Sunday, November 4, 2012

30 For 30 Challenge - October Recap

Sorry for the delay - these posts take a long time to write and format!

Nine months down...3 to go! The end is in sight! Here's my recap of the 30 For 30 For 12 challenge for October.

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

Shoes/Boots: 7 pairs

Skirts: 7

Tops: 4

Sweaters/Cardigans: 7

Jackets/Blazers: 4

Pants: 0

Dresses: 1

Other: 0

General Observations on October's Capsule
  • I feel this was one of my strongest months - following September, one of my weakest! Part of the reason for it being strong is the changeover from my spring/summer wardrobe to my fall/winter wardrobe. I had all of the autumn/winter clothes to choose from (aside from what I wore earlier in the year in February/March), so my selection was quite wide. 
  • My colours were balanced well with neutrals. One of the biggest lessons I'm taking away from this year-long challenge is the value of neutrals. I had a good mix of black, brown, tan and navy to play off the strong autumnal palette of reds, oranges, mustards, greens and blues. It made for lots of fun combinations, and I felt like there were many more outfits I could have made still. I ran out of month!
  • 9 of my items were not thrifted, consignment or gifts. I am pleased to have at least 2/3 second-hand in my capsules - it means that I'm seeking out good quality at affordable prices, and the new pieces that I do buy were either investment shoes (hello, 3 pairs of Fluevogs!) or pieces that I've had for 2-5 years.
  • A good variety of shapes in the skirt department was welcome. I had the choice of full or pencil, long and short. I stuck with mostly fitted tops and emphasized waists - this is my favourite look on my body, and it suits my shape.
  • Tights came out as a major player. I love how they can completely transform a look into something special. I'm always on the lookout for fun patterns; many of my tights are several years old, and are rotated (I have a big collection) to keep them from getting worn out. 
  • Obi belts were big this month. As mentioned, I emphasized the waist on a lot of this month's outfits, and I love how wide belts define the waist. They also force me to hold my posture! 
  • Accessories were much stronger, with bold pieces like the black stomacher, the mink rose and the swallow necklace (yay, thanks, Mom!) making strong statements. I also had a lot of fun doing multiple rings and leather wrist cuffs to give my outfits an edge. 

What Got Worn the Most/Least

Shoes: The boots took the lead here: the black laced boots were worn 7 times, and the Mini Babycakes brown Fluevog boots were worn 6 times. The black granny shoes were also worn 6 times, followed by the Coffee booties at 4 times. The QTee Minis were worn only 3 times, along with the heeled red loafers. Least worn were the beige heels at only twice - they were the highest heel in this month's capsule, so that makes sense.

Skirts: This month's skirt selection was pretty even, with the red pencil skirt and the green tweed skirt each being worn 5 times each. I got 4 wears out of the silk barn skirt and the snowflake skirt, with 3 wears each for the navy/tan plaid pencil skirt, the brown midi A-line skirt and the Smoking Lily linen skirt.

Pants: No pants. Didn't miss 'em. I have only worn one pair of jeans (my dark-wash cropped ones in the February capsule) all year. I'm really not missing jeans in my wardrobe. I thought I would.

Tops: Tops were fairly strong this month. The mustard ruffle blouse and the crazy patterned long-sleeved shirt were worn 3 times each, with the rust beaded V-neck and the paramecium blouse each getting worn twice.

Sweaters/Cardigans: I had a lot of sweaters, and could have gone one less and not missed it. The number of wearings in this category is the most uneven The poor crane cardigan was only worn once, and the black short-sleeved sweater was worn 5 times. The blue V-neck and the green bell-sleeved sweater were each worn 3 times, and the mustard cowl-neck, the red cardi and the lime cashmere sweater were each worn twice.

Jackets/Blazers: I was pretty happy with the jackets/blazers this month. They were all worn 3 times, with the exception of the brown plaid jacket, which was worn twice.

Dresses: I only had the one red plaid dress this month, and it performed admirably. It was worn 3 times.

Other: There weren't any "other" items this month. 

