Style renewal vs. style refresh

It seems I'm posting non-stop these days! The reason? A large scale closet refresh. In posing the question Janet raised the other day: Do I want to wear this? I found myself giving the side eye to a lot of items in my closet. That is something that has not happened for a decade. Which is the last time I did a style renewal. Then, it was as a result of significant weight change and new roles. Now, I've had a smaller weight change, I live in a different city with a different climate, and a few (but not all) of my roles have changed. 

Despite those factors, I don't think I'm undergoing a style renewal in the sense that Angie describes here or here.   My core style persona remains consistent with the one I identified back in 2012 or 2013. 

But the kind of refresher I seem to be undertaking -- while organic -- is much larger than any I've undertaken for a long while.

For a long time, I've maintained my wardrobe and evolved my style by buying somewhere between 20-30 items a year (more or less) and retiring an equal number (more or less). That includes footwear, a high wear- high buy category for me -- I never get away with fewer than six new pairs of shoes/ boots a year and it's usually more.  This year, I have already retired 35 items and purchased 20! 

And I'm far from done, fab friends! 

So, I'm curious about you. How often do you do a major refresh of your style? Or have you ever done one? Have you ever done a style renewal, in Angie's sense? Is there some other term that covers what I'm doing now? Is there some reason for it? Are others going through a similar shift? I am guessing, from Dee's recent post, that I'm not alone. 

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.


  • suntiger replied 7 months ago

    I feel like I do major closet refreshes about every 2 years! Trying to really identify the things that are historically true for me so I don't continue the cycle.

    Actually, I was reading one of Angie's links- and one of the comments was about a Fabber that helped you several years ago! Couldn't hurt to revisit that
    That said, it makes sense to do a big refresh/renewal with your new climate and roles.

  • Suz replied 7 months ago

    Suntiger, something I didn't mention was that size of wardrobe also plays a role. I have a medium to large size closet, meaning things don't wear out super fast in my closet, except for shoes (as mentioned above, I regularly go through multiple pairs a year if they are walking type shoes -- so sneakers, boots, casual sandals), jeans (sometimes), summer tops. But those with a smaller wardrobe can burn through their clothes in a season or two and need to replace the lot, especially if they bought most of it at once in the first place. 

    I, too, would prefer not to contribute to waste...on the other hand, it is also wasted if it sits in my closet unworn. (Which is why I sent back the silver jeans, LOL.) 

  • Cardiff girl replied 7 months ago

    Yes l am feeling a very big shift coming on .l have already donated/binned/sold at least 30 items,lve got another 70(!) pending and am eyeing up my still quite full wardrobe and wanting it smaller.This is the first time in my life l have done a significant “cleanse”.Maybe it’s my age,weight changes,life changes or maybe it’s some sort of reaction to the pandemic or Prehaps a combination of all of the above.The fact that a few of us seem to be headed in this direction makes me wonder if it’s a sort of post pandemic effect…discuss!

  • Irina replied 7 months ago

    In the last 10 years I have done refresher once in about 3 years. This is how long pants stay in my closet. When I buy different style pants/jeans (and often a different size), I usually end up adding some new tops or knitwear. So, three styles so far - mid rise full length straight, mid rise straight cropped, high rise wide cropped. 

    It is not a big change. I now prefer pants with elastic at the back to accommodate weight fluctuations. My refresh slowed down due to lesser hours in the office and consequently, less need for variety and I still like cropped pants. 

  • LJP replied 7 months ago

    I've certainly noticed your renewed activity and interesting new purchases ;)   What you haven't mentioned though (at least I don't see it ) is *why* you are doing this (apart from a weight change and some role changes).  Is it purely an interest in current trends and styles (some cycles and seasons have more than appeals than others, etc) ?  Or have you been itching to make some changes?

    Personally, I'm feeling in the midst of a style renewal.  More obvious, say, than a style refresh.  For the past several years, I've been looking to update or change my look somehow, but never found the right looks, the right resources , the right influences and inspirations etc to help me along.  So I kept on buying versions of the same thing and my closet looked exactly the same: season after season, year after year .

    This year, however, it seems to be clicking , and I'm honing in on a way I'd like to dress now, and what kinds of pieces I'd like to own.  I see a way forward and am excited to be shopping (which is not necessarily a good thing, lol) and trying on new things. I saw a dietitian about a month ago, and have been following a completely new way of eating which has helped me lose some weight (will be a long process but that's ok  - I've got about 15 more lbs to go ) and has helped me feel better about my appearance. All of that of course makes clothing more interesting again.

    I know I've said this before here on the forum, but I truly feel like a dramatic change has happened in fashion as a whole,  and in trends and  styles at the consumer level.  It's a lot for many of us ( big wide jeans and long pants and cropped tops don't look good on us all ) but it's a very interesting time with a lot of options.  Like you, I've experience a dramatic change in my work environment, and what  I buy needs to cover more roles.  

    I have lots of clothes too, and a LOT of footwear, and I'm having to give myself permission to donate more than I would normally in order to make room for the new look I'm striving for.   That new look though will require far fewer pieces - I hope. But I'm waving goodbye to a LOT of older summer clothes that no longer fit the bill.

  • Angie replied 7 months ago

    Suz, three years since the start of the pandemic, and life normalizing to almost what it was pre-pandemic - it's no wonder you feel like a semi style renewal! As LJP correctly points out, fashion has changed quite a bit the last three years, and we seem to want to catch up to a point that makes us feel fab. Signature style in place, but change is desired. All of that at play...... and here you are in the midst of a larger refresh than expected :) 

    Personally, I DESPERATELY want CHANGE, and made it my word for the year. My hair is my most dramatic change - and it's still changing....

