Friday, January 22, 2016

Just For Fun: The 30 Day Project

Do any of my readers share my love of fashion/personal style blogs?  I take a lot of inspiration from them.  I love seeing what stylish women wear and how they incorporate seemingly ordinary pieces of clothing into cute outfits, and how they make outrageous pieces of clothing respectable.  My favorite bloggers include Jessica of What I Wore (although she seems to be moving away from fashion blogging), Jean of Extra Petite, and Kendi of Kendi Everyday.  They are my go-to blogs to help me understand how I can best edit my wardrobe and coordinate  many separate pieces into a whole.  I also enjoy women with a slightly edgier sense of style such as Wendy of Wendy's Lookbook and Blair at Atlantic Pacific. I also recently discovered Hallie of Hallie Daily

Fashion blogs do present some dangers though.  They tend to make me covet.  Kendi has convinced me I must have a pink Rebecca Minkhoff bag (I received the plum one for Christmas).  I may have decided I wasn't wearing my leopard print boots enough to keep them, but Jean has made me realize I need a pair of leopard pumps.  Jean also has me wondering if I should reconsider my dislike of bulky scarves.   They source their outfits (or at least where you can find similar items) so I can have ideas of where to shop.  Such knowledge may not be wise.  I do like to think it helps me make more intelligent choices.

I would love to have a fashion blog of my own.  I love playing with my wardrobe and seeing what I can come up with.  It would be fun (if a bit narcissistic) to share outfit ideas with the world.  Seeing other women's fashion blogs always tempts me.  There are a few obstacles in my way though.

First, take a look at most style bloggers.  The style blog world has been accused of being elitist because it features so many white, thin, rich women.  While not all of my favorite bloggers are white, they are all thin.  Jessica is quite tall.  I couldn't wear some of the outfits she pulls off.  Jean is almost as short as I am, but she's tiny.  She doesn't have to dress around a pair of giant boobs. Kendi is a little thicker than some of the others I follow, but her figure is still better proportioned than mine.  I just don't look as good in the clothes I wear.

The second reason I could never successfully fashion blog is that I don't have the budget or the time and know-how to work around a budget.  These women shop a variety of high-end brands (although they do squish in a bit of Old Navy or H&M now and then). They also know how to go for sponsorships so they can show off their clothes and be walking advertisements for the brands they wear.  Do you like these shoes?  Well, the link below will take you Saks where you can buy them yourself.  Some women have enough sponsorships to make blogging their full time job.  I would love to blog for a living, but it's not a practical choice for me right now.  I wouldn't know how to get the kind of sponsorships that would support my shopping habits (or allow me to be a full time blogger) and I don't have the time to research and seek them right now.

Another advantage the typical fashion blogger is a handy photographer and the time and locations for photographs.  Fashion bloggers have friends and husbands willing to go outside with them and snap photo after photo in the perfect setting.  It's a pity I have a husband with a passion for photography and a high-end DSLR camera, but no time to fool around taking photos of me in cute outfits.  Since we live in an apartment, we can't easily go outside and take advantage of natural light.  On weekends I spend most of my day at the barn wearing barn clothes, so I don't have much time or inclination to dress up and show off work or dressy outfits. 

It also seems every fashion blogger I admire is far more willing than I am to walk around in 4" heels.

So I will never be a fashion blogger.  I will stick to food and "typical nonsense" and never be paid for any of it.  Still, it's fun to think about your outfits, photograph them, and share your ideas.  How could I find a way to do that?

That's how I came up with the 30 Day Project.  I challenged myself to wear everything in my closet, over a course of 30 work days.  The idea was that I would never wear exactly the same outfit twice (like the main rule of dressing in middle school).  For example, even if I wore the same skirt or pants with the same sweater, I would change the shirt and shoes. Once I had the outfits put together, I would take a daily photograph and put it on a Pin Board.  I don't have the time to take really nice fashion-blog-worthy photos, but I could at least take a quick snapshot after getting dressed in the morning so I would have the outfit recorded.  From there I could decide if I liked the combinations, or if I felt they flattered me. 

