Outfit Formula: Playful Classic Moto Jacket

Moto or biker jackets are a hard-edged modern classic when they are tailored, black, quite short, and finished off with silver or black hardware. They’re trendier when they’re oversized and longer, and even more unique in a colour other than black. These outfits playfully celebrate the classic black moto jacket although there’s a twist in the last two looks. Note that moto jackets can be leather or pleather.

1. Layered Dress

The interesting layers here caught my eye. A high-contrast turtleneck is layered under a woolly sheath sweater dress and topped with a classic black moto. A unique pair of tall sock boots adds insulation below the hem of the dress, and by all means add hosiery for warmth. A pair of tailored black booties would work well too. A gigantic scarf that’s wrapped around the neck adds excellent insulation.

Universal Standard Rita Ribbed Sweater Dress With Pockets

2. Stripes and Red Pants

This outfit looks as classic as it does trendy because of the way the items have been remixed. The choice of bold red bottoms, as opposed to a more demure black, grey or dark blue pair of pants, makes things playful. Combine a pair of red pants or skirt with a light blue striped blouse or shirt. Finish things off with a classic black moto and dressy pair of black tailored boots, and Bob’s your uncle. A classic striped tee could work too.

Mango Zipped Biker Jacket

3. Dark Column of Colour

To my eye, this outfit looks fabulous and a whole lot more interesting because the classic moto is DARK BLUE and not black. It brings the column of black underneath it to life, and adds an unexpected twist. Granted, I’m not that fond of solid black worn from head-to-toe so it’s predictable that I prefer a version that breaks up the black. But most are very fond of black worn from head-to-toe so by all means add a black moto to this combination if it’s more to your taste. The roomy cropped straight jeans are on trend, and the turtleneck is classic. Great boots and bag add a polished touch.

Whistles Agnes Pocket Leather Biker

4. Red Moto, Pearls & Shine

The last look throws black out the window because the moto is red. It also requires mild weather. Combine a red moto with a pair of fabulous blue jeans, a pretty white top, white pearls, and dressy metallic shoes and bag. Of course, wearing a black moto instead of red is as fabulous. I like this version best because of the white pearls and shine. Which is your favourite?

Eloquii Moto Jacket

Link Love: Taking Good Care of Your Clothes

In forum member Kari’s recent thread we shared tips for taking care of and making clothing items, footwear and accessories last as long as possible. Here are 3 other articles with good suggestions:

Research has shown that a 25C wash is greenest, but can it really clean dirty clothes?

From socks to shoes and leather, how to mend more and buy less.

How to keep your favourite clothes forever, from laundering to moth-proofing.

Fab Links from Our Members

Suz thought this Guardian article is very relevant to our forum posts about not shopping for a year.

“Who profits from your insecurities? Because it sure as hell isn’t you.” Kari recommends 10 Ways We Can Resolve to Combat Fatphobia in the New Year & Beyond.

Nemosmom enjoyed this article about a woman leading the charge in a swimwear world run by men, and how she’s focussing on sustainability in swimwear.

Laura appreciates this article’s connection to Angie’s post about blending style and practicality. She adds: “When one is recovering from a surgery or procedure, planning a ‘healing capsule’ is just as important to honouring style, the body, and how we move through change.”

Shevia likes Edith Dohmen’s style. Her motto: “Be a size hero, not a size victim.”

Jenni NZ finds it interesting and sad that retail stores and chains in her neck of the woods keep closing.

Runcarla is sad to see Toronto Fashion Week go.

La Belle Demimondaine says that the “Then And Now” theme is so popular, even Salma Hayek is doing it, on YouTube. She found Salma’s stories about her outfits very interesting.

Clara Holmes has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a painful hypermobility disorder. She’s been using a wheelchair for over 10 years. Vildy says: “What took me by surprise is how she took her limitation and made it into a strength by displaying how vibrantly seductive a sitting pose could be. I realize lots of chair users commonly would not be so robust. There’s lots of skin but not much different from lingerie and swimsuit sites.”

My Shopping Strategy for 2020

I had some prominent wardrobe holes in 2019. I needed fashion sneakers, layering knits for under jackets, cold-weather bottoms that aren’t jeans, beanies, and red wardrobe items. I successfully filled them all, and it had a bigger positive impact on my style than I had expected. 

