Monday, February 4, 2013

30 For 30 Challenge - January Recap - It's Over!

And this is it - a year is finished! Here's my recap of the 30 For 30 For 12 challenge for January.

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

Shoes/Boots: 7 pairs 

Skirts: 6

Tops: 5

Sweaters/Cardigans: 1

Jackets/Blazers: 4


Dresses: 3

Other: 4

General Observations on January's Capsule
  • Holy crap! This is it! It's finished! Done! Over! I definitely had a little of the "horse to the barn" syndrome here and really wanted this month to be over. On the other hand, it's actually really much easier to get dressed when you only have 30 items to chose from.
  • I had 2 black skirts and a black dress this month. Three skirt-lengths were represented, but still, I have obviously NOT learned my lesson about duplicate items yet! I would much have preferred to have an olive skirt instead of one of the black ones.
  • There was a reason that two of these pairs of shoes were left at the end of the capsule year, and then only worn twice. Shoes that don't make it in the capsule = shoes that don't get worn. However, I have several pairs in my wardrobe that have still not been worn, so we'll see if these fall into this category as we go through "Like it or Lose it" voting with those this year.
  • Twelve of the 30 items were purchased new - I think this is the highest percentage of new items I've had all year. Three of those items (the Smoking Lily moose tee and the moto jacket, and the Floating Gold Iceberg capelet) were purchased new, and are locally/ethically produced, and two items are Fluevogs (locally designed in Vancouver, ethically produced overseas in Peru and Portugal). Not too bad, but I can do better - only two of the remaining items were purchased new in the last year (the two skirts are from Dots). 
  • I played with "Other" items this month, with mixed success. The cape never got worn as a cape, and I ended up disliking the capelet. However, I adore the vests.
  • This month had a lot of "orphan"/leftover items that never made it into previous capsules. It's a tricky thing, when you're near the end and there are all those clothes waiting for a capsule - the poor wallflowers of the closet!
  • No Wild Card this month - January is so boring! 
What Got Worn the Most/Least

Shoes: Unsurprisingly, the black boots got worn a lot: 8 times total. This was followed by the next-most-comfortable, the Fluevog olive Wonders Ayers (both pairs, pre- and post-Vizzini's ravaging, and the replacement pair) at 6 wears. The combat boots got a lot of wear on our jaunt to Powell River (4 wears total), the lavender booties got 3 wears, and the red Adrian Agnes boots softened up over their 3 wears. I only wore the snakeskin wedges and the black heeled loafers twice each.

Skirts: Skirt wear was pretty even all month, although the black maxi and the brown asymmetrical skirt both were worn the most at 4 times each. The blue knit and the black midi were worn 3 times each, and the red ribbon skirt and the turquoise fringed suede skirt were only worn twice each, which was expected as they are a little tougher to wear, not being neutrals.

Tops: I didn't plan my tops properly - I threw in a bunch of newer purchases as filler at the last minute (three  were purchased in December), and didn't account for the sleeveless nature of many of them. Aside from that, they were fine - all tops were worn either 3 times (the BR blue shirt and the moose tee) and the rest were worn twice each. I love the two vintage handmade blouses and am looking forward to wearing them more.

Sweaters/Cardigans: I only put the one sweater in this month - the basic but boring cream cowl-necked sweater - and really should have had a cardigan for all the sleeveless tops in this capsule. I liked the cowl sweater, but it's so dull. It was worn four times.

Jackets/Blazers: The landslide winner this month was the olive blazer, worn a whopping five times. And this is its second appearance in a capsule! Don't have an olive blazer? I think it's a wardrobe staple! I wore each of the other jackets twice each.

Pants: No pants. Didn't miss 'em.

Dresses: I wore the red dress five times (partly due to 3 wears while on vacation visiting the inlaws) - it was a very versatile layering piece - and both of the other dresses three times. 

Other: I wore the purple suede vest 4 times, which surprised me, since of all of the "other" items, it was the one I thought I would wear the least! I was equally shocked that I only wore the denim vest once (although I've worn it again since this capsule ended), but the mix of the items was not quite right for it (it requires a top with sleeves). I wore the Smoking Lily cape twice (both times as a skirt), and the capelet was worn twice as well.

