Things have been absolutely crazy this month between car problems, being 8 weeks from the wrap-date of my 2-year project, and the remodel and home repairs that have me camping out with the SO and running all
over town to pick paint and re-route mail.

This month is my 5-year anniversary of participating in the forum. I'm not sure exactly which day, but it was sometime in mid-to-late August (I have pm's from members in my inbox dating August 31st, 2010) and I thought I would write this before life gets in the way.

I began reading Angie's blog the spring before I joined. I quickly fell in love with Angie's personality and practical advice and soon figured out that there was a whole community of warm, welcoming women here.
Despite this, it took me a while to get up the guts to join in.

It had been a rough year for me--- I had been forced to dissolve my engagement with my college sweetheart because of abusive behavior, had been diagnosed with an uncommon neurological condition, and had moved 400 miles. I was looking for ways to boost my confidence and express myself.

Since then, the ladies of YLF have been my companions
through graduations, job interviews, decisions to go back to school, 4 job changes, unemployment, first dates, 3rd anniversaries, health scares, big failures, and big triumphs. I’ve met many fabulous and generous women here.

Style-wise, I've grown a lot from my first questions, posts, and WIWs. I have a better understanding of fit and flattery, shopping, budgeting, and making my wardrobe work for me. Perhaps more importantly is more
knowledge about myself and my personal style.

This year my goals were:

1. Make an opportunity for B&M shopping at least once:
Accomplished this, but wasn’t successful purchasing anything but makeup. This trip combined with recent online success has helped me understand my shopping strategy. Some items are so much easier to purchase in person, but even if retail becomes more accessible I see myself utilizing a combined strategy scoping out options online and shopping or returning in store depending on
available sizes.

2. Continue to eliminate old things from the closet I
haven’t worn in years, like special occasion dresses, etc.: I also feel
like I’ve accomplished this. I’ve weeded all but two special occasion items that aren’t in current rotation from my closet. Having to temporarily move out because of the construction has forced me to weed extensively. As I move back in I will continue to weed. My biggest remaining weakness is gear/loungewear.

3. Evaluate purchases and clothing at the end of each season and beginning of the season before I wear it again, particularly
evaluating how things washed and wore and functioned: I evaluated after winter 2015, evaluated and am holding onto items that fit well but have condition issues until they are replaced. I will complete that purge as I pull out fall items and put away summer items.

4. Post WIWs and Keep/Returns—I’m really bad about this, particularly WIWs. I still don’t feel great about my summer wardrobe and I struggle with having a good place to take photos. Maybe I should start at work?

5. Continue to experiment with new things, trends, and accessories: I’m currently shopping for scarves, track pants, non-blue denim, andBF jeans. I’ve tried and kept cocoon dresses, tube skirts, drape front tops,
ponte pants, and slip-on sneakers.

6. Put together a solid week worth of clothing for my 3 seasons (summer, F/W, and transitional) – I’m still adding to my summer
wardrobe (tees and HEWIs) and have started shopping for fall. The biggest breakthrough for me is allowing myself to begin purchasing for my much shorter transitional seasons. I hope at the end of this year to be able to really comfortably dress (despite frequent repeats) for all of my general tasks andweather. You can see my wardrobe in my Finds.

7. Explore style monikers like “intrepid adventurer” and
“divine tomboy”—Year after year I’m drawn to the same looks. As I fill wardrobe holes and become a better shopper I want to cultivate a look that is distinctively me-- I'm so strongly drawn to essentials that sometimes I feel like the elements don't combine to show off enough of my creative and rebellious side. and are my collections of inspiration

8. Spend more time enjoying my clothes and less time stressing over them – I feel better about my wardrobe, but might not be at this
point until NEXT year. With an upcoming move and job change, it would be great to feel like I could get dressed without shopping if need be in 2016. Still, I know over-shopping with all the changes would also be futile—I’ve gotten a call back (but not sure if I have an interview or not) for a position in southern AZ and I KNOW I’m not prepared for S/S there.

My shopping list through the end of the year:

For Summer

1 woven shirt (options on order)

summer shoes

replacement tees (options on order)

Replacements for my red sneakers (keeping my eye out since my favorite sneakers are on their last legs-- I like to have a pair of nylon for wearing on rainy days)

For Fall/Winter

1 pr. bootcut or flare jeans (option on order)

2 flannel shirts (have some in mind but am waiting to see
what comes out)

1 woven shirt (have something in mind)

1 zip up hoodie (to wear as a layer under denim and leather

1 sassy sweatshirt -- ?

5 long-sleeve tees/tops (various styles, scoop/ crew, and
v-neck, henley, mostly black)

1-2 pullover sweaters --? If I’m still somewhere cold in
November, I’ll purchase

In addition, I feel I have the following holes

a denim shirt—(have something on order)

a non-blue jean option—(have a pair of distressed black
denims on order)

brown boots/booties--- a plus if these are wet-weather
practical—another item that will wait until October or November

a cardi/knit jacket --?? Definitely a need

leather sneakers

leather slip-on sneakers