Suggest style icon(s)? Name my style(s)?

Hi! I'd love to play too...who do you think is my style icon? I thought maybe Zooey Deschanel, who also rocks glasses with long dark hair and bangs, and has a girly, colorful, playful and whimsical style. Definitely a match for my matchy matchy Kate Spade persona. And how can you not love someone who gives their daughter the middle name Otter? But then I found this quote in an interview she did:

"But first, let's get one thing straight: As far as Zooey's concerned, "quirky" is just "a nice way of saying 'weird.'"
"It's an annoying word," she explained.
Hey, what a quirky thing to say!
...Heh. Sorry.
But while most of us probably would describe Zooey's vintage-inspired and offbeat style as...well, you know, she has some better adjectives to define her unique fashion sense."I would say girly, flirtatious, colorful," she said. "Feminine, maybe, and soft. But yeah, definitely colorful."
And when it comes to putting her outfits together, she's got quite the interesting criteria: "What if I need to run away? Just take off at any minute? I want to be able to run away and dance at all times."
Meanwhile, with her self-confessed frilly sensibilities, the 1990s-inspired trends that have hit L.A. recently aren't up Zooey's alley. "I’m not a leather-dress, bondage-pumps type of person," she said. "All those straps and zippers look horrible on me. Am I going to kill someone with that shoe? I like things that are pretty. I like dressing up.""

So what about my UWP shadow persona with the tougher, edgier style and the black, studs and leather? Do I need two style icons? Or is there someone you'd suggest that can represent both my style personas? And is there a fashion descriptor(s) for my current style? Because I don't think Demure Bombshell is sufficient anymore...

I'm including a couple of recent outfits I wore showing my two styles with two different black bags, and here's a thread with more pics of my style and shadow style:


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


S/O: Fantasy You Challenge!

I loved Una's Fantasy You thread and really loved seeing everyone's fantasy inspirations:

Now I challenge you all to translate your Fantasy You into reality and bring out your inner (UWP, badass, princess, rock star, Parisian, Hepburn, fill in the blanks). I think we all could use more touches of fantasy in our real lives!

I love playing dress up and creating different style personas for the day, so this is right up my alley! 

In my fantasy life I am a pregnant Russian spy:
Or Trinity from the Matrix, secretly working as a secretary:
Or a saloon girl:
Or any of the characters from the Picture Perfect Movie Challenge (Indiana Jones, Princess Leia, Holly Golightly, '20's flapper, Madeleine/Judy:
This is just to get you all started. I'll try to come up with a new outfit for this challenge too!

Post your inspiration photo and your fantasy-inspired outfit. No need to go out and buy costumes (unless you're shopping early for Halloween!), just get creative with what you have! Have fun!


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


Another challenge: YLF Trivia night!

Another fun challenge, suggested by Helen! If you want to participate, please PM me and send me two trivia questions. I will compile the questions and post the game next week!

1. A distinctive piece of trivia about yourself--something about yourself that you have revealed to us in the past, your style persona/rubric, or something you like to wear, or a pet's name etc. that would allow people to guess your name based on the trivia. For example, "This YLF member likes matchy matchy and wears polka dot bag and shoes together." Or, "This YLF member is a Demure Bombshell."

2. A general YLF trivia question about anything/anyone. For example, "What are the names of Angie's dogs and what breed are they?" (Make sure you tell me the answer too!)

Are you game? The more the merrier! Please send me your trivia!


Challenge game: Name those YLF'ers!

Here are the pics I received in response to my request for the YLF guessing game. There are only seven so I've decided not to provide a list of names to pick from, since that would make it too easy! Have at it--who are these mysterious YLF'ers? First one to get all correct wins!


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


More ramblings on fashion: creative expression or frivolous obsession?

