Saturday, January 5, 2013

30 For 30 Challenge - December Recap

Eleven months down...only 1 more to go! The last capsule is upon us! Here's my recap of the 30 For 30 For 12 challenge for December.

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

Shoes/Boots: 7 pairs (started as 6)
*replacement item

Skirts: 7

Tops: 5 (started as 6)
*removed from capsule

Sweaters/Cardigans: 5
*replacement item

Jackets/Blazers: 3

Pants: 0 (started as 1)
*removed from capsule

Dresses: 2

Other: 1

General Observations on December's Capsule
  • This is the month I blew my rules. Two items in and two (non-like) items out. I needed a black shoe and I loathed the black pants after one wear (even though I forced myself to wear them one more time). I also didn't plan for a cardigan to go over all the shells and sleeveless tops I'd included in a winter capsule. Foolish, foolish Sheila.
  • I loved the colour mix this month. All the purples, blues, teals and burgundys went beautifully with the neutral mix of blacks and greys. 
  • I had major shoe issues this month. I never thought it would happen to me but I think I'm going to have to consciously start buying heels under 3 inches going forward. I fear for my feet in super-high heels; I just can't handle the foot pain after wearing higher heels all day (even though I sit for a good portion of my job).
  • My shoe wear this month was very unbalanced due to the aforementioned heel issues. That's going to be a big challenge for me. I love beautiful shoes and the high heels that (often) go with them! Waaa!
  • Only 8 of my items were not thrifted, consignment or gifts, and of the purchased-new items, 5 of them were ethically made (4 pairs of Fluevogs and the Smoking Lily skull skirt). Yay! 
  • I didn't have that many outfits overall this month due to holidays, but I totally cheated on multiple Wild Cards - four of them! 
What Got Worn the Most/Least

Shoes: As I said, this was really uneven. I wore all four pairs of my highest shoes twice each. The Listen Up Fluevogs killed my feet after a full day's wear - they are going to be special occasion or very rarely worn after this. No way I'm getting rid of them - I might have to build a "shoe museum". Hey, L, do you mind if I take over a wall in our house for a shoe display? Hee hee! (not really, but wouldn't that be fun?). I wore my most comfortable footwear the most - not a surprise! The grey wooly Prepare Volunteer Fluevog boots were worn 9 times, making them the most worn item overall this year in any capsule! They were followed by the black Aldo boots at 6 times and the gorgeous Velazquez Baroque boots at 4 wears.

Skirts: I got very even wear out of all my skirts this month, with all of them being worn 3 times, with the exception of the purple sequinned skirt and the black pleated skirt only being worn twice, and the Smoking Lily chair skirt taking the lead at 4 wearings.

Pants: Oh, I had major pants issues this month. The wide-legged, high-waisted black trousers which looked so good on in the fitting room when I bought them, were completely wrong on my body type. They threw my proportions right off and eliminated the long leg line that I like. Ugh. Despite my misgivings about them, I did manage to wear them twice.

Tops: Four of my original 6 tops were sleeveless. I also shouldn't have counted the black velvet shell as an item (hence its removal) as it's not a piece I would wear on its own. The most-worn item was the red velvet cowl at 4 times, followed by the J. Peterman white blouse and the teal sweater shell, at 3 times each. Least worn was the black velvet shell (before being removed altogether) at once only. The other tops were worn twice each. Aside from shoes, this was the most uneven category.

Sweaters/Cardigans: As I mentioned in the post where I inserted the black drapey cardi into this capsule, I had originally planned for it to be in the December mix, and had removed it at the last minute for the newer acquisition of the Goddess Wrap. Bad move. I needed a black cardi to make all the sleeveless sweaters work - yes, I had two sleeveless sweaters as well as 4 sleeveless tops! What was I thinking with all this sleevelessness? The most worn sweater was the grey sleeveless cowl - it was worn 5 times, and was a great layering piece. Next was the purple cardi and the black drapey cardi at 4 times each. The navy cashmere sweater saw 4 wears, after being neglected in my closet for a few years. The poor little purple sleeveless cashmere sweater was only worn once.

