lundi 21 juillet 2014

4 summers

4 summers, 4 julys since 2010, from my early thirties to mid. It's a time long enough for a throwback and see what changed or not.

The most obvious changes were physical I guess, as during that period, I went through health issues that made me lose a lot of weight.
It was in the summer of 2010 that I decided to chop off my long relaxed hair and stop chemically straightening them, so I found myself with a buzz cut.
Now not everything's resolved but at least I've gained back some weight. My natural hair has been growing and along with it I've been learning to take care of it, dispelling the preconceived idea I carried on of my own helplessnees when it came to haircare/style. 

Altogether, during these past years my life took a more adult-size turn and pattern.

While my style, no matter the season and as far as I can remember, has always been laidback with the priority to feel at ease and good about myself, eventually, how did these 4 years got translated in my (summer) style? Did my tastes drastically evolve?

July 2010

I was wearing:
pic 1: t-shirt, skirt: H&M - tote bag: Vanessa Bruno - low wedges sandals: New Look
pic 2: t-shirt: H&M - skirt: Comptoir des Cotonniers - bag from Burkina Faso
pic 3: dress : H&M - fabric brogues: New Look - bag: Vanessa Bruno

Would I wear these july 2010 outfits now? 

Yes for the 1st look.
No, for the last 2: I don't  recognize myself in these looks anymore.
The long printed skirt, the draped dress: no, no, no. One is too boho and that's a style that I just don't like for me anymore and the third look is too gimmicky trendy, smells of try hard! Haha! That's something I would never think of wearing again.

What remains /is gone:
Everything in these pictures: clothes, accessories, footwear was either sold, given away or thrown out.

The sequined Vanessa Bruno tote was cute but too impractical. I dreamt of owning that bag in my 20's but couldn't afford it and getting it in my 30's felt a bit like a revenge on the past purchase. I was content to finally get that bag. However after a few wears, I was over it. It was too girly for me, I had satisfied my 20 yr old fantasy and moved on.

the long printed skirt (Comptoir des Cotonniers) lasted a couple more summers till I found a hole in it last year which along with my falling out of the boho style prompted its demise.

the  linen tee (H&M): I don't remember the exact circumstances of its exit. The fact that I discovered Isabel Marant's linen tees which are far less transparent and more durable must have played a part in its disappearance.

the grey pencil skirt (H&M) was one of my favorite all year round basic, I wore it in winter with tights and ankle boots, in summer with sandals, in fall/spring with ballet flats and reluctantly had to let it go after several years of use when it just wore out.

Other items went away essentially because of rapid loss of interest (draped H&M dress, New Look fabric brogues) or breaking down after much use (leather saddle bag from Burkina Faso, New Look wedges).


The 1st outfit has the seeds of my current preferences with neutral colors, classic skirt teamed with a basic tshirt.
Even if the fabric brogues (3rd pic) fall in the WTF category, this kind of shoes certainly is now a staple in my daily style, especially come handy on rainy summer days.

Overall, I've toned down a lot the whole boho aspect. I no longer wear very bright colors and loud prints which I actually only did during summer. I think I've simply outgrown this influence as a whole. A bit of wax or batik here and there, a 70's vibe, etc. can still find their way in my outfits though.

July 2011

I was wearing: 
pic 1: jacket: Uniqlo - t-shirt: H&M-  shorts: Isabel Marant Etoile - sandals: André - bag: YSL "Downtown"
pic 2: dress: Isabel Marant Etoile - sandals: André - bag: YSL "Downtown"
pic 3: jacket, skirt: H&M  - tshirt: WE - low wedges sandals: New Look - bag: YSL "Downtown"

Would I wear these july 2011 outfits now?

On the fence here, I feel that the fit of these looks was a bit off, lacking structure and definition for the first two but the color palette beige and blue, grey colors that's still mostly "me".

What remains/is gone:

I still own:
The YSL "Downtown" raffia tote. I'd just bought it, can you tell? Haha! Again, not the most practical bag but I'm balking at the idea of letting it go. I still love the shape, the mix of raffia and leather... Writing about it, makes me want to wear it again! That's a good sign!  

The Uniqlo linen jacket : One of my summer staple. It's lightweight without any lining, it's washable and  perfect when too hot for a blazer but I still want a coverup that I can casually fold in my bag later. A shame, Uniqlo doesn't produce this item anymore. I'd love to get this  in navy !

Everything else is gone. I sold the dress and shorts (both Isabel Marant Etoile). Retired the jacket as well as the sandals.
Dress had an ill-fit after taste. Couldn't pinpoint exactly what was not alright so I let it go.
Jacket (H&M): Didn't age well and lost its shape after that one summer. 
Sandals (André - pics 1 & 2): broke down after severe use over a couple or more summers including a trip to West Africa.


I really wanted to embrace shorts in my summer style but no matter the fit or brand, summer after summer, I just don't feel good in them. I have recently come to the "sad" conlusion that I'm not a shorts -in the city- person. Pity, I really like the popular style but no more shorts for me.

The loose fit, the suit inspired outfits, almost every summer ensembles teamed with flat sandals are still largely part of the way I dress nowadays.

