I knew this would be one of those fabulous, informative, fun reads that I was saving the thread to come back to it when I have significant chunk of time to digest it all. I cannot believe just how fantastic this thread turned out to be - and I haven't even read all the responses yet!

Una, you are a star for asking this in the first place and thank you for that. As someone who needs to verbalize things to really take them in, this thread is of massive significance to me too - all the ladies who are in the happy style zone speak up and share their journeys! YLF does not get much better than this.

Before I say anything else I think the key thing to take on is that developing style - takes time. A lot of time.

I am at the place where I feel confident enough to trust myself - whether I'll succeed or fail does not matter as much, I know I won't feel underwhelmed when I don't. That, to me, is a major confidence booster. I don't care if I get it wrong because I know I care enough to try to fix it.

If nothing else, at least I know what I don't like or don't want. And I know the answers to many whys. One of the turning points for me was when I asked forum members if they dress intuitively or logically, meaning do they "just know" or they need to figure it out by following some rules and actually learning what suits them and why. The number of ladies who saw themselves in the second group was like a wind in my sails - so, I was not odd after all. Before asking openly, I somehow felt less of a woman because I wasn't born knowing all the answers, but had to *understand* my wardrobe.

Then there are - the colors. I can see myself saying for a long time that was the essential and probably the first point of truly getting closer to the wardrobe that works for me. Not only that it's impossible that every color looks good on everyone (unless you're MaryK, of course), but I find it terribly impractical for me personally. And daunting. I still look at the piles of my clothes that are awaiting to go in different directions and wonder how on Earth was I ever going to style some of them. The truth is - I was not, they were impulse buys.

Once things were narrowed down in the color front, there was less mess in my wardrobe, less time wasted figuring out what to wear, more piece of mind. Things match a lot easier AND I simply stay away from those racks at the shops where unflattering colors are. That is a massive time and energy saver.

The phase I'm at currently is searching for the right fits. I am removing what does not work (style, size) and getting only what does. Again, it helps me to know how my body type should be dressed - in theory, but I still often can't see if it really does work or not, so I ask for help.

I feel good about shopping less and returning more. I also want to purge a lot more clothes from my wardrobe, but there's a tiny little voice that's telling me "you've found this place where you can learn how to style this or that, how about giving it a go". That slows me down on my own path to what I want - functional and minimalist wardrobe filled with quality, flattering and stylish pieces. But, I make no apologies for that - I have to go through this phase to make up for the years of feeling very out of the whole game.

One thing that came to mind is to suggest to you the following - how about keeping one or two outfits in your office that are dead lawyerish, predictable and *reliable* solutions for those occasions you need to present yourself in a certain way. Then, you might have room to be more playful, knowing that any time you can pull one of those out if needed. I think you don't need to feel left out in terms of business style because you live in a different climate than Mary.

I also think it's crucial to know your lifestyle and how many categories (and subcategories) of clothes you really need. Work (formal and casual), home (lounge, BBQs, meeting friends), going out (dressy and/or casual places), outdoors, you get the idea.

Then, you can build up outfits for each of them - and stick to those until you feel you're in calm waters. Hide the dubious items from yourself and revisit them only when you feel you can start incorporating them in the wardrobe that works.

For example - where is that fabulous sheath dress of yours? I only saw it when you found it and then it disappeared from my radar. You can wear that one alone for a whole week and look fab and very different every day.

Idea no. 2. You scored some breathtakingly awesome jeans recently. You have at least a week of smart casual out of them as well.

Or, I remember the color of the top you wore when you had your hair done recently - that was spot on. Do you have anything else in such color... etc, etc.

I hope this is of some help to you.

Now I’m off to copy-paste some of the wisdom from here on a separate document for my own quick reference quide to style.

I have no wisdom to share, but want to express my gratitude for all the wisdom and insights and ideas shared in this thread!

Thank you, Una, for asking and getting this *incredible* conversation started.

Thank you to vix and jean for lending their expertise and their astute contributions.

Thank you to each and every one who is lending their experiences, observations, ideas, etc.

I'm with Ornela on this -- cutting & pasting to create a reference guide -- I need to digest and absorb all this wonderful, wonderful stuff slowly. I really hope it'll be a major turning point in my style journey. . .

Thank you!!!!!!!!

Love this thread! I haven't posted since my initial attempt to figure out my body type, but have been reading along, doing a little bit of shopping, and lots of virtual window-browsing... So many good resources mentioned just in this one thread!

Ornela, thanks for taking the time to write out all of those thoughts. Everything you've said struck a chord with me, especially the keeping some things in the hope that I'll figure out how to style them once I'm more knowledgeable.

I do have one or two fallback outfits for court or other "must look intimidating" situations, which means those days are no-brainers. It's the rest of the time that I struggle... and that's 80% of my days!

So glad this thread has taken off in all sorts of brilliant and unexpected ways. Cut and paste is a great idea.

Una, I'm in that transitional phase with you! After deciding my direction I haven't been able to shop much so I'm making do with what I already have, much of which I'd rather toss and replace (hello wardrobe of nearly all tees, and clothes that are too big). I also need to evaluate and decide what I want/need for my "core." And then go buy those things, making sure they are all perfect. No more almosts. We're not too far off from each other on our wardrobe overhauls

EDIT: Another thanks for starting this thread, it has been AMAZING to read.

Aida, I can't tell you how much I appreciate having an engineer along on this trip. It's good to know that even some of my role models here (and you're one of them) are in transition too!

So my dad is the ultimate stereotypical engineer and my mom just sent us a bunch of jokes about engineers, of which this was my favorite:

Two engineering students were walking across a university campus when one said, "Where did you get such a great bike?"
The second engineer replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday, minding my own business, when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike, threw it to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, "Take what you want."
The first engineer nodded approvingly and said, "Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn't have fit you anyway."

Oh man... That's great ^^