What I Would Do Differently Next Month
  • As I said above, I was happy with this month's capsule. I might have dumped one of the sweaters in favour of a pair of trousers, or another dress, but overall, it was a good mix.
  • Learning from this month's massive try-on before solidifying the capsule, it really helped to know how pieces would work together. I also semi-planned a bunch of outfits beforehand, including my Hallowe'en costume! 
  • I had a lot of classics in the October capsule (black sweater, red cardigan, pencil skirts, black boots, black shoes) which really helped make the more difficult-to-style pieces easier
  • I really liked allowing myself an extra Wild Card outfit to accommodate a Hallowe'en party. If we have multiple parties in November/December, I may extend that relaxing of my rules to those months as well.

What is Leaving My Closet

This is a first: nothing is leaving my closet this month. I really liked all the pieces, although I'm iffy on some of them.

What's on the Fence
  • The beige shoes. They're not particularly comfortable, but they fulfill a function as "the nude shoe."
  • The red pencil skirt. It wrinkles like crazy and I can't get a stain out of it (yes, I've tried everything), but I'll hang onto it until I find a new one. A red pencil skirt is a classic!
  • The mustard cowl-necked sweater. It bags out when I wear it, although it works if I tuck it in.
  • The cranes cardigan. It's pilling quite badly under the arms, and I feel like I've gotten quite a lot of wear out of it. However, I do love it, so I'm hanging onto it for now.
  • The orange velvet jacket. It's a bit big, it's bulky and hard to wear outerwear over it, and I'm not completely enamoured with the collar/neckline. But that colour! And velvet!
These are back in my wardrobe for now, and may be removed after I've "rested" from them.

Looking Forward to Wearing Again
  • The Fluevog brown boots. These rock my world. They're so comfortable and unique. 
  • The black laced boots. Such a gorgeous shape and so classic. They go with everything and make every outfit better.
  • The green tweed suit skirt. It's such a good fit and shape. Who knew that green tweed was so versatile?
  • The red plaid dress. I was actually contemplating getting rid of this prior to this month's capsule. It had been ages since I'd worn it, and I thought it was too limited with how I could wear it. I was happily proven wrong this month, and have saved an awesome dress.

How I'm Feeling About the Year-Long Challenge So Far
The best month so far, in my opinion! October is up there with my other favourite months (May and March). All the items were really cohesive and I liked nearly every outfit. At the end of last month, I was feeling really discouraged, but I'm glad I soldiered on and stuck with it, because my enthusiasm has been revived!

I had a good mix of colours, shapes and textures, and in general, stuck with a classic look, incorporating neutrals along with my trademark vivid colours. I worked the accessories - from tights to belts to jewelry - and never felt like I was completely duplicating an outfit, even though there were a few that were similar.

I did miss having a denim piece in this capsule (the snowflake skirt is a heavy denim-weight cotton) for weekend looks and Casual Fridays, but it's not like I was at a loss for funky looks. I mentioned last month that I thought maybe I was over the rocker look of layered t-shirts and jeans, but I felt that I managed to pull off my own punk/rocker vibe through accessories rather than making the clothes do the work. This resulted in some more interesting (to me) looks.

My shopping continues to have better focus (I'm on the lookout for a burgundy sweater or cardigan, a red pencil skirt and some tops for the December capsule, for example), and nearly all of it has been thrift/consignment. I'm also looking to reduce the number of cheap overseas-made accessories in favour of local product.

Reading "Over-Dressed" impacted how I'm thinking about new clothes. After this capsule challenge is over, I'm looking at setting a personal mandate of how and what I shop for. I love shopping and seeking those amazing pieces, but I'm becoming much more aware of how my choices affect our world. I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. I'm looking at labels and where things are made (even when shopping second-hand) and I'm making more deliberate choices.

And now we're onto November - all neutrals! Then only 2 months left and it will be done. I can't believe how quickly this challenge has gone by. For the most part, this has been an exciting journey and I'm amazed at the insight I've gleaned into my own patterns, behaviours and motivations, both in shopping and dressing. I feel like my closet is much more carefully curated than it has ever been.

Three months to go! Onward!

