In my last post, I offered a suggestion for helping you increase your understanding of your style preferences. Since many of us have a better sense of what we don’t want in our lives – and in our wardrobes – than what we do want, I recommended starting there to gain some powerful insights. I also suggested looking back at what you used to love wearing but no longer do, and I explored two of my previous closet favorites that have since fallen by the wayside: skirts and blazers. I shared photos of some of those formerly loved garments, as well as examples of ensembles in which they were featured.
In today’s essay, which is the second installment in what will now be a three-part series (I found I had more to say than I originally thought!), I look at how my style has evolved to the point where I very rarely wear skirts and blazers any longer. I’ll show how I progressed from my too formal summer “uniform” of skirts with blazers to an interim formula that better suited my lifestyle and style aesthetic. I also share my current skirt collection and my thoughts about the future of skirts in my wardrobe. The third installment in the series will cover my current style preferences and some thoughts about my future sartorial journey.
Next Generation Skirts (and Dresses) – Maxi Lengths
Once I started blogging about my wardrobe and engaging in analysis of what wasn’t working for me – and how I actually wanted to dress, I started to release my “church lady” persona. That process took a little while, but at the end of it I still liked skirts. The difference was that instead of wearing A-line, midi-length styles, I moved on to wearing the maxi-length style that had gained popularity in the mid-2010’s. During that era, I accumulated a number of maxi-length skirts and dresses, which became a key element of my summer signature style.
I fully embraced maxi skirts and dresses for about five years, and they pretty much encapsulated my summer uniform during that era, with skirts being favored over dresses due to the versatility of pairing them with various different tops. I typically only wore skirts and dresses for the duration of the warm weather season (typically July through November) back then.
Below are a few photos of my skirt and dress ensembles from that next-generation era of the mid-to-late 2010’s. These outfits do not feature toppers, but I’ll highlight some examples with “third pieces” in the next section.
Toppers for the Maxi Skirts and Dresses
As I mentioned in my last post, I typically paired my skirts with blazers during my unintended “church lady” era. Back then, I collected both midi skirts and short blazers, as they were key components of my style aesthetic until around 2015. When I started to make my big style shift toward maxi-skirts and dresses, I paired those garments with cropped or tie cardigans instead of blazers. This created a less formal look, as well as better proportions with the longer, narrower fit of the maxi silhouette on my bottom half. Since I was no longer wearing my blazer collection at that point, I gradually started to let them go (more on this in part three).
The following are some of my ensembles featuring maxi-length skirts and dresses topped with shorter cardigans:
The Current Skirts in My Closet
At the time of this writing, I own only four skirts (including one in my “holding zone”). My remaining skirts are all maxi length, but two of them also feature a high-low element (shorter in the front and longer in the back).
Here are the four skirts that I currently own (the black and white printed one is in my holding zone):
Although the above skirts are still part of my wardrobe, I almost never wear them. In fact, I only wore one of my remaining skirts last summer. Yes, it was a weird year (to say the least!), with fewer opportunities for out-and-about ensembles, but I could have worn skirts more often and decided not to. The skirt that I did wear was the black two-layer crinkly maxi skirt (second from the left). I still like wearing this skirt – and my husband also likes it, but I don’t feel as attractive in it as I used to, as my body and preferences have changed.
However, I did feel happy wearing the following outfits from 2019 and 2020, in which I paired either a drapey top or a loosely-tied cardigan with the crinkly maxi skirt:
Will This Be the Year That I Let Go of All My Skirts?
It’s entirely possible that I may pass on all of my remaining skirts this year, or I may only hold on to the black crinkly skirt shown above. We’ll see how often I wear my skirts and more importantly, how I feel when I have them on. If I have occasions to wear my skirts this coming summer and choose not to, that will be a good sign that their time has passed. And if I purge my remaining skirts, will I buy any new ones – or will I abandon wearing skirts altogether?
I haven’t purchased a new skirt for at least a few years, as I wasn’t drawn to the styles that have been on offer. This year’s midi-length, flowing styles are more to my liking, as they’re not knee-length and flared like my “church lady” era skirts were. Because the 2021 skirts are a bit longer and less voluminous, their silhouette lends itself to a more casual vibe that works better for my lifestyle. But skirts are not as easy to style as dresses, as I have to decide which tops to wear with them.
Since I no longer possess the super-slim waist of my pre-menopausal years, I don’t see myself wearing snug-fitting tanks or tees today. I’ve also never particularly liked tucking in my tops because I’m short-waisted, so I’ve always maintained a separate collection of tops to wear untucked with skirts. This collection has dwindled in size over the years with my body and style changes, and it’s been difficult for me to find suitable replacements. I now have just a few tops that I like to wear with skirts. This is fine if I only wear skirts occasionally, but if I buy new skirts, I might also have to purchase new tops to pair with them, and buying a bunch of new pieces isn’t exactly in line with my 2021 “less” theme.
Perhaps I just don’t need the skirts and shorter tops cross-section of my wardrobe any longer. Maybe the time for those pieces has come and gone, and I might feel relief instead than sadness if they no longer hung in my closet. Dresses are just a lot easier, even if they’re less versatile in terms of multiple outfit combinations. My life might be easier if I left skirts behind completely, and it’s possible that could be part of where my style is headed now. We’ll see what happens through the rest of this year….
Conclusion – and Your Thoughts?
I originally planned on sharing my reflections on my current style in today’s post, but since it was getting a bit long, I’ve decided to make this a three-part series. I want to get away from “marathon posts” on this blog! I’ll probably never be a minimalist in terms of my content here, but I am trying to cut down on overly lengthy essays because I value your time and attention. I also like the idea of posting more often to keep the conversation and momentum going, and some of you have mentioned that you’re enjoying the more frequent posts. My goal is to post weekly as much as possible, which has become easier to do since I started spending at least an hour a day writing about two months ago.
I’ll be back next week to talk about my current style preferences. I’ll show you photos of some of my favorite pieces, as well as some more recent outfit photos. I’ll also discuss how my style preferences continue to evolve and what I see happening with my wardrobe in the future.
So that’s a bit of the “state of the blog” and some coming attractions. Now I’d love to get your thoughts about anything I’ve shared in today’s post and in this ongoing series. Many of you weighed in after last week’s post, but I welcome any additional thoughts you’d like to add today.