In defense of skirts in winter...

In today's post Angie said: 
I’m uncomfortably cold wearing skirts and dresses no matter how I wrap up and layer with hosiery and boots, so I almost exclusively wear jeans and trousers during Winter and some of Spring.

I understand this perfectly and honestly I wear jeans and trousers to run errands on the weekends too. However I would like to defend skirts and dresses in this frigid winter. If not for them I would be forced to wear a single style to work: skinnies tucked into tall boots - day in and day out. For me winter dressing is first and foremost footwear: it dictates everything. I can wear a skirt to work with tights even in -20C like I wore today and walk from the car to the office and even 10 min to the gym no problem. On the other hand I need waterproof and slip-resistant footwear even for a short walk. Right now it is either Blondo tall boots or UGG tall boots. Unfortunately skinnies are the only pants option for them: either wide leg or slouchy trousers look too sloppy tucked in and in addition get all wrinkled even if I change into shoes at work.
Skirts and dresses to the rescue! At least I can get some variety this way which makes winter dressing more bearable.

Now I have a new hole to fill: short winter boots (waterproof, warm and slip-resistant) so I can wear my slouchy and straight leg trousers as well in winter...but this year - thanks God for skirts and dresses!!!


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Company event this Friday: help!

We have company party this Friday and dress code is business formal.
I have hard time deciding what to wear but I know one thing for sure: I want to wear my tuxedo jacket, silver pumps and striped clutch! The rest is open for debates :-)
#1 Black/white sheath dress
#2 Black silk shirt with cream trim, cream fluid trousers
#3 Silver stripe sweater, cream trousers
#4 Le smoking with black trousers and white BB shirt tucked in with the belt
I like the tucked look but it drives me  crazy because the shirt gets un-tucked when I sit down so here is another version:
#5 the same but shirt untucked
#6 Silver stripe sweater, black trousers
#7 Cream silk sweatshirt, black trousers
#8 Indigo silk sweatshirt, black trousers

Any preference? What should I go with?


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Cobalt trousers: reality check!

One of the main reasons I was hesitant to keep those cobalt trousers was my outerwear. As it happens most of my coats and jackets are non-neutral so I was not sure I can make them work with those trousers.
So here is a little fashion show. I decided that if I have at least 2 outerwear options to wear with those trousers it is good enough.
What do you think?
1. Purple wool coat
2. Blush-tan leather trench
3. Teak leather jacket (less cognac and more yellow-brown IRL)
4.  Red-purple trench

Any of those work?

I also have red cape and cobalt wool coat but I won't wear them with those trousers.
My cream cream puffer should work I think for that dead of winter time.

Hmm, maybe I should add a black coat after all? I also have difficulty to pair my winter white trousers with most of my outerwear. I think I will do another fashion show with them to see what really works. Of course ink blue or navy would work too!

P.S. It is so strange to think that pre-YLF I have one coat and did not give a thought how does it look with everything I wear - now I am ready to agonize over this! :-)


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Play with me: why it does not work and why it does?

My recent post on neutrals in my closet made me think: is the wrong color a main culprit when I find it hard to style an item or is there something else?

This Gibson blazer was the first "longer" blazer I bough 2 years ago which is the right direction for me according to Angie. I had to select between black and grey and decided that as I already have one black blazer AND black is not my favorite color I should get grey (that was 2 years ago when black and I were not friends yet).
So here it is 2 years later and edging towards an orphanhood...I just seldom feel fab wearing it and more often than not put it back.
It is knit and this maybe a factor. On one hand it is very comfortable and knit quality is great. On the other hand maybe it is not crisp enough for me?
Another factor is the sleeve length. On one hand it has this "scrunched sleeve" built in and they do not slide down. On the other hand it is hard to wear long sleeve tops under it because sleeves conflict with each other.
...but comfort aside most of these outfits I am not proud of as well. There are 2 of them out of this lot which felt right but the rest were "meh".
So here is the Game:
1. Which outfits  I felt good in?
2. Why it worked in those cases and did not work in the rest? Is this the color hard to style for me or something else?
3. Is there a hope for this blazer for me? Which parameters I need to keep in mind while trying to style it to get it right?

