Hey y’all! It has been a crazy crazy last couple weeks! I’ve really wanted to post some outfits, but my main photographer has had a nasty cold and I just couldn’t drag her out of bed to grab some shots…. and now I have the lovely bug and I’m considering doing a post on 5 reasons why every girl needs a pair of Nike track pants… #1 being so you can look decent while laying around on a Tuesday swallowing garlic cloves every few hours. 😉

Instead of a classy post like that, today I’m going to share “5 Fall Outfits I Blogged and Now Wonder WHY” because in the time I haven’t been blogging recently, I’ve been watching documentaries, reading books, listening to lectures, and talking to friends about good art, beauty, identity, math, and excellence– and how they should not be compartmentalized in our lives as Christians.

There are elements and principles of design that should be followed in our wardrobes with similar attitude as when composing a piece of music or planning brushstrokes for a work of art. Obviously, our outfit of the day will not have the lasting impact or significance as The Last Supper by Di Vinci, (thank goodness) but because “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence”, (1 Peter 1:3, emphasis mine) we should use the fundamentals of aesthetics to evaluate our outward adornment. Elements of design are pieced together to create principles of design in good art.

Here are the 3 elements of design I’m focusing on learning currently (definitions from ArtsEdge website):

  • Line is the most basic building block of formal analysis. Line can be used to create more complex shapes or to lead your eye from one area in the composition to another.
  • Color differentiates and defines lines, shapes, forms, and space. 
  • Texture is the surface quality that can be seen and felt. Textures can be rough or smooth, soft or hard. 

And the 3 principles of design:

  • Balance is created in a work of art when textures, colors, forms, or shapes are combined harmoniously.
  • Emphasis is created in a work of art when the artist contrasts colors, textures, or shapes to direct your viewing towards a particular part of the image.
  • Unity is created when the principles of analysis are present in a composition and in harmony. Some images have a complete sense of unity, while some artists deliberately avoid formal unity to create feelings of tension and anxiety.

Now, to evaluate some fall outfits I have blogged over the years and now realize were not well done.

Line: The top’s tuckage and the skirt’s fly bring your attention to the widest, most awkward part of the outfit: the hips. So very bad.
Color: The monochromatic color scheme of the outfit is fine and harmonious, but (and maybe this is just the lighting of the picture or the contrast of the wall behind) the gold shirt detail really clashes with the bleached highlights of my hair that year. 

Texture: The texture of the light knit shirt and cargo denim skirt go fine together, but the skirt obviously didn’t wear well because of all the wrinkles which are distracting and messy.

Balance: The balance is off due to the awkward lines and distracting textures of the outfit combo.
Emphasis: Certainly not on the face where it should be!
Unity: Theoretically this should have been a fine outfit, but when even one element of design is off (line), it ruins the whole thing!

Line: Top-half is fine, bottom half… fluffy then chicken bone ankles. Not good. 
Color: This shade of lime green with burnt orange is very jarring. It’s confident, but not cohesive. 

Texture: The texture of the shirt does go with the skirt, but the skirt is just a bad look due to the wrinkles and odd gathering.

Balance:  The balance is fine, because the skirt has a little more weight to it than the shirt, keeping the proportions okay.
Emphasis: Because my hair is down and I have some braids to add texture, I think your eye is drawn to my face… but just barely.
Unity: Due to the lines, colors, and textures, this outfit just is not excellent.

Line: The shawl’s angled hem combined with the long gored skirt does create a flattering line.
Color: Orange and brown are great colors together, but the pink shirt underneath totally throws the whole look. 

Texture: Linen is a great fabric to go with knitted shawls as it goes with the easy breezy feel. The feather earrings also go with the look.

Balance:  Due to the see-through shawl, the hip line isn’t destroyed by the scarf, but the v-neck t-shirt underneath is just confusing.
Emphasis: If the undershirt was a color that blended, it would drive the eye towards my face. But as it is, the emphasis goes towards the tight shirt and dark tank under the shawl.
Unity: One distracting point of an outfit can ruin the whole look. 😛

Line: Okay-ish. The proportions are right, but the contrasting colors definitely break up the eye-line.
Color: Whyyyyyy that orange? Way too obnoxious to be paired with muted gray and given as much space as the black. Bright colors should be in pops, not large percentages. 

Texture: Eh, not going to complain about the textures except to point out again how bad wrinkles are.

Balance:  The colors definitely throw off the balance of this outfit.
Emphasis: The v-neck and large hair-bow help draw the eye to my face, even with the distracting skirt lol.
Unity: Overall, the outfit’s not that bad. But it’s not good either– and I’m striving for great.

Line: Just bleh. Those sleeves are not flattering on my skinny arms and the jeans are ill-fitting.
Color: Lavender was a fun color for a while, but did not blend with my red hair or brown purse. 

Texture: Corduroy and knit goes great together. Corduroy badly stretched out is a terrible look though.

Balance:  The shirt’s print gives more “weight” to the top of the outfit, but the length of the shirt cuts at an awkward length.
Emphasis: The first thing I see when I look at the image is a poorly defined midsection. O.o
Unity: Of the 5 outfits I’ve evaluated today, this is the most unified, just working with weird pieces.

The purpose of this exercise was to train my eye to evaluate my own clothing based on objective concepts so that in the future I can better combine for a cohesive, excellent looks.
I do remember WHY I chose to wear and blog these outfits, but my thinking has shifted and I disagree with my past self that those were good reasons lol. I’m not “being hard on myself” just acknowledging that growth and learning should always be happening. 🙂 
So, I realize not everyone has the advantage of 5 years of their outfits being documented to help evaluate, but how do you think you can apply these elements and principles into your daily dressing? 

21 thoughts on “5 Fall Outfits I Blogged And Now Wonder WHY”

  1. Great post! This really helps me to understand what elements to look for in an outfit. Reevaluations often prove fruitful! Thank you for sharing your progress. May God Bless your week!
    ~ Sarah


  2. Olivia, thank you for putting into words what I look in the mirror and say just something isn't right with this outfit. Now I know what to look for. I will make better choices. Yeah! Blessings Stephanie Means

    1. I know what you mean! It doesn't *feel right*… but why? 🙂 I love it when tutorials or posts like these confirm my feelings, but with a solid explanation at last!


  3. Love this post! 🙂 It's been fun to see your style evolve over several years of following this blog, and it's very helpful to learn about the science behind what does and doesn't work.

  4. Very interesting (in a good way) post! Those are questions I never have asked myself that I probably should….
    Since I began reading your blog, I have been more interested in modest fashion and trying to put together outfits that look neater, cuter, and more decorated. I have been trying to expand my style and trying new clothing choices and colors I never have tried, which has been an adventure! I've always liked the look of shawls, so I was wondering how exactly you would style a shawl for everyday clothing, in different seasons as well. Perhaps you could do a post on that if you have time (and have some shawls too!) 🙂
    Thanks so much for blogging! Your blog is one of my favorites! 🙂

  5. I love the hair on number 4. Yes, wrinkles are one of the most distracting parts of these pictures. I like the poncho and long skirt but the pink undershirt doesn't really go – otherwise it's great. I've been thinking that I wish I had pictures of me in my outfits because on the occasional picture I do have, I can see if the outfit is flattering better than I can by just looking in the mirror. I do not think I am attractive enough or have stylish enough outfits for a blog, but maybe I should do a project of taking pictures of myself in some outfits.

    1. I identified with your final comment about not being a {fashion blog} model… the reality for many of us girls. Our beauty is just really really well-hidden! Others must come to know us before they see it. 🙂

      Much love to you, my beautiful sister in Christ!

  6. Love the post Olivia! I've never really gave that alot of thought….But now I will! One print that Im not super big on is cheetah print! I have a dress from Dots that a friend gave me the top half is that print and the rest is black its actually very cute! Thats the ONLY piece of clothing that is cheetah print! Its just not me! Lol Im more Elegant/ Modest/Modern kind-of Style! Thanks for the Post!

    In Christ


  7. *smile* I'm 43 years old and NOT a blogger – fashion or otherwise. But I have only just recently had a bunch of a-ha! moments about line, and creating a slim and cohesive look: colors that look good on me (reading a bunch of blogs and books and _finally_ stumbling across the "right" ones for me!). You "got it" way earlier than me.;-)
    Take care,

  8. This is a great post. The #1 thing that I will take from this is asking myself whether or not an outfit draws attention to or emphasizes my face. Thanks! -Ellen

  9. I like the idea of this post. Would you consider doing a follow-up post on how you would change and modify these outfits to make them work?

  10. Oh my goodness, I applaud your courage in going back and analyzing old outfits! Most of the time I'm cringing too hard at outfits I wore a few years to think constructively and critically about them.

    I think the purple jeans are fine with a smock shaped tunic, but it's definitely a waste of your lovely small waist! 🙂 go fitted all the way!

    great post, but I kind of felt you were getting harder on yourself as you went along lol. I wanted to tell you to go easy on yourself!

    Anyway, I look forward to seeing what future outfits you put together based on your self-reflection.

    ~Esther of Oz

  11. This post makes me feel a lot better about my poor fashion choices. Thanks for being so open and honest! I've been wanting to learn about the element and principles of design myself. It's great that you have it all here in one place! You've inspired me to go and create better outfits! 🙂

  12. Loved the poncho outfit aside from the undershirt! I also like the orange skirt outfit except for the black tights. If you had used gray tights for example, would it be better?


  13. Hi Olivia!
    I just want to say that the last outfit with the lavender pants is what drew me to your blog. It was, and still is refreshing to see that concealed carry can be feminine and cute.

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