What I learned from (almost) a month of photos: Thanks, Krista!

A while ago, Krista wrote a terrific post about what she learned from tracking her WIWs for 100 days. http://youlookfab.com/welookfa.....s-and-long

Well, trust an educator to teach me. Because I had been on the forum for well over a year and it still hadn't occurred to me to keep track of my outfits on a daily basis. Partly because I didn't have a tripod and getting the pics was sometimes tricky. But partly just because I didn't really understand how the ongoing record could be so incredibly useful.

Krista, thank you for that lesson.

I didn't manage 100 days. But I did manage at least a month's worth of pictures. Most of them I didn't bother to show here, because most were variations (or, I'll be honest, complete repeats) of a very simple formula: pants (usually jeans, often skinnies because this was winter); a pullover; a scarf. Sometimes layered over a button down, sometimes a turtle neck. Pretty basic stuff.

This is my work-at-home wear.

When I'm actually going out into the world, it's a whole different story. I change the silhouette, I like to put on a skirt or dress occasionally, I add a jacket. And of course footwear and a bag and (in winter) a coat.

But at home in winter, comfort rules.

What I learned:

I don't want to wear loungewear while I work at home. But I want my clothes to FUNCTION almost like loungewear.

This means they need to have some give (knits, stretch) or some looseness (slouchy skinnies and BF jeans), and they have to be washable.

Some layering is fine, but I don't seem to want crisp shirts all that often when I am at home. (When I go out, it's another story - that's when the button downs come out!) This is for winter, of course, when cozy is so important in my climate.

I remember another post of CocoLion's a while back that has also been helpful to me. She made a distinction between "casual" and "smart casual" wear. She was putting most of her dollars into the smart casual capsule, when most of her life was lived in the casual capsule. And she wondered whether that was a problem and how to address it.

Well, I think I tend to do something similar. In addition to work-at-home, I also have relatively frequent trips to the city (where I tend to dress a bit differently than at home) and some appearances (ditto). And that's where a lot of my fashion dollars go. I get to "dress up' to my preferred standard in these situations. Some might say, "Well, just dress like that all the time," but it's not as comfortable or as practical as the way I actually dress while I'm at home. When you are curled up on a couch writing (what I do most of the time) you want to be able to, well, curl up!

Naturally, there's considerable overlap between the categories (denim, some sweaters) and I can feel pretty justified spending there in the future, I think.

I can also look for ways to create more overlap, i.e. look for very modern cuts in sweaters so I am wearing not just ANY pullover, but a really smashing one. This will be a goal next year. I have been inspired this week by Raisin's daily WIWs here! Club Monaco, here I come!

And in the meantime, I need to look forward to the summer work-at-home capsule, which is mostly shorts and tops. I think a major goal here will be finding cool, flattering, and fashion forward tops. Not easy to do around here for some reason.

Another really important factor is footwear; the right shoes really make a difference, and I can continue to put some dollars there.

By the way, when you saw my London trip capsule some of you wondered why there were so few casual outfits. Well, the reason is that I dress very casually almost all the time, and for me, getting a bit dressed up is a fun change. Maybe this selection of simple outfits helps to illustrate that.

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

42 Comments

  • shevia replied 7 years ago

    I would not call these outfits simple Suz. Looking at them one after the other I see you have found Suz working at home style and it is fabulous. If someone came to the door (the postman maybe!) you look exactly like an artist working at home. (A word artist not the kind covered with paint or plaster.) You look in control, current, stylish and very you. I love reading your insights, and look forward to the summer version!

  • anne replied 7 years ago

    I like your casual style Suz!! (She says sitting here in old track pants and a polarfleece!) and get what you are saying.

    I am looking for a fab cosy sweater this winter too.

  • Elizabeth P replied 7 years ago

    Love your casual style! And those black patterned pants.... Incredible!

  • Vicki replied 7 years ago

    Inspiring post, Suz, and I can so relate to what you and Krista have done here. I haven't been very good at posting WIW's, although I think about it all the time and have THE photos on my iPhone. You have really examined what works with your life and what you love about yourself when you travel. Spoiler alert: You're the first to know that I booked a trip to London in late May for a seven-day cruise to Spain and France with my brother and mother. So, I'm now looking VERY closely at your wardrobe planning and will look forward to your restaurant experiences. :)

    Now, it's time to go to Raisin's thread and check out her club Monaco inspiration. btw, is that a BR striped sweater in #8? Also, I love the peek-a-boo fuchsia appearing in #3. How cute and clever!

  • Karie replied 7 years ago

    You look very stylish in your casual clothes. You know my favorite is #8, that's those Sam Edelman booties, right? Oh, shoe love, shoe love!

