Illustration by @sbrnaia_art! Never thought I’d ever have a fan art done with me, and this was one of the highlights of the year in this area of my life.
Table of contents
- Wear Counts
- Item Highlights
- Spending and Shopping Metrics
- 2018 vs 2019
- Outfit Highlights
- 2019 Goals Review
- 2020 Goals
- Fashion-ing on the Internet
Grab a snack and a drink and let’s dive in 👀
👖 Wear Counts
What’d I wear this year? 137 individual items (shoes, bottoms, tops, sweaters, cardigans, jackets, coats, and dresses). In any given month I often wore something like 40-50 items, and I actually wore everything I consider an “outfit item” (i.e. not something primarily for loungewear or activewear) except for 2 t-shirts (a black mesh tee and a Jurassic Park tee, which did get some wears as pajamas) and a floor length maxi dress. Definitely improved on that front over the past several years, when I’d frequently find several items during clean outs which I’d totally forgotten I had.
These are all sorted by wears per month, which skews the top ones towards more recently purchased items. I felt this better reflects which ones I’m more fond of now, because sorting simply by total wears in the year would put some things like the black wool coat that I wore a lot earlier in 2019 but I haven’t touched at all this winter up top.
You can click each image for a link to full res. And as a reminder, I always have my entire wardrobe open for (virtual) viewing at the My Style page (both spreadsheet and Airtable gallery views).
Upping my outerwear game has definitely made me enjoy my outfits more. Most of these are items I had in 2018 or earlier, but this year I made more of an effort to work jackets and coats into outfits rather than just giving up and throwing a black puffer or softshell over everything.
I’ve also gotten more into longer outerwear since I realized that it tends to pair with a wider variety of base outfits vs hip length things that hit at awkward ratios for looser trousers and midi skirts.
Tops and Sweaters
I really should have put the cardigans with the outerwear section, but by default I have them sorted as a sweater so this is what I ended up with.
While I think my tops collections has improved this year, especially wrt summer tops, I still feel like this is the weakest category in my wardrobe. I think this is largely because I find it difficult to shop for actual tops (not sweaters) since I usually want knits that aren’t just basic fit crewnecks and are a bit trendy, but also don’t like to go all acrylic and polyester which trendy tops are usually made of.
I’d always been mentioning that I want to get more wear out of my vintage software graphic tee collection, but I’ve come to the conclusion that currently most of them are simply too large for me to style in any way that doesn’t feel forced. I suppose due to the nature of things that get donated (people losing weight and getting rid of old stuff, or people picking up edge sizes that they don’t end up wearing), the tees are around an XXL fit and don’t drape very well for tucking in. This year I’m hoping to try cutting them up and re-sizing them into something closer to an M unisex tee which I think will get me to actually wear them.
It’s neat to see the color gradient that came out from sorting! I really enjoy having a bit of color around my face, or a sharper neckline especially if the top is black to give negative space around my face.
While I may have richly earth toned corduroy and linen frippery pinned all over my main style board, when it boils down to it jeans are still a staple. Jeans are just so practical! And since a lot of other elements in my style can lean a bit more vintage or fantasy inspired, I’ve found that I often prefer pairing them with simpler bottoms for a more low-key feel instead of going head to toe ~look~.
Except for the black cotton leggings, I’d consider everything in the last 2 rows a bit of a flop for my own wardrobe. However I feel like someday I’ll be kicking myself if I get rid of basic denim shorts or a black maxi skirt without having some better replacement that I like. I wear a lot of jeans because they’re a practical item for work and I’m (I like to think) a pretty practical person, and the occasions that suit shorts and maxi skirts come up less frequently, but they’re there. I’m keeping them around in storage.
I really wanted to like that pink tulle skirt, but I found I don’t really like the shade of pink with my skin tone. I often have a very hard time finding pastels that work, and I’ve had a lace kimino sort of cardigan that I donated despite liking the design because the salmon color made me look weird and sick. It’s in the costume bin now, but it’s at least comfortable so I like having it around in case I feel like unironically wearing it to the grocery store because star spangled tulle is great. The brand sells a black version of it, but I’m not sure I’d end up wearing it more than either that ruffled daisy print skirt or the floral embroidered skirt, so I haven’t gotten it.
I love dresses but in practice I’ve found it really hard to shop for them with the requirements of them being
- petite and bust friendly
- somewhat boistrous and fun (I got caught up in the trend that was the minimalist neutrals thing, due to a combination of it being very popular with the set of folks who tend to be thoughtful about curating their wardrobe and the fact that I was initially reacting to my college wardrobe being totally all over the place. I’ve realized it doesn’t bring me any joy to dress like that though. I also know in recent years there’s been a larger swing away from minimalist style, though it is def still going strong in the main circles I run in),
- but not made of polyester (can’t have that armpit stank) or rayon crepe that looks like it will shrink when a drop of water falls on it
There are certainly some brands like Doen and Sezane that do trendy with nice fabrics, but I’m too risk averse to buy online things which I suspect based on experience trying on similar cuts are not petite friendly to bother with the hassle and cost of shipping returns. Same deal with buying secondhand. I don’t have a car or prioritize the time to spend two hours a weekend hitting up local consignment shops and often online options have no or poor return policies.
