Sunday, December 2, 2012

30 For 30 Challenge - November Recap

Ten months down...2 to go! The penultimate capsule is upon us! Here's my recap of the 30 For 30 For 12 challenge for November.

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

Shoes/Boots:  7 pairs

Skirts: 8

Tops: 3

Sweaters/Cardigans: 4

Jackets/Blazers: 4

Pants:  1

Dresses: 2

Other: 1

General Observations on November's Capsule
  • I was looking forward to following up June's neutrals-only capsule with a winter version, and integrating some of the lessons I learned from it. I expanded my neutrals to include olive and navy, as well as cream, black, grey and shades of brown. 
  • In June, I fought against the neutrals, and worked to incorporate colour wherever I could - I even noted then that out of 31 outfits that month, I had done 18 coloured camisoles or layering tops to bring in colour. This month, I just let the neutrals do the talking, and played with texture and pattern more. I did use colour, most noticeably in my tights, but also in jewelry and other accessories (and my lipstick!), but it complemented my outfits and, it didn't feel like I was trying as hard to force colour into each outfit. Many of my outfits this month had no colour at all, and I liked it.
  • Despite having a capsule full of neutrals, I still managed to participate in Megan Mae and Keely's "Fall Fashion Challenge: Colors of the Season" - careful deployment of accessories really helped!
  • Only 6 of my items were not thrifted, consignment or gifts. It's mostly shoes where I'm still wanting to buy new. However, two of my "purchased new" shoes ended up being my least favourites. Going forward, I will be putting in more effort to source out better quality and ethically-produced shoes when I do buy new.
  • Two pairs of over-the-knee boots weren't really necessary, and I forgot to include a shorter skirt to wear with them. Ah well, one of the pairs turned out to not be over-the-knee as advertised, anyway.
  • This month is the first time I've repeated an item - the brown sweater vest - and it was totally by accident! 
  • I think I am getting better at putting capsules together, not that there's a formula or anything, but I'm learning how to balance tops and bottoms, how many pairs of shoes are the right amount, and the balance of colour and neutrals - neutrals are important! This is my most balanced month when it came to wearing all the items, as we shall see.
What Got Worn the Most/Least

Shoes: Three pairs of shoes were worn 5 times each: the black Tsubos, the Bata black ankle-strap shoes and the flat tan loafers. The Unlisted "Pumpkin Pie" shoes were worn 4 times, and the grey Campers and both pairs of over-the-knee boots were worn 3 times each. Pretty even. 

Skirts: Half of my skirts were worn 3 times (the houndstooth pencil skirt, the black leather mini, the camel suede midi and the olive suede maxi) and the other half were all worn twice each. April's capsule is the last time I had such an even mix of skirts.

Pants: Oh my gosh, I loved these black satin tux pants! Whether rolling the cuffs up for a cropped look, wearing them straight, or tucking them into over-the-knee boots, these were incredibly useful and versatile. I wore them 5 times, which is the most I wore any item of clothing all month. 

Tops: I only had 3 tops this month, as many of my sweaters/cardigans and jackets functioned as tops on their own. I wore all of them 3 times each, except for the cream ruffled blouse, which was worn twice. I would have worn it more, but I ran out of month!

Sweaters/Cardigans: I wore the cream sleeveless sweater and the olive cardi the most, at 4 times each. The black cashmere sweater and the white cardi with black embroidery were worn twice each. This is the most uneven category this month.

Jackets/Blazers: I adored my jacket selection this month. Both the cream brocade jacket and the tweed "Kim Cattrall" jacket were worn three times, and the navy jacket and the black asymmetrical jacket were worn twice each. 

Dresses: The grey plaid dress/tunic/top was worn three times; the grey suede dress was worn twice. 

Other: The brown sweater vest was worn twice. 

What I Would Do Differently (or the Same) Next Month
  • I was really happy with this capsule, so I don't know that I would change too much of my method for putting a capsule together for next month. To be honest, I don't think I got enough wear out of the individual items - I think I could probably do a smaller capsule easily and make just as many outfits! that might be an interesting experiment at some point down the road.
  • I planned two suites of neutrals: a "cool" set (black, white, greys) and a "warm" set (browns, olive, cream). This really helped me ensure I had enough bridging items (tops, sweaters) to mix the two suites. I wore 2 and 3 neutrals at a time and it felt great.
  • No orphans in this capsule! Yay!
  • I wish I'd had another pair of flats. The loafers and the olive over-the-knee boots were the only true flats and my feet did pay for it. Of course, it didn't help that I smashed my toes after hot-tubbing. Heh.
  • Again, I really liked allowing myself an extra Wild Card outfit to accommodate parties. I was still able to create fancy outfits or casual outfits without having to add "outside" items.

What is Leaving My Closet

The grey Campers have already gone to their new home in Cat's wardrobe - they've always been a bit tight. The black Tsubos are gone; they are just not comfortable enough for a basic shoe.