  • catgirl replied 7 years ago

    Suz, I look like a street person when I work from home. Your style is really commendable. It makes me want to get rid of all my awful loungewear and step it up...

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Yes, Karie, those are the SE Pettys that so many of us love, thankfully now stretched out and comfortable for me!

    Vicki, thank you - and I will happily share all details of my trip! You will need fewer warm clothes in your capsule, lucky you - June should be gorgeous there! The sweater in 8 is just some random cashmere sweater I found at Winner's (like TJ Maxx).

    Thanks, Elizabeth, Anne, Shevia - you are all very kind.

  • Ornella replied 7 years ago

    Simple stuff but really good stuff Suz.

    I think we are very lucky to have you who can easily verbalise her thoughts around the challenges of the wardrobe which needs to work in many distinctive set-ups. I actually remember a while back there was a discussion in which you narrowed down what your style needs are and how they differ from one occasion to another. It's been great to follow your style journey in that sense and to watch how you implement what you've learnt, this is something like midway stop to that wardrobe nirvana.

    And you;re right, constancy and consistency in taking photos reveal so much, even if you don't tink so at first. Which brings me to thinking I must get back to the old discipline and WIW routine...

  • Caro in Oz replied 7 years ago

    I love your winter / at home / simple formula. I know what you mean about finding interesting knits or tops etc. I find moving my clothes down a grade works - the new ones become my going out clothes, the older ones are for round the house. This only works for me if the clothes are comfortable to begin with though.

  • replied 7 years ago

    What She(via) said! And Anne stole my outfit. I'm in the clothes from my walk earlier.

    These are gorgeous, casual but oh-so-interesting looking outfits. I'd hardly call any of these sweaters ho-hum. Your boot and belt collection is looking fabulous! But I completely understand why you want to dress up whenever you have the occasion to. Staying at home a lot does that to me. too. I think people that work in an office five days a week swing in the other direction for obvious reasons.

    You look so young, healthy, beautiful and fit and I loved seeing your cool specs again. I hope you have a fantastic trip to London.

  • sarah replied 7 years ago

    We have parallel lives, Suz, in some ways. I'm on sabbatical this spring, so I'm working mostly from home, and living in my skinnies and GAP oversized sweaters, and my BF jeans and loose boxy tops/sweaters. I rarely wear button downs or blazers. But when I go into the office (once or twice a week), I feel that I have to bump it up a notch. I get you, girl.

  • rae replied 7 years ago

    Love it, Suz! I need to do this. They say hindsight is 20/20, but only if you look backward, right? :)

    I have been loving your style transformations this past year. The taupe integration, the leather jackets, the signature colors... awesome. And with your newfound knowledge, it will probably get better and better!

  • amiable replied 7 years ago

    What Shevia and others said - you look wonderfully perfect!

    I have learned so much taking daily photos - isn't it great? Here's to learning that much more and on!

  • CocoLion replied 7 years ago

    I love your every day style and I completely relate to your dialog here. You may as well be talking about my life -- I don't live in a city either, I live in a very casual, down-to-earth part of rural CA.

    I see quite a bit of variety here; I think this is somewhere between casual and smart casual so good job for elevating these looks. I think the key is to purchase things that span casual to smart casual.

    Every year when summer comes around I think: wear more dresses and skirts. Rather than just shorts. So that is my goal for S/S dressing. Oh yes, and I love how the looser fit of bf jeans lets them be worn in hotter weather. Not to mention, bf jeans now feel like loungewear to me, they are that comfortable. However, bf jeans are not as polished as skinnies or straights or bootcuts, that is their drawback. And I'm not one to wear bf jeans with pumps although it occurred to me and I even started a thread about it. I purchased a pair of 4" heels, walked one block in them, and done. Now I have a pair of red suede pumps, still new, that must be passed on.

    I'm with you on the interesting, comfortable tops. I'll let you know when I'm on to something!

  • Nadya replied 7 years ago

    Suz,
    I think you've created a new category: CUTE Casual!

    P.S. I mean that as a compliment - some people don't like the word cute, but it was my instant reaction to your comfy, cozy and attractive outfits.

  • Beth Ann replied 7 years ago

    Suz: All of these are relaxed, but so effortlessly put together! I particularly like 5, 6, and 8!

    I hear you on lifestyle! Last S/S I created a great smart casual wardrobe, but didn't do so well at the MOTG casual days of summer in suburbia.

    I love your plan to focus on fabulous tops and I can't wait to see what you find!