I thought this was an interesting piece and posted it on Inge's links thread:

I'm struggling with trying to reconcile my appreciation of fashion with the tendency for others (and even myself sometimes when I'm feeling guilty about it) to think that having an interest in fashion is shallow and vain. Is caring about what you wear, taking pictures of yourself and posting/blogging about it a narcissistic and unhealthy obsession and a frivolous pastime, or is it a legitimate form of artistic self-expression and means of communication? I spent all these years studying "serious" topics like medicine and yet I love reading about fashion and thinking about what to wear. I spend my days trying to save lives and yet when I get home (after the kids are asleep) I stay up late watching Project Runway. I have to admit sometimes my interest in fashion seems a little odd and silly even to me! Maybe it's just a necessary left-brain right-brain balance? I can't draw or paint (my kids are better artists than I am!) or write (don't have the teen angst I had the last time I wrote a lot of poetry), I don't play music (used to take piano lessons as a child, but I don't have the natural talent my mom and brother do), I rarely cook (since the kids always prefer to be with me when I get home from work, DH has taken over the cooking duties). So fashion is really my only hobby and creative outlet.

Growing up we always thought my mom was way too dressed up all the time, always wearing makeup and heels, and yet, she never sat there taking pictures of her outfits and posting it on the Internet like I do...does that make me vain and self-absorbed? What is my daughter going to think of me when she grows up?

I just finished watching The Devil Wears Prada (thread discussion from last month here and I identified a lot with the Anne Hathaway character. I still feel like "lumpy blue sweater" Andy sometimes because I'm such a fashion newbie and have so much to learn still. And especially when her friends and family don't understand her sudden style transformation and think that her whole personality has changed. She denies it and says, "Same Andy, just better clothes". That's how I feel. I'm still the same me, just dressed a little nicer!

Also, I really hate to admit this, but sometimes I look at everyday people walking around in their baggy sweats and flip flops (especially since I was at the airport a lot this weekend) and I'm a tiny bit jealous that they don't have to worry or expend any brain cells thinking about what they're wearing. They're perfectly content to wear whatever, satisfied with what they have, not coveting the next purchase or trying to perfect their wardrobe by filling yet another hole. Maybe it would be more "zen" not to care what you wear. I don't really want to go back to my pre-YLF non-style or wear gear all the time...I just wish sometimes that I didn't stick out so much or care so much what I'm wearing!

Anyone else struggling with these same thoughts and contradictory feelings? I know I've started similar threads on this before but I'm still ruminating on this topic! I hope I don't offend anyone with my comments, I am not trying to be inflammatory or comment on anyone's motivations or personalities aside from my own. I personally don't think fashion is frivolous, otherwise why would I spend so much time on it, right? Fashion is fun and makes me why should I feel guilty about it?

I am really really happy with where my style is now, thanks to the help of Angie and all of you at YLF, and I think it's done wonders for my self-confidence! I guess I'm just feeling a little conflicted about this whole journey and how even as far as I've come, I've still got a long long way to go. Even when you think you've got your style all figured out, sometimes you can get thrown for a loop and your style will move in a whole new direction. I don't know where I'm going with this and I'm rambling way too much, so I'll stop (this post is what happens when you're up too late because you drank a Pepsi for lunch and have the next day off!), but I'd love to hear your comments and hear how you feel about fashion and your own style journey!


More style musings: what are the timeless items in your closet?

All this talk about dated clothing and wardrobe turnover and clothes not lasting more than five years has me depressed in a way. I just spent all this effort creating a fab closet and I'm scared that it's all going to turn dated in five years! Especially since I love prints and supposedly those date faster than solids. I really have to wrap my head around the idea that a wardrobe is never "done" and that I will need to keep renewing and replacing things, hopefully not at the same pace I have been but maybe at the 20% per year guideline that someone else mentioned. I also have to come to terms that my favorite pieces will not last forever and that someday I either might get tired of them or they will become dated (as I'm finding out with my 90's bias skirts!)

Which leads me to the question, what in your closet is timeless and will most likely never date?

I think as general categories, handbags, watches and jewelry tend to date much more slowly than clothes and shoes. But in terms of your clothes, here are some questions to ponder:
1) What items in your closet are more than 10 years old but you still wear regularly?
2) What are your favorite items that have survived your post-YLF purges?
3) What things do you own now that you anticipate surviving in your closet for at least another ten years?
4) Is there anything in your closet that you think will never go out of style?
5) What are the characteristics of timeless clothes?
6) Do patterns automatically date faster than solids--do you tire of your printed clothing faster?

