I’ve been thinking a lot about where I am at with my style as the seasons are starting to turn, and as I am seeing other members posting updates on their style goals for the year it seemed timely to do a review of sorts for myself. Apologies in advance to anyone who reads the whole essay, but writing it all our helped me get some clarity!

I rediscovered and made my first post on the forum in March, when I felt that I had lost the joy that clothes and dressing used to bring me after struggling with illness for the past four years. I was tired of wearing the same old joggers every day, and felt that I needed to transition my wardrobe from the structured business casual that represented my old life to something that took into consideration my new lifestyle and physical challenges. I didn’t set any specific goals, but I wanted to rediscover the fun in dressing up, hone in on and update my style after being very stagnant with it for several years, and basically to shop more and try to rebuild my wardrobe. I’ve gotten so much support and help from all of you in the process, for which I am ever so grateful!

So here are my goals or guidelines that I have been following in my head this year, even though I’ve not written them down until now.

Comfortable elegance - continue transitioning my wardrobe from structured business casual to a softer comfortable style that honors my current physical challenges and new (mostly) stay at home life, while also feeling elegant and polished enough to wear in public. I want to feel good in everything I wear, both in body and mind.

Joy - one of my main goals for the year was to rediscover the joy of clothes and dressing. I haven’t bought much clothing at all since I got sick, and even before that I feel like I was very strict with myself for very long when it came to my wardrobe and what I felt I could or couldn’t wear. I am very much an analytical planner by nature, and would spend so much time thinking and analyzing and trying to always find the perfect thing. As I looked back on my wardrobe and the pieces I have loved the most though, I found it was most often the impulse purchases that I’ve ended up loving the most. The pieces I have spent the most time on finding the perfect version of tend to often not be quite right in the end. I want to experiment more, and while I do want to keep the big picture in mind, I also want to let myself act more on impulse when I find things that I love and that bring me joy. I feel like I am getting there, despite some frustrations with fit and finding pieces that are right for me. I have been following my instincts more, made some impulse purchases that I have loved and veered a little out of my comfort zone trying out things like lighter colored trousers and shoes, and even a baby blue cardigan!

Color and fabrics - I did express frustration earlier with my colorless wardrobe, but after testing and trying out different things this year I can safely say that I am most happy in the neutrals camp. I will try to add more non-black neutrals though, with greens (forest, mossy, olive) still being my favorite. For winter I might also look for something in a light brown color, most likely some knitwear. I’d say my preferred color palette lies on the cooler spectrum of earthy neutrals, with lots of black and white as a base. As for fabric, natural fabrics are becoming ever more important, due to sensory issues and difficulty with temperature regulation, and I have been doing well sticking to that, adding comfortable linen and cotton pieces.

Pieces - well, listing out everything I have bought this year, it definitely feels like A LOT, but that was kind of the plan as I had a lot of gaps to fill and wanted to not limit myself too much. Most of my purchases have been quite successful, I’d say there is only one that was a complete fail (the linen jacket). I’ve been shopping mainly high street/fast fashion brands, which is not my favorite thing to do, but under the circumstances made sense. Going forward I want to focus more on quality pieces when I can, and definitely more second hand shopping, which I used to do a lot in the past. So here goes, everything I’ve added to my wardrobe so far this year:

