2020 Review

Time for my year-end roundup! 

My colour of the year was red, and my word of the year was move.

Ironically, I write this wearing blue, and benched due to an injury! But I did move this year — moved cities and houses, and also moved a whole lot on the trails, on foot and by bike, as well as in a regular kettlebells class.  

My main goal was to wear outfits that are Modern, Classic, Vivid, and Practical with a stronger element of “signature” — a little less on the “playful” side and more towards a bit of drama. That goal isn’t really reflected in my purchases, which still reflect the playful element of my style more than arty drama. 

I need to ponder that. Several times over the years, I've said that I want more arty drama, but I always end up buying preppy playful. Maybe my unconscious is smarter than my conscious mind. That is, maybe the gamine in me knows that playful and dynamic is who I really am. And maybe I should just go with it? Hmmm. 

Then again, this year, I barely shopped and barely wore “outfits” at all!

Instead,  as I said in an earlier post, this was the Year of Gear.  And that does relate to one of my other goals — to identify specific capsules in need of upgrading/ building and work on those. I had pre-identified gardening and biking as new capsules for me, and in fact, my gear purchases took care of my needs in those areas, as well as adding to my hiking capsule, which also needed bumping up.

Another goal was to shop in person especially via thrift or consignment. Well, I couldn’t do that in a pandemic, so I’m not going to beat myself up about ordering online.

Purchases for the year were (surprisingly) about steady with last year’s — but this does not count gear.  All but two of these purchases qualify as "instant workhorse" items. Many have already paid for themselves in wears (and several are almost worn out -- Sorel sneaker boots, I'm looking at you.) The only two that didn't get a huge amount of wear are the BR linen top and the gingham scarf. I'm sure they'll prove valuable next year, so I'm not too worried. Both were sale items. 

I haven't actually checked, but I'm pretty sure my retirements are about the same, so my wardrobe numbers are holding steady (though I have yet to do a new count to see exactly where I'm at), with a larger gear capsule on the side. 

I didn't take many photos this year at all, alas...but a few outfits that feel representative or made me happy....

Will follow up with goals for next year in another post. 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Angie replied 1 year ago


    YOU MOVED BIG TIME, and had a very stressful year! My hat off to you for being a champion! In true Suz fashion, you continued with a full heart, level head, lots of practical action, optimism, and fabulous style. YOU LOOK SOOO GOOD. WELL DONE :)

    FWIW, I think drama can be very playful. It needn't be serious, dark and avant-garde. Suz, you are an extremely dynamic and radiant person. You shine very brightly. This bounces off your outfits right away! Sooooo I vote 100% SIMPAT style. We are naturally drawn to what makes us happy. Authenticity FTW.


  • Minaminu replied 1 year ago

    Well done in strenghtening your capsules! It takes a lot of efforts to stay focused on this, especially during a pandemic!

  • suntiger replied 1 year ago

    Yay for "year of gear" and love the color of top #3 on you! Definitely add more of that!

  • Sal replied 1 year ago

    It sounds like you have shopped wisely and practically and I have seen some fun and stylish pieces too.  I think you hit your style goal for sure!!

    Modern, Classic, Vivid, and Practical with a stronger element of “signature.

    I am also drawn to some drama and sometimes struggle to get there - and still maintain the practical and modern aspect.  I think that having something new, something classic, something dressy, something casual and mixing them together can be the key - which you do brilliantly.  Dresses with sneakers, simple jeans with edgy boots, classic blazer with a dramatic scarf etc....

    Looking forward to your 2021 direction.

  • rachylou replied 1 year ago

    I definitely noticed the red this year and how active you’ve been.

    The pull toward drama is an interesting one. I have in my head this idea that I want a pencil skirt/pencil dress kind of look ... less foo... be more grownup and womanly... so my Xmas dress this year has a big poofy skirt and giant puff sleeves, Lolol :) How I want to look doesn’t compare with the Joy of Foof. I just can’t help myself. Ha!

