Looking forward: Style reset? (Long)

As I mentioned in my year-end review, I'm feeling bored and a bit disenchanted with my wardrobe and my style. Time to shake things up! 


A lot of my clothes are quite old. I edit regularly twice per year, but with a moderately large wardrobe and careful laundering/ drying, most things last for a long time — except footwear, jeans, underwear and some gear. This is even more true during COVID, when I barely wore my jackets for an entire year.

I still like a lot of these older items. Some are “icons” in Brooklyn’s sense. (Love that term and her new shopping strategy!) The silk blouse with the pattern that harmonizes perfectly with eyes and hair (See pic 10), the silk blouse with the Siamese cat print, the long gilet. With my casual lifestyle, I rarely wear these items at the best of times, and even less during the pandemic. But I’m loathe to let them go.

Some are essentials that have not worn out. They are serviceable. It seems wasteful to get rid of them simply because I’m tired of looking at them! Plus, I wear them. But some of them are probably less than a 10 in terms of fit or condition.

Then there are the items that I don’t let go because I don’t have adequate replacements. My black watch suit (pic 5). (I love a pantsuit I can casualize). Some of my jeans. (Don’t love them any more but it’s a need, so…). Most of these aren’t true “essentials” (well, jeans are, but…). You get the idea. 

Onwards to goals:

  1. A thorough closet edit. I already edit regularly but this time I need to be more selective than usual and say goodbye to some old favourites that just are not cutting it any more, either due to fit, function, or disfavour.
  2. Attempt a style reset. Periodically I make claims that I want to add some avant-garde “edge” to my style…and then fail to follow through. Often, this is because such pieces tend to be made in black, and I rarely wear black. And anyway, in the few instances when I have managed to source something that seems to fall into this category, I rarely wear it because it feels inauthentic or too difficult to style. (Probably I lack the complements I would need.) I know COS could be a potential source…but I have not had luck there so far with fit or even in finding the items in store that I might like to try.
  3. It looks like I will be teaching online in January and possibly for the rest of the term. So I want to come up with WFH outfits that comfortable and practical but also satisfying to wear.

I'll get to the more aspirational part of the analysis later -- (word and colour of the year). This is already long enough. 

For now, some so-called "outfits" from last year -- not favourites, note -- just times when I put actual clothes on! :)  Most were taken in the fall when I was working outside the home for a change and had some public facing engagements. 

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.


  • Runcarla replied 3 weeks ago

    I get it!  There is comfort in a great pair of jeans and a T, but not a lot of trendiness or edge.

    When I think of ‘edge’ I think of your Comrags items.  I believe a real designer piece (though spendy) can sometimes provide the kick that run of the mill retail finds don’t.  Are there any up-and-coming designer types in Victoria or Vancouver worth a browse?

     Sometimes a one-of-a-kind ethnic piece or craftwork item can work as a focus as well.  For budgetary reasons, designer colabs can be a source of inspiration (Target, Uniqlo) but you’ve got to act quickly when they drop.

  • Vildy replied 3 weeks ago

    I don't see getting rid of clothes you are tired of looking at as wasteful. Make very good charitable donations. Most of my purchases are at church thrift stores.  They price exceedingly low and use the funds for upkeep of their building and their own charitable missions. 

  • Irina replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, you do you, I don’t know if it means a reset or not. We all feel unsettled with the forced lifestyle change, our natural process of wearing out and replacing our clothes is disrupted. 

    To me, you have a wonderful, distinctive style and great ability to find items that emphasize it. You wardrobe looks modern to me. 

  • lisa p replied 3 weeks ago

    I understand . I haven’t been as thorough in editing as maybe I should have this past year and do have a fair number of pieces no longer in pristine condition but that I’m scared to get rid of .I also have voiced a desire to add more xyz to my style and have also not followed through . What I did notice when looking at your outfits is it immediate preference or love for the ensembles with lots going on - relatively speaking - and where you’ve pattern mixed . To my eye it adds interest and shows your eye for style .

    Working from home seems to be the death of style - I hope you find your “ new way” while persevering through this next semester .

  • phoebe replied 3 weeks ago

    If "edge" feels forced maybe a little more drama/humor instead? Items like your tartan skirt? 

