrained example of translating a style board to outfits, so here ya go.

In my fantasy wardrobe the maxi skirt would have some draping and/or be made of a more interesting fabric like lace, the trousers would be at least a linen blend instead of polyester, the tank top and blouse would have higher percentages of cotton, and the straw bag would be black.

weekend witch wardrobe items.png

  1. H&M off the shoulder cropped blouse
  2. H&M lace blouse
  3. H&M zip square neck crop top
  4. AllSaints Mayur jumper (consignment)
  5. ASOS petites “peg pants”
  6. Forever 21 culottes
  7. ASOS mom shorts in washed black
  8. Loft petites maxi skirt
  9. Dr Martens 1460 boots
  10. Halogen (a Nordstrom brand) flats
  11. Birkenstock Mayari sandals
  12. Anthropologie purse
  13. Topshop snake buckle purse
  14. H&M straw circle tote bag
  15. San Diego Hat Co paper sunhat

I usually pair the lace blouse with a more lightweight sports bra like this one to make it feel less like a lingerie look.

I have a couple of other items that I think would fit this aesthetic, but didn’t include in the photos because I wanted to cap myself on how much time I spent on the photos. Some other things I think that would fit well but I don’t have are

  • tulle skirt (a sheerer one with bike shorts underneath feels like it would be on trend for this summer)
  • dramatic poet sleeve or balloon sleeve blouse (bonus points for sheer sleeves)
  • cutout boots/shoes
  • a wider brimmed sunhat
  • circle sunglasses
  • bohemian necklaces

Outfits

Set 1: shorts

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I really love how the outfit with the black crop top turned out. It feels really visually balanced and the smocking on the top with the tassel on the purse gives it a more boho feel.

I’m pretty meh on the one with the white cutout sweater. I think it’s mostly because the top pops disproportionately from the rest of the outfit, which is pretty minimal. I think some chunky flatform sandals would balance the look better. The shorts also come off as too low rise for my taste with the too-long-to-be-cropped-too-short-to-stay-tucked top.

Set 2: square neck zip crop top

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I liked both of these, though they are a bit plain. I like the silhouettes of both, although I think the culottes outfit would do better with a hat since the main outfit is so simple. I didn’t want every single outfit to be carried by the hat, though. I tried the culottes outfit with the strappy flats, but it looked too busy on the bottom with the volume from the pants. The sandals provide a bit more negative space in the look.

Set 3: off the shoulder blouse and relaxed pants

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I liked the peg trousers + flats outfit. It felt kind of like a chic witchy jumpsuit or something from Sisters of the Black Moon. The culottes outfit feels like it just has too much fabric on me. Maybe some chunkier shoes would balance it out. Generally I feel those pants just work best with fitted or sheer pieces on top.

Set 4: Misc

I liked all of these!

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The outfits with the lace blouse feel more like ~outfits~ than some of the other outfits because there’s more visual interest from the additional shapes added (I think most great outfits have a balance of small, medium, and large shapes throughout) as well as the texture and layers.

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I like how the headband softens the look. The knot style is feminine but less girly than a bow. I was mostly glad to get one outfit in that had a head accessory that wasn’t The Hat, although I will admit that the hat is probably the main thing that makes any of these “witchy” individually.

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The top feels more balanced here against the trousers. I actually wear this one to the office sometimes, but with a full cami underneath instead of the sports bra.

Takewaways

I had a lot of fun doing this, and it’s definitely a big step up from last summer’s outfits. Even if all the outfits didn’t come out A+, it was a good exercise for paying some attention to outfit proportions from pieces with varying amounts of visual interest while not having to worry about colors.

Overall things still felt flatter than I’d like. Layered necklaces would probably help break up some of the mass-of-fabric looks, but I’m not huge on wearing a lot of jewelry in hot weather, so I think keeping an eye out for some Free People-esque items (skirts, summer cardigans) with more textured fabrics and embellishments to make a more fun and fantastical look. I don’t want to accumulate too much stuff for my space though, since this is a seasonal weekend capsule after all. Realistically I’d just be looking to upgrade the maxi skirt.

For accessories, I don’t wear hats enough that I think it’s worth getting a second style of dark summer hat, but I think some chunky black sandals would fit in with a lot of these louder warm weather looks.

Not sure how many more of these IRL inspo-to-outfits posts I can do, since I’ve already done one for Vintage Adventure Style: Outfits Inspired by Old-school Banana Republic Catalogs and combined with the witchy stuff, that’s most of my wardrobe that isn’t just t-shirts and jeans. But I’m looking into doing more general outfit styling/analysis posts.

More Resources / Inspiration 🖤

Guide to sheer clothing – An ancient but still applicable post on the femalefashionadvice subreddit that goes over different ways you can incorporate sheer items into your looks.

Sleek Summer Witch – this is the OG inspiration post that got me into the whole summer witch idea. I think this is one of the better albums I’ve ever seen on the subreddit because it really takes the time to break down the style concept.

@alaskanweredork – the QUEEN of dark boho. I aspire to someday reach her levels of layering and accessorizing prowess.

View this post on Instagram

On to the #may30x30 – this challenge comes from Kendi back in 2010 and this challenge was a huge reason for me to really start working on my outfits. I had just had two pregnancies and not many clothes and was really stuck in the mom rut. I had a few things for work but otherwise felt really blah and awful and attempting the #30×30 showed me that my closet was really discombobulated! I tried several 30x30s but never made it more than a week, I hope this time will be different, lol! I am pretty excited about it. I didn't do a flat lay of everything because…I really hate doing flat lays. Not my strong point, hah! I picked out 30 items for 30 days, we are suppose to have quite a range of weather from very hot (for us) to snow so hopefully I picked alright. This embroidered maxi was the first thing I reached for – I just really love free people maxis. This All Saints monument coat is one I've talked about before but have not wore much, the light gray color throws me off so I am hoping this will make me enjoy styling it more. Outfit: Free people maxi (ebay, 2019) All saints coat (ebay, 2016) Cloak (ebay, 2018) Alexander Wang boots (ebay, 2018) #30×30 #boho #darkboho #embroideredmaxi #freepeople #allsaints #alexanderwangboots

A post shared by @ alaskanweredork on

Quadrato Boutique Crew – Instagram account of the owners of a boutique in Japan that sells a lot of drapey asymmetrical monochrome stuff. Usually more of a minimal style.

@catinawitchhat – more on the costumey side. I like seeing how she uses layers and textures in her outfits. I also love the little characters she makes up in the outfit captions.

I wouldn’t claim that most of these are Pinterest-worthy inspirational looks, but if you’d like to see all my witchy-ish outfits and items in one place, you can view them on my airtable database here.

Thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “Translating Styleboards to Wardrobes and Outfits: Summer Witch, Weekend Edition

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