    Like Irina, - and you, Suz - I am trendy with my jeans and pants. That's the category in my wardrobe with the highest churn, and what I refresh the most frequently. 

    I refresh my footwear capsule frequently too - but not because I am trendy with my shoes. Far from it! I am very set in my ways with shoes. I wear what I wear, and that's it. But I am hard on shoes because I walk a lot, so they wear out fast. 

    I've refreshed my pool-beach-resort capsule this year because I'm going to Greece in Sept. That I haven't done since 2017! It's been fun to focus on that for change, and I've enjoyed it immensely.

    As for tops and knitwear, they don't get as much of a regular refresh. I am also quite set in my ways with tops, but make sure they look current with my trendy bottoms. That said, I am in top and knitwear heaven the last few years because they are SHORTER! I love that. 

    Dresses are being refreshed more vigorously this year because many were passed on, and I'm buying up midis before they are once again in short supply. Those above the knee lengths are creeping in faster than I expected. 

    Bags, coats, jackets, skirts, and jewellery are refreshed the least frequently.

  • LaPed replied 7 months ago

    It's so fun watching folks on the forum try out new style directions! Your recent try-on/shopping posts have been inspirational and educational for me. 

    I'm not sure I'm in the midst of a style shift, more a settling-in? A lot of current trends -- baggy/slouchy pants, shorter tops, a generally sporty/utilitarian vibe -- are so in line with my existing wardrobe that I'm just leaning into it. It's refreshing and liberating to no longer be fighting certain aspects of my style and body that weren't "in line" with previous trends: big thighs and calves that never fit into skinnies; hair with a natural center part (lol); a refusal to wear pointy shoes or heels; a love of all things slightly RATE and undone. I already have "my" version of many of the trends in circulation these days (barrel legs--check; wide legs--check; crop tops--check; belt bag--check).

    I love the eclecticism of the current style moment. I no longer beat myself up about not having a perfectly streamlined, all-neutral, minimalist wardrobe. I don't beat myself up about wearing outfits that are 50% gear. The woman in front of me in line at the coffee shop today was wearing Hoka trail runners and a batik dress and it looked great to my eye. Anything goes! Perhaps my style refresh is simply remixing the things I have more freely: more layering, more high-low, more colours, more patterns. I feel like it's all in the closet already, and I don't need to add anything new to feel current. "It's not what you wear, it's how you wear it," and all that...

  • Runcarla replied 7 months ago

    In the year after retirement (March 2019-2020) my style underwent a renewal as I grew my hair, changed the shape of my specs, and focused on casual/dressy casual clothes and footwear for my new lifestyle.  March 2020 my wardrobe was smallish, but almost 2/3 new.  As you point out, small wardrobes have a higher ‘burn’ rate due to more ‘wears’ - and that was true for my hard working items.  I’m finding 2-5 years is it for everything from clothes to footwear.   I seem to turn over 1/3 of my closet (24-28 items) annually.  

    Earlier this year I edited a few things I had from before I retired.  At the moment I have 7 garments from 2019 or earlier, and 1 pair of shoes.  Accessories (bags, scarves, a belt) have fared better, but even my beloved LePliage bags are showing wear at the corners!  

    Like you, and others on the forum, I’m doing a style refresh.  Time to add some colour, some pretty, and a bit of dressy.  

  • Dee replied 7 months ago

    I am feeling the same way as you Suz, but I have no idea what to label what I’m doing currently with my wardrobe beyond feeling a strong need to shift my silhouette to something more relaxed and looser now. It feels liberating not having such a confining fit anymore but I’m also not doing anything oversized, that’s just not me either.

    I suppose the pandemic may have played some sort of role in this shift, but I really think aging and this phase of life maybe part of it as well. Besides, I do like changing things up every once in a while, its just plain fun. 

  • Jaime replied 7 months ago

    I am joining the bandwagon too Suz. I am not sure what it is - my lifestyle and needs are more or less the same, but I am seeing myself differently lately and thus finding some of my usual fall backs less satisfying. I was also trying to figure out the right word - maybe reconsideration, which might lead to renewal? Anyway, I am still at the phase where I am figuring out what I no longer like, but will follow your progress (and musings!) with great interest.

  • Suz replied 7 months ago

    I was in the midst of a long response when my computer crashed! Back soon to answer! 

  • Jessikams replied 7 months ago

    I am loving this discussion. So curious to hear more! What is motivating Angie’s desire for change? What new vision of self are you aiming for Suz? And LaPed, show us more about how your style preferences are meshing with the fashion zeitgeist!

    I am in the midst of several simultaneous big life changes and I notice in terms of fashion that I want to RESPECT myself more. Treat myself like an adult boss lady. Higher quality. Less cheap trash. But still edgy and fun. I’m at a new place in life and I’m feeling unapologetic about wanting to declare it. We’ll see how it evolves!

  • Jenni NZ replied 7 months ago

    Well just to be contrary I am not feeling any style change at all, at all! I’m leaning into what I like more than ever- which is 80s not 90s overall.
    Don’t know what’s going on with most of you? Is it because I went out to work throughout the pandemic?