The game is on: anybody is in? :-)


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Capsules, colors and my inventory (a long novel)

Lately the forum was swamped with capsule and color posts. Sneaky Angie, how she is making us think and ponder and take the inventory of our closets...Isn't it amazing how thought provocative these posts are!
Anyway I got bitten by the same bug. I don't think I will do a capsule post, not yet anyway but I am beginning to think in terms of capsules (new thing for me) - at least for the colors.

Some time ago I posted color palette question (aka not having one) and a lot of you (and Angie) told me that I don't need to worry about this because my closet is pretty heavily mix-and-match(able). However I keep returning to this color dilemma again and again in my head. The main reason is that I think it will make it easier for me to shop but also I really like the thought of signature neutrals and colors. Just find it very appealing somehow so I guess I need this exercise!  

So phase one for me is to take a stock of which colors are represented in my closet right now and I was quickly done the inventory using my wardrobe spreadsheet (less time consuming than pulling everything out and less messy too!). For clarity sake I considered patterns as a color either covering the larger area or having the biggest impact and I counted everything including footwear and coats.
Well, it was eye opening for me for sure, see for yourselves:

Most heavily represented neutrals were white / cream and black (pic 1).  This did not come as a surprise because I like the graphic drama of black and white. They are pretty much equally represented. It is also interesting that I have more black for cool season but more white for the warm one. However the surprise was in the number of them: combined they represent whooping 38% of my total wardrobe! I guess we can safely say that black and white are my signature neutrals, no? :-)
That was easy but determining other "signature" neutrals was not as easy. This is what I have:
Navy / ink   - 4
Light grey   - 8
Mid grey     - 10
Dark grey    - 3
Brown (including tan, camel and cognac) - 7
Taupe          - 7

If I combine all greys together they are coming pretty close to black / white count so it looks like grey is my other signature color, right? On the other hand it is not very flattering on me and I have trouble styling some of my grey items (especially mid grey). See pic 2
In comparison dark saturated navy and especially ink blue are much more flattering on me but I have just a few items of this color. Pic 3 to illustrate :-)
Brown is a complicated color for me. It usually looks good and for a pure flattery beats black every time...but I find harder and harder to incorporate it into my outfits. Maybe it is because my hair is not brown as before but a much darker almost black shade now? Or maybe it just lacks drama I can get with white and black? I still love my dark brown leather blazer though and will no part with it! (pic 4)
Taupe is a strange animal, a hybrid between grey and brown. I am not even sure the things I consider taupe are really taupe (pic 5 - both jacket and booties).
So I cannot really go by sheer number of items in each color I currently own to determine which ones should be my other "signature" neutrals. I guess I can use your help here :-)
If you are still reading my novel you deserve a medal! I would appreciate your opinion  - which neutrals you see as "mine"?
Thanks a lot!


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Oh no, are my white Editors ruined?!!! ETA on the bottom

I loved my white Editors last summer and wore them a lot. This summer however I wore them only once and did not feel as fab in them. At last I realized why: I cannot tuck or semi-tuck tops into them and untucked tops just don't sing to me this year. I could not tuck into them for two reasons:
-wide waistband and no belt loops so I cannot wear a belt with them and without a belt tucking just does not work well.
- I sized up to get a looser fit in white and my mom took in the waist for me. Unfortunately the way she did it ruled over any exposed top of the trousers - they just bunched too much.

So I decided to remedy this. I undid the seams and took them to my mom to redo, Instead of taking in the waist we moved them a bit lower on the hips than before and she took in sides a bit. Because of this they became longer so we decided to hem them for 2" shoes and make belt loops out of the excess fabric.

Well, I picked them up today - and they are too short!!! The only shoes I can wear them with are my slipper flats with 0.5" heel! :-( 

So here is my dilemma: should I leave them like this and wear with flats (I have 3 pars: silver, gold, grey) or let out 1.5 inch to wear with 2" heels? Do they look frumpy with flats? pic 1 is from last year with 2.5" wedge sandals, I wore these trousers the most with them. Pic 2 is how they are now with silver flats. The thing is that even if I let out the remaining hem they will be still too short for those sandals...:-( I have red pumps with 2" heel which may work though but they are not really summer shoes for me.
What bothers me with these flats is that the hem gets caught on the shoe vamp as I walk because it is a bit low: Me Too flats have higher vamp and don't have this problem. Maybe we can let out the hem in front a bit to make them longer  so they come completely over the vamp?
Other solution can be to change them into straight legs so heel height is not that critical...
What do you think? Did we ruined them? The ironic thing is that they fit perfectly on top now and have belt loops...but too short!


