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Winter Wardrobe Evaluations!

Eternal*Voyageur writes at Venusian*Glow, where she shares DIY skin care experiments, how she got her dream hair and everything about breaking out of the bra matrix. When she’s not blogging she hoop-dances, thrifts and backpacks with two little people. You can also find Eternal*Voyageur on Twitter and Facebook.

We’re all itching to pack away our winter clothes and bring out our spring stuff. But before you do that, now is the best time to make an appraisal of your winter wardrobe, to spot the gaps and take stock. (Antipodes, you can do the same with your summer stuff. Just reverse anything I say about the weather.) BTW if you don’t rotate your seasonal clothes, you should (unless you live in a place that has only one season). There is nothing like a wardrobe that is not cluttered with stuff that you won’t be wearing for many months.

How to do an end-of-season wardrobe appraisal:
First, get out your style diary. Every woman should have one. Just get a pretty notebook with blank pages and put the heading “Winter Wardrobe   11-12.”

Ask yourself, and note your responses:

* What was the biggest challenge getting dressed this winter?
What were the occasions when you were frustrated because you had nothing appropriate to wear? What kind of weather did you find it hardest to dress for? Take notes.

For me it was definitely dressing for special occasions. While I have plenty of glamorous, festive or elegant stuff for the warmer months, I have almost nothing like that for the cold. I mostly got by with the help of thermal inner wear, but it was quite unsatisfying.

* Which wardrobe items did you lack?
Shoes that actually stay dry in melting snow? Camis to layer underneath sweaters? Statement gloves? Write it down.

I definitely missed really warm caps, the kind that shield against even the most piercing wind. I also didn’t have any longer sweaters, all of them were skirt-length (till hip bones) but in this cold I didn’t wear skirts much.

* Which items you have not worn at all this winter?
Put these items in a pile, and if it’s still cold enough, try wearing at least one thing from the pile each day. What doesn’t work for you anymore, just give it away. If you can’t give it away or you’re not sure or the weather is too warm, put it in a bag and label it “not sure”. Store it away with the rest of your winter clothes. When you unpack them next autumn, you can rethink the items.

* What would you like to do differently next winter?
Wear more color? Dress warmer? Experiment with winter accessories?

For me it would be: to make my outer wear more interesting, since that’s what’s most visible, much more than what I actually wear below all those layers. A black parka and gray gloves is what people see, even if I’m wearing the most amazing thing underneath.

* What were your favorite items? What would you like to do more of?
This is just as important (if not more) as noting all the lacks and gaps of your wardrobe. What did you have the most fun with this season? What made you look fab? What was the most comfortable? Write it down big!

I loved my jewel-toned skinny jeans. And my extra large wool scarves. And brooches.

Now, make a shopping list:

On a new page, make a winter wish-list. Look back on your responses to the above questions and make a list of items you need to make dressing next winter more fabulous. You can be as vague or specific as you want. ‘More jewel tones’ is as good as ‘a long green scarf to go with green wool cap.’

Probably you won’t be using this shopping list in a while, since the stores will be full of spring & summer stuff. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll have forgotten what your sweaters even look like when next Autumn comes. You’ll be glad to have your list! Of course, thrifting winter clothes or hunting for them on Ebay in the summer  is a smart move since you’ll have very little competition!

Have fun, and don’t forget to do this each season!

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There Are More Neutrals Than Black

 Eternal*Voyageur writes at Venusian*Glow, where she shares DIY skin care experiments, how she got her dream  hair and everything about breaking out of the bra matrix. When she’s not blogging she hoop-dances, thrifts and  backpacks with two little people. You can also find Eternal*Voyageur on Twitter and Facebook.

Everyone needs a neutral in their wardrobe, but black is by no means an all-rounder. It doesn’t go with all colors, and it doesn’t look good on everyone. It can wash out low-contrast colors, and if worn wrong it can easily look dowdy, and boring instead of chic, and classic. If you have low-contrast skin-hair coloring, chances are that black worn near the face will wash you out.

There are many more neutrals out there. Based on your wardrobe palette and your own coloring, you can choose another color as your neutral. That would be a color that looks good on you (even near your face), and works with most colors in your wardrobe.

Here are some other colors which can be your black:

It actually looks more expensive and sophisticated than black. It is less harsh, thus better for people with less contrast in their face & hair coloring. It shows dirt much less than black does, and doesn’t look faded even if it’s faded. It can be mixed with other shades of gray, or with just about any color. All the images here show a lighter gray, but personally I love charcoal gray, which is a great softer alternative to black.

Did you ever wonder why blue jeans are considered a neutral? That’s because blue goes with almost everything, and looks good on almost everyone. Especially brunettes. The darker navy you choose, the more neutral it is. The dress on the left is a great example of a deep navy shave that is almost black, but has more depth and is more interesting.

Olive green / Khakhi:
For those for whom blue is too strong or too cool, olive or khakhi makes a great neutral. I love this color on cool blondes. Try the warmer tones (with more yellow, like the long coat) as well as the almost grey neutral. I love the way it can go from casual to sophisticated.

It’s the perfect shade of purple that is neither too warm or too cool. It oozes sophistication and chic, even if worn in very casual outfits. It’s not easy to get the shade right, so check the color in daylight before buying.

Brown is a very underestimated color. Lots of people who have been wearing black for ages actually would look better in brown, like this girl. From chestnut to coffee, sienna to caramel, there is so much to choose from. Try cool browns (more reddish) and warm (yellowish), and see how they work with your personal coloring.

Camel and beige
These don’t look good on everyone, but can look very sophisticated when pulled off. The trick is finding just the right shade: experiment around and if all fails, set off with a scarf in a flattering color. Not everyone can wear beiges near the face, but nude shoes are amazing leg lengtheners.

burgundy as a neutral colour

As long as you keep it subdued, this wine colors are extremely versatile. I especially love them on winter accessories. Like aubergine, this color also adds instant sophistication to anything you wear

Whatever rocks your wardrobe
People whose wardrobe is made up of a capsule palette of colors can use a bold color as their neutral. Pink or red could be your neutral if it happens to go with everything you own.

As I was writing this I wondered what made black the most preferable of all these neutrals. And then it struck me: there are many grays, browns and navies, but only one black. Right ? Well, not exactly. If you look closely, a lot of “black” clothes are not really pitch black, but faded to deep shades of gray or brown. Mismatched blacks can look dowdy, while mismatched gray look interesting.

Remember to try on different intensities of these colors, as well as the warmer and cooler versions to see what works for you.

Do you have a favorite ‘new’ neutral? 

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