Which aspect of 2014 fashion is trickiest for you?

Recently, Angie outlined five elements that she sees as key to the look of 2014. 

On that list: High-low style, mixing classics with trends, just enough structure, "hip to be square" (quasi-frumpy looks -- norm core?), and my personal challenge, irregular outfit juxtaposition. 

Angie also mentioned that to look stylish you do not have to embrace all or any of these trends -- it's perfectly okay to wear well fitting tailored seasonal conventionally flattering clothes that "go" together. 

However, I feel a personal yen to do more irregular outfit juxtaposition. And it's the one I have the toughest time with. 

Oh, certainly -- I'll combine a classic jacket with denim bottoms. That's easy/ peasy and part of my style signature. (Or would be, if I could find a classic jacket that fit me.) 

I'll also happily wear a denim jacket with a dress. Another slam dunk. 

But these are so common that they hardly count as "irregular" any more. 

Others I've tried and felt okay in: Cons with a tube skirt. A dressy top with jeans (or a dressy skirt with a button up shirt). 

But I have to confess, most other irregular outfit juxtapositions that I try just feel....wrong on me. With my pet peeve for seasonal confusion (not to mention my extreme seasons), I really can't take that route with a whole lot of comfort. And some of the other options just feel...costume-y. On me, I mean. Or perhaps they are too maximal? 

I would love suggestions for other irregular outfit juxtapositions I might be able to work into my style. 

And I'd also love to hear from you! Which aspect of "2014" style feels most challenging to you, and why? 

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.


  • Sarah A replied 6 years ago

    Great post. I am struggling to think of more irregular that would work for you. Boots with shorts is one but not one that i see as "your" style ;) ... As for me, I am working on finding "just enough structure" in my looks currently.

  • kkards replied 6 years ago

    i'm really struggling with "just enough structure".   i am not sure that i have found that line between fluid and just to darn big. 

    suz, i think you could do irregular outfit juxtaposition if you start with something simple. as the weather warms up, sub shorts for a skirt. its not groundbreaking, but its a start. sub a tee with sequins for a regular tee. 

  • texstyle replied 6 years ago

    Maybe pastel with saturated color combo? Or maybe an avant garde top with a classic pencil skirt (you may have already done this).

    I struggle with a lot of them because I go for a pretty classic style and don't often stray far from my comfort zone.

  • SarahTheWhite replied 6 years ago

    Good question! I'm not sure that I have any good ideas for you, unfortunately... That category is not one that I am very good at - I don't even do the things that you mentioned that you already are comfortable with. But I do feel you when it comes to trying some of these new things and still feeling right in my own skin. It is so hard to find the right balance of incorporating the new with what is still very "me".

    The one on Angie's list that I have been wanting to try is just enough structure. I have a really hard time letting go of figure flattery in favor of trend. "Just flattering enough" seems to undo the years I have spent training myself to buy only the most flattering things. Yet, I really do want to try new things, so I am starting with wearing boxier/fluid things only on huge top or bottom (not both) and trying to adjust my eye before doing both. And I regularly try combinations on that I won't wear out of the house, in hopes that one day they will suddenly feel right.

    I wish I had more to offer, but I am in the same boat with you! :-)

  • Jewell replied 6 years ago

    The aspects I find most appealing are irregular outfit juxtaposition and combining classics with trends. Like you, I find the irregular outfit juxtaposition to be more challenging. Jeans with a dressy jacket and pearls or denim jackets over frocks are easy for me to pull off but not all that fashion forward. Whenever I try something bolder, I feel like I'm playing dress up and I worry that the people in my life just won't "get it." Take for example the time I tried to wear my pleated skirt with pointy-toe flats, a white top, pearls, and a red moto jacket- My husband couldn't understand why I added the jacket which he described as "looking out of place." 

    So, I guess I'm saying I have no advice, because I have the same problem. I'll be watching this thread closely for others who might have some pearls of wisdom to share.

  • rabbit replied 6 years ago

    Interesting question.  When I think about what I've seen of your style, I think about how cohesive it is, and how well it fits you visually and practically.  But if you feel drawn to try irregular outfit juxtaposition, I can see how some combos would break those two characteristics when you look at them in the mirror or try them on, and that would feel wrong because it's going against an aesthetic you value -like you say, and feels like a costume. 

    I think when I'm drawn to that style, either to wear it or in others, it's the humor and irreverence which often appeals to me.  For example pastel converse with 80's prom dresses.  Sometimes I'll wear things just because they make me laugh.

    Alternately, it's when an item of clothing, regardless of it's original purpose (it can be gear for example) is incorporated for it's design elements, shape and colors.   Therefore the outfit looks cohesive and chic even though it's really rain boots with a formal pencil skirt.  I saw a woman wearing red rain boots, pale blue skinny jeans, and a white shirt, and maybe a nice bag? the other day, and she was literally one of the most drop dead beautiful women I'd seen on the street in ages - and her outfit was part of that.

    ETA:  Jewell, I bet that outfit looked smashing.  IMO family can be surprisingly conservative minded at times when you try new looks, even if they aren't conservative people.  Often my husband has been 'no, it's not you'.  When what he really means is - it's something I haven't seen on you before.  A week later he's like 'that looks good',  because his eye has adjusted.

