Monday, September 3, 2012

30 For 30 Challenge - August Recap

Seven months down...5 to go! It feels so close to being finished! Here's my recap of the 30 For 30 For 12 challenge for August.

[Warning: this is a big post]
Summary of Items with Links to Pictures

Shoes/Boots: 6 pairs

Skirts: 4

Tops: 5

Sweaters/Cardigans: 4

Jackets/Blazers: 3

Pants: 2

Dresses: 5

Other: 1

General Observations on August's Capsule
  • I set myself a huge challenge this month by not having any black (did you notice?? I only wore one black camisole all month!), and by working WAY outside my comfort zone with a lot of pastel shades. I also played with different shapes (cropped pants). I knew it wasn't going to be an easy month.
  • I had to factor in getting a tattoo early in the month and having clothes that would work around the actual getting of the tattoo, as well as the healing of it. Pretty tricky.
  • We had a very hot month, weather-wise, so I am really glad that I planned my loosest and lightest clothing, as well as two pairs of really basic weekend shoes. Maxi skirts rule!
  • Only 5 items this month were not thrifted, consignment or swapped. I am very pleased with that!
  • I didn't feel like I had enough shoes. Having two pairs that weren't appropriate for the office really limited me during the week. I missed having a pair of Fluevogs!
  • As well as the shoes, my tops and cover-ups/cardis/blazers were not balanced. I could have worn camisoles instead of the two sweater tanks (thereby opening up room for more shoes or better tops/cover-ups), and there were too many one-off orphans in the cardi/jacket category. The discrepancy of having 3 items getting 7 wears each (see below in the shoes and cardi reviews), with other items only being worn 1-3 times shows I'm still looking for that magic point in these categories where everything gets worn evenly.
  • I feel like my first major mis-step happened, and no, it wasn't the "second guessing" episode. It was the beige shirtdress. I just don't look good in that oatmeal colour. I need to stop buying it.
  • Experimenting with the Smoking Lily pants was fun. I don't regret buying them, because I got to try a look that was outside my style zone, even though they didn't end up working for me.

What Got Worn the Most/Least
Shoes: I expected the comfy flats to be worn the most and...NO! The gold Coach sandals and the Miz Mooz red slingback platforms were actually the workhorses this month, racking up a monstrous 7 wears each! The Chie Mihara ballet flats were close behind with 6 wears (and are now super comfy). The white gladiators were next at 5 wears, followed by the lime kitten heels at 4 wears. Due to not being able to wear them to work, the purple flat sandals were only worn on the weekends, for 3 wears.

Skirts: The maxis were worn the most, with the olive "parachute" skirt getting 4 wears and the purple maxi getting 3. The denim A-line skirt was also worn 3 times, and the splatter skirt brought up the rear (hee) with only 2 wears. That kind of surprises me, as I thought I would have worn that more. 

Pants: The Noa Noa polka dot silk pants were worn 3 times, and I'm happy with that. Part of my goal of having them in a capsule was to stretch my boundaries, and I liked all the outfits I did with them. As mentioned, the Smoking Lily pants were a failed experiment with only 2 wears, but hey, live and learn, yo.

Tops: Tops did well this month, even though I've griped about the sweater tanks. The floral bow blouse was the winner here, with 4 wears, due to its versatility at being worn over the simple dresses. The tanks and the vintage silk blouse were each worn 3 times each, and the patterned white/lime/rust floral top was a bit more difficult to style, so was only worn twice.

Sweaters/Cardigans: Whoa, the white drapey cardigan was hands-down the top performer of the bunch, with 7 wears! The poncho (surprisingly, to me) was worn the next most, at 3 wears, followed by the pink sweater at 2 wears. I'm not so shocked at the pink sweater - I skipped over it a few times due to the hot weather. The biggest surprise here for me was the yellow cropped cardi only being worn once. It was completely wasted in this capsule.

Jackets/Blazers: An orphan revealed itself in this category: the pink satin jacket. I had intended to wear it with the polka-dotted pants to get another outfit out of it, but I ran out of month, so it was only worn once. The olive blazer, in contrast, was worn 4 times. The pink multi-plaid blazer was so awesome, but really required some better planning for wardrobing - it was only worn twice.

Dresses: I really love dresses, and got a lot of wear out of this month's selection. Every dress was worn at least twice (the beige shirtdress and the purple/yellow swirly dress), and up to 4 times (the yellow strapless and the purple drapey dress). I didn't think pink linen would be that versatile, but it was worn 3 times.

Other: I'm rather fond of vests, and this month's faded denim vest performed adequately, with 3 wears.

