Hi all. I've had a post rumbling around in my mind, and seeing as my other thread got bumped up this morning, I figured I may as well get it out!

First of all, I've already had one in and two out. The other day I went to put on my snake print sweater, you know, the one I've worn year round for a couple of years. The sweater was beginning to show it's age, and all of the sudden I saw it. The pattern twisted around my midsection. I straightened it, but it just went awry again. With some of your comments still ringing in my ears about how I had two snake print items in my (only) ten item wardrobe, I decided it was time to let it go. At the same time DD was doing a closet cleanse and I pinched a blush colored rayon tabbed sleeve utility blouse from her pile. It's not my perfect color, but I'm wearing it until I find something I like better. Like Angie says, a brighter lippie works wonders!

For the next item, you need a bit of a back story. Ever since I a) got glasses that I wear pretty much full time and b) started wearing my hair curly (gee, I really need to change my profile picture) I've felt a bit of a disconnect with some of my printed tops. No, make that a BIG disconnect. Do you ever look in the mirror and feel that something is just off, but you can't quite put your finger on it? Well I've been doing that off and on for months. At first I thought my glasses were making me feel ugly. Some days they look too masculine to me, and other days I feel like they're the perfect accessory. I had to train myself to try on items in the fitting room with my glasses on and look at the outfit altogether. I go back and forth about my hair. Is it too wild and wooly for my style? I thought with the weather change this Fall that I would go back to wearing it straight, but I've decided not to. I'm still working out some kinks with length and shape of it, but I like the natural texture and I've decided it makes me feel more like me somehow. Oh, and there's another factor at play here. My hair is becoming lighter (greyer) and I'm trying to find my footing with that. An outfit that is mostly dark does not feel right on me anymore. Sometimes I feel like I'm dressing a woman I do not even know!

SO. In regard to patterns and darkness I can't depend on things that have worked for me in the past. Enter my Ann Taylor spotted dress. I love this stretchy rayon jersey with the side ruching. It makes me look like a woman instead of a stick figure! But I've never been entirely sold on the print. As I wore it more and more, I liked the print less and less. The dress is mostly black from the spots that run together. The background was a light khaki. I bought it because it was breathable, it was long enough, it had sleeves, it had a boat neck, it did amazing things for my figure and it was in neutrals that I wear. That should have been enough, right? But that print was just so darn busy -- I felt like it was overpowering me. I recall Ines de La Fressange mentioning an "ill advised print dress" and wondered if I was wearing it.

Since I was starting to fall out of love with my once-favorite dress, I started wondering if I could dye it and make the print less obvious. I have ruined almost every garment I have ever dyed, but still, hope springs eternal. I thought about trying navy. Maybe that would yield a black and ink print, but I worried that would be too dark. Then I thought about a medium grey. In the end, I could only find black dye, but I knew the khaki wouldn't dye as dark as the original black, so perhaps the result would be some sort of tonal black and charcoal.

Over the weekend, I dyed the dress. We were eating dinner, I hadn't told DH and I could barely contain my excitement. What if this became my perfect LBD, with a subtle pattern and a softer-than-harsh black tone? Would it open up all sorts of wardrobe possibilities for me? Would it become the perfect blank page on which to display my (non-existent) collection of fabulous accessories? (I conveniently forgot about the other twenty-odd LBD's that had failed to revolutionize my life).

After dinner, I stole away to the washing machine and opened the lid. Horror of horrors. I had only used one bottle of Rit dye (going for that lighter look) but guess what? Lightly dyed black is not grey. It turned the lighter areas of the pattern purple. Yuck. I am not a purple lover on a good day, and this was not a pretty purple. Allowing it to dry didn't help. The dress was now really dark, still in a busy print and in a color that I don't care for. Three strikes and it is OUT.

Now, my ten-item wardrobe has only three printed items instead of five (stripes, snake and floral). I feel so much more settled about this. The closet cacophony has quieted. I want to live with fewer prints for a bit and see how this feels. Going forward I have some new goals:

Lighten up: go for medium and light neutrals, using just touches of dark ones
Loosen up: find some looser jeans (lots of other picky parameters here)
Straighten up: look for straight style lines in garments to mirror my shape
Solidify: look at solids first, instead of defaulting to prints
Modernize: add in some modern, on-trend pieces to up my game

I'd love to hear your opinions on all of this, or any solutions you have found work for you. Thank you in advance!