What's on the Fence
  • The brown suede over-the-knee boots. The quality is not that good, they aren't as comfortable as I want in a basic boot, and they didn't stay up. If I wanted a wrinkled suede mass around my ankles, I wouldn't have bought straight, over-the-knee boots! 
  • The "Pumpkin Pie" shoes. They are getting worn out. Aw...
  • The black leather skirt. It's not as "mini" as I'd like, and I already have a great vintage black pencil skirt. Plus, it snagged up a few pairs of tights. Grrr...
  • The acid wash denim skirt. It's fun, but I don't know if it's really "me" anymore. 
  • The white cardi with the black embroidery. I don't love it. I should love everything I own.
These are back in my wardrobe for now, and may be removed after I've "rested" from them.

Looking Forward to Wearing Again
  • The tan loafers. I can't believe I was lucky enough to find these for $2.00, even after passing on them the first time I saw them! They are so comfortable and such a unique and different look than anything else I own.
  • The full "Kim Cattrall" suit. Such an amazing and good quality item. I don't love it just because it was owned by Kim, but because it's incredible on.
  • The cream brocade jacket. It's a great fit and the quality is excellent. I also really enjoyed having a "winter cream" jacket for a cooler-month wardrobe.
  • The black tux pants. I am actually going to get rid of the black skinny pants I had in March's capsule  (which are poorer quality and of shoddy manufacture) in favour of keeping these. 
  • The ruffled cream blouse. Wow, what a basic item! I can think of so many ways I want to wear it with other items in my wardrobe. Plus, it's washable (a must, with those big drapey cuffs!).

How I'm Feeling About the Year-Long Challenge So Far
Another winner of a month! I realized that colour is not the be-all and end-all in clothing. Neutrals have incredible value, and can be just as - if not more - interesting than an item that has nothing going for it but colour. Texture, fabric, pattern...these all factored heavily this month. When I wanted colour (and notice, I wanted it, but didn't need it to the point that I did in June), I could add accessories to give a punch. Instead of beating you over the head with colour, my use of it this month was a lot more subtle. And subtle is not really a word I've ever associated with my wardrobe before!

Instead of fighting my shape, I worked with cuts that suit my body. Curvy skirts, pencil skirts and fitted jackets - that's what works on me. Outfits that emphasize the waist remain my go-to. I did do shapes outside of that (the batwing dress, the "tube" shape of the brown maxi skirt), but made sure either the top or bottom adhered to my best shape for my body.

I am wearing denim and casual outfits less and less. If I've learned anything from Patti's "Visible Monday's" it's that I want to be seen - I don't want to blend in with casual outfits. I don't care as much what other people think of what I'm wearing; I'm having fun with my clothes and expressing myself in an artistic way. I have not missed jeans, t-shirts or casual pieces at all, although I still wear those around the house (lucky L). I'm using accessories instead to change the tone of an outfit, whether that's "rocker", "artist" or "crazy cat lady" (hee).

Bella Q's call to "Walk the Walk: Shop Second-Hand First" has solidified a lot of my personal philosophies around shopping, clothing production and manufacture, and ethical, deliberate choices in new clothing and shoes. I am looking forward to instigating this in my shopping (I'm already 99% there), and hope my friends will not tire of me carping on about it or feel like I'm lecturing them (it's hard to hold my tongue when I hear people bragging about their Walmart "bargains").

I have been trying to do my Christmas shopping with this in mind, and really paying attention to where my clothing is from, and how it benefits my city's business owners and citizens. As we hit this time of "please give, please donate" I remind myself that I give back all year round by shopping at thrift stores like St. Vincent de Paul, Women in Need and the Hospice Shop. I'm also supporting the re-using and recycling of good quality clothing by shopping consignment, and donating my own clothing to friends, co-workers and to charity. Additionally, I'm saving my hard-earned pennies and paying the full, more expensive price for locally-produced goods, and supporting local designers and artists.

And now we're at December, with only one month to go after this! I have a fairly even split of colour and neutrals this month (learning my lessons!) and I'm excited to make some fun outfits - there is a fair bit of sparkle! I am thinking about what I'll be doing when the capsule challenge is over (there will be much rumination and many summaries, as well as opportunities to vote for favourites). This has been one of the best experiences of my "fashion life" - I've learned so much, and I think my style has really grown. As I've said before, I've gained so much insight into my patterns and behaviours, and my beliefs, especially about colour and neutrals, have been challenged. This year-long challenge is changing how I think about my clothing, my wardrobe and my style.

I hope my awesome readers and blog-friends are enjoying the journey as well. I am honoured to have helped any of you learn about your own habits or wardrobes - we're all in this together!

Two months to go! Onward!

Now...To refresh your memory, here are all the outfits together. I made only 28 outfits this month, so here's some bigger pictures. You can click to embiggen the pictures further, and click on the captioned dates to go to the original posts for more pictures.

