I take a picture of myself almost every single day. I started doing it over a year ago, mostly for Instagram, but I kept at it even when I left social media in December. I post some of the photos here, but the majority of them I keep for myself. One of the main reasons I take a daily photo is to have a historical record of my style evolution over time – I guess when I started doing this I had enough blind faith in myself to believe that there would be some sort of evolution and that my outfits would actually improve.
It turns out I was pretty on the nose with that prediction. I like to look back at photos I took exactly one year before, and when I did that on Tuesday, I had to laugh – I was wearing nearly the exact same outfit in both pictures.
The photo above is what I was wearing on Tuesday. The photo below is what I was wearing on the same day in 2018.
It’s clear from looking at both of these photos that some of my preferences haven’t changed. I love a slim black pant, a white shirt, and a green jacket. I’m happy to say that all of the items pictured in the “before” photo are still things I love and continue to wear today. I still love a good mirror selfie, even though I no longer take pictures in my office bathroom.
In the year since taking that office bathroom photo, though, I’ve learned a few things. My 2018 outfit is pretty sloppy, especially for work. When I look at this picture, my eyes go right to my wrinkled shirt, and my memory goes to how uncomfortable it was to wear a wool coat over a linen-blend drop-sleeve shirt in the heat of early October. You can’t really tell from this picture, but if I lifted my arms above my head in this outfit, I showed quite a bit of skin. I was uncomfortable all day. While individually all those garments are beautiful and wearable in their own right, together, they didn’t quite mesh.
I figured out transitional-season layering this year by focusing on clean lines and breathable fabrics. A sleeveless silk shell under an oversized blazer (probably polyester although I can’t be sure since I bought it at Goodwill) makes for a better combo when the morning is cool and the afternoon is sweltering. The sandals also helped to keep things cool and balanced out the more formal looking top. Obviously the blonde hair was a considerable game changer – I never felt confident as a brunette and the change made a really big difference in my overall self-esteem.
I don’t think that I’m a perfect dresser at this point – I still have major imposter syndrome when I tell people I write a fashion blog – but I can see that making a conscious effort to improve my style over time has paid off. The mornings that I cry in front of my closet are few and far between. When I go to work every day, I feel like a professional. That wasn’t the case for me when I took that photo in 2018. I probably did cry that morning, and I know that I felt self-conscious about my outfit the entire time I was wearing it. If you’re at the beginning of a personal style journey yourself, I recommend taking a picture every day. Seeing your progress after a year might really surprise you.
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