Part 3: Style Mood Board & Profile

I’m so excited to have made it to my mood board & profile! ¬†Guys, this was so much fun to do. ¬†It feels like my style was fuzzy and out-of-focus, and now its becoming clearer. ¬†I’m sure it will evolve over time (and with changing seasons), but for now, I’m really thrilled about it!

For those of you just starting to follow along, I’m loosely following The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees to help me redefine my style for my current life. ¬†Here are a few background posts on my style journey: ¬†Wardrobe Wake-Up Call, Part 1: My Current Style, Part 2: Getting Inspired

Name: Effortless California Polish = Relaxed Comfort + Classic Polish + Bit of Sass

Key Idea: My personal style is based on comfort and practicality, but exudes put-together polish.

What does this style say about its wearer?  Inner confidence, subtle femininity, intelligence

What does a typical outfit look like for this style?  Boxy top, skinny jeans, and mules.  Jumpsuit & block heels.  Loose dress, sneakers, and jean jacket.

What are key pieces of this style?  Denim of all kinds, jumpsuits, high quality T-shirts, jersey blazers, polished blouses, block heeled booties & sandals, classic sneakers.  Look for tnteresting details on classic items above.

What are the dominant colors?¬† White, black, navy, cognac, beige. ¬†Occasional accent colors. ¬†Prints are great, but shouldn’t be overly loud or bold.

Styling: Minimal accessories Рany jewelry must be classic & refined.   Makeup that looks natural and healthy.  Should always feel effortless, and never look match-matchy or trying too hard.  A mix of casual and polished pieces.

As I think about my wardrobe, I can already think of pieces that don’t fit this style….I’m excited to move onto the wardrobe overhaul part. ¬† Anything above that resonates with you, or that you think I’m missing?

Black Jersey Jumpsuits are like PJ’s


Jersey Jumpsuit, Splendid (old)

Tote, Madewell Medium Transport
iconSandals, Ann Taylor Gretel
iconSunglasses, Ann Taylor Butterfly
icon(a steal at $25!)

Bracelet, David Yurman X

If you’ve been following my style journey posts, you know that comfort is key to my wardrobe. ¬†Comfort was a factor before I had a baby, and it certainly is even more important now. ¬† That’s why this jersey jumpsuit from Splendid has been on repeat often this summer. ¬†It feels like wearing PJ’s, yet can be dressed up or down. ¬†I paired with cognac slides and tote to help lighten up for summer. ¬†Both were great recent finds, and the tote is the perfect size to carry around daily. ¬†See below pic from a recent Starbucks run. ¬†(Did I mention that I’m a coffee addict?)


Finally, since I’ve been trying to define my style, and which pieces I turn to most often, I am going to list the number of wears for each item (I track clothing, shoes and handbags, but not accessories, workout clothes, lingerie, etc). ¬†One note is that I only started tracking this year, so my older items are undercounted.


Black Splendid Jumpsuit Р 5 wears

Cognac Madewell Tote – 3 wears (newer)

Ann Taylor Slides – 6 wears (newer)




Switch Jewelry Rental Review

As I have been exploring my style, I’ve been hesitating to buy too many new items. ¬†Jewelry in particular is a challenge. ¬†My jewelry is very minimal – I generally wear the same simple gold hoop earrings and “B” necklace everyday.

I found Switch a month ago, and have really been loving it. ¬†It’s a monthly jewelry rental service, with high quality jewelry pieces (they say the average retail value is $500). ¬†They have a well-curated selection with a range of styles – everything from minimal to bold to trendy (apparently chokers are back!). ¬†The cost depends on how many pieces you want at one time: Gold is 1 piece ($29/month), Platinum is 2 pieces ($49/month), and Black is 3 pieces ($69/month). ¬†You keep each piece as long as you want, and then you return and select a new one. ¬†They are pretty quick – once they receive the item, I can immediately get a new one, and they ship within two business days. ¬†The company is in Los Angeles, so I have been getting the pieces within on day, but it might take a little longer the further you live (they ship regular USPS, except for the first item which came next day air).

I’ve gotten two pieces so far, and have really enjoyed them. ¬†I’ve tried to select pieces a little out of my comfort zone, and while I wouldn’t have bought any of them, they are so fun to try. ¬†Each piece comes nicely boxed, with a fun note card.



