What I Learned from the 30x30 Experience

Thoughts on my 30x30 experience.
Where to begin? This was a valuable exercise and I want to do it again, especially before changing seasons. It really helped to see what I wore, wanted to wear, what direction I wanted to go. As said before, it is helping me get rid of items that I realize that I don't want to wear any more.
1) I found out that I want to look current. Just classic pieces seem boring. I liked my released hem and wide leg pants and jeans better than a more classic pair right now.
2). I found that I am done with low rise jeans but not skinny jeans.
3). I wore color and pattern and needed both. What I missed most was a variety of color and pattern.
4). I don't mind repeating items or outfits that have a high happiness factor. My EF pieces and comfortable shoes, my black and white bag...all pleased me. Even when I removed footwear and accessories from my 30, I still kept using the same ones.
5). Continuing that last thought, I learned that I could live with a much smaller wardrobe than I thought, if it has only pieces that have high happiness factors and variety.
6). That said, frocks...summer dresses and skirts were missed the most. My 30x30 included only one skirt and one dress.
7). Fussy feet need a deep footwear wardrobe. I learned that easy off and on footwear works best for me.
8). I definitely plan to repeat this exercise, maybe even in September. Capsule building is an art and takes practice.
9) This was especially challenging as the weather turned warmer and i'd not planned well enough.
10). Light colored pieces and white got less wear because of laundry back ups.
11). I am not a traditional tee shirt wearer and should only own a very few.
12). I need to get over saving expensive items for only special events. Perhaps special occasion clothing should be exempt from my 30x30 until I am more practiced at this exercise.
My final set of item photos will come later. I am keeping to my capsule for 2 more days. Thanks to all who read my posts, looked at the outfits, and encouraged and made suggestions.

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.

19 Comments

  • Emily K replied 2 months ago

    It sounds like you learned a lot, Joy.  I'm looking forward to seeing your last batch of WIW's.

  • Jenn replied 2 months ago

    These are some great insights, Joy. These really resonated with me.

    2). I found that I am done with low rise jeans but not skinny jeans.

    I think this is true for me, too, although I don't wear skinny jeans in high summer. I still have days where that long-over-lean look feels compelling, practical, and comfortable.

    4). I don't mind repeating items or outfits that have a high happiness factor. My EF pieces and comfortable shoes, my black and white bag...all pleased me. Even when I removed footwear and accessories from my 30, I still kept using the same ones.

    There's something really delightful about wearing high-quality and well-made clothing. It doesn't get tiresome.

    5). Continuing that last thought, I learned that I could live with a much smaller wardrobe than I thought, if it has only pieces that have high happiness factors and variety.

    This was an ah-ha! for me just now. I find it really hard to resist buying the same silhouettes over and over again so I can replicated a formula with infinite subtle variations. However, I think I'd be happier mixing things up so I only have one or two high-happiness versions of a look.

    9) This was especially challenging as the weather turned warmer and i'd not planned well enough.

    I was just thinking about this recently when I was comparing weather between here and the town in Illinois where I grew up. The average highs and lows for each month were very similar. However, the record highs here in Colorado were higher and the record lows were lower. Also, there were only 3 snow-free months a year in my part of CO. Those crazy-hot days come on us quickly and are gone just as soon, but despite the short season, they're not mild! It's really hard to navigate the extremes.

  • Joy replied 2 months ago

    Thank you, Emily and Jenn. Jenn, you are so right about the Colorado weather. A few days ago we had the same temperature as where I lived in Kansas, mid 90'sF. But the comfort " feels like" of each was very different. Colorado's was 85F. Kansas's was 103F! The air can be cool in the shade, but the sun is scorching.
    Doing the 30x30, I did not change clothes much during the day even though mornings and evenings were usually too chilly without a topper. It would have been too hard to keep up with laundry. I need to think more about this.

  • Runcarla replied 2 months ago

    I was just reviewing my own notes on what I learned during the challenge and wrote down thoughts similar to your #1, #3, and #6.

    #1 wanting to look current - not just classic.
    - I did not do much shopping this spring/summer for a variety of reasons, and I don't believe I picked up any trendy items. I have associated trendy items more with work style then casual style, and since I'm not buying work clothes (retirement in 8 months :-) ) I didn't do the work of figuring out how trendy could translate into after work and weekend outfits. My bad! I need to remedy this for next S/S.

    #3 colour and pattern make me happy, too
    - but where has it all gone? I have a great collection of neutrals (black, blue, and white) but over time seem to have edited out a lot of colour and a lot of pattern! Last year's yellow pants, and this year's red ones make me much happier than the blush capsule I'm experimenting with. And pattern?!! I seem to have only blue and white patterns, and little else! My favourite blouse of all time was a black, blue, silver, and pink abstract floral in white. I wore it until it was threadbare. Take-away: I need more brightly coloured items and a few patterned tops to bridge/transition between my neutrals and those brights.

    #6. Frocks/sundresses are excellent clothing items for warm weather and can look very different with the option of trousers under. I had 6 tops in my capsule, but 4 tunics/dresses! I didn't realize I had so few tops until I crunched the numbers. I probably should have added my white denim skirt, I had a black skirt, and wore it once only.

