WIW: The Garden Party Retrospective. A style story, in 3 acts.

Every year we go to a strawberry social at this time of year called the "Bergman Brunch." The dress code is "white, if convenient." The food is a funny mix of down-home burgers (veggie, meat, and chicken) and fancy desserts, with sparkling wine. And the guests are a mix of professors, young and older, "kids" from 3 months to 33, and the odd assortment of artsy types. 

Here are 3 years of my outfits. 

  1. One of my very first YLF postings. A discount store shell, a reclaimed sari silk skirt, and red sandals. (Those shoes were cute, but they never would stay on, alas...)
  2. Last year, my white Kut Diana skinnies, my fuchsia silk blazer, a linen top and cami. It was a relatively cool and cloudy day. I was not happy with the footwear with this, but they were the only wedge sandals I had, and a wedge was required due to the venue. 
  3. Today. My white shorts, Clarks sandals, white belt, and J. Crew butterfly print T, with my blue bag. Bug spray, sunnies, hat in the bag. (Bleah to the bug spray!!) 

So. What would you say about this style evolution judging from these photos? 

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.


  • replied 9 years ago

    What a change! I don't think I had seen a photo of you with longer hair before.

    Your outfit this year is superb!

  • Asingh replied 9 years ago

    Suz, the long skirt and white top look great on you. And you look so nice in your old hairstyle. That skirt is beautiful- is it made out of a saree?

  • Suz replied 9 years ago

    Yes, Asingh, the skirt is made from reclaimed sarees. I don't own it any more...passed it along to a grateful family member. 

  • replied 9 years ago

    It went from very feminine and elegant to sportier and more casual back to feminine and refined with a dash of hip (it kills me to use that word in general. Hang on, looking up a synonym: modern! That's better). 

    That event sounds awesome. Living vicariously through you. 

  • replied 9 years ago

    You look so much more like YOU now!  

  • Marley replied 9 years ago

    I think you look great in all of these outfits Suz!  That skirt in #1 is absolutely gorgeous!  And the color-combination of the jacket with the linen shirt in #2 just makes my heart sing (but then, those colors are 2 of my very favorite color-combinations - so I might be biased!)  And today's outfit is fresh and crisp!  I think from #1 to #3 - you look like you've gone from a bit of bo-ho ? - and arty? - to androgenous and "cleaner - simpler." 

  • CocoLion replied 9 years ago

    First of all, you are a beautiful woman and your beauty and taste shine in each outfit.  Regarding your style evolution, your appearance is more sporty and younger looking now.  The hair has a lot to do with it but also your style is more tomboy now.  You *ARE* the urban prince!

  • Nicola replied 9 years ago

    I find it so inspiring to see your style journey and how it has evolved - although evolved almost suggests it happened all by itself and I know how much hard work you have put into it and I really admire you for that.

    While you have always been gorgeous I love the new and improved Suz! That pixie cut was the best choice ever and I think this years outfit is even more you-er and fabber.

  • Nicola replied 9 years ago

    And I love the title of this post. So witty!

  • Krista replied 9 years ago

    I love the 3 act style story! Truthfully, I like all of these on you but I will say that you are very much an "urban prince" and your most current outfit seems the most "you." Hope you had a great time! :)

  • donnat replied 9 years ago

    Very inspiring to watch your progression. I do love the skirt though, very artsy.

  • Karie replied 9 years ago

    So here's the style evolution question: Would you have worn the outfit in #3 two years ago, and would you wear the outfit in #1 now? My guess is that the answer to the second part of that question is "No" since you have given the skirt away. What prompted you to give it away? It's pretty but doesn't quite strike me as your style. I can definitely see the refinement of your style in #2 and more so in #3 - balanced/structured/arty/elegant, much more than "I'll wear this skirt because it's pretty and oh here's a top that goes with it." This is how I find myself thinking of outfits as I work to refine my style - am I wearing it because it fits and looks nice, or is it really my style persona? I admire you, Suz - you have worked hard to figure this out, and your style is completely gorgeous!

    BTW, I LOVE that J Crew butterfly print shirt. It's now on my "must have" list!

  • Ornella replied 9 years ago

    OMG, I remember them all from the times when they were initially posted, each one felt just right, but look at the progression!

    Off to un-faint now :-D

    ETA: How do *you* feel about the process as seen in these photos?

  • Mona replied 9 years ago

    Ahhh! what a progress, Suz. Love this year's outfit. Also I quite like that sari silk skirt too. It can look fab if it is a little shorter. I see the trend moving towards more minimal and sophisticated.

  • Suz replied 9 years ago

    Well, I'll tell you. I feel really pleased, looking at the pics. 

    The haircut made the biggest change, and was completely in keeping with my sense of myself (having worn my hair short most of my life). So, I have Angie to thank for that prompt. 

    With the hair came many other changes. Necklines that seemed possible with my long, thick hair no longer work (alas -- I miss you, V neck tops!). But others that I loved equally (like collared shirts) became much easier. 

    With a better paying job, I was able to buy more items new, and this has allowed me to evolve towards a more modern, minimalist look, which is the kind of outfit I've always felt best in. My hair allows me to wear classics more easily without looking merely "nice." (Not that there is anything wrong with nice, by the way. It's just not me.) 

    Karie, you hit the nail on the head. These days when I shop (the stores or my closet) I ask myself: Does this item work, or can it work, with my style persona? It has to pass the item/ outfit/ capsule test and make me feel like myself. I still make mistakes, of course, but there really is a process of constant refinement going on. 

