My Personal Best, 2019

I was a little torn about my subject for this week’s post, because it’s a brand new year. A brand new decade. So, shouldn’t I be looking firmly ahead and writing about the things to come? On the one hand, yes. Absolutely. It’s time to move forward, now more than ever before.

But on the other hand, I feel like this ought to be just as much a time of reflection. We should look back, if for no other reason than to see how far we’ve come.

Just going off of pictures I’ve snapped along the way, here are my highlights of 2019:

I debuted this look in January, and it remains one of my best. The hat is actually sort of old, and I have no idea where I got it, but the crazy thing is, as much as I talk about loving hats, I almost never wear them. Clearly, I need to do better about that. Every time I go for it, it’s a big hit.

The stripy top is actually a bodysuit–currently the only one I own. Essentially, that just means it fastens on like a bathing suit, which means it stays securely tucked into your pants and can’t ride up. Super convenient. I ought to get more. This particular one came from, I believe, Forever 21.

The pants I’m wearing in these pictures don’t fit anymore, but the next time I wore this outfit, it was with my new high-waisted black jeans, which look and feel awesome.

Lastly, I love long necklaces, and you can see how well this one tied the look together.

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You deserve to see the shoes, as well. They were a Christmas present last year, and I don’t see them going out of style anytime soon.

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This look, from February, is in every way subtle and soft. The simple blue sweater I’m wearing is cashmere, and it’s perfectly complemented by that short, delicate necklace. My hair was still very long then, so I had it in my signature side-braid, which covered one ear. Hanging from the other is a small, light blue earring. And of course, you can see that some blue is left in my hair.

Blue is definitely my color.

This outfit is comfortable and relaxed, with just the right amount of polish added by my makeup.

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Another February outfit. If you’ve been with me since the beginning, you may remember the post that I did on “edgy florals.” This is definitely that.

I love that floral sweater to begin with. It’s really unique, and it’s got some edge all on its own. The leather jacket is just the cherry on top.

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One more from February. Apparently, I was on fire that month.

This is just a plain, long-sleeved black shirt, dressed up with a vivid splash of color provided by a purple scarf. I’m also wearing a pink cameo necklace. Lovely lovely lovely.

This is also the first appearance of that almost wing-like style of eyeshadow I’ve adopted. I don’t know what gave me the idea originally, but I think that day I just decided to see what it would be like if I swiped some color up from the corner of my eye to my brow.

The rest is history.

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Here was an interesting experiment. This picture is from March. I remember I was trying to build an outfit around that crystal necklace, which I had just gotten. You can see that it’s not your average necklace.

I’m happy with the way it ended up. Against a simple, dark blue turtleneck, it made for a striking statement piece.

And I decided to make it even more eclectic by wearing only one dangling earring, with just a black stud in the other ear. I admit, I’ve definitely been into asymmetry a lot this last year.

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Speaking of asymmetry, I feel really good about this outfit, too. The black and white cold-shoulder top is highly chic, and back when I was wearing my side-braid all the time, I enjoyed putting an attention-grabbing earring on the other side.

If you’re curious about what’s on that necklace, it’s a tiny silver arrow.

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This one is probably going to be a lifelong favorite. Every single element is some shade of blue. I wish I had a photo of what the outer kimono fully looked like. It drapes over my shoulders and down my back, hanging past my knees.

That necklace is also special. It’s unique, and I can’t wear it with just anything, but it’s so beautiful to me. It was a birthday gift from my mother-in-law.

Nothing just out-of-this-world about this outfit. I’d consider it one of my most casual looks. But these pictures represent a huge milestone of 2019.

Just before my birthday, I chopped off all my hair.

I don’t know why I felt like a change, but after around five years of keeping it long, and I mean long, suddenly I just didn’t feel like it anymore. I said goodbye to the sexy side-braid and hello to sweeping it out of my face with a clip, like you see above.

It was a big difference, and it definitely influenced my looks for the rest of the year.

