I was really touched by Ornella's year-in-review post the other day. I love how she called out specific voices and threads that stood out for her. I love how she quoted the posts that especially resonated for her as she went about dressing and shopping.

I'm afraid my memory for specifics isn't as good as hers, so I can't do quite the same thing. Besides, there have been SO MANY rich and helpful threads on this forum in the past year that it would be next to impossible for me to pick and choose just a few. But I did want to do a little year -end recap for myself. And I also want to say thanks! Especially after some of my recent panicky "what do I wear?" posts, it makes sense to stop for a second and think about how far I have actually come.

So: herewith, my play in 3 acts.

Act One: 15 months ago, I had a few hours in Toronto on my own to go shopping. I had been a member of YLF for about 6 months at that point, and still had not done a lot of purchasing of new clothes (though I badly needed new things after having changed size and shape).

On that particular (much anticipated) day, I hoped to find a few core pieces for my new fall wardrobe. Instead, I wandered around the Bay, completely overwhelmed. I didn't know any of the brands, so had no idea what I was looking AT, and I didn't really have a sense of my own style preferences or even my needs, so I had no idea what I was looking FOR.

Eventually I retreated outside to Queen street, stopping in a couple of boutiques. I ended up buying an inexpensive skirt that turned out to be a wardrobe workhorse last year. So all was not lost. In fact, I gained a bit of trust in myself when this purchase worked out so well for me. Which was a big win.

But that aimless hour in the Bay was a sobering and slightly demoralizing experience. How could I not know how to shop?? Aren't all women supposed to understand how to shop? I USED to know how to shop. Didn't I? But I didn't anymore. Twenty years of neglecting fashion had brought me to that.

Act Two: 11 months ago, I was back in at the Toronto Bay, just in time for the post-holiday sales. I was still overwhelmed and flustered in the store, but this time I focused more intently on one department. As a result, I came away with my very first premium denim jeans. Also bought (on sale!!! ARGH!!!) a cardigan that turned out to be a poor purchase (the colour was different than I thought and I consigned it after wearing it twice -- I just didn't like it). But the jeans were winners. All in all, a big improvement.

Act 3: A few days ago, I was back at the Bay again, trying on suiting. The same area of the store that had overwhelmed me a year ago was now filled with brands I recognized and styles I could interpret. I could walk around looking at things without feeling panicked. I could easily dismiss certain areas, and give deeper attention to others. And at the end of the hour I could walk away without having bought anything, yet still feeling as if I had spent the hour very productively.

Surely that is due to the time I've spent on YLF. So thank you Angie, and thank you all, for helping to turn me into a more comfortable shopper, which is a crucial step towards feeling more confident in my style.

Pics: Ironically - half of what I'm wearing comes from the consignment stores or sales! But at least I am feeling a lot more conifdent about what I pick out there.

1. Theory wool crewneck with asymmetrical cables, bought at my favourite Toronto consignment store. Theory trousers (free for me at consignment). BR noniron fitted shirt. BR scarf. SW booties (yay!!!) Michael Kors reversible belt, suggested at one time by Jeneva.

2. Same with the addition of my bag, and my Vince Camuto pea coat, bought at WInners. Plus my suitcase.

Funny. This feels very classic and verging on the too corporate or conservative for me, and in some ways it's more of a work look (if I worked in an office) than it is a weekend look. Yet I knew my mother would like to see me dressed this way (I was on my way to her place) and something about the fits and the quality of the fabrics helped to bring it closer to modern classic than simple classic, at least in my imagination. And so where I might have felt boring in it, somehow I didn't. Or didn't care.

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