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.

soft summer palette
soft summer palette

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:

stylebook app snapshot
stylebook app snapshot

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.

10 Comments on State of the Wardrobe: Spring 2017

  1. It’s funny, I tend to think it’s in the department of statement dresses that our styles are the most different, and I think that’s probably the case (except for accessories, maybe). That said, I own and regularly wear a Bel-Air silk dress with this exact fairly loud print: http://www.videdressing.com/robes-mi-longues/bel-air/p-5863395.html

    It’s a different dress (short and sleeveless with a belt, I’ve been wearing it over a black sweater and black tights and now it’s too warm for those so it’s been put away until summer), but same loud print, which isn’t a million miles away from some of your more boho dresses. So now I’m confused.

    It’s kind of hard to predict how style is going to evolve though, I just basically stumbled on a uniform recently (carrot pants, well-cut T-shirt, open shirt, blazer and flat shoes) and, well, I don’t want to wear anything else. I like this because I can make it quite sober and neutral or have fun mixing prints. It’s like being restrictive and minimal in one respect gives more flexibility in other respects. Also, with my build it’s hard to find trousers that fit properly, and carrot pants basically fit like a glove. Problem: the rest of my wardrobe is starting to spark “meh” rather than joy, and I don’t really have the storage space to just have that particular capsule to hand and put the rest away. Also I kind of need to go shopping cause my one pair of black carrot pants is going to stand up by itself and leave if I keep wearing it so much.

    Overthinking style is so much fun, also!

  2. I decided that if I lost the baby weight, I was going to reward myself with a new wardrobe. Prior to having a baby, I wore jeans and a tshirt or sweater every day (working in STEM has some advantages). As I worked to lose the weight, I did a ton of research on what I wanted in my new wardrobe. I started with pictures of jeans and tshirts, but somewhere along the way I decided that I preferred skirts and blouses instead. I still don’t know what to call my style.

    I am now at my goal weight, with a wardrobe of new clothes and accessories. I feel like it is close to being what I want in a wardrobe, but something is just not right. From the beginning I knew I did not want a lot of clothing, so I try to be very judicial in my purchases. I think one of my issues may be that I like statement tops, so that I have very few neutral, core tops. I did follow the color cohesion principles, so my statement tops coordinate with multiple bottoms, but I’m not able to layer them or change out accessories, so I feel limited.

  3. When I truly look at my closet, I notice I am lacking pattern. I am currently trying to fix this by buying more patterned tops so that I can mix and match more. Which is one of the reasons why I enjoy reading your blog; your natural ability to pull things together. I’ve compensated thus far by using accessories such as statement necklaces and scarves. However, as I mature, I find myself asking when I’m surveying and picking items from my closet….is this even age appropriate anymore? I like keeping up with current styles in a classic way. I just don’t think we have to dress frumpy as we approach middle age. So my struggle is (I’m petite) can I wear this and not look like I’m trying to be younger. However, for the most part, I’m content with what I have and do add more pieces from to time so I don’t get bored with my outfits.

  4. I am a fairly new reader. I am almost five years into the color analysis world. I am too a self-diagnosed soft summer. With my spring update, I realized all the black is gone from my wardrobe. It took years, but now I am all charcoal and taupe. I am loving the archetype sites. This is new for me

  5. Soft summer looks good to me, I only have two or three black items anyway but lots of navy and I love the pastel greens, pinks and blues.

    The last 6 (?) months or so, maybe longer I’ve been trying to dial back on the amount of colours, patterns, embellishments I’ve been buying and instead focus on more neutral, plain items to bring everything else together. I’ve never been a fan of plain stuff but they really are the core wardrobe items that you (I) need and white items in particular need replacing after so many years.

  6. About the Soft Summer palette, since you can wear colors like mustard, chartreuse and tomato red without looking ill, I think your natural coloring are warmer and deeper. That would explain why black isn’t really bad on you.

    Have you heard of the 16 seasons system? I think the Soft autumn deep/Toned Autumn is fitting with your current color palette. If you do get your color analysed, it might be better to find someone working with the 16 season system like Jade Thoden from (outfitideas4you.com) or the 22, like Lora Alexander (Pretty your World) who started it or Heather Fieldman (naturalcolormosaic.com).

    To see the Toned Automn Palette :
    http://outfitideas4you.com/toned-autumn-color-palette-soft-autumn/

    Hoping you’ll find your best colors all packaged in one palette!

    • There is an analysis trained in the 12 seasons in my city, so I am probably going to try to work with her. She’s already (informally) kinda nixed my Soft Summer hopes, but I am not giving up yet, haha!

      The thing about autumn is that I hate brown, and I think it makes me look terrible. Warm colours generally don’t attract me. I just can’t imagine that being my season, but we’ll see.

      Thank you so much, by the way, for sharing your experience and those links. I love reading about the different systems, so i’ll be bookmarking those.

      • You’re welcome!

        Of course, if you have a trained analyst in town go to her. It’s always good to have the insight of someone who knows the trade.

        If you don’t like her conclusion though, there’s 4 different kind of Soft Summer in the 22 season system and one of them, Tosted Soft Summer, is warmer and deeper than the 12 season system Soft Summer. I didn’t find any preview of the palette online, but the Pinterest of Heather Fieldman give hint.

        https://www.pinterest.com/pin/298293175305166437/

        That’s one pin, but she has other boards related to that season. You can buy the palette if you think it’s what your looking for. Through her or Lara at Pretty your World.

  7. TL;DR is my jam 😉 I like the balance of thoughts to photos. I’ve realized that, for me, the text is what is missing from fashion magazines.

    Interesting thoughts on the style shift. The style identity is an interesting idea (me: natural-classic who tries to channel some gamine).

    Merci!

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