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!

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • ramya replied 7 years ago


    Wohooo congrats on being a veteran...
    Don't you worry Nat you are fab... these temporary health concerns are daunting but knowing you you will overcome it... you have it...
    You are fab you know what clicks for you :)

    You will rock it :)

  • Ruby Tuesday replied 7 years ago

    Natalie, it has been wonderful to see your style unfold over the last year but I have enjoyed getting to know you even more. Congratulations on becoming a veteran.

    With regards to the weight gain, is there a possibility of letting out seams on some of your clothing? May your health problems be short lived.

  • KathyL replied 7 years ago

    Congratulations on becoming a veteran! This was a great post about your style journey. You have done a great job revamping your closet and honing in on your style persona. I am sorry to hear about your health issues. I hope you feel better soon. Even if you dont feel well, i hope you know that You look fab in all these recent WIWs!

  • Deborah replied 7 years ago

    Natalie congratulations! You are a gorgeous girl and it has been such a treat to be able to share your style journey. Sorry to hear of your health challenges but know that you look fab no matter what.

  • replied 7 years ago

    Congratulations, Natalie!! I TOLD YOU in my PM yesterday you had some fab looks: now you've given us yet more evidence to back up what I said!! So STOP being so hard on yourself. You are a very worthy YLF veteran!! Hugs, Anne-Marie, x :-)

  • Queen Mum replied 7 years ago

    You've come a long way baby! I remember when we convinced you to keep that polka dot dress.. I hope you wore it lots!
    Sorry to hear about your health issues. I hope you get them worked through and are back to your energetic self soon!

  • Jamie replied 7 years ago

    Natalie -- many congratulations to you! I have not been a YLF member for all that long, but I recognized immediately when I joined that I wanted to follow your posts closely because I, too, was going through a style renewal. I admire your focus, tenacity, and energy! And of course, I love your fab wardrobe!

  • Zapotee replied 7 years ago

    Wow, you are such a quick study.
    Congratulations on becoming a veteran and thank you for contributing so much. I have enjoyed your style evolution. I hope your health issues stabilize. We don't need to tell you that you have great style, 'cause you know it baby! LOL.
    Hopefully we get to meet soon.

  • Sylvie replied 7 years ago

    Congratulations on your veteran status! It's been fun following along with your dressing threads and I've always enjoyed your fun, thoughtful "question threads". I hope your health problem settles down soon and allows you to enjoy your wonderful closet.

  • Diana replied 7 years ago

    Congrats on becoming a veteran, Natalie! Your style has really developed so quickly in the past year, and I'm sure you'll be able to handle any future fashion challenges with style!

  • ruthe replied 7 years ago

    Natalie, I'm sending many warm, gentle hugs to such a lovely, warm and gentle young lady. xoxo, Ruthe

  • Gaylene replied 7 years ago

    Congratulations, Natalie. You look absolutely lovely in the pictures. Ever since I've seen you on the forum, you've shown an innate style sense that has just been honed more and more as the year progressed. But, really, your best fashion accessory has always been your lovely smile. With that smile, you could throw on a plastic bag, belt it, and you'd look fab! :)

  • Angie replied 7 years ago

    Congrats, Natalie!

    It has been a pleasure seeing you blossom on your style journey. Love to see you having fun. Thanks for the kind words too:)

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Natalie, congratulations! You are the fastest learner in the class, and one of the classiest dressers, too! What a year of learning and growth. You look so wonderful in your new outfits.

    I am so sorry to hear of the health concerns and I hope you can get to the bottom of them soon so you will be feeling as fab as ever. In the meantime, I think you will dress beautifully and that will help your mood.

  • Isis replied 7 years ago

    Natalie--happy veteran's day! It's been a blast to see your style unfold! Hope you get to the root of your health problems soon. In the meantime, I echo what Suz said: dressing beautifully will help your mood! And last week is an amazing example of your style prowess!

  • Transcona Shannon replied 7 years ago

    Congrats on becoming a veteran Natalie! You have been such an inspiration on this forum and have charged full speed ahead into developing your signature style.

    I for one completely relate to the health problem weight gain and hope you find some relief soon.

  • Debbie replied 7 years ago

    You have come a long way and I have enjoyed watching you style journey. Can't wait to see where it takes you next.

  • rae replied 7 years ago

    Congrats, Natalie! I have enjoyed every minute of your time here, and I loved your retrospective. From the pictures you chose, I can totally see how you carried your personal style through and simply updated and focused it to suit.

    I think you mentioned your condition at the last swap party, and your strategy seems perfect. Enjoy your favorite stretchy garments and don't worry about a whole new wardrobe of larger 10s. As you said, it is temporary. Maybe you can finally have that Bay Area swap party, too!

  • harmonica replied 7 years ago

    Congrats, Natalie! You are such an inspiration and I love your posts. You have come a loooong way, so hold on to the good stuff and keep having fun. Your first part about getting kids, new body shape, shopping for the kids and being in a ignorante fashion/style disaster haze is so similar to my story. Looking forward to your coming style steps :-)

  • fern replied 7 years ago

    Congratulations on your Veteran status!
    I admire your enthusiasm and I love your great style retrospective here.
    I hope you are feeling better soon.