  • Peri replied 6 years ago

    I'm with kkards...I'm loving loose, fluid, oversized but wondering where the line is. Someone will post they feel sloppy in something and I will wonder what the difference is. I'm concerned I will just all of a sudden feel sloppy in my new things and have to shop all over again.

    Also I'm finding the trendy colors problematic.

  • Transcona Shannon replied 6 years ago

    Great post Suz!

    For me, the toughest trend is the "just enough structure". I am quickly learning that too much volume or fluidity in an outfit just kills my "feel good" factor. Wide legged trousers? I'm done with them. Tried them. Felt like Mrs. Frump in them. But I'm still glad I tried because there have been several trends in my three years of YLF that I would have said "no way" to if I hadn't tried them.

    What I have decided though is that we can adopt any of these trends in our own degree, if that makes sense. For example, I will wear fluidity as long as my legs aren't completely devoid of shape and I can still look a bit lean - so it's my degree of fluidity, not necessarily anyone else's.

    I can see you trying more adventurous juxtaposition but in order to still feel genuine in your clothes, it will be your version of the trend. Does that make sense?

  • unfrumped replied 6 years ago

    Great question!

    I also like the idea of juxtaposition because it seems a way to create more personal style creatively as in SYC and not just buying fashion. But that also means really personal and not mindless copycat.

    My oxfords with pencil skirts look is certainly not seen on the street around here! Not entirely sure that is a good thing!

    Dressy flats with jeans works for me- maybe dressy flat is an oxymoron, though.

    And trying to find a slipper flat/ loafer that I would wear with a moderately dressy dress-- trying to get that for a couple of summer weddings. Sure, it 's not Cons with a ball gown, but still not common here. But that would fit my internal compass for comfortable footwear.

    I plan to experiment with modified
    juxtaposition. Sounds tame , but would work for work. For example, I would like to find a medium blue shirt in Tencil or another drapey slightly casual fabric, and not Western style , that would be almost like chambray but not quite, but not the expected silk blouse or cotton business shirt. So it is subtle but a bit unexpected.

  • Sarah A replied 6 years ago

    Wow! Im always amazed at the wisdom and creativity here! :)

  • rabbit replied 6 years ago

    It's the 'just enough structure' that's challenging me, and what I want to focus on.  Also wearing classics with trends.  I have a little difficulty with the wearing classics part - if they are dressy/officey/preppy classics, but I want to experiment to see if there is something I can learn there.

  • bella replied 6 years ago

    This is not particularly about the trends, but the silhouettes. I really wish skirts and dresses were trendy again. My eyes now have adjusted to the look obviously, and as you can see with my challenge outfits, I do wear trousers, but I can't help but think that I look much much better in skirts and dresses. I have a lot of repressed body hate against my thighs and hips carried over from my youth when bootcut jeans were for all intents and purposes the only thing to wear. Now I am older, wiser and much more accepting of my body but negative feelings still resurface from time to time and all this trouser love is not really helping it. Can we go back to mid 2000s when dresses, skirts, cardigans, belts were the trendy items? Pretty please!

  • Runcarla replied 6 years ago

    Gah! I feel like a C student of style and a late adopter.

    Having just dipped my toes into non conventional pairings, I'm really enjoying the irregular juxtaposition. The jean jacket or moto over dressy outfit (vs conventional blazer) is my current favourite, and I just got my first blue-jean jean jacket last weekend can hardly wait for better weather in order to break it out.

    My biggest struggle is with volume, of any sort. Last summer I got two flowy tops with high low hems. My preference was to reign in the volume with a close fitting topper (the white jean jacket). Pictures told me the look worked on me, but I just didn't always feel like me. One has been passed on (it was inexpensive and poorly made) but I've kept the other and will wear it this summer. I am also struggling to find different ways of styling my flowy navy trousers. They are very comfortable, and a pointy toe heel or flat seems to elevate the look, but they still don't get as much wear as they should.

  • MRL replied 6 years ago

    Hip to be square is tough for me. I'm in my 50's (and somewhat of a nerd anyway :)) so I struggle with the idea of consciously choosing to look that way. I fear that the whole look would come off as frumpy on me and that's what I want to avoid. In addition the style I have always aspired too (not always successfully!) is more of a classic elegant look, so this just doesn't feel right.

  • Jules replied 6 years ago

    Well I love baggy jeans and sneakers so so much, and am so ankle-breakingly allergic to most heels, as well as not finding the semi-tuck flattering on myself, that I would have to be *very* careful to maintain feminine, flattering structure and style while also enjoying a fashion moment that has so many of my favourites available.
    But I think I'm just going to go with fairly unflattering looks and try to tweak a bit with scrunched sleeves, etc. I just love the bfs and sneaks that much :)

    I can't advise you on your style, you're in the advanced class already :)

  • shiny replied 6 years ago

    I'd have to say I love a lot of these looks on other people but maybe not so much on me, or at least not so extreme. I am fine mastering a more subtle, toned-down nod to some of these trends. For example "sequin jacket with shredded jeans" -- I can totally see Rae pulling this off with her pajama jeans. I'm not sure I could pull off those pajama jeans. But if I had a sequin jacket I might pair it with the AG Nikki's. A little less extreme, but basically the same idea. 

