Summer 2018 Season Assessment

It’s cooling off in Austin—it’s 80-90°F, instead of 100°F! It might not be time for sweaters and jackets yet, but I’ve started to bring out some fall vibes in my wardrobe. In autumn, my color palette deepens, and I usually change up the shoes and silhouettes I wear most often.

At the end of August I did a little closet shuffle, which means it's a perfect time to do an end-of-season assessment.

I started doing end-of-season assessments after Lee from Stylebee posted about her Winter assessment last year. I found at the beginning of a new season, I was eager to shop, but never really remembered what I liked or disliked about my wardrobe from that time last year. Writing down how my clothes served me each season—at the end of the season, when it was fresh in my mind—helps me make better purchases... or no purchases at all!

For me, a seasonal assessment looks like this:

1) Look back at last year and goals for the season

2) What worked and didn't

3) Create a wishlist and plan for next year

Last summer…

First, I looked back at my notes from last summer’s assessment. My top three notes were:

  1. No good shorts options
  2. Unsure how to style skirts/dresses
  3. Tops were serviceable if “uninspired”

The biggest complaint I had in my wardrobe last summer was that I was missing good shorts that fit. All the shorts I had felt restricting and uncomfortable, or just too short. I either felt constricted, or exposed. I wrote, “I know that dresses or skirts are typically the non-shorts option but it’s not yet really my style.” My plan was to try for some looser shorts like the Elizabeth Suzann Clyde or Florence shorts, or some lightweight pant and jumpsuit options.

I also noted that because I now have a commute where I drive (previously I was walking or biking to work), I may choose to wear pants and denim more. When you’re biking to work in 100 degree weather, you really want shorts!

As for tops, I wrote that my shirt selection was “doing okay”. I have a good selection of weather appropriate options that don’t wrinkle or show sweat, even though sometimes they felt “uninspired.”

This Summer

So how did my wardrobe work for me this summer? I'd give it an 8 out of 10.

My body changed a lot at the beginning of this year—I was working extra hard in the gym, and I gained some muscle, and got a little bit leaner. Because of that, many of my faves from last summer fit differently—or not at all. I felt pretty limited! I didn’t want to acquire too many new items, but I also didn’t have very many options. Not that I'm complaining—I'm super proud of my hard work and how strong I got!

Summer Style Goals

This summer, I wanted to focus on using some of the items I didn't often wear in the summer, and styling a lighter color palette. This made me focus on what I did have, instead of shopping, and work on making new combinations.

  • A light, tonal color palette
  • Below-the-knee midi length, especially skirts
  • Styling black or darker colors in the summer

I definitely started wearing jeans more. When you are only outside for a few minutes between the car and buildings, and the AC is set to “arctic circle,” jeans aren’t so bad. Mid-summer, I started walking/biking to my downtown office 1 or 2 days a week, so I found a good balance in summery shorts outfits and jeans days.

My body changes meant that some of my shorts that felt uncomfortable and tight last summer actually fit... but most of them were too big in the waist. For a while, I had a single pair of pants and one pair of sporty drawstring shorts that fit!

That gap of time where things didn’t fit actually helped me figure out how to wear skirts, though, which ended up being a good challenge. A breakthrough for me was discovering how much I like a very specific midi length, just below the knee. It feels womanly and soft and a little elegant, but I also like that I can dress it up or down with different shoes.

I did acquire some new shorts options. I’ve been surprisingly happy with these olive paper bag waist shorts, because that was not a silhouette I’d ever liked before. Goes to show you should try things on sometimes, even if you’re unconvinced!

Not all my bottom acquisitions were worth it. I got a secondhand pair of Elizabeth Suzann Clyde shorts—actually, twice, since the first pair in cotton were way too small!—but even in the right size I disliked the silhouette on me. Alas, they're beautiful, but not for me.

As I get older I’m discovering that I prefer to feel a bit more dressed up than shorts now feel. Relatedly, I didn’t wear either of my two shorts rompers, not even once! Wondering if I’m just shifting away from shorts altogether.

What I Loved

Most and Least Worn Items

Elizabeth Suzann Linn tee

A lifesaver in the heat, this is loose and breezy, but still put together. link, sustainably made in the US

Aritzia olive paper bag waist shorts

A surprise hit. Even more surprising is how much I liked it with a voluminous top like my Linn tee. link, not ethical looking for ethical shorts? Lo at capsule-closet put together a great roundup!