I would say that I do have pre-YLF pieces that are over 10 years old in my closet that I still like, but most of them I am not wearing because I suspect they're dated (which leads me to think I should just go ahead and do a complete purge of them). I already posted some of my skirts recently and the consensus was they were dated. I think among clothes, coats and dresses have the most potential for remaining timeless. Shirts, pants and skirts all seem like they change what's in style rather frequently.

The couple dresses that have survived my post-YLF purges and have also passed YLF K/T's are my Banana Republic black wrap dress and my Jessica Howard jungle leaf print dress. Both are prints but the wrap style is pretty timeless (which is why DVF is so popular) and the safari look remains a perennial theme. Current items that I think will survive the test of time are my Kate Spade trench coats, Kate Spade black and white floral sheath dress, Adrianna Papell red faux wrap dress, J Crew poppy sheath dress, purple Adrianna Papell and Classiques Entier ombre stripe dress. And hopefully my signature outfit with my leather and tweed skirt (although I'm worried the pussy bow blouse will probably become dated in a few years). As for print dresses I think the turquoise Michael Kors, pink Laundry and yellow Eliza J may last longer than 10 years, but you never know with prints. The rest of my beloved printed PB blouses, printed skirts, and coat collection I hope will last a long time, but I suspect they may go out of date first before I tire of them.

So looking at what I've listed here, it seems like dresses and coats in classic silhouettes (wrap or faux wrap or sheath for dresses, trenches for coats) in solids or neutral/subdued prints have the most chance of withstanding the march of time. Which doesn't bode well for my bright-colored print-happy closet! Oh no!

Looking forward to reading your responses!


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


Haircut appointment next week--what style should I go for?

I am so bad at taking care of my hair! I haven't had a haircut since last October, and before that I hadn't had it cut for over a year (that time I had been growing it for a year and then cut it off and donated it to Locks of Love). Well, I finally made an appointment at a nice salon to get my hair cut. I found him on my local mommy board--several people named him as someone who is good with precision cuts and can cut straight hair that doesn't require a lot of styling to look nice (since most of us moms don't have much time to spend doing our hair). I never have time to blow dry or style my hair so it's just wash and brush and go. At work when I'm doing procedures I just put it in a ponytail to keep it out of the way. Otherwise it's just long.

So, what should I do? Here is my last haircut:
This time I kind of want to change things up and maybe get something a little more edgy, which might help keep me from looking too young and sweet. That time I had bangs cut, but now they've grown out. Should I keep bangs or not?

I was inspired by teeandcee's recent post:
I am thinking of copying her fab haircut (and Una too: with some sort of long inverted bob. Something like this pic below but maybe a little longer since I need to be able to put my hair back in a ponytail. (And no red streaks, obviously). Or just copy teeandcee exactly (I printed out her pics for reference)--I think that length would work much better for me. What do you think--would that edgier style clash too much with my ladylike style persona? Since it seems I only get my hair cut once or twice a year, I want to make sure it looks good!

What other ideas do you have for hair styles? I can't go really shorrt because 1)I don't think I look good in short hair 2)I think longer feminine hair looks better with my style and 3)DH really loves me in long hair and hates it when I cut it short. He equates long hair with youth and feels like short hair ages people and he loves to run his fingers through my long hair. So I can't go too short or DH will be sad.

Of course, I'll see what the hairdresser recommends when I meet him, but I want to have some possibilities in mind already. I'm really excited about the possibility of taking my style in a new direction! Thanks for your suggestions!


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


What's on your fashion bucket list?

I thought this would be another fun daydreaming topic. What's on your fashion bucket list? As in, must-have classic items that you would like to own someday before you die? (although they don't have to be designer or expensive items, of course!).

I don't know if I will ever own any of these (probably NOT since they're so expensive!). I'm not normally a status conscious label seeker/logo sporter, but in my mind these are classic style icons and I love good design.