First, the Chloe Hoop Lariat Necklace (retail $590) – When I first got this piece, I didn’t think I would like it. ¬†It was a heavy, brassy gold chain – not my style at all. ¬†But when I started playing with it, I found I really liked it. ¬†It went with more casual and more formal outfits, and brought a little style to my neutral outfits.




Next, vintage Chanel clip-on earrings (retail $500) – I liked the bold statement look of these earrings, and the brassy gold vintage look with the faux pearl center. ¬†They would go well with office wear or evening wear. ¬†These were larger than I would normally wear, and a bit on the heavy side for me, so I didn’t keep them on too long, but they inspired me to keep bolder gold earrings in mind.


I’m still using the program, so stay tuned for my next review. ¬†If this review has helped and you interested in joining, please consider using my referral code: ¬†TaoCarolyn22J ¬†The Switch website is here. ¬†This is not a sponsored post, but I will get a small referral credit. ¬†Thank you!

Part 2: Discovering My Style – Get Inspired

I’m excited to move to the next phase of my style journey. ¬†I’m loosely following¬†The Curated Closet book by Anushka Rees to find and define my personal style. ¬†To see where this started, check out my previous posts, Wardrobe Wake-Up Call or Part 1: My Current Style.

This phase is all about honing in on my inspiration. ¬†I combed through online and offline images to find outfits that spoke to me. ¬†One of the key things I was looking for were outfits I would actually wear, not outfits that I loved visually on someone else, but weren’t right for me

I pulled looks from some of my favorite bloggers. ¬†I think my favorite style is Jamie from Damsel in Dior. ¬†Maybe because she lives in LA, but there’s a very casual but chic vibe from her outfits. ¬†Everything looks effortless. ¬†I like that she wears basic colors, but always has an interesting texture, print, or detail that pulls everything together.

I also love Ahn from 9to5chic. ¬†Her style is definitely more professional & elegant. ¬†I can’t rock her 4″ stiletto heels (I wish!), but can take inspiriting from elegant details and quality items. ¬†Even when she’s wearing something affordable (the middle and right photos have Ann Taylor items), she makes items seem like them are much more expensive.

I follow Jean from Extra Petite religiously.  Her style is classic, feminine, and fitted. She is a master at finding affordable picks that look great, and her attention to fit on a more petite body is amazing.  Her style is a little more classic than mine, but when I am looking for a classic piece that will last forever (like coats, I bought both the navy and beige ones below), I look to her.

I also love Lee from Style Bee.  With so much going on in my life, the idea of a minimalistic wardrobe where everything is exchangeable sounds like heaven.  Her style is a little more clean & minimal than mine, but it just helps me think more about color combos, silhouettes, and accessorizing.  Her outfit below on the right helped convince me to purchase cognac colored booties, and I adore them.

Finally, I like checking in on Aimee from Song of Style.  Her looks are usually a little too editorial/high fashion for me (so fun to look at though!), but occasionally she has a simpler look that I feel like I could pull off in real life.

Looking at the images above (and a lot of others, the images above are just a small fraction of what I pulled), I’m narrowing down my personal likes. ¬†I think one thing I need to be conscious of is that the bloggers above are all 20 pounds lighter, probably 10 years younger than me, and only one has any kids. ¬†So I’ll have to really define what works for me and not just copy their styles.

Things I Like: 

Overall Vibe:

  • Effortless & Classic
  • Casual Meets Tailored

Individual Items

  • Basics with interesting details
  • Tailored coats
  • Maxi skirts & dresses
  • All kind of jeans – dark, light, distressed
  • Slouchy sweaters
  • Oversized sunglasses
  • White linen shirts
  • Pops of print
  • Flat sandals, kitten heels, & heeled booties
  • Backpacks!


  • Black
  • White
  • Denim
  • Stripes of all kinds
  • Beige
  • Olive
  • Gold jewelry (dainty, minimal)


  • High-waisted pants/skirts + cropped tops
  • Skinny jeans with simple tops & overcoat
  • Tank top + Cardigan + Flowy skirts
  • Simple tops + Wide-legged trousers
  • Jeans + Sneakers + Casual top

Other Factors:

  • Machine washable/Low Maintenance – I just don’t have time or money for frequent dry cleaning, and I don’t want to be overly careful about snagging or ruining items.
  • Comfortable – I need to be able to move freely, and walk around all day in my outfits. ¬†On weekends, need to be able to play, crawl, get dirty with my 4-year old.
  • Used in Multiple Outfits – I want to simply my wardrobe, yet have items to wear for different activities. ¬†So ideally each piece could be used in multiple outfits.