  • Staysfit replied 7 months ago

    Suz, I’m heading towards a wardrobe “replenishment” more than anything else.  The number of items in my closet has dwindled to a point where I need to add back some color.  Like you, I remain content with my personal style. However, I am wearing the clothes in my closet on repeat. Many look tired and worn.  I have started an edit to help determine where there are gaps and what needs replacement.  Managing my wardrobe is a continual learning process for me.  I have decreased churn over time as well as the size of my wardrobe.  Understanding the frequency of wardrobe item replacements and number purchased per year is harder for me to quantify. My best guess is that I purchase more when the current styles and colors align with my personal aesthetic and purchase less when they do not.  

  • Janet replied 7 months ago

    Interesting discussion and I’ve only had moments to skim, so I’ll be back to read and consider more thoroughly.

    Personally, I’ve only had a thorough renewal of wardrobe after significant size change, which coincided with my starting running and a more active life, including going to work at a studio outside my home — that was over a decade ago. That was a time of a lot of experimenting, as I had just discovered YLF and other fashion blogs, and I went down a lot of style avenues that did not ultimately feel authentic to me.

    My subsequent refreshes have been more along seasonal lines or in certain categories — footwear, swimwear (just in the last month), denim, etc. Those were mostly in response to my changing needs or tastes, and some to keep current. The idea of a full overhaul feels excessive to me, because my wardrobe is pretty sizable and I tend to like most of my clothes for a long while.

    I may be on the cusp of a refresh due to size, as I have slowly and steadily lost a bit of extra fluff, and am about halfway to my goal. I’ll see how it all shakes out before doing anything drastic.

  • gryffin replied 7 months ago

    Suz - for me it's about availability to a certain extent.  With the advent of wider bottoms, shorter jackets are more prevalent than long.  So I've shifted, from predominantly sleek belted tunics and long jackets for work, for slender pants, belts and shorter blazers.  I added in some great theory cropped dress pants, duplicated the VB scuba pants in blk/navy.  I haven't worn skirts in years but just bought 3 to try them out with my shorter blazers for more variety.  Also a few slim fitted VB double breasted jackets for the scuba pants are a new updated look for me.  I have not loved the trends for the most part - I don't wear wide bottoms or puddle pants, I don't wear slip dresses (too bare), I don't wear sneakers except for working out, yada yada.  But I think my sea change is to really focus on my wardrobe holes and to do my own thing.  I've been buying significantly less since the end of last year and typically practical, needed duplication or for holes.  I'd like to weed out and simplify and just to stay in my own head, my own comfort zone and do my own thing.  I still get wantsies when I see all the great stuff everyone else is buying but I'm better able to resist it, to celebrate and appreciate I love it for someone else but it's not me.  I could use a couple more slim cropped dress pants and layering tops.  No blazers have been calling me, they usually come in spurts and I have a nice selection of booties.  Slim clam diggers are a want to replace an old long donated shredded denim pair but I'm back to what I've always loved and always worked just the new evolution.  Interested to see where everyone else's journey takes them - the adventure continues....

  • LJP replied 7 months ago

    Jenni- I worked outside of the house for the entire pandemic.  I would hazard a guess that it's about differing levels of interest in moving forward with fashion.

  • Olive Green replied 7 months ago

    What? You sent back the tinfoil jeans? I was prepared to live vicariously through your daring and really fun choices! 
    Still happily sighing over the plaid tulle….
    I think colour is the refresh I needed. Closet went from earthy and muted to the brighter autumn colours that make me happy. Orange and deep pink with the green and taupe neutrals, warm and cool contrasting.  Bit of gray, no black…gold, not silver. 
    After years of letting the gray hair be gray hair, just stripped all the remaining colour and it is a white pixie now. It is still utilitarian, but more striking with my colouring and year round outdoor tan. 
    I think back to a Visible Monday challenge some bloggers issued a few years back. Choosing to be visible outside of public facing roles is a new thing. Dressing for me rather than a role is a shift. 

  • RobinF replied 7 months ago

    So many good points here and so much to think about!

    I think I am more of a refresher - gradual changes, a few items at a time. I am also a late adopter of styles so I need to see them on real people for a while before I feel the urge to try them myself. That is kind of where I am now with the wider pants. But bottoms are not my trendy item, that is probably shoes.

    I have felt off with my style for a while, most likely because of letting my hair go gray and the feeling that I have to compensate in other ways. Along with that is this big cultural style shift and all of a sudden I don't like any of my clothes but also don't know what I do like. 

  • salt-sea replied 7 months ago

    Interesting and thought-provoking reflection. I feel like after a couple of years of feeling stuck, I am undergoing a style renewal of sorts. A huge part of it relates to day-to-day routine; I went from, pre-pandemic:

    • 4-5 days/week in the office - business casual
    • early morning pre-work exercise
    • business travel 1-2x/month - business formal/business casual

     to this:

    • a remote-work situation, with more casual Zoom attire expectations
    • exercise fit into my daily schedule (no more 5am alarms!)
    • no business travel
    • having a dog, entailing daily walks and hikes
    • more light gardening + yard work, also fit in around my schedule

    This shift has led to a sort of unsatisfactory wearing of workout gear and jeans and sweatshirts much of the time. Which is fine, but leaves me feeling like I don't know how to dress up anymore.

    I'm also changing jobs in the near future, so I am uncertain what my new work wardrobe needs will be. Could be the same, could be closer to my previous situation. In any case many of the outfits I wore 4 years ago look dated to me right now.

