I feel it would be wrong to jump into 2012’s resolutions without at least giving a nod to one of my unofficial resolutions, a slow tide of change, a gentle makeover of sorts:
I resolved to be a little more stylish. And by “more stylish,” I really mean less frumpy. An attempt to look my age, in the best way possible.
I think it was in late 2010 that I realized that my closet wasn’t quite keeping up with the changes in my life. I was no longer a graduate student, no longer a Midwesterner (at least by residence—in my heart, I will always be a Michigan girl. If you doubt me, I will hold up my right palm, point to the area below my thumb, and tell you that I’m from there, and by “there,” I mean Detroit. Surely you know that your hand makes a perfectly fine map of lower Michigan?), and feeling seriously out of place in steamy Texas. I’ve never been a very trendy person, and that’s fine with me, but my closet and I needed some help to adjust to our new location.
I decided that I could afford to spend some time and money upgrading my wardrobe. I wanted to look professional and a little stylish; I wanted to feel comfortable in everything I wore. I took my time with this little makeover—there was no rush to the mall, no spending of hundreds of dollars at one time. And I’m really happy with how my closet and I are doing now. We didn’t need an all-new wardrobe; we just needed some new pieces (and a good excuse to get rid of the old stuff!). I thought I’d share with you a few of the pieces that have gotten the most mileage since I resolved to be more stylish. I always enjoy reading other people’s shopping lists and wardrobe essentials!
In no particular order…
Scarves! I bought two patterned scarves at Target and wear them all the time. They’re nice for adding a pretty detail to an otherwise basic outfit. They also work well in the warm weather of Texas; I wore lightweight scarves all summer long and rarely felt overheated by the scarf.
And speaking of scarves, I especially like them with my favorite Five Bamboo dress.
I bought two summery dresses from Five Bamboo (you can see my sister wearing the other dress that we both own here—isn’t she cute?) and wore them constantly. Now that it’s cooler outside, I wear them with shirts layered underneath and tights. I worry that the layering looks a bit frumpy or schoolmarmy, but remember, my resolution was to be “more stylish,” not “actually stylish.” So if a little frump falls my way, that’s okay.
Inspired by Tania’s awesome collection of flats, I improved my cool-weather footwear with a pair of black flats. They’re pretty simple, but I love them. And they transition well from hot summer weather (worn with those little shoe liners if necessary) to cold weather (worn with socks or tights).
A blazer! It’s a blazer with a wonderful secret: it’s made of sweatshirt material, so it’s supersoft and comfortable, but it looks classy and grown-up. My mom bought me this little jacket when I was home in September, and once the heat faded, I started wearing it as my “coat.” So many days in Texas are just too warm for heavy winter gear, but they do call for a lighter jacket. I like this one a lot (it’s from JCPenney, in case you were curious).
There are some trends that I just can’t seem to wear, like skinny jeans, which always bunch at my knees, so I’ve taken a deliberate pass on some styles. Likewise, I feel swallowed up by maxi skirts because I’m so short (5’1”) and I have a short torso, so I don’t much on top to balance a long skirt. Plus maxi skirts are too long for bike riding! I’m planning on giving my long skirts away because I just don’t wear them. I’ve been experimenting with belting in different ways, but belting at my natural waist threatens to make my torso look even shorter, so sometimes I belt and sometimes I don’t.
I do have a few items on my wish list still: a shirtdress (adorable and can be worn in a million ways), a black dress with sleeves, some tights in fun and unusual colors. Overall, I’m really happy with my mini-wardrobe makeover and will use it as an excuse to clear the closet of stuff that I don’t wear any more. New clothing in, old clothing out: the cycle continues, as it should.