  • kellygirl replied 7 years ago

    I love your casual, work at home capsule. You look comfortable and stylish. I need to remember your exercise the next time I want to buy another blazer--I only wear them when I go out. Most of my time is spent at home, in the car, running errands and every one of your outfits would work perfectly for that! I will say that I have not replaced my loungewear capsule. I have two pairs of sweat bottoms and one hoodie that I wear rarely--I would much rather wear clothes these days! Great post!

  • rachylou replied 7 years ago

    I hear you! I feel a lot better for having over the past year worked on re-balancing my wardrobe. Was overwhelmed with weekend "fun wear" compared to weekday wear.

  • Mo replied 7 years ago

    Again, the coming around to what we actually wear for our real life activities, day in and day out, hits me in the face. Investing in finding looks for those activities only makes sense. But funny enough, we are often all too interested in the fantasy items!
    I like your at home look. I had to find my own when in FL, and it takes some time to balance comfort with feeling pulled together. Well done!

  • lyn67 replied 7 years ago

    I liked to read your musings, Suz and learned a lot from them.
    ...."so I am wearing not just ANY pullover, but a really smashing one" ...this resonates so much with your lifestyle, but it's my goal for the future, too- with it's deeper meaning extended to some other small things, too:-)...
    All your looks are put together in a fab stylish and arty way, they are cohesive and of a strong effect to my eye.
    Congrats for getting closer and closer with your clothes to your fab fashion pesona and lifestyle! Hope you'll have a wonderful trip to London, can't wait to see your posts about!:-)

  • Ingunn replied 7 years ago

    It is always such a pleasure to read your analyses and thoughts on dressing and style. It is not difficult to understand that working from home requires other outfits than going to an office. I think your "home style" is perfect for the occasion, and you look polished and stylish in every single one. Keeping track of what one's actually wearing is interesting and valuable, and I did that for a while myself. YOu've inspired me to start over again - for one think, I need to curb my shopping impulses a little, and by looking more closely on my actual habits and needs, I could probably save a few pennies along the way.

  • Mona replied 7 years ago

    Suz! Suz! Suz! where do I begin.....Every time I read one of your posts, a revelation occurs. BF jeans as loungewear, now why did it not occur to me before? This is brilliant. Since I go to office 5 days a week, I takes a lot of struggle for me to try and dress up in anything other than loungewear ( which seriously needs replacing).
    You look so comfy and sophisticated in your outfits. The fit is spot on everything and I agree with you about Club Monaco. Raisin's WIW are awesome and I am soooo tempted by their great collection of tops/sweaters.

  • replied 7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this Suz. Firstly can I just say that you look so cute!. I love the photos and I see a good variety. My working from home clothes need to be different in that I have customers coming for fittings so I need to have a more professional edge for then. where as you only have that need when you go out to do your work. I think you have the right balance for comfort and stylishness and it looks like a good place to start. I love your idea of finding a fab on trend sweater so that it lifts your work/ lounging style into something of stellar proportions. You are so right about shoes being so important, something I am coming to realise too. Keep up the good work Suz!

  • Kalli replied 7 years ago

    You are definitely one classy lady! This made me smile, I love all of these photos, can you be my pinup now? :)

  • replied 7 years ago

    Everything you said resonates with me. I struggle with the at home look. I often wear the same thing going out as at home but little things change the whole look. A few days ago at home I kicked off my shoes, rolled the pant up (too long without shoes) and removed my belt (no loops to keep in place while sitting) - in the end I looked a mess. At least you found a great at home look- you never look a mess.

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Tracina, you have a much messier job than I do so you get a pass on looking a mess once in a while. I still remember your AWESOME work outfits from a while ago!

    Kalli, thank you! I am blushing.

    Diane, yes - if I had clients coming in, I would definitely be wearing my jackets and skirts on a daily basis! I LOVE jackets, so NOT wearing them actually feels like a bit of a sacrifice. I do wear them if I get a lunch date or something. ;-)

    Mona, thank you! And yes, the BFs are super comfortable for around the house. But now my daughter has my BFs I need to buy some more!!

    Ingunn, you are so organized and thoughtful about your wardrobe I can't believe you would need to go back to this basic exercise. But then again, maybe it would reveal things about this new season. And prevent you from buying things you don't really wear, as you say.

    Lyn, Mo, Kelly - thank you! Mo and Kelly, I think you understand the challenges as well as anyone on the forum. A casual style is a lot more difficult than people imagine. Rachylou, interesting that it is where you were putting your energy. Maybe because work wasn't fun?

    Beth Ann, I have a feeling our environmental norms are somewhat similar from earlier comments you've made. I have no problem going against the general flow - but only if it is comfortable for ME, as well. Sometimes the general outfit that people wear makes sense in practical terms. So it's all about finding a way to balance practicality with fashion.

