My Very Important Fashion Lessons from a year of outfits

Now that I’ve done the token Christmas post, the only thing for it is to start looking back at 2014… Too soon? I hope not!

In 2013, I think it would be fair to say I got into a bit of a style rut. My outfit purchases could have been broken down into two categories: 1) pencil skirts/wiggle dresses and 2) things to wear with pencil skirts/wiggle dresses. After a year of restricted walking, I got pretty bored of my clothes – it didn’t help that fitted skirts are basically the basis of my entire work wardrobe too. You really can get sick of wearing the same thing day in and day out!

So, the start of this year saw a resolution to look beyond the pencil skirt – and I’m pleased to say resolution accomplished! Although I did fall at the last hurdle – after almost a year of not buying a single pencil skirt, I suddenly realised I wasn’t over my addiction when a wiggle of the knitted variety landed on my doorstep. I hadn’t even realised what I’d done… it was £8 in a sale – my bargain-hunting brain must have gone on auto-pilot. This relapse aside, I stuck to what I said and invested in flared skirts and not one, but two pairs of trousers for work (haven’t quite got round to sharing these yet)… and it made me realise, this resolution was just the start of a bit of a ‘revamp’ in my style this year (this is an exciting way of simply saying: I spent money on other things besides pencil skirts).
So, I thought I’d recap my five favourite things I’ve learned about dressing myself this year… and challenge future me to keep adding to this list!
Full midi skirts CAN suit me
For years, while I’ve loved 50s style I’ve been completely terrified of below-the-knee, full skirts that everyone else seems to wear so wonderfully. I’m 5ft 2″ and my short legs are an important factor in my lack of height… and every time I tried to wear a midi-length skirt I heard my mum’s voice in my head calling it my ‘witchy look’ (your guess is as good as mine). But finally, the penny dropped – the problem wasn’t the shape of the skirts, it was pure and simply the length. Through trial, error and mutilated clothing, I discovered my ideal full skirt is 25″ long, and the most I can get away with is 26″ – anything else and it’s too short or we’re in witch territory again. Most shops sell these kind of skirts – attached to dresses or otherwise – more around the 27″ or longer mark. So all I have to do is get them altered and suddenly, they look alright!

Turtlenecks are Good
From this post

I’ve always subscribed to the belief that someone as proportionately chesty and petite as myself would look like a no-necked fool with a cushion shoved up their top in a turtleneck. Needless to say, there wasn’t even one of these in my collection before this year, my fear was so great. But then, shops started selling these wonderful ‘high necked’ varieties that weren’t quite a full turtleneck with yards of material folded over and suddenly I got into it. And if the turtlenecks are in a dark fabric, the cushion problem doesn’t seem quite so apparent either due to the wonderful shrinking effect of black, navy and friends – but generally, as long as the tops are fitted, it’s not as bad as I’d pictured. From now on, no cold neck for me…
Co-ords are for life, not just 2014
Co-ords were a big thing this year – and really the first time the idea of an outfit of matching top and bottoms had properly entered my consciousness. Which is silly, because the vintage and repro world has been onto this for years and I’m supposed to know about this stuff… needless to say as soon as I realised there were some great repro sets around I had to have one! I bided my time and got a couple in sales, including this Collectif set here. It fits beautifully – and the great thing is that I can pair the component parts with other clothes – hooray for value for money. I’m not sure if the modern fashion world will continue on with its love of co-ords into next year, but I’m certainly going to be hanging onto mine.
Glasses are an accessory, not a nuisance
I’ve never seen myself as a glasses-wearer, which is ridiculous as I can’t see past the end of my own nose. I can’t remember if I’ve ever told the story of how I think I cursed myself with poor sight after wishing fervently at age 11 I could have glasses like my best friend… be careful what you wish for! Of course, once I got my wish and my first pair of glasses I instantly hated them. I got away without wearing them for years and then got contact lenses, and banished glasses to when I was going to the gym and they were the least of my worries in terms of how I looked there – I essentially hoped the glasses would somehow detract attention from my red, makeup-less, sweaty face (yeah, that worked). Over the past year or so I’ve bought a few new pairs of frames and gradually come round to the idea of them, but it’s only really this year that I’ve started incorporating them into my outfits. Turns out, all I needed to do was think of them as another way to make things match – and we all know how much I love matching things. Oh, and buy another pair. And we all know how much I love buying things.
Crop tops are not the enemy
Ok, so this one isn’t ground-breaking – in fact, I think I was the last person in the entire world to realise that the modern fashion trend for crop tops this year would work incredibly well with my own, a little less modern wardrobe that is full to the brim with high-waisted everything. It was one of the slowest lightbulb moments to ever happen in the history of the universe. Hence it’s last on this list, as I’m still a bit embarrassed about it and half of me is hoping everyone’s stopped reading by this point… But if you are still hanging in there, all I need to say is it was a revelation for me that modern crop tops could be used to create 50s styles and once I had finally twigged, many of them joined my closet. And I never said this was going to be cutting-edge fashion lessons…
Anyone else had any style revelations this year? How has your style changed?