I’m blessed and grateful to be in a very happy place with my style and wardrobe. Still, I don’t plan on banning shopping in 2020. I derive great pleasure from finding and wearing new wardrobe items that seamlessly remix with the old and evolve my style. The process and results are relaxing and therapeutic, and a fun part of my life. As a fashion stylist, I can probably justify a little more shopping than most, but I’m not a shopaholic and I don’t let fashion and style boss me around. I purchase thoughtfully, within my means, and make few shopping mistakes these days. I am extremely disciplined about keeping my wardrobe a certain size, so that the storage spaces are neat, manageable, visible, and completely under control. I edit regularly, and do not purchase more than what I can comfortably store. I love wearing the heck out of my stuff, keeping items for years, and have no interest in renting my wardrobe. Adding much more to what I have now will not work and would be wasteful.

My strategy for 2020 will be to buy fewer items, but each item has to be extra fabulous and a little fearless in some way. I’m looking for a busload of luxe, loads of refinement, beautiful quality, mega pretty, and sassy chic as I celebrate a milestone birthday year. This is going to make me even fussier with what earns a place in my wardrobe. I’ll also be replenishing wardrobe basics and embellishing my beach & pool capsule.

As far as I can, I want to make sustainable choices. I’m very aware of retail brands that identify as sustainable because it’s part of my job. Unfortunately, I have yet to find items from these sustainable labels that are winners for my style and body type, and it’s not through lack of trying. I’m in thrift and consignment stores weekly and for the life of me can’t find items that I love in my size and colour. I won’t purchase sustainably for the sake of it when the item isn’t right. If I settle, the items will languish in my closet unworn which is even more wasteful. My hope is that the brands that work well for my body type and sartorial preferences become more sustainable over time. Or that sustainable retailers make items that are more to my taste.

I do work hard to manage my wardrobe sustainably. I pass on most items to Dress for Success Seattle where they are used to dress clients, or are auctioned off at their bi-annual Closet Treasury Sales. Some items go to people I know who wear a similar size to me. That’s why I like to pass on items in great condition so that they have a great second life.

I’m looking forward to what 2020 shopping holds for me because of the added challenge of purchasing fewer and very specific items, and being very discerning about quality. The uncertainty of what I end up with is thrilling and exciting.


Fabulous Fabrics

The tops picks this week showcase great fabric, and there’s a fun roundup of shoes too.

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Assorted Items

A few fab items that worked well on clients and forum members.

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Dog Days of Summer

An assortment of casual and dressy top picks for warm weather.

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High and Low

This week’s top picks range greatly in price point and quality.

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Comfy White Sandals

My Summer top picks for white footwear.

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Cute, Casual and Comfy

This week's top picks in tops, toppers, bottoms, dresses and shoes.

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My Style Goals for 2020

It’s not essential to create a list of style goals, but they can serve as a helpful frame of reference as you edit and review your closet, shop for new items, create outfits, and evolve your style. Over the years, more and more of our forum members are finding it effective to set realistic style goals and are reaping the rewards. You can too. 

If you’re in a really good place with your style and wardrobe, setting style goals is an intuitive and incremental process of fine-tuning the sartorial fabness that you accomplished the previous year. On the other hand, if you’ve experienced dramatic changes in your life, are in a style rut, or are simply rethinking your priorities, setting style goals requires time, patience, some soul searching, and an in-depth analysis of the internal and external factors that affect your style.

I formally set style goals by typing them out each year. I find the process extremely helpful because it crystalizes my thoughts and keeps me accountable to attaining them. It’s handy when I want to check in on my goals and assess progress throughout the year, or share them with others.

Anything that relates to your style can go on the list. Style goals can be general or specific, seasonal or annual, abstract or quantified, and simple or complicated. Remember that they can be changed at any time, so don’t overthink the process. You can set as few as one goal, and try to stick to it.

I’m keeping “Urban Polish” as my style moniker. I live in grungy, outdoorsy, hipster and casual cities, and travel a lot. Yet it’s important to me to create daily outfits that are refined, pretty, bold, structured, polished, comfortable, and dressier than the norm, because that feels authentic to my style. And when your style feels authentic to you, it’s easy to manage, maintain and feel happy about it.

I’m in an extremely happy place with my style and wardrobe. What I’m doing is working so there’s no need to fix things at this point. I LOVE my wardrobe and I’m grateful for daily outfits that spark joy. So this year it is about fine-tuning my style strategies and focussing on some specific purchases.

On to the goals.

