Over the past couple of months, several readers have asked me to write about the most recent phase of my style evolution, and so I have been thinking about how to best approach that hypothetical post – this post – for a while. Though I love to wax analytical about style (it’s my modus operandi in all things, after all), I am all too conscious that such musings can very easily degenerate into a big ole pile of TL;DR. My Fashion Blogger Struggle® is finding the right balance of writing and photographs, and I often end up feeling less than successful. Because of that, my first instinct was to let the evidence speak for itself. I think the direction of my style – which is not entirely new, but not precisely “same old, same old” – is becoming more and more evident with each monthly recap. And, to be honest, it’s not something I have been over-thinking to the degree that is my usual practice. Which is to say, while I have a rough idea of where (I think) I’m going, I don’t have a concrete road map to talk about. Mostly, I’m just following my gut – whether that be when buying new clothes, letting go of old ones, and putting together outfits.
With that said, as I was going through this process, I came across the whole personal colour analysis/style archetype phenomenon, which did help to crystallize some of my more vague gut feelings. I’ve talked about my updated wardrobe colour palette before. I think my palette ended up being very close to what is recommended for Soft Summer. I may or may not be a Soft Summer; I’m still debating investing the money to get an actual consultation with a qualified colour analyst. But, for now, I am using that as a rough guide when considering new purchases.
The biggest issue with this is that black is supposed to be a “no go” colour; meanwhile, black is one of my core “anchoring” neutrals. I have no desire to run out and replace all my black clothing with charcoal or navy equivalents, so instead I am being more mindful about how I use black in my outfits. (I still love wearing it head to toe from time to time.)
I am also not running out and buying all the colours from the Soft Summer palette. Instead, I’m focusing on my preferred subset of colours. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the years is the importance of an least somewhat cohesive colour palette. If the colours in your wardrobe are harmonious, it is much easier to weather any style evolution because you can mix old pieces in new ways.
Moving on, I have also self-diagnosed as a Dramatic Classic style (based on my facial features in particular, as recommended by this article), and have started using the tools available online – like Pinterest boards – to guide my style choices. I will say that the DC archetype alone is a bit simplistic, and does not fully capture my personal preferences. I prefer the triad system used by the Truth Is Beauty blog; in particular, I have been leaning towards the Dramatic-Classic-Ingenue and the Ethereal-Dramatic-Classic aesthetics.
Looking at things from this perspective/framework, I realized that my style hasn’t so much changed as evolved in terms of its emphasis on various sub-components. For example, my love of Anthro very much skewed to the Ingenue side of things; as I get older, it is perhaps not unnatural that I should feel more drawn to another existing component (e.g. Classic) or switch to a new one (e.g. Ethereal). Ultimately, this process has become more about fine-tuning than over-hauling, although there has certainly been some turnover in my closet as a result — mostly from things being purged, as opposed to added.
As far as my closet goes, I am largely happy with it — especially as it has become more stabilized over the last few months. I will never not love experimenting with different looks, but I am becoming more and more appreciative of cohesiveness. I do enjoy clothes as a hobby, but the more experimenting I do, the more time-consuming it becomes. Narrowing the scope of that experimenting has freed up time for other hobbies, like reading (and soon, perhaps, writing once more). Don’t get me wrong; it’s not a question of one hobby being better or worse than the other; just different. Right now, I am excited about different things.
With that said, I am embracing a kind of “French wardrobe” approach to my closet. I’m treating 70-80% of it as a “core” — stable, with low turnover anticipated. The balance represents my “statement” pieces, and this is where I expect to focus my experimenting going forward. Even in that respect, I am quite happy with my current pieces; the main exception is the dress category (and, specifically, my work dresses), where I feel like I need to shake things up a bit. To help me with the process, I’ve divided the current work dresses listed in my Stylebook app into two categories: core and statement. Here is a not-great snapshot of the 8 pieces in the latter category:
None of these are super old, but there are at least 2 or 3 that don’t spark joy as much as they used to (or don’t quite fit my evolving style as before). I plan to continue wearing them for the time being, but I will be keeping an eye out when I thrift for possible upgrades or replacements.
If my ramblings haven’t put you to sleep yet, I would love to hear what’s new in your sartorial lives. With spring and summer just around the corner (mother nature willing), what are your plans for your closet? Share everything in the comments.