What I Would Do Differently Next Month
  • 8 pairs of shoes is too many; 6 is not enough. I've gone with 7 pairs for September, so hopefully that will be the magic number! At least I'm doing well with the comfort aspect - none of my shoes killed my feet! Victory!
  • I really needed more neutrals in this month's capsule. The beige shirtdress was not as versatile as I'd hoped (plus, loathe the colour), and I had a lot of pattern and colour going on in outfits with not much to ground them. 
  • Experimentation is always valuable, but several of these items ended up just not working at all, which meant I was operating with a much smaller capsule than 30 items because I just didn't wear certain items. Thank goodness for basic dresses - they were my go-to item.
  • The versatility of layering dresses to make them into tops and/or skirts - wow, what a discovery! This was really a huge deal for creating a more functional capsule. Expect to see a lot of dress layering in September - and hey, isn't it time for a Dress Week??

What is Leaving My Closet
  • The white gladiator shoes. They can't zip up to the top because they get stuck, and they're cheap quality. Buh-bye, won't miss you.
  • The pink plaid blazer. Am I really going to put together more outfits around this? Nah, I don't think so. I can't think of many other ways I want to wear this, so its plaid-y goodness will be bestowed on its next owner, whoever that may be.
  • The Smoking Lily lime linen pants. Megan (the Fashionable Bureaucrat), keep an eye out for a package! 
  • The beige shirtdress. Yuckbuckets, what an awful colour on me. However, I love the style and will keep an eye out for another shirtdress in a different colour. 

What's on the Fence
  • The white/rust/lime blouse. Pretty limiting for wear, but so cute! I feel like it has one more summer left in it.
  • The yellow cropped sweater/cardi. It's a good piece, but I didn't plan properly for it. I know I'll be able to wear it with other items next spring.
  • The pink satin jacket. I need to see if I can work it with other items in my wardrobe. It's so cute, but I didn't use it to its fullest potential.
These are back in my wardrobe for now, and may be removed after I've "rested" from them.

Looking Forward to Wearing Again
  • The gold Coach platforms. Wow, I just loved these! They were comfortable and soft, looked great and actually stood up to a bit of walking around. A great gold neutral as well - they went with everything.
  • The olive maxi skirt. I seriously love this skirt. I had intended to wear it as a strapless dress at one point, and never got to try that. I'm sure this skirt will be showing up for my next steampunk look.
  • The yellow strapless dress. Sexy, shows the ink, great cut. It's the perfect summer dress. 

How I'm Feeling About the Year-Long Challenge So Far
This was probably the least fun month of my challenge. I struggled with outfits and items, had a crisis over one outfit, and generally had a hard time making this month feel like "me." That's okay - it doesn't mean this month wasn't successful, but it certainly wasn't an easy month, wardrobe-wise. I really pushed myself outside my comfort zone, which is a good thing, but I'm really looking forward to being in my nice little rut again (pencil skirts!) and having more variety.

The lack of black and other, more versatile neutrals in this month's capsule was a bigger deal than I thought it would be. I wasn't able to be lazy and fall back on a neutral (I had denim and olive, as well as a single white item) to help ground my patterns. This resulted in some interesting colour combinations (pastel yellow and olive! red and purple!) as well as my first foray into advanced pattern mixing (floral plus polka dots!).

I didn't have the same kind of emotional hanging-on with this month's clothes/shoes as I did last month; I do feel that I'm becoming more objective about my closet. I am certainly shopping differently, and have picked up a lot of more basic, neutral items. No fear, though, I still have a lot of crazy stuff coming for fall/winter! But I'm able to look ahead and realize that I need some basic pieces that are going to allow me to wear all that crazy stuff.

I've also noticed a big transformation/change in my weekend wear: I've stopped doing my "rocker" layering looks. They just don't work in the capsules. I haven't missed them at all. I don't know if I've grown beyond that look (it feels a little "young" to me now), or if I'm just feeling like I want to look more put together on the weekends. I have a feeling it's the latter, especially now that I'm creeping up on 45.

The end of September will mean putting away my spring/summer clothes and pulling out my fall/winter. Already, it feels like I won't have enough months for all the cool things I know I have currently stored away. I also know that I have a LOT of parties and events coming up in the next few months (eee! my birthday is in October!), and I need to plan for those. I may have to bust my own rule about the Wild Cards, especially due to Hallowe'en and Christmas parties...or will I rise to the challenge and be able to create party outfits out of what's in the capsules? Stay tuned...