Top Goals

  • Have even MORE fun with fashion because I’m celebrating the fifth decade of my life.
  • Be more adventurous. I’m not completely clear on what this means for my style yet, but in 2020 I’m going to be fearless.

General Goals

  • Be true to my style aspirations. I want to wear outfits that are Modern, Crisp, Retro, Soft and Dressy. I’ve chosen the same five adjectives to describe my ideal style for the fourth year in a row. It works, so why not! They’ll serve as a benchmark for assessing outfits and purchases on this leg of my style journey. I won’t achieve all five adjectives for every outfit. Three or four are close enough.
    • Modern because I enjoy injecting a few very carefully chosen hot-off-the-press trends into my seasonal look. That’s part of why fashion is fun, and it works well with my line of work.
    • Crisp because I love wearing shades of white, and have a strong need to create a polished, professional and tidy appearance.
    • Retro because of my fondness for fashion from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, but remixing their sensibilities with a good dose of current.
    • Soft because I do not like wearing hard-edged looks.
    • Dressy because super casual does not make me happy.
  • Prioritize quality. My commitment to wearing beautifully constructed and finished items made of gorgeous fabrics that launder well is higher than ever. I am old school in this regard, and do not want to rent my wardrobe. I believe in buying fewer well made things, wearing them frequently, and looking after them. That’s why I have ten-year-old wool coats and jackets that look new. I did a good job of achieving this last year and want to maintain the momentum.
  • Express my style through colour and my favourite patterns. My style was more colourful and pattern-rich than ever last year, and it positively affects my mood. I could barely wear a head-to-toe neutral outfit without adding back in the colour, it was that extreme. I want to continue wearing my signature sour brights, blush pink, my shades of blue, and some earth tones. I also want to continue remixing the colours in my wardrobe in bold, new and tonal combinations. For patterns I’m sticking to the classics like stripes, dots, plaids, and some florals because I don’t tire of them. I might have to say goodbye to animal print.
  • Continue adding elegant-to-me touches to my style. My custom-made pearl jewellery makes me feel more elegant and polished, as does wearing midi dresses, midi skirts, Furla handbags, structured silhouettes with ease and movement, refined footwear, pointy-toe ballet flats, well-groomed hands and feet, maintaining healthy skin, and doing my hair and make-up each day. No more sheath dresses or pencil skirts because they do not make me feel fab.
  • Sport my signature style, despite the trends. That means edgy short blonde hair, equal parts classic and trendy, an emphasis on the “soft and pretty”, statement eyewear and handbag, natural make-up, white pearls, white footwear, white jeans, structured outfits, lots of colour, classic patterns, hectic colour combinations, light neutrals, dark blue, flat footwear, fashion sneakers, and no nail polish.

Specific Goals

  • Have a new pearl and gold wedding ring custom-made (it’s actually ready, and I’m excited to pick it up).
  • Refresh wardrobe basics like bras, knickers and camisoles.
  • Refresh my white jeans capsule with wider silhouettes.
  • Embellish my Summer pants capsule.
  • Add a new navy, turquoise or light blue wool coat.
  • Embellish my beach & pool capsule for our Summer holiday in Greece, and I’m thinking along the lines of a bandeau bikini.
  • Maybe get a new pair of specs if I see another fabulous pair.

Over to you. Have you thought about your style goals for 2020? Many of the YLF forum members have thought about theirs, and their posts have been a pleasure to read over the last few weeks. Please share your style goals in the comments section, even if you’ve already shared them on the forum. Begin with just two goals if that’s easier, and take it from there. Or simply jot down some rough thoughts about your current and aspirational style direction.

Chic Hard-Edged Graphic Tee

A new outfit from Kelly Tucker of Alterations Needed, whom we introduced to YLF in July 2013.

This is a great take on Angie’s graphic tee outfit formula. Kelly has tucked a black Ramones T-shirt into white cropped straight jeans with step hem and frayed trims. This shows the on-trend high waist and lengthens the leg line. The black pointy-toe booties with stud embellishments add fun and maximal glam, and further play up the hard-edged rocker’s vibe of the look. The tailored menswear tuxedo topper adds a sharp and dressy integrity, and refines the vibe. The unexpected white bottoms add a crisp and graphic lightness, while the tuxedo stripe echoes the black in the rest of the outfit. Silver bracelets and rings, black sunnies, and dark red lipstick complete the look.

Kelly Tucker