My goal for the Ocean Park project was to see if regular shopping with an inspirational visual aid would lead to a more cohesive wardrobe. Angie has long suggested personal style statements and the like, but I have failed repeatedly at the exercise of putting my aspirations into words. Would an image work better for me?
I also wanted to explore the idea of shopping for outfits with all the supporting pieces as well as the hero pieces (usually toppers) that make me happy. Would that strategy work for me?
I was worried when I started this project that I would either 1) get bored and abandon it because I dislike shopping, or 2) end up buying stuff I did not need because I was shopping more. I am happy to report that neither happened. I finished the 12 months, I still love the painting, and I am going to keep using it as my wardrobe inspiration for 2018.
Here is the entire sum of non-gear clothing I bought in 2017, barring the jewelry. I'm hoping Santa brings the bracelet; the earrings were sold out before I pulled the trigger; I'll keep looking for something similar.
My lessons learned: 1) shopping for outfits might just work better for me. Almost every month in my virtual shopping excursions, I would add finds that I was sure would work, but in a temporary collection, did not work at all. I needed to actually try them all together.
2) don't settle, which means start shopping earlier. Wait until I find the right piece, keep looking, put the project aside for a few days, come back with fresh eyes. Trust I will know when I find it. If I'm trying to convince myself, it's not right.
3) Embrace the surprises. The three print garments were total surprises and I KNEW they were right when I saw them, but none were what I was looking for at the time. I tried to put the blue cabled sweater out of my mind, but it kept popping up, everywhere.
4) I prefer one statement piece with a background of neutrals. Thus at least half of my wardrobe needs to be simple background pieces: jeans, pants, layering tops. Budget and buy accordingly, and it will be a lot easier to get dressed.
5) There is no excuse for boring shoes. Who knew denim colored shoes could be so practical? I thought finding shoes in the right colors would be hard-it was the easiest part. I don't need more shoes or I would have really overspent this year.
6) Not everything will fit the theme, especially occasion wear and that's ok (pants suit and silver shoes, worn twice this year). But I do want to be more mindful about gear, sleepwear, etc. Having these in "my colors" makes me happy.
7) Having a robust set of Finds makes it easier for people to give me gifts
8) With better direction for my overall wardrobe goals, spending more on a per item basis and buying less makes me happier.
9) Try on new ideas before rejecting (dress over pants)
10) It was fun and rewarding to shop with my values as far as supporting individual artists for virtually all of my chosen accessories.
11) Finding a single garment, like the scarf, that is in my colors and easy to carry around, makes it easier to to stay true to my vision. Ask myself the question out loud: does this reflect the things I love about my inspirational icon? I need to print the painting and save it to my phone.
I've been asked how much time I spent on this. The answer is a couple hours at the end of each month. I'd have an idea for an outfit (based on occasion or season) and find the hero piece, the shoes, then supporting pieces and Etsy for accessories over a few days of intermittent couch surfing. And a bit of time to write it up. My secret weapon is YOU: I shopped the YLF finds pretty regularly, especially for the support pieces. As for my own shopping, everything came by mail.
Going forward, I need to wrap my mind around beige and navy neutrals to really make this work, neither of which are my "happy" colors, but are necessary to support the overall look. Navy is really hard-I'm dipping my toe in with more darker denim colors and shoes and the like. I'm not dumping my black clothes, but will slowly replace them as needed. My closet is in a good place overall for my life, and that's quite a blessing.
As for 2018, I have an plan for a new project. I haven't settled on the inspirational image yet, but I know I want it to have a strong warm-cool color contrast and a 1920s theme. And I want to "buy" a set of core neutral items, then add French five piece selections to see if that shopping style works better for me than an outfit a month. So 2018 will be about fine tuning my strategy, and a new piece of art to look at. But I am sticking with the Diebenkorn for my personal shopping. Will doing a different project divert me IRL shopping? We'll find out. Who's in?
(Thanks for reading if you made it this far)