    Nadya - thank you! At my age, "cute" becomes a compliment again because it is not expected!

    Denise, you are so right - the trick is to purchase things that span casual to smart casual. And to identify the elements of an item that make it do that. I think in my case it comes down to looking for more modern cuts. It might mean replacing several of my most-worn sweaters each year, but so what? These ARE my most worn items, after all. So if I have to pay a bit more to get a current, modern look to them - big deal! But I think perhaps we hesitate to spend a lot of money on casual clothing. It's "just" for casual, after all...nobody sees us....I am going to have to work to get over this feeling.

    Thanks Ami!

    And thanks, Rae. I definitely feel more focused in my fashion evolution now. I can see where I am going, and almost how to get there!

    Sarah, I hear you - it is a change, isn't it? But I know you must be looking fab.

    Claire, I agree that those who work in an office probably want to swing casual when they get the chance. It makes sense!

    Caro, that is a good suggestion. Thank you!

    Ornella and Una - your examples have taught me so much in different ways. So thank you!

  • Sona replied 7 years ago

    This was very interesting reading.And yes like you YLF led to my giving up almost all of my loungewear. On my days off work I too wear a similar capsule to yours. I loved each and every outfit you have shown. And yes they look comfy yet casual polished. Kudos!

  • Sarah A replied 7 years ago

    Suz, you look smashing in your work at home capsule wear! This post is so relevant to my dressing struggles exactly, I like to look dressed up but feel comfy for my daily at home activities and spanning the casual to smart casual looks is so on point. Your posts are always so thought provoking and insightful. I love wearing a blazer too, I find it easy to often use mine like outerwear in mild cool weather so that season should be coming for you soon.... And I will be having a little pin-fest to help me remember some of these great at-home formulas :)

  • Mochi replied 7 years ago

    I believe that the things that seem simple and basic are usually the hardest to pull off correctly. You're doing a great job making your outfits look real-world, casual yet interesting and harmonious. I like how you lay down each thought and conclusion around what works for you in which circumstance. It's thought-provoking and really helpful to anyone trying to break it down and figure out what really works for them.

  • texstyle replied 7 years ago

    Your work at home wardrobe is really so perfect. You look modern, fun, and stylish. I love the shoes you've added as well as the signature taupe.

    I have to admit that I envy your cooler weather sometimes. Living in a predominately hot climate continues to be a fashion challenge to me, and now summer is - well, pretty much here already, as it will be about 90 on Sundy.

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Tex, I would probably go nuts in your climate!! It is really hard not to look wilted in the summer. That is my own challenge for this coming season. But as I write, the snow is still flying outside my window and summer seems a distant dream.....

  • Krista replied 7 years ago

    Suz,
    Firstly, I almost missed this thread because I've been working around the house for the last few days (on March Break, yeah!) and I've been too tired to check the forum. The forum is moving so fast these days, I would have felt terrible to have missed this!
    Secondly, you are most welcome! I love that we can share ideas and insights and grow together on this style journey. I am humbled that I inspired you - I think of you as so evolved in your style and I learn so much from you as well.
    Thirdly, the insights in this post are AMAZING! You have really identified some trends and patterns in how you dress at home vs. outside the home. I am still tracking my wardrobe (almost at 200 days - considering a post on this) and I am noticing similar thoughts and ideas.
    A year ago, I would never have thought I had so much to learn about fashion, style and how my own lifestyle plays into both. Hooray for YLF! :) xo

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Thanks, again, Krista, and I'm glad you caught this! It was so helpful to me to read what you learned even from the outfits you did not post. That was all the inspiration I needed to take photos of everything for a while, even the ones that seemed "unspecial" and to see if I could identify patterns in what I actually wore. I think this will really help focus my spending for next year and even for this summer....assuming I can find the elusive tops I would love to locate!

  • Tina.b replied 7 years ago

    Suz, I loved this post. You truly looked fabulous each and every day. I can definitely relate. I don't work outside the home (with the exception of doing the billing for my husband's practice, which I actually do mostly from home). So I need outfits that are practical for my real life, comfortable, yet stylish.

  • Marley replied 7 years ago

    "When you are curled up on a couch writing . . . " Ahhhh - I die! That's what I want to be doing - instead of sitting on a couch entering medical equipment onto a bidding/buying website. How did my life get like this?????

    (OK - enough about my angst over hating my job and my life right now :-) This is *your* post, afterall!

