Anatomy Of An Outfit

Thanks so much for all your great suggestions on Monday. You ladies are the best. Today, I want to do a postmortem on two outfits I wore over the holidays. I’m going to explain what I observe and why I prefer one look over the other…on me, for me.fashion blogger jennifer of a well styled life wearign talbots velvet jacket and red cords

What doesn’t work for me in this outfit

As I look back at this outfit it has a distinct “toy soldier” vibe to me. I prefer a more elegant look. I love the gold buttons on this quilted velvet jacket but they needed to be considered as a piece of jewelry. My necklace and earrings are enough detail for me here so the pin is overkill.

I love a great white shirt…but not here because it chops up the outfit. The color has too much contrast and the cuffs make my arms look short.black and red outfit from talbots worn by jennifer of a well styled lfie

I love these loafers but not with this outfit. Seeing a part of my foot between the shoe and pants adds enough extra busyness to make this outfit not work for me. The jacket is quilted, the corduroy pants have a raised wale and the shoes have a velvet nap which is too much texture for my style.

What works about this outfit

I’m smaller above my waist than below. Bright red pants enlarge the look of my bottom half and the black jacket makes my top half look smaller. It provides balance.

The next time I wore this jacket and pants I streamlined the look.fashion blogger jennifer connolly of a well styled life modeling black jaket over red pants

I skipped the loafers and wore smooth black boots that tucked under the pant leg so no ankle showed. Next, I swapped the white shirt for a smooth black turtleneck. These are the same hoop earrings but I skipped the necklace and pin. I am much happier with this look because there are fewer details grabbing the eye.fashion blogger jennifer of a well styled life comparing two outfits side by side

In this side-by-side picture you can see that even though my shoes and boots have the same 1″ heel, I look a bit taller in the image on the right. Yes, I’m having a better hair day on the right too:)

I hope you found this postmortem entertaining.

I’d love to hear your feedback.




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  1. amy
    January 3, 2021 / 8:22 am

    Love, love love the anatomy of an outfit!!!

  2. Suzanne
    January 3, 2021 / 7:24 am

    This is the best post ever! You could do this week after week, and compare a “sort of ‘OK’ look” with a side by side comparision of a ‘Wow’ look that you simply tweaked. This is what I need: Visuals, and your provided them in this post. Would love to see you do the same with ‘pants leg lengths’, and perhaps one on “skirt’ lengths and the kind of tops/blouses/blazers that are best suited to a particular type of skirt. Then, add the shoes to the look, also…. Visually seeing the difference, side by side, is a terrific teaching tool. Thank you very much for this terrific post

    • Jennifer
      January 3, 2021 / 3:58 pm

      Great ideas! Thanks, Suzanne!

  3. Susan
    January 3, 2021 / 4:31 am

    I love the second outfit too! Have you considered playing around with shoe color too? My eyes are drawn to the black shoe contrasting with the red pants. Great post!

  4. Barb 🇨🇦
    December 31, 2020 / 6:50 am

    As with many commenters, I love this article. I am same body type and would wear second outfit for all the reasons you said. The white at neck brings too much “up” for me. By doing these articles, you show us that fashion is a lot of tweaking, even when you know what you are doing…and I don’t…well am learning. Happy New year!

    • Jennifer
      December 31, 2020 / 8:50 pm

      Happy New Year

  5. Sandy A.
    December 31, 2020 / 4:36 am

    I have been reading your blog for several years. This is my favorite post you’ve ever done. I love the side by side and the “why” of both pictures. Please consider putting together outfits that don’t work on purpose. While I enjoy the “would you wear it” posts, this is far more helpful. Great job.

    • Julie Traxler
      December 31, 2020 / 6:10 pm

      I agree!

  6. Barbara
    December 30, 2020 / 11:40 pm

    Great post and so informative! More like this would be very helpful. Thank you for sharing your expertise.

  7. Nancy
    December 30, 2020 / 10:20 pm

    This post was excellent! Your detailed analysis was very helpful.
    Thanks for being open, honest and real on this blog.

    On a completely different subject, I bought the SMEG tea kettle you featured a while back and just love it. I bought it in the cream colour.

  8. Evelyn bailey
    December 30, 2020 / 8:22 pm

    This was so helpful! I hope this becomes a regular feature. Side by side always helps! Thanks! Happy new year!

  9. Gayle Murphy
    December 30, 2020 / 6:50 pm

    Well, in case you need one more vote, may I add mine to say that this side-by-side lesson is terrific. And while I do enjoy the Would You Wear It? segments, this is far more helpful. Far more. All the best to you and yours for 2021. It has to be better

  10. Lee
    December 30, 2020 / 5:30 pm

    This was really helpful—thank you! Seeing the pictures with your explanations made me “get” it. I agree with everyone else & would love more posts like this.

  11. Treva
    December 30, 2020 / 5:15 pm

    Great post and hope it becomes a regular feature on the blog. Looking at both pictures side by side I agree that picture 2 is the most appealing but it’s “the why” that would stump me. Love how you explained what wasn’t working and why. On another note, I must thank you for your post featuring the Nordgreen watches. My husband gifted me with the Native watch for Christmas and I love it!

    • Kay
      December 30, 2020 / 6:50 pm

      You should keep him!

  12. Yvonne
    December 30, 2020 / 5:03 pm

    Great post! Interesting that when we look in the mirror, an outfit may look fine, but when we see it in a photo, we see what doesn’t work.
    Happy New Year to all.