  • Helena replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, you always look amazing!! You also have fantastic instincts, so if you are feeling like a shift is in order, then I can't wait to see where you take it. I agree with Phoebe that maybe there's another word that captures what you're going for, that will feel more authentic to you? Bold, graphic, dramatic, (per Phoebe), urban, etc?

    Of these outfits, is there one you feel is reflective of the direction you want to go in? Or partially so? In any case, I'll be following your journey and cheering you on!

  • suntiger replied 3 weeks ago

    I like 2, 4 and 13 most from this lot, but I understand wanting to shake things up! I don't picture avant garde for you per se, maybe arty but softer- like hand painted fabrics or something.

  • cat2 replied 3 weeks ago

    You always look very pulled together, and have a knack for outfit creation. If you want to remix, maybe start with a pair of shoes and a jacket that go together that have a bit of edge, and see what you think. You could mix them in with some of the pieces you already have, and see if the result is wearable. I confess I have not been able to find many modern pieces that don’t make me feel like a Star Trek extra, but you may have better luck….

  • rachylou replied 3 weeks ago

    It’s interesting seeing all these outfits together. You’ve become rather preppy, Suz… lol, not that there’s anything wrong with that as Seinfeld used to say. It sings high when it’s ‘over the top’ preppy, dramatic, like with the plaid blackwatch suit and plaid tulle skirt.

  • Bijou replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, much like Janet, you are a creative person and that really comes through in the way you dress. Of your outfits, the ones I love the most reflect that element of edge, being your black watch suit, plaid tulle skirt and Comrags outfit. Of course these are also your dressier outfits, and not the WFH outfits you need.

    A question you will have to answer for yourself is will you wear jackets WFH in 2022? For me, because much of my WFH involves online meetings, I am happy and feel pulled together in a jacket. The transition between work and leisure is important to me. I am working after all and not cleaning the house or doing exercise and dressing for work keeps me focused on the task at hand, to not get distracted. But for many, it feels too much and the jackets languish unworn in the closet. A jeans and sweatshirt formula gets tiresome for those who like to dress up. Finding the right balance that works for you, practically and emotionally is a challenge for sure.

  • lisa p replied 3 weeks ago

    I just saw this today . I know the oversized look isn’t something you typically wear , but it did make me think of other ways to wear your great KH skirt and to change up a look …

  • Jaime replied 3 weeks ago

    I agree with Bijou in terms of your highlight outfits (also will add anything silver) and with Vildy in terms of reconsidering donating your serviceable but not exciting items. After all, your clothes are worth more to the charity and to the eventual recipient if they are still in respectable shape.
    Zoom teaching means an upper body focus - it can be seen as whole other sense of dressing since the proportions work completely differently. Head to toe dressing becomes head to...elbows? Not quite sure. Definitely interested to see where you take avant garde a la Suz!

  • nemosmom replied 3 weeks ago

    What Irina said! And, as someone who knows the struggle of getting dressed when there is no where to go, you know I am anxiously awaiting the reveal of your new WFH formulae :D

    For non-black avant-garde, I could see you in white, icy blue, or silver. Or fuscia! Or deep crimson!  oooh...  How are you feeling about color?!

    Anyway, I am here. for. it.  Can't wait to see what's next!

  • avicennia replied 3 weeks ago

    I want to chime in before reading the other comments. I don’t comment much Suz, but have always admired your style. To my eye, outfits 7 and 12 are edgy and avant-garde. I think you already have edginess in your style and wardrobe, perhaps you could just emphasize those items and outfits more?

  • Zaeobi replied 3 weeks ago

    Argh, sorry you have to go back to Zoom teaching next term - whilst it does have its advantages, Zoom can also be very draining, to teach solely through a screen...

    As for style, I agree with the others that I do see edge in these outfits & like the ALGO ones most (per Lisa P's words). It might be useful to think about how the edgy elements could translate into more casual WFH outfits. For example, I think the plaid adds the edge to that suit, plus the styling with the rolled up cuffs etc - maybe a plaid scarf could work, or a plaid jumper with the sleeves rolled up? Or with the tulle midi skirt - maybe your WFH version could be a tulle brooch or earrings? This exercise could get your creative juices flowing, even if you don't end up using/ sourcing the end results.

