Reflecting back on 2017…

The Experiments:

Capsuling = successful. I set up a clothing
rack in my bedroom and hung pieces that worked in a particular colour theme. I included both dressy and casual pieces on
the rack , as long as they met the colour
criteria, and hung the odd scarf or bag I wanted to make sure I would use. The capsules usually lasted me 2-3 months and
conveniently cycled with the season. My house has very small, dark closets (it’s
70 years old) and one major problem has always been forgetting what I have
because I can’t see it. Colour capsuling
quickly highlighted pieces that weren’t working and those that didn’t fit in

Adding more trendy pieces = successful . In past years, I have have usually declined to
participate in little design trends ;
partly because I don’t like looking like I’m a fashion ‘victim’ and also
because many of them don’t have a lot of staying power . But.....I had inadvertently edited all the fun out of my wardrobe last year in my quest to be minimal and decided I needed some different/new things this year. The off-shoulder looks, and the ‘fancy sleeve” looks worked for
me …..and I now have a small collection of pieces that I love wearing. I didn’t
go cheap with this experiment, and maybe
that’s the reason it succeeded. Good quality fabrics and intelligent designs
are key when playing with trends. Fashion sneakers were my
lifeline for work this year : I am not a
huge fan of flats ( I find them hard to fit) and sneakers feel both more urban
and authentic to my style. I went from a
few pairs to quite a few, and bought another 2 pair in December alone,
adding in velvet, faux fur and satin . I bought two pair of the
same metallic velvet booties (in navy and in black) this winter , which are
definitely trendy, but I love them and can’t stop wearing them. I worried at first that they would be too
‘young’ and ‘try-hard’ – but I don’t care now

Cardigans = not so successful. Feeling that the ‘whole world” wears
cardigans (cue the blogs touting ‘snuggling into a cardigan with a hot
chocolate in hand” ) and seeing how many
members wore them so well , I got totally carried away and bought quite a few
this year – and never wore them. I don’t feel particularly well-dressed in a
cardigan , and don’t feel they necessarily flatter my body . They are great in
spring and fall when you don't need a coat, but I’d much rather be wearing a blazer or a cashmere or linen wrap. Cardigans make me look and feel
frumpy. NO MORE.

Wearing less black = successful . Maybe it’s aging, maybe it’s boredom, maybe
it’s Angie’s words of wisdom, but my love for an all-black look took a backseat
to tonal navy/ink, and tonal olive.
Black is good for me in hot weather when I can show some skin , but in
fall and winter it’s just blah and very uninteresting. ( Same goes for grey - which was a HUGE part of my wardrobe) Black is so divisive and some members here
wear it really well (Deborah, Gryffin) , but I feel like a hot, cat-hair collecting mess
when I wear it now. Black still has a big place in my wardrobe because my best outerwear (SAM parka), bags (2 Rebecca Minkoffs) and most of my boots
are black – but the goal now is to invest in other colours
. I am wearing my navy suede and navy
metallic velvet boots so frequently right now and feel 100 times more
put-together and fashion-forward in an all-navy outfit than in an all-black. It’s been a huge change for me.

Challenges :

Organization: it’s not my strong point, in anything (career, home management, my
wardrobe, my makeup kit, my book
shelves, my finances) and despite having all of the tools, I have yet to change my inherent ways. I’m a
big-picture thinker and tend to be somewhat messy and forgetful. Start a project, and once I figure out how it will look or end up, I'm already on to the next thing . And with age, it’s getting worse. I’d love to have a better organized closet
and wardrobe.

Weight fluctuations (bet you didn’t think
I’d go there – ha) : it’s been a part of
my adult life for as long as I can remember,
but I was usually staying within the same size range. It was also manageable until I hit menopause, and despite clean-eating and always working
out, I have packed on 20 lbs in the last couple of years. Vanity aside, the challenge has been
trying to buy for this change. At first
I assumed it was only temporary , and refused to invest in good work pants or
even expensive jeans. But a few years in , now, and with no changes happening, I
have a pretty big hole in my wardrobe for the pieces I would love to invest in
: tailored pants and some new dresses. I don’t mind spending money on good work
clothes, but living in denial hasn’t let me do that. A different type of body also means dressing
differently for flattery – and I’m not
convinced I know how to do that yet. . I still think I’m 40 and a
size 2. Not so much now.

The colour red: I resisted it forever but I have quite warmed up to it this past
year. I saw it as too ‘old school’ (my mother's favourite colour) and not modern. These past few months, I’ve really warmed to the idea (largely due to the
influence of my favourite Canadian fashion
“friend” and blogger Lisa Tant ) and bought a gorgeous red blazer (still unworn) and a great little cross-body bag , but I still can’t get my makeup right , and that's the finishing touch for any look. Trending as it is, I think I'm safest relegating it to the odd bag or shoe.

Yearning for a minimalist lifestyle and
: see organization struggles. I love reading blogs about minimalist style
in home décor and fashion , and I truly covet a visually cleaner , more curated
(over-used word, I know) house and
closet . I don’t want a big wardrobe for
quite a few reasons, and I have a dislike of clutter and stuff, but…….being in
fashion and giftware sales and working from a
home office means I have exactly
the opposite of that: tons of stuff everywhere. Time is also a constraint – and I feel too
that as I get older, I have less energy for cleaning and organizing and doing
15 things at once. I’d rather read a book.
Still – I am working towards getting my wardrobe weaned right down to perfectly working pieces – is this delusional ? Another factor that gets in the
way…..I am an emotional dresser and do crave some variety. Reconciling this with not wanting more is my
big challenge.

Shopping :
I don’t love it, which is problematic when fashion , and the business of
fashion is my life-long love. I’m
really critical (shocking , I know) of store design, merchandising, how clothes
are hung and displayed , and worst of
all, other people around me. I want the
perfect shopping experience, and it’s hard to get. I don't have a lot of time for it, and I can last about an hour before I lose it. On-line shopping is ok, but not ideal here in
Canada unless you already know what you’re buying. I've become a big boutique supporter this
– likely due to my job- and because I'm not finding what I want in generic mall stores . I like talking to store owners and good sales people , and find it helps me get what I am looking
for – and I also learn things .

The beauty and value of YLF is that without it , I would not have spent 10 seconds thinking about any of this, and would have continued spending away in frustration. Anything that takes thousands of my dollars a year is worth the navel-gazing, and I thank the forum and the blog for teaching me the value of this. That's it. A few finds attached below - I don't have many accumulated, sorry.

I appreciate anyone who bothered to read
this through. Like most of our posts
here on YLF, we do it for ourselves as much as anything - writing helps me commit to my thoughts and helps
create goals. Thanks again – and Merry
Christmas, and Happy New Year to all!