When I first joined YLF (almost 12 years ago!) I did not consider myself a formula dresser. I wore lots of skirts and dresses but also jeans and shorts, and the silhouettes and support act were all very different and varied. And I've gone through a lot of changes since then, because I like variety and newness. I'll fall into love with a style, wear it for years, then get over it and not wear it for more years. (And sometimes I fall in love all over again.)

A few years ago, some key pieces came together in a way that made an outfit I really adored. Instead of being a single awesome outfit, however, I figured out how to replicate it. Buying some pieces, sewing some, plotting how to remix existing items.

Fast forward to today. The original formula is still going strong, and I've just recently realized I do have other formulas. With regard to outerwear in particular; the silhouette dictates what kind and length of topper will work.

One of my goals is to sketch out the outfit formulas. Because then I can more easily identify where wardrobe holes are, and focus my shopping. It's so annoying to open the jammed coat closet and yet not have the right kind of jacket, without knowing exactly what I do need to fill it.

This is mostly for me but I don't mind any comments or thoughts!

Hot Weather

  • Fit-and-flare short sleeve dress, sandals, hat (work/everyday)
  • Denim shorts, tee or graphic t-shirt, sandals or light tennis shoes (weekends)
  • Nicer fit-and-flare short sleeve dress, heeled sandals or pumps, cardigan (church/dress up)
  • Full linen skirt, long or short sleeve thin blouse, sandals, hat, possibly belt (work/everyday) (not for really hot weather)

Cold Weather

  • Full heavier skirt, long sleeve tee or sweater, cardigan if needed, tights, flat casual shoes or boots (work/everyday)
  • Jeans, long sleeve tee, flannel shirt/cardigan/soft jacket/sweatshirt if needed, flat casual shoes (weekends)
  • Knit long sleeve fit-and-flare dress, long hoodie, tights, casual flat shoes or boots (work/everyday)
  • Full skirt, blouse or thin sweater, cardigan or belt, hose, heeled pumps or boots (church/dress up)
  • Nicer long sleeve dress, cardigan if needed, heeled pumps or boots (church/dress up)

In-between weather is missing. So far I haven't invented a new formula for it.

  • If it's chilly in the morning but gets fairly hot, adding a cardigan to the dress or skirt and blouse formula works okay. Sometimes adding tights in the morning as well, though it's annoying to put them back on if it gets chilly at night.
  • If it's downright cold in the morning but gets truly warm in the sun, that's just hard! Maybe I need to try layering more over a long sleeve blouse, like cardigan + poncho. As well as tights.

Notes - I work at home and take a walk around the neighborhood for a break. So unless it's hot enough to be barefoot I need footwear indoors, and walkable footwear for breaks.

These formulas particularly affect two things: Outerwear and footwear. For example:

- Full skirts don't work well with long coats, unless the coats are extremely full themselves. I have one miracle coat with a full circle skirt, and several other "cropped" jackets that fit my short waist. Bomber style is the most reliable, and juniors' cropped fashions. My pale pink moto is finally breaking down. :'(

- Ordinary hip-length jackets don't always fit me well even just with jeans. Pear shape. Two-way zippers are a godsend but those are mostly limited to longer, heavier coats. The long hoodies can work as light outerwear for jeans. I have a couple short hoodies which are curvy enough to work well, but they're not the most versatile colors. I have a saved search for two-way zip jackets and I'm experimenting with buttoning jackets, like the fleece shirt jacket, where I can button them partially.

- I prefer more delicate footwear with skirts and dresses, depending on the style. Sometimes skirt outfits are very refined (velvet skirt, nice sweater and jewelry) and sometimes they are casual (corduroy or linen skirt, flannel shirt or tweedy cardigan). Sometimes mary janes or ballet flats suit, sometimes suede moccasins.

- For cold weather, warm but cute and fairly waterproof tall boots. I just got cream-colored ones which are great with all the skirt outfits; sometimes black ones dragged down the colors.

- Also indoors footwear in cold weather. Short slippers aren't enough with just tights, nor slipper socks (the floor is cold). And socks aren't enough with jeans, but most of my slippers are either scuffs for summer or tall ones for skirts. I think that's a hole.

Other Notes:

There are no leggings formulas in this lineup. I went off leggings several years ago and they haven't gotten back into my rotation yet. Longer skirts are warmer and leggings are too hot for days that get warm. I'm slowly getting rid of the short dresses that aren't that flattering or cute to me any more.