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Monday, January 4, 2016

Reflecting on Changes in 2015


Whoa, my apologies for being MIA all of last week!  I was working overtime at a conference and thought I'd have a couple of hours to get away and blog.  Turns out naps took priority instead! #always

Even though 2016 has already begun I wanted to reflect on 2015 as it was absolutely full of changes and transitions personally, which changed my style and wardrobe, shopping habits, and how I blog.  It's been fun to look back on!

Lifestyle Changes
When 2015 began I was still very much feeling being a new mom as Addie was only about 4 months old.  That transition alone led to changes in almost every aspect of my life.  My style had to accommodate nursing and kid business (aka drool, sticky fingers, and snot).  I decreased hours at work to 30 hrs/wk and for an unrelated reason had less business casual work meetings to attend, so my style became more casual than it already was.  Time to myself and my hobbies decreased as a little baby took up that space instead, so I didn't have as much time to shop or as much mental energy to make decisions about things big or small.  I found myself wanting to simplify what I wore or minimize decisions on purchases.  Also, given the new time, emotional, and mental constraints that came with caring for a kid, even the how I approached blogging changed.

Changes in Shopping Habits:
  • Explored other stores.  Sadly, Target wasn't doing it for me as much anymore, so I explored other stores and broadened my wardrobe sources.  I relied more on Old Navy, Nordstrom, ModCloth LOFT, and sometimes J.Crew Factory and Zappos.  It was good growth, but for a little it felt strange to walk around Target and not love anything there!  
  • More online shopping.  With the lack of time and energy to go into stores and try on things during the day, I relied way more on online shopping--especially from stores that have free shipping!
  • More expensive pieces.  I also added a few pieces that are more expensive than my typical $30-$50 range, like the Clarks booties (HERE) or designer jeans.  Part of it is that I have more room in my shopping budget to spend on clothes because I shop less overall and also because I received a lot of store credit to shops for brand collaborations.  (See my Clothing Budget Q&A Post HERE.)  But mostly I became curious about the differences in quality between less expensive and more expensive pieces.  While I don't think a higher price tag automatically means better quality or vice versa, I wanted to know if some pieces were really worth it.  Some definitely are, while others are not, and now I'm learning to discern when something is worth its price tag.  

Changes in Closet and Style:
I spent the first few years of blogging experimenting a lot with clothes, but this year I've felt more "me" with how I dress than maybe ever.
  • Sweater cardigans.  I've always loved my beige "grandpa" cardigan, but it was the only thick one I wore regularly.  Whereas I wore mostly thin cardigans in past falls/winters, this year I added several thicker sweater cardigans and have relied on those more, hardly touching my thin cardigans.  If you're looking for any, Old Navy has a ton HERE.
Links to Shop Cardigans:
maroon  |  black white  |  grey printed  |  tan

  • Sweaters. I usually leaned toward thin ones and none were that exciting (except for my polka dot one HERE).  This season I stocked up on a few fun sweaters that I love wearing (seen and linked below).  I don't know why it didn't dawn on me before to get them in larger sizes for looser fits, but now I love wearing sweaters!
Links to Shop Sweaters:

  • Vests.  I've said before that I thought they were pointless since they didn't keep your arms warm, but it turns out I was wrong if you find the right one.  I've been wearing them a ton this year!  
Links to Shop Vests:

  • Booties instead of riding boots.  I made a switch from primarily wearing riding boots to wearing booties after my trusty old pair of riding boots died and I couldn't find a replacement.  Booties turned out to be a better fit for our warmer weather anyway.  If you're still wondering about ankle boots, check out the two posts I wrote earlier: Choosing the Right Pair of Ankle Boots and How to Wear Ankle Boots with Skinny Jeans.
  • Less skirts and dresses.  This seems natural given I was nursing for half of the year and most dresses aren't nursing-friendly.  But even post-nursing I haven't given much attention to dresses or skirts.  *shrug*
  • Less statement necklaces.   I used to rely on these to pull together most outfits, but I found myself wearing them less this year.  And it's not because Addie pulls on them--she oddly doesn't care.  I still love statement necklaces, but the necklines of the shirts I wore this year seemed less compatible with statement necklaces.  I wore a lot of button ups because of nursing, and they seemed better with long pendants or just a simple short gold pendant most of the time.
  • Watches.  While I wore statement necklaces less often, I got into watches this year.  I don't have a huge watch collection, but I'm addicted to knowing the time every minute of the day!

Changes in Blogging
With less time to blog, I cut down to ~3 posts/week towards the second half of the year.  I tried to create more "useful" blog posts, like how-to posts on wearing ankle boots, clothing budget Q&A, how to wear _____, or how to create a wardrobe (all HERE).  I also tried to include more remix posts (HERE) and do more shopping reviews (HERE).  As a result, I posted less OOTDs on the blog and instead posted them on Instagram.  (Follow along on Instagram!)  I really loved refocusing my content on these types of things, and I hope you did too!  Not only did it help me feel like I could repeat outfits way more, but I also felt like I was providing more useful content.  Those posts take me much longer to write than OOTD posts, but I hope they are worth it!  

What's Ahead:
  • Hair.  I spent the past year figuring out what to do with longer hair, which I'll talk more about in another post.  I have a ways to go with having a handle on my hair, but I'm glad I finally figured out how to go 4 days without washing it! *praise hands emoji* I'll continue to experiment with my hair to be able to style it in a way I'm confident in. 
  • Makeup.  Towards the end of 2015 I started experimenting with my makeup routine.  I'm just in the beginning, and given that I'm a slow learner we'll see what comes of that.  
  • Continuing to answer questions from the Style Help Survey.  Like I said, I loved moving my content away from OOTDs and more on remixes and how-to posts.  

Thank you for reading and following along!  I have loved reading your emails and comments about how this blog has helped your self-confidence and relieved some stress of getting dressed each day.  I'm also incredibly appreciative of the moments where you've shown encouragement and support, like when I wasn't feeling well, when my dad passed away, or when I was going through stressful moments in parenting.  Wishing you all the best in 2016! 

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