    I've always struggled with casual wear -- sneakers, track pants, distressed /faded jeans, regular jeans, sweatshirts, hoodies, Birkenstocks, Doc Martens, anything sporty -- so this is the crux of the issue for me. Casual wear just never feels "me." I feel awkward and silly and like a poser and also sloppy. I have always felt this way, ALWAYS. I think it all started because I'm so petite, and during formative teen years there was no such thing as petite clothing, and even now, it is difficult to find casual wear in petite sizes. But also because I've never been into sports either. You won't find me at the pub watching the football game on Sunday. I'll be visiting an art gallery or watching a play. 

    That said, for some inexplicable reason I am drawn to dabble here a bit and incorporate certain items into my wardrobe, and wear them in small doses. I have to say the Birk's are calling my name. I am getting used to boyfriend jeans. I would not mind finding some slip on sneakers, provided they don't make my feet look clownish, although perhaps loafers might be more my style.

    As for the "just enough structure" - I embraced this last year, such a relief to be able to take the next size up tee shirt (which doesn't cling to my midsection) and wear that and be "trendy."  But now this year I'm finding it a bit more of a challenge because now the clothes are all meant to fit bigger and looser, which means even in the smallest size, it may be overwhelming on my frame. 

    I think it's fairly easy for me to adopt volume on the top, I loved it when big billowy long tops were all over, this disguised my midsection, while paired with skinnies and a structured topper reigned it all back in and gave me a figure. Adopting volume on the bottom isn't so bad either, as it turns my inverted triangle upside down, provided I keep the top more slim & trim. But the only way I feel "right" combining volume all over --- top to bottom-- is in a waist-surrendering dress that is cut just right, with shorter hem to show off my legs. 

    Otherwise, I would say there's a fine line between looking like a fashion victim, and prudently & judiciously adopting just enough of the trend to look fresh and modern. So combining classics with trendy pieces is my favorite 2014 fashion. 

  • replied 6 years ago

    Suz, I'm seeing you in (well, not now, but when the snow melts and the sidewalks are dry) in your destroyed jeans and Okalas with a solid white button-front shirt (tuxedo? BB? IDK) or simple drapey sweater. Is that something you would try?

    ETA: For me, the hardest trend will be Just Enough Structure. If I try it, it will be with BF jeans on the bottom and a big shirt, but that's as loose as I will probably go. I have swamped myself with fabric in the past, thinking I can pull if off because I'm borderline tall, but looking back, I'm quite sure my frame was completely overwhelmed. 

  • Gaylene replied 6 years ago

    Suz, could it be that instinctively you have found your boundaries when it comes to how far you want to go with this particular direction? And isn't that what personal style is all about--to use these kinds of directions for inspiration, but heed our own instincts about which ones are really workable for our own wardrobes and lives.

    Overhauling my own spring/summer wardrobe has made me wonder about why we sometimes feel such a compulsion to push into areas that just don't feel right in the name of fashion exploration. Exploration and experimentation are valuable, it seems to me, but not when they make me feel weird or uncomfortable in my environment or in my own skin. So no suggestions here to help you with combining a plaid shirt and a tulle skirt...

  • Karie replied 6 years ago

    Great topic, Suz! For me it's "Hip to be Square" as I'm not really sure how to pull that off. Sometimes I think I dress like a big nerd-wad now and I'm not even trying! But I suppose the difference is it has to be intentional. 

    You bring up a good point about outfit juxtaposition - some of it is easy, but there's quite a bit that takes me out of my comfort zone. Last spring I purchased a super cute white with black polka dots dress. While I was still in the store, the sales associate I had been talking to earlier came running up to me and said, "Oh did the dress fit? Are you going to buy it?" When I said it did and I was, he added, "I know this sounds odd but that dress will look fantastic with brown booties and a denim jacket." After I said an enthusiastic, "I'll have to try that, thank you!" I thought, "Does this kid know how old I am?" Now his suggestion wasn't that irregular, but I think (for me anyway) the more irregular the outfit juxtaposition gets, the more I think I'm trying to dress too young. There's a teeny tiny part of me that cares about that (as a result of a horrifying experience as a child where I saw an older woman dressed in a mini skirt and go-go boots, complete with super teased hair and tons of make-up - the image is still burned in my mind). 

    BTW, I did wear the dress with booties and a denim jacket :)

  • carter replied 6 years ago

    Geez. Can I say "all of it"? Letting go of some conventional flattery is a tough one for me, but I am trying to incorpoate more fluidity/lack of structure on the top. Like Shannon mentioned, fluid bottoms will not have a place in my wardrobe because I feel schlumpy in them, especially since I can no longer wear heels. I'm also trying to incorporate the "less expected" in accessories, with varying degrees of success. I do manage classics with trends and high-low style sometimes by default, since the majority of my wardrobe basics are classic but many of the new items I've been buying have more of a nod to the trends.

    I should also add that seasonal confusion comes very naturally to me, particularly with footwear;-)

    Wish I could come up with something brilliant to help you, but it would be like the blind leading the sighted.

  • unfrumped replied 6 years ago

    What Gaylene said!

    Seriously, I have started to splly the jewelry- accessory rule to " trendy" or fashion forward items.

    I wasn't kidding when I posted that a often, semi- tuck, a white belt, a rolled- up jean, a hi- low top, a high- vamped shoe all TOGETHER takes me some place I do not want to be. It is like having the earrings and the necklace and the bangle and so on. Sometimes there would be a consensus on that( we pull out a bunch of stuff to try on, and then adjust), but probably my style preference is a closer to " touch of trend" .

    This is not bad; it is fun to find the boundaries and feel in control of what is enough.