Things I Dis-Like: 

  • Materials: Cashmere (too high maintenance),¬†Lace,¬†Velvet
  • Individual Items: Turtlenecks (too hot for California), Long cardigans (overwhelms my petite frame & feels too sloppy), most cross-body bags (prefer backpacks)
  • Colors: Beige items near my face – washes me out,¬†Loud patterns

That’s the end of this phase – whew! ¬†I’ve already felt like I’ve learned a lot about my style from this process, and can see where items I own either fit/don’t fit/need to be restyled. ¬†Does anything stand out to you? Would love any other comments, in case I’m missing something!

Navy Striped Jumpsuit – Summer Workwear

I love jumpsuits for summer – they feel like pajamas yet make me feel put together instantly. ¬†I get a lot of compliments on this one! ¬†The cropped leg necessitates a nude shoe on my 5’2″ frame – while a higher heel would probably look better (probably true for all outfits), the 1-inch block heel on these sandals makes them very walkable.

Jumpsuit – 1. State (old)

Cardigan РAnn Taylor cropped cardigan (old), similar (40% off) here
Sandals – Vince Rianne sandals (old), similar here

Bag – Gucci Soho Disco

Earrings – Vintage Chanel, rented here

Part 1: The Journey Begins – My Current Style

I’m excited to get started on my wardrobe journey….I’ve decided to read through the The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees, and follow the process step-by-step. ¬†For complete background, see my Wardrobe Wake-Up Call post. ¬†It seems a little daunting, but if it can help me, then it will be totally worth it. ¬†First section – my Current Style.

Step 1.  Document your outfits.  DONE!   (I highly recommend StyleBook if you want to to do this Рmakes it fun and simple.)

Step 2.  Answer Fashion Questionnaire about current wardrobe.

  • What was you favorite outfit? ¬†Definitely this one below. ¬†I think I love it because it’s completely comfy, yet polished & on-trend in a low-key way. ¬†At the core, the outfit is just a T-shirt and jeans. ¬†But what sets it apart is that it is is my favorite black T-shirt and one of my comfy pair of jeans. ¬†The look is elevated by the Alice & Olivia leather jacket and Gucci Princeton loafers, two of my splurge items that I absolutely love. ¬†


  • What was your least favorite outfit? ¬†Ugh, just looking at this outfit makes me cringe. ¬†It’s put together using three of my oldest items that I thought I “should” try and wear. ¬†The wrap sweater is too long on my 5’2″ self, and a little shapeless. ¬†I used to wear leggings a lot in my 20’s, but don’t feel age appropriate wearing them anymore. ¬†The outfit is comfortable, but I didn’t feel good wearing it, and remember wanting to get it off as soon as possible.¬†


  • List your five most-worn colors: ¬†Black, White, Blue, Grey, Beige¬†
  • Did you tend to follow a specific formula for putting together your outfits? ¬†I start with the weather and dress accordingly. ¬†Usually I’ll do 5 casual outfits and 2 slightly dressier ones. ¬†
  • What type of occasions do you have to dress for? ¬†Work (business casual/casual – I live in Los Angeles!), Casual Events with Kids (park, birthday parties), and the Occasional Night Out (nothing fancy, maybe dinner out with friends). ¬†
  • What is your stance on repeating outfits? ¬†Fine to wear an outfit once a week, and repeat individual items more than that. ¬†
  • What is your typical decision-making process? Impulse shopper without a plan. ¬†Which is very different than how I am with everything else in life (I’m an uber-planner!)

Step 3: Write Down Your Style Goals

What do you like about your style and current wardrobe?

I have some high quality pieces¬†that I’ve acquired over the past few years that I truly love.¬† I also like my overall clean, comfortable, classic aesthetic, and neutral-colored palette. ¬†

Which aspects of your style and wardrobe need work?

