It’s that time of year, you guys! Just two sleeps til Christmas. And, just eight sleeps til the new year. 2016 is coming to a close; 2017 is just around the corner.
I’m about to sign off for my holiday break — time for family hang-outs, lots of chai tea, and PJs all day. But before I do, how about if we reflect a little on this year here at Unfancy?
In this post, we’ll chat:
- the single greatest thing I learned about my style in 2016
- 2 things I learned about blogging in 2016
- best of: outfits 2016
- best of: blog posts 2016
- and a quick look forward to 2017
Get yourself a cup o’ hot chocolate and settle in — this is a long one! (Oh, and here’s a Christmas playlist while you read!)
THE SINGLE GREATEST THING I LEARNED ABOUT MY STYLE IN 2016
DRESS FOR REAL LIFE, NOT THE FANTASY
Another way of saying this:
Instead of letting Pinterest or Instagram set the expectation, enjoy what is. For me, that looked like tuning in to my day to day lifestyle and the climate where I live — instead of tuning in to the fantasy.
First, I let go of fantasy fall — that Pinterest-propagated idea that once September hits, I should be wrapped up in cozy sweaters, scarves, and boots. Note: September in Texas is still 90 degrees. So … you do the math. But instead of wishing it away for sweater weather, I could engage with it and enjoy those extra days of shorts and swimming weather.
Then, a little bit later, I let go of fantasy holidays — that feeling that I should stock up on party outfits because, tis the season! But I had zero fancy events to attend this year. So … no need for that embellished maxi dress, and no need to spend any more time or energy thinking about it. Instead, I could divert that time + energy to things that bring me joy.
So, all in all, when I’m present with my real life — instead of the fantasy — regrettable purchases decrease, wardrobe clutter decreases, and my closet grows even more useful.
And bonus: I’m happier and more content in general. Pretty cool.
I can’t wait to keep practicing this one into 2017. If I could recommend one wardrobe goal for you to try in 2017, this would be it.
And, shameless plug here: my free printable wardrobe planner is a great place to get started. :)
2 THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT BLOGGING IN 2016
1 / NO MORE FREEBIES
Earlier in my blogging days, I took a hard and fast stance against freebies, because they didn’t align with my vision for Unfancy.
In 2016, however, I wanted to shift my focus to featuring more responsible brands. So I thought, “Hey, the goal is to show people more responsible brands, and freebies will help me do that. So, yes to responsible freebies.”
But even though the motive was a good one, here at the end of the year, I’m calling it: freebies still aren’t a good fit for Unfancy. It was a try, a fail, and how fascinating! :)
I think it’s infinitely more helpful + interesting to see what someone buys with their own money.
It also helps me keep my wardrobe smaller and more intentional.
Now, you’ll still see old freebies listed as “gifted by” in the credits. And, honestly, I’m trying to shed my black-and-white, either-or nature, so there may come a time when I do take a freebie.
But overall, my guideline is no more freebies. Feels good.
2 / TRY CAPSULES ANOTHER WAY
Alright, I have to laugh at this one. The Style Series — AKA this year’s attempt at a new approach to capsules — was a flop in my opinion.
Sure, I liked parts of it, like setting a goal or two for my wardrobe each season. But the rest of it was just … less helpful than I wanted it to be.
So I’m saying bye to that series.
In it’s place, I’d like to come up with some sort of seasonal capsule post, like I used to do. The thing is, I don’t want it to be so rigid — like it used to be, when I was all, “These are the only 37 pieces I’m wearing for exactly 90 days no matter what.”
Again, trying to shed my black-and-white, either-or tendencies. Are you sensing a trend? :)
Anyway, my best idea right now is to post a loose capsule at the beginning of each season, and then do an update or two during that season, so we can talk about what’s working, what’s not, and any pieces I’ve added or subtracted along the way to make it more useful. That way, it’s more dynamic and “real life”.
I don’t have it completely figured out yet, so I’m 100% open to your ideas here. What would you like to see from a fluid, less structured capsule post? I would love to hear your thoughts on what would be the most helpful for you.
BEST OF: OUTFITS 2016
From left to right:
One: There’s something so casual and cool about this outfit. Also, looking at it makes me realize that I miss my clogs. I still haven’t pulled the trigger on cold weather clogs because they are such an investment. But maybe one day.
Two: Sure, there are plenty of ways to style overalls, but to me, this is the way to do it: with a tank top and clogs. Can’t wait to wear it again come spring.
Three: Who wins MVP of my whole closet? This black silk dress! I wore this particular boho-minimalist look to my sis-in-law’s baby shower.
From left to right:
One: This is one of those outfits that just matches my everyday lifestyle in Abilene. It’s cozy, easy to wear, and no frills.
Two: Here’s another cozy, no frills outfit, but this hat makes more of a statement and I love it. This was one of my first attempts at adding warmer color into my cold weather wardrobe.
Three: I feel like this is the quintessential “Caroline” outfit of 2016: striped button down, a bandana, and cognac accessories. Ironically, this outfit never made it onto the blog, but here’s a similar version of the outfit.
From left to right:
One: Color! I was getting more and more into color towards the end of the year, and I was so proud of this outfit and it’s understated color palette. If I had to choose a favorite for 2016, this would be it.
Two: No doubt, this was my boldest “statement” outfit of the year, with those dramatic flares and a bit of skin showing. I wore this out for Aaron’s and my 5 year anniversary celebrations.
Three: This was my favorite outfit from my fall 10×10 challenge. It taught me that I love slouchier pieces
BEST OF: BLOG POSTS 2016
Since I’m signing off for a while, let me point you in the direction of the most helpful blog posts from 2016. Who knows, you may even discover a post you missed along the way. Happy exploring!
Posts about capsules:
- My loungewear capsule (and how to build one for yourself)
- Creating (and organizing!) a useful panty drawer
- What it looks like now: my capsule for special occasions
- Free printable wardrobe planner (updated for 2016)
Helpful how-to posts:
- How to shop for clothes online: 5 tips to simplify the process (plus my fav stores that offer free shipping)
- How to wear ankle booties with jeans
- How to wear ankle booties with socks
- Sweater 101: keeping them happy, pill free, and fresh between washes
My favorite packing lists this year:
- No body-con dresses required: a weekend worth of unfancy outfits for Vegas
- What to pack for 4 days in Seattle (in a carry-on)
- Carry-on only: What to pack for the beach
- Nashville: a weekend of outfits + my packing list
And a few other fun posts:
- 10×10 remix with style bee
- All about my hair + makeup + well-being routine
- Two looks: one for my mom + one for me
A LOOK FORWARD TO 2017
In 2017, Unfancy will still have that same outfit-a-day vibe, and I’ll continue to slowly, thoughtfully incorporate more responsible brands into my wardrobe. I’m also excited to get more color in my wardrobe — and figure out how to do it in a less-is-more kind of way. And finally, I’m excited to invite you into my wardrobe in new ways — like exploring a different approach to capsules, sharing videos from my closet, and getting into topics like organization and garment care.
But first up, on January 9th, I’m partnering with my friend, Lee from Style Bee, and doing a second 10×10 remix challenge! Mark your calendars — I can’t wait for this!
Merry Christmas and happy holidays, you guys! I hope you have a delightful time, whatever you’re up to. And, from the warmest place in my heart, thanks for sharing this journey with me this year — I’m so grateful.
See you in 2017! :)