    Nodding along to the issue of non-black 'edgy' items - like you, the closest I found was in some of COS' deep chocolate/ berry coloured clothes. But again, like you, I unfortunately found the COS fit didn't work for me. In the meanwhile, my strategy has been to focus on my accessories to add a little edge instead (like combat boots, statement dangly earrings, big choker necklaces etc). In the meanwhile, if you do find any edgy clothing brands that *don't* use black, would be grateful to hear it!

  • Bijou replied 3 weeks ago

    Is there a way you could have style reset session with Angie, either in person in Seattle or virtually? You were so energised by your NAS get together and ended up with a fabulous and practical wardrobe. There is something magical that happens when Suz and Angie come together!

  • Brooklyn replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, I don’t see avant-garde in your style. Which is not to say that you couldn’t do it - of course you could. But I wonder if you like the idea of it more than the reality? When I think avant garde I think oversized, architectural, draped, minimalist (in terms of colour and pattern). I see lots of structure in your outfits, which is not what I associate with avant garde. Plus colour. Plus pattern. And pattern mixing. Just saying.

    Edge is a different matter. I see that coming through with your silhouette choices, pattern, hair and just the overall modernity of your outfits. You look great!

    I wonder if you should be thinking more in terms of looking for some unique pieces - like the taffeta skirt - that will give you a lift. Eg. I love the idea of a metallic jumper, coat, or jeans for you. They would get plenty of wear in your current lifestyle.

    I saw these items at Karen Millen and thought of you :) The jacket is blue BTW.

  • Star replied 3 weeks ago

    I understand you want a style reset (I am feeling the same way) but you sure do have some fabulous outfits here.  4,5,6,7,8,9,10,and13 stand out for me.  I only purge clothes when they are worn out or I really don't like them any more. For the others the time always comes that I wear them with happiness again.  

  • MidwestrnChic replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, I love your style!  I agree with Brooklyn that edge may be the path best suited to you for your style evolution.

  • Staysfit replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, I wonder if it would help to find some inspirational photos? Working remotely may make jewelry, or interesting collar lines a way to add edge or avant-garde qualities to your wardrobe.  I find too much pattern can distract on video meetings.

  • Janet replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, you always look marvelous. I understand the urge to change things up! I am with you in that when I try to nudge myself further in certain directions, I feel like it looks all wrong. For me, I suspect that part of it is body type (styles that read edgy or avant- grade on others look frumpy on me), but also personality. I have come to realize that I can appreciate some styles without adopting them as my own.

    However, I like the idea very much of stretching into an unexpected piece or two each season to keep yourself energized and refreshed. The plaid tulle skirt is a great example. I suspect that a piece for the upper half of an outfit — top or topper, or maybe even a scarf — could be the next great thing, especially since zoom meetings are again such a big reality (sigh).

    I will follow your progress with interest!

  • slim cat replied 3 weeks ago

    You always look polished and wonderful! I do understand the wish of changing things but maybe not in dramatic way.
    I love your plaid tulle skirt and something as unique as that piece is the answer to the style update you are looking for. Actually I have the same feeling about my wardrobe right now - would love to find something unusual, edgy, fabulous in 2022 to wear it everywhere  :) .

  • kkards replied 3 weeks ago

    I’m late to this.  And I’m kind of conflicted. Or maybe confused.   

    Suz, to me, your style is pretty consistent and so feels to me very authentic. So I’m wondering if you are looking for a style reset or an item update?   Are you really looking to go edgy, or are you looking to move from skinny jeans to a more current/modern wide leg?  Maybe I’m projecting myself into your situation, but after 2 years of going nowhere I’ve found myself wanting to try new silhouettes and some new colors, but my core style is the same.  But maybe your looking for something different 

  • SarahD8 replied 3 weeks ago

    I echo others in thinking of your plaid tulle skirt as a really successful purchase that might serve as a talisman in adding that edgy/avant-garde/arty(?) element you are craving going forward.

    What I notice about the skirt is that it's kind of an edgy take on a classic/preppy style. Maybe look for other pieces (or construct outfits) that combine those opposing elements to make things feel more authentic to you? (And yes, a big factor is also probably that the skirt is not black -- maybe look for more ink blue?) I'm thinking of Vivienne Westwood here -- although she's known for punk, her own personal style often includes really quite classic/traditional elements mixed in. 