What I Would Do Differently (or the Same) Next Month
I guess that title isn't accurate anymore! If I could do January all again, these are the things I would change (or not).
  • I have mixed feelings on this capsule. I loved about half of the content and outfits, but struggled with the rest. I wanted to wear certain items more (like the ribbon skirt) but hadn't put the right mix of tops in. I had tricky colours (olive, red, blue, lavender, cream, brown, grey) that didn't always work together.
  • My shoe mix was good, although the losers quickly revealed themselves to me. Heels....*sigh*...why must they be so beautiful, but so painful? 
  • This month felt a little too dark overall. I find myself wanting to do more colour - brights! But maybe that's just the time of the year.
  • I had no Wild Card, which was fine. I did wear a fun dress and shoes for Megan Mae's virtual birthday party, although I didn't count that as an outfit in the capsule. 

What is Leaving My Closet
  • The snakeskin wedges: I hadn't worn them in a long time, and although they were fine for short-term wear, they hurt my feet after a few hours. Time to go.
  • The black heeled loafers: Evidence of my former buying patterns! Oh, I don't have a pair like this, and they're a good price. No more. I have black shoes I love that I would rather wear.
  • The black cotton maxi skirt: This month I thrifted a black suede maxi that I love so much more. The cotton skirt also puckered when I washed it. Eh, I just don't love it.
  • The Floating Gold Iceberg capelet: Oh, it's so cute and I love the idea of it - it just doesn't work on me. I've already given it away to a very happy coworker.

What's on the Fence
  • The blue knit skirt: The cut and colour are fabulous, but there is a bit of pilling on the hips. Arg. I loathe cheap fabrics!
  • The cream cowl-necked sweater: It's so boring, but functional. I'm going to look for a nicer cream sweater with a better neckline (I hate turtlenecks or stuff up around my neck).
  • The grey ruffled jacket: I might hang onto it for steampunk looks, but it's not a go-to jacket for versatility. That's a lot of ruffles.
  • The red dress: This ponte material is something I've never liked - it feels like cheap plastic-based fabric (and it is). It's pilling a little under the arms. Great cut and style of dress, though.
These are back in my wardrobe for now, and may be removed after I've "rested" from them.

Looking Forward to Wearing Again
  • The red Adrian Agnes boots. I didn't even wait a day before wearing these in February! They are getting nicely broken in and they are so uber-ly kickass.
  • The olive Wonders Ayers. I loved them so much that when my monster cat ate a strap I ordered another pair! I'm actually quite excited to customize the Vizzini'd pair, so that I'll have two pairs of these fabulously comfy shoes to wear!
  • The Smoking Lily cream metallic moto jacket. Seriously, I feel like I'm from the future when I wear this cool jacket. It's going to get lots of wear in the spring as I start busting out lighter colours.

Some Reflections on the Final Capsule and the Challenge Overall
I feel like I could write a book about this challenge! It's been a fun, frustrating, experience overall, and I know it's changed how I dress and shop and how I view my wardrobe. I'll be doing some more in-depth posts about the Lessons Learned during this year of capsules, but here's a taste of my impressions so far.

It's easier to pick out outfits when you have less clothes. That's kind of a "duh" revelation, but for someone who's always had a big wardrobe (even when I was a teen), that was a nice bonus. Wow, so much easier to get dressed in the morning when everything goes together!

However, it all has to work together! Despite figuring out the "magic" number of shoes required in a month (seven), I'm still working on the right proportion of tops to skirts/bottoms and jackets/cardigans. It definitely varied according to the time of year - I wore a lot more cardigans in the spring/summer and more jackets in the fall/winter.

Part of making everything work together was learning not to just theme it all in colours, but to make sure I had a good grounding of nearly half neutrals in each capsule. This was a revelation to me (all you neutral-lovers are laughing, I hear you!), and my two all-neutral months (June and November) were extremely useful as growth exercises for my style. I learned to use accessories for colour, and to chill and let good textures and patterns do the work of colour. I found that I'd been lazy in letting colour do the work for me, instead of focusing on cut and quality in my items.

My shopping (and you know I have Madd Shopping Skillz, yo) has gotten better overall, in that I'm much pickier about cut, fit and quality, and not as easily swayed by those sirens: colour and labels/brands. I'm shopping second-hand first, locally-made second, and ethically-made third, and that feels good. I love shopping and looking for those unique items, and I'm confident that the newly-introduced "three wears" voting feature will help me weed out any remaining duds from my wardrobe.