Here's my fantasy wish list (is it any surprise that most of these items are RED, my favorite color?):
1. Burberry trench coat (especially the one that Kate Middleton wore, with the ruffled hem--I found out there was a NY & Co knockoff but too late--that one was sold out as well)
2. Burberry scarf
3. Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress
4. Christian Louboutin heels (I'm not sure about this, I just love the red soles, but not in love with the heel height or his attitude!)
5. Chanel handbag
6. Chanel tweed jacket
7. Hermes Birkin bag (OK I would never buy one IRL, but it's fun to put it on the list!)
8. Red Valentino petal bag (like Angie's!)
9. This Zac Posen red evening gown (or another evening gown by Vera Wang)
10. Mikimoto pearl necklace (or other real pearl necklace)

If I never get any of these, I won't feel deprived. I'm perfectly happy with my Kate Spade and Anthro trenches, Fossil, Kate Spade and Marc Jacob handbags, Banana Republic wrap dress, Chie Mihara heels, Sue Wong and Suzi Chin red evening dresses, and fake pearls! It's fun to dream though!

What's on your list?


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


More style musings--I figured out why I love style labels!

With all the discussion on what constitutes bombshell style and whether my style is really bombshell or not, some of you expressed concern that I was getting "hung up" on labels and that I shouldn't try so hard to put a name descriptor to my style. Well, I respectfully disagree! I love style labels and naming style personas. It is so much fun for me. I always read Angie's style persona posts and any forum post having to do with someone trying to define their style. I find it fascinating! And several of you made excellent points which have given me a lot of insight as to why I love it so much.

First of all, I think I'm a left-brainer and analytical by nature. I love to categorize things and figure out what makes things work. Also I think I'm a little more verbal than visual in my learning style, so style descriptors really help me hone in on what I love about an outfit. If you're right brained you may not need labels and just do it intuitively but for me it helps to spell things out.

Then Meridith1953 astutely said that labels are "doctor's shorthand", which made me realize that yes of course, doctors like to name things! We like a diagnosis...we don't like to leave things vague and open-ended and undefined. Doctors see a collection of symptoms and want to put a label on it to figure out what it is. And conversely if someone has a specific diagnosis we know the thirteen findings that go along with that syndrome. So now I realize that the same applies to how I approach fashion. If I see an outfit I like I want to know what is that style and what are the key elements in that style. Then I can analyze what aspects I would want to try or incorporate into my own style. And style names help me keep everyone's else's style straight. Like if MaryK says "business bombshell", I instantly know what she's talking about and can picture what type of outfits she would be wearing.

Also, Zapotee very insightfully pointed out that the personality of the wearer infuses the outfit with its style and that the same outfit can give off a whole different vibe when two different people wear it. Therefore if I understand someone's style, I can see what makes an outfit work for them and how it would look differently on me.

Also, I love juxtaposition, which is why I gravitate toward style oxymorons like demure bombshell or urban warrior bombshell. I think it's so much more interesting when outfits mix up different styles and bring opposing forces into harmony. Tough and ladylike. Yin and yang and all that. I love the creative tension!

Finally, I don't feel like naming your style persona is limiting at all. I don't feel boxed in by it, I feel like it's very freeing. It's like a home base from which you can explore multiple style personalities. I love playing dress up and exploring new styles and mixing different styles together. And Una had a great observation that no matter what style I try, it always remains feminine and ladylike. So whatever I'm wearing, I'm still remaining true to my style. My own, unique creative Natalie style!

Thanks for letting me ramble! Can you tell I'm having fun with this?


Ask Angie: What are the key elements of Bombshell style?

Sorry for the style persona identity crisis--I thought I had figured it out and that I was a Demure Bombshell but maybe I am not using the term bombshell correctly because many of you don't think my style is really bombshell? What are the key elements of Bombshell style--not necessarily looking like a bombshell (because I know I don't have a bombshell figure), but the bombshell style of dressing? I had based this on when I read the Lucky Guide to Mastering any Style and resonated with the bombshell section (like form fitting blouses tucked into high waisted pencil skirts, waist definition, etc), but I had checked it out of the library, so I don't have it available to re-read the components. How would you describe my style if I am not really bombshell? Am I really a Modern Classic? That term just doesn't feel like "me" to me and it doesn't inspire me to create outfits like DB does.

I would love to know what you think constitutes Bombshell style because I am thoroughly confused. Thanks so much! :)