July 2012

I was wearing:
pic 1 : shirt: Uniqlo - jeans: H&M - sandals: Isabel Marant "Merry" - bag: Céline
pic 2: jacket, knit sweater: H&M - pants: Zara - sandals: Isabel Marant - Bag: City Balenciaga
pic 3: tshirt: H&M - skirt: New Look - sandals: Isabel Marant

Would I wear these outfits now? 

Yes, more or less. The 3rd one is a no-brainer, I'd wear this look anytime : I really like that kind of mix, tailored, conservative skirt with cool t-shirt and flats. As for the first two, I'd just swap bags for my black tote or trio mini bag.

what remains/is gone:

Just spotted a tear in the navy v-neck sweater (H&M) so this one is a goner. Besides that, the rest still fits/ is in spot-on condition / loved / in use.

Changes ?:

I can't think of a significant style fall out or evolution since july 2012. I noticed though that my funkier bags don't get into rotation as much as they used to. The non-descript ones are really getting more use. To the point where I'm considering selling the red Céline tote but maybe that's just a phase so I'm not rushing out on the selling process.

July 2013 

I cheated a bit for this collage of outfits because I didn't publish a single article on the blog last year, so outfits pics are from my july 2013 Instagram feed.

I was wearing:
pic 1 : jumpsuit: Isabel Marant Etoile - mules: "Madrid" Birkenstock - bag: City Balenciaga
pic 2: dress: APC - sandals: Isabel Marant "Merry" - bag: Céline
pic 3: knit sweater: APC - jeans : H&M - bag: Céline - sneakers: Comptoir des Cotonniers x Nike Blazer

Would I wear these 2013 outfits now?

Well, for the most part I would.  It's still very much consistent with my current tastes.The last look feels a bit "young", looking back I would wear other jeans and/or footwear.

What remains/is gone:

Every single one of them is still in my possession. BUT seeing the 3rd pic makes me feel like I should ditch those skinny ripped H&M jeans stat! They're awful! Can't believe that I really liked these barely a year ago! Certainly a case of trend-itis! I guess once the fever's passed, I'm now cured of my desire of skinny ripped jeans...

The linen striped knit (APC) is  incredibly versatile, breathy, a real summer/mid-season classic. So glad that I scored it during 2013 summer sales. The jumpsuit (also a 2013 summer sales purchase) falls in the lesser used category but I'm a sucker for jumpsuits/overalls so even if I only wore it once this summer 2014 so far I'm not willing to give it up.

Once again, I can't think of a significant difference or evolution of my tastes since these pictures were taken. However, compared to a few years ago, I'm noticing that my casual approach is now based on more expensive clothes/brands. I always try to limit the financial impact by purchasing second-hand or during sales but the way I shop has definitely changed. 

july 2014

I was wearing:
pic 1: tshirt: Isabel Marant Etoile - skirt : H&M - mules: Birkenstock - hat : no brand - bag : Céline
pic 2: top: Madewell - jeans: H&M - sandals: Isabel Marant - hat : no brand - bag : Céline
pic 3: dress custom made in Bénin - sandals: Birkenstock - hat : no brand - bag : Céline

In this case, "what remains/ is gone" is  a bit irrelevant though you can see that my love affair with Birkenstock's "Madrid" mules continues, same goes for the Isabel Marant "Merry" sandals which are now a couple of seasons old. The linen long skirt and jeans are old H&M and the batik dress was tailored made in Bénin in 2011. The most recent items are the hat (last summer), trio bag (fall 2013), striped tshirt and black top (summer 2014).

These outfits are very recent so there's not enough distance to determine their impact or the longevity of the most recently acquired items. Yet I think that these 3 looks really suit my current state of mind and translate the quiet and cool harmony I want to feel during summer.

What remains consistent over successive summers since 2010 :

I like having enough "coverage", i.e. no mini -anything- for me, standard length is around the knee. No deep cleavage or backless either. Maybe I would if vacationing in say Formentera island but in Paris, no thank you.

My love affair with linen : tops, outerwear, dresses, bottoms, etc. I'm hoarding anything made of linen for summer wear. You either love ot or hate it, I love the fabric's crease, its lightness and freshness. 

Flat or low wedge sandals in a minimal design and color (black or tan leather): I dont' see any other option for comfortable and versatile summer footwear.When it's hot, the last thing I want is to compress my feet in closed shoes and add heels to the torture.
What changed since 2010:

Overall, I was far more "experimental" back in the summers of 2010 - 2011, which, to my level was not off the charts extravaganza... My summer style has just gotten a lot simpler, toned down as years went by. And I guess that answers my july 2012 thoughts :
"My printed, brightly colored, flowy clothes are in plain sight in my closet and I still like them but this indifference I feel towards them feels like a change of heart, maybe only temporary? Or maybe, I'm finally on a coherent style path no matter the season. We'll see..."
Voilà, end of lenghty "me, myself and I" post. Please share your own summer style evolution, I'd love to read your thoughts!

