A monotone wardrobe

Happy New Year!

After the excesses of 2022 I’m settling down in 2023 and paying more attention to what I currently have. I hadn’t planned on taking any outfit photos, but for some reason felt compelled to evaluate my outfits. I think I need to document the current state more to look at myself from an outsider perspective and note: this works, that doesn’t.

There seems to be a disconnect between what I think will look good in my head versus the reality of how the outfit looks when I’m dressed. Within this first week alone I’m seeing what I thought was a good idea and realizing I was a bit off the mark when I got dressed.

The photos above are very loud due to using the mirror in my colorful study. I’m being very lazy compared to old outfit photos I’ve taken in the past with my tripod and Sony camera. Unless I spend time fiddling with getting the composition just right I usually end up with something rather lopsided. I’m not very good at taking selfies. If anyone has tips, please let me know.

While all the above outfits aren’t bad, I think my favorite is the second. It’s what I had in mind for myself the most of what I want from my wardrobe and the style I want to exude this year. That being said, I think I have a long ways to go. Ever since the middle of last year I’ve been wanting to wear more mono-tonal outfits. Some contrast is important, but there’s something about monochrome/ monotone outfits that’s really appealing to me.

I know I’m making a gross generalization here, but when I think of middle-aged women (like myself) and older, I see bright colors and bold prints. Several blogs of older women who take outfit photos seem to confirm this – at least from what I’ve found. As I get older though, I don’t want to be loud. I understand how older women generally are treated as “other” beings. It’s the old prejudice that men age like fine wine but women just… disappear. So maybe in some ways it’s a means of being noticed and valued, but in other ways I know it’s more deeply personal so I shouldn’t generalize or make assumptions in that way. In either case, I actually want to be subdued. If I am seen as the disappearing “other” then I’d like to be as ethereal as possible – if that makes sense. Not for others to notice (or not), but for myself. Perhaps that’s just how I feel now and maybe I’ll be joining the ranks of wildly loud prints and outfits in the future.

Even though I was home all week I forced myself to get dressed properly. It was warm this week so I was able to wear lighter clothes. I went out for walks in the neighborhood and took my “new” film camera (Nikon FE) out to a park. I also ran several errands to shops. I admit there is a point of pride now with making sure I’m properly dressed even if I’m going to the grocery store. It’s not about putting on a face for the world, but being respectful of myself. I honestly believe that the more one respects the self then the better one looks. For me, that means putting my best face forward to myself.

I do have a tendency to wear the same outfits – a lot. I can go a full week wearing the same sweater or pants. Depending on the season this can reduce the amount of laundry I do, but also makes getting dressed a bit simpler. I’m not sure how long I’ll keep taking these photos, but for now I’m researching myself to see what’s working and what isn’t.

What changes (if any) are you making to how you look and dress in 2023?


7 thoughts on “A monotone wardrobe”

  1. I love your second and third outfits – that cream cardigan really suits you. I’ve also been making more of an effort to photograph my outfits for the sake of style analysis. Funnily, I find that I feel best in outfits with contrasting shades and elements.


    1. Thank you! I wanted that cardigan since I saw it come out in the summer and finally decided to get it as my last purchase of 2022. Very glad I did because I think it’s sold out now.

      I do like some contrast with outfits, but I think I may leave it at accessories and things like coats and such. It helps ground the outfits a bit. Looking forward to seeing your styled outfits this year!


  2. The first two outfits have such a relaxed feel but also a very specific point of view; the monotone look in particular is great! I never quite feel like I own enough layers to create such a look but now that I live in a place with cold and hot seasons, maybe I’ll eventually experiment in this space.

    I’ve always been drawn to the confidence of people who dare to be simple and “blend in”, so I hear you on the desire for a subdued look – I like that subtle balance of standing out in an non-shouty way.

    After the pandemic, and moving countries, I realised my wardrobe had become really quite unruly. I had to weed out the many pieces that no longer fitted, or were just holdouts from the days where I worked in a semi-business setting. And I had to consider all the basics that had become quite worn in – good enough for most days, but a little shabby when I try to wear them with the stronger, dressier pieces in my wardrobe. I love the look of clothes slowly becoming worn in (my denim pieces are a case in point), but increasingly, I want to make sure they are complemented by things that have a more refined, sharper edge to it. So that’s what I’m working on on the personal style front for 2023.

    (My mirror selfies are pretty terrible because of my hallway lighting, so I have no tips to offer, sadly…)


    1. Thank you! I’m glad the outfits I liked the most also stood out to someone else. The first one was my second favorite. It’s got contrast, but with muted colors. The shirt is actually an old one of my husband’s I accidentally shrunk.

      I think the pandemic made a lot of peoples’ style get whacky and unruly. I definitely fell for the cottage core look for a while and then realized that was completely impractical for my needs.

      It can be so hard to let go of some good old basics, even when they look at little worse for wear for going out. I completely agree about clothes looking worn in. It’s a very comfortable feeling knowing your clothes feel like a “second skin” and still look good despite their age.

      I look forward to seeing your posts in 2023 and how you manage to create the refined edge you mentioned. I think my wardrobe words for 2023 are going to be simple subdued elegance, but that could be wishful thinking on my part since I’m trying to do a No Buy year as well. We’ll see.


  3. I feel like you’ve been missing from my blog aggregator, but I can see you’ve been posting! Anyway, great to see you and your outfit post(s) again. I (also middle-aged, at 44) have been working through my personal style post-kids (who are now 7, 7 and 5) and definitely leaned into a lot of color (compared to my normal preferences) in the last couple of years, but I find myself also moving back towards monochrome/monotone again. I cut out black and gray, and I don’t really miss much black (I have a few pieces left), but I did miss the gray.


    1. Hi, thanks for commenting! I did cut out a lot of black, but may let some back in now. I feel like 4 years ago my entire wardrobe was all black, but now there’s hardly any black in it. I think I know better now than to have black close to my face because it washes me out, but works well for nice contrast outfits.


    2. So sorry that this comment has nothing to do with this post – but what blog aggregator are you using, if you don’t mind? I used to use Bloglovin’, which is essentially kaput, and am on the hunt for a better method than Chrome bookmarks!


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