    Another big factor is what I found available; I love slouchy trousers and wide legged pants, and felt as though I could hardly find them for years. Now that they are so easy to find (along with full-length pants at last), I'm replenishing my wardrobe. I also did a color analysis, and found that really helpful for ruling out a lot of choices when I shop, particularly for tops. I still need to get a few more tops, as the looser bottom silhouette doesn't work as well with all my favorite long-over-lean oversized tops. Shoes are another story; I have plenty of sneakers and sandals and a couple of great boots, but want to find some super comfortable loafers and maybe some mary jane squarish ballet flats.

    I have a pretty large wardrobe and don't seem to wear through my clothes quickly, and I'm loathe to part with much of it - yet. So what I'm doing for now is assembling a smallish (for me) spring 'capsule' of things and putting that in the foremost part of my closet, and putting the blazers and out-of-circulation stuff in the back of the closet, and in some totes out of the way. Hopefully that will let me explore more outfits with a smaller number of pieces, and make better weeding-out decisions in a few months.

  • Star replied 7 months ago

    My style preferences have been evolving over the last year or two.    Not due to trend changes but mostly due to my hair going silver.   RobinF I have had the opposite outcome - my style was feeling more and more off with my dyed hair, which in recent years did not match my cool skin tone and eyes.   I always had a quirky/edgy leaning to my more RATE tomboy-ish style.   Now the silver hair is calling for a more classic style, still a bit edgy, but even a bit preppy (What!!).   I have been doing '1 in,2 out' over the last year when I thrift and slowly my large wardrobe is starting to reflect the pieces I am more attracted to now.   I think I can call it a Renewal, albeit a very long winded one.

  • Star replied 7 months ago

    Salt-sea I also find making a seasonal capsule from my large wardrobe works better for me.  It is less overwhelming and leads to better outfit creation for me.  If I use my entire wardrobe I have too many options and when I finally create an outfit I really feel good in it is way too late in the season to repeat or replicate.

  • Irina replied 7 months ago

    Well, I have to clarify - I don’t feel like I need a refresh at the moment. I’m staying the course. So, am I with Jenni NZ on this? :)
    I wanted to go bolder with my style in 2021 after buying many pieces from the Uniqlo and Jil Sander collab. That was a push I needed. I’ve been experimenting more, making choices outside of my comfort zone like buying oversized dresses, a skirt or some orange pieces. 

    I think we all have different approach to change. Some find comfort in familiar and other feel stagnant. For me, change is good. I don’t advocate discarding one’s entire wardrobe for the sake of change, it should happen more organically. But I personally need a room to grow once in a while. 

  • salt-sea replied 7 months ago

    That's a great point, Star - by the time you create an outfit it's too late in the season to get the most out of it. I've been using this Cluster template from The Vivienne Files, and it's helped me see what's missing, and what I'm over-including. It sort of forces me to create a couple of outfits from each item, too.

  • Star replied 7 months ago

    Salt-sea I also find the templates from The Vivienne Files super useful.

  • SarahD8 replied 7 months ago

    I feel that I’m undergoing a bit of a style dormancy. It will be interesting to see what happens when those new shoots do start pushing through!

  • ChristelJ replied 7 months ago

    Fascinating thread!

    My latest style renewal was 8 years ago. I moved across the country from an urban to a rural area and a different culture, and different climate. I retired from an office job. I got married. I had major health issues and drastic weight shift. There was a lot of trial and error, and confusion. Mistakes were made.

    I have been slowly absorbing all that and doing small refreshes every few months since then, tweaking and tweaking to get more comfortable. Of course the pandemic, my own aging, and the fabulous advent of more casual footwear, tech fabrics, gleeful juxtapositions, and just more license to DYOT in fashion have also occurred along the way. And I found YLF!

    To keep my wardrobe flexible now that I realize change is actually the constant in life, I find I embrace my life-long love of certain core elements such as pretty patterns, and refresh by changing lengths, widths, and colors once in a while. On top of that, a craving for variety and a thrifting hobby keeps me in a state of frequent random superficial refreshing. It's all so much fun!

  • slim cat replied 7 months ago

    I do gradual changes in wardrobe. One of the reasons is the absence of  the things I prefer in my price point and sizes - namely low rise in pants or jeans and rayon/cotton/modal in fabrication. The change in rises was discussed many times but the reality is so that you can find some jeans but will have trouble finding low rise trousers/pants in wide leg or relaxed style. 
    I did succeed in finding a bit more jackets/toppers with relaxed style but it was tricky - some of them look clownish on my straight frame.

    The shift to more loose/relaxed style is happening but slow and with some difficulties so major wardrobe changes just not really possible at this point.

  • Runcarla replied 7 months ago

    I really like what Irina articulated about experimentation and pushing her comfort zone.  


    Thinking about the psychology of all this, I wonder if after a period of hunkering down in survival mode due to the pandemic and the difficulties so many of us have been experiencing, that we want to disassociate with the ‘before’ times and celebrate our survival?  Go out and be ‘seen’ to have made it through to the other side, as it were?  Even if dressing for ourselves…

  • Carol replied 7 months ago

    I went through my closet yesterday, and although the closet 101 advice is to get rid of stuff that doesn't fit, I found myself sectioning off a few too-small things to the side. Goes against decluttering wisdom, but we'll see if I drop a few pounds in the mean time. 

  • Star replied 7 months ago

    Carol I never get rid of clothes because they don't fit one size up or one size down as my weight fluctuates and their time always comes around.