    Like you, Joy, I'm thinking that I need to do this again for fall winter. There will probably be more lessons to learn.

  • rachylou replied 2 months ago

    How interesting Joy - and Runcarla!

    I have gone back to wearing tees and haven't worn a skirt in awhile. We shall see if things change as we get into our hot weather. I think you're right about a season test, Joy.

  • Joy replied 2 months ago

    Runcarla, living a retirement casual lifestyle, I find it difficult to dress casually and in an interesting way each day. I quickly tired of daily dark wash jeans and venture out of my comfort zone to different washes, colors, and silhouettes, Ponte pants, linen and silk casual pants. I refuse to wear gear, and distressed jeans. Most other styles of pants bag in the back with no hips to fill them out. Crops, wide legs and patterned pants give me variety, so I've become a fairly quick adapter of the next new thing in jeans.
    Rachylou, do you ever have hot weather? I suppose it depends on how far inland you are.

  • Lucy replied 2 months ago

    Thanks Joy, what a great experience this has been for you!
    One thing I find really interesting is just how much weather does play into style. I'd never really thought of it, until I moved to a much warmer climate 3 years ago - really, everything had to be rethought! I had imagined some minor adjustments - a few more linen dresses - but it went much deeper, and crossed all seasons. "Winter" here is quite different when you rarely need a jacket, let alone a coat, in the day.  It's something that never comes up in my "real life" conversations but we see it over and over on YLF. 

  • rachylou replied 2 months ago

    Lol, Joy. We got above 80 today, 100 inland. The actual hot weather won't set in tho until fall generally. So an afternoon of this, an afternoon of that.

    But the real problem is I go out and need a puffy and beanie, because it's grey and overcast... but three blocks into the dog walk and THEN it's 80.

  • Style Fan replied 2 months ago

    Thanks Joy.  I really enjoyed reading your post.  I also found the 30 x 30 exercise very useful and would be willing to do it again in the fall.  It has helped me organize my shopping list for the summer (which we are not having).
    I also have to change my footwear often and my footwear is very expensive (and not terribly trendy or attractive).  I find that sets the tone for the rest of my outfit.
    I am also happy to stay with the tried and true outfits.  If an outfit makes me happy I will repeat it over and over.

  • Sterling replied 2 months ago

    These are such interesting and valuable lessons. 

  • The Cat replied 2 months ago

    Interesting, Joy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this experience. I am nodding to several of your points.

  • Joy replied 2 months ago

    Thank you, Sterling, for this challenge. I learned more than I thought I would and would do it again.
    Rachylou, puffer send beanie to 80 degrees in minutes! That is a challenge! We often walk around a lake with a sunny side and places with deep shade. I swear there is at least a 10 degree difference.
    Lucy , I have learned that even places with 4 seasons can have very different weather and clothing needs. One of the most valuable lessons I've learned at YLF is to determine the dominate season and buy for that season. I think my dominate season may have changed, but am not sure yet. It means paying attention and my WIW photos will come in handy to determine what I wore when as my second year here starts.
    Thanks for your thoughts, Style Fan. I'm glad not to be done in needing lots of shoes. You are so right that comfortable footwear is expensive and important for setting the tone of an outfit.
    Thank you, The Cat, for reading my ramblings.

  • rachylou replied 2 months ago

    They are just not joking when they talk about Bay Area microclimates...

  • Summer replied 2 months ago

    Just goes to show that we can always learn something new.  These are great insights, Joy.
    I didn't take part in the challenge - I have a small wardrobe, anyway, - but it's been interesting to see how it has worked out for all who participated.

  • Sterling replied 2 months ago

    I've decided to go back and cull some of the lessons that others learned that will be benefit me.  Here are some of your lessons that I culled:

    • Capsule building is an art and takes practice.
    • I found out that I want to look current. Just classic pieces seem boring.
    • Fussy feet need a deep footwear wardrobe. I learned that easy off and on footwear works best for me.
    • I need to get over saving expensive items for only special events. 
    • To determine the dominate season and buy for that season.
  • Bijou replied 2 months ago

    This is so interesting to read what you learnt from this exercise. I really relate to your first point because I am very much in this state of mind at the moment. I do like classic items to a point, but not an entire wardrobe full. Having fun and current pieces give me a high happiness factor too.

  • Joy replied 2 months ago

    Rachylou, I froze when not prepared for a summer weather in San Francisco! I understand the need for puffers and beanies in July...gloves and scarves too.

  • JAileen replied 2 months ago

    This is very interesting. I agree with many of your lessons learned.

    Joy, we cruelly laughed at tourists in SF when I was a kid. We used to go to Pops concerts in the city in summer, and sometimes I needed my wool coat.

  • Joy replied 2 months ago

    Yes, I can imagine. I was never so cold as at a night baseball game on the 4th of July. We had only been in SF a day and came early in shorts and sandals. We soon saw people arriving all bundled up and wondered what was going on. Well, we certainly were the tourists that night! Human Popsicles.

You need to be logged in to comment