  • LaPed replied 1 year ago

    Suz, this paragraph is totally thought-provoking (and relatable!): Several times over the years, I've said that I want more arty drama, but I always end up buying preppy playful. Maybe my unconscious is smarter than my conscious mind. That is, maybe the gamine in me knows that playful and dynamic is who I really am. And maybe I should just go with it? Hmmm.

    I often think I ought to add more dramatic pieces as well. Every now and then I find a dramatic piece that's perfect, but often they end up being "meh" or feeling off in some way. Sometimes, they just aren't practical (too long, too wide, no good for layering, etc.). And I go back to my default tomboy/woodsy/preppy looks.

    I like Angie's point about different types of drama, and that dramatic and playful aren't mutually opposed. What would gamine drama look like, and how would it differ from classic drama? My first thought is the military-inspired styles you wear so well. My second thought is that there's Eileen Fisher arty (monochrome solids) and there's Gudrun Sjoden arty (colorful prints), and then there's Patti Smith and Annie Lennox arty (punk androgyny). I suspect you don't have both feet firmly in any of those worlds, and probably have to pull a little bit from each one to be true to yourself.   

  • Jenn replied 1 year ago

    It's funny how a word of the year comes through in ways we never could have expected...and so much about this year was beyond what we could have expected.

    I'm noticing a lot of people being surprised in year-end reviews that purchases stayed about steady this year. I'm willing to wager that our shopping is less based on "need" than we think it is, and more down to other factors like habit, marketing, and individual psychology. 

    Things were different this year, though, and your gear purchases attest to that. It might have played a part in your defaulting to a more familiar style as well. In-person shopping would have made experimentation with new shapes, silhouettes and colors a whole lot easier!

  • Xtabay replied 1 year ago

    I wish 2020 had looked as good as you have all year, Suz!  Maybe we'd be out of masks and going to holiday parties.  

  • Nikki replied 1 year ago

    I think you accomplished arty drama with the patterns you selected. It is subtle but it’s there :) Great 2020 recap!

  • lisa p replied 1 year ago

    I had thought I might investigate an artier side myself, because I'm absolutely drawn to it every time I see it, but it never happened. In my case, I think it boiled down to availability .  I don't love on-line shopping and find it tedious and tiring - so if a look isn't well represented at local retail - and done well (key point) - I don't tend to seek it out.  

  • Stagiaire Fash replied 1 year ago

    Can’t comment on your dramatic side because, as you note, we haven’t really seen it. If there are specific parts of your life that it would be most useful for, maybe pull together a couple outfits or identify some key pieces to start wearing them, and see if it spreads from there. But your playful gamine side is a doll! Does your snow queen coat bat for both teams?

    Thanks for the warning about the Sorel sneaker boots. I know people like to be positive, but info like that can be quite helpful. Are those the kinetic caribou?

  • Suz replied 1 year ago

    Lisa and Jenn, you're so right that the shopping situation made seeking out newer directions more or less impossible. I mean, if you can't try it on and sort of "feel it out" it just doesn't happen. I definitely defaulted to tried and true because I did not have the band width for anything other than that (or even for that, half the time, if I'm being honest!) 

    Nikki, that's interesting -- I like patterns and pattern mixing, so you might be right. 

    Aww, Xtbay -- thank you. And yeah, wouldn't that be great? To be done with masks and celebrating for real? Sigh...

    LaPed, that is so very smart. Annie Lennox is a kind of style inspiration but I never manage to do the "punk" part as well (wouldn't mind a bit more of it, though -- a bit more toughness). And now I'm going to have to look up Gudrun Sjoden. I think you're right -- EF arty is totally not for me. I mean, I can wear a piece or two, for sure, but it has to be mixed and mostly it falls flat. I can see how that would also be true in your case. Hmmm. 

    Rachy, you made me laugh. Thank you for that. I love the image of you in puffy sleeves and a pouffy skirt. 

    Sal, you might be right about the practical fighting a bit with the dramatic. Interesting. I will always go for practical in the end, although ideally practical with a bit of style...

    Suntiger, thanks! Maybe 2021s colour will be fuchsia! 

    Minaminu, thank you!

    Angie, thank you!! SIMPAT makes total sense, yes! 