  • rachylou replied 7 months ago

    I came here during a whole rennovation, but it took a long time. Right now I feel very settled and even refreshes have slowed way down. A lot of everything was driven by the fact that I was a contractor and changed locations evey couple of years. Now I’m totally devoted to the bakery. I think what’s really coming down the road is a closet purge. I don’t need any fancy clothes tbh.

  • lyn67 replied 7 months ago

    Will have to reflect on the thread. I try to buy continuously and always true to my style-replacing old items with better the same kind or other colors, better fabrics or more interesting  textures/prints- but when midi/maxis/wide legs/crops entered I was happy like a clam!
    But whaaat????  Will fashion go back to limited availability of some items ref. color, lengths, cuts-for each season again????
    I thought fashion became more inclusive so not going back to where I struggled findig my midi lengths (for coats, skirts, dresses even  blazers&tops) wider legs, fluid cuts +substantial chunkier shoes and some colors for decades, or so!!! I'm feeling devastated to hear from Angie that shorter lengths  are comming back more violently than expected...:-(((.

  • Suz replied 7 months ago

    I am so sorry it is taking me so long to respond! I did write up a response last night that the computer ate. And now I am rushing! But I will be back later today, I promise. Have appreciated every comment so far! 

  • Suz replied 7 months ago

    First, my apologies for the delayed response. I wrote a long note last night that disappeared into the ether when my computer crashed. And then today I was on the go nonstop. I have read and appreciated every response!

    Suntiger — I think if you have a smaller wardrobe and a changing lifestyle, a substantial renewal every few years makes sense. The trouble is, so many of us are poised between wanting to be environmentally aware and unwasteful and also wanting to have fun with fashion — and to be practical for whatever lifestyle changes we might have undergone. It is complicated!

    I think maybe the person you are referring to was the one who did an analysis back when I was doing a full style renewal. Not sure she is still here — and I’m not in need of a full renewal, anyway — more like an update.

    Irina, it’s so interesting what you say about pants cut/ length being the driver for major refreshes in your case. I think you (and Angie) are onto something with that because for me, trends happen (mostly) on the bottom.

    Lisa, it would be hard to miss my endless posts, LOL! And you ask a really good question, one that I’ve enjoyed reading others’ answers to, in this thread.

    I think in my case, a couple of factors are at play.

    1. Coming out of pandemic lockdown mode. Yes, we are still in a pandemic. But i’m out in the world more. I know, for example, that I will be classroom teaching and Zoom teaching in the fall — two distinct public facing situations to dress for. I also hope to travel a bit, or at least dream of travelling. No plans yet because family members have upcoming surgeries that need to be worked around, as well as my own work obligations. But…a girl can dream. ;)
    2. Trends in the past five years or so have largely not been to my favour — earth tones, ditsy prints, slip dresses, etc. This meant my purchasing over the past half decade tended to be more in the “replacement essentials” category, with the odd wild card from a thrift expedition. And of course also a lot of gear.
    3. Stuff has worn out all at once — I’m talking summer tops, shorts, jeans, sandals, sneakers…stuff I need.
    4. As Angie says, I’m “trendy on the bottom” and again, for the past five years the bottoms have not worked so well on me or at least I could not find the ones that did, so I bought and re-bought the same kinds of item (or literally the same item) and ended up feeling bored of it.

    I am so excited to hear about your style renewal and I can’t wait to see how it develops. It’s wonderful that you are feeling more optimistic about your health and eating patterns.

    I think you are right that fashion has changed enormously over the past few years and we might have felt like we were asleep as it happened because, I mean, why buy if you have nowhere to go? But now we need to make the shift. I really appreciate your comment about giving yourself permission to donate more than might be typical. I am wrestling with that and am going to try to take the same approach.

    Angie, you are so, so right about the need for change! And motion! And I appreciate your breakdown — what has needed a big update and what is more or less tickety-boo (if you can find the right replacement items for worn favourites.) I especially appreciate the warning about hem lengths. Summer dresses might be a stock-up item for me this year, too, because however “trendy on the bottom” I am, I won’t be wearing minis or hot pants any time soon. ;)

    LaPed, I would love to see some photos of your current style and how you are leaning in. I can envision it based on your Finds and also some earlier photos, but I love the sounds of confidence in your voice, and of course as someone who has to live in gear or gear-like outfits a lot of the time, I would also value the inspiration!

    Carla, I so remember your big renewal!! You aced it, and your style gets more and more honed in every year. I do think with a smaller wardrobe it’s necessary to refresh more vigorously, more often — things get worn looking and tired. But that can be a good thing — if you can find the right replacements and evolvers.

    Dee, I can’t wait to see more of your new, more relaxed outfits. I think you are 100% right about the pandemic playing a big role in all this….we were stuck, mentally, emotionally, and to a large degree also physically. We need more room to move now!

    Jaime, I can’t wait to see your new direction! I’m curious to know what’s not working any more, and where you are going. You always look fantastic in the photos you post. But any shifts you might be making will be inspirational, I know! So show us! :)

  • Suz replied 7 months ago

    Jessikams, I’ve noticed your new determination to treat yourself like a real grown up! And I love it. You will never not be sassy and edgy in your stye — it’s always going to be part of your signature — but now you will find ways to have fun that also give you a certain powerful presence in the world.

    I don’t think I’m aiming for a new version of self so much as updating my closet to demonstrate that I’m connected in some way with what is happening and enjoying the fun of fashion!

