As for many /most of us, 2021 was a weird year.  I struggled with no longer having my long time career in sales, and often missed the connections with retailers , wholesalers and buyers that I had built up over a few decades. Many were friends, and I realize now how my work fed my need for human contact (which sounds more dramatic that it is, but maybe you know what I mean) and helped fuel my creativity and passion for decor and fashion.  I miss talking to like-minded people who "got it".  I miss dressing for the job too - very much so.

As an outgoing introvert, it suited my personality perfectly.

I struggled with figuring out how I wanted to dress in my down time - away from my work at the medical fitness centre.  Obviously, my needs were few, and that too was hard to get a handle on. I was used to justifying just about any purchase as being " perfect for work".  I had never really paid a whole lot of attention to casual clothing before I "retired" , and all of a sudden I was stuck with some pretty uninspiring stuff that now was my main non-work wardrobe.  

My spending budget also dropped - quite dramatically - and that  took far too long to adjust to. What do you mean I can't get my nails done once a month?  Buy a new bag every season?  Buy 5 new pair of jeans because I no longer like my older ones?  etc.  I'm still trying to figure out  my priorities and set a budget for my clothes and personal care.  I'm not the most disciplined and organized person - likely no surprise there- and all of this caused unnecessary stress in our house.
Enough about that .

There are 5 things that I came away with from 2021 in terms of the things I bought and wore:

1. I purchased 2 pieces from Power of My People (Canadian ) that were perfect for upgrading my casual wardrobe and for adding the touch of femininity and sophistication (i.e. looking my age) I yearned for.  One was a linen t top, and the other a midi linen cap sleeve shirt dress.  Unfortunately, their fall /winter collections don't really speak to me, but I'll be back for more linen tops next spring. 

2. Failures from spring /summer : chunky/cropped cardigans. Not flattering on me, and yet I bought 3 of them.  Not sure what I'll do with them next year but for now they are out of my sight.  Grr. 

3.  I purchased 2 fall/early winter coats that have been worn a ton. Both were perfect for fall, and layered nicely for milder winter days.  Outerwear is my thing, and even with a reduced budget, I was able to update my look in colours and styles that I feel are bang-on for me.  I would love to continue that success on into updating my winter puffers, but that's just going to have to wait until next fall.  I'll live

4.  Every sweater I bought last year for fall and winter is sitting unworn .  There weren't many, but what I did buy all were straight-bodied, slightly longish and generally shapeless.  I put them on now and don't feel good in them.  A  small bit of weigh loss (10 lbs this past fall)  turned these sweaters into baggy things I don't want to wear. Fortunately nothing was terribly pricey.    Of course they are fine with jeans and under a coat, but what's up with all of these sweaters with no shape to them??  All of the bottom bands are the same diameter as the body of the sweater.  (no, tucking them isn't the solution ) They feel and look matronly and unflattering to me now.  Winter casual wear still confounds me and I don't feel I've hit on a successful formula yet.  

5.  I didn't solve my denim "dilemma".  I don't think I bought any blue jeans in 2021 which must be a record for me- oh , except for a coated black cotton pair .  Weight loss just made my jeans hang  better, and didn't really necessitate a size change.  Funny how the reverse doesn't seem happen though (gain weight and all of a sudden a new size is necessary, lol ) .   Anyways, my top priority for the new year is to find one new pair of jeans - maybe black, maybe blue - that makes me feel  more current .  

Conclusions?  I still feel like I'm floundering a bit.  There's a lot of pressure to find " just the perfect piece" that meets many needs when budget is reduced , and fear of making a mistake has stopped my purchasing this fall. What I do buy has to pull it's weight now. I don't "need" anything - at all - but lowering my expectations for how I think I should look has been , well, interesting and humbling.  

Find #1 is one of my new fall coats - Aritizia ,in ivory wool.
Photo 1 is another  of my new fall coats. BB Dakota/Steve Madden
Photos 2 and 3 are the new pieces from POMP. The dress I purchased is in a black/white graphic print.
Finds #2,3 and 4 are the newest of my non-black/not -for -work sweaters. None bought this year.  Finds 3 and 4 are too big to even want to wear now and I may donate them this week .  
Find #5 is an expensive (in my world) chunky cardigan from BR that I obsessed over finding last spring - and that I look terrible in. 

Thank you for reading.    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all !

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