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I can’t say I excel at full-body shots when it comes to taking pictures of myself, and that’s on me. All you can really glean from this photo is that I got some barrettes and managed to put them to good use.

I wanted to include this picture anyway, because if I were to nominate one for Best Photo of the Year, it would probably be this one. My makeup, the lighting, everything just came together perfectly. I didn’t even use a filter on this photo, which is not usual for me. But for once I didn’t feel it was necessary. I just didn’t need the extra polish that time.

Maybe it was the after-birthday glow.

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Bonus for the classy shoes I was wearing at the time.

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This is a good representation of my general style after I cut my hair. It looked like this nearly every day for months. Cute though, right?

And any day I’m wearing my Ravenclaw merch is a good day. House pride!

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Moving into April, this was certainly one of my most powerful looks of the year. So witchy. So mysterious and beguiling.

The solid black top was nicely accentuated by my silver jewelry, and of course the hat sealed the deal. (We all need to be wearing hats way more often. I want them to become a fashion mainstay again).

Looking back is making me realize that grunge was starting to creep into our lives as far back as last Spring. This cold-shoulder top certainly reflects that. The first time I wore it, someone asked me if I’d made it myself–I did not, but it looks like I did, doesn’t it?

Like blue, grey is a color that suits me well. And it’s probably the color I wear the most, now that I’m thinking about it.

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I definitely embraced Spring 2019 more than I ever had before. More pastels, more soft florals. This “wildflower” t-shirt was a birthday gift, and I enhanced it…with a bee!

That pin is a brooch that my grandmother gave me. Honestly, I can’t say I ever expected brooches to be part of my repertoire, but this really works.

IMG_8932We’re in May now, and here we see that winged eyeshadow come into play again. Pink and black are two very different colors–that happen to complement each other so well. And to finish the whole look, I’m wearing gold accessories.

There’s a lot of boldness going on here, and it just freakin’ works.

This outfit was an experiment, and pretty much the equivalent of writing Springtime across my forehead.

The top is intensely floral, and I’m even wearing a flower necklace, but I feel like I still managed my signature “edge” by also wearing the choker.

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This picture could honestly be a contender for Best Photo of the Year. The whole color scheme is cool and vibrant. Purple is an excellent color on me, and one I need to wear more of. And that was when I first got my beautiful crescent moon choker.

As a side note, chokers drift in and out of style all the time, but either way, I really enjoy them. If you do as well, don’t give too much thought to whether they happen to be popular in the moment. Popularity is ever-changing.

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This is about the time I started to recognize the value of tops with higher necklines. I have a particular love for very short or very long necklaces, but the truth is that most of them are medium. And maybe I’m just being finicky, but I like my jewelry to lay either on my skin or on the fabric, not right on the cusp.

I have always enjoyed a low cut. I’ve never been afraid of a little cleavage. But with necklaces like the crystal one I’m wearing above, I think they get more of their deserved attention against the backdrop of my shirt… I hope I’ve explained that alright.

Gorgeous necklace, and I’m all about that color on me–the dark, sort of teal blue. I look great.

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I took that winged eyeliner idea in a rather striking direction with this look. I went with red, which is not in any way a subtle color.

It’s a power color.

The outfit is black, the accessories are gold, and you may notice that I tried out a bandana in my hair, which I give myself a big thumbs-up for. My eyeliner is also a bit on the heavier side.

Some days, you just want to look like you’re ready to kill a man. Nothing wrong with that.

Moving along into June means full-blown Summertime, and I utilized tank tops to a much greater extent in 2019. I definitely went all out with this one.

This was my only clothing purchase from my trip to Universal Studios. It was in the gift shop at the end of The Mummy ride. It was just so me, I had to get it. And with gold accessories and braids on either side of my head (which you unfortunately can’t see very well), this was a vivacious look for the start of Summer.

We modernized the 70s in a big way over the summer. I think my best contribution to that trend was this outfit. Those suspenders were one of my most quality purchases. Not only do they just look straight up cool, but they’re vintage, and I bought them locally.