  • Suz replied 1 year ago

    Oh, I should clarify about those Sorels, Fashintern -- they got heavy, HEAVY wear. So I wouldn't say they wore out before their season. They definitely earned their CPW -- truly. And I'm still wearing them. So I don't consider them a poor buy at all. I actually loved them. 

    Good question about the Snow Queen coat -- I'd say that's playful more than dramatic but it does make a statement, that's for sure! Too bad I have nowhere to wear it these days....

  • slim cat replied 1 year ago

    You’ve got a lot on your hands this year and results are still fabulous! Lots of fun outfits: gear wear - practical and in style , some amazing additions for the special days and always with a smile!

  • Jaime replied 1 year ago

    You look fantastic and have transitioned to your new lifestyle with aplomb! I am intrigued by the arty drama vs. practical playfulness. I wonder if what you want is more along the lines of a strong signature rather than arty drama per se, which, anyway, if open to multiple definitions. There is quite a distance between artful home and Japanese minimalism after all!

  • Suz replied 1 year ago

    Shevia, you are so right. What I really want is strong signature. 

    Belated Hannukah greetings, also! I neglected to take photos of our menorah but we lit candles and made some special meals and one night I actually dressed up! 

  • Kyle replied 1 year ago

    You look wonderful and happy, especially in that rosy pinkish color. So fab!

  • Janet replied 1 year ago

    You look fantastic and your style always has touches of dramatic — I tend to think of “drama” as something that can take different forms and in degrees. A blue lace shirt certainly has a degree of drama! Even in a classic cut. I think that type of drama especially suits you. It doesn’t overwhelm you and it plays beautifully with your body type and pixie haircut. I understand your feelings around this stuff, as I always feel like I should be striving for more edge in my style. But the truth is, if I go too far down that path I don’t feel authentic.

  • Helena replied 1 year ago

    Suz, you look amazing as you always do! Red is so gorgeous on you.

    Agreeing with lots of the comments on the "drama" ... as Janet says above, you do have elements of drama, but perhaps not of the avant-garde or edgy variety ... and generally speaking, I think if a particular element keeps coming through, then it's probably your authentic self speaking :) 

  • anchie replied 1 year ago

    Don’t fight your playful side - it suits you and you look fantastic. I do admire architectural drama of Deborah outfits
    for example, but can’t imagine you in something like that and I won’t be able to pull it my self too.

  • Runcarla replied 1 year ago

    Relocating as you did, has a huge impact on a wardrobe! Expressing  yourself through what you choose to wear is tempered by figuring out the societal norms of your new community, puzzling out the weather, and sourcing the resources.  I think your closet was more ready for the first move - urban lifestyle to urban lifestyle, though different climate.  The second move to suburban ‘hood, and the SAH lifestyle imposed by pandemic activity restrictions is possibly more foreign.

    Ecstatic as I was about the relocation 6 years ago, it wasn’t a smooth transition for my closet!  A few years and some experimentation during which I actually experienced some pretty wild style swings before settling into a more measured evolution.

  • Suz replied 1 year ago

    Thank you, all. Your comments are reassuring and flattering and though-provoking.

    Carla, that's a really interesting point about urban to urban to suburban. I don't think I'd be feeling that as much at all had we not been under restrictions, because even as a suburbanite, I'd be in town a whole lot more than I have been. I do think my footwear style would have changed (will continue to change) though -- because if I'm biking, I will need shoes that work for the bike and for my destination. Either that or I will bring my "street" footwear in my paniers, which would also work, I guess! 

    Anchie, TG, Janet -- those are really good observations as well. I think it's true there is some drama there in my style -- to scale, maybe? And it's also true that too much edge or architectural drape feels inauthentic to me, and so be it. I just need to keep sussing it out bit by bit...

    Kyle, thank you. Pinks and reds are definitely on my radar as for potential purchases. 

  • Christina F. replied 1 year ago

    I think you have beautiful clothes (not just because I have or would have half of them!). I see the arty drama and the playfulness. As the kids would say, “Porque no los dos?” I see what some may see as competing styles in my own closet, but as long as it all seems authentic to me, it’s good. Your style is authentic and particular to you. Well done!

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