Suz’s thread on formula dressing got me thinking about the outliers in my closet. My style is practical, classic, elevated casual. My formula is mostly V-neck T’s, crew neck sweaters, or button downs, cropped straight bottoms, and a boxy jacket or puffer third piece in neutrals (black, navy, white/cream or beige) and a little colour. Except for the colour, everything’s pretty basic/classic. Then…

…I experiment. Sometimes it’s a trend-of-the-moment. Sometimes a wildcard. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Because my collection is small, I can quickly identify outliers (see Finds below) and I’ve decided to do a quick assessment - and ask for your thoughts.

#1 lavender trench: an odd colour choice, but seems to work with just about everything! The style is classic, but the colour is the outlier. Love !

#2 Dark pink gloves. They don’t quite bookend or match any of my red or merlot pieces, and seem too bright with neutral outerwear. I actually feel self conscious when I wear them, though I don’t usually feel that way when wearing colour. They get a few wears each winter - but don’t make me happy

#3 green pleather pants. Most trend driven item in my closet! Ordered as a lemming-style impulse when Angie got her orange faux leather bottoms, and reviewed the pleather trend. Best. Wildcard. Ever. 24(!) wears in 16 months. Success!

#4 multicoloured reversible dress (thrifted). I don’t know what it is about this piece, but I’m wildly in love with it, and can’t wait for warmer weather to get it into rotation. 5 wears (date nights), but would it work as a casual throw on piece on a hot day?

#5 Uniqlo +J collaboration poplin mandarin collar tuxedo high/low button down. The closest thing to an orphan in my closet! (8 wears) I’ve figured (with the help of you-all that this is a seasonal niche garment and will just be one of those things that gets worn a half dozen times each year. It’s also a little ‘avant guard’ for my style, but timeless enough that it shouldn’t date. Colour glows IRL. Keep - but not a wild success!

#6 orange ditsy paisley batiste button down. Pattern and colour make it an outlier, but traditional button down styling is in my wheelhouse. Thrifted late 2022 and worn 7 times! Sheer/lightweight - so definitely a hot weather item. Especially fun with pleather pants, but works with blue and white denim too. Makes me want more orange in my closet! Success!

#7 yellow leather sling backs are a new wildcard. First dressy shoe purchased since retirement 5 years ago! Picked up with the idea that I will wear them to a wedding and garden reception in May (I don’t have a dress yet!) and with navy and black combos afterwards. Nod to slingback trend and crazy colour. Jury’s out on these outliers…

#8 pleated, wide leg, full length trousers. The oldest outlier in my closet (from fall 2019) picked up after a year long search and many try-ons. 33 wears since I started counting in 2020. Super comfortable, easy to style, and they add an element of currency to an outfit combination by ticking the ‘trendy’ box. Still, I only have one pair of pants in this silouhette. Partly because these ones set a high bar that hasn’t been matched by any ones I’ve tried since, and partly because they are dressier and less practical for my regular daily activities - so occasion specific. Success!

I think this may be my longest post, ever! Thanks for reading - if you’re still here Any thoughts, comments, on my outliers? Can you identify a shadow style persona trying to emerge, or see a thread I should pursue to evolve my style?

If you tend to uniform or formula dressing - or adhere to a narrow personal style - do you have any outliers in your closet? What can you learn from them?

ETA: some folks might call these items closet orphans, but I like to think of them as outliers: ‘a thing differing from all others of a particular set’ with the potential of a wildcard to influence growth.