Suspenders are sexy; I’ve always thought so. I’m sure to get all kinds of enjoyment out of them in the years to come.

Speaking of sexy, this outfit has so many good elements for such a simple look.

A fantastic combination of “edgy florals” and “fandom fashion,” this tank top has a flowery image of Boba Fett, from Star Wars. And I can see that I’ve been wearing plenty of black over this last year, which I’m pleased about. I love the contrast against my fair skin.

By the time July rolls around, things have gotten too hot, and it’s only going to keep getting hotter. I don’t know why it’s taken me this long in life to feel comfortable showing more skin, but I love the way I did it with this outfit.

A simple front, an open back. Very stylish.

Bonus: that necklace I’m wearing is actually a bracelet that I unfurled and turned into a loose choker. Look at me go.

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I liked this picture enough to use it as my Facebook profile for nearly six months. It’s a very neat, polished look. I remember I was really into Crazy Rich Asians around that time… I don’t know if my style here is reminiscent of that, but it was probably what I was trying for. Everyone in that movie looks amazing.

I’d potentially give this second or third in the Best Photo of the Year competition.

As much as I enjoy wearing black at every turn, I’m not above giving in to the blinding sunshine and wearing light colors. This cream-colored…vest? I’m not sure what to call it. It’s a sleeveless cardigan basically. Does that make it a vest? Anyway, it’s something new I tried over the summer, and it’s a good look for me.

And you notice, I also made use of that odd crystal necklace again.

The perfect outfit for a typical Southern heatwave.

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I don’t know why I waited until I was 26 to start wearing crop tops. I’m sure that if I went into the psychology behind that, it could be a post all its own. But for now, I’ll just say that I’m glad I wear them now.

And this one was a great place to start. Beautiful color, beautiful design. I love owls!

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In August, my sister and I went on a short family trip to New Hampshire. Some of you may remember, I did a couple posts about it. This black jumpsuit was the outfit I went with for our little day-trip to Boston.

As of right now, this is my only jumpsuit, but it’s another genre of clothing that I should probably get more of. Jumpsuits are a good combination of functional and sexy, and they look good on literally everyone.

I wasn’t sure about this look at first–mostly because I chose to wear my hair fully down, which I’m never totally comfortable with for some reason–but I got a really positive response. The top is definitely cool. I’d never seen anything quite like it. It’s covered in penny-farthing cycles.

It was one of the items I brought home from New Hampshire.

We’re in September now, which would make you think that the heat would start to wane. A little bit, at least. You would be wrong.

With this look, I was being very purposefully monochromatic: white with black accessories. And then you can see I added a pop of color with the pink lipstick.

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You can see my desire for Autumn coming through strongly here.

Orange is not a color I wear much of. I usually avoid warmer colors, especially yellow, because I just don’t feel like they complement my skin tone very well. Sometimes, though, I can make an exception. This sort of dusky orange works fine.

And it’s my husband’s favorite color, so of course I should wear it occasionally.

October finally came, but it remained 100 freakin’ degrees for several more weeks. So this was me giving the summer look one last hurrah before I started wearing long sleeves.

I do not wear dresses very often. This might actually be the only time I did all year. I just like pants better, rain or shine, hot or cold. But if the mood does strike me, this kind of 70s-looking one suits me well. With some nice sandals and a pair of hoops, I couldn’t go wrong.

I love black and white stripes, and I discovered that this top looks great tucked in. I remember just feeling particularly good about myself that day.

That’s the key, of course. This might not be a super special outfit…but when I look at these pictures, the feelings come back. I felt so cute, and I recall that it was a really pleasant day. Good feelings and good memories are the whole point. What’s fashion for otherwise?

Another crop top moment: goth edition.

As you can probably tell, I got this at the Hard Rock Café. And that necklace I’m wearing contains an actual preserved spiderweb. I purchased it locally. Small businesses make such fascinating things!

I’m so happy that I got on board with the boyfriend shirt trend. This look is cozy and relaxed, and I love the coloration of this one in particular.