Jackets/Blazers: The surprise A+ jacket this month was the brocade Ricki's jacket, which I wore 4 times. The Kania Goddess Wrap was worn 3 times, followed by the grey Camden Market jacket at two wears.

Dresses: I wore the green swirly dress three times and the grey wool strapless twice. 

Other: The vest was worn twice.

What I Would Do Differently (or the Same) Next Month
  • I was mixed on this capsule. On the one hand, I really liked a lot of the items, but there were so many difficulties with others that my overall feeling is negative. Maybe that will change with some perspective.
  • Oh, a better selection of walking shoes and comfortable shoes, for sure! I hope I have that mix right for January! Seven pairs of shoes is definitely my "magic" number. It's a good amount for variety of situations and occasions.
  • I was happy with my assortment of neutrals - about half neutral (which included navy, grey, black and white this month) seems to be about right. I also kept my colours in similar families: reds/burgundys, purples, blue/navy/teal, for the best cohesive colour mixes. 
  • I allowed myself a total of four Wild Card outfits for the various parties we went to/held over the month. It was great to be able to let my creativity go for these outfits, and to wear some of my lovely party-only clothes.

What is Leaving My Closet
A lot this month!
  • The London Fog black pleated skirt: I thrifted it for cheap because pleats were trendy. Meh, I don't love it. I have other black skirts I like better. 
  • The Banana Republic teal shirt: it's too tight, although I like the colour.
  • The blue sequinned tank: I can't tuck it in due to the thickness of the sequins, making it less versatile than I require in my wardrobe. 
  • The sleeveless purple cashmere sweater: I just don't wear it anymore. I'm not keeping it just because it's cashmere.
  • The Kania Goddess Wrap: it's too tight. My girlfriend Vero will rock it! 

What's on the Fence
  • The purple cardi: The quality is not that good, but the colour is great.
  • The Camden Market grey jacket: I don't like how it fits, but I love all the details on it.
  • Both pairs of Listen Up shoes: I won't ever get rid of these because they are so beautiful, but as noted, they're going to move up to the "I don't wear them often" section of my shoes.
These are back in my wardrobe for now, and may be removed after I've "rested" from them.

Looking Forward to Wearing Again
  • The Prepare Volunteer grey wooly boots. Wow, I just love these! So comfortable and unusual.
  • The Velazquez Baroque burgundy boots. These are show-stoppers! It killed me, waiting nearly 9 months to wear them after buying them. I can't wait to build some new outfits around them from my full closet!
  • The grey Etcetera tweed skirt. Besides the fact that it fits perfectly and came from one of my favourite bloggers ever, this tulip shapet is so darned flattering on. I felt like a million bucks whenever I wore it.

How I'm Feeling About the Year-Long Challenge So Far
As I get closer to the end (and yo, here we are), I've been reflecting a lot on the Big Lessons that I've been learning from doing this challenge. Some of them are more obvious (eg. you need to have neutrals) and some are not as apparent.

For example, I'm finding that as I get less of a selection of clothes to choose from for a capsule, the harder it is to make a capsule work. This is the same issue I had with the September capsule: I had odds and ends of leftovers that hadn't made it in other capsules, so was left with a bunch of things that didn't really work together. I think I'm getting a glimmer of how frustrating it could be for women who don't have a ginormous closet or collection of clothing. If that small(er) selection of clothes isn't just right, you'd end up being stalled on building outfits due to not having the right proportion of say, shoes or tops.

Another thing I've noticed is that I tend to get excited over unique items when I'm out shopping (eg. the Kania Goddess Wrap and the wide-legged trousers). They look good on, I buy them, and then I find out that they just...don' on me. So, how to overcome this in the future? It's hard to tell when you're in a fitting room whether something's going to work in real life or how it's going to go with the rest of one's wardrobe. I'm pondering a method for immediately weeding out bad purchases like this after the capsule challenge is over.

