Ahhhh, High Summer... one of two times each year when I am sick of everything in my closet, feel exhausted from shopping (I am looking at you, Back To School), and retreat into my cool, dark closet to re-org and (majorly) overthink my wardrobe (see also, "The 17th month of Winter" aka "February").

After finishing July's wearing and shopping challenges with a bit of a thud, I decided to do a deep dive into my style moniker and goals that I wrote in the new year. I felt inspired by recent and old posts from Brooklyn, Roxanna, SarahD8, and LisaP that talk about themes, avatars, monikers, and the like. I am sure this won't be written as eloquently as the other fabbers' posts, as this is a bit of a brain dump. That said, if overly-analytical, navel-gazing posts aren't your thing, feel free to stop here...

I took lots of photos of my outfits during Sal's "wear everything"
challenge. I didn't post much because halfway through I felt like I
didn't recognize the person in the photos. I went through the photos and found myself asking, "What does this outfit say about this person
and, "What is the VIBE of this outfit?" - A-HA! "VIBE"!! What (I
think) is tripping me up is not the lack of a particular trend or piece,
it is the fact my looks give off the wrong vibe.

I chose Refined Californian as my style moniker, but what the heck does
that really mean? Do I possess the personality traits that could be Refined Californian??  Who am I? In my personal life I am fun, nerdy/dorky, and extremely laid-back. In my professional life, I am an industry expert, tough, experienced, and often the only female on a project with many men. OK. What exactly IS Refined Californian? To me, it's breezy/beachy, edgy, adventurous, and refined. Do my outfits LOOK breezy, edgy, adventurous, or refined? Do *I* come across as confident and knowledgable?

I struggled to find ANY OF those words when describing the vibe of my July outfits. Since those descriptors can come across visually in SO many ways (e.g., is it beachy or boho? What's the difference?), I decided to come up with a persona/avatar/theme/vibe for three broad capsules:

  • dressy occasions
  • cold weather
  • warm weather
I may break these down even more if I find the approach is working for me. (Oooh, that can be during my Overthink Session in winter...!)
My three Personas and their vibes are:

The Posh Sophisticate - for dressy occasions and business meetings. -Influenced by Victoria Beckham, Amal Clooney, Grece Ghanem.

The Posh Sophisticate is confident and classic with a twist of mystery. She knows her sh*t, and doesn't take sh*t. She may look like a belle of the ball, but she might punch you if you call her pretty.

The Refined Boho Rocker - for warm weather since many of these looks have skirts and sandals.
-Influenced by Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, and Steven

The Refined Boho Rocker has a California coast vibe: part surfer girl,
part hippy, part rock n' roll. She is laid-back, approachable, and fun -
think: sunset dining al fresco with your favorite foods, good tunes,
and cold drinks.

The Trailblazing Urban Adventurer - for colder weather, since most looks have toppers and boots.
- Influenced by Sara Jessica Parker, Alexa Chung, and Indiana Jones.

The Trailblazing Urban Adventurer has a "London-bound New Yorker-on-safari" vibe. I am sure that isn't a thing, but it makes sense in my brain. Utilitarian, earthy, with an occasional splash of preppy, and often with a great jacket. She is a mom on a mission doing All The Things. She is ready for anything the jungle (urban or otherwise) throws her way.

I started collecting inspiration photos that represent the vibe of those personas. From those photos, I found some common elements and garments that I could tie back to the descriptors of my moniker:

: flowy silhouettes (midi skirts and flare jeans), organic patterns,
loose waves (hair), stone jewelry, dusters, nubby textures, open weaves, Birks, delicate layered chains and bracelets (colors: ivory, blush, daffodil, grass green)
Edgy: leather, muted metals, distressing or stitching, messy buns (hair), vans, pointy toe boots, concert/graphic tees (colors: grey, black, metallics)
Adventurous: utilitarian, pockets, belts, plaid, layers, stompy boots, hats, (colors: earthtones, animal prints, camo)
Refined: More approachable than polished; not pretty or precious. Structured fit, tailored shoes (pumps, pointy toe flats), blazers, neat hair,
sheen/shine/sparkle, red lips (colors: jewel tones, navy)

I am excited that I have all of these types of things in my closet, and I don't feel like I am chasing some elusive garment that is required to make my outfit feel complete. Now, I just need to mix the ingredients to make the right looks.

ETA : I added a few inspiration photos in comments. I think I see some cohesion across them, or am I crazy?

Thank you if you read this far!