Inspired by Sterling’s challenge ( ), I’ve been playing around with the development of a 30 X 30 wardrobe. The process has been fascinating and has raised quite a few questions. First of all, I assumed that the process would be easy. I have a small mix and match wardrobe comprising only a few neutral colors—this means that 1) I get to choose a large percentage of it for the challenge and 2) choosing items to mix and match is like shooting fish in a barrel.

But, as I drilled down, trying to make final decisions, some weird ( and kinda funny) biases surfaced:

  1. Even though working out is important to me—I go to the gym at least 3 times a week and I have dedicated workout wear—I was willing to deal out most of my workout clothes in favor of…well…mostly shoes. First, I traded out my leotards and skirts in favor of capri leggings—thereby saving one item per day. Then, I traded away one of the dedicated workout tops—thinking that I could use a regular tee…or, maybe…just keep washing the one each day? Right.
  2. I also made room for 4 toppers. This is only amusing if you remember that a couple of months ago I had none. Yes—NO toppers beyond gear. Now, I "need" four.
  3. I struggled to edit the pants to four. I was sad about swapping out the wide-legged cream Levi’s for the new Michael Kors black ankle pants. I HAD to do it, though. Even though I just bought the black pants and have not even worn them yet—heck, I haven’t even hemmed them yet—they filled a need and earned a place in the rotation. This probably reflects another flaw in the capsule: although I will wear the 501's several times per week, I will wear the black pants only on the dressier days, so that''s really only three pair of pants per week. I really need to include another pair of pants.
  4. Most of my days are casual, but I will need dressier clothes at least once per week. Still, that’s only 4-5 days/30 days and I will have plenty of time to launder dressier components and have them ready to go by the next week, right? Wrong. Apparently, I need CHOICE. Nevermind that weeks ago I didn’t have choice. Now, I find I NEED separates capable of making 3-4 completely different, dressier outfits. Quite a few choices were made solely to enable dressier combinations.
  5. Which brings me to shoes. I have traded away many items of clothes (in addition to work-out, mostly shirts--I dwindled down to only five shirts) in order to retain "enough" shoes in my 30 X 30 capsule. First of all, I tried to “hide” the Crocs slides in my workout capsule because I would have been embarrassed to count them as actual shoes. And—worse yet—they are on order but they haven’t even arrived yet. I am just overwhelmed with the anticipation of wearing them, I guess, and I kicked out a perfectly useful and necessary shirt in order to make room under the capsule cap. So, there are six pair of shoes not including the Crocs. Of these, one pair are the black block heels that I was debating in another post. New, not yet worn, unproven, and already seeming necessary to my idea of wardrobe crafting. Another pair—the black and white espadrilles, are also new and unworn. But, again, they seemed necessary to include. And, lastly, the two pair of nude shoes—booties and loafers—I kept editing out…and bringing back…and editing again. The loafers, in tandem with the nude bag, contribute to the dressier casual outfits in a way that the booties do not. But the booties get more wear. In the end, I HAD TO HAVE both.

So, learning so far includes the fact that I’m willing to cheat the workout category in favor of…shoes. I should probably get my head right about that—working out (and having the appropriate clothes to work-out in) is important. I am willing to cheat the shirts category for…shoes. Hmmmm..shirts are important, too, and I think I have too few in the capsule relative to the number of pants. I am really excited to have a lot of new shoes to build into outfits and I do not want to limit myself in this area. Black pants were a huge wardrobe hole, apparently. And, I actually need toppers.

The biggest realizations so far are: 1) I think I am more emotional about clothing than I thought that I was and 2) I think I'm still in the expanding and enjoying my wardrobe phase and not ready to do a challenge about constraint and limitation.

Oh...and #3) I thought I was planning my whole wardrobe around white pants, black pants, and jeans pairing with a lot of navy tops. Navy is one of my better colors and the one I want to wear near my face. In this smaller wardrobe...NO navy tops! (Well, only the Breton stripe.) Maybe something I need to reconsider.

So, these finds represent what would be my 30 X 30 capsule--as it is now, anyway--plus 2 pair capri leggings, and 1 technical shirt.