Cultivated Wardrobe Outfit Ideas

A Neutral (Yet Festive) Holiday Look

A Neutral (Yet Festive) Holiday LookA Neutral (Yet Festive) Holiday Look A Neutral (Yet Festive) Holiday LookA Neutral (Yet Festive) Holiday LookA Neutral (Yet Festive) Holiday Look

It’s a time old tale. Every time a special occasion or gathering nears I somehow always feel this need to buy something (preferably something perfect) to wear for it.  I think this is a pretty commonly accepted present day phenomenon.

Not only is this a problematic + cyclical scenario, but, as you know, I am on a retail recess — so buying anything (perfect or not) for the next few months is off the table for me. I am exactly 40 days into this ‘retail recess’, which means I still have precisely 142 days left to go. (You can get caught up on the details of my retail recess here and here.)

The cool thing is that I only have 142 days left to go and was completely unaware of these numbers until I created this countdown just now — which to me means I’m not obsessing.

The not so cool thing is that I still have 142 days left to go and the real tests are only just beginning.


When I first decided that I could benefit from a shopping break, I sort of made the decision impulsively.  I had begun to feel overwhelmed by the feeling of needing or wanting to purchase items to better outfit my wardrobe — planning in phases of when to buy what, saving for purchases, etc.  It started to feel like a burden, like a pressure even. So when I decided on a whim that I didn’t need to feel this way, I didn’t need any of it — that I had enough — I at first felt so much relief! As if I’d let myself off the hook for something, and it felt nothing short of wonderful.

About two weeks went by before I felt that gentle little tug of wanting for something. I pinned it to my windowshopping board on Pinterest and crossed it off a little imaginary list in my head as something to not be concerned with anymore.

And then a couple days after that another prompt, another pin. Another prompt, another pin. Another prompt, another pin…

I realized that I wasn’t really fufiling my overall goal of freeing up mindspace by allowing myself to continue to even think about acquiring (planning for future purchases after my retail recess).  I was completely missing the point.

So I decided to refocus myself again, and reframe this time period not just as a time in which I’m taking a break from acquiring (and thinking about acquiring), but also a time period in which I will become acutely aware as to what is working and not working so well in my current closet.

By wearing, remixing and rewearing (and then sharing here) I’m hopeful that I’ll find that I can create many of the looks that I want, but think I need to add another piece to successfully put together. That I will identify things that are working well and look to replicate those successes in other ways.  That I will recognize things that are not working well and seek to remedy those pieces — while staying within the own confines of my current wardrobe (i.e. repurposing, altering, etc.)


For instance, the look I’ve shared with you today:  I’ve worn this exact ensemble a handful of times now this season already and I love it. It’s stylish in the sense that it feels intentional and put together, but neutral enought that I could be wearing this to the grocery store or to a holiday party with friends. Part of me wants it to be a little more festive for upcoming Christmas gatherings, but another part of me knows that I will be wrangling a three year old and one year old at each of these gatherings and more than anything I just want to be comfy. Instead of adding any amount of fancy (a.k.a fuss) to this look, I could simply add a deep red nail color to the mix and totally add some Christmas cheer. Or do a bold berry lip color. Or if I swipe Nick’s old red flannel from his side of the closet I could totally recreate this fantastic causal holiday look by Caroline (which is totally happening by the way).

I love all of these options because they still leave me with the somewhat understated look I love, but give me that wonderful feeling of Christmas spirit — but even more so because they allow me to be creative, resourceful and re-personalize this look for years to come.

Like this look? You can shop it and support The Lovely Laura Life at the same time using the affiliate links below:

 BEANIE by Madewell (on sale)

SWEATER by H&M (sold out), similar under $30 / similar under $80

BLACK DENIM by Madewell (secondhand), almost exact same (on sale) / similar under $50 / similar made in USA

ANKLE BOOTS by Madewell (secondhand), almost exact same / similar made responsibly

Have any other go-to ways to make a neutral holiday outfit feel festive? Excited for me to share more outfits? Also: is this slouchy beanie not just the best? 

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply