30 Days No Repeats: Rethinking Color

This sort of sums up what this entire month has been like: I just realized on Tuesday that I could keep track of which day of the challenge I was on because it corresponds with the date.  Before that I had to keep checking my photo folder. Sigh.

Day 18: Kinda Boring But It Looks Nice I Guess

I had a plan for Day 18.  I was going to finally wear that brown Anthropologie skirt:

from spring 2009. Hello, college apartments! I miss you guys and your lack of mold.

When I bought it, I was laboring under the delusion I’ve had since peasant skirts came back that all skirts should hit at the hip.  I’ve worn it several times, every time wondering why it felt a little funny, before I finally realized the thing is actually a size or two too big.  See the curve below my right hand?  That should be up on my hip.  The hem should be hitting above the knee, not under it.  If I were to tuck that shirt in, the skirt would probably come up to the 3rd button instead of hovering just under the 4th.

My idea to utilize the skirt for Tuesday was to wear a cami and button-up shirt, tuck those in, and cover any awkward lumpiness with my green sweater-vest.  The whole outfit looked very eco-librarian in my mind, but when I put it all together at 7:45 in the morning, I had to admit that the skirt is just way too big.  I could wear it down on my hips like I always had, but then everything would shift and come untucked.  I hiked the skirt up to its proper height and instantly my calves, my tush, my whole silhouette looked better – the way it’s supposed to look.  I just can’t wear this skirt until (if) I find a way to get it taken in.

Which sucks, because this was the only brown “bottom” I had in my whole wardrobe.

So, running late and in self-image meltdown, I threw on my reliable and excellent black slacks and my new turquoise top.  This was going to test my new theory from Day 14 – wearing a statement shirt with statement jewelry is plenty!  I even wore my patent-leather heels for extra glam.

I felt lousy.

Yes, my new top was fun, but it’s not very well made and it’s almost an inch longer in the front than in the back.  As I did my hair, I wondered despairingly if I had actually purchased a maternity top.  In effort to preserve the awesomeness of the bustline, I didn’t want to add a scarf or necklace, so I picked out another set of neglected earrings and ran out the door.

The office printer was broken, bringing everything to an absolute standstill, so I explored some new “outfit of the day” blogs to kill time.  Everyone looked so great!  They had cute boots and hats and tights in wacky colors and funky cardigans belted in cool ways, and their hair looked great, and their photographs were clear and beautiful.  I found a blogger who looks like she sprang from the pages of a J Crew catalogue, not fearing to obscure her face with a monkey cartoon because she was already the most adorable person on the Internet.  Another gal even did a full-year “no repeats” challenge, complete with themed weeks like the Nutcracker (design an outfit related to a Nutcracker character).  And here I was, in my boring pants with my boring hair, my funky new top now covered by a navy cardigan (navy and black! and poorly executed!), feeling like the frumpiest, least creative, scrawniest secretary on the west coast.

At some point my subconscious decided it had had enough of this mopey BS and herded me towards the bathroom, where I adjusted my top and buttoned the lower buttons on the cardigan.  My boss spotted me and her face lit up.  “I love that color!  I would never have thought to wear those together!”

(I’m assuming she was referring to navy and teal, because she certainly shouldn’t have thought to wear a practical navy cardigan with practical black slacks.  It may look fine, but it sure is boring.)

Whether or not I actually discovered a new color combination, her comment made me take a second look at my outfit.  I’d gotten used to hearing the argument that navy was a neutral, and while I don’t entirely agree with it, I also didn’t see navy as a color.  I definitely didn’t have such high aspirations for my British-schoolgirl cardigan.  When I try to mix colors, I go for safe stuff like pastels or shades of blue.  Have I been successfully mixing colors by wearing this sweater with another color?  Maybe.  No matter what, today made me take the possibilities offered by this cardigan more seriously. (Plus it’s super-duper warm!)

Cardigan: Marks & Spencer
Top: TJ Maxx
Pants: Nordstrom
Shoes: Payless
Earrings: Macy’s

And of course, looking at the pictures the next day made me realize this wasn’t a bad outfit at all.

Here’s the shirt on its own:


Day 19: Poof!

Sweater: Ann Taylor (clearance – cashmere for $20!)
Pants: Gap
Flats: DSW
Scarf: Burlington Coat Factory
Headband: gift

I curled my hair this morning.  I used curl spray and everything.  As soon as I took the curlers out, everything went limp and looked like this for most of the day.  It definitely wasn’t the head of shining curls I anticipated, but it still looked nice.

Actually, I really liked this outfit!  It captured my feminine-with-a-twist style pretty well, with the lacy flowery details and the bright, modern color.  The funny part is that I tend to avoid both of these main pieces.  The sleeves on the sweater tend to contract, so once I push them up, they have to stay up for the rest of the day.  The pants have a distinctive pattern and a nice fit, but they’re so short I can only wear them with flats – and I really don’t like wearing flats.  However, everything came together into an outfit I felt really good wearing.  It actually might be one of my favorites so far.


7 thoughts on “30 Days No Repeats: Rethinking Color

  1. You wore black and navy together and the world didn’t end! I really like both of the outfits you posted here, and I’m glad that it sounds like you liked them too- really that’s the most important thing. As far as the oversized skirt- one possible temporary fix would be to tightly belt it (or use a scarf as a belt) and try to do a paperbag waist, although that doesn’t always work. Hello Monkeyface has become one of my recent faves for sure, although I think part of me just gets overexcited whenever I find a blog by someone who’s a grad student.

    • I did! It turned out pretty well! And thank you for reminding me that I totally intended to link to those blogs!

      I’ve thought about belting the skirt, but it’s made with pretty thick fabric, and I have a feeling I would end up looking like, well, a paper bag. Alas. I’ll have to start looking for a good tailor.

  2. Ah, you found Jenny and Monkeyface! I know the feeling you get when you see other style bloggers and suddenly the soundtrack to your life is the sad trombone – trust me, I go there all the time. But I think with things like this, we’re always our worst critics and can be hard to see what’s awesome about ourselves. So it’s up to others to tell you!

    For example, you can wear the s#@t out of cornflower blue! That’s not a color that’s always kind, but you look gorgeous in it. And I’m loving the scarf-tying action, lady!

  3. Take the skirt to a tailor, most good ones can nip that right in for about $10.
    At least it sounds like you’re learning a lot about your wardrobe, and reading this is inspiring me to try to attempt the same thing ( not sure if I’d hold up as well as you are though :))
    I love the last one, that’s my favorite outfit for this week.

    • You should try it! It’s definitely been an interesting exercise. At times it’s made me want to just stay home and wear pajamas all day, but most of the time it’s pretty fun, especially when I come up with a rad new outfit.

  4. Pingback: 30 Days No Repeats: The Last Three | Ruby Bastille

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