However while I haven’t worn them a ton (it feels like I’ve worn them more than I have! But I do find dresses easier to wear in the summer anyway so we’ll see if these really shine in spring/summer 2020) I’ve been really happy to find the two long sleeved smock dresses. I love how extra all the ruffles and volume are, and the shorter length is easier to pair with a variety of shoes than calf length things.
I really only wear the top row with anything resembling regularity. The Athleta bodycon dress I haven’t been feeling the style but again is one of those things where I suspect at some point I’m going to wish I had a sleek simple, wearable option and the rest are event dresses, dresses with fit issues (unfit for wearing outside without pins/tape, but okay as loungewear), or costumey dresses that don’t have much opportunity to come out.
As I write this I realize I forgot to log my work holiday party outfit, because my new green velvet wrap dress does not appear here at all. I really don’t want to retake all the calculations and graphs and such at this point so meh, I’m a personal blog and not a business. The only stakeholder here is myself. It’s been worn once so far but I’m hoping since it’s a short-ish length I’ll be able to dress it down with some boots on some weekends.
I love my shoes. This has been a great shoe year! I have variety in both cold weather and warm weather shoes. I still have a hard time actually styling the artsy docs into outfits for work since I still tend to like them only with tights and skirts. I’ll have a bit more on some individual shoes below, but for a pretty recent and comprehensive overview, see my post State of the Wardrobe: Shoes
I still wear sneakers a lot with jeans, and since I wear jeans a lot the sneakers get wear even if they don’t really appear in my grand style vision Pinterest board or end up in outfits that make any favorites lists. I’ve been pretty happy with the slightly retro new balances as an unironically dorky option (vs those more extra FILA dad sneakers). Looking back at my experiment earlier this year wearing them with wide leg pants, I have to say that I think I’ll be sticking with jeans, leggings, and the one pair of cropped canvas pants (which were taken to be hemmed shortly after that blog post) from now on. The black sneakers see wear as a dgaf clothing item for volunteering days, where my shoes may get pooped on by a variety of animals.
🌟 Item Highlights
These had the biggest impact to my wardrobe in terms of leveling up outfits they were in, or were great support pieces which worked with a lot of other items. I just chose these because I felt like it, not just according to wear counts. I find having wear count statistics available is helpful, but just because I wear something a lot doesn’t necessarily mean I’m totally happy with it. Going over a few flops in the end as well.
Writing these up, I’ve found that it seems that I want to write an entry for half the things I own. That makes me really happy, because it shows how much I like my wardrobe now!
New in 2019
MIA “Madeline” platform t-strap clogs – You might remember these from the blog post on summer outfits earlier this year. This was a game changer because before this I didn’t have any summer footwear with visual impact, just more minimal style sandals. These helped make outfits feel like a complete look and the slightly retro and quirky/crunchy vibe worked well with both my casual outfits and dressier pieces like the red midi skirts so I wore them a lot. The platform is really supportive for standing and a bit of walking, but it’s still not something I’d trust myself to sprint in to catch a bus, and because they’re so heavy I would avoid them if I knew it was going to be a day involving a lot of stairs.
Madewell light wash petite curvy “perfect vintage jean” – (pictured above) Basically my platonic ideal for a retro style blue jean – high waisted, relaxed-fit 100% cotton in a lived in wash and these actually fit in the waist and hips. It was quite annoying to find a pair that fit (for full details, see the blog post), but once I got them I felt that they made even very basic outfits feel cooler, and the true high waist made it easier to tuck a lot of things in. I ended up getting a duplicate of this a few months after the first one and noticed that even though I only wash mine on cold after several wears and line dry, they’ve already faded to the point where the impression is more “light wash” and not “light blue wash” more than I’d have expected. However since they’re a thicker denim, they don’t feel like the crotch is going to blow through anytime soon.
Topshop “Carly” coat in rust – For the longest time I would only buy outerwear in black and gray because it goes with everything, but I found that while those look okay with everything, to me the outfits never feel like they look great. Throwing this coat on makes any outfit feel like a fun ~look~, and I find that since my clothes are mostly earth tones and neutrals, this doesn’t actually clash with anything. The relaxed style has been easy to pair with casual jeans outfits and I don’t have to worry about it not fitting over sweaters. So since I got this in mid October, the wear rate has been almost 7 wears per month, which is one of the highest outside of shoes and jewelry.
This one is all polyester, but that’s actually been a better fabric for me than the 100% Pendleton wool coat I initially got to fill the not-black-or-gray long overcoat wardrobe hole ages ago and never wear because it’s too warm for California. At 15 wears (in just 2 months!) it does have noticeable pilling around the cuffs, but not enough that I think anyone who isn’t like the New Clothes Inspector would casually notice.
Anthropologie eyelet blouse and Anthropologie “Wesley” mustard square neck top (pictured in next section with straw tote) – My holy grail venn diagram for spring/summer tops is comfortable to wear, have some cute styling details (princess seaming, embossed texture fabric, and angled square neck in the mustard top and eyelet lace and puff sleeves in the blouse), go with jeans, and are okay for wearing to work. This is the first year I’ve had any that fit all those criteria, and it’s been so much easier to make warm weather outfits I don’t hate. I still find the intense mustard color of the top a bit challenging to pair though.
H&M straw circle tote – Again on the theme of warm weather outfits, I really enjoyed the garden picnic / beachy feel this brought to my outfits on the weekend. The tote was a good size for me for running errands, and the circle shape was fun. I’m glad I went with this instead of the more popular straw circle crossbody purses because I think those would have been too small.