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Such interesting replies! I knew I could depend on that! :)

    Jules, I think comfortable looks that are also current are a pleasure we should never deny ourselves. Especially if our lives are relatively casual. I was just thinking the other day that as the years go on, I would like to ALWAYS search for the "comfort" in "current" and gravitate in that direction. I'm sure you look fab in your BFs. 

    MRL -- hip to be square is tough for me, too, except unironically, I guess! Maybe I'm not really aspiring to that one. I do dress very practically a lot of the time, though, and I do wear gear for gear activities. Without shame. And sometimes incorporate gear pieces into my regular wear. 

    Carla, you are far from a C student. Your style has skyrocketed this year! That's very interesting about volume being a bit of a fear for you; I didn't know that. But you do look very good in classic tailored outfits. 

    Bella, you look terrific in both trousers and skirts. And I think skirts and dresses always enjoy more popularity in the summer. Or at least they do with me. I love them, but find them tough to wear in winter in my climate. It looks to me as if there are more skirt silhouettes available this season than there have been for a long while, so maybe you'll be in luck? 

    Rabbit -- interesting. I would say that the brilliant runway copy outfits you've experimented with have "just enough structure" for sure. And some of them have combined classics with trendy, although I guess in most cases the classic pieces were so simple (like tights, for example) that it might stretch the definition a bit. And I love the image you describe of that woman in the red rain boots, white shirt and jeans with nice bag -- it sounds a lot like combining classics with trends as well as irregular juxtaposition. I think that's the type of thing I'm after -- the confidence to wear what actually works in my climate/ situation even if it is a bit out of the ordinary -- but also to keep it very simple and streamlined. Without a lot going on. 

    Unfrumped, you're right -- irregular juxtaposition promises to allow us to shop our closets and experiment with what is already there . It's also a nod to thrifting, too. 

    Shannon, I think you've definitely figured out your "just enough structure" sweet spot, and it was a really interesting exercise to determine it. And you're right -- it's a matter of degree. Maybe I'm just not comfortable with too extreme outfit juxtaposition. I can take oversize, I can wear and love classics with trends, I can easily wear hi-low -- but it's okay if I limit my juxtapositions to the kind I've named. No need to jump on the seasonally confused bandwagon. I do think that juxtaposition is a really handy way of saying "current," though, especially for those of us who are past our youth. It's more unexpected in us, less "prim" and "ladylike." 

    Peri, you look great in your loose sweaters. And as an IT, you wear an oversize top extremely well. I think our tolerance for looseness and oversize fits truly varies. These type of looks simply don't flatter all figures equally; and then some people don't care as much as others about figure flattery. I always think if the fit on the shoulder is right, you'll rarely feel truly sloppy -- or at least that's how it feels to me, LOL. But like you, I seem to have a high tolerance for looseness. 

    Jewell, I'm with Rabbit - I'll bet you looked fantastic in the outfit you describe! I agree that family members can be oddly conservative, and if you just keep trying, they get used to the whole idea. That's definitely true of Mr. Suz. 

    Sarah, it sounds as if you are not alone in the desire for tailoring. I wonder if there is any correlation with body type and preference for tailored looks -- maybe Angie knows. 

    Texstyle, I think you hit the nail on the head; like it or no (and sometimes, I don't) my basic style persona is pretty darned classic. I love the idea of juxtaposition because it can erase some sense of stodginess or staleness. But if I feel like I'm in a costume, that's no good! 

    kkards -- you're slim, and I think it is easy for slim people to feel drowned in too much fabric. I look first to shoulder fit for the structure. But even then, on a slim frame, some looks will just overwhelm. I suspect Angie's suggestions about necklines are also especially helpful to slender people, and also the idea of scrunching sleeves, etc. 

    Sarah -- you're right -- boots with shorts is too seasonally confused and too young for me, I think. But it's worth a thought. If I could find the right shorts, and the right boots....

    Thanks again, all!  Interesting thinking this through. 

  • JAileen replied 6 years ago

    For me, you're talking rocket science when I'm at the level of adding 2+2. By which I mean to say, I can't even buy the right jeans!

  • Angie replied 6 years ago

    Suz, you're doing a fabulous job already. If you want to take things further, explore your blossoming avant-garde gene but be cautious with too much drape - straighter bodies prefer straighter lines. You've been itching to focus on that style integrity for a while, so now is as good a time as any.  Explore footwear. Explore high-low style. 

    Ladies, I hope you realize that you are ALL doing a great job. I will reiterate the essence of 2014 fashion: 

    Modern style is about creating your own look, which INCLUDES wearing conventionally flattering outfits. So don’t think that wearing tailored clothing and highly structured outfits in expected combinations is dated. Not at all. In fact, some of the most stylish people in the world stick to dressing in this way and look killer season after season. The point is that you have a choice because that’s the way fashion and style has evolved. Update your classics, choose the trends that appeal the most to you and wear them in ways that make YOU feel fabulous.

    This point was illustrated especially well with my post on what designers wear, and do click through all the links. It's an absolute eye opener: 


    Personally, I continue to explore what has been the core of my style of years - mixing trends with classics, and high-low price points. They are both a version of irregular outfit juxtaposition. I can't tolerate too tight clothing (and neither can you, Suz) apart from the very occasional sheath dress, and more frequent form fitting turtleneck). My tailored fits are looser than most people wear them. So JES, is by accident part of my look any way. I love a tailored look too. Will not do body con if I can help it. 

