I know most people wrapped up their challenges at the end of January, but since I only used work days this took me to the middle of February. I used 32 total pieces of clothing. I started with 28 pieces: 12 tops, 6 toppers, 4 pants, 2 skirts, and 4 dresses. After retiring and adding a few pieces along the way, I ended with 30 pieces: 11 tops, 7 toppers, 4 pants, 4 skirts, and 4 dresses. This is my entire work wardrobe for winter. In fact it’s almost my entire work wardrobe period. I think this will be a wardrobe building year for me, as this challenge did help me to identify some wardrobe holes. I’m hoping this challenge will also help me to choose the right pieces to add so that they will integrate well with my existing pieces in a way that achieves the look I want.
Vision: I want to be on the dressier end of the business casual spectrum. I want to look professional but not corporate, feminine but not girly, classic yet stylish. I haven’t yet identified a style moniker.
Overall I was pleased with my wardrobe and the variety of outfits I was able to create. I’m happy with my color palette of blue, teal, and burgundy. I used to have purple, but as those items have worn out I have not been able to find replacements in the shade that I prefer. I made a specific effort in this challenge to wear my skirts and dresses more often and really liked those outfits, so I will continue to wear them as often as weather allows. I also felt much more professional when I wore my heels I do wish I had more pattern in my wardrobe. I rely on a lot of solids, which allows me to mix and match quite a bit, but I think adding a few more patterned pieces will really help round out the capsule. For my (very few) patterned pieces, I liked the geometric or abstract prints much more than the florals.
The outfits that I liked the least lacked color, had too much black, or not enough structure. I found cardigans tricky, as they easily drifted to too casual to my eye when paired with other soft elements (scarves and cowl necklines), so I just need to be conscious of that when I wear them and make sure to have a structural element to balance the softness in my cardigan outfits.
One key thing that I took out of this challenge had nothing to do with my wardrobe. My hair. It is time to do something with it other than put it in a bun every day. My hair is almost to my waist, so I don’t feel that it looks professional to wear it down. It’s not that I like my hair this long. I actually don’t. When it gets this long it just gets in my way, so I end up with it pulled back in a ponytail or braid even on the weekends. I hate the process of going to get my hair cut. I don’t like people touching my head or my hair, so I don’t find the shampooing relaxing and due to the texture of my hair it tangled easily making the combing, cutting, and drying process painful. I don’t really know what style I want, other than for it to be wash and go.
Pattern: I have very few patterned pieces in my wardrobe. At the beginning of this challenge, I had no patterned bottoms. I purchased a plaid skirt and am looking for a long sleeve print blouse, and I’m also considering adding some patterned pants. I’m not sure what type of pattern I would be comfortable with for the pants, maybe a plaid, windowpane, or houndstooth? Later on my priority list would be a patterned skirt (or two) with color.
Long sleeve tops: I also don’t have many long sleeve tops. I purchased one burgundy sweater during this challenge, and have a long sleeve blush sweater, but I retired a long sleeve button front shirt. I’m not sure how to prioritize these in my shopping list as I continue to use my sleeveless, short sleeve, and three quarter sleeve tops in winter by using toppers, but a couple more long sleeve tops allow me to create a little more variety in my outfits and layer better for the coldest days. A long sleeved abstract/geometric print blouse would check off two categories for me if I can find one I like. Bonus if it is purple.
Shoes, shoes, shoes: You might have noticed a lack of variety in my shoes during this challenge. Until the last week of the challenge, I only had three pairs of shoes that were not open toe: black heels, black ankle boots, and black flats. As the challenge progressed I realized how much I dislike my flats. Even if I intended to wear them for the day, I always changed them out for my heels, so you never saw them. I just bought a pair of burgundy heels and a pair of grey/metallic loafers. That doubles the number of wearable shoes I have for winter.
Toppers: I’m not sure if I really need more toppers, but I’m going to keep my eye out for some interesting blazers and jackets. I think I have enough cardigans, and I have two suit type blazers, so I am looking for something that is somewhere between the two. Since I don’t know exactly what I am looking for, I’m not sure how successful I’ll be at finding pieces like this. Unless something jumps out at me, I may hold off on purchasing any heavier toppers in favor of searching for summer toppers. A white blazer has been a HEWI for me for a long time, but I’m hopeful for this year. Suggestions are welcome.
Accessories: I would like to add to my scarf and jewelry collection this year. I’d like a long necklace, a chunky/statement type necklace in a light color, and more silky scarves. Accessories for me are very much I’ll know it when I see it, so these may take some time to find.
Links to each week’s WIWs: