learning with lacey

I think I’m making progress. I’ve been analyzing other gals’ styles to try to figure out why certain outfits look good. Photos from these three helped me. Blog posts, magazine articles, Polyvore, and co-workers helped me. I’m secretly spying on everyone, wondering how to boil down the concept of proportion into something practical. I’m no Coco Chanel, but I’ve gone from this…

pink lace skirt, lavender rosette top, brown belt & boots, tan cardigan

…to this…

pink lace skirt, blue & white striped top, cardigan, sandals

…and this.

lace skirt and knotted chambray shirt with flats

Neither of these looks is an extreme makeover; I get that.  But I think subtle changes often make a dramatic difference because I can stick to them.

Right now I’m getting to know my proportions.  That process is  helping me discover what works–sometimes through trial and error, I admit.  What I’ve learned from Lacey (the skirt, in case you were confused) is not to fear my “natural waist.”  It feels funny to me to let the bottom half of my clothes cross over onto what I think of as the top half of my body.waist and natural waist

But the whole “halves” concept was part of my problem.  I was breaking my outfits into two chunks a lot of the time.  (See the first photo where the thick belt across my hips draws a heavy line between torso and legs.)

This new insight into my proportions sent me to my closet yet again.  This time I removed everything that, if I’m honest, I have to admit isn’t flattering.  (Then, because I’m a real human and not an honest-to-goodness fashion plate, I put back one pair of sweatpants, one hoodie, and a free T-shirt from the library.  There are those days….)

I’ll save the closet purge for another post.  For now I’d like to know how you direct your own fashion evolution.  Does seeing yourself in photos help you recognize what works?  Do you feel inspired to remix your clothing when you flip through catalogs?  Have you crafted a signature look?  Do tell….

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wishy washy weather

Classic late spring: sometimes it’s crisp; sometimes it’s smoldering.  It’s anyone’s guess what’s coming tomorrow–even if you’ve checked the forecast.  I’ve caught those meteorologists at their game: sometimes Sunday night’s reading calls for “70 degrees and sunny” on Monday, while by Monday morning it’s “64 degrees and partly cloudy.”  I’m onto you, Weatherman-Who-Sneaks-In-Changes-While-I-Sleep.  So onto you.

Thanks to this anything-goes “prediction” method I’ve learned to dress for dicey weather.  One of my favorites this spring is adding mileage to a dress by turning it into a skirt.

blue 3/4-sleeve top over knee length blue flowered dress

People were convinced.  All day at work they remarked over my “cute skirt.”  It was comfy too!  I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have waistband-comfort issues with bottoms that aren’t jeans.  This lower layer secretly went all the way to my shoulders, so no worries there.

I think this discovery will change how I buy dresses.  Most of mine have bodice texture–pleats, embroidery, buttons, etc.–that would look bumpy under a shirt, so super-simple dresses are going to get more attention from here on.  Have you ever layered a shirt over a dress and pretended the dress was a skirt?  How did it go for you?