Now...To refresh your memory, here are all the outfits together. I made 30 outfits this month. You can click to embiggen the pictures, and click on the captioned dates to go to the original posts for more pictures.
Oct 1st
Oct 2nd
Oct 3rd
Oct 4th
Oct 5th
Oct 6th
Oct 7th
Oct 9th
Oct 10th
Oct 11th
Oct 12th
Oct 13th - Pt. 1
Oct 13th - Pt. 2
Oct 14th
Oct 15th
Oct 16th
Oct 17th
Oct 18th
Oct 19th
Oct 20th
Oct 21st
Oct 22nd
Oct 23rd
Oct 24th
Oct 25th
Oct 26th
Oct 27th
Oct 29th
Oct 30th
Oct 31st

Vote! You can vote for your favourite outfits here (you can select more than one outfit, it's okay!):
Show the love for your favourites! free polls 
What About the Wild Card Outfit?

I used my October Wild Card for this gorgeous deep burgundy locally-made dress which I wore for my birthday party! I also allowed myself an extra outfit for Hallowe'en fun (this steampunk vampire slayer), but my actual Hallowe'en costume was made out of the items in my capsule (I planned for that!).

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. An absolutely awesome capsule month. I admit I was a bit enamored seeing Fluevogs so often. I love how thorough you are with your recaps. I can't believe you've been doing this for nearly a year.

    It's certainly been a big undertaking, but I know you've benefited from it, and inspired many of us here in the blog world to be more aware of what is going on in our own closets.

    1. I dread doing these recaps because of the time commitment (it's around 4-6 hours!), but I'm getting a bit faster at them (the HTML on the tables is tricksy).

      It's been a huge learning process - and I'm still learning!

  2. This post took you some serious time to create but I love the side by side layout. I voted too!

  3. I used to own that very orange velvet jacket and I still miss it in my wardrobe (the velvet eventually started to bald and look shabby)! I often wore mine *as* outerwear, though that may account for why it wore out more quickly. I think you should keep it because you look fab in it (plus I can live vicariously through you wearing it).

    1. That's so awesome that you had the same jacket! Maybe I'll wear it as outerwear come spring - good idea!

  4. I totally agree, the best month yet! Glad you're feeling back in your groove after September. It's always such an awkward month clothing/weather-wise.

  5. I love your recap posts the best!! i glean so much insight from how you break everything down! It's helped me curate my wardrobe considerably!!

  6. I enjoyed this month quite a bit with your outfits! I definitely saw the shift toward fall and it was awesome to see! Looking forward to what's next!

  7. i've just recently discovered you and am loving your posts. thx for your willingness to share.

    "The beige shoes. They're not particularly comfortable,..."

    me? i get rid of anything that's not particularly comfortable. lol. but then i'm fighting my tendency to value comfort above all else, so maybe i need to be less hasty getting rid of some things

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting! :)

      I know...I am trying to make sure I only have shoes that I really love, and ones that hurt my feet are not making the cut. However, these ones don't hurt; they're just a little high for me now that I'm an old bag, hee hee. I don't mind wearing them once in a while, but they're not for wearing on long days.

  8. Thanks for all the effort you put into your capsule recaps, Sheila. I really enjoy reading them. Like Megan Mae, I like hearing where your thoughts are going after each one. I fully support your urge to shop local and shop quality.

  9. Echoing others' appreciation of your thoughtful recaps and the time and effort you put in. Even though September was hard, I quite liked it, but must say I loved October and as predicted I had a hard time voting for just a few outfits! Your learning process has been so helpful to me as well.

  10. Wow, so many fantastic outfits you've put together, Sheila - you look stunning in them all. It's so interesting reading about your process and how it affects your shopping and styling habits. I wonder if you'd compile this into a pdf book or something... Your table html is highly impressive!

  11. Hey Sheila late in getting around to looking at your always anticipated re-caps, they are fascinating. I was talking to my sis in law last week & we got to talking about where things are made, so while we talked I started looking at all the labels on my shoes. Every pair except a thrifted from the old Mervyn's Dept store, and a new pair of Cole Haans , Orlando outlet were made in China including two pair of Borns. Bummer! You have made me a Fluevog fan, not sure where I would find them in good ole Idaho and with the sizing being weird don't think I'd order them, never have luck ordering shoes. Thanks for the amazing post and I read every word!!! Pets to Vizzini.

  12. You did have such a great month -- so much versatility in your looks! I am looking forward to hearing more about your shopping mandate; I too am trying to figure out how to incorporate the lessons of Over Dressed into my style and my shopping habits.


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