  13. Nancy
    December 30, 2020 / 4:23 pm

    Love the side -by-side and the post mortem. I could see the first was a little off, but don’t always intuit why. Thanks.

  14. Sheila
    December 30, 2020 / 3:26 pm

    Love this post & how it explains what does & does not work for you. Hope it will help me to be more discerning when I look in the mirror. Thank you & Happy Holidays to you..

  15. Cottontail10
    December 30, 2020 / 2:29 pm

    Great way to work an outfit and look at what works. Being short waisted I too do not like a lot of material up top it feels too confining.
    Thank you for the inspirations.

  16. Terry
    December 30, 2020 / 2:02 pm

    Great anatomy lesson, Jennifer! I echo other’s sentiments…please make this a regular feature. Very enlightening.

  17. Lin
    December 30, 2020 / 1:41 pm

    First of all “Happy 2021 (Please God ) to you and your beautiful family.
    Loved your picture on the right.
    It made you look taller but, gorgeous, you beautiful lady.
    Did not put my two cents in about Monday’s post.
    Love the gray and yellow combo, but I would have to wear it with black or charcoal so I would not look 👀 like I was being laid out in a funeral home.

  18. Christine
    December 30, 2020 / 1:19 pm

    Love the then & now looks. I’m glad you said “tin soldier” because we’re supposed to be nice in this forum, so I found myself laughing with you and not at you 🙂
    \When I wear bold pieces (your jacket with jewelry buttons and strong statement red pants), I tone it down everywhere else, in color and details.
    Ditching the collar and cuffs, even on a plain shirt, then going monochrome with a black turtleneck is a huge improvement. Deleting the skin at your feet and continuing the black with sleek leather boots further tones it down.
    I find bold colors like red and fushcia (I don’t wear) and cobalt blue and chartreuse (I do wear) work best when everything else is simple and sleek, like a background.
    Happy New Year!!!!

  19. Jane
    December 30, 2020 / 1:12 pm

    That is so illuminating! Thank you!

  20. Robyn Lloyd
    December 30, 2020 / 1:06 pm

    I also love this post.
    It made me realise why sometimes my outfits just feel uncomfortable and other times im happy with my clothes. I’d like to see more post like this one. Wishing you a happy and healthy New year.

  21. Penelope
    December 30, 2020 / 1:01 pm

    Yes! I totally agree with your assessment and appreciate your explaining why.
    They are all little details but they do matter. You look younger and more carefree in the dialed back version too.

  22. Dianne🇨🇦
    December 30, 2020 / 12:22 pm

    Love this post!
    Please make this idea a regular part of your great blog.
    I have bought coloured pants in the past & end up not wearing them.
    You helped sort out why I look in the mirror & wonder why this is just not right.

    Happy New Year🥂

  23. Sharon Maybaum
    December 30, 2020 / 12:15 pm

    What a great dissection of the two outfits. I agree with your assesment and would not have figured it out on my own. It would love it if you did this on a regular basis. Happy Holidays!

  24. Pat
    December 30, 2020 / 11:58 am

    Great post! The analysis outlines the points to look for in analyzing a look. The “toy soldier” comment was an ah-hah for me – sometimes an outfit that should works feels like a costume and not me. It is important to think about why.

    In evaluating my wardrobe, I noted I have several button-front shirts and blouses I felt I did not wear much. I purchased a white V-neck vest that is longer and a bit oversized. It goes with all the blouses so I am now wearing these several times a week with slacks for work and jeans or leggings for casual looks. I promptly purchased the same vest in black. It feels like me – more so than tucked in and worn with a cardigan or blazer.

  25. Canadian Elizabeth
    December 30, 2020 / 11:55 am

    This is a real fashion workshop and I learned so much. I agree with Lisa, below, about preferring this type of approach instead of Would You Wear It. It reminds me of a blog you did about the, hope I’m correct, percentage of accessories to wear or not.
    If you didn’t want to wear black booties, you could wear the velvet shoes with black opaque stockings or knee highs.
    Thanks for this super enjoyable post, Jennifer!

  26. Donna Maurer
    December 30, 2020 / 11:46 am

    Love this post ! Very enlightening. More,more,more.

  27. Bea
    December 30, 2020 / 11:42 am

    Jennifer, I am late to making a comment, so I won’t repeat all that has been said except to say yes to this type of post! I enjoyed reading your remarks and viewing the two looks you presented. As for me, I could never wear red pants (you look great in them!). My hips are too big, and I prefer not to call attention to them. Perhaps I would reverse the colors with the reds on top and the blacks on the bottom. Thanks again and happy new year!

  28. Sandra Grogan
    December 30, 2020 / 11:40 am

    I agree with your assessment & prefer the 2nd outfit. I also believe “less is more”. Thank you for this post, & I look forward to more of the same. Happy New Year!

  29. Holly
    December 30, 2020 / 11:35 am

    Love this post and hope you will make it a permanent feature.
    I am in total agreement with your choice. The outfit on the left is OK, but the right knocks it out of the park!
    Happy New Year!

  30. Linda Mitchell
    December 30, 2020 / 11:31 am

    Great post but wait…what? we’re not supposed to show contrasting cuffs out of cardigans and jackets ? I missed that memo but have to agree look is more flattering.

  31. Sheryl
    December 30, 2020 / 11:24 am

    Great post! Very helpful, in that sometimes we look in the mirror and don’t like what we see, but don’t know exactly why.

    • Diane
      December 30, 2020 / 7:21 pm

      This has been a very helpful post!

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