Initially I included Casual Friday into the mix, but decided it wasn't really important as it was mostly jeans, leggings, sweaters, and boots.  These are all work outfits, as my weekend outfits are greasy sweatshirts and t-shirts, riding breeches, muddy boots, coats, and hats.  My apres` barn clothes are generally the same as Casual Friday clothes.

The photos are mostly terrible.  In fact, I think they are some of the ugliest pictures of me ever taken.  They are taken indoors in bad lighting.  My hair is usually still wet and my makeup is half done (I put a base on at home and put everything else on at the office).  Occasionally they were shot with my phone.  We used my cheap camera instead of Kevin's DSLR.  There were times when we were running late and I had no time to take a photo before leaving for work, so after work I would just lay the outfit out on the floor and take a picture without me in it.  That would not really help me understand how good an outfit looked on me.  Regardless I did what I set out to do.  I created 30 different looks and recorded each one.

I learned a few things during this experiment.

1.  MY BOOBS!  OMG, MY BOOBS!  I know I'm well-endowed, but I really needed to see photos of me to see how much my boobs dominate my torso these days.  I spend ridiculous amounts of money on minimizer bras, but they don't seem to help much.  It's hard to flatter something that size.  My biggest fashion challenge going forward is to figure out what to do with my boobs.

2.  Until I lose 20 pounds, I should not tuck my shirt in.

3.  I need to get rid of that gray lace shell.  It does even fewer favors for my boobs than the other tops do.

4.  My black cardigan and mushroom ankle boots are clearly the most indispensable items in my wardrobe.  They are worn more than anything else.

5.  The Clark's mary janes are comfortable, but not the best options for dress shoes.  They look clunky with some of the outfits.

6.  I'm glad I decided to try wearing more green this year.

7.  Despite my attempts to add more colors to my wardrobe, it seems burgundy continues to be my signature color (and I'm sure if I do a spring/summer version of this, raspberry and turquoise will show up all too often).

7.  My weight has reached a critical point.  I need to lose it because it's becoming increasingly difficult to find things that fit and flatter.

8.  It took me a year to finally get my hands on those Victorian-inspired black ankle boots, but it was worth teh wait.  I love them. 

9.  I could be more creative.  Patterns are repeating themselves in these photos.  What can I do to mix things up and look even more interesting?

If you like anything you see, here is a shopping guide.  Not everything here was purchased this season, so you may not find anything exactly like it.  It will help you understand where I tend to source my clothes if you are looking to achieve any similar looks.

Burgundy dress, black cardigan, burgundy jacket, floral skirt, black blouse - Lands End

Floral shoes, red skirt, black and white polka dot skirt, black and white hounsdtooth skirt, navy polka-dot blazer - ModCloth

Black pants, black and white graphic print pants - Banana Republic

Navy pants, burgundy pants - Ann Taylor

Black and gray printed dress - Loft

Red flats, tall black boots, mushroom boots, cobalt cardigan, floral t-shirt, pink skirt, blue graphic blouse, burgundy blouse, black and white graphic blouse, black blazer, gray moto cardigan (I think) - Nordstrom

Floral Blazer - ASOS

Black and white check cardigan, black and white striped blouse - Bluefly

Cranberry boots, embossed loafers, black and white check pumps - Aerosoles

Black and white check tunic, black ankle boots - Acacia Lifestyle

Oatmeal sweater, burgundry sweater, green sweater, navy cardigan, red t-shirt, green button front shirt - Kohls

Navy pumps - DSW 

Cobalt lace shirt - Stitch Fix

Everything else I can't remember.

I don't know if I can do another 30 days, but I might even make another 3 outfits I didn't wear yet.  Should I try this for the spring and summer season?

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