I had to learn what my basics were, and actually buy them, in order to be able to create outfits. I also had to budget in more for accessories.

Well first off Synne the WIWs you have posted have been excellent, so whatever you are doing is working! You seem to have a handle on your colors and your best silhouettes. To build on what Rachy said, effortless dressing takes a lot of prep work! It only looks effortless to the observer.
For me, having some reliable pieces makes trying new things easier. So if I want to wear a vintage jacket (and yes I probably do) it is good to have a "current" pair of jeans to pair with it. In other words, I agree that finding your closet essentials is key. Dressing for the weather, situation, and comfort are all more aspects of the appearance of effortlessness.
Anyway, great thread!

Aaand, I'm back. Thank you all for your thoughtful replies!

Suz, how fascinating to see that your story is similar to mine. By looking at you and your fab style one could think you were just born with it! It actually takes time and hard work to look effortlessly put-together.

Irina, you have mentioned your rules for dressing before. It is very intriguing! You make it look so easy and simple, but I could NEVER replicate what you are doing (and I have tried! ) Its like I can understand it intellectualy, but not put it into practice. Yet. Hope to get there one day!

Donna, yes, I realize this entire post reads verging on try-hard and forced. I don't expect perfection and I am having fun with style and dressing! But at times I feel frustrated that I have all the ingredients, and am following the recipe, but still can't bake the cake, if you follow my thinking What am missing from the equation?

LaPed: interesting observation. You do look stunning in the outfits you've shown here, but yes, come to think of it they are mostly for casual everyday dressing. I would love to see how you would style for a special event! But are there any of those anymore....?

Jenni, I may have overlooked the importance of the glue. Wardrobe essentials. Even when Angie has been hammering it in and repeating it to us, lol. Glad Sloper explained! I think the expression is so funny!

Jonesy, interesting. I don't think I have any items that are "just perfect" to assess. That may be a big red flag just there... It's like I know they are great, generally speaking. But not necessarily for me. Humm... I may just have realized something important here.

This is fascinating and informative to read Synne. I am short on time and had to skim what everyone else wrote quickly. Maybe this is covered and I missed it, but I think it may be helpful to further emphasize the emotional impact of what you wear. Angie reminded me a few years ago that an analytical strategy might not be enough….I needed to add emotion. (When I dress my outfit helps provide a sense of joy, comfort, strength, etc) Once I added a balance between analytical and emotional, along with most of the factors you list, my wardrobe gelled and things pulled together.

I like to stay current, but have found that many of the most current items do not work with my personal style, Instead of “current”, I use the word “fresh”which in my usage means I selectively add new possibly modern (or not) pieces and accessories to keep things updated, fun, and interesting, but not necessarily the most current or trendy.

I didn’t comment the first time I read this thread because I wasn’t sure I really had anything to say.

But then I had one of those days that took me half a dozen tries to find the outfit that felt right (it is the outfit in my anniversary date post). I’m sure that the other things I tried on would have been ok, but they didn’t *feel* right — one felt too dressy, one too day/casual, one too warm for the weather, one too bodycon… I am very much a mood dresser, so an outfit that seems great one day can easily seem like too much or too little the next. I think that emotional X factor is really important, at least to me.

Well thought out post! (As an English teacher but also a fellow non-native speaker, I always say so long as people can understand the concept you're trying to convey, that's good enough for most situations lol).

I realise that I struggle with many of these guidelines actually lol e.g. only *now* am I finally accumulating more *truly* breathable fabrics for my warm weather collection - & I've been living in HK for 5 years already! My clothing purchasing still very much echoed my UK habits until about a year ago. Part of this may have also been due to a denial mindset though (I haven't been back home in 2 years now, due to COVID-19 Hopefully I will next summer though... )

Colour is another area in which I struggle because I like them *all* - I don't have a favourite colour so much as favourite colour schemes It's therefore very hard for me to be disciplined enough to put a colour back on the retail shelf because it's not in the right shade for me.

Texture is another area in which I struggle, since I think I end up relying a lot on colour instead to add visual interest to my outfits (sometimes jewellery too). Lately I've been making a conscious effort to add shiny shoes & floaty scarves to my ensembles though, to help counteract this rut

Synne, as others have said, your outfits always look interesting and unique but if they still aren't feeling right to you, then that is frustrating. I suspect the baby may have something to do with it! It is a role change. A life change. And there are body changes, too. So we sometimes focus dissatisfaction on clothes (something we imagine we can control) rather than our lack of sleep or frustration or elation or whatever.

Still...I really do know what you are feeling. Several years into my time on YLF I felt very similar. I had a lot of nice pieces and I could make outfits of a sort, but either they didn't feel like "me" or they didn't feel truly stylish.

I'm not sure what changed...I think in part, I gave up a bit on some of my aspirations and recognized I was never going to be that woman who looks great and feels great in X type of outfit. Also, my weather or activities would not allow it. So that means -- time to adapt the style aspiration and get real.

And then I also learned what I needed to make my fairly classic style feel "me" -- in my case, it's a bit of energy, dynamism and brightness or playfulness, which might come through in a variety of ways -- juxtaposition, pattern mixes, colour, shine. There needs to be some energy to the look or it fails on me. So that is a "getting to know your style type" thing -- which I studied analytically, yes (through the style systems) but also recognized much more deeply by feel. What feels right?

Thank you for all your thoughtful replies. I am devouring your comments, so much to chew on here! Know that I really appreciate your insights. Love this place!


Synne, that's why I have a job, a social community, and can write fresh blog post content that answer, troubleshoot and challenge the musings here ..... going on 16 years of YLF and 30 years in the industry

Style is a JOURNEY that has a temporary destination. The internal and external variables that affect our style changes over time, and therefore so does our style.

Love what Jonesy, Jenn, Suz, Suntiger and Shevia wrote.

Nodding along with Lisa P - you have to figure out your priorities, and run with it.

This is a great thread! Similarly, I have a closet full of pieces I LOVE, but so few of them make great outfits. I buy something because I am attracted to it - and it feels very right - but when I try to pair it with other things I love, for some reason it often doesn't click...

I don't think I have much wisdom to add, but Synne, it's possible that you are being a touch hard on yourself as your outfit are always so cool, and you are also so good with experimentation and trying things out!

All I can add is that I get super-overwhelmed with all the things and rules and ideas, but I do sometimes find it useful to use these rules as a diagnostic tool - like, rather than trying to build an outfit that checks all the boxes, instead if you put on an outfit and it feels off, you could use this checklist to diagnose the problem and what tweak you might make to fix it.

Thanks for this very thought-provoking post!!

I’m following along. You know my moniker is the fashion intern because I’m here to learn, right? I can definitely relate to feeling dumber after learning a little bit. I never had clothes strewn about the bedroom or the feeling of “nothing to wear” despite a full closet—until I joined YLF.