The idea of having go-to outfits for various occasions, roles and goals has always seemed important to me, but sometimes elusive, sometimes due to my own failings--not following a list or plan when adding items , or not taking time to put things together in detail--but also the vagaries of changes in fits and comfort, or realizing a wardrobe workhorse might be wearing out.
I actually woke up in the middle of the night a few days ago with a sudden concern that I was not sure I had a "somber occasion outfit", aka funeral outfit, at the ready. And specifically, one, or ones, I could grab on very short notice, without taking hours to go through things. And especially for hot weather, since that tends to be harder for good, serious clothing. .
Thankfully, I don't have any such occasion on the near radar. I didn't even want to put it in the post title lest it create concerns! I admit to some guilt, maybe, about adding some casual items and a few unplanned "fun" purchases during the pandemic and new lifestyle, and while not having the desire to do major wardrobe editing and culling when not knowing what is ahead.
But I recently got sort of re-energized to do a bit more--not quite "I've got my groove back", or a big epiphany of a new style, but a step forward of feeling more confident that I can recognize what I like and don't like, and especially regarding fits and proportions.
So, making use of the free-standing clothing rail I got awhile back, I started pulling out all of my dark neutrals--toppers, tops, bottoms, shoes--. I say started, because I kept remembering, oh, this also has potential also, hadn't thought of that.
I haven't finished yet so there is no done and done to report. Sorry! . It is very hot now and I have had to do in spurts. Here is what I am learning:
Having a fairly large wardrobe that had been generally neutral-rich for work helps a lot and that is my base--I really want to use toppers and pants I already have because I don't really need to add more or upgrade this category now that retired, for now.
You would think it would be slam-dunk easy. But my work outfits were built around what goes under a lab coat, not wearing a topper all day, so even though I wore jackets and blazers to go to work a lot of days, I often used toppers that were slightly more casual or in colors that I would not wear to a funeral. In fact that was part of the strategy for item juxtaposition . In addition, I could skate a bit on how happy I was or was not, with the "back view" or the proportions. I also omit entirely or could just wear outerwear, so a lot of my tops were not planned for layering under a closer-fitting jacket, or might be in less neutral colors,or are warmer, for the hospital. Plus, for current type of weather, I wore lighter colors and some lighter or brighter footwear.
I am narrowing it down to about 5 toppers and 3-4 pants that fit well, including a pair I added in early spring (see Find). These Vince navy pants are almost full-length on me, not so cropped.
My color palette is, surprise, black, navy, gray, and moody blue or blue-gray. Burgundy might be in the mix, but I find that just a burgundy or berry top with mix and match sometimes isn't as preferable to me as more tonal dressing.
Hence I have had some luck with a kind of blue-gray for tops or toppers and also like column of color with contrasting jacket. For warmer weather, my almost-signature style "serious but not super dressy event" top is a dressy T style, such as a drapey modal knit, or silk or silk-like similar which can tuck in. I have both navy and black items somewhat randomly due to what is available and because, as above, I often did not have to have a "complete' outfit. I know that navy and black can mix and have done so, but so far my pieces might not lend themselves to looking intentional for that, nor my environmental norm.
Footwear is okay but a weak link. Will use only flats, and I am needing to size up sllightly, and give up tapering. And sneakers are not okay for this! But I have 2 ankle strap flats that are okay for now, and 2 loafers that are okay, but just barely.
Probable wardrobe holes are going to be footwear and one or 2 light-weight tops. For shoes I will think about just one pair that will work for this plus future wear--such as a better-fitting black loafer. And, my beloved AT rayon knit dressy T's are showing wear, so I may look for very specific replacements in one or 2 neutrals, and low-to moderate price point. Have ordered a few to try.
If you are still awake at this point, congrats! I have actually gone on to start editing other wardrobe categories a bit, so maybe can encourage others in same situation. Showing a few finds of what I have, but do not have all items to show. The Anthro jacket I have is in black.