Belated "persona + theme" report

Hi, all! I've had a difficult autumn with health, family health, work, and other challenges, and haven't been able to post much in a while. But I did want to report on my experience with the "persona plus theme" experiment I tried in the spring. You may remember that, taking inspiration from Brooklyn and Tanya, who over the past few years have concentrated on a specific theme each season in their dressing, I decided to do the same, with the twist (which I think Tanya also employs) of thinking also in terms of my fashion persona and some current trends I want to incorporate. The "this character does that" idea. 

Mine for the spring/ summer was "Laid-back luminous garçonne does off-kilter ultility pretty."

My accident in late spring put a bit of a dent in this plan, so to speak, in the sense that I didn't really go out much or even leave the couch for a few weeks. Apart from a short trip to San Francisco in late summer, and a very casual working retreat in July, I didn't get out much. 

But I did enjoy playing with the theme and thinking in those terms did help me compose outfits that made me happy. The photos are all poor quality but maybe you can get the idea. 

A few notes: Winner workhorse items in this capsule proved to be the Zara asymmetrical skirt, the Scotch & Soda denim jacket, the Dries van Noten thrifted plaid pants, the Sandwich spotted/ striped modal top (alas -- it is toast!! -- ripped beyond repair after so many wears), the Cole Haan oxfords. The linen utility skirt didn't get many outings. I liked it -- just didn't wear it a lot. 

In pic 4 you see my very old J. Crew 2 piece dress. I had the hem let down as much as I possibly could because I was finding the dress as it was felt too short for my current tastes. It's still a bit shorter than I'd like, but the extra inch in length made me like it much more, and as usual it was a workhorse. 

In Finds I've included other much worn items not pictured. 

Overall, I'd say this was a valuable experiment and I would like to try it again. I wore skirts/ dresses at more opportunities, remixed older items with new in different ways, made a few new brand discoveries, and had fun composing outfits. 

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.


  • rachylou replied 8 months ago

    Fabulous looks! I’ve got a big crush on #4 :)

  • Runcarla replied 8 months ago

    Well, this is good!  I’m intrigued by the not insignificant use of floral(?), paisley(?) patterns.  Not ditsy.  Not overlarge or abstract.  Happy.  Light coloured denim and linen skirt and interesting textures, too.

    I’m having trouble articulating what I see, but I like the lighter palette.  Do you think you will continue in this vein going in to winter?  

    PS: sorry to learn you’ve had a rough bout.  

  • kellygirl replied 8 months ago

    Omg, you nailed it. These are all so pretty without looking fussy. So chic. They're all so fab that I can't pick a favorite. Everything works so seamlessly together and the palette is perfect!

  • Suz replied 8 months ago

    Thanks, Rachy. #4 is maybe a summer version of Look #4 in Angie's blog post yesterday...

    Carla, thanks. I definitely gravitate towards paisleys as my main non-geometric pattern, or paisleys combined into florals. This has been a consistent preference over time. I do not care for ditsy florals on myself at all and never choose them. In a store, my eyes glaze over them. And while I adore abstract and watercolour florals in theory (and love them on others), in practice I tend not to enjoy wearing them (with a few exceptions). I think they are not graphic enough for my style. 

    I also like fan-shaped patterns (like on the Boden skirt) or what might be called butterfly wing shapes. And batiks. And I go for those more often in summer than winter. 

    As for the lighter palette, I have more of it going on in warmer months but aim always to include as many light elements as I can in winter, too. Because of the hair and skin being so light. All dark doesn't do me favours. 

    Thanks, Kelly. What I'm proud of is the mix of very old with newer items. 

  • slim cat replied 8 months ago

    Fun outfits - love all polished and playful looks! The denim jackets are so fab on you ( feeling a bit jealous - my white denim jacket was ruined in the end of summer ;-(  ). Fav #1, 5, 6 and #11 - but all a great.

  • Irina replied 8 months ago

    Sure is pretty! :)
    I also like the lighter palette, I think it’s because of your hair. Somehow your hair looks lighter/brighter. 

  • Dee replied 8 months ago

    I had noticed that you weren’t putting out as many outfits posts  but I must say that these outfits certainly represent your persona theme really well. I do see luminous garconne with utility pretty in so many of these combinations with the silver footwear, faded wide legs and denim jackets as well as the  floral and off kilter skirts. Love them all. Hope you all are doing better now.

  • Jenni NZ replied 8 months ago

    Oh Suz I remember the bad start to your warmer season of course. Life can be tough at times, just happens to us :(
    It’s lovely to see these outfits. Looks like new purchases you made this year have been worthwhile!
    My favourites are 5,7,10 and 12/13. Love the handkerchief hem on the dress, and the silver shoes, the shorts/sneakers outfit, and the Sandwich top which I’m sorry is now toast!

  • lyn67 replied 8 months ago

    First of all, Thank You for the wiw allowing us to get another glimpse in your curent -but always killer-style, Suz! Wow, this is a feast to my eyes. So perfect all of them! So You! So simple but strong, pretty but utilitarian and still  luminous garçonne! All killers from me, but  I choosed to  give K2K for  your genius pattern mix in nr 12!  Than I LOVE the idea of layering with the pink cardi in nr 4 and find the hem of the it now has just the right length!. And love your linen top(nr 2) and skirt(nr 2) sooo much! Not to speak about the wide leg jeans, the plaid pants,  the denim jacket asymmetric skirt, the other dress and the shoe choices+ you always fab hair! Despite your difficulties you had (and m sorry for that) but girl,  trust me-you never looked so fab!!:-)

  • MsMaven replied 8 months ago

    I love this experiment on you. Thanks for sharing it. From the theme I would never have guessed what you have chosen. The ones I like best are ##1 & 8. Such a great take on the jacket w skirt or jeans look. 

    Were these items mostly ones you already owned. I'm curious as to what you bought new to complete the look. 

  • Cardiff girl replied 8 months ago

    Well as always you wear your clothes very well and look lovely.l do hope that you have fully recovered your health and are getting out and about again.

  • Jonesy replied 8 months ago

    I'm so sorry you have been dealing with so many challenges this fall, especially after your horrible spring accident! Family health issues can almost be more difficult to manage than our own health issues, at least in my experience--when a kid or partner is hurting, life can be very stressful!

    But, despite everything, you are absolutely looking luminous and stylish and chic! Every outfit looks lovely, with special heart eyes for #1 (the frayed denim jacket + asymmetrical skirt is fab!), #2 (love the white denim collared top + the DVN plaid pants), #7 (just so chic), and #8 and #11 (those full-length light jeans look so good! and the trim blazer looks awesome with them).

    My fingers are crossed that winter brings you greater happiness and peacefulness and less stress.

  • replied 8 months ago

    I especially like the asymmetric skirt! Hopefully things are looking up for you now!

  • Suz replied 8 months ago

    Thanks, Suntiger. Things are calmer than they were, thank goodness. And yes, that asymmetric skirt is a complete winner. 

    Thanks, Jonesy -- you are so right. When the family members are struggling, it's harder sometimes than when it is ourselves. Thanks for your kind words. 

    Cardiff Girl, thank you. I'm starting to get out and about more now, yes! 

    Ms. Maven, thanks. And you ask an excellent question. Of the items shown in Finds, 13 were from previous seasons (plus one not in Finds - -a scarf). A couple of those 13 were purchased last fall and worn cross seasonally. That leaves 12 items from previous years. So about half and half. Which sounds atrocious until you remember that I am "Team Wear the New Stuff Most" and also, this has been a big refresh year for me. I retired a lot of my closet. 

    Lyn, thank you so much! Always nice to hear your thoughts. 

  • merwoman replied 8 months ago

    Suz, sorry to hear that you’ve had so many challenges this past while. Glad to hear that this is easing up for you.
    Outfits are amazing, hard to pick a favourite! Your hair is spectacular!
    I also am very impressed with your footwear. Those Cole Hans are more than pulling their weight, but so many great support pairs as well.
    Cropped jacket and longer skirt is a great silhouette on you.

  • cjh replied 8 months ago

    I’m sorry you went through a rough patch and hoping things are looking more up nowadays. The outfits are fabulous. I kept thinking, that’s my favorite. No, that’s my favorite. Wait, THAT’S the one… but I couldn’t ever choose! Thank you so much for sharing this great inspiration. Best wishes for full recovery and nicer winter.

  • Jaime replied 8 months ago

    Now that is a persona that gives you something to chew on! Love the outfits - #7 really popped out for me but that is probably a mood thing. The silver shoes and Paul Smith jacket stood out as lynchpins. 
    I hope things are on an upswing health and stress wise. You certainly look very pretty and ready for action!

