We were so excited when YLF Veteran AJ told us that an outfit she submitted was published in InStyle magazine (page 108 of the March edition). Killer! AJ is a stay at home Mum who lives in Texas and her fabulously creative, polished and ladylike style is inspiring to us all. No wonder InStyle published her outfit!

This trench coat outfit is deceptively simple. While it may seem like just another autumn ensemble, it’s actually a snapshot of the style evolution I’ve undergone since joining YouLookFab a year ago. My daily morning read of Angie’s blog posts, along with insights from other YLF forum members, have helped me gain knowledge and confidence to style my outfits. My InStyle appearance is a fun validation of how much I’ve learned through YLF.

It was during Angie’s coverage of New York Fashion Week last year that I realized I had a strong preference for playful, colorful outfits. Designers like Custo Barcelona and Carlos Miele inspired me to embraced color and print in my own wardrobe.  What was once a closet full of plain, solid neutrals now contains many colorful items like this eggplant trench coat.

I’m surprised at how much I enjoy trying out trends that are highlighted on YLF. I realize the skinny jeans in my trench coat outfit are not cutting-edge fashion anymore, but I never would have worn them without YLF. Angie’s posts on upcoming trends motivate forum members to try and interpret the looks in ways that work for them. I followed their example and have learned to strike a balance between looking current while still feeling like me.

Take footwear, for example. The wedge heeled booties I’m wearing in the magazine are both on trend and in keeping with my new goal of buying only comfortable footwear. Angie’s insistence on comfortably stylish shoes in her own wardrobe has shown me how fabulous footwear can take outfit basics up several style notches. No more painful shoes for me!

I’ve also learned through YLF that it’s the little details that make an outfit special. Usually I avoid double breasted coats or jackets, but it was the contrasting buttons on this trench that caught my eye. The stylist for the InStyle look had switched out their coat’s belt for a satin ribbon. I immediately thought of my tortoiseshell belt and was instantly pleased with how it complemented the trench and added some polish. I try to do this with all my outfits and accessories like pearls, scarves and hats now form an integral part of my every-day style.

An important part of my style journey has been documenting my outfits through pictures. This helps me see from afar how my clothes fit me and if the proportions suit me. The InStyle submission was a picture that I had already taken days before as part of my usual outfit photos. I highly recommend taking photos even if no one else will see them. It’s interesting what you will notice in the picture that wasn’t readily apparent to you in the mirror. Remotes and/or self-timers on digital cameras make this process easy if you’re uncomfortable with asking someone to take your pictures for you.

Finally, my confidence to submit my photo to InStyle is a direct result of Angie’s number one rule: have fun with fashion. I encourage new YLF readers to check out the party that is going on at the YLF forum. Besides outfit posts, currently there are forum threads of encouragement for those who want to temporarily take a break from shopping, as well as support for those who want to adopt healthy living habits. Angie has established such a positive and supportive environment here; it’s hard not to participate!

Thank you, Angie, for sharing in my excitement over my outfit submission to InStyle! I feel grateful for the freedom to enjoy fashion and style that you and the fabulous forum members provide. Many thanks for all the hard work that you and your husband, Greg, devote to YLF to encourage women worldwide.