    First, I felt like I could have written this post myself. I completely "get" what you are talking about and am just finally coming to terms with it. In fact, I had PMd Denise last weekend asking her about the thread she had written on casual vs semi-casual - and had started assessing my wardrobe and facing the reality that when I'm not working at home, I'm usually at the animal shelter (which means I can't even wear my "nice" casual clothes there because they get easily runined) - and otherwise, only have 6 or 7 days each month where I even need to dress any more formally than casual!

    And then you should look at my wardrobe - its completely out of synch with my lifestyle. I have a lot of "work" to do.

    Thanks Suz, for sharing your process and thinking. Your casual outfits are very refined looking as well as comfy - and it has been a pleasure to observe your style "growth" over this past year!

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    It's tough, though, isn't it. Marley? I mean....we want to look half-decent, right? And we want to have fun with fashion, after all! It is difficult to have a lot of fun with fashion when you are limited to a simple uniform.

    BUT -- one of the things Denise does that makes a ton of sense to me is she puts money into her denim capsule. I mean - why not? If that's what we wear every single day, why not pay for really GREAT denim? Ditto for tops we might wear on a regular basis.

    I still think it's okay to splurge on the "hero" pieces that make our smart casual wardrobes shine. But we probably don't need as MANY of those as we might imagine.

    I am sorry about your job woes. That is really tough. I am so lucky in my job; I really truly enjoy it. But I still complain because I lack time to do my creative work. So there you go...it's always something.....

    Tina, you always look fantastic and WAY more put together, current, and fashionable than I do; I aspire to style as great as yours (not to mention a closet as great as yours!)

  • Transcona Shannon replied 7 years ago

    Brilliant and inspiring Suz!

    Personally, I think it is a much larger challenge to be stylish when working from home as it can become very easy to live in sweatpants and oversied tees. I mean really...who's gonna see you?

    You call you outfits in this thread "simple" but they are anything but - they are pulled together, stylish, the right amount of trendy and yet still comfortable. That takes skill, thought and imagination.

    You almost have a split personality when it comes to how you dress - casual for home and your writing persona; dressy when in the city or traveling. I don't think there's anything wrong with that and recognizing it leads to less purchasing mistakes.

    Well done!

  • Ariadne replied 7 years ago

    Fascinating and, honestly, kind of comforting--I feel the same way about my at-home wear, but sometimes I still start to beat myself up for not wearing more fashion-forward or creative outfits. My mantra: at least it's not yoga pants! (And sometimes, on those on at-home-all-day-cleaning-the-bathroom-and-cooking days, it IS yoga pants.)

  • Laura (rhubarbgirl) replied 7 years ago

    Thanks for the reflection and insights, Suz. I've been suspecting recently that I need to do something similar, and to make a distinction between weekend-casual and work-at-home-casual : I could wear the same things but I don't /want/ to, for several reasons. So I really need to develop the comfy but nice for days when I don't have meetings or appointments segment of my wardrobe.

    It does seem, eh, silly or spendthrift to spend on casual wear but it's really not if you wear it all the time and it makes you feel great.

  • Raisin replied 7 years ago

    Suz, I love your post and it all makes so much sense to me. I really identify with needing to dress casual Ina comfy way that still looks good. I also identify with needing to dress up a bit when you get the chance, like trips. And you rally made me think about which items I need to put most of my money into, it's those items that are most comfy to be at home In but still look good. Sorry, this is not all about me though!

    I must say, your style is perfection, and I love your musings becaus they always leave me considering things I need to change for myself. You seem to have Inge figured out now, so I will take all the wisdom for you that you will give!

  • Aida replied 7 years ago

    Fantastic musings, and lovely outfits to go along with it! I think you have a great handle on what works for your casual wear, and you are spot on in your findings. I also think that these types of "simple" outfits are just as wonderful to look at as dressier office-y types! These are often the most difficult to pull together in a stylish way, and you are doing a smashing job at it. I know that for myself, I would find these types of outfits inspirational especially as my weekend wear looks very, very similar :)

    (And can I just say please wear #8 all the time for me, I loooove it ^^ All hail the Taupe Queen!)

  • krishnidoux replied 7 years ago

    I'm inspired! That is such a great analysis Suz. Your description is spot on. I too suffer the same, except my job is teaching, outside the home, which means I get more "smart casual" wear. But as soon as I come home I change into either lounging or casual clothes. So I have a schizophrenic wardrobe in this way, but it's okay.

    Yours is a very good example of how keeping track more closely of each clothes you actually do wear helps assess our needs. It really is an area where you can't just go with your feeling.

    I am already keeping track by writing down my outfits, and now rating them afterwards; but I think taking pics everyday for a chunk of time is even a better idea and could give a more comprehensive global picture.

    Thank you so much for sharing this.

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