On becoming a YLF veteran!

Yay, now it's finally my turn for a Veteran post! I can't believe it's been a whole year since I joined YLF. I first came to this site after someone on my mommy board linked to a list of Angie's NAS picks. I was in much need of a wardrobe revamp after having two kids and not having bought any (non-maternity) clothes for over 5 years. In fact I was still wearing my maternity tops because I felt like they were the most stylish clothes in my closet even though my youngest was 1.5 years old. I didn't know how to dress for my new post-babies apple body shape (my old tops became too short and too tight) and most of my clothes were 10-15 years old and quite dated! I had focused all my shopping energy on the kids' clothes, but now it was finally my turn! I had avoided shopping for so long because I was scared of making mistakes, but with Angie's NAS list and you all holding my hand I took the plunge!

Well, as you know I threw myself into this fashion hobby completely full throttle and completely overhauled my closet in a few short months. I soaked up everything I could learn from Angie and all of you wise gals, and not only purged, organized and replaced almost my entire closet, but in the process discovered my style persona (Ladylike and Demure Bombshell, with touches of Retro, Romantic Whimsy, Boho Luxe and UWP), my color palette (Deep Autumn) and my style rubric (Color or Contrast, Matchy Matchy, Patterned, Fitted and Flair), and learned how to accept and dress my Adorable Apple shape. (Plus, thanks to Greg, I even have my own "fashion blog": http://goldenpig.lookfab.com/).

Here is a link to one of my first few threads where I posted my Before and After YLF pics, you can see there is quite a difference!

And here are some of my earliest WIW and K/R's. In 1-4, I'm wearing my favorite Ann Taylor and Banana Republic bias cut floral printed skirts from the 90's along with the mock neck tops, plus a lot of brown and camel that doesn't really flatter my skin. In #4-5 are a few of my first NAS purchases like the too-big riding boots (didn't know about calf fit yet) and beige crew neck sweater (wrong color and neckline for me) that I ended up returning after getting valuable feedback on. And I've got on my dumpy too-short mom jeans that were bought even before I was a mom in #5--that was before I tried on over 50 pairs of jeans at Gap to find the right styles for me (Long and Leans and Always Skinny). But I learned quickly--the blouse and skirt in the K/R in #6 was also bought at that first NAS (I still love that outfit so much it's my signature outfit and is still my profile pic even a year later!), I switched the too big boots in #4 for the fitted boots in #3, and the K/R in #7 with the polka dot dress and trench coat was the beginning of my love affair with sale Kate Spade.

In contrast, here are my WIW's for all of the last week (8-15). Wow, I really have come a long way! I've got my summer formula (tunic, white jeans and nude wedge sandals), my favorite White House Black Market ink blue jacket and yellow Halogen pencil skirt, Anthro flowery flared midi skirt and my favorite Fossil satchel, Michael Michael Kors agate dress over leggings with fun Kate Spade orange slice purse, orange J Crew Mad Men style sheath dress and turquoise Kate Spade pumps with $13 Aldo peacock clutch, Missoni for Target blouse with magenta and orange colorblock purse, retro cherry print dress (for my daughter's 5th birthday!) and my wine colored AG snakeskin skinny jeans and black wool plaid moto jacket. I didn't really plan it this way, but it really is a very representative slice of my current style...I feel like there are a lot of disparate influences (you can see echoes of many different YLF'ers here) and looks (from casual to super dressy, sweet to slightly edgy) but they all feel very "me"!

I really could not have done this without the inspiration and kind and extremely generous help of Angie and all of you YLF sisters. I think I would probably still be wearing my 90's printed bias skirts if it weren't for your gentle encouragement to update my look! And I've had so much fun meeting some of you at the YLF swap in Orange County. I can't wait to meet more of you--I feel like I already know you so well and consider you all my friends!

Unfortunately, even with all this work (both time and money) that I've invested in revamping my wardrobe and plugging all my wardrobe holes, I have come to the realization that I am never going to be completely "done". I've slowed way down with my buying/spending (much to DH's relief!) and I'm trying to "hug my closet" as much as I possibly can, but I'm still going to be facing some style challenges this coming year. I have a medical condition that is causing my weight to creep up and frustratingly some of my clothes are starting to get a bit tight even though I've only gained a few pounds...I don't know how much longer I can still wear them. And I just don't have the energy or motivation to put into those huge quests for the absolute perfect "10" items anymore...thinking about having to do more shopping for a larger size makes me feel a little sick to my stomach to be honest. I only ended up keeping one loungewear outfit (yoga pants and jacket) from NAS this year. And I know I haven't been as ultra picky with my latest few K/R's because I just wanted something that would still be wearable with my weight fluctuations.

At first I was really discouraged about potentially losing half my closet or more, but I'm typically an optimistic person and so I've decided to try to stay upbeat! Hopefully it will just be a temporary phase and I'll be back to my old self soon. (There's nothing I can do about it--dieting won't help so please don't suggest it!). In the meantime I'm all about waist surrender and tunic tops and stretchy clothes--lots of comfort for my more bloated days!

So even though I feel like I've finally hit my fashion stride, you may still see my style moving in a new direction this year. At least it keeps things interesting and forces me to be creative! And as far as I've come, I still have lots and lots to learn about fashion and style! Thanks for putting up with my endless WIW's and K/R's and introspective posts and questions. Looking forward to continually growing, with all of your help, this coming year!


Go to the full post to see all of the pictures →