    For your immediate Zoom needs, I think I remember that you have some really interesting jewelry pieces, maybe by contemporary Indigenous designers. Maybe lean on those for a bit? Add a few more upper-body accessories in the same vein?

  • lyn67 replied 2 weeks ago

    Please keep the "icons"! I'm sure they will shine again one day!:-)
    Loved your analysis and all the outfits posted-Suz-and can so relate to the claims wanting to add "more avant-garde “edge” to my style…and then failing  to follow through"....This is hard.   
    Still, I may  be more of an old school  but to  me  nr 4,7,11&13 are  already showing  the  avant-garde “edge” you aim to build more of. These outfits can be  probably  sharpened further  but I still find them  very good  inspirations for a soft or  "just enough"  of an  edge.
    For more edge would suggest including  clothing pieces in (p)leather. I for ex. am not a leather jacket girl-but some bottoms(skirts, pants) in pleather usually do the trick for me.
    Also a midaxi dress with a loose/dropped waist and rich flowy or barrel hem (this one is still a work in progress for me)-but a true collared, button down crisp shirt dress is also great- and I think you already have one like that (nr 13). 

    But I can completely relate- I am sometimes too shy of purchasing/wearing 

    a true authentic avant-garde piece (like those of our avant-garde  Queen Debs form Oz) for the fear of:-
    -1. not styling it well
    -2. feeling suddenly inauthentic on me and/or in my not at all/not all that/ arty environment.

    Not much help, I know!:-(

  • Suz replied 2 weeks ago

    Thanks, all, for your thoughtful comments. 

    Lyn, I will definitely keep the "icons." Most of them really do fit into Brooklyn's classification -- they are classic enough that they won't date for a long time (if ever) so even if I don't wear them often, they can freshen up new looks later. Good idea to investigate texture as a way of adding interest. Thanks. 

    SarahDB, I think you're absolutely right about a blend of preppy and something else-- that is why J. Crew can often be a good source for me, assuming the piece has a bit "extra" in some way. There's definitely a preppy element to my style, but if I skew too far that way, I feel inauthentic (and boring) as well. 

    Kkards, I suspect you're right -- a style refresh would probably be Angie's term for it, vs. a style overhaul. Although there's a part of me that would like something more significant. I just don't know what it would look like or how it would feel authentic. Because you're right -- my current style does feel authentic to me, if a bit blah. 

    slim cat, I guess we are going to have to keep looking for those fab and special pieces, right? Sigh...

    Janet, good idea to look for items that might "update" the top portion of the body. I tend to experiment more with my bottoms, which don't show on Zoom. 

    Staysfit, I think you're right -- i should start scouting photos. I wish I liked Pinterest better. 

    Midwestrnchic -- thank you! 

    Star -- yes, there are certainly good arguments for hanging on to items I still love that are in good shape and still fit. 

    Brooklyn, I think you're right -- I like the idea of avant garde more than the reality. What doesn't work for me is monotone (esp. black) and a lot of drape. What could work for me is clean lines, architectural shapes (some, at least) and structure. But structure is difficult in a work from home life with a cat who wants to cuddle. Thank you for those sample pieces! They look fab!  I think you are onto something. One Fabber whose style is different from mine but whose approach to her wardrobe is quite similar in some ways is Jenn. My wardrobe is bigger (with a true 4 season climate) and I'm not as conscientious about sourcing environmentally friendly clothing, but the closet that is composed of a core of neutral items with "special" additions, statements is pretty much identical to my approach. Maybe the problem is simply that during Covid, not many of my "specials" are regularly wearable, so I feel flat and dull in neutrals all the time and really as if I'm not wearing "outfits" at all. 

    Bijou, I LOVE that idea! I hope I can visit Angie in Seattle one of these days. I fear it might be a while with Omicron doing its worst. But eventually, it will happen! 

    Zaeobi, thank you for the commiseration! I like your idea of focusing on accessories and footwear. And I will definitely let you know if I find a source for interesting pieces that are not in black! 

    avicennia, thank you. Yes, I do have some pieces that express a bit of -- well, I don't know that I would call it edge, but maybe fashion forwardness? (Ironically, the culottes in photo 7 are at least 5 years old! 

