I had a few reasons for my shopping trip earlier this week: 1)
I had a F21 cash card and an item to return, after several rounds of purchase & return retail research late last year. The fit, styles, and quality at F21 are mostly not for me, so I was on the verge of cutting up the card and considering the $30 as “sunk cost”, but decided to try one more time. 2) except for one grocery trip I hadn’t been out of the house for 3 full days since we got back from the UK, and my sleep patterns were still a mess so I was feeling very out of sorts. Shopping always cheers me up and makes me happy even if I buy nothing.

I’m tired of plain neutral basics, dark colors, classic styles, chunky sweaters. These are my primary wardrobe definitions these days, and I’m not doing a complete overhaul, but I’ve been yearning to dip my toe into some new water for several months and the boredom of my UK vacation outfits put me over the edge.

So, I set myself a small budget for some experimentation. I decided on a moniker of pretty, sophisticated, a little bit feminine (this seems
to be HUGE trend on YLF lately…see all the comments in Runcarla’s recent posting) with lighter colors and different types of prints than I normally choose. One of my goals for 2017 is to only buy clothes
that I really like. I don't want any more that are just OK unless I have a
specific reason. These came home with me:

  • Ann Taylor “Jungle Cat” print blouse
  • Ann Taylor sleeveless sweater in black/cognac print, although the “cognac” color skews slightly toward mustard yellow
  • Ann Taylor sleeveless blouse in a mauve/grey print
  • F21 Mauve faux suede drape front jacket
  • F21 Blush blouse with piping
  • F21 Grey coat with faux fur collar

I just went through a first pass at some styling ideas, all worn with some med-wash jeans. Would love your feedback!

  1. Jungle Cat blouse. I’ve been wanting a few blouses, and really like the cat print. It needs to be shortened, have the cuffs slimmed, and a snap added to the placket, but the shoulder fit seems ok to me as a slightly oversized look. Usually when \this type of top fits me around the hips the shoulders are way too big, but I think this one is more balanced in the shoulders…what do you think?
  2. Same blouse under the sleeveless sweater. Not loving this look, just ok. The pattern mixing has good proportions but overall seems boring or maybe just too preppy/conservative.
  3. Draped jacket with sleeveless blouse. I really like this jacket, it’s not too voluminous like this style often is, and the fabric is nice. it's a little pinker than shown in the find. I grabbed the blouse because the colors worked, but not so sure about the blouse.
  4. The patterned blouse by itself. Way too big, even with the shoulders pinned up as shown. Print not very interesting. Just ok.
  5. Same jacket with my pineapple print graphic T. The jacket looks much better with this slimmer top under it and some color contrast.
  6. F21 blush blouse. This is that PJ style that I once said was not for me :-). I like the color and it fits well, but not sure about the style. The piping seems to take it back into classic/preppy land.
  7. Same blouse worn under a cashmere sweater that I just love but never seem to wear. Ok, but just ok.
  8. F21 Coat with faux fur collar. I just LOVE this. So PRETTY and so glam. Way out of my comfort zone! It’s a little snug so I need to move the buttons and the sleeves need shortening (I've folded them up). The collar is a deeper version of the blue/grey
    of the coat, not at all a warmer brownish color as it seems in the photos. My black cat likes to drape himself around my neck; this would be like wearing him as an accessory but without the purring and the claws
  9. Same coat without the collar. I’m a little skeptical about a coat from F21 but it’s seems reasonable warm, fits pretty well, and the fabric seems pretty good. I’d been wanting a light colored coat but
    was thinking camel…but this has changed my mind I think.

I’m leaning toward keeping the leopard blouse, mauve jacket, and grey coat, and returning the sleeveless sweater, sleeveless blouse , and blush piped blouse.

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