  • Janet replied 8 months ago

    I’m also hoping your tougher times are behind you! Regardless, these looks are terrific and I like how poetic yet practical your inspiration turns out to be. Your wardrobe is really working for you in the best way! Special love for the wide leg jeans and the asymmetric skirt.

  • Angie replied 8 months ago

    Sooooo sorry about that sodding accident and its repercussions. Really hoping that 2024 is better year for you and your family. Your attitude is stellar and inspirational as always, and thank you for that! 

    Goals achieved and the fun experiment is a success, Suz! Despite setbacks and adversity, you're looking better than ever! KILLER style that is worn with ease, conviction, verve and radiance :)

    I see the off-kilta coming through! Fun and interesting juxtapositions! Your style has become more playful AND elegant. Also with many touches of pretty. Kind of juxtaposing "the garçon"!!! 

    Like others have said, you wear light neutrals beautifully. You were made to wear flared bottom silhouettes. They pack a lot of graceful punch. 

    Please carry on!

  • Ket replied 8 months ago

    I'm sorry it's been such a difficult season for you, Suz. I pray 2024 is a beautiful new season filled with beauty, hope, and joy for you ♥

    Your experiment worked so beautifully! I love how you have incorporated so many things so effortlessly! I have always secretly crushed on gamine, garçon, ingenue type styles. I don't know that I've truly yet found a way to shine in them. But you look so chic, joyful, and elegant in everything you're wearing here! Your take on garçon is delightful! I am loving it and it inspires me greatly. I say do more.  xoxo

  • Mirjana replied 8 months ago

    So beautiful outfits! As always you wear your clothes very well and look lovely. It's a difficult to pick favorite, all are fantastic on you. But #2,4 and #9 are my favs, great jogger pants.

  • SarahD8 replied 8 months ago

    Silly Fates! "Off-kilter" was meant to refer to the wardrobe, not the life! Hoping things settle down for you going forward and into 2024.

    I'd say that you did very well despite the challenges. I see laid-back in the sense that most outfits include at least a casual or relaxed *element*, luminous with your use of light neutrals and shine, off-kilter with the use of asymmetry, unexpected juxtapositions, or items with a bit of a dramatic element to them (like those plaid pants). And so on...all the elements are there!

    I'm glad that in the end this endeavor felt like a success! Do you think you'll carry the theme into next summer, or choose a different one? Is there a winter version of this persona? Inquiring minds...

  • Bijou replied 8 months ago

    It's lovely to see your style moniker in action.

    Like Ket, I adore the gamine, garcon, ingenue styles and whilst they don't work for me, it is such a treat to see you wear them to great effect. You look so beautiful and the silver and white touches provide a luminous radiance.  Sorry to hear that 2023 has been a tough year for you.

  • RobinF replied 8 months ago

    I love all of these. As I saw each one I thought, that is my favorite and then I saw the next and thought THAT was my favorite! Can't choose! You really have your style nailed down perfectly.

    So sorry it has been a rough time!

  • Suz replied 8 months ago

    Robin, thanks -- that is sweet of you to say. Doing a little better after a set back on the arm. 

    Bijou, thank you. Much appreciated. I'll do gamine for you and you can do glamorous romantic for me! :) 

    Sarah, you. made me laugh. The fates really have messed things up, haven't they? I will answer your question about the future in a new post. 

    Thank you, Mirjana. 

    Ket, thank you so much. 

    Angie, that's right -- off kilter was to come through in asymmetry, some unfinished hems, and juxtaposition of pretty with "boyish." Thanks! 

    Janet, thanks. 

    Jaime, I love that thrifted Paul Smith jacket and the silver shoes are amazing because they stay on my feet (despite being slingbacks). 

    Cjh, thank you! 

    Merwoman, thanks, and yes -- I love that silhouette -- cropped jacket long skirt. Here's why -- for the analysis -- I'm a bit short waisted so a cropped jacket is often a good length on me (hitting at the high hip). And a skirt hides my loooooong rise -- making me look longer-legged than I am. Voila! 

  • Karie replied 8 months ago

    So stylish and pretty! I particularly love the pattern mixing in #12.

  • Mary Beth (formerly LBD) replied 7 months ago

    I love all of this!  

    There is an open, good-natured and playful element in all of this, which makes me think of Stanley Tucci’s Puck, coming across the bicycle in the forest, or one of Peter Pan’s lost boys in ‘Hook’.  It feels very authentically you, Suz.

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