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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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.

27 Comments

  • Jenni NZ replied 6 months ago

    Loving your posts and your outfits! I think my fave is outfit 1- the white-out with the peeks of snakeskin.
    I am musing on a post about how long I am keeping and enjoying things and thus the difficulty of having room to add anything when my wardrobe is now working much better. But then I am not a decade into YLF yet- later this month it will be 7 years. I do think I have the “click” that SarahD8 talked about by now but that is bringing up these other issues :)
    One more comment- I’m not quite mid-60s yet (still 62 for another 2 months) but I don’t care if I don’t look sophisticated or, personally, even current. I think I am lucky to have enough positive comments on my clothing choices at work that it feels I must be doing something right!
    Keep the posts coming !!

  • pirouette replied 6 months ago

    Great summary Suz you have an amazing ability to analyse your own style and build your wardrobe accordingly. Like Jenni my favourite outfit you posted is the all white with the snake skin. It’s great you found so many items that you liked especially the ones on sale. 

  • Cardiff girl replied 6 months ago

    I cannot over express my admiration for your wardrobe.You get the proportions and the colours spot on.Whilst l too admire a minimalist wardrobe l actually think a lot of people appreciate seeing colour and it does  lift the complexion and the spirits in a way a sophisticated taupe Prehaps does not.There s a joy in the way you dress,don’t feel you have to change that just because of your age .

  • Star replied 6 months ago

    You are looking fabulous Suz and a great inspiration to a fellow silver sister.

  • Olive Green replied 6 months ago

    I think your luminous garçon is on full display in #5! The tulle skirt and crisp shirt with the boots in #20 is goals. You look very at home in all the outfits. As a smaller person, it’s easy to have the clothes wear you, but your clothes are a supporting act to a vibrant personality. 

  • Dee replied 6 months ago

    Suz, you have wonderful style, the stripes, plaids, print mixing and your colours especially blue all say Suz to me,  No need to minimize them. You’ve updated your wardrobe well with quintessential pieces that truly reflect your style. All modern and of this current time but still you. 
    I too have admired other people’s style of dressing, but somehow when I try to mimic their style it often just feels inauthentic on me. 

    Your style is an inspiration to others and your outfit creations are always a joy to see.

  • cjh replied 6 months ago

    Lovely to see all your favorites in one spot. I can’t pick a favorite, but enjoyed your choices and smiles in every one. Thanks for taking time to share your year.

  • Irina replied 6 months ago

    Great analysis, Suz. I so share that things sometimes just happened. I didn’t plan the major overhaul of my wardrobe, either. But once I started… :)
    You look amazing in your stripes and plaids as well as in solid colors. And it looks authentic and wonderful on you - not just my opinion but everyone’s here. 

  • Helena replied 6 months ago

    Suz you are always fabulous! Love all these but 5 just knocked my socks off ... So current, so you, and so fun - just perfection. Here's to a happy and stylish 2024! Xoxox

  • sabimct replied 6 months ago

    I thoroughly enjoyed your analysis, and take inspiration from your pictures.  Thanks for posting!

  • Joy replied 6 months ago

    I also admire your wardrobe and especially like reds on you, but my favorite is the last outfit. Do you find that you can dress for any occasion from your closet.

  • Runcarla replied 6 months ago

    Absolutely ‘get’ the big shop year.  You’ve had time to figure out the new environment after relocating cross country, plus the shopping situation has improved (somewhat) from what it’s been 2020 through 2022.  


    I see a through-line with your style, though the colour saturation and degree of contrast in patterns seems augmented.  Bolder? 

    It’s hard to pick favourites from a great collection of outfits, but I’m feeling pulled towards the skirt outfits (though you report wearing more pants).  The asymmetrical skirt is *chef’s kiss*!

  • Roberta replied 6 months ago

    I like your head to toe red outfits SO MUCH! And adding the ivory puffer is just brilliant. Ivory with snake accents is going oun my outfit list immediately. You have been an inspiration this year. :-)

  • Suz replied 6 months ago

    Thanks, all, for the lovely comments. I appreciate your thoughts and support! 

    Roberta, although "flow" was my word, and "indigo" my colour, I admit I did make a conscious push for more red in my closet this year since it was supposed to be a "colour of the year." (Ha!) Anyway. It didn't prove easy to find but I did locate some and snapped it up where I did, because reds of all sorts give me a massive mood boost in winter here on the wet coast. The ivory puffer was on super sale and last one in my size and I am glad I snapped it up for sure! Wearing it a lot. 

    Carla, that asymmetrical skirt is so fab. I just adore it. I hope they offer more of these in different fabrics this year. If not, I am tempted to get one sewn for me -- no joke. In a cotton linen blend for summer, and maybe a wool blend for winter. Hmmm. Wonder if I could find the right seamstress. The pattern is super easy. Elastic waist. I am no sewist myself, but...

    You may be right that my patterns are bolder in some cases. Or the contrast. Not sure. 

    Joy, thank you! And yes, I can dress for almost any occasion from my closet. I do not have true formal wear (but doubt I would ever need it.) It might be tricky for me to dress right now for a spring or summer formal wedding. But otherwise, I'm pretty much set for anything I might have to do. My most common activities are work from home; teach in person (or on Zoom); the occasional reading/ presentation; meet friends for a restaurant or at-home meal; appointments; shop; the occasional party. I do a lot on foot and transit or on a bike. 

    sabimot, thank you! 

    Helena, thank you! The Everlanes are fab jeans. And i can see you in a version of that outfit, too! Classic on top, trendy on bottom. 

    Irina, thank you. I am always so inspired by your own style and find the distinctions interesting because yours is a very different type of gamine look, I would say. You make it work so well! 

    cjh, thank you!

    Dee, I think our styles have a lot in common. Many classic items, slightly preppy patterns, and lots of blue! Plus a practical bent for our lifestyle. And I always enjoy your outfits -- no surprise, I guess! :) 

    Olive Green, thank you and that is a good description -- "at home." I always revert to this kind of style because it's what feels more comfortable and authentic/ natural to me. 

    Star, thank you! 

    Cardiff Girl, what a lovely observation. I think it's true that people appreciate colour and pattern on others. I certainly love it when I see a bright coat or scarf or hat or even gloves amidst the black! 

    Pirouette, thank you! I'll have to try another white out outfit soon. I still have all those items and also a few more in ivory that might also work! 

    Jenni, thank you! I have been musing a bit on this as I transition into yet an older age group. Perhaps my style will adapt a bit in the next five to ten years. I would not be surprised to see myself shift somewhat. It's not so much about age (obviously, this still feels completely authentic to me or I wouldn't have bought it or be loving it so much!) but more about how I want to present to the world in my various roles, moving forward. Something to muse on for the moment, not act upon. 

  • replied 6 months ago

    Love the first and last outfits, lavendar coat, and the red plaid especially, but all look authentic to you.
    Buying a lot resonated with me too, though definitely not as successfully! And I'm with you on teams trendy on the bottom and 2 1/2 inch and lower heels now too.

  • SarahD8 replied 6 months ago

    Very interesting reflections, and gorgeous outfits the whole bunch! You look so vibrant, and so *you*.  I am with other commenters -- I don't think you need to adopt a certain interpretation of "sophistication" due to age...to me your look is ageless, and timeless, even though I am sure it will continue to evolve.

    It's been lovely to witness how you've approached this wardrobe overhaul with calmness and confidence, and achieved such a successful result. Hey, now that I am finally at the "clicking" stage -- maybe that will be me in five years! :-)

    I like the idea you shared in the comments of having a seamstress replicate the asymmetrical skirt in different fabrics. Do keep us posted!

  • Laurie replied 6 months ago

    You had a spectacular style year. You had me at #1 (and 6, 9,10,18, & 20 in particular, but love all)
    I always think, "so put together" when I see your outfits.

    Here's to a very stylish 2024!

  • Jaime replied 6 months ago

    You look amazing in all of these. Interesting that your embrace of trendy on the bottom seems to have unlocked something for you. Love the red wide legs btw. Also the silver jacket. Among many others. Yes your hair is looking luminous! It is a true pleasure to read and see where you are style wise, thank you!

  • Angie replied 6 months ago

    KILLER SPECTACULAR Suz-style!

    LOOKING BETTER THAN EVER!!! WOW! 

    Nodding along to every word. You are going like a Boeing! Found your look and milked it! Lots of emotion in your purchases, with a whole lot of practical integrity! Heart and head are insync. Can't be beat.

    Please carry on :) 

  • RobinF replied 6 months ago

    All such great looks! I love how you know your style and go about it so confidently.

    I can't pick a favorite. As much as I love you in the cropped looks, you look so good in the full length jeans. And the stripes work so well for you. All fabulous!

  • Suz replied 6 months ago

    Thanks, Robin. The full length pants really are a fun change and what's hilarious is that many of them are meant to be cropped but on me are full length! :) No hemming required! 

    Thanks, Angie! I owe it all you to you and the forum, for sure! Your PPP mantra definitely served me well at the start of all this, although admittedly I had trouble with the patience part. :) 

    Jaime, I think it has made it a bit easier, maybe, going forward? I will know where to put my "trend" dollars or my "unusual" (if not trendy, per se) dollars. Like the Dries pants and the Zara sarong shorts. Not trendy per se but different and special somehow. 

    Laurie, thank you! 

    Sarah, yes, I think I really need to consider that with the skirt. It's just such a great style. 

    suntiger, that coat was an incredible steal when I got it. I paid less than $100 for it as it was the last one and happened to be in my size. I wasn't really in the market for a new coat but I couldn't resist. 

  • Jonesy replied 6 months ago

    What a fabulous year in review! Your style suits you so well! I love the longer length pants/jeans on you--so chic! And your layering game is on point, as is your use of color and accessories. So interesting about your desire for trendiness on the bottom half, and the move away from jeans for WFH. Gorgeous new navy topcoat!

  • CocoLion replied 6 months ago

    Your style is inspiring me to update my own.  Thanks for sharing, you are beautiful Suz and it made me happy to see you after a long absence.

  • Bonnie replied 6 months ago

    I love looking at all of your outfits. So inspiring! You have had a productive year. It's interesting that you chose pants over jeans at home, maybe they are more comfortable. 

  • Karie replied 6 months ago

    Great summary (and yes I made it all the way through)! You have a very cohesive, well balanced wardrobe. My favorite is #20, I just love that skirt.

  • Sal replied 6 months ago

    I have tried several times to write this comment but things have been against me. You look wonderful - polished, stylish, luminous and a bit of fun thrown in there. I think that’s the garconne!

  • lyn67 replied 6 months ago

    I loved to see all these together -so generous of you to put the thread together -this is quintesdential of Suz's style! Wow!! Agree-vibrant, dynamic, edgy& dramatic lite...exactly like I imagine the  laid back luminous garconne(but there is a fille there, too:-)). Killer and never dissapoints! 

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