tldr: My casual everyday wardrobe shouldn't need much help in the coming year, but dressing for the holiday season is making me aware of some holes in my festive/fancy/party capsule, so my goals for 2018 will address those holes. Bolder colours, bolder silhouettes, bolder jewelry.

I’ve reached a miraculous point with my casual wardrobe where I can always find something I’m excited to wear, regardless of the season/weather, or what I’m doing during the day; where almost everything “goes” with everything else; where I can go a week or more without doing laundry and still assemble a decent outfit. I’m really not sure if I have any casual wardrobe goals for 2018, except to wear the heck out of what I’ve got (and find a great pair of corduroys).

So, my goal for 2018 is to focus on improving my bare-bones “fancy” capsule. I don’t want to call this a dressy or formal capsule, because it's really not, because I just don’t have a need for formal wear -- and if a need ever does arise, I suspect I’ll know well in advance. We’ve had a couple Christmas/holiday events so far this year (office get-together at a local steakhouse, cookie swap at a friend’s newly-built home, Polar Express train ride for the 3yo).

Even though the office party was an evening event (cocktails and hors d'oeuvres), it definitely did not involve evening wear. There was one woman in LBD and kitten heels, but otherwise it was a lot of long cardigans, ponte pants and ballet flats and similar. Couple women wearing trendy black tops (cold shoulder, peplum, etc) over skinny black pants. I was the only person with a clutch -- lots of women were wearing crossbody bags. New Englanders and their pragmatism! Menswear ranged from Merrells and flannel to bright red/green “novelty” outfits to full suits. So, really, you can wear whatever the heck you want as long as it’s not jeans-and-tee (which is pretty much the same as the office dress code).

I wore plaid wide-leg trousers (the ones from L.L. Bean that Una/Alaskagirl got everyone so excited about on YLF a couple years back) and a black silk tank, semi-tucked. Wore a chunky square rose-quartz pendant on a thick silver snake chain, and I felt like I could’ve gone bigger with jewelry since the outfit was pretty sedate and the top was a solid colour, but I’m so averse to big jewelry. Because my arms were bare (and geez it was hot -- small room with like 3 fireplaces and 50+ people -- so I chose right climate-wise), I found myself wishing for some wrist bling -- a cuff, or some stacking bracelets/bangles, something. Oh, and shoes -- I was going to wear my silver mary janes, but they felt too flat and unstructured for the wide legs, so I went with black oxfords instead. A bit boring, but oh well. I have my eyes out for a better “party shoe” but it needs to be something I’ll get some everyday use out of too. Bag -- brought my black leather crossbody with the strap removed. I’m racking my brain for what kind of topper I would’ve added to this, had it been at a chillier venue, and I honestly don’t know. Not anything I have in my closet! Maybe a silky/satin bomber? Kimono-style jacket? Cashmere wrap in a rich colour? I guess fancy topper is a category I didn’t know I needed.

Next get-together, the cookie swap: wore the new blue leopard pants, plus a simple navy silk blouse. Had navy snow boots and black wool coat for outside, and the aforementioned silver MJ’s for inside. Plus a handmade silver necklace -- geometric pendant about 1.5” long on an 18” chain. I was pretty happy with this, but felt a bit too monochromatic (did have burgundy mittens and a bright red beanie for outside, but once I took those off I felt a bit plain). Would’ve liked some sort of second layer to offset all the dark blue, and maybe tie-in with the silver shoes -- again, the necklace was not quite enough. I’m not sure what I’d add though -- a long vest/gilet? Bright/light cardi?

For the train ride, I went with the plaid pants again, plus a burgundy sweater and burgundy lace-up boots, black wool coat, and white/grey knitted accessories. I really liked this one. More cozy/casual than dressy, but fun to wear, and appropriate for the event (they encourage everyone to wear PJs so it's more like the book, but I hate pajamas-in-public, so I figured plaid pants would be a fun riff on the theme). A dose of red/burgundy makes me so happy in the winter, I’m thinking it might be worth seeking out some dressier red/burgundy tops to wear in place of the black/blue in the previous outfits. (I'm so sorry I don't have WIW pics of these, but there just hasn't been time to snap them! Plus, we're about to paint the bathroom with the full-length mirror, so no WIWs unless I can find the time to relocate the mirror -- probably not gonna happen!)

Some possible goals, based on what I’ve learned wearing these three outfits:

  1. Build out my dressy tops collection a bit, and focus on happy colours like red/burgundy (for cold weather -- I'll have to wait til it's warmer to see how I feel about my warm-weather "party clothes") and interesting standalone shapes.
  2. Look for a small bag to add a pop of bright colour. Top choices would be turquoise or sky blue, but would also consider tomato red or citron/chartreuse (Angie colours!). Colour-blocking with one or more of those colours would be very appealing…
  3. Add some wrist bling. I don’t own a single bracelet, and haven’t worn a watch since… middle school? This year is the first year I ever felt like I wanted just a bit more jewelry, and something like a silver cuff would’ve been perfect. (I don’t have pierced ears, so earrings aren’t really an option.) I could also keep my eye out for a bolder/larger/longer statement necklace.
  4. Possibly add a pair of “party shoes” -- metallic or other interesting fabrication (velvet/brocade/etc), ~1.5” heel, comfortable and versatile. Could be an heeled oxford, loafer, ankle boot, or even a comfortable block-heeled pump. Looking for something that won’t date too quickly, since they’d probably be in my closet for quite a few years.
  5. Figure out what “my” dressy toppers are. I’d eventually like a couple, for different times of year/different proportions/etc. Some options I’m pondering: cashmere wrap, long vest/gilet, silky bomber, lightweight kimono-style jacket.

I probably won't accomplish all of these in one year, but even just tackling a couple and finding a some key "signature" pieces would help me feel better about getting dressed for get-togethers.