    If there is ONE thing that will make your look more 2014 - it's wear your clothes a little looser all over. So: 

    • Shannon, you are doing just fine with your fits, so don't think that you have to wear your clothes less structured. You mix up tailored with fluid and that's fab. 
    • Bella, define your waist if that makes you happy. Try to do it with a fluid and oversized top and not a body con or tailored one. And wear skirts and dresses. Skirts ARE trending. Milk it. 
    Suz, great thread, and I'm excited about the next leg of your style journey. xo

  • Beth Ann replied 6 years ago

    Suz:  What about juxtaposing the two parts of your professional life -- in literature and fitness?  Could you dress like a writer and a fitness pro in the same outfit?  Of course, writers can be amazingly schlumpadink.  Kind of like orchestral players who forget that their concert black needs to be clean and, um, pressed!  Still, over the ages there have been some with distinctive style.  Who are your favorite authors?  No need to be literal.  For example, I love Emily Dickinson (well, actually, I like George Herbert better, but I'm not dressing like a county parson), so I might wear her signature white.  I might dress in a linen blazer to echo F. Scott Fitzgerald.  There's a start.  But what about a linen blazer and the Leith track style pants?  What about the jacket with your HiNess? 

    I googled "Writers who dress well," and look what popped up.  I love that Tom Wolfe is first up.  Now there's some inspiration!

    Next, I'd suggest thinking about fashion versions of gear dressing that you're naturally drawn to.  Bombers can evoke a fitness vibe and be fashionable.  Neons, too, as well as standard issue gym-class grey.

    Just a thought!

  • ironkurtin replied 6 years ago

    I personally integrate trends by seeing an item that feels "me" that's current season and mixing it in. I seldom try to adopt trends in the name of pushing myself - I find my evolution, if any, happens naturally so I let it ride.

  • Laura (rhubarbgirl) replied 6 years ago

    Beth Ann, I dig that idea - incorporating a high end gear feel could work really well for Suz, I think, if it appeals to her.

    I think juxtapositions can be challenging if your ife is casual - or if it's corporate, now that I think about it. Juxtaposed outfits are always going to be a bit genre busting and that can stretch their appropriateness for certain situations.

    This whole intentionally frumpy thing is really my nightmare, since it's all contextual and I think in 'real life' for most of us we know people who are wearing that look unintentionally.

  • rabbit replied 6 years ago

    I don't know which post to put this comment in, but I LOVE the matching his/her designer harem pant/jumpsuit look http://www.pinterest.com/pin/18577417187370881/

    What I especially love is that she is wearing loose flowy pants tucked into tall slender self-colored boots!  Awesome at giving structure, sleekness and toughness to the look.  I gotta try it.

  • kkards replied 6 years ago

    BethAnn, your idea reminded me of one of the bloggers Inge posted last year who wore Adidas track pants with heels. Loved that look. http://youlookfab.com/2013/08/.....intersect/

  • rabbit replied 6 years ago

    Okay after clicking through all the designer links what hits me most is that they are wearing the street wear of city creatives from any field.   Like they could be going to an art opening,  or to give a TED talk, one could be a journalist, or a photographer, or a programmer, or a chef, or a PA.   And that makes sense to me. It's a collection of looks that are ageless, inclusive, and just borrow whatever appeals from the cultural soup.  Most of the looks are fairly minimalist in terms of number of items of clothing worn or accessories too, they look easy to wear.

  • rae replied 6 years ago

    I think "hip to be square" would be the trickiest for me, if I wanted to try it (which I don't really). I still can't wrap my brain around the mom jeans trend, and I just don't like wearing a bunch of oversized stuff at once. The closest I'm getting is ordering some Birki-like sandals.

  • MsMary replied 6 years ago

    I'm with IK.  As I think you all know by now, although I over-analyze everything else in my life to the point of madness, I do fashion "by ear" so it wouldn't occur to me to consciously pick a trend and then try to make it work even if I weren't completely comfortable with it.  I just pick things I like.  LOL

    Most recently I swore I would never wear flat shoes but I fell in love with a pair of white loafers and the rest is history!

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Mary, Dana, Gaylene -- I think you're all speaking wisdom. It makes sense to just allow ourselves to evolve. I do have a tendency to get into a rut, though -- one of the reasons I came to YLF in the first place -- which is why I think that shaking things up a little bit can be a good exercise for me. Though not to the point of not feeling like myself. It's one thing to try something new and push the comfort zone a bit -- it's another thing to stick with it even if it feels gross. 

    Rae, I don't think you need hip to be square because you're naturally hip! 

    Rabbit -- you're so right. The designers have a freedom to dress as they like. Since I work from home and in a creative field, I share the same freedom. What I don't have (yet) is their confidence in putting things together and just doing what feels right to them. BTW, I totally agree with what you said about the his and hers harem pants outfits. Fabulous, and super practical for where I live, too! 

    More soon -- just going to look at the rest of your replies again! 

  • Isabel replied 6 years ago

    Ok, so I am not a trendy person. So keep that in mind. : )

    I have to agree with Shannon that it is a spectrum, a balance. I think we push until we get to a point it just doesn't work. The truth for me is that I don't want to look or be identified as 2014 or any year. I DO want to look modern and I have grown to like a bit of fun , maybe even right now, but that is usually something cheap for me. One thing that is somewhat disposal that is really "right now " . If I end up really liking it , then I go more expensive.

    With all that said, pastels and juxtaposition and high low are all tough for me. But at least I am willing to give it a shot.

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Jennifer — I agree, it can be a fine line, especially for those of us who are past the age of 20. 

    You always look polished even when you are casual. I am with you at the theatre or art gallery, by the way - - even if I do work for a fitness company!

    Claire, I totally hear you on the fear of being swamped. I actually love oversized, but I have to be careful of it, as well. And I will definitely try the Okalas with my jeans and a shirt (maybe your shirt!) thank you!

    Karie, I think you are very wise — I suspect this juxtaposition thing is just trickier for us at our age. 

    Carter, you wear classic looks extremely well so it is no wonder you hesitate to throw them overboard. Modern classic will always be part of your style persona. And that is as it should be. 

    UF — yes, it can easily feel like “too much” when we try to adopt all the trends. I agree there’s a real danger in that. 

    JAileen - you are too tough on yourself and too flattering to me, but I appreciate the support (and love your new modern classic outfits!)

    Angie, you’re so right. High -low is probably the BEST way for me to go right now….adding in a few higher quality pieces as I can find them. As for the avant-garde style gene, I have come to think that it’s not really avant-garde I was after, after all! I think it is more a (somewhat) minimalist and very modern aesthetic that I’m after — and that will work better with my straight-ish body. I tried that MK draped jacket you recommended and sent it right back in a hot second! It just looked and felt wrong on me. So I suspect draping and I are not going to do all that well together! 

    Beth Ann, you are a genius!! I love Tom Wolfe’s suits, of course. And would love to copy him there. Another favourite writer is Keats — there’s my Romantic Dandy coming out. A bit of Beau Brummel in the neckerchief. (Modern version? A turtleneck!) 

    It’s funny about gear — I’m NOT naturally drawn to it. Yes, I have to wear it for workouts, but I was never a sporty person in my life until a few years ago. And never ever wore gear for regular activities. But I do like the practicality of gear and the way it just works! 

    Laura, that is a very smart observation. Juxtaposition is harder when you occupy the extreme and need to dress for it. It’s much easier if you’re in a creative field. Which I am…yet I live in a very casual place, with few opportunities to dress for “show.”

  • rachylou replied 6 years ago

    Have you done sassy sweatshirt with nice trousers and heels yet?

    The hardest for me is mixing the classics with trends. I have such trouble with classics in the first place - I don't own anything classic in a classic fit. Also, I've lost my sense of what the trends are right now...

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Rachylou, I can see the problem. When you live in hipster land your perspective inevitably changes..yet I think you do mix classics with trends...just different classics (puffer coat, anyone?) and (perhaps) different trends. 

    I've done the sweatshirt with nice pants and skirt thing..not so much with heels, since I never really wear them. But with boots and booties. 

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Isabel, you're so right -- trying out the trend in a cheaper version is usually such a smart thing to do. That's my strategy, too. :) 

  • Gigi replied 6 years ago

    The only thing I can think of that would help you, Suz, is to scour the Internet or Pinterest and find outfits with irregular juxtaposition that you like, and then copy them. This will give you a framework in which to try it out. I think sometimes trying new trends can be difficult because there are just so many combinations to think of...kind of like an ocean when a pool is better if you're just dipping your feet in.

    I have problems with all the trends listed. :^) But like some other posters have  mentioned, I'm not sure that I want to try them either. I like the irregular outfit juxtaposition, but the more I try it (and am unsuccessful), the more I think that maybe it isn't "me." I'm still working on building a core wardrobe and determining my base style, so I think I am going to concentrate on that for the time being. Build the foundation first, that kind of thing. :^)

  • Angie replied 6 years ago

    That makes sense, Suz. Glad you returned the drapey leather MK jacket. Rectangles and drape - not an ideal fit. But put us in simple masculine lines and things feel right. It's like magic.

    I JUST pulled together my late Spring and Summer uniforms (played in my closet and had lots of fun), and I'm really happy with my decisions so far. They fit right into the adjectives of my style descriptor: Modern, Bold, Simple, Crisp and Dressy. 


    • Relaxed Skinny jeans, rolled 3 inches above the ankle (Nikkis or BFs in white or blue). 
    • Masculine striped tailored tuxedo shirt or bold striped shirt. Tucked. Scrunched and popped. 
    • Ultra refined shoes: White Salvatore Ferragamo loafers, ankle strap pumps, or pointy toe pumps. 
    • Beautiful quality belt: Burberry, Kate Spade and MJ. Thinking of adding a Fendi or Gucci belt too. 
    • Clutch or Satchel


    • Stone washed flared jeans (YES. The sky is still falling down because I just bought dramatic flared jeans with a low rise,  and love them). 
    • Cropped oversized pullover or silk t-shirt blouse. Untucked. 
    • Beautiful quality belt
    • Pointy toe pumps
    • Satchel or clutch


    • Silk harem pants 
    • Cropped t-shirt blouse or cropped button down shirt
    • Extremely refined shoes: (see #1) 
    • Satchel or clutch


    • Full midi skirt
    • Slouchy Summer pullover with welt or cropped top 
    • Pumps or pointy toe flats
    • clutch

    Toppers will be motos, blazers with low stances, boxy cropped jackets and denim jackets. No jewellry. 