    Nemosmom, thank you! Those colours you mention are all in my core palette, and I love them! It's always a goal to add more reds. 

    Shevia, I laughed out loud at "head to elbow" dressing. That is soooo true. And you and Vildy are right -- nothing wrong with donating gently worn items. Goodness knows there are enough people in need around here to benefit from them. 

    LisaP, that sweater/ skirt outfit look fun. I could potentially pull something like that together....

    Bijou, that is a very good question re jackets. I think the answer is...to some extent. But not often. Here's why. The way I wear jackets in real life is to add a bit of dressiness to my jeans (so the outfit is essentially casual). If all that's visible is the jacket, I think it might feel too "corporate" and "unapproachable" to the students and might also feel inauthentic to me. This has been a good thought process, though, so thank you. It helps me see what the barriers are for me. Janet has experienced something very similar -- jackets and other interesting pieces languished during the pandemic. You've identified the similarity in our lifestyles and that probably helps explain the problem. 

    Rachylou -- that's so right. Preppy! I love your idea that it sings when it is a bit over the top. Maybe that's a direction to lean into? 

    cat2, I almost spit out my coffee at the Star Trek comment! Thanks for the laugh. It's true, it can be awfully hard to source just the right items. 

    Suntiger, thank you. It's so interesting to hear other's perceptions and very helpful! 

    Helena, that's a great question. None of the outfits feels truly "off" and none feels like a direction I want to go in, either. I wonder what the heck that says??? All feel authentic to me. But what's authentic is either impossible to wear most of the time (the dressier options) or boring as all heck. :) 

    Phoebe, I like that idea of thinking more in terms of humour/ drama. Interesting. Thank you. 

    Lisa, yes, the death of style for sure!! It definitely feels like it. 

    Thank you, Irina. Maybe I just need to sort through and get rid of the duds. 

    Vildy, thank you for that wisdom and permission. You're so right that others will benefit. 

    Carla, those are all great ideas. I love my Comrags pieces and they have closet longevity. I will do some sleuthing for some designers here in Vancouver or Victoria. You're so right about the colabs -- I never seem to get to the sites (or the stores) in time to benefit. Our Uniglo is in Richmond, so not easy for me to access, alas. 

    Thank you all again -- this is great food for thought! 

  • Angie replied 2 weeks ago

    Suz, I echo everyone else! You always look pulled together, polished, KILLER cute, interesting, and modern!

    I am nodding along with Vildy, Brooklyn, Bijou, Janet, LisaP, SarahD8 and Irina.

    I like you best in the disciplined pattern mixed and maximal looks. They showcase your creativity, and your fun, deep, and wise persona. 

    You hair adds a LOT of edge. As you are able to get it cut more regularly, you're getting more and more daring with it in the pandemic. So fab! A bit of dramatic makeup - (pretty and strong) - with the punk 'do could be fun too :)

    YES to a biggish closet edit, and contributions to a holding zone if you have the storage space. 

    YES to a stylish reset.....even if it means the changes are very subtle. It will help with your state of mind. (Good grief, we kind of all feel like we need a change of sorts, don't we). But know that you look fab already! Nothing needs fixing! It's simply how we are feeling.....

    You cannot buy what is not there so replacements are harder to get than we expect sometimes. Hang tight! The items will find you at the right time. 

    Similarly to me, your bottoms, hair, eyewear when you wore it, and toppers are the trendiest components of your style. I was going to suggest you start the reset by re-looking at your jeans and pants capsule (which I know they don't see on Zoom), but it will still make a difference TO YOU to keep them very current and updated. (That's what I found, anyway!)

    We both tend to be more classic with our tops, but there is hair, scarves and earrings for you when you Zoom (eyewear for me). THAT will make a big difference. You have the edgy hair covered! Wear your cute big earrings and relook at scarves. Try a new shape and method of tying.

  • Suz replied 2 weeks ago

    Thank you, Angie -- this is encouraging. I will continue to think on it and maybe look at some designers I have not tried. I think Brooklyn is onto something about distinctive pieces. "Still" neutrals appeal to me in theory and on others, but not in practice on myself  -- I need colour, pattern, movement to feel authentic. Texture is another factor to consider more carefully, going forward. Many thanks! 

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