Anthropologie braided velvet shadow stripe padded headbands – I’d initially gotten into headbands with some satin ones earlier in the year, but I’ve particularly enjoyed the padded/embellished velvet headbands that have been popping up everywhere, and this particular one has been my favorite implementation of that trend. I like how the overall impact from the size and texture is still there, but the braiding simultaneously tones it down a little by breaking up the shape and adds visual interest.
I super love the shadow striped velvet fabric in these. I’ve been reading a lot of fashion museum exhibit catalog books recently and these are one of the very few things in my own wardrobe that I feel approach the level of extravagance in 18th and 19th century dresses.
I don’t love even close to 100% of everything that Anthro makes, but they’ve really nailed it with their headband collections. The fabrics feel really nice and I they bother to wrap the actual band and ends with the good fabric instead of just leaving the naked plastic band or using a cheaper fabric for the ends.
ASOS balloon sleeved eyelet smock dress – This thing is super poofy and I love it. I usually avoid anything that seems like it would result in boob tent like the plague, but this one feels like it’s here to have fun and not here to apologize for having a stomach pooch. The dark green and fairly modest cut makes it more wearable though, and I found that it goes with most of my shoes (for more, see this post). While I love finding a good basic, I think the most fun I have in fashion is with more extra styles like this.
Still going strong
Steve Madden “Jacyln” block heeled ankle boot – Best all arounder boot for sure. I’ve worn these over 100 times and have conditioned them once and they still look great, including the heel! That was pretty surprising to me because I bought these mostly on account of the style and knew that Steve Madden was a pretty spotty brand when it came to quality (I’m reminded of this every time I see someone wearing a raggedy pair of those “troopa” boots) so that has been really great.
For me, these are just the right amount of trendy (slimmer fit shaft, but not sock boot; block heel, but just a straight block heel) and are flattering to wear in most outfits. On the flip side, I also feel like they never really star in an outfit, but I’m still usually very happy to wear them and they have enough presence to not feel lost when worn with something louder, like my smock dresses.
Birkenstock “Mayari” sandals – The most comfortable shoe ever, bless the machine that decided orthopedically approved shoes would start trending again. I can walk for miles and miles in these (and I have – on vacations and running errands on the weekend, since I don’t have a car).
However I’m not sure whether the cork footbed is just not as sturdy as everyone makes it out to be, or if my heels are just that brutal even after regularly going over them with a pumice stone weekly because after 120+ wears I’ve actually managed to entirely wear through the cork in a tiny section of the heel. I expect after another year I’ll probably have to replace them but they’ve served me really well.
BP cream linen camisole with covered buttons – This top is usually glued to my tan cropped crewneck cable knit sweater for the office (so honorable mention to that), but generally I feel this hits all the right notes for earthy but not hippie style that I’ve been drawn to. It’s nondescript enough that it goes with most bottoms, but the rouleau buttons add a little old timey flair. I’ve worn this 40 times since I got it in Spring 2018, which is pretty good considering I don’t wear it at all in the winter.
Wet n Wild “Cinnamon Spice” Red lipstick – Possibly the biggest bang for buck item here. I wear this one almost every day. Especially now that I tend to wear bolder clothing, having lipstick helps keep my face from feeling too washed out for the outfit. I also like how it feels like an intentional Act of Fashion – you can’t wear lipstick on accident like you might wear some loud sweater because it was the first thing you pulled out of your drawer. A lot of my outfits that I think might come off as a little too sunday school teacher gets the red lipstick treatment and bam, now it’s vintage chic. The packaging of these particular lipsticks is hot garbage (the caps fall off and shatter easily, so you can’t take them on the go) and I find that at least this particular shade tends to change color to a dark pinkish red shade over a couple of weeks from the original brownish red tone, but even with that I’ve been happy with how these wear on myself.
Forever 21 fake gauge earrings and ear jacket earrings – These and lipstick are like the black pepper of my wardrobe. Outfit feels like it needs a little kick? A little something fun to garnish it? Don’t actually want to think about what would specifically go with it? BRING OUT THE OXYMORONIC STATEMENT-NEUTRAL EARRINGS. These two are my favorites because they’re both more interesting forms of classic earrings (gold hoops, diamond/crystal studs).
My fashion rings get an honorable mention because I loved them as a way to add pizzazz to any look in the same way as these earrings, but sadly in November I developed eczema on my hands and I’ve had to stop wearing them.
Jeffrey Campbell x Free People “Joe” lace-up boots – I think I’ve loved the wearable fantasy/steampunk aesthetic of these even before I was into any serious wardrobe overhaul thing from seeing them on catinawitchhat’s outfits on Pinterest. Despite being relatively low-key, my wardrobe didn’t really have the right infrastructure for these so for several months after I first purchased them, they mostly just sat under my bed. They’re both large and textured, wearing them with untextured leggings and tees feels kind of weird. They do best with other highly textured items because otherwise they feel like the equivalent of a fedora with a graphic tee and sneakers. I’ve gotten into wearing them with skirts or leggings and my balloon sleeve sweaters and every time I do I’m constantly thinking, “heck yeah, these boots! 💯”
Pretty much any fashion sock – I always think that these will be such a cute addition to my outfits, but in practice they’ve always ended up just slightly too constricting or less breathable (and you can’t return socks), or whenever I try them in an outfit, it always feels misplaced or like it pushes everything into over the top cutesy. I’m on a moratorium for any more fashion socks for the foreseeable future (though on the other hand, patterned tights have been fun).