    Jenni, it might have something to do with your having worked outside the home throughout the pandemic — although others also did. I think it might be more related to your values and goals — you came to YLF looking to refine your style and reduce the size of your closet and your consumption while still enjoying fashion. You have finally got the closet down to a manageable size and are purchasing mindfully, and you are enjoying this process and leaning into your style preferences and persona. Carry on!! You have never looked better.

    I came to. YLF from the opposite position — no clothes (literally!) and I had to build up and then refine a wardrobe. I did a great job on this, if I do say so myself. But then I feel I stagnated a bit during the pandemic. Not that I made no purchases — on the contrary — I continued to buy, though considerably less, apart from needed gear. But style wise I did not evolve, and that’s important to me. So on I go, on my own path. :)

    Staysfit, I love that word replenishment. And it is so instructive and permission-giving to me. I remember you once had a very large (and gorgeous!!) wardrobe. And then, I guess, you whittled it down due to lifestyle/ workplace shifts and now you have discovered that smaller closets need more frequent updating…it is an ever-evolving process. I can’t wait to see which direction you go as we move into a new season. Your purchases are always so well thought out and so beautiful! And you have honed your style to such a high degree already…I will enjoy seeing the next phase!

    Janet, you have a fabulous closet full of every kind of wonderful piece imaginable — from the wild and edgy to the practical down to earth gear -type stuff. I love your clothes and especially love how well they work for you! Congrats on moving along on your weight loss goals. It’s fun to reacquaint ourselves with old favourites when that happens.

    gryffin, I hear you. Strike while the iron is hot! Especially for those with as well defined a style as your own, it makes so many kinds of sense. And you are buying quality. That kind of quality does not date — the unique design details, even if subtle, make the item so, so loveable and often practical, as well, and really pay off, down the line.

    OliveGreen, LOL. Thanks for that vote of confidence. I promise you, I’ll find the right pair at some point…

    I love the sounds of your palette and especially with your newly white pixie — I would love to see this! The warm brights with white hair must be stunning!

    Robin, I hear you on the hair…it can be tricky, right? You want to let it all be natural, but depending on what your natural colouring was, the letting in of the grey can feel like a fading out rather than a celebration. I’m strongly in favour of very strong cuts for greying or greyed hair. It makes a huge difference.

    But then, my own experience was a bit more like Star’s — my colouring/ style felt “off” with my dyed hair, which was too warm no matter what for my now cooler complexion, and going grey solved that problem and let me focus on making my hair a feature rather than a bug.

    Salt-sea — wow, that is a lot of change you are / have been negotiating! I really like your idea of playing with seasonal capsules. Especially if your life roles are in flux, it can be difficult to decide what to let go of, so if you concentrate on what you want to wear now and store the rest, it eases decision fatigue. Works if you have the storage space!

    Star, I love that phrase — a long-winded renewal! It’s like a big exhale, inhale. With a pause at each!

    Irina, I think your style is already quite fashion-forward - to the extent that a person has avant garde leanings, they always look modern, it seems to me. I am still waiting to grow up into this. I probably never will, entirely, but a girl can hope and dream…or maybe just acknowledge it’s her shadow style???

    SarahDB — you had a big style renewal last summer and experimented with new to you silhouettes and styles that remain current. So no wonder you are watching and waiting!

    ChristelJ — “mistakes were made.” Oh, how I relate to that! I still make them, though fewer than I once did. But when you describe the amount of change you were going through — no wonder!!!! It sounds as if you are in a good place now, though — having fun!

    Slimcat — you are so right — it is possible to get jeans but much harder to get trousers in a lower rise. I am sure that will shift over the next year or two. I just hope they keep all rises in play so everyone can find a fit that works! And I understand the challenges of going oversized when one is small and straight-shaped. I have to be so, so careful with these items and it requires a level of thought (and experimentation and tryons) that more classic shapes do not require.

    Carla, I agree about the psychology of it all. We want to be out there! Even the introverts amongst us!

    Carol, hanging onto stuff that you still love is important, too — no point tossing it if you might wear it agqin and enjoy it!

    Rachy, LOL . A renovation sounds right for my entry, too. Or a build. But I hear you on the bakery. You need clothes that work for work and clothes that work for fun — and not a lot else.

    Lyn, if midis disappear I will be very very sad, too!! I hope that will not happen. If it does, I’ll be in pants all the time!

  • Sal replied 7 months ago

    What a great thread with lots of thought provoking comments.

    I do agree Suz that when trends are in your favour it is easier to be adventurous - and when they are not - it can be a lot of repetition or replacement - and for me - some churn.  I recall lots of tunics and leggings in the 00 years- very few of them worked (they looked cute on other people).  And then skinny jeans and ballet flats with long tops in black and grey - it never suited me despite trying and trying. 

    Whereas earthy tones, blazers, midi dresses, straighter and cropped pants - a very very natural easy fit for me.

    I have added 10 items this year - and a lot in the essential replacement or gear category - and in fact over the last 12 months not a lot of statements at all.  I am adding less statements and more essentials - but I think my statements are better/more me.  I feel confident in my style.

    So I think 2023 will be a few replacements- more of a refresh.  I am focussing on more practical pieces into this winter - and I don't need much.  Many of them have been replacements for worn pieces.

    Lilac merino sweatshirt - replacing a lost lilac merino top
    Black merino top - replacing a worn out black cotton top
    Black joggers - updating older black joggers
    Chocolate wide leg - replacing black wide leg
    Denim shorts - replacing white denim shorts
    Black blazer - replacing worn out black blazer.......