Although I was supposed to take the month of January off from shopping (I didn't succeed), I did do a big purge of my closet (to the benefit of my friends and their friends - I love how stuff gets passed on!), and am looking forward to doing another one as I come up to the March change-over of my fall/winter wardrobe to my spring/summer wardrobe. Most of the "on the fence" items noted in previous capsules have been given away over the year, and I'm eyeing some of the items that are harder for me to give away (the shoes!) and thinking about what I want to do with them. Consignment, possibly.

Next weekend, I'll be putting up the poll for Best Wild Card outfit of the year, and then I'll be looking at the as-voted-on favourites and not-so-favourites of the year, both to see what viewers think (as opposed to me, the wearer) and what elements the best and worst have in common. I think it will be an interesting experiment.

As mentioned last month, 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
December 2012 capsule


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.

Jan 2nd
Jan 3rd
Jan 4th
Jan 5th
Jan 7th
Jan 8th
Jan 9th
Jan 10th
Jan 11th
Jan 12th
Jan 13th
Jan 14th
Jan 15th
Jan 16th
Jan 17th
Jan 18th
Jan 19 - Pt. 1
Jan 19th - Pt. 2
Jan 21st
Jan 22nd
Jan 23rd
Jan 24th
Jan 25th
Jan 26th
Jan 28th
Jan 29th
Jan 30th
Jan 31st

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

Vote for your favourites! free polls 

What About the Wild Card Outfit?
I didn't have one this month! Want to get a jump on the Wild Card voting? Check out this year's outfits here.

The vote will be next weekend for your favourite.

Well, here we are, at the end. Many thanks to all who have viewed, read, commented, emailed, voted, critiqued and complimented me along the way this year! I'm honoured to have inspired you, and hope that your own style journey has been made a little easier by learning with me, and avoiding some of my mistakes. You're all amazing, and I thank you.



  1. Hi Sheila....I voted for two; but I know they aren't your faces...because both of them feature the caplet. I think it looks so good on you!

  2. Uberly kickass. That's one of my new favourite phrases!
    Despite your feelings of ambivalence about this capsule I really enjoyed the variety of sheens, Jan 22 being one of my faves, don'cha know. You have provided a really valuable service here for so many people with your analyses about numbers of shoes, the value of neutrals, the role of colour, etc. This would make a great book!
    I look forward to seeing where you go with this whole new year ahead. Thanks so much for your posts. I've enjoyed them so much.

  3. So nice to read your thoughts at the end of your challenge. It's ben fun reading along with you and seeing just how talented you are at combining all of the different pieces in your closet to make so many different looks!

  4. Wow, what a year! For a capsule with some dissatisfying elements, you made many awesome outfits. Happy to hear the red boots are softening, I loved them with the turquoise skirt and your new red coat. The project would make an excellent book!

  5. I still can't believe it's over! Cheers for an amazing year - it was so fun to follow along with! And I even learned a thing or two! :)

  6. A compilation of the monthly recaps and maybe a bit more would make an AWESOME e-book!!

  7. What a massive undertaking - I am seriously in awe, Sheila! I think you are perfectly in control of what suits you. The things that obviously leave you dissatisfied are poor fit, poor durability and poor fabric. The fact that most of the items you featured are keepers shows you know what works for you and make few mistakes. Clever you! xxxx

  8. Congrats on making it to the end of your year!

  9. It's been a while since I've commented, but just wanted to congratulate you on completing such an enormous project! : )

  10. You are such an amazing shopper, and always seem to come upon the most fabulous skirts, I say don't keep what you don't love. I'm starting to grasp that myself - and being much better about hanging stuff back up at stores.

  11. Congratulations on making it though the year! I think you would write an awesome book. You do give the rest of us great advice through your trial and error.

  12. Am catching up! Congratulations on a great year, Sheila. I have so enjoyed reading about your capsules and seeing how you have mixed and matched, and then kept / weeded things out each money.

    It'll be really interesting to see, going forward, how this challenge affects your wardrobe. There were many great outfits this month, but hands down, my favourites were 29th and 31st - that ribbon skirt is exquisite.

  13. I cannot believe the whole year is over! I am so amazed and impressed that you stuck with it, and I love all the things you have learned about yourself, your closet, and your style. Brava!


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