14 commentaires:

  1. What an interesting style analysis! You can clearly see where your style has evolved. I must say I love every single one of these outfits, you look sleek and chic in all of them, even if you say you wouldn't wear most of the earlier outfits. The 3rd look from 2012 was what made me follow your blog!

    I wished I had taken more outfit posts over the years, I feel like there is a bit of a blur in my memories. I certainly went from wearing a decent amout of colour to a precise palette of black, navy, grey and white. My style, too, has toned down over the years, and I now prefer simpler cuts over the frills I probably wore in 2010. My age played a part in it, but I was much more eager to follow the latest fashion trends a couple years ago than I do now.

    1. It's funny that a lot of us are mentioning age as an important component of our style being quieter. I say that because my mom who's 60 is always complaining of a lot of mainstream fashion stores aimed at "older" women displaying clothes with loud colors, frills and other unnecessary ornaments. The other day walking past Forever 21 and its youthful flashy fashion, I was struck by the irony of how the fashion for both age groups may actually be quite similar...

  2. Great post! I love reading wardrobe/style analyses.

    1. Thanks a lot! It's a bit tedious to think through and write something coherent on such a banal activity but I too enjoy reading about style analysis. I always like getting someone's perspective on fashion and its impact on their life.

  3. I think the YSL raffia is a beautiful summer tote. And it’s good to hold onto the Pilati or Ford era YSLs—when the bags/accessories had a unique character to them. It’s interesting to see the nuances and evolution of style. How the boho prints evolved into the African tie dye instead, and how draping remained a recurring theme throughout. I’m surprised to see the jumpsuit though. Also is that Celine “speedy” an upgrade from the Wang one? You might feel like selling the red Celine because it is too bright. I used to love red bags, but mine were bright and glossy and croco and Birkin-style, so I ended up selling them. Now I just have my red YSL Mombasa which I’ll pull out when I wear my tropical prints in the summer.

    As far as my style, there are definitely outfits that make me cringe…but I’m too lazy to go back and remove them or I need to learn from my shame. I need to remember to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid). For example if I’m wearing an avant-garde piece to keep the rest classic, not to wear more than 2 pieces on-top, avoid over-EXcessorizing, stuff like that.

    1. You know I wore the YSL bag twice since I finished writing this post! Haha!
      Can't believe you remember the Wang bag! It was too heavy and I wasn't sure about the stud ornament... but the Celine is a bit "old news" now, from 2012!
      I always professed my love of jumpsuit/overalls, must be my old Top Gun's fantasy resurfacing! Got to find my Aviator sunglasses!

      No shame, no regrets either, at least we tried and had fun with our fashion experiments! I'll adopt the K.I.S.S. acronym, so cool and that should also be my motto!

  4. I loved the analysis of your evolving style. Maryann

    1. Thanks a lot Maryann! I'll try to review fall and winter as well.

  5. What a great post! I think the biggest difference for me are the hemlines - every year I get older it seems my hemlines drop an inch! I still wear tight skirts but mostly pencil and midi-length. My days of short denim cutoffs are numbered, but when the weather is in the 90s (F) and super humid sometimes it's all about comfort at that point. I've also bought at least one Rick Owens piece every summer sale and I just live in those jersey pieces. Maybe when I'm 60 I can just wear Rick Owens and The Row exclusively (a girl can dream! Or maybe buy a lottery ticket...)

    1. Thanks Koko! Oh, the hemline is such a relevant pinpoint for me as well! Baring legs now is a process, like I find myself in weird poses when trying on something short to see if I remain decent in it...
      So envious of your RO collection! Do you actually wear The Row? The clothes always look magnificent and I spotted a few beautiful items on Vestiair Collective but I've never tried anything from the brand so I'm reluctant to just order online...

  6. What a great and informative post! Nice to see you back online.

    1. It's so nice of you to take the time to write such kind words! Thanks Arbora!

  7. ooo, Aïssa! loved this one. i think style evolution is so fascinating; there are always little pieces of the past that linger on even in present-day outfits as we edge toward a more fleshed out identity. i have to say that i love the jumpsuit! there is something about a jumpsuit or dress that is just wonderful--the ease of one major piece, and then out the door! i still think it fits with you present-day aesthetic. i also like to hear that you wore some pieces completely out, and that they lasted so long for you.

    summer style is tricky for me. i am far more vested in fall styles and pieces, so i tend to wear more wax and cotton during warmer months. i am with you on the shorts, though! i only wear them for exercise or around the house. haven't quite found a pair that feels sophisticated/age-appropriate enough. though i must admit, i have never really spent the time to look since they don't totally appeal to me.

    1. So glad you appreciated this post Jade!

      Isn't it funny how memories of what we like are so powerful as well and creep more or less consciously in the most random activities like the way we dress? I have on occasion vivid fashbacks of styles, colors that made such an impression on me as a kid or on special circumstances like travels that still influence my present days tastes: like early memories of chosing fabrics and going to the tailor in Africa or the pics of my mom in her twenties in the late 70's.

      I also share your focus on shopping for fall/winter, since cold/bad weather is a given (I'm guessing even more so in Chicago!) rather than summer which can be nonexistent in Paris! Which may explain why some items can last so long! Haha!