ETA: I let down the hems. They are just long enough to skim the floor with my highest heels. If my mom can hem them for 0.5" I will be a happy camper :-)


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Help needed: determining the color palette for my style

I think I have been all over the place with colors in my wardrobe. I think I have clothes which work together color-wise most of the time even though my closet resembles the rainbow :-)
However recently I begin to think that I may need to be more focused in creating my "signature" color palette being inspired by Angie, Vix, Suz, Inge and others. I like the sound of this so much: "I wear a pallete of <insert 4-6 colors and neutrals here>. It sounds so sophisticated and definitely helps to make the right shopping choices.
But I really draw a blank when it comes to my own color definition.  
So - can you help me to start on this? I seem to be all over the place when it comes to colors. I don't suit neon and sour brights and pale pastels but other colors seem to work (SS beige excluded of course)
I am often drawn to deep jewel shades of cobalt, emerald, ruby, deep teal and amethyst. However I may be drawn to more muted colors as well - like burgundy, rust, mustard...
I thought I cannot wear yellow but my recent purchases of "warm lemon" sweater and bright lemon blazer surprised me by how I love wearing these colors.
I know I love the drama of black and white but I am not sure black is a flattering color on me.
On the other hand I like taupe and light grey for their versatility and dark grey for its sophistication but again - do they love me back?
I know brown is a good neutral for my coloring but it does not mesh well these other neutrals, right? Especially now when I darkened my hair it may not work as well on me as when my hair was mid-tone brown.
Dark navy and ink was a recent discovery for me - I was sure I cannot wear these colors but I think they actually suit me.
See my dilemma? I am all over the place and I have not yet mentioned mid-tones bordering on muted brights like coral, spring green, lilac...
So how can I do this? Any suggestions? Any advice?   Any help?


My pleasant and unexpected wardrobe surprise

All these posts on purging, culling and wardrobe size made me to ponder what is my current wardrobe size. I think I evaluated it about 1 year ago and realized I have around 120 clothing items I wear outside of the house (not counting workout / hiking / gardening gear and undergarmnets). That felt like a good wardrobe size for me - big enough to have fun and variety and small enough to feel justified and not overwhelmed by it.
However I was buying more clothes over that year and somewhere in the back of my head I had a nudging feeling that my wardrobe is going out of control, I am buying too much and so on. I love Angie's rule of 'one in - one out' but I was not following it religiously for each buy even though I was doing ongoing little purges from time to time.
Anyway I spent the afternoon today to take stock of what I have and these are the numbers:
- cool season clothing items (fall - spring) - 84 items including coats;
- summer - 36 items
Together they come to 120 clothing items - pretty much what I had last year.
That was a very pleasant surprise - looks like I was following "one in - one out" rule after all, even if subconsciously. :-)
I have also counted my shoes:
 - cool season: 13 pairs excluding gear;
- summer: 6 pairs
Total: 19 pairs.
I think I am going to try and keep this size as it works pretty well for me. 'One in - one out' rule is going to be pretty much my mantra from now on - this time in all consciousness!

Other interesting observations during my inventory:
-  I have 13 pairs of trousers and jeans for cool season and just 10 skirts and dresses combined. You can really call me trouser obsessed!:-)
- however it is an opposite way for summer where I have 6 pairs of shorts / pants and 8 skirts and dresses. Looks like not only I change a color palette  but also a style of dressing from winter to summer.

I still have some items in my closet which I wear less frequently if even at all. I am going to mark them and watch the usage: if they are not worn enough they are good candidates for this magic rule to free space for some potential goodies from NAS!

