Although it’s been about two weeks since I finished my 30×30 wardrobe challenge, I still haven’t written about how the challenge ended. That’s because I’ve been rolling the ideas around in my mind, ideas about how the challenge finished and what I learned from it. I didn’t just want to leave it hanging, even though I don’t feel like this was a terribly successful adventure.
I abandoned the challenge in it’s final week. The reasons for walking away were pretty simple. At the beginning of the fourth week I got ill and spent several days wearing nothing but pyjamas. And when I was well enough to re-enter the world, nothing in my capsule wardrobe appealed to me. I was bored with wearing the same things over and over and I wanted something fresh to pull me back into the land of the living. So I broke away and wore a cute pucci print dress that I love and didn’t feel even a smack of guilt.
I do feel like I learned a few lessons from the challenge though. Firstly, I learned that capsule wardrobes are not my style. Several times I’ve read articles or watched videos about people who have a capsule wardrobe and make it work brilliantly. I’ve wondered if I could do the same thing, and I now know that the answer is a definitive “no”. I mean, if it were a necessity, like if I was travelling and needed just a small amount of clothes for practical purposes, then I could manage. But for my day-to-day life I enjoy having a bit more flexibility in my clothing choices. I like the chance to be creative with what I wear and play around in my clothing. Limiting my wardrobe felt like I was fettered, not liberated.
I know that a lot of people who do this challenge find that having only 30 items to choose from makes getting ready in the morning easier. I did not find this. Rather than feeling excited to put together an outfit that I really want to wear, I felt bogged down in my capsule wardrobe, trying in vain to find ways to wear those items that felt fresh. It actually took me longer to get ready each day because I wasn’t motivated to put on an outfit that felt inspiring and fun.
One good thing that did come from taking up this challenge was that I felt like I was able to define my personal style a little more. I have always had a pretty eclectic fashion sense, and wear all manner of styles, from polished vintage to bohemian, from punk rock to androgynous, from avant garde weirdness to down-to-earth denim. When I limited the things I was wearing, I became much more aware of the styles that appealed to me and the clothing I felt most comfortable in. It really highlighted some of the items in my wardrobe that were once my style, but that I feel like I’ve outgrown. And that’s not to say that I think I’m too old to wear certain things, only that my personal style has changed and moved away from those particular aesthetics. I’ve come out on the other side of this challenge with a clearer idea of the kind of things I want to wear, the way I enjoy presenting myself and the kinds of things that feel uncomfortable and costume-y.
I felt a little bit disappointed that I didn’t enjoy the challenge more, but I think it went as well as I expected. I didn’t truly think that it would turn me into a wardrobe minimalist, inspired to throw away all the excess clothing and wear only those 30 items forever. But I do feel that the 30×30 challenge was a good task to undertake because it wasn’t easy and I did take away a few important lessons. I feel clearer moving forward about the kinds of things I want to wear, and more confident in my personal style. But I also know that I’m probably never going to be the kind of person who can enjoy living out of a capsule wardrobe.
Have you done the 30×30 challenge? Did you find it easy or a chore? What did you learn?