Nov 1st
Nov 2nd
Nov 3rd
Nov 4th
Nov 5th
Nov 6th
Nov 7th
Nov 8th
Nov 9th
Nov 10th
Nov 12th
Nov 13th
Nov 14th
Nov 15th
Nov 16th
Nov 17th
Nov 18th
Nov 19th
Nov 20th
Nov 21st
Nov 23rd
Nov 24th - Pt 1
Nov 24th  - Pt 2
Nov 26th
Nov 27th
Nov 28th
Nov 29th
Nov 30th
Vote! You can vote for your favourite outfits here (you can select more than one outfit, it's okay!):

Cast your vote for your favourites! Pick as many as you like. free polls 
What About the Wild Card Outfit?
I chose to relax my Wild Card selections again this month (and will be again for December). We're in party season and it's a great time to break out the party clothes (of which I have a lot). I wore this amazing plaid dress for an art installation launch, and this crazy shiny bubble-hem skirt outfit (2nd outfit) for a night at the Art Gallery. 

At the end of the challenge year (in 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. I promise I read the whole post, but I got completely derailed by your walmart comment. It's begun to get under my skin! Trying to argue why it's better to not buy those "cheap" deals at F21, walmart/target. I keep harping on the blog, hoping to convince at least one person to try something else with their shopping.

    Another great capsule, and almost to the end! I have definitely learned that new stuff is really fun, but so much of my wardrobe is under-utilized. I've been much pickier about the quality of things I'm buying. I can tell a huge difference comparing my wardrobe over the years. I'm still trying to hit that stride of finding local designers (or at least US ones) to support. I'd love to find Nashville designers, but haven't done enough research yet.

  2. I think your recaps are the best part of you doing this challenge!! It's helping me rethink my wardrobe and my choices. I'm taking part next year in Bella's challenge--I'm 80% there as it is and I want to really use 2nd-hand as my FIRST choice!
    You need to do a poll on the best Vizzini pix of the year!

  3. Certainly a winner of a month. I love reading your blog -- it's so educational.

  4. I've enjoyed your capsules and thoughtful commentary very much. I think I'm loving secondhand so much because of the bang I get for my buck. Also, as a kid, we didn't get much in the way of clothes, and I was always happy when hand-me-downs that looked good on me came my way :)

    Megan, I've abandoned Wally World almost completely for our new Trader Joe's but with a family of five sometimes still have to buy those greatly discounted household items there :/ Kitty litter, dontcha know.

  5. My goal for 2013 is to buy fewer, well-made products. I know they will be a better investment over the long run than getting more things that are cheaply made.

  6. Przeglądnęłam całego Twojego bloga i bardzo mi się podoba:))jestem po wrażeniem ilości butów które posiadasz:))Pozdrawiam serdecznie

  7. I am glad you are posting about shopping local. People coming outwith bagfuls of shopping at Primark (UK equivalent of walmart I think?) makes me sad. When I was younger, that was where my Mum and I shopped for clothes, including my school uniform. We couldn't afford to spend more, and that is who those shops are for. Not so much those who can afford to pay more. Stuff from there isn't great quality and when donated to charity, are often abric recycled as they are poor quality. I spend as much as I an on shoes as I walk a lot (don't have a car). When I know something suits me, I will spend out on the best quality I can afford - for me this is more cost-effective than a pile of cheaper stuff. And then seond hand comes in- how to get clthes/shoes that are barely worn and great quality, bring a uniqueness to your wardrobe but also get the quality
    I like, but for so much less.

    Re: capsules, it has been so much fun following yours. I know how much work goes into your recap posts and I really enjoy them. Cannot believe only two months to go!

  8. These are my favourite posts! I love seeing what decisions you make about different pieces. Neutrals are lovely on you but I'm glad to see colour back in your wardrobe.

  9. I look forward to your end of the month summary-fascinating and the comments are fun. Tamera, I vote for Vizzini spinning his wheels. Megan, bummer another Wal-mart is going up in our small town. But Lynn is right about price, when you have a diabetic cat, are you going to buy the $36 needles at the Drug Store or the $12 needles at Wal-mart? The only clothing I have bought at Wal-Mart was a Tink T shirt after my Tinkerbell cat died, of diabetes. Really, I don't give my cats sugar. Sheila, you don't dress like this at home do you? I'm a "retired" housewife, my uniform is jeans, a shirt, a jacket, some kind of brooch (always) and oxfords. I'm thinking you don't lounge around in all those gorgeous outfits every day after work. Kathy

    1. I do wear some of these around the house (when company's over), but what I blog are my "in public" clothes for the most part. As I've said before, I wear jeans and t-shirts around the house. If I go out, I'll change.

    2. Thanks Sheila You are really mortal after all.

  10. Nicely done, Sheila! Your comments on your second vs. the first neutrals month are so interesting - a few months is quite a short time to experience such a shift in your relationship with neutrals, so cool! I appreciated your thoughts on silhouette as well, and voted for a whole bunch of these great looks.

  11. This was hands-down my favorite month of yours. Who knew the two color girls like us would enjoy the neutrals so much? But you have given me a lot to think about and work with as I add more neutrals to my wardrobe.


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