    In fact the only things since spring 22 that are not replacements are below and I don't feel these are a change in my style but more of a refresh (maybe the lilac dress is a bit of an update).

  • Zaeobi replied 7 months ago

    Some great discussion going on here... I can see parts of myself in almost all of the comments, funnily enough!

    I actually can't remember the last time I had a big, intentional style renewal! I think that might be why I felt the need to come up with a completely new moniker this year - it feels like I've spent years limping, picking up pieces of how I want to dress & trying to slot them into how I'm 'expected' to dress, without *consciously* admitting/ realising that the entire jigsaw puzzle has changed together (my climate/ continent, health, job/ industry - & lifestyle/ societal expectations!)

    Things are finally starting to click in some places but I'm still confused on how to manifest my overall style direction - I think being forced to spend a lot of time at home since the 2019 protests is contributing to my need for a drastic overhaul (as others have cited the pandemic) but also the fact that many of the upcoming trends just don't appeal to me (I think you'll agree that I'm neither 90s grunge, 2000s bubblegum Y2K nor 2010s indie sleaze - all predicted trends, lol)...

    Not sure if this explanation makes sense but I feel I almost became a little sartorially complacent these past few years, seeing there were so many options that *could* work within my old puzzle parameters (e.g. maxi lengths, cropped tops, longer jackets, blouson/ puffy sleeves). But now that it looks like I may have to return to primarily secondhand/ custom clothing (I switched to mostly online shopping since the last few years in HK), I'm sartorially panicking a little inside - will my style direction withstand these issues in retail availability? What even *IS* my style direction anymore, lol?

    TL;DR I think I'm in dire need of a style refresh (but I don't want to get rid of *everything*) lol, so you all aren't alone!

  • Suz replied 7 months ago

    Sal, it seems to me your style is in a really good place -- better than ever -- so it makes sense to me that you would need a more minor refresh. I do think we need something every season -- like Jenn's 5 piece idea -- and you have more or less that, above, in the non-replacement category. I really like your thoughtfulness, though, about what is to count as replacement, e.g. brown pants for black, and different fabrications in some cases even if colour remains the same. You've also bought some standout pieces (palazzo pants, coat, dresses) in the past year that convey so much and are entirely congruent with your style aspirations. I think when we find those key pieces, whatever they are, we can be content with more replacement items to fill in gaps. But eventually they wear out, and then we go in search for our new style lynchpins....

    Zaeobi, it makes sense that you'd identify with different comments here. Your situation was unique in the sense that you already experienced some shutdown even before covid! And, as you say -- so many variables -- new climate, work conditions, etc. I hope you'll be able to work out the shopping situation so you can continue to get great items as you have in the past few years. I do think your urge for a new moniker is exactly the cue that your style. is going somewhere -- even my own updated moniker signalled that, in retrospect. So I am eager to see where this beautiful bird or paradise lands! 

  • Angie replied 7 months ago

    Suz, you are gracious to reply to comments made on your thread with such heart and energy!

    FWIW, your style is much about this:

    "trendy bottoms and the rest will follow".

    When your bottoms weren't right in the adequately on trend sense, things felt off - and you felt stuck. It was tricky to troubleshoot in the pandemic for understandable reasons. Especially since silhouette and proportional changes were not subtle! But look at how things slotted into place after you successfully started refreshing your jeans and pants capsule! They were the catalyst for change. 

    I get this because the trendy component of my style flows from my bottoms too. For others it flows from tops, toppers, shoes, dresses, skirts, accessories - some, or all of the above.

  • Suz replied 7 months ago

    Angie, thanks! I have enjoyed people's comments and thoughts and it is fun to reflect on each person's style journey. 

    You are so right about everything flowing from the bottom up! It definitely seems to be the case for me! 

  • Nomad replied 7 months ago

    What a fun topic! I love seeing everyone's thoughts.

    I feel like I'm on the cusp of a renewal, though I suspect it'll be a bit of a reversion, too. I'm finding myself drawn to similar looks and style personas that I've always loved, but that I've drifted away from. My "ideal" looks a little different than it used to, given age and (I hope) a more discerning eye, but the core of it is still intact.

    Since the pandemic, I'm feeling an increased desire for practicality in fashion. My weight has shifted... not drastically but enough to make some things just a bit too snug. I also moved out of a management job and back to just being in charge of myself, at least for now, so I feel less of a need to project that kind of authority through my clothing. I also bought some of my current clothes because they were what was easily available, fit well, and I liked them in the abstract, but they aren't really *me* (and some no longer fit quite so well anyway). So it seems like an opportune time for a renewal all around. :)

  • Suz replied 7 months ago

    Nomad, it definitely sounds like it's time for a renewal. I think during the pandemic a lot of us had slightly or drastically different needs from usual and the shopping was pretty awful for the first two years, even online. So there is take what you can get when there is very little out there....

  • Jenni NZ replied 7 months ago

    Suz, as Angie says, thank you for your gracious responses.

  • Bijou replied 7 months ago

    Suz, you have raised an interesting question and it has been fun reading the responses and also to take time for some self-reflection. Big changes in my style have occurred around key life changes - entering the workforce, becoming a mother, changes in my employment. 