    My 5th uniform will incorporate tailored bootcut trousers. No sure how I want to style them yet. I shop Zara to Designer brands and everything in-between. I LOVE 2014 fashion. Things get better and better in my mind. 

    FWIW, Suz. I just shared the next leg on my style journey. Hopefully, it will be helpful to you somehow. If not, feel free to gloss over my long ramble. xo

  • Transcona Shannon replied 6 years ago

    Oh my Angie - your outfits sound DIVINE and I can hardly wait to see them in action :)

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Angie, of course it will be helpful! And it is most generous of you to share! I am taking notes, as I'm sure you can imagine. :)

    I can't wait to see you in your new flares, by the way!! 

    It will be quite a while before I can bare ankles, alas. I would really like to do that. I do have my Okalas waiting in line for use!! 

    I think my HEWI (a suit) will really bring a huge amount into clearer focus for me. But I can't be sure of finding that. In the meantime, I'm going to concentrate on great footwear, a new summer bag, and a topper or two, along with a few other fun items I'm ordering from Zara. 

    And Gigi, thank you. You're so right. Clipping pics and trying to make copies or interpretations will give me a framework. So much smarter and easier than flailing around in the dark. 

  • Angie replied 6 years ago

    You are so sweet, Shannon. Thanks. xo

    Suz, you are as sweet. YES. When the right suit comes your way - you will know it. Your plan sounds great. And perhaps I can help out in Boston? xo

  • Lisa replied 6 years ago

    Can't wait to see your flared jeans Angie!

    Suz, great advice here already so I have nothing new to add.  I do like the idea to mix things up with footwear.  I think footwear is so key to a look and there is a really nice selection of colors coming out right now.  I especially like the two toned shoes (toe one color, back/heel another color) with a strap and that may be fun for your style.

  • MsMary replied 6 years ago

    Coming back to say I hope I didn't sound dismissive of those who approach this whole thing differently than I do.  I often feel envious of those of you who are able to articulate your fashion philosophies and strategies so precisely!!

    And Angie!  So fun to get a sneak preview of your upcoming looks!!!!

  • Caro in Oz replied 6 years ago

    Great advice already & I think you are right, finding "that" suit  is a key. #1 - I can see you in something similar to this one, an 80s example from the master - YSL.

    Or #2 - drape & structure from Helmut Lang

    Angie - you took me to another place with you outfit descriptions :)

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Caro, you're so right. "The" elusive suit (or suits) will kind of help things fall into place for me, and either of those (or both, LOL) would be fab. I'll find it, eventually. 

    And Mary, no worries at all! You did not sound dismissive. I think you're right that it's best to let things fall into place and not obsess. Truth is, my post may have communicated more anxiety than I actually feel -- I'm more in the "curious, wonder how this will play out for me" camp than the "GOT TO DO IT THIS WAY OR ELSE" camp! If you know what I mean. :)

  • April replied 6 years ago

    Without a doubt, the quasi-frumpy look is not going to be my friend.  (I came here in the first place to get away from that look!)

    BTW, what's the difference between quasi-frumpy and frumpy frumpy?  

    I suspect it has something to do with the context provided by a great haircut, fabulous makeup, sharp specs, etc.  Those things make the look deliberate, as opposed to "I give up."

  • Beth Ann replied 6 years ago

    Suz:  Maybe the inspiration your take from the fitness industry isn't literal, then, as in gear.  Perhaps it can be expressed in clothing that allows and highlights movement, or add a sense of body-awareness of physical vitality.

    Such interesting discussion!  I mostly still cogitating and musing while reviewing last year's outfits and staring into my closet.  Like you, I'm not anxious, it's just not all come together for me yet!

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Beth Ann, I think that's exactly right, and what I crave. I definitely need to move in my clothes. And I do, after all, wear jeans a lot, and shoes that -- if not flat -- at least allow me to stride. Plus fluid fit knits. And I'm not entirely sure that I'll rule out the gear element, either. There might be something in that to ponder. So thank you! 

    As for your own style, it has never been better, and I can't wait to hear what you sing next. 

    April, that's true, I think -- it is easier to wear frumpy if no one would ever truly mistake you for frumpy. Having said that, you fall into that category, at least to my eyes! I mean the category of "could not look truly frumpy if she tried..."

  • shevia replied 6 years ago

    Wow can a thread have too many treats? I was slowly digesting and then Angie came along with a sugar bomb!
    Anyway, my random thoughts include:
    1 Unusual outfit juxtaposition - actually I get this also with my environment. I often walk by a religious man who is wearing a very similar hat to mine and take an imaginary photograph. My closet is definitely second hand plus Zara so there's that too.
    2. Classics with trends and JES work together for me and lately I see this happening more and more. I have started wearing white button downs and tailored jackets with oversized, drapey, and trendy clothes, and preferring more structured bags too.
    3. I unintentionally arrive at frumpy (once Anna said my outfit was frump chic and how I prized that compliment!) but it is not a goal. I do have a new pair of white Birks that I thrifted brand new (the thong rather than two strap style) and I feel those will be coming out during the hottest days.

    For you Suz, I think you have an itch to explore more avant garde looks and I look forward to seeing where that takes you! You have the structure already and the juxtaposition will follow. Great thread obviously!

