Outfits get stagnant while style evolves. That’s why this year when I pulled out my watery blue-green silk print dress I knew the old way I wore it wasn’t going to work this year. I needed an update!
I remember how I wore this dress last year. I paired it with a gray swing cardigan and grayish wide leg linen pants. I added a glitzy necklace and thin bangles that climbed up one arm. I wore an Alexis Bittar cuff on the other arm. I carried my Calleen Cordero mushroom gray leather handbag. I remember being quite pleased with the outfit. I tracked down a photo to double check my memory.
When I look at that photo this year, it looks dreary to me. Nice. Not bad. But not quite the 2017 version of me. It needed a styling do-over.
Aging has made me younger
I can’t explain it; I feel more youthful this year than last. I feel lighter, brighter. It could be circumstantial. I’m further away from the double loss I experienced when my brother and mother passed away. I don’t feel as heavy. In fact, the scale reflects a lighter version of me as well. I’m friendlier. My daughter Erin says I’ve always talked to strangers, but I don’t believe her. In one week’s time I’ve met three incredible women, strangers, and even though they don’t live near me, we’re excited about getting together when I visit their cities.
Styling my dress to be more current
Last year when I wore this dress I was self-conscious about the exposed neckline near my left breast. I got a lasting skin reaction after radiation treatment for breast cancer back in 2004. The radiation treatments left a pattern of redness on my chest about the size of my hand. If I could blow up the picture below you’d see it around the neckline of the dress. The glitzy necklace is supposed to keep your eye focused further up.
This year I didn’t want to worry about that. So I got the idea to wear a very thin white T-shirt under the dress. This made it more casual so I kept going. I put on my Chico’s So-Slimming white jean and rolled the hem into a narrow double cuff.
I added my perforated Caslon slip on sneakers from Nordstrom ($89). I love the layered flower petals with tiny pearls at the center of each one. I’m happy to wear them for comfort sake and delighted whenever I look down at my feet. “Too cute for words,” Mother would say. They were perfect for a busy day on my feet: a client appointment to make outfits in her closet and then off to do a shopping trip with a second client. I also brought my Eileen Fisher linen soft black jean jacket for an extra layer, which I needed for half of the day.
I felt zippy and young. My outfit felt fresh and approachable. It’s easy to be friendly when your outfit starts conversations for you! I love this new way of wearing this yummy dress.
Practicing what I preach; outfits expire
I have a way of recording outfits for my clients using my Wardrobe Charts. Maybe you’ve used them too. You can learn about them here and download the charts I use. When I make outfits for my clients I document every single detail so they can create it again without even thinking. I keep these wardrobe charts in a binder to manage all their outfits.
At the top right of each individual chart (one chart can record five different outfits using the same bottom) I always write the date I made the outfit. I guarantee it for two years but after that I tell my clients, “By the time two years goes by you’ll have new shoes and accessories that I’ll want to use to update it. Fashion will have changed and I’ll have new styling ideas. Plus your style may have changed by then.”
If there’s a wardrobe chart in their binder that is 2014 or earlier, it gets tossed. In my case, I needed to refresh the way I wear this dress in one year’s time. Although I’m wearing the same handbag as last year, my necklace by my friends the Sol Sisters is new within the last 6 or 8 months. The shoes are new. The cuff is several years old. Jeans are maybe two years old. The tee shirt I’ve had for years and years.
So with a couple of newer purchases and a more buoyant heart, I’ve got an outfit that feels brand new.
Have you started styling your summer things in new ways? Tell me all about it!