I tend to have outfits vs. mix-and-match pieces because I’ll fall in love with a particular item without thinking about how it fits into my total wardrobe (also a learning from the Summer 10×10 challenge). ¬† Also, many of my casual outfits are too casual – I would like to upgrade them so that I can feel put-together even on casual outings. ¬†I need more elevated basics vs statement pieces. ¬†¬†

What new skills do you want to learn?

I’d like to be able to define a clear style for myself that is on-trend, but not trendy. ¬†I would like¬†to be able to put together a complete wardrobe that highlights my style and is easy to put together outfits with. ¬†If I can do those things, I’m hoping that my wardrobe will be simplified, and allows me to spend more time, energy and money on other parts of my life. (Whew, those are a lot of skills!)

Overall Thoughts

Even just going through these questions has helped to clarify my goals, and where I am at now. ¬†If I can develop the skills I’ve listed in my goals above, I’ll be really excited. ¬†What about you? ¬†Any style goals that you want to achieve?

Wardrobe Wake-Up Call – a $41K investment without a plan

Where This Started

My son Brandon is 4 years old, and since he was born, my life has dramatically changed. ¬†I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but from a wardrobe perspective, the reality is there’s not much time for leisurely shopping and trying on clothes, less budget to allocate towards personal items, and fewer going out occasions (most of my social activities revolve around his birthday parties, playdates, and school activities.) And let’s not forget the permanent “baby” I’ve gained, i.e. the 10 extra pounds I now carry around. ¬†All of this has added up to impulse sale buys in an effort to “save” money, a closet of going-out clothes that I don’t wear (I have a brand-new Robert Rodriguez evening dress that is one size too small sitting in my closet as I write this), and clothes that were “good enough” since I didn’t have time to return them.

It was because of this frustration that I started tracking my clothing through the¬†Stylebook App¬†for the past 6 months. ¬†Friends think I’m crazy for cataloguing my wardrobe on a daily basis – even my husband thought I’d quit after a few weeks – but the analytical part of me loved it. ¬†Like any good data geek, I wanted to see where my wardrobe stood from a data perspective.

The Wake-Up Call

A few shocking conclusions became apparent from my 6 months of tracking

1. A wardrobe is an investment! ¬†The total amount of my wardrobe is currently about $41K. ¬†Now, this is a grand accumulated total, but the reality is that most of the items are from the past 10 years (and doesn’t include items I’ve already given away). ¬†So, I’m spending $4K/year, or about $350/month on stuff. ¬† If I were investing that money or spending on a car, I would be pretty¬†careful about it (I drive a 10-year old Toyota that cost less than that). ¬†I can’t say I’ve applied the same approach to my wardrobe.


2. My items don’t get a lot of wear – In my head, I feel like there are key items that I constantly wear. ¬†But the reality was that in a period of 200+ days, my items were barely worn. ¬†My most worn item was the Tory Burch Perry tote, that was worn 49 days, or 25% of the time. ¬†25% may sound pretty good, but remember that is my number one item. ¬†In order to get onto my Top 25 list, I only had to wear an item 14 days. ¬†On the flip side, I had a long list of items that I’ve wore exactly one day. ¬†Come on, who am I, Kate Middleton? ¬†There are some items on there that probably need purging, but truthfully I just have too many things.


3. I’m still not happy with my clothing – So with this huge wardrobe full of lots of stuff, you’d think I would be joyous and wake-up every morning eager to get dressed. ¬†Nope. ¬†There are some days I feel great, but overall still find it frustrating, still feel like something’s missing. ¬†I wonder if some trends are too young for me (cut-off shorts?) or appropriate. ¬†I have clothes that I like wearing, but make me feel like I can’t be at ease with my 4-year old with sticky hands (white pants and blouses!), and days when I think I really need an upgrade on my T-shirt and slouchy jeans weekend uniform.

What’s Next?¬†

I recently bought this book,¬†The Curated Closet¬†by Anuschka Rees, which gets fantastic reviews, and plan on going through it step-by-step. ¬†I’ve also started following minimalist clothing bloggers, such as Caroline at Un-Fancy and Lee at StyleBee, and have been joining some of their style challenges. ¬†My goals are to better understand my idea style, reduce the time and money I spend on my wardrobe, yet feel more content and at ease with it. ¬†Do you have any methods you have tried that has worked? ¬†If so, please¬†let me know – I can use all the help I can get!