Necklaces – I bought two necklaces from Woods of Wonder on Etsy, and while they are adorable and I love seeing them in the trinket dish on my dresser, I find that I’m still not really much of a necklace person. Even with other types, they always end up feeling too boho or formal or prissy for my taste. And especially with these kitschier styles I only like wearing them with one specific peasant top, which I can only wear on weekends in warmer weather. They’re decorative enough that I don’t regret buying them, but I think for now I’m going to be okay with just not being a necklace person.
Burgundy corduroy pants – (these are the Levi’s “wedige” jeans, via Free People) I got these thinking they’d be a great option to split the difference between the more statement pleated front cords and basic jeans, but I think I have hardly worn these because they end up as mid rise with anything but a bodysuit unless I spend every 30 seconds hitching them up.
I did like them with the lower cut, fitted black top. Now that I have 2 more of those since last wearing the pants I might see if I can just use it as a way to wear docs casually. I haven’t tried the Bosch print docs with colorful, fitted pants so I might like that. (Since initially writing this paragraph I did wear these out with a low effort casual weekend fit paired with docs and a bodysuit and I liked how it made what was almost a bog-standard fit if it was black denim have a little personality while being really comfortable and practical, so I think the future of these looks brighter. I do think in the future I will avoid thinner wale cords in favor of wide wale though as I like bolder cords.)
📊 Spending and Shopping Metrics
- WordPress blog Personal plan: costs $48.00 per year (Removes ads. You’re welcome.)
- Namecheap (domain name): costs $13.16 per year
|Year||Per Month Average|
|Total spent before returns||$7,436.29||$619.69|
|Number of items kept||85||7.08|
|Number of items returned||41||3.42|
|Number of online purchases (including returns)||96||8|
|Number of in store purchases (including returns)||30||2.5|
For some context I make over $150k before taxes, split a 1 bd apartment with my partner (who is in grad school), don’t own a car, and don’t have any pets or dependents. None of my other hobbies come even close to this in terms of costs. So while that doesn’t make this not a lot of money, I am very privileged that this spending is not a financial stress for me.
Single purchase stats
|most expensive ||$314.00|
 Dr Martens x Hieronymus Bosch “Garden of Earthly Delights” 1460s, via eBay. These were some of the more popular limited edition “museum collection” docs and the more common sizes tend to go for $$$. I was stalking these for years.
 Chicwish brand daisy print ruffle skirt via Crossroads Trading Co consignment, because I had a gift card for “trading” things in. I think this would have been about $16 full price. I only took trade over cash once and I regret it because of the hassle and the fact that it doesn’t cover tax so you end up having to pay for your purchase anyway which sucks all the joy out of the “free” item.
TIME FOR CHARTS
I know a lot of these could just be summarized in tables but I like visuals.
Presented with minimal commentary but I’ll refer back to them in the goals section.
Apparently I was so traumatized by my quest to find a pair of fucking 100% cotton jeans that actually fucking fit in May that I just swore off shopping for two months 🤔 I think September was my usual excitement around fall fashion.
At first I was going to say that it looked like the less I bought the less I returned, but that doesn’t seem to quite fit with February and April and the scatter plot (not pictured, I really just need to wrap this up) is pretty shapeless.
Nordstrom, Madewell, and ASOS shopping was mostly done online (ASOS is online-only). I do prefer shopping in person because then you actually get to see and try on the items, but in terms of variety of available styles and sizes (for ASOS in particular I almost exclusively buy from the petites range) I find myself usually checking online first at Nordstrom or ASOS because I’ve had good experiences with returns there and the websites are easy to use.
Online vs Brick and Mortar
It appears that rather than sheer quantity of things bought, online shopping is where the returns are from. Not surprising, really.
Types of items bought
Somewhat proportional, things like shoes and outerwear generally costing more as expected. I don’t buy fine jewelry so accessories tend to be cheaper.
Base items are things like thermals and underwear that can’t be returned, bags and other accessories have relatively little in the way of sizing that can be misjudged when online shopping, and I guess outerwear I bought few of and either tried on in store or bought knowing exact garment measurements.
2018 vs 2019
|percentage of items kept||72.36%||67.46%|
|average price per item||$38.55||$56.92|
|items worn (clothing + shoes)||128||137|
I think the increase in price per item is probably due to the proportion of purchases which were outerwear and shoes, as well as the purchase of two pairs of docs which tend to go for more than original price on eBay. Both years I was largely focused on wardrobe overhauling.
And here’s a look at my Pinterest board where I shove the items that I donated. It looks like a sort of half-hearted attempt at the Low-key Witch board that I made when I first started poking at the idea of a wardrobe overhaul in 2016. Lots of neutrals, mostly simpler fabrics and cuts. A few of these were things which wore out, but for the most part they were items that I just didn’t find myself wearing or enjoying wearing.
Even having cycled through a rather alarming number of items, I think the only thing I actually regret getting rid of (aside from regret in the “it was a waste to have bought this in the first place” which always applies) is a black Gap linen camisole jumpsuit. I always felt really blah with flat black and gray sandals, in it but looking back this would have been cute with the chunky t-strap clogs and a nice easy one piece option for weekends 😦 The bust was a little off in fit though still comfortable, and it was an actual petite jumpsuit that fit!
Beginning of blogging (mid 2018) – Had mostly been into the minimalist goth/witchy look that was very influential on me when I first started looking at WAYWTs on reddit in ~2016-2017. While I don’t think any of these are like, actively bad, the only two I’d wear now are the top two on the leftmost column. The rest are a little too flat and casual for my current taste.
And here’s a snapshot of the pins I was inspired by at the time.
I still curate this board because I enjoy the aesthetic as a concept, and I’d say it’s still pretty similar aside from having the more casual items with 2019 details like culottes and square necklines rather than 2017 ones like the skinny pants and round toed boots with a tunic silhouette. I never really got my wardrobe 100% into my vision for this before changing directions. It makes me a little sad, but I’m happy I recognized that day to day I do enjoy color and that in terms of my goal of just making awesome outfits, that’s actually harder to do when you’re wearing all black and have unstyled black hair.
Mid 2018 re-introduction of color – I took a trip to the local shopping district after some deliberation and bought a bunch of rust, cream, and olive green things, but overall my outfits still had a slightly disjointed mix of flat loungewear fabric basics and highly structured/textured things.
You can see how this corresponds to the “archived” section of my Storybook Style board. The colors are basically the same as what I wear now, but the silhouettes are a bit softer and slouchier and the fabrics are smoother.
Beginning of 2019 – Outfits are a tad less soft, but there are a lot of proportions that feel slightly off or ones where I just threw on some random outerwear and black boots without really considering the best choices for the outfit. Here I still like top right, left of middle row, and middle of bottom row, but the rest feel too thrown-together.
End of 2019 – Not every outfit is a home run, but more of them have better balance of visual interest. I’ve also been focusing this year on being more thoughtful about shoes and outerwear, which I think shows. Still don’t claim to be anywhere near the most stylish person I interact with regularly but I’m happy with the improvement.
The pins on my primary board are probably the most richly colored and textured they’ve ever been. I don’t see it getting particularly more maximalist than this mostly because I think it gets more difficult to find and for me to wear truly maximalist pieces for day to day.
Favorite Outfits 2018 vs 2019
Looking back at my comment on last year’s WAYWT favorites thread on reddit, I’d still wear most of the ones I posted, though now I wouldn’t consider most of them within the top few outfits of mine ever.
This 70s monochrome ochre look is still fun, although I have since cropped those pants so I couldn’t actually wear it again as pictured.
Still think this black and white with a pop of fair isle look is strong, although now I’d gravitate towards something a little more colorful
i.e. I wore that on my Christmas visit to Boston last year, but this year I wore a plaid skirt and a tweed coat (still with the same scarf, though it isn’t pictured here because I didn’t want to overheat en route)
This outfit I still think is good, but recently I’ve been feeling more feminine styles for outfits that aren’t going to be utilitarian anyway, so for a similar event (going out in winter to a not explicitly formal event) I’d probably opt for a dress or skirt.
This isn’t the worst, but it feels kind of sloppy with the way the top lay + the drapey coat over the crisp/preppy-ish base outfit feels a little off.
This is okay, but the black sweatpants material culottes + minimalist shoes feel pretty black-hole-of-blah compared to the sweater (plus I just didn’t like this rounded bangs haircut). Also, I wish I had got like a lifetime supply of those matte paper penguin gift bags, I have yet to have seen another that is as cute.
I haven’t been feeling the more aggressive vintage nods recently so while I think this is a fine outfit, I would probably do the t-strap pumps or the headband+hair but not both.
I would sum this up as last year, I was focused on finding cohesion and direction in my wardrobe, but this year I spent more energy on styling individual outfits. In fact a good chunk of my favorite outfits for 2019 don’t align with the earth toned cable knitted lace-up storybook style at all, but I loved them because they had a lot of character and were just visually pleasing.
This year my favorite outfits fell into a few categories:
“That is a look” – outfits with strong character, often bolder colors
Honestly my favorite outfit this year, even if that cardigan didn’t work out.
Stranger Things flavor of 80s inspired
I liked this though it was extremely wrinkly and rather lumpy IRL because that t-shirt is enormous. Not often hot enough to go for shorts here either so I didn’t get any repeats of this.
Sci fi lite for theme WAYWT on reddit
Ol’ reliable casual outfits – simple outfits that I liked. I’d like to rewear these more once the weather warms up that the field jacket is sufficient outerwear.
Again, nothing actually interesting, but I just enjoyed the colors and the sort of dorky 70s vibe and that I felt on the trendy side with these pants.
The cropped wide leg pants with the hip length jacket zipped up isn’t the more flattering proportion, but I still really liked the “just here to get shit done” utilitarian vibe of this look.
Getting into that 90s grunge + ditsy florals thing
Not pictured because it was an outfit I wore on “gotta run, no time for pics” days, but I also appreciate the combo of my yellow square neck top with the light wash blue jeans and sneakers. Works on its own or with the rust overcoat.
Real glad I didn’t purge that field jacket. For a while when I was doing black/gray bases I never wore it but it’s great with the earth tones.