  1. December 18, 2014 / 2:56 pm

    You are very trendy. 🙂 I enjoy your blog.

  2. December 18, 2014 / 5:18 pm

    It's never, too – okay, well, in relation to December at least. Honestly, I was ready to pen my year end posts by about Halloween (but refrained – one never knows what might transpire between then and the last days of the year).

    It's been such a lovely joy getting to you know and to share in each other's blogs this year, honey. Thank you very much for your sweet, caring, wonderful comments and for the fab fashion inspiration your blog always delivers.

    I hope you have an awesome holiday season and incredible New Year!

    ♥ Jessica

    *PS* I feel my inner goth girl coming out more again (she's been on the down low since my teen years for the most part). While that actually resonate in my clothing? Time will tell.

    • December 19, 2014 / 1:50 pm

      As I've just said on your blog, your comments are always so lovely they really brighten my day! And I think a lot of us 'vintage' (using those quotation marks more for me there!) bloggers have an inner goth girl just dying to get out again… x

  3. December 18, 2014 / 7:32 pm

    It seems like you've really shaken things up in the past year. I feel like it can be so intimidating to move so far out of your comfort zone, especially if in the past you've felt like specific styles that you're trying didn't look good on you, so I think it's wonderful that you pushed yourself so much in terms of your style. I think you've put together some really amazing outfits, and you always look gorgeous in your photos, so keep going with it!
    The big revelation for me has really been that I actually have a decent sense of style. I always just kind of wore whatever was cheap and kind of trendy (and a lot of jeans and t-shirts), so figuring out just how much I can say with my clothing, and just how big of an impact how I dress can have on people see me, has felt really empowering. It's so funny to hear my boyfriend's family call me "the fashionista", or my friends talk about how I'm the stylish one.

    • December 19, 2014 / 1:51 pm

      I feel like I've thrown myself out of a lot more comfort zones than usual for sure, but there's still some to go! Shirts/blouses is another one I'm yet to tackle… And of course you have a decent sense of style – some of your outfits have been killer this year! I can see why you'd be the fashionista to most other people, for sure 🙂

  4. December 19, 2014 / 12:51 am

    Hmm… Good questions! I think as style shifting, it's been a little tricky, because there are things I want to try, but I have constrained to a maternity wardrobe which doesn't always work so well when translating style choices.

    What I'd really like to dive into next year is separates. I adore dresses and find it much easier to collect, sew and wear them, but at the same time I'm really attracted to matching co-ordinates that I can then turn around and use in different outfits too. I guess I have to keep my eye out for any vintage co-ordinates, and stop sewing dresses every time I pick up a pattern! ❤

    bonita of Lavender & Twill

    • December 19, 2014 / 1:52 pm

      I can't even imagine how I'd deal with maternity clothes… but from what I've seen of your outfits so far, you're working it 😉 separates are by far my favourite thing – I actually need to do the reverse and go for more dresses in future! x

  5. December 19, 2014 / 7:51 am

    I think what I've learned this year is I need to wear vintage more. Even to work. I try to tone it down at work as I do not want to ruin my precious vintage clothes but I think I need to stop being paranoid about it! Fantastic year you've had and I hope the next year is getting even more amazing!

    • December 19, 2014 / 8:23 am

      Hello CiCi…Wow…Great Style…You're so Stylish!You have such stunning talent in create amazing outfits…cheers!
      W the vintage
      happy festive season

    • December 19, 2014 / 1:54 pm

      I think this is a reason I do less of the actual vintage – I'd never want to ruin anything I loved! But there's definitely drawbacks to that approach, and when you've got a wardrobe brimming with fab vintage stuff as you do, I definitely think it should be in constant circulation 😉

  6. December 19, 2014 / 2:35 pm

    You look so good in that crop top! The only thing I've learned this year is that I need to be more comfortable with myself… I'm still playing around with different things… I am trying to push myself to try on new items… things I normally wouldn't wear. Hopefully in 2015 I'll start learning what "my style" really is because right now I have no clue haha I am safe with what I wear, so it's pretty boring. Here's to an exciting and stylish 2015!! 😉


  7. December 21, 2014 / 8:53 am

    Aw thanks – they key is exposing my waist and not my stomach 😉 ah I do't think I could put my finger on what my 'style' is exactly… I'm just learning what works and what doesn't 🙂

  8. December 29, 2014 / 5:34 pm

    These are all valuable fashion lessons, as we all get into the habit of thinking we simply can't wear a certain style, when in reality a few modifications are all that's needed. It's great that you've embraced change and not been afraid to come out of your comfort zone fashion-wise. You look absolutely lovely in all these looks. (I assure you there is no truth to the witchy comparisons!)

    Saba of Truly Madly Deeply Fashion

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