Although I was sort of dissatisfied overall with this capsule, I am pleased with the shapes of the clothing this month. Nearly everything I had included emphasized the waist (one of my better features) and worked with my body's proportions and shape. I can do pretty much any length of skirt, but need to stick with fitted tops. There are exceptions, of course, like my black drapey cardi, but that's more of a deliberate choice than not being aware of what suits me (hello, swing coats!).

I'm taking the month of January off from shopping for clothing and shoes, and am doing a big purge of my wardrobe (to the delight of my friends and coworkers). Not so much to make room for new purchases, but because - although I still desire to have a big wardrobe - I want to only own items that I love wearing. A lot of the "on the fence" items in my wardrobe from previous capsules have gone to the giveaway pile.

And not to harp on this, but Bella Q's "Walk the Walk: Shop Second-Hand First" has gone into effect. I plan for this to be permanent, not a year-long challenge, but an overall way of life for shopping for myself. Combined with my previously-mentioned method for weeding out bad purchases, I'm hoping to have a really awesome wardrobe full of things I love to wear over time.

And now we're at January, the very last month! I feel a little twinge of panic - "OMG, what am I going to do for outfits now??" Prior to this year-long challenge, I used to build outfits around new and new-to-me items I'd purchased...this ended being a parade of new items, which feeds that "must have something new" urge/pressure that many fashion bloggers feel. I'm wrapping up my 5th year of fashion blogging (I know! Since 2008!) and I do admit that I like having the constraint of a challenge to take some of that pressure off. I'm going to miss this challenge!

I will be doing some very in-depth statistical analysis of my capsules: by outfit, by type of item and by proportions - I've been keeping spreadsheets of my capsules for referring back to, and I do check back on the previous month's votings to see how things are going. There will be more opportunities to vote, on both favourite and least favourite outfits (because it's fun to slag the bad ones, heh heh), as well as the Wild Card outfits. I think the polls are still open on all the recap posts, so feel free to go back and vote if you missed out the first time around:

February 2012 capsule
March 2012 capsule
April 2012 capsule
May 2012 capsule
June 2012 capsule
July 2012 capsule
August 2012 capsule
September 2012 capsule
October 2012 capsule
November 2012 capsule

A big thank you again to all of you who have joined me along the way. I hope my awesome readers and blog-friends are still enjoying the journey. I am honoured to have helped any of you learn about your own habits or wardrobes - we're all in this together!

One month to go! Onward!

Now...To refresh your memory, here are all the outfits together. I made 28 outfits this month, so here are 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.
Dec 1st
Dec 3rd
Dec 4th
Dec 5th - Pt. 1
Dec 5th - Pt. 2
Dec 6th
Dec 7th
Dec 8th
Dec 10th
Dec 11th
Dec 12th
Dec 13th - Pt. 1
Dec 13th - Pt. 2
Dec 14th
Dec 15th
Dec 16th
Dec 17th
Dec 18th
Dec 19th
Dec 20th
Dec 21st
Dec 22nd
Dec 24th
Dec 25th
Dec 27th
Dec 28th
Dec 29th
Dec 31st

Vote! You can vote for your favourite outfits here (you can select more than one outfit, it's okay!):

Vote for your favourites, as many as you like! free polls 
What About the Wild Card Outfit?
I chose to relax my Wild Card selections again due to party season - I did 4 Wild Card outfits this month! I wore:

  • this long brown gown for my company's Christmas party on Dec 1st (2nd outfit), 
  • my brown satin dress with blue suede shoes to show off some of my vintage jewelry for our house Christmas party (here, 2nd outfit), 
  • my "stained glass" dress for a friend's Christmas party (here, 2nd outfit), and 
  • of course, my New Year's Eve outfit, in which I busted out the leather and a top hat (here, 2nd outfit).
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. Ah, so many great looks to end the year, Sheila. I feel you about the higher heels - it was hard for me to give them up as daily wear but I can't be happy with sad feet! Love the sequinned skirt as my single favorite piece of the month.

