Two years at YLF: my style (r)evolution

Time flies when you're having fun! It's been two years now since I joined YLF, and I thought it would be fun to share my YLF story and show you my style evolution (or revolution, given how rapid and radical a change I went through!).

I joined YLF in Aug 2011, after I realized I should stop wearing fleece jackets and maternity clothes all the time, especially since my youngest was already 1.5! The rest of my wardrobe was mostly from the 90's, with a lot of mock neck tops, cardigan twinsets, and bias cut printed skirts (3-4). Other than maternity clothes, I had not bought any clothes in the last five years and very little in the last decade. I found YLF from an online mommy board--someone posted a link to Angie's NAS picks. I found the forum here and was instantly hooked!

No lurking here--I joined Team Dive and plunged right in! I went on a major wardrobe overhaul and bought a bunch of stuff at NAS and Anthro & elsewhere. Angie and all of you were so patient and helpful with all my many questions and endless K/R's. I learned my body type (apple) and how to flatter it. I learned about fit and obsessively tried on everything until I found the perfect version...I tried on at least 50 pairs of jeans to find the right size and fit. I was a serial orderer and returner. I was definitely picky and persistent (although not very patient!) I posted my before and after YLF pics. I traded in my red fleece jacket, mom jeans and Merrell mocs (1) for red corset trench, hot mama jeans and leopard heels (6). And instead of wearing a maternity top and jeans like I previously did for our anniversary dinner date (2), I upgraded to a Kate Spade polka dot dress and black trench coat for the symphony (7). I wore belts for the first time and learned that I liked fitted waists (8-9). And with Mrseccentric's and all of your help analyzing my new signature outfit from NAS (10), I developed a style persona--Demure Bombshell. I even developed a shadow persona with UWP/rocker chick looks (11, 12). But my primary style is still very polished and ladylike, with lots of fun prints (13-15). I developed a style rubric: Color or Contrast, Matchy Matchy, Patterned, Fitted and Flair. I purged my closet and honed my style while being inspired by all of your styles as well (I love doing copycat and twin days!) By the end of my first year here when I became a Veteran in Aug 2012, I felt confident in my style and with the state of my wardrobe. 

But just when I was feeling like I had finally reached Closet Nirvana and had a handle on dressing, then came a huge monkey wrench--I became pregnant with #3! I was really happy, but totally freaked out about losing my whole new wardrobe that I had just spent the last year cultivating. Plus I was trying to hide my growing tummy for the first trimester. Fortunately, what I had learned from dressing as an apple really helped me during pregnancy. Structure and waist definition (16, 17) really helped camouflage the growing bump. Pics 17 and 18 were actually taken on the same day at 11 weeks! I was still into matchy matchy (16) and bright colors (19-20).

I really enjoyed showcasing the bump during 2nd and 3rd trimesters (21-25). I was really lucky I could use so much of my non-maternity wardrobe by wearing the stretchier dresses and skirts and embracing a more body-con fit. I bought very few maternity pieces--mainly a few pairs of maternity jeans and a couple of maternity tops. Most of my purchases, like the peacock tunic, were non-maternity pieces I planned to continue wearing afterward. Postpartum dressing was another upheaval, and more adjustment as I started losing weight and dressing to camouflage the tummy again.

Now at 5 months out, I'm within 5 lbs of my pre-pregnancy weight and can pretty much fit into everything again. But even though I'm back into my old clothes, I'm finding that I'm still evolving. Some of my latest outfits have been looser, more relaxed, and ALLGO (a little less going on) (26, 29, 30) than my usual fitted, hyper matchy, ALGO style (27-28). I used to think that at some point my wardrobe would be finished once I plugged all the wardrobe holes. Now I know that that isn't how things work, and that it's a constant process of style evolution. I'm happy that I get to continue to be creative with my wardrobe and have fun with fashion! Looking forward to what the coming year brings! Thanks Angie and thanks to all of you for all your help and advice and encouragement and inspiration!

1-5. Pre-YLF
6-10. Right after joining YLF--Aug 2011
11-15.  Year 1 favorites
16-20. One year Veteran--Aug 2012 (1st trimester)
21-25. Year 2 favorites--2nd/3rd trimester
26-30. Two year veteran--Aug 2013

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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.

23 Comments

  • Mona replied 6 years ago

    What a wonderful journey you have had! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your thoughts and seeing your outfits. 

  • Molly L-R replied 6 years ago

    Wow, Natalie!  Your style (r)evolution is really inspiring.  And what you said about style constantly evolving and never really being "finished" is so true.