Storybook style outfits – that thing I’m always going on about in this blog “romantic and earthy-but-not-too-crunchy” with richly textured fabrics, autumn colors, and old timey details like lace-up boots and buttons vs zips or spandex
Got this skirt hemmed between this photo and the first one in this section
I like how each of these sections has its own flavor, but overall the whole set is “yep, that’s very m gets dressed”. This ended up happening more or less on its own from just putting together stuff I liked for a particular look than when I was trying to think of my wardrobe as having different style sub-capsules and then putting together outfits from items in those pools. I do like being able to identify the categories of outfits I tend to make later as it helps me see how I use particular items as well as patterns in silhouettes and color combos, but I think continuing to move away from focusing on wardrobe and towards styling will be helpful.
2019 Goals Review
❌ One in one out for closet purchases – hahahahaha nope. This was not even close. I started off in the year with a slightly negative intake rate but I purged most of the things that I wasn’t wearing after the first few months. This did not succeed because I didn’t make it a priority. Honestly I totally forgot I had even intended to do this by the last quarter of the year. For any future resolutions, they need to be part of my regular workflow, like how I had “polished casual with a touch of whimsy” and “greater visual interest” in the copy-pasta footer of my Instagram ootd posts so I would see it every day. I don’t think I want to make one in one out a goal again for 2020. I actively like almost everything in my closet now, and I think forcing myself to get rid of things for the sake of total closet count when I’m not feeling any storage pain right now.
✅ Each new item should increase the average visual interest of its category – I think this was pretty successful. I am too lazy to do a semi-quantitative analysis of this, but just looking at my outfits from last year vs this year (photos in subsequent section) the individual pieces and the ways I combine them definitely have more details and depth. Skimming through all the purchases, aside from base items like thermals, there isn’t nothing (imho) falls into a generally accepted categorization of “neutral basic”, aside from jeans, which were a tiny fraction of the new items.
✅ Fit videos and pics for every new purchase before cutting the tags off – Didn’t consistently take videos, but did take pics. Had a few things that were returned after some thought and the regretted purchases were all socks and hosiery that weren’t returnable anyway.
😐 Wear shoes in the house for a few hours to better evaluate them before going outside to better catch ones that end up uncomfortable – I did this but I don’t think it ended up helping much. I simply don’t walk the same way in the 400 sq ft apartment than I would actually trying to get somewhere outside or going up and down stairs. Tbh if I’m in the apartment and not explicitly doing exercise or chores, I’m on the couch. I think it would be more helpful to move vigorously and then see how standing for 30 minutes feels.
✅ Keep trying new styling – Yes! I continuously tried new combos, got into new silhouettes (smock/trapeze dresses, long sweater + fitted tall boots), and started up a regular Theme WAYWT thread on reddit, which has definitely resulted in some outfits I wouldn’t have tried otherwise.
😐 Fallback outfits (for those days when I can’t be bothered to concoct something interesting due to time or just not giving a crap, but still should look presentable) should be pre-selected – I tried this and there were some days when I did use curated fallbacks, but most of the time I wasn’t too happy about it because it was after calling it on a failed attempt of experimenting with outfit combos. I also didn’t have as many everyday-comfy-wearable sorts of outfits for cooler or rainy weather. I think in order to reduce frustration with getting dressed, I need 1) more “pre approved” casual outfits 2) for more weather which need to be 3) regularly curated/created because my particular taste from month to month changes, because I like novelty or I may be on a kick for some style or item and 4) the first outfit I try and not actually a fallback. Be more accepting of taking the day off, as it were.
✅ Better organization – Again, not something I measured or had a quantitative success criteria for, but this got better. I didn’t 100% track all accessories and purchase dates (to the day – I at least have months), but I have pretty close to 365 days of outfits and I got at least the month and price down for most purchases.
Overarching idea: make it easy to wear stuff I have in ways I actively like (aka the blog’s mission statement). Continue organizing and taking fit pics before cutting tags off, but those are such a habit now I don’t consider that a goal.
👢 Wear more difficult-to-style items more often – do more of those “Styling a ….” posts because I find them helpful in how they force me to compare a bunch of looks at once rather than maybe just looking back at the last time I wore something the day I decide to wear it. This will also build out options for…..
♻️ Repeating more favorite outfits – The 4 points as discussed in the 2019 review “fallback outfits” point
🐌 Low buy – It is not acceptable from a budget, storage, or environmental perspective to continue buying 80+ items a year. This year, I’m aiming to buy no more than 15 items total.
- Removed saved credit card info from ASOS and Nordstrom (it was never saved in Madewell).
- Going to just watch more TV. A more exact version of this goal/resolution would be “watch YouTube during commute time instead of browsing Reddit/shopping/Instagram/Facebook”. I subscribed to YouTube premium to be able to download videos and skip ads. A lot of online shopping happens or at least starts from browsing during commute time after work when I am too dead to actually read or write, but feel like doing something as I don’t want to fall asleep and miss my stop. Watching YouTube vids is something I 100% know I can do and I think overall will be less anxiety inducing and clothing-ad-promoting than going on other sites.
- Keep a physical list of everything I’ve bought for the year on the fridge written in marker. For wardrobe round-up posts keep a cumulative list of purchases and not just run through that month’s purchases. 7 items in one month doesn’t seem like all that much (2 shopping sessions with 3-4 items purchased during the 4 weeks), but multiply that by 12 and all of a sudden you’re at 84.
