2021 has been a pretty tough year for me, and not just because of Covid (which was enough). But stylewise, I think it was an improvement on 2020 and 2019. I still made mistakes. But overall I feel more content with my style than I have been for a few years.   

So here is my review. It’s a bit epic!  Feel free to just skip to the pictures. Comments are always appreciated. 

First, some background. In late 2018 I quit my office job and switched permanently to WFH in 2019. It was not planned, so I hadn’t transitioned my wardrobe to casual wear.

I discovered that I’d neglected my casual wardrobe, especially my summer casual wardrobe. (Summer is my least favourite fashion season.) I like to dress up for work. And work is climate controlled. So that’s where I focussed most of my resources and got most of my fashion joy. 

After the change, I struggled to figure out a way to make my casual everyday wear live up to my more dressy work style aesthetic. I don’t dress up to WFH. I work solo and don’t do video conferences. 

However, I walk my dog 2 or 3 times a day, do the shopping and run errands (several times a week), see my mum (2 or 3 times a week), go for coffee (most days) and socialise (variable during the pandemic). I decided to treat these activities as my opportunity to “dress up”. But I don’t want to look like I am going to the office. I want to please myself now and dress less conservatively. And most of the time I need to be dressed in a way that's practical for walking. 

It’s taken a while, but I think I’m finally getting a good balance between
casual/practical and dressy/polished in my style that is pleasing and feels authentic to me.

These are my highlights and key takeaways from 2021. 

A favourite outfit formula

This year my favourite outfit formula has been midaxi skirt + flat boots or flat sandals + casual top. For me this represents a good balance between dressy and casual, feminine and tough. 

I can adapt this formula for outdoor wear (via a jacket, jumper, sleeves or a hat) and glamorise it for indoor or evening wear (a sleeveless top, a silk skirt, more jewellery). Because it consists of separates, I can mix and match for variety. In summer, it’s more practical than a dress because I can get away with wearing the skirt a few times before laundering (dresses and tops need laundering after every wear in summer for me). I can play around with colour combinations, patterns, texture, accessories and silhouette details (eg a straighter skirt or a more swishy skirt, asymmetry, tucking, semi-tucking). 

This formula feels authentic, flattering, joyful and easy for me. I wear it a lot in warm and mild weather. Less in cold weather. For various reasons, I find pants, jeans and dresses much harder. 

I am at peace with this preference, and have stopped worrying about whether others might find my style “one note” because of it. This has been very liberating. 

A wardrobe “icon” strategy

When I first switched to WFH I decided to be very practical and concentrate on adding items that I could wear frequently (everyday items). This was about realism and doing my bit to save the planet. 

But I quickly found that approach a bit joyless, and missed adding dressier, non-everyday options to my closet. 

So I developed a new strategy. I decided it was ok to add a few dressier items each year that will only get occasional wear, subject to a few conditions:

*It must be a 10/10.

*It’s signature. Not an experiment.

*It leans classic, not trendy. So it will have longevity in my closet. (A trendy purchase should be reserved for everyday wear, so I can wear it a lot before the trend fades.)

*It is age appropriate. I can visualise myself wearing it in 10 years time.

*There is something special/unique or hard to find about it.

*I can think of ways that I will wear it, even if not exactly “everyday”. 

I like to think of these purchases as my “wardrobe icons”. It helps to set the bar high. 

So far, I’ve found this to be a fairly successful way of giving myself some leeway to add some really lovely, dressier items to my closet that only get occasional wear, but give me great joy when I do wear them. 

Flats are where it’s at 

I walk a lot (10-15 km per day). For me that requires flat or nearly flat
footwear. From a style POV, I like that flat footwear lends a more casual vibe to my outfits. If I were to walk my dog or meet a friend for coffee in a midaxi skirt and heels, I would feel overdressed. But once I switch the heels to flat shoes I feel that tips the balance to casual. Plus it’s comfortable. 

Switching to flat shoes has been my most effective style change since leaving office work. 

Graphic tees

This year I’ve been building a capsule of graphic tees. They are a great way to casualise my dressier items. And they can be found in cotton. I have a really strong preference for wearing cotton on my upper body (see below). They are practical, inexpensive, good for my climate and they fit with my style aesthetics. 

Contrast and colour

I continue to have a preference for low contrast and tonal outfits. I’ve moved away from the high contrast black and white outfits I favoured a few years ago. I still find myself attracted to high contrast items but I don’t reach for them much. I need to consciously stop myself from buying them. It’s just muscle memory  

I have enjoyed trying out some new for me colour mixes in softer contrasts. I think I am becoming a more adventurous colour mixer, but I won’t be adopting a bright palette anytime soon. 


I love patterns and pattern mixing. 

Dark floral remains a signature pattern for me. I’m always on the lookout for it and added a couple of pieces this year. 

My current interest is the trend for abstract, blurred prints and marble prints. I hope to incorporate some of these in 2022. 


I did a lot of DIY upcycling projects in 2021. Usually the aim was to salvage something I wasn’t happy with.  These projects were hit and miss. The hits were pleasing but the misses were super disappointing. I am not sure if they are a good use of my time. Going forward I hope I make better choices and don’t have to salvage so many mistakes! 

Jeans update

I hate shopping for jeans with a passion. I wear jeans everyday in winter but put off shopping for new jeans until the existing ones are virtually threadbare. This year I managed to update my jeans capsule. I bought 2 pairs of flares (from Veronica Beard) and 2 pairs of boyfriend jeans (from Trenery). I love the flares, they suit my 70s aesthetic. The boyfriend jeans are just ok. They take some figuring out in terms of what tops to pair them with (long tops for skinnies don’t work). It’s a work in progress. However I am enjoying the slouchy, relaxed fit after the skinny years. 

Cotton rules

My best knitwear and top purchases this year were cotton. Cotton is breathable and goes the distance in terms of quality. I can wear cotton jumpers directly against my skin. That makes cotton much more useful for me for layering than any other fibre. In the changeable weather of Spring and Autumn, I put on a skirt, cotton t-shirt and stompy boots, grab a bag and a cotton jumper, and I’m ready for anything. 

Etsy and thrifting

I got some unique items from Etsy sellers. I also got more into thrifting
(somewhat limited by lockdowns) with some success. I’d like to do more of it in 2022. 


Pictures (to follow shortly): 

Pic 1: An example of an “everyday” purchase. I purchased this skirt earlier this year. It’s a bit trendy because of the earthy colours and the tiers. I love it and I wear it all the time. It will most likely be worn out by next summer. That’s satisfying. 

Pic 2: An “icon” purchase. I love my velvet flares too! But I will not be
wearing them to the dog park anytime soon. 

Pics 3-6: Flats. I bought combat boots in black, brown and burgundy. 

Pics 7-8: Graphic tees. 

Pics 9-10: Contrast. I bought the black and white jumper this year. I love it, but hardly wore it. (I may dye it next year.) The cords in pic 10 were a better purchase. 

Pics 11-12: Colour. Some new to me colour mixes. 

Pics 13-15: Pattern mixing. Controversial! 

Pic 6: DIY. A dressy silk dress that I turned into a skirt and then overdyed. This was a success and I wear it casually a lot now. 

Pic 17: Jeans. One of the new pairs of jeans worn with a cotton jumper (menswear from ASOS).