    By the way, I still have all the items in outfit 2 and would wear them in a similar but not identical way -- I would switch out the footwear to my Cons and probably leave off the cami, plus I would wear a different belt.  :-) 

  • Mo replied 9 years ago

    I had almost forgotten your longer hairstyle!  Great set of evolution pics.  It's so interesting to look back at where you have been along the way of your style journey. 

  • Angie replied 9 years ago

    I remember ALL the outfits too. How fun you great story teller :)

    I barely recognize you with long hair!!! Short hair is your thing. #3 is KILLER and my best of the three!! Such a pretty and soft palette. Thanks for being part of YLF for the long haul. xo

  • rae replied 9 years ago

    Much more crisp, modern, and princely! Makes me excited for what's to come.

  • Eliza replied 9 years ago

    What a succinct way to reveal and conceptualize style evolution. Love your haircut, though what I noticed most was the effortless, not "over-thought" appearance of number 3.  Beautiful, and "just Suz". How great is that?
    Very inspirational.

  • Lyn D. replied 9 years ago

    Suz, they are all Fab of course!
    I see in this what YLF does for all of us- makes us keep things fresh, ponder more deeply all our purchases, try new and not so safe options- evolve our style.

  • Caro in Oz replied 9 years ago

    I see someone who has gone from nicely put together to really nailing their style. Lots of little things that add up to a big difference imo, your hair, the style & fit of the clothes & your confidence - YLF.

  • Transcona Shannon replied 9 years ago

    What a fun sounding event!

    The biggest change in your style has been your hair without a doubt. It seemed to propel you into a style that became more modern, minimal and Prince-ly. You have always looked lovely but you have most certainly hit your style stride in the last year.

  • Jaime replied 9 years ago

    Wow Suz. Good, better, best is how I see those pictures, but it is more than that. In the last picture I see someone with that extra something that elevates someone from beautiful, put together woman to style superstar. Wow again! And sounds like a fun party!

  • lyn* replied 9 years ago

    Wow, Suz - what a change! I really love your pretty #1 look, but I think #2 shows a clear evolution towards #3 and you rock that chic look so well! 

    PS: I just hate cute shoes that won't stay on!

  • Mochi replied 9 years ago

    I like them all, really like 2, but 3 is amazing. You have nailed proportions, silhouette, subtle gradations of similar color tones, freshness, seasonal appropriateness, footwear, belt and bag, etc etc. 

  • lyn67 replied 9 years ago

    Wow, what a style  evolution here, Sie Suz! Yes, the pixie is Your (and Angie's, Krish's) thing(sorry if forgot somebody from  the fab pixie team). Of course, this year's outfit is the most refined, but I actually love them all. Including the frst year's one-with your long hair. But agree, nr 2 doesn't need that cami there...was it for modesty, or what?:-). Have had the same experiences, when  bareing some skin (in spring)-I have to get use to it first...then do it more confident to the end of summer. YLFx3!!

  • Runcarla replied 9 years ago

    3 appropriate, and even stylish looks for the eclectic/fun type of event you describe. That said, there is the progression of your style as you found and owned your look. It is interesting to note that though the shapes of the clothes in #3 are tomboyish/ princely the pattern on the T is feminine. It is also a very 'effortless' look...but we know what it took to get there, right? Kind of like how much work a natural/no makeup look takes.

    This last look is my fav of the 3 for style, and I do love blue and white.

  • Lisa replied 9 years ago

    First, I must steal that butterfly top in #3 *off to sneak into closet*

    Ok, what an interesting style evolution.  Between the hair and outfits, the first word that came to mind for me was edgy.  I like the slightly more rigid shapes in the later outfits compared to the swooshy skirt.  You really have a nice look going on!

  • MNsara replied 9 years ago

    Once again, shevia took the words right out of my mouth:  good, better, best! 

    Changing to your pixie was such a dramatic turning point.  Things really started to fall into place -- although you've worked hard on analysis and such. 

    I find this encouraging and inspirational :-)  I hope lurkers and newcomers do too!

  • Mary Beth (formerly LBD) replied 9 years ago

    I love all three outfits, and they all seem 'you' - but increasingly so, over time.  You're more specific in your mood and choices. 

  • amiable replied 9 years ago

    Yes - what everyone else has been saying.  #1 is Good, but #2 and #3 are even better (with #3 being out of the ballpark).  I love your short hair and the refinement to your style that goes with it.  And I love the new minimalism too!  

    It does inspire me to see your over-the-long-haul changes.  I hope I've come into myself as much in another few years!  

  • merwoman replied 9 years ago

    So informative to see these 3 pics side by side! While I find you gorgeous and stylish in all 3 photos - you positively sparkle in pic #3. You've definitely found your style groove!

  • Joy replied 9 years ago

    Like others, I find your journey from beautiful and nice to wow and uniquely you. You are one fabber who has inspired me to post my outfits to hone my own style.

  • replied 9 years ago

    I love what Karie wrote. You are no longer just finding something to wear that looks nice and is appropriate to the occasion (and to think I used to think that was all there was to do!) but now you are truly expressing yourself through your clothing choices. You are just smashing in that blue and white BTW!

  • replied 9 years ago

    Fun to see the 'evolution of Suz' in those 3 pics. All iterations are lovely but 3 is so you. You are obviously now in your happy place stylewise. I hope I can join you some time soon.

  • rachylou replied 9 years ago

    Whoa! Gosh! I've never seen your long hair before. I really like #1, you're very beautiful in it... but such a different person. Less... expressive?

  • pil replied 9 years ago

    All three outfits are beautiful and you look wonderful in all three, but *you* look more confident as the pictures progress. You really are an inspiration, Suz.

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