- Keep a physical wish list (probably also just on the fridge, with the idea that it should be short and seeing it every day is enough to memorize it). Virtual ones tended to get lost and diverged across google docs, blog posts, and iOS notes and then ignored. (don’t @ me about consolidating digital documents)
✂️ A respectable attempt at getting into sewing – Not “learn to sew” or “make x, y, z item”, just work on it, regularly and consistently for a few months and see how that turns out. I don’t have any delusion that making clothes from scratch will be cheaper or result in better looking clothes than if I just bought them. I just think it could be a fun creative outlet for fashion that will be frustrating in a more constructive and less constant-low-grade-social-media-anxiety way. One of my friends has gotten into sewing last year (from being an avid knitter) so I already have someone in person to talk about this with.
If it turns out I hate it or it just doesn’t fit into my life then at least I’ll have learned a bit and know that I sincerely tried it, I don’t need to wonder whether I should just do it. I signed up for local pattern making and sewing classes which will go through the first quarter of 2020. I just looked at the sewing classes list provided by a local fabric store’s website and picked the one that was easiest to get to from my apartment, because as with any habit, low activation energy is key to keeping it.
I’m not going to blog about this. There are a zillion “my sewing journey” blogs already and I don’t feel like I have anything interesting to offer re: sewing in the way of my wardrobe tracking posts or more in depth outfit analyses. This is the last time anyone online is going to hear about this, and writing that makes me actively happy. Blogging is a huge time suck.
Something I want to do at some point but I don’t think I will be able to habitually prioritize this year:
💅🏼 Refine my day to day “finishing” – figure out how to use heat styling tools and styling product: try/perfect waves, braids, french twist, gibson tuck, and painting nails. Do some kind of regular “Spa Sundays” and experiment with something + paint nails Sunday evenings. Has to be evenings because experimenting with a not-easily-reversible thing like hair products in the morning before work is no bueno.
Instagram, blogging, and reddit
Thoughts on being involved on Instagram and wrote more blog posts, and involved differently on reddit.
Even though it’s a lot of work, I like having the long form blog because it really lets me work through my thoughts in a way that feels most like it’s for me. There are at most a few dozen people reading it regularly (aside from google hits for the wardrobe tracking post) and I think the average number of comments (not including my replies) on posts is less than 1. That’s a little disheartening, but since the process of actually creating the content is very helpful to me, and the mission statement of the blog is to get me happier with how I use my clothes, it’s not so bad. It’s just like a journal that perhaps some people find interesting.
I really admire other long form bloggers like Blue Collar Red Lipstick, Alaskan Weredork, Invincible Summer whose blogs are clearly just about stuff that they’re sincerely into. It’s interesting to read and also feels healthy and mentally sustainable. I do also still read Extra Petite, though the clothes aren’t usually my style and I don’t really care about any of her family life posts, because it’s just such a well done, professional example of a fashion blog.
I really enjoy seeing my fashion feed. It’s full of thoughtful posts and enough interesting outfits and information that I feel it is net positive. The particular niche I’ve come into is really nice and supportive. I’ve been really aggressive about paring down my follows list from accounts whose posts I don’t actively enjoy or appear to have become inactive and whose posts weren’t interesting enough to me to be worth saving (though I do follow and directly check some hashtags regularly, just to keep up with what’s happening).
I have noticed that on any given day, when making dress choices that otherwise don’t have any consequences, I will always choose the one that will photograph better or I think will be better received by Instagram (so mostly just traditionally flattering things) vs something just cause it’s a fun color or comfortable. I don’t like this, but it isn’t necessarily the worst either.
I try my best not to be too affected by it, but like most other people I do get a bit sad when outfits that I think were okay seem to randomly not get any engagement. It’s super inconsistent – some of my most liked and saved photos are literally just jeans and a sweater? but also some of the posts with least engagement are the just jeans and a t-shirt ones so I’m convinced that 50% of it is just whether you managed to pop up in a hashtag feed or not. Just a fact of life. Also I do genuinely like wearing casual outfits and I feel I do that less when I’m posting pics consistently. I’m not sure if it’s better to also post those or just post less frequently.
I have a love hate attitude towards the small character count. Given my natural talkative state, I think it’s healthy to be forced to write concisely regularly, but damn if editing captions doesn’t eat up 20-30 minutes every day.
It’s been frustrating trying to find real OOTD accounts with posters who consistently have interesting outfits (i.e. combinations of things I wouldn’t see just by browsing some Madewell/Nordstrom/Uniqlo lookbooks) and/or also like writing about why they made the styling choices they did and how it affects the final outfit. There are certainly some out there, but it isn’t like the currently en vogue minimalist modest accounts or the traditional influencer styles which are popping up constantly.
I created the #ootdindepth hashtag which I’ve been really chuffed to see has picked up a few other regular users, and I definitely need to spend more time browsing it and commenting on stuff. Still, deeper dissection of how outfits come together is rarely done by people who I would consider to have advanced style. I do enjoy reading things from people in a similar state to me or who have more recently started being interested in style, but I often feel a bit sad that while I am doing my best to be the content I want to see, it would still be nice to like… have some people as direct reference regularly or role models and are also the content I want to see.
I don’t consider myself an influencer nor is it my goal to get people to buy more shit, but I’ve gotten a kick out of hearing that people were interested in getting items due to my posting about them like
- midi skirts
- corduroy trousers
- fancy headbands
- over the knee boots
- balloon sleeve sweaters
- Argentinian black and white tegus (possibly have had more messages about this than any of the above 😂)
when 4 years ago I was wearing free branded tees with leggings and sport sandals and a hoodie most days.
