Winter Blues: January no-repeat challenge, week 4

This week, I added an additional wrinkle -- I decided on an all-blue week. In all honesty, a week of unrepeated blue outfits is easy for me in every season. If I were to try it in any other colour or neutral, I would fail miserably. 

Monday:  1. The Anthro sweater, J. Crew Kate straight leg (an Angie pick), Ecco boots. This one bends my own rules a bit because the only older item was outerwear, which I didn't photograph. 

Tuesday: 2. Old J. Crew merino royal blue zip sweater "hacked" and worn backwards as a cardigan. Wit and Wisdom wide legs. Worn for oral surgery. (OUCH!!!) But the dental assistant was very taken with my fashion hack. 

Wednesday: 3. To meet a client. Ancient stretch silk shirt from Ann Taylor (love this shirt so much!), Madewell vest, blue wide legs. Bonus 4 -- rainbow I saw on my walk later. 

Thursday: 5-6 --  To meet a colleague. J. Crew rollneck, BR straight ankle length pants, Eileen Fisher sock booties, old J. Crew coat and new Pom Pom London bag with a beautiful gifted strap. 

Friday: 7. At home working. Thrifted silk & cotton cardigan, Diane von Furstenbrg. Paige jeans. 

Saturday: 8. I actually wore gear most of the day. ( I didn't photograph it, but it was also mostly blue!). Later, I polished up for at-home supper with Mr. Suz. J. Crew lace shirt, Wit & Wisdom wide legs. (3 wears in a week....luckily this challenge does not forbid repeated items. 

Sunday: 10-11. Cooking supper for a friend in need. Boden striped top, Everlane jeans, Aritzia puffer for the walk. (It, and my raincoat, were my two most worn coats on this very wet, grey, week.) 

I have blue pants/ jeans in multiple cuts and lengths and had fun playing with that. Though full length wide legs obviously won out. I do not have a wide leg crop dress pant in blue and -- believe it or not -- that might be slight wardrobe hole! 

Thanks for looking! Comments welcome. January is a long month! We are not done yet! 


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January Challenge Week 3: Shoutout to Ms. Mary

My challenge is following on SarahDB's "no repeat outfits." In my case, the added twists are: try to wear something old with something new each outfit, and incorporate as many of Angie's outfit formulas as I can. 

1. Monday's outfit is "playful plaid.":    (1-3) This is my version of "Electric windowpane."In my version, grey subs in for earth tones in the cropped windowpane wide legs, and pattern plays a more dominant role than texture -- although textures are also mixed. I'm wearing double plaid (with red plaid boots) and soft stripes (cashmere sweater) with a slightly shiny puffer in blue (which does not otherwise appear in the outfit) and a very shiny bag. Later, I added more texture with the cabled toque, and more plaid with the fringed wool scarf. I loved this outfit and very "me" in it. 

2. Tuesday (4) was an at-home day with cranberry cashmere hoodie, plaid flannel shirt, cranberry cargos and -- at home -- clogs. Not especially flattering in the photo, but warm and comfy. 

3. Wednesday, (5-6) the weather was cold and snowy. I felt I needed to wear sliim pants to avoid the snow piles on my long walk. These are my last skinnies -- I don't feel current in them but they are exceptionally useful in some weather and/or activity situations (e.g. on bike). These are old Kit&Ace and the quality is so fab -- a wool stretch blend. 

4. Thursday. (7-8) Birthday Blues. We had more snow and cold and had to cancel a trip to the mainland and  a special birthday celebration. So we stayed at home and tried to stay warm. BF jeans don't drag in the snow. Shoutout to Ms. Mary for the fab blue infinity scarf. This was a "secret Santa" gift from her, many moons ago and I still adore it for its interesting textures! Thanks, Mary! 

5. Friday: (9-10) Snow, sleet & rain. I can't say how glad I am for waterproof footwear. I was in an evening class that night -- the start of a weekend course. 

6. Saturday. Long blues. (11) Love this very old J. Crew sweater in cobalt. It has a zipper detail down the back. In class all day. I really enjoyed this outfit. 

7. Sunday: Class followed by birthday dinner, belated. (12-14) Easy velvet pants, my way.  The first outfit looks very similar to one a few weeks back, but the underlayer top and the footwear differ. that was for class. Then I switched it up for my dinner out to a silver foil sweater. Loved this outfit, too. 
I successfully blended older and new in every outfit, easily avoided a repeat outfit (though of course I have repeated multiple items) and incorporated several of Angie's formulas. 

Thanks for looking and for any observations you might have!


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2024: Expand. Chartreuse.

I finally got a chance to sit down and finish my year review and planning process, which I owe in large part to Helena. I am so grateful for your book recommendation all those years ago, Helena! I've adapted the process and added a few elements — like the fashion review (thanks, Angie!) and the word and colour (thanks, Laura & Angie!). All in all, it takes me quite a while but is always worth it. 

This year, my word is expand -- with its connotations of growth, unfurling, opening, elaboration, and even relaxation. And my colour—surprise! — is chartreuse. 

Chartreuse is not a colour in my wheelhouse! It's pretty close to Angie's sour apple green. It's definitely not a colour I can wear in abundance near my face. In fact, it's probably one of my least flattering colours.

But I've been enjoying it lately, even craving it!

I have a few items that include bits of chartreuse in a pattern and I adore them. It works brilliantly with blues, lilacs/ lavenders, white, silver, and grey. And according to Adobe, "It was especially popular in the 1920s, since it was viewed as bold, vibrant, and rebellious." (Sounds like garçon to me!) And: "It represents life, growth, and vitality.”   Which seems to me to work with my word, "expand." 

Style Goals

What I won't be expanding is the size of my closet. :)  I counted and I have 145 items in my 4-season closet, including coats and footwear, but not including gear, PJ's, basics, bags, or stuff like gloves/ hats, jewellery.

I think I could stand to edit a bit more, but not a lot. Traditionally, I have felt happiest with a wardrobe between 120 and 150 items. Any more and I get overwhelmed and don't wear all my clothes. Whereas if I go a lot smaller than 120, I am missing out on key items I may seldom wear, but nevertheless need for some of my less frequent but still important occasions. 

I have done a major refresh this year, am very happy with my closet,  and have zero need of anything new over the next few months. So, for 2024, I will

1. Continue my substantial edit — re-evaluating every piece in turn. (I think there are still a few items I could stand to let go of.) 

2. Buy second-hand first, except undies and footwear. I will re-evaluate this goal in 6 months. 

3. Look for chartreuse in patterns and accessories. :)  And maybe even buy new, for that. 


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No Repeat Challenge Week 2

 I've joined in with SarahDB on this challenge, and fully agree that it's making depth-of-winter dressing both more fun and more enlightening. My extra wrinkle is that I am supposed to pair something new with something older. So far, I have succeeded in this. 

1-2 Monday -- Lilac and grey, with layered outerwear as per Chris  On the floodplain near my house I saw this still-decorated tree. 

3. Tuesday.  Wide legs and Fair Isle. This was the week when cashmere really did feel like a near-necessity in our neck of the woods. It wasn't brutally cold yet on Tuesday, but it wasn't exactly warm, either. 

4-5. Wednesday was a Heat-tech and cashmere kind of day. We hadn't reached our true lows, but I had to meet someone and sit outside with her for more than an hour. Brrrr! 

7 Thursday.  Now we are starting to get serious....more cashmere. Repeating the pants from #1. I can't remember which coat I wore that day -- forgot to get a photo. But it was likely the big parka, because the temps. were dropping. 

8-10 Friday. Minimally and neutrally coated. Definitely wearing the Heattech! And the big parka for my actual outing. 

11-13 Saturday. Another brutally cold one! This outfit is based on an Angie formula from last year. Winter White Denim. 

14-17 Sunday. After all those neutrals, I was ready for some colour! I played with the coats, and liked all versions, but the reality was, this was a very casual day of outdoor ice skating on the floodplain (!!) and so I actually wore my lightweight navy puffer and my grey toque because it is cashmere and therefore, warmer than my other hats.  

My discovery: When it came to the neutral outfits, I felt more "myself" in the white crops with grey sweater outfit than in the navy and white outfit from the previous day. Is it the belt? Is it the crops vs. full length pants? Is it the lower contrast? I honestly don't know. I don't think one necessarily looks objectively better; this is a matter of feeling. 

Thank you for looking and sharing this adventure! 


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Minimally & Neutrally Coated

Here are two versions of today's forumla. 

I'm wearing a J. Crew rollneck sweater (because I believe those first became a thing in the 90s, if I am not mistaken? and this is a 90s throwback style). Because the sweater is cotton and it is very cold here, I'm also wearing Heattech base layers! 

Wit & Wisdom pants, Sam Edelman boots, Bernardo coat. You can see here, a little bit, how the stance is a bit low for me -- my arms are almost not long enough for the pockets. But they do make it. 

This was interesting for me. I like the version with the coat. But without the coat, I feel too minimalist. I kept wondering how to make it an "outfit" without pattern. (There is some textural interest, but...). Meanwhile, the version with the bag felt like "too much going on" for me. In these little discoveries we find our own style, no? 

My last picture is the real-life version. It is way too cold here today to go out in a wool coat, even with multiple layers beneath. I am wearing my distinctly non-90s (but still neutral and minimal) parka when I venture forth! ;)  


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No repeat challenge Week 1

You've seen a few of these already. I had fun with this for exactly the reason SarahDB said she had fun -- I liked anticipating my next day's outfit. 

I definitely repeated my red velvet crops..This is their season so I am milking it. In another month or so I won't want to wear them as often. 

Monday features Fair Isle socks and loafers! Waving at SarahDB again (and thanks for the inspiration, Sarah.) It's a good challenge to beat winter doldrums.  

All outfits include a mix of old and new items. On Monday I decided to add that to the challenge -- no repeated outfits (repeated items ok), and all outfits need to mix old and newer items. 

I didn't show outerwear for every outfit but I've added other coats worn, in Finds. 


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Denim blue, pink, lilac, bone

Today it's cold here so I am going with cashmere! This is my take on the blue, pink, lilac, bone formula. 

First (because the insipiration is an outdoor outfit) showing with jacket, scarf, hat, bag. Next, the indoor version. 

One thing it might interest you to know about this outfit: it includes pieces from this season, all the way back to some of my earliest items at YLF. The cashmere tee has been an incredible purchase. Those older J. Crew collection items, if you can get them on sale (or second hand), can be fabulous quality for price. 

Thanks for the inspiration, Angie! 


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Duped by dupes? Or dedicated to them?

We have had this conversation on the forum before but Irina's recent observations about duplication in her goals thread, and the very interesting responses made me think it might be time to revisit the subject. 

I was about to respond on her thread that I "never" duplicate, or almost never. And you know...8 months ago if I had said it, it would have been entirely true. Except for socks, undies, bras, PJs, a pair of sneakers I have repeated a bunch of times, and some Blondo booties, I had pretty much nothing in my closet that was an exact duplicate or a dupe in different colour from anything else. 

Then I thought of my more recent shopping. ;)  What is going on here? I have just purchased a ton of dupes! 

Let's start with the white oxfords. I loved them so much I bought a second pair to save for when the first pair bites the dust. They are sitting in their box in my closet. But that wasn't enough. I also bought a near dupe in a different colour. (Not quite as great, but still frequently worn.) 

There is the J. Crew cotton sweater -- same sweater in white and in navy. Both frequently worn in their season, the blue worn perhaps slightly more, but definitely not to the exclusion of the white. 

The J. Crew garçonne shirt, which I now have in 3 colourways, 2 of them striped! Also all worn, though I tend to wear them in different seasons despite the fabric being the same. 

Wit and Wisdom in charcoal plaid and one in navy. Both in constant rotation. I wear each pair at least once per week, and usually wear one pair twice a week. 

Ecco booties in cream and black patent. Again, both are in constant rotation. I do not seem to be favouring one over the other in this season, although I suspect in the long run I will wear the cream more because I'll like cream in spring/ fall/ winter and the black is mostly a winter thing for me. 

Pom Pom London bags in red and silver -- identical bag. I also got a bunch of guitar straps -- same strap, different colourway, interchangeable on these bags and my Furla satchel and my Coach bag. I haven't really had time to use the bags much yet because they were my Christmas gift to myself, but given my previous experience with two older, soon to be retired backpacks (see below) I expect both will go into heavy rotation. 

The white Ecco sneaker is a repeat style -- I update it every two years. I also duplicated in silver at a sale price and put it away for next spring. 

The Blondo booties are two remaining from an original 4 pair! (The black and taupe were worn out.) These ones do not get as much wear because they are more distinctive so they are in great shape. They date from 2018/19. I don't wear them a ton any more but I do still wear them. 

My question: What the heck is going on!?!?!?!?! 

Have I become a secret (or not so secret) uniform dresser? Have I figured out a good formula? Have I lost all originality or even my senses?  This represents a large proportion of my year's shopping (plus a few older items.) 

In all seriousness, I'm not too worried about it because I'm wearing and loving all these items, which has not always been the case for me with past duplications -- I absolutely hear Irina and others of you who have mentioned that you tend not to duplicate in another colour because one will inevitably get worn more often, etc. That was always my past experience, too! 


Formula One (my way)

I loved outfit #1 from today's blog post. I would love to own that dramatic coat! Alas, I don't. But I do have a bunch of options for versions of the outfit and I plan to try them out over the next week. Here's my first attempt. My 23 year old kid gave it the thumbs up! 

I have the slouchy red pants. I don't own a lilac pullover but I do own a sort of lilac-pinkish cardigan. Wearing that over a boldly striped white and blue shirt. I did try with the shirt untucked to come closer to the original but the proportions felt off on me. So I tucked again. I might experiment some more another day. Added a red and blue abstract patterned scarf. White boots, lilac coat, red hat, red bag with a guitar strap that includes pink/ lavender tones. 

Next version will likely have more blue going on. Stay tuned! 


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2023 Year End Review (Long)

I've already mentioned my top 5 acquisitions and my 5 fails. Here's a more general summary of where I've been in terms of style this year. I'll add another post with plans/ ideas for 2024. 

I bought a lot this year!  Twice my usual amount. (Collection in Finds.) Between last year and this year, I also retired many more items. So in the end, my closet remains more or less the same size. But much of what's in it is new.   

I didn't plan on this. It just kind of . . . happened. Surprise surprise, a lot of what I bought is blue. Which works with my word of the year for 2023 (flow) and my colour (indigo). Yay for that!

The previous three years, I'd found it quite difficult to source things that worked for me. But this year, I enjoyed a couple of extremely successful in-person shopping expeditions.

A major refresh made sense for me at this point, too. It's been a full decade since I built my wardrobe from scratch, and many of my essentials dated from that period. (I've been on YLF for more than 12 years!) Even after multiple edits, I still own a lot of items from my early years on YLF! But  I was seriously due for some switch ups in silhouette particularly in bottoms (especially in light of Angie's fashion diagnosis -- "trendy on the bottom"). And I'm glad to say that apart from the five items I mentioned earlier, and a few dressier things that I haven't had occasion to wear yet, i have been wearing and loving my new clothes.

Fortunately, I came into extra freelance work to help fund my purchases.  35 items were on sale, and 2 were via consignment, which helped keep costs more manageable. Note that in most cases they *happened* to be on sale when I was in the store, which definitely made it easier to take a risk. But I wasn't seeking out a sale. So apart from an online mistake, there were few sales goggles purchases. 

My current moniker is "laid back luminous garçonne," which is not so far from my old one (urban prince). I'm still and forever the somewhat polished, slightly prep, slightly punk-inflected gamine. However much I admire minimalism and avant garde looks (and I do!); however much I would love to dress like Irina or Greyscale, I always seem to gravitate back to my plaids and stripes and colours and blues and pattern mixes. Admittedly, this is not a sophisticated look for a person in her mid-60s. But it's vibrant, dynamic, and a little bit dramatic. Which seems to be what I crave at the end of the day. But who knows how things will develop in the year or two to come? I definitely feel myself influenced by the 20s (the ones 100 years ago) and by the 60s and 80s. Will that continue? Hard to say. 

I do notice some shifts in the past year: 

1. I'm wearing more dress pants during the week for work at home and in general. My Wit and Wisdom pants are on repeat and also a pair from J. Crew and one from Club Monaco.  

2. I'm wearing jeans less often.  This is a big shift for me. I still adore denim and do wear it -- but more when I'm going out!

3. I'm wearing wide legs (full length and cropped) almost exclusively. Still have a few BF jeans. Also, I wear my red velvet wide leg crops a lot and my burgundy cargo pants.

4. I'm favouring short jackets and a long coat. 

5. I'm wearing scarves again, or rather, leaning into the fact that I never really stopped. I like having some pattern near my face. 

6. Footwear comfort is becoming more important than ever. I can still wear a small heel (up to 2.5 inches) and I also like a flatform or a sneaker with cushioning/ insoles but a true flat (like a Converse sneaker) is torture for me. The toe shape, adjustability with insoles, and stability is crucial. 

Some favourite outfits from the past year. I'm low on summer outfits because I was laid up for a month following my accident. 

If you made it this far, thanks for reading, and I hope my reflections may spur some of your own. 


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