  2. Awesome post, Sheila. I especially love the accumulation of wisdom in your "How I'm Feeling So Far" section, and that you knew exactly when to chuck the rules and improvise a little. I appreciate the time and energy it must take to put these summaries together, including the links to all the past months' round-ups, you are awesome. And holy smokes, congrats on five years of blogging!!!

  3. Gah, how to face the looks-good-in-dressing-room-but-not-in-real-life!!! I went back for the suede dress today since it was 50% off day (making the dress $4) - I got it home and I don't know if the things I wound up buying today are all that and a bag of chips. And yes, that included a sweater just because it was 100% cashmere. Although it's a thick grey timeless cowl so I believe it will be worn.

    I'm sorry about the heels, but it does eventually feel good to give them up - and if you ever do decide to resell your Vogs, they have a good community for resell and I'm sure they'd consign alright.

    This year, after my birthday, I'm really pressing myself not to shop anymore for 2013. I think working on remixing and not focusing around new-new-new is a good way to stop the cycle of shopping.

    Your capsules have been very inspiring, and while I don't know if I can ever limit myself for 30 days to only 30 items - I have learned so much from your year of challenge.

    Major Awards go to you for tackling this and doing it with such awareness.

  4. Great recap! My favourite this month was the black strapless dress and how you layered it differently, and the lovely white floofy shirt and waistcoat look, it fits you so well. You have influenced me this year with the capsules - looking at the balance of what you get out of those 6 skirts, 6 tops etc throughout the month fires off ideas for similar stuff I own but also makes methink about the basics, I often lack basic layering items. Thank you for putting these recaps together :-)

  5. I enjoyed many of these outfits this month, it's hard to pick favorites! I have a few stand outs to vote for though!

    I have really enjoyed this journey so far, it's been very inspiring and has really helped me work at re-mixing my own closet. Looking forward to the last month, I bet you'll go out with a bang!

  6. Hi Sheila. You are so discipline about keeping track of your clothes, your outfits, ect. And, sticking with your capsule commitment for a full year..WHEW! I couldn't do it.
    I'm with you on the January no spending vow. That's my intent as well. Let's keep each other accountable, shall we?
    I voted for only one of your outfits, although I like many of them. I wanted to drive home the point that I LOVE your Dec 21st outfit. Love the ruffle top and vest together.
    I'm going to work on purging too, however, I'm having a very hard time doing so because I really do love most everything in my closet now. Hmmm....when everything I purchased was retail, I could not say that!
    I'm sticking with my commitment inspired by Bella too, thrift first!
    I'm looking forward to seeing

  7. I love the comment you just made about loving everything in your wardrobe- I feel that too, that I should, but I haven't really put it in practice. This is something to aim towards- because loving a garment means it is quality and flattering and being worn. Practical and aesthetic principles meet on this one.

    I'm excited about the pledge! Thank you for being part of it! xo. -Bella Q

  8. Yikes, sorry your shoes were such a problem this month. Those are the worst.

    I make sure that I can create at least two outfits with a new piece before I take the tags off, otherwise it gets returned. I don't think you have the same option of returning if you are buying second-hand, though...

    Another great month, this one full of lots of lessons too.

  9. Yours is the most valuable fashion-blog out there for its smart analysis; this post, in particular, is amazing. You teach us through your example and introspection.

    My favorite look of yours last month was using the toy soldier as an accessory. :)

  10. Congratulations on 5 year's of blogging!!! Your capsule journey has been instrumental in helping me define my style and shop better.

  11. Once again you triumph! Your analyses are mesmerizing. What I find equally interesting is the voting, which outfits other people liked best. I wonder if you usually agree with the results... Heels, I'm panic-stricken that I may be in the same situation regarding heels. Despite the bumps you felt in your capsule this month you looked fantastic all the time.


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