Aritzia green crinkle culottes

A soft, comfy but very lightweight pair of pants that became a regular wardrobe star, since they worked perfectly outside in the heat or in the office. link, not ethical

DL1961 blush cropped denim jacket

At the beginning of the season, I got a ton of wear out of this lightweight cropped jacket. It was a fun springy color that still kept me warm—but not too warm—on chilly mornings. link, responsible; similar, sustainably made

Rachel Comey Bismark jeans

While black jeans haven’t been a staple in my wardrobe (black in Austin summers feels so oppressive!), these have a soft wash and a great shape that I am really enjoying. Plus, office arctic AC. Jeans weren’t on my summer wishlist, but for a majority of the spring and early summer, I had no pants that fit and I was cold at work, so when I stumbled on these it was a no-brainer.  link, ethical in grey

Some things I didn’t get a lot of wear out of?

A pair of distressed denim cutoffs; a couple tank tops in bright colors or with spaghetti straps that just don’t feel like me anymore. My two rompers.

Successful Looks

Some of my standout favorites from the summer were surprises. Keeping a daily outfit log helps me note when I have an outfit I really like. That makes it easy to repeat outfits on uninspired mornings, too.

A light, tonal color palette

One of my goals was to style some lighter combinations. My Georgia tee featured pretty heavily in these lighter looks!

Styling black or darker colors in the summer

I have a lot of dark, deep colors, and plenty of black. I wanted to find ways to wear them that didn't feel as oppressive as head-to-toe black in 100°F degree weather! Some sporty touches and accessories like my trusty bandana helped a lot with these looks.

Surprise faves!

These don’t fit into any of those categories, but I loved these outfits anyway! These were by far my most colorful outfits, and some of the most stylistically different. That royal blue Miranda Bennett dress link, black, ethical/sustainable is amazing—with sneakers! And of course I couldn't resist pairing my western booties with a bandana and hat.

Next summer — and this fall!

Like Lee does, I like having a wishlist at the end of the season when (as she says) “my options are fresh in my mind.” I’m picky about my summer clothes, because I hate being wrinkled, sweaty, or disheveled. That means a lot of things that I like the look of don’t work for me in real life: cotton tees, strappy heels, fitted shorts. When it's hot, loose and breezy natural fabrics are the way to go.

Honestly, my summer wardrobe feels pretty set. I don’t have a concise wishlist for next summer. Most of the things on this list are just out of desire, not to fill a real wardrobe gap. Here’s a few things I’d probably get a lot of use out of:

A nice black slide sandal

Flip flops feel way too casual, I don’t wear ballet flats, and have been wearing heels less often to work. My Birkenstocks are comfy, but they don’t really work for a nicer outfit, and all my other black shoes are closed-toe. I really liked these slides by Beek—and they donate to eliminate childhood hunger.

A slit, silky midi skirt

I was keeping my eye out for a silky midi skirt, as they’ve been popping up all season. I didn’t find one that I really liked—why are they all leopard print?—and I wasn’t ready to jump on that trend immediately. We’ll see if I still am feeling this look next spring/summer. (The one pictured is a regular designer brand, and it's of course sold out. Looking for an ethical one!)

Soft peg or culotte pants, in either black or light colors

I sold a pair of slinky black culottes (like these babies from AYR) this summer that no longer fit me. They weren’t quite right—easily wrinkled, and too big. I miss them in my wardrobe, though. I’d get a lot of use out of them. My green culottes were a favorite too, so some lighter, summery colors would be a great addition.

I tentatively put the Jamie + the Jones wide leg raw silk pant on my wishlist after Lee featured them. I'm curious how the raw silk will hold up in a pant. I've also heard great things about the Vetta Capsule tapered pant. That textured fabric looks gorgeous.

Not too bad—I can't think of many things I really need, and now that some of my favorite items are back from the tailor, I feel pretty prepared for next summer!

Transition to fall

Because of the heat, a lot of my summer pieces are sticking around for fall. My Elizabeth Suzann tees are a year-round favorite, and I’ll be wearing a lot of my skirts and dresses through the winter, too.

Mostly what’s going away are color palette shifts: swapping blush for burgundy and red, putting away a few lighter fabrics and getting out some heavier (ok, mid-) weight, more textural fabrics. It won't be sweater season til January here, but I've got some items I'm really excited about for fall!

Did you do a summer assessment? What’s changing in your wardrobe to transition to fall?