Thanks for reading my novel. It is really amazing how putting these thoughts in writing helps to make them clearer in your head.
I feel much better now about the size of my wardrobe!  Hmm, is it why the first thing I did after the inventory was to place an order with GAP? :-)

Trying to understand what is a mid-tone color

I understand what are pastel colors (and that I don't have many of them in my closet) but I am struggling to distinguish mid-tones from non-neon brights. I have several summer items I am not sure about - can you help?
pic 1
 I think the bag is in pastel colors but about coral dress and yellow in oxfords - mid-tone or bright?
pic 2
What about this purple - mid-tone or bright?

pic 3
I think this lilac shirt is pastel - no?

pic 4
What about this blue jacket - mid-tone or bright?

pic 5
our YLF yellow seamed skirt - mid-tone?

So do I have any mid-tone colors in my closet now?

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Another travel capsule post ! (VERY pic heavy)

Time is not standing still and it is one week before we leave for Portugal ( OMG! I am not ready!) Just to remind you: this is 17 day vacation trip and I want to fit everything into carryon because we will be moving between 6 different cities during this trip using public transport. It will be mostly sight-seeing during the day and hopefully some evening entertainment: music in the restaurants and bars, maybe a couple of concerts in Lisbon, nothing too fancy. The weather can be rainy or sunny and temps between 12 - 19 C during the day and cooler at night and i the morning.
I did the last major rehearsal last night with pictures to sort out what I am taking with me and there is a result:
1. slouchy micro-houndtooth trousers
2. straight leg dark wash Paige jeans
3. stretchy jersey polka dot sheath dress

Long sleeve tops:
1. B/W striped shirt
2. Animal print shirt
3. Denim shirt
4. Navy / white cat print shirt
5. Black t-neck
6. Fuchsia t-neck
7. B/W striped sweater

Short sleeve tops:
1. AT black sleeveless top
2. B/w polka dot sleeveless top
3. Black sequin short sleeve tunic

1. Black tuxedo jacket
2. Taupe leather jacket
3. Purple trench with removable liner

1. Brown combat boots
2. Grey flat oxfords
3. Nude MJ Fidji pumps.

Here are the outfits (excuse my dark glasses as I was looking pretty bad w/o makeup):
1-4: with straight leg jeans
3 of my shirts are long enough to war with straight jeans (I am very sensitive to proportions!) I did not include pictures for all toppers but both jackets work wit them. Question: in pic 2 I tried jeans tucked in and worn over the boots: which do you prefer?
BTW, navy / white cat print shirt is a new one from Gap, I hope it does not look to young for me. I really like to add this new print to my collection and I just love navy / white color combo! What do you think of this shirt?
5-11: slouchy trousers
by the sheer number of these pictures you can guess what is my favorite trouser silhouette now :-) Tried them with all 3 footwear options, I think they work with all of them.
I am not sure about pic 10: wearing AT black top as a vest over this shirt: does it work or just looks silly? If I cannot wear it over the shirts I will not take it with me.
Pic 3 and 7: sleeveless polka dot top. I think it works with both jackets but I am debating if I need to take it. I am sure it will not be hot enough to go sleeveless, maybe I should take a sleeved top instead so I can remove the jacket if it is warm?
Pic 11: does this t-neck looks good with a black jacket and lighter trousers? I also plan on taking a black tneck , did not take any pictures with it as it is very easy to style and a good canvas for my scarves.
12-13: dress
Works with both jackets, striped sweater on top and AT top as a vest. I also can layer a shirt over it with a striped sweater or vest on top to look as a skirt if I need another layer. I prefer pumps with nude hose and boots with dark hose. I am afraid my feet look ginormous in flat oxfords with this dress (well, they ARE ginormous at size 12 but especially in these pictures) - or am I just too sensitive here?
I think I could style more outfits with these options but don't want to burden your eyes.
I think I can wear #4, 8 and 13 for the evening with nude pumps or oxfords - what do you think? Nothing fancy, just restaurants and maybe concerts.
So at this time I have doubts about the following items:
1. AT sleeveless top as a vest (pic 10 , 13)
2. Sleeveless polka dot top (pic 3,7)
3. Denim shirt - I like it in #5 but not sure I can wear it with jeans and the dress so it goes with one bottom only.
I would appreciate your feedback on these 3 items as well as on anything else!
I also plan to take my purple trench - pic 14 - it should work over all bottoms.

Thanks for reading my novel!


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