I ruminated a bit last month about what's going to happen beyond this challenge. Being more than halfway through, the end is in sight. I am thinking about challenges for new purchases, mini-capsules, best-ofs...all those votings give me a lot of statistics to analyze.

Five months to go! 

Now...To refresh your memory, here are all the outfits together. You can click to embiggen them, and click on the captioned dates to go to the original posts for more pictures.
Aug 1st
Aug 2nd
Aug 3rd - Pt. 1
Aug 3rd - Pt. 2
Aug 4th
Aug 5th
Aug 7th
Aug 8th
Aug 9th
Aug 10th - Pt. 1
Aug 10th - Pt. 2
Aug 11th
Aug 12th
Aug 13th
Aug 14th
Aug 15th
Aug 16th
Aug 17th
Aug 18th
Aug 19th
Aug 20th
Aug 21st
Aug 22nd
Aug 23rd
Aug 24th
Aug 25th
Aug 27th
Aug 28th
Aug 29th
Aug 30th - Pt. 1
Aug 30th - Pt. 2
Aug 31st
Vote! You can vote for your favourite outfits here (you can select more than one outfit, it's okay!):
Note: I've broken the poll into two to accommodate the extra outfits this month.
Votey Voterson! free polls 
More voting! free polls 
What About the Wild Card Outfit?

I used my August Wild Card for this outfit here (2nd outfit), for my friend Nick's birthday party. I love that dress so much! I really wanted another couple of Wild Cards for other events/occasions.

At the end of the challenge year (next January), there will be a vote for Best Wild Card.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my capsule and reading the recap! Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for reading if you made it this far!



  1. Wow what a month! I think you worked around a lot this month, tried to give items you owned the benefit of the doubt and learned a bunch. I feel you on the beige. I keep finding beige/tan pieces and thinking I'll look crisp and put together, but it usually just washes me out.

  2. I love these wrap-up posts so much - they are well worth the time it takes to write.

    Those maxi skirts really are fabulous! Looking forward to those trousers. =)

  3. Whew, that was long! But seriously, I appreciate the amount of analysis you put into this. It really shows the value of looking at what items in your wardrobe are really pulling their weight. Well done.

  4. I didn't actually notice the lack of black until you pointed it out! I really love all the different skirts from this month, they are quite unique!

  5. Oh, so much extra challenge! Which you came through it admirably, I must say. I second TFB Megan's feedback on your summary posts - I always read the whole thing with great interest, and I really like hearing your decision-making process about what stays and what goes. Your parachute skirt is a particularly outstanding piece!

    Too bad about the shirtdress, which is a really good shape and length; seems many people find that colour doesn't suit. I would say it's in the family that I'm finding does actually work well for me, but might be a touch too pale of a shade even so. Plus I am spilly!

    Glad to hear "a lot of crazy stuff" is coming up for fall / winter - can't wait!

  6. sheila--i'm with you on beige. I'll wear beige pants but I need COLOR.
    your after-month analysis is the best part!! I've been looking at my stuff with a much more critical eye these days.

  7. Great post!! Since I don't get over here as much as I'd like, I love being able to see the all the outfits and how you put them together. The analysis is fascinating and inspiring. I'm particularly partial to the maxi skirts. I think they look great on you. Can't wait for the F/W challenge. It's so much more fun than S/S, plus I can picture you in all those yummy Fall colors!!

  8. I love how you marry your brain and your instincts with your fashion and always come out a winner! Your appraisals of what worked and didn't are interesting reads, but what I find the most fascinating is how you are becoming more objective about your closet - in a good way. I look forward to your style choices for this month.

  9. Just back from a trip and catching up on your "good stuff". I also love your monthly recaps and enjoy the analysis of your monthly wardrobe. I am sad that you are moving on with your beige shirt dress because I was blown away with how you styled it with the scarf and the red underskirt. I don't want to try to talk you out of something you just don't like, but it seems there are so many ways you could add color besides a scarf. Layering it with a colorful shirt, cammie (which you are brilliant at)or statement necklace. I could see this with a turquoise or teal color around your neck. The style of dress just looks so good on you. Perhaps you can find a similar one in a color you like better. I do agree on the plaid blazer. It's cute and styled great; I just like you in richer and darker colors. And since you like to swap; I want your cat, I'll trade you one old diabetic tabby and one adorable ornery tabby/calico for yours. :) Just kidding, keep posting photos of that cat, he makes my day!!

  10. I'm still catching up on my blogs after The Teen's two week hospitalization, mostly lurking, but had to tell you "yuck buckets" made me giggle.


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