I bought this one at the same time. They’re both vintage and equally stylish. All of my boyfriend shirts are from American Jane Vintage, right here in my city. This one has an especially 90s vibe.

I love the current blend of comfort and style. Fashion shouldn’t hurt, despite whatever you’ve been told.

A quick shoutout to our looks for Halloween!

I think Greg and I really captured the essence of who we are this last year. Don’t we make a perfect match?

By November, it was finally cold enough to wear heavier materials. This sweater-poncho thing is one of my very favorite pieces, though I only get to wear it maybe like once a year. (I really wish it could be cold more often).

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If I wear a hat, it’s making the list. It’s such a rare thing.

I always feel like I’m somehow overdoing it–I like to look good, but not necessarily draw a ton of attention to myself. But every single time I swallow my inhibitions and wear the dang hat, I get compliments left and right.

Don’t be afraid. Wear the hat!

This was my Thanksgiving Day outfit, and it’s definitely going to be one of my go-to looks in the years to come. Greg got me that grey lace cardigan, and it goes so beautifully with a slightly darker grey top. My crystal necklace is the perfect finishing touch.

Sometimes things just come together like it was destiny. This is one such instance.

We’ve reached December.

This was the outfit I put together for a combination Thanksgiving/Christmas family party. The dress was a gift from a previous Christmas, and I remember at first I thought it was just some overly plain brown dress, but it’s cashmere, and I quickly realized that you can’t go wrong with a neutral color.

The belt was something I added on the fly. I used to wear a wide black belt with this dress, but it didn’t fit me anymore, so I dug this flowery metal chain belt out of the back of my closet. I’ve had it for years…never wore it before. But, like destiny, it happened to look amazing with the dress.

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I don’t own a lot of purple, and even less dark purple. If I come across anything in this color anytime soon, I’m gonna buy it. This is the only top I have that I feel truly coordinates with this particular choker–but I realized when I wore it that it’s a little small on me now.

C’est la vie.

But in any case, I got a lot of positive feedback about this outfit. Dark purple is sexy.

IMG_0572This was my look for Christmas Day. The main focus was the makeup, since my clothes were rather understated. A red lip and the latest appearance of my drastic winged eyeliner, featured for the first time in grey. The rest of my outfit was a simple grey and black.

I had a much bolder outfit in mind, but that morning, my husband gave me an incredible pair of earrings that I wanted to build my look around. I’ll hopefully talk about them more at a later date.

To paint a little bit of a picture for you, I showed up to brunch that morning with this face. Everyone else was in pajamas. That should give you a good sense of how I do the holidays.

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Lastly, my look for New Year’s Eve. My look to bring in the Screaming 20s!

I’ve been showing interest in the 20s aesthetic for a long time now, and last Christmas, Greg got me this flapper dress. With a long strand of nice faux pearls, an ornate headband, and black net stockings, I did everything in my power to embrace the vibes.

Take this as proof that I am fully committed to the Screaming 20s theme. Follow my lead! I think we can make this upcoming decade something unforgettable.


I hope you enjoyed this. It definitely made me grateful that I started snapping pictures of myself over the last couple years. Say what you want about selfies, but if I’d never gotten into the habit of taking them, there’s so much that I would have forgotten: experiments with outfits, with hair, with makeup. I grew a lot in 2019, in terms of style and maturity, and I’m happy that I get to reflect on that.

People will tell you that taking pictures of yourself means you’re self-absorbed, but geez, I think that’s pretty harsh. When you grow old and want to look back, you’ll want those selfies then.

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April 2019

Here’s one more, and with no makeup whatsoever (which goes to show that how we look is way more about good lighting than anything else. No need to put a lot of undue pressure on ourselves).

And just in case, I want to let you know that I may or may not post next week. I’m going on vacation, so I don’t know yet if I’ll have time to write. If I don’t, no need to be concerned. I’ll return promptly.

All my love, guys.

Have a beautiful week.

 

 

 

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