I got “promoted” to moderator for r/femalefashionadvice in the fall, which this year also hit 1 million subscribers. As such I’ve added cleaning out the mod queue a few times a day, but also did a whole bunch of stuff I’ve been interested in doing to improve the sub (not in any order)
- Onboarded into mod tools, processes
- Started Theme WAYWT in order to provide a more structured way for people to just have fun putting together outfits, or have some more goal oriented motivation if that’s their thing. I also hoped this would bring out some more interesting outfits, which for me it did.
- This is 2 themes per week, with flavor text and links to inspo, organizing the themes 3 months at a time in a way that is not too repetitive, not overly boring, but between any two themes most people should have a reasonable way of putting something together for it.
- Added “Hi!” and “Hello!” greetings to the form replies sent to posts that get filtered by the automoderator for redirection. When I joined they were all very brusque and I’ve always figured that adding the one greeting goes a long way towards feeling more welcoming, especially as a lot of the posts are from first time posters or visitors.
- Added the sidebar and filled out menu options for the reddit redesign CSS of the subreddit. Previously the sidebar was only visible on “old reddit” which people have to explicitly opt into in desktop and mobile browsing.
- Updated the little submission blurbs for old and new reddit to make it clearer that questions asking for personalized advice or which can be answered in like one sentence should go to the Daily Questions thread.
- Alas this and the above do basically nothing when the default mobile view and the official apps don’t show all the subreddit customization options. Which is super annoying as it makes defaults based communication difficult between moderators and users.
- Started organizing the wiki
- Add quick links to the wiki faq and resources page in the stickied welcome thread as they are otherwise difficult to find
- Put out a demographics survey (the last one I believe was done in 2016)
- Cleaned up a bunch of the rules to be better aligned with how things are filtered
- Updated the Daily Questions example questions to be better phrased questions
- Created some basic onboarding style documentation on moderating workflows
- Removed the obnoxious “beep boop” Automod reply
- Added to the automod filters to catch more of the recently repetitive threads. Not expecting this to fix it, but at least start off and catch more until a more systemic fix can be attempted
- Given all that I do think that I spend less time dealing with the mod queue than the other mods.
This year I want to focus on further improvements, continuing with low-hanging fruit like
- Building out and updating the wiki resources (with mostly crowdsourced content)
- Changes which promote resources better even in the mobile views (so thread-based stuff)
- Continue to tweak recurring post and form reply wordings for clarity
- Get recommendations threads going again. These are quite popular on MFA and given how well received the denim and thrift store guides were last year, I think it should be a low hanging fruit to add value to the subreddit, and can largely be done with a schedule and templates/outlines.
- Put together some guides and examples of good posts of different types to be clearer about rules
- Clean out the automod rules (there seems to be a lot of old and unused stuff in it)
- More/better documentation on moderating tasks
- Discuss removing the sub from going to r/all
- Collect some data on which posts get filtered and not filtered for periodically updating filters (eventually it would be great to be confident enough in the filter that we can do what MFA does, which defaults to just telling the author to message the mods if the post is wrongly filtered, rather than put things into a queue for moderation)
(Also, in terms of other content up to this point I have submitted over a dozen inspiration albums, run two 10×10 challenges, and written two guides.) It’s exhausting doing that on top of near daily Instagram photos and captions and updating the blog (and working and volunteering and cleaning my apartment and ….) and aside from seeing some of the fits in Theme WAYWT I don’t feel like I personally get much out of the subreddit anymore. I fully do not expect to mod forever, which is why I’m going to focus on updating templates, wiki pages, and documenting processes and best practices and writing/organizing relatively less ephemeral content instead of posting a lot of one-off discussion threads. Leave it better than you found it, make it easier for future people to continue doing good work. I don’t want to spend like a year just poking at the moderator queue and not actually having any impact.
FFA has helped me a ton and I wouldn’t have gotten into the small Instagram and blogging circle I have without it, and I think despite its issues there is still a lot it has to offer to the world. But being an internet janitor / operations manager and listening day in and day out to people complaining but not, hey, maybe, you could just try once or twice, submitting their own content or making actionable suggestions with a clear chain of reasoning leading up to it instead of just repeating the same complaints every week – is a pretty bad deal unless you enjoy that. It’s not even that I think I’m more stylish or knowledgeable than everyone else in the sub. It’s just that very few people seem to actually do anything with the intent to systematically improve things. And why would they? It’s thankless work.
Honestly if I could do it over again I am not sure if I would have just dropped going on reddit entirely in favor of blogging until I was satisfied enough with my habits that I could taper even that off. Wouldn’t have definitely said that is the right choice, since this is temporary anyway, but I’m not sure. If reddit even still exists in 5 years I’m sure any impact I had now will likely have been overwritten by something else anyway.
I guess this section isn’t terribly relevant to this blog but it has been a big part of my fashion hobby energy wise and I think writing down accomplishments is also a good way to keep mentally on track.
The end (of 2019)
Well, I’m calling that post for now. Managed to not quite hit 10k words in this post. Overall a year of improvement in terms of style, hoping that I’ve set myself up correctly for more in 2020 while also still remembering to enjoy clothes. Thank you to everyone who has been following along. It’s been weird and great and having the occasional comments in WordPress makes me glad knowing there’s are still dozens of us out there interested in blogging about or reading blogs about clothes for fun.