  • vibgyor004 replied 6 years ago

    Hi, thanks for sharing all about your style journey with us...it is quite an inspiring post! Like the way you have shown it through the pics taken at the different stages of your style (r) evolution! Special mention to pic # 14! :) :)

  • replied 6 years ago

    So great to see your journey so far. You have really dialed in to what makes you happy, and I am enjoying seeing the next stage!

  • pastrygirl replied 6 years ago

    I remember when you first posted about this site on the other one! I tried to keep up but fell woefully behind, and instead lived (dressed? shopped?) vicariously through you, LOL. I've always been impressed with your ability to pinpoint your descriptors with such accuracy. I see your term, see the photo, and say, YUP. You have such a clear vision. And you look fantastic all the time!

  • shevia replied 6 years ago

    Amazing r/evolution! Great insight about how it is a continuing journey without a destination. You are a model of style for every stage of pregnancy before, during and after.

  • shaz replied 6 years ago

    you look amazing love the red coat and lace up boots 

  • Hil replied 6 years ago

    Wow x 1000 - I've only been here a few months so I've only know your very evolved gorgeous style and it's hard to imagine you as a mom jeans and fleece girl! Awesome!!!

  • Karie replied 6 years ago

    What a fantastic style journey! The first thing that struck me was how you have become more adventurous with color and texture during this second year. And the shift from ALGO to ALLGO shows that your style is constantly evolving, whether it's to meet lifestyle needs or personal preference, or both.

  • Kari replied 6 years ago

    It's fun to see your style evolve so far, but also to trace similar "Natalie" elements that hold true from the start. I'm glad that you continue to have fun with your personal style, even taking the challenge of pregnancy as a chance to put your skills to the test and embrace some new silhouettes besides. I'm so glad that you are still trying new things!

  • celia replied 6 years ago

    I am glad you shared your whole story and photos to illustrate it.It is great to see your style evolution, how you adapted it to different stages of your life and realized that is an evolving thing.
    I will be waiting for the future outfits.

  • Angie replied 6 years ago

    Congratulations are more than in order, Natalie. I have yet to see as dramatic a style shift on someone who went from gear to Queen Flirty Fun. You truly have killer style - and blow me away with how you manage your insanely busy life and get on with it - while looking incredibly stylish. Plus most importantly, you have fun on your style journey. You are totally inspirational.

  • MsMary replied 6 years ago

    Happy Fabiversary to my first YLF in-person meetup buddy!!

    It's so much fun seeing all these photos all together!  Each one is more fab than the last, but I have to say that the latest one -- the shirt and jeans -- is just rocking my world beyond belief!  SO FUN AND FAB!!  (And of course little Mr. Three is the best accessory ever, whether inside or out! ;) )

  • cbayna replied 6 years ago

    Congratulations on your fashion evolution. Pic #14 stood out for me.

  • kkards replied 6 years ago

    as someone whose been on YLF less than a year, i have only "known" you as a fab, put together, focused fashionable woman. how interseting to read your journey, and how unexpected to read how recent it was. you make it seem so easy and natural!

  • deb replied 6 years ago

    Natalie, what a fun look back.

  • replied 6 years ago

    beautiful. hard to believe you had style issues, your outfits are amazing snd eith 3 kiddies :)

  • replied 6 years ago

    *and with* 3 kiddies

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Natalie, what an enthralling read. I was totally engrossed in your rags to fashion riches story - - even though I already knew it off by heart. You've learned faster than anybody on the planet, and what a pleasure it has been to witness your style progression! 

  • Transcona Shannon replied 6 years ago

    Congratulations on two fantastic (and busy!) years Natalie :) You have an incredible sense of style and fearless approach to fashion. I admire how willing you are to try things while always keeping your style persona visible. You have been nothing short of inspirational to many Fabbers, myself included.

  • rae replied 6 years ago

    Natalie, at this rate of evolution, you will be an International fashion model by the end of next year. I remember when you first started posting and how quickly you slipped into your style. Humbling for me, since I seriously had style identity issues in the past. Best of all, you always have so much fun with every single outfit! 

  • Alexandra replied 6 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story and pictures. What fun to see your style evolution!

  • cobaltblue replied 6 years ago

    Wow, Natalie! I think your maternity and most recent photos are the best yet. You've lit a fire under me, as I've been here, um, two and a half years and am pretty much starting over, wardrobe wise. Again. Time to grab the bull by the horns and get things sorted. You're amazing.

    Becky

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