  • texstyle replied 6 years ago

    Suz, This turned into such a great, informative post - great reading here and I loved Angie's summer outfit plans. She reminded me (believe it or not) that I need a couple more belts. Better quality this year. The $10 python print has gotten so much wear that I know it won't last much longer. The red and white wide belts haven't gotten much wear for me but it helped me identify more of what I think I do want - lower contrast for me. I'm considering looking for a light denim blue belt so it sort of "disappears" into my jeans but still offers support for the BFs and some textural interest.

    I notice you said you were going to get a new bag. I recently got the one linked here and am loving how soft the leather is, how versatile it is, the size and the linen (off white really) and black trim color. It's very simple but for me it's just about perfect. The price was good too. And it's lightweight.


  • CocoLion replied 6 years ago

    Suz I fully endorse minimal modern style for you!!  I love you in this look.  You had a post with a month's worth of outfits in them and the days that reflected this simple style strategy were WOW and so organically you at the same time.  I do think it's a type of avant garde but not the drapey arty kind, more the strict kind of avant garde.  More Jil Sander than Rick Owens, if I am correctly understanding those designers.

    Back to your original challenge of outfit juxtaposition.  Perhaps someone else already mentioned this, but I struggle with this because I think of it as a dressy, big city living trend. It's dressy items being made more casual, but the dressy is still there.  Ripped jeans -- yes yes yes for me, living a casual rural life.  But 4" heels to make them look "2014" -- doesn't work.  Denim shirt -- yes again but gem-rich statement necklace to go with it?  Doesn't feel right, but I wouldn't hesitate to wear it on a trip to LA.  So while I love the look of irregular outfit juxtaposition, it still relies on many dressy elements which challenge me.

    I keep an OS X "Notes" style folder on my desktop and Angie's Spring outfits were immediately copied for inspiration!  I am awed by how modern and on-trend she stays while keeping almost strictly true to her style vision.   Which she articulated 3 years ago already!  

  • Angie replied 6 years ago

    Denise, you have a GREAT memory. Thanks for the kind words. And I love what you said on the Birkenstock post this morning (will reply shortly). Also, you are our Queen It's Hip To Be Square - it's a version of irregular outfit juxtaposition, don't you think? 

    Tex, high five fellow belt-lover. 

    Thanks Mary, Caro, Shevia and Lisa. You are all lovely. 

    Love those suits, Caro. I can see Suz in both of them. 

    Suz, hope your Spring and Summer outfit visions are clearer. 

  • annagybe replied 6 years ago

    Hmm, for me the only thing I really want so far this year are those R13 destroyed jeans.  But I have had boyfriend jeans for about four years. 

  • catgirl replied 6 years ago

    It is way too easy for me to be frumpy, and not in the ironic sense.  So hip to be square, while well within my realm, is not a look to which I intend to aspire.

    Such a good read, this thread!

  • anne replied 6 years ago

    Golly what a lot in this thread. I've with Una "way too easy for me to be frumpy, and not in the ironic sense" - so not planning to try to be that way.

    I've said elsewhere that I am not very sold on 2014 fashion and that has helpfully cooincided with very little money to spend on clothes, though this thread has reminded me that I need to get a belt (it is the most frequent suggestion on my thread)

  • psychedelicate replied 6 years ago

    I am also not one for the frumpy or more loose-fitting clothes. I know I need some structure to look my best.

    I have, in general, been underwhelmed by what's in the stores right now. It is not as bad as it was in 2007 or so when it seemed that manufacturers were only making baby doll tops--easily my worst look--but just that I go into stores and there is just nothing there I like. I suppose it's easier on the wallet, but it's not very fun.

  • April replied 6 years ago

    Suz, you're very kind, but in terms of trying not to look frumpy, I find several things work against me: curly hair (SO easy for it to become a frizzy mess when it's humid); avoiding heels (sadly, many flats have a high frump factor); and wearing glasses.

    I know that glasses should be a fabulous style statement, but in a way that I don't fully understand, they somehow combine with curly hair to make it hard to look sleek and pulled-together.  

    So hard to look like Angie in specs; so easy to look like Janis Joplin.

  • Vicki replied 6 years ago

    Excellent and thoughtful question, Suz, and a couple are a challenge for me:  Just Enough Structure and Irregular Outfit Juxtaposition, although I think the latter sounds like so much fun, but I, too, get concerned about a "costume-y" appearance or one that is too "forced."  As for structure, I just haven't played around with it yet, enough, to know what I'm really doing, so there's a little trepidation with this one.

    I'm more in comfort zone with Combining the Classics with Trends and High-Low Style and I really enjoy the Classics with Trends options best.

    Thanks for bringing up this topic, because by exploring it, I think we'll be more willing to try these approaches in our own way.

  • MsMary replied 6 years ago

    I happen to think Janis Joplin looked awesome...

  • Gaylene replied 6 years ago

    Hey, more Janis love here, MaryK!!

    But I do get April's point about eyewear and curly hair. After wearing my hair in a sleek, ear-length bob for years, I was more than a little taken aback to find that embracing my curls also meant revamping my eyewear. I currently have four pairs of eyewear on the go, two of which work when I let my curls loose and two which work when I decide to blow dry my hair into a sleeker shape. And, to complicate things further, some outfits seem to demand straighter hair while others look better with my curls. From my, admittedly limited, experience, curls can be challenging for those of us who don't aspire to an arty or boho style. I love Janis' music but don't really want to emulate her look.

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