  • Blue jeans - I had more or less stopped wearing jeans because it is just too painful for my aching joints, but these are actually super soft even with only 2% elastane, so I have been wearing them a lot through the spring and summer. They are also my first pair of blue jeans in probably a decade. Going forward I imagine they will be mostly worn at home in the autumn winter months, as I don’t know what shoes to pair with the slightly flared leg in winter, and they also feel a bit more casual than the look I prefer in the colder months.
  • Dark grey jeans - same model as the blue jeans. I have worn these quite a bit, but not as much as the blue ones. I think the washed out grey color feels a bit too casual for me, so I am planning to dye them black.
  • Cream ruffle neck jersey top - part of my elevated jersey tops plan. I like it, but it is bordering on too cute for me with the ruffle. It’s best when I dress it down with jeans and wear it under a knit vest or cashmere crew neck sweater.
  • Long sleeve white rib knit t-shirts x 4 - I love ribbed knits, always have, and these are perfect for home wear or for layering in the colder months. I definitely need to stock up on ribbed knit basics while there’s so much of it in stores!
  • Striped rib knit racer back tank top - I have also rediscovered my love for racer back tank tops these past few years, and am hoarding these as well.
  • Eyelet sleeveless top - again, love anything eyelet, and although it often feels too cute on me, this has just the right balance.
  • Cream knit vest - love this and have worn it so much this spring and summer.
  • Striped beach dress - I needed a beach cover up quickly before my holiday in late spring, and this was the best I could find. I don't hate it, but it's also not really me.
  • Linen surplice top - my husband found this for me in Massimo Dutti when we were in Spain in the late spring - I think he knows my style better than I do myself!
  • Piped cotton jersey pyjamas - also from our trip to Spain. Not worn yet as I am saving them for the colder months, but I am so looking forward to wearing. Super pretty and comfortable.
  • Seersucker striped pyjamas - same as above.
  • Piped cotton bathrobe - probably my most worn item of the year! The piping matches the one on the pyjamas.
  • Nude tencel ribbed racerback bralette - I have been searching for a racerback bra/bralette for two years, and finally found one this summer. Super soft and comfortable.
  • Black tencel ribbed racerback bralette - same as the nude one, though I don’t need black bras quite as often I figured it would be smart to have one.
  • Beige cotton linen trousers - got these quite late in the summer so I have only worn them a couple of times, but it feels good to get a head start for next summer! I altered these by taking in and adding a set of darts in the back waist, and it worked well.
  • Grey linen culottes - same as above
  • Cut out t-shirt - I love wearing and styling this t-shirt, but every time I wear it I am sweating so much! It is a thicker cotton knit, so probably better when the weather cools down.
  • Linen jacket - I really wanted to add a spring/summer jacket to my wardrobe, and found this linen blazer on a second hand app. The jacket is beautiful and really high quality, but it was too big for me. I also don’t think blazers are a look I love for myself anymore, so I am probably going to look for a different style of jacket in the spring. I relisted this, and have someone coming to pick it up on Saturday.
  • Beige Vans - I traded these for a jacket on a second hand app. I’ve been wanting to add a lighter colored shoe for summer for a while. I tried to get into white sneakers years ago, as I love how it looks on other people, but for some reason I feel like a clown when wearing them. I got a pair of white Converse some summers ago, but after seeing some holiday pictures of myself wearing them I decided it’s just not for me. I have been pondering an alternative, and wondered if beige might be better, as it’s closer in color to the skin, and might not feel like they are cutting off my leg in the same way. I got these a few weeks ago and have only worn once (they gave me blisters), and am undecided on how I feel about them. It’s not as bad as white ones, but I’m not entirely convinced.

Handmade items:

  • Linen shorts x 3 (olive, black, cream with navy stripes) - I only have the olive ones pictured as I’ve left the other two at the cabin. Have worn all of them lots, although I don’t wear shorts out in public unless on holiday, so they are mostly for lounging in the garden.
  • Blue striped button down shirt - I’ve been wanting a new blue striped shirt for ages, but I don’t love this one. I’m not sure why, perhaps the fabric feels a little too thin.
  • Embroidered blouse - the fabric is a little thicker, so I think this will be good for slightly dressed up occasions in autumn/winter, and for wearing under knit slipovers, even though I didn't strictly need more blouses.
  • Baby blue alpaca/silk/mohair cardigan - I originally bought the Gaspard cardigan from Sezane, but in the end I wasn’t a fan of the wide neckline and the dropped shoulder on me, so I returned it. Instead I knit this one to satisfy my urge for something pastel blue. It’s better for me with the tighter neckline and raglan sleeves, and can also be worn back to front like the Gaspard. I did wear it quite a bit in the spring, but tired of it fairly quick. I’m saving it for the next time I feel the need for a pop of color.
  • White bamboo cotton knit camisole - I was initially super excited about this, but ended up not loving the fit that much.
  • Beige ribbed knit racerback top - love this and have worn it lots. Confirmed my love of ribbed knits and racerback tops.
  • Black ribbed knit racerback top - I like it, but not as much as the beige one. I’ve realized I don’t love wearing black tops.
  • Beige textured cotton wool blend top - feeling meh about this one.

Part two below...

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