  • Jem replied 7 years ago

    Congratulations Natalie! You have been a good student. I always love to read your posts. Sorry about your health issues!

  • MsMary replied 7 years ago

    Happy Veteran's Day, Natalie! It was a happy, happy day when you found our little group!! I'm so pleased to have gotten to spend time with you in person, and look forward to more chances to do the same in the future! xxx ooo

  • Amy replied 7 years ago

    Congrats, Natalie! Your journey is inspiring!

    I'm sorry to hear about your health issues. I hope you're getting lots of TLC.

  • Parsley replied 7 years ago

    Congratulations, Natalie!
    You have shown tremendous determination in finding your style, and I have to say, you've nailed it- you're always an inspiration!
    I always love seeing your posts, the WIWs, the K/Rs, and musings on style. I appreciate that you show both the good and the bad on your K/Rs so that we can all learn from them.

    I hope you won't feel too discouraged over temporary body issues- you are always just as fab as can be!

  • cciele replied 7 years ago

    Congrats Natalie! How lucky we are to follow you in your style journey, transforming in front of our eyes. I love your style and can't wait to see how it evolves. Sorry to hear about your medical issue... hope it works out soon.

    We need to get a bay area swap going! :)

  • anne replied 7 years ago

    Natalie, it has been a wonderful year with you on the forum. In particular, I appreciated the interesting questions you have asked that have really promoted discussion.

  • goldenpig replied 7 years ago

    Thank you so much everyone! Your support feels like a giant hug! Don't worry, my medical condition is only temporary and not life-threatening or anything, it just causes a lot of pesky hormonal side effects. I just have to be patient and let it run its course, it will all be worth it in the end and hopefully I'll be back to my old self soon! It's definitely keeping me on my fashion toes!

    Thanks, Ramya, Kathy, Deborah, Ann-Marie, Lina, Diana, Debbie, Fern, Jem, and Amy for the boost!

    Julie, I'm hoping to fit back into all my clothes someday, but that's a great idea about altering if it becomes a permanent weight gain.

    Kim, I'm so glad you guys convinced me to keep the polka dot dress! So far I've worn it out to work, to date night at the opera, and even to a kiddie birthday party (with DD in a matching white dress with black polka dots!). Hoping to wear it more!

    Jamie, that's so sweet of you to say! I'm looking forward to seeing your style renewal as well!

    Ruthe, lots of hugs right back!

    Gaylene, you're so sweet! Yes, the plastic bag would definitely have to be belted, to maintain my fitted demure bombshell persona! LOL!

    Angie, XOXO to my fashion fairy godmother!

    Suz and Isis, I agree, it is remarkable how dressing well and feeling like an outfit is "you" really elevates your mood.

    Shannon, sorry that you are dealing with a similar health issue and I hope things get better for you soon!

    Harmonica, high five to a fellow MOTG! Your term "ignorante fashion/style disaster haze" is hilarious but oh so accurate. I don't think I could have done this any earlier than I did, because I was still in that post-baby with toddler sleep-deprived fog. Survival mode trumps fashion mode for sure!

    Rae and Cathy, I really hope we can get a NorCal swap party going! I definitely could use some more stretchy clothes!

    Marcy, thanks, although I don't know if I intentionally post bad K/R's, sometimes I just can't tell...I guess that's the point of posting them, LOL! At least hopefully the scales are tipping more in the good direction now. I'm still learning a lot from my own and other's K/R's. And I love it when people post style musings...some of my favorite topics!

    MaryK, my first IRL YLF dress-up friend! So glad to have found you and all the other fab sisters!

    Thanks Sylvie and Anne, I do love all the thought-provoking threads that everyone posts around here!

  • Zapotee replied 7 years ago

    Good to hear that your condition is temporary.

  • April replied 7 years ago

    GP -- I just learned that your name is Natalie! It's funny how thrilling it is to see "Veteran" beneath your name, isn't it?

    The features where members appreciate posts, the "Veteran" and "Active Member" designations, the ability to post photos directly in messages rather than linking to a site like Photobucket, even the ability to see our Profile photos in thumbnail before opening the thread -- all of these are features that didn't exist when I first got here, and they have all enriched the YLF experience.

    The greatest thing about being here, however, is being able to see journeys like yours take place. Congratulations on your new status, and please continue to let us see your evolution!

  • harmonica replied 7 years ago

    you crack me up: "Survival mode trumps fashion mode" . I need to remember this :-)

  • DonnaF replied 7 years ago

    Natalie; I'm sorry about your health and associated bloating issues, so an extra thank you for taking the time to post your Before and After pics. I get intimidated by your fab styling and tend to forget you didn't just hatch fully formed. Your Befores weren't bad at all, just ordinary and what at least I see all around me. The Afters, on the other hand, are YOWZA! I love the vibrancy.

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