    My style goals are for fun and dressy clothing, that does not change. How I dress resets to be practical for what I am doing. I have found that since 2020, my style has evolved because I have been working from home and have far less use for business suits. Instead of mourning the loss of having such a formal wardrobe, I have tried to use this as an opportunity to stretch my style and invest in some wildcard items that I truly love. I'm trying to be practical, but only to a certain extent because I love and enjoy fashion. If I need a raincoat, I want it to be fun, make a statement and feel fab when I wear it.... having everyday items that spark joy and are personal to me are where I see my wardrobe going. I am becoming far stricter about what I buy near enough is no longer good enough.

  • Helena replied 7 months ago

    This is such an interesting discussion! Building on points already made, I would add two thoughts - one is that every 10 years or so there is a bit of a sea change in fashion, but as others have pointed out, 2020 was pandemic year so that messed with the timeline, so to speak and now many of us (me!) are trying to hit fast-forward in order to catch up with the movement of things.

    But the other big thing that's different with the 20s is the explosive influence of social media. Whereas in 2010, I would go to the shops and see the mannequins all of a sudden styled in, say, skinny jeans and blousey tops so it was easy to identify the 'new sihouette', now the shops are far less clear in their direction as they try to pander to a million and one voices saying what's what. It's probably good ultimately - no rules and something for everyone - but it's significantly harder to navigate if one is interested in capturing the sort-of mainstream 'current look' of the times to some extent ... if that makes any sense?

    Although I know lots of people don't follow influencers per se, like trends, they are part of the ecosystem now so virtually impossible to escape!

  • LJP replied 7 months ago

    Good point , Helena .

  • unfrumped replied 7 months ago

    Really enjoy this.

    First- renewal vs refresh may be too much for me to define at this point because I gradually did a version of “renewal “ since retiring 3 years ago.
    Removing more professional- looking items, having to be more limited in footwear as feet were rebelling, hence some silhouettes didn’t work with my footwear. Not being in cold hospital environment & we keep our home warmer in summer so less need for warmer fabrics unless easy care. Then yep, some figure- shape changes and since not needing a professional wardrobe, no need to replace/ replenish with similar things or “ refresh” with new styles for that environment.

    Except, the pandemic hit immediately so I feel my renewal has been “ stunted renewal”. I did not get to start activities I had planned nor experiment with “ style persona” to fit a new but “ normal” lifestyle.

    I DID buy a number of new, mostly very casual things and have tried to see the learning/ experimenting I got from that.

    Also recently had cataract surgery & will also like wear glasses for some activities , but not the same activities as before.
    So colors look much different, will have a glasses style to factor in. I put most clothing purchases on hold while going through all this because I anticipated these many “ visual “ changes might influence my choices.

    All in all, I think I’m heading for a RENEWAL if that does not have to mean a complete departure from some longtime core preferences.

    Socially, I have an environmental norm that is very casual and comfort- practical, not at all trendy or even polished. And loose! I like things more put- together and tailored but ALSO now want clothing to be more easy- care and comfortable. Yet I really do not at all like to stand out dramatically or appear overdressed. Instead I like to embrace the challenge of “ threading the needle “ to create outfits that give me that something I need but in more subtle way.

    Now, it’s true that I might still appear overdressed to others! Because I am not asking a group, hey, what are you thinking about me? So it’s more my internal dialogue that my outfit is comfortable and practical even if different.

  • Suz replied 7 months ago

    Unfrumped, you had a ton of changes to deal with and I really relate to your point about a stagnated renewal -- it's awfully hard to buy for the new lifestyle when the new lifestyle all of a sudden becomes the imaginary new lifestyle! But I'm sure you are making thoughtful progress. 

    Helena, that's a really good point. Social media has totally changed the landscape, just as blogs did fifteen or twenty years ago...and whether we follow influencers or not we will be seeing those looks on the street, especially on the young kids! I guess that might be part of what made fashion feel difficult to navigate during the pandemic, to the point where some of us more or less put things on pause. 

    Bijou, I so admire the way you have approached your new style; it's an inspiration. It is not easy to leave more tailored and dressier looks behind but you have found a way to ensure that you aren't losing track of what really matters to you. I think we are similar in our desire for a practical style that still meets some aesthetic priorities (though our practical needs differ, due to climate). It can be a real challenge but you are lighting the way! 

  • Barbara Diane replied 7 months ago

    I’m in an refresh mode. I’ve lost weight and some of my previously liked/loved items fit again. I’ve also purchased new items. I’m having fun making new combinations. But my core style has a clear through line through my whole life.

  • Ket replied 7 months ago

    Such a great post, Suz!!

    In 2011 I consulted with an image consultant and went through a massive style renewal. I went from very frumpy and shapeless wardrobe (that had no style or direction whatsoever) to exploring a lot of styles and finding a space that felt like me. The transformation was exhilarating and inspiring.

    I really haven’t changed much since then. Except 3 years ago when the mold toxicity began. And then I was kind of forced into another style renewal/refresh of sorts. Some things have remained, and some have changed simple because they had too. But mostly I feel the core of my style is still intact. There is a sensual and exotic quality that seems to underlay everything.

    All this year I’ve actually been wondering, will anything change after mold treatment the next 6-12 months?As I’m aging as a mother will things change due to lifestyle and what will that look like?? It feels curious and scary at the same time. I’m not someone to default to certain styles just because of age. But I’m over high heels for the most part. (Sadly sadly sadly!!!! I love heels but my body does not.) I also realized my days of shopping in the juniors department have run their course. I’m nearly 40, still 5’10 and very curvy, and I’ve matured into my body, age, and style more. Juniors clothing no longer serves me, unless it’s the odd fab find that doesn’t scream “juniors department.”

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