2010 ultimate wardrobe challenge

…and it’s over. 181 days of planning different outfits, documenting them daily, and no retail. In that span I went to Vegas, New Orleans, and a camping trip. Got a bad haircut. Was sick for 5 weeks of it. Got bangs. Went on three thrift store excursions. Cut up a few tee shirts. Embraced heels. Learned a LOT about what doesn’t flatter me. Wore items I never wear. Decided I really hate posing. Learned to wear eye makeup. Discovered I wear too much black. Had several body image crises. Dressed (slightly) better on lazy weekends. Felt girlier than ever (in a good way). Learned that accessories can make all the difference. Felt stumpy. Felt svelte. Felt fashionable. Felt lumpy. It was a fun 6 months, but an anticlimactic ending. I couldn’t do it for 6 more, but I certainly feel like I can better remix what I already have.

What should my first purchase be?



You guys, I totally cheated on my wardrobe challenge yesterday. In a moment of serious summer shoe desperation, I racked my brain for a loophole to not spending. I decided that if I added up my remaining Christmas gift cards ($26) and all the loose change I could find in my house, car, purses, gym bag, etc. (9lbs, approximately), it was a perfectly legal way to fund a little retail splurge.

I ended up with a total of $78 to spend after hitting the Coinstar. Wanting the most bang for my buck, I hit the Target and Old Navy clearance racks and ended up with a tank top, a t-shirt with a screen printed wolf {cooler than it sounds}, a really 80s looking dress, a summery scarf, and 2 pairs of wedge sandals. Grand total: $66. That left me with $12 I didn’t even spend and that familiar old rush I get from great bargains. Hello, old friend. I’ve missed you.

I was bragging to Jonathan about how clever I was, and he started calling me Nancy, as in Nancy Drew. I guess that kind of works. Only instead of solving mysteries, I search for loopholes to my own personal resolutions that allow me the delusion that I still have integrity.

Thanks for keeping me honest, Internet. Phew, I feel better now.

ultimate wardrobe challenge // month 5

Only one month left til I can go blow my whole paycheck at Forever 21. I joke.

Favs: 123, 131, 145, 147.

Let’s not talk about the ones I hated because there were just SO MANY.

One month left… and I think I said there’d be a twist? Oy. I meant to plan something clever, like a Lucky-magazine inspired “month of outfits” where they remix 25 or so items into 30 outfits. Too much planning, but maybe I’ll try it in July? So instead I’m just going to work on making it the most creative month yet. It may require some risks and a little more planning, but I’m hoping it will be fun and I won’t get fired for fashion. :p

home stretch.

I can’t believe this little wardrobe challenge of mine is still kinda fun! Today marks 146 days of different outfits and 146 days of documented narcissism. {I need to feel loved, ok?} It’s not as much the “challenge” I was expecting it to be. It’s more time-consuming than I thought, difficult to remember to take a daily photo, annoying to have to remember to make myself {if only temporarily} semi-presentable on a yard-work Saturday.

And oh yeah, the weather is NOT cooperating. I thought I would be mixing some more summery combos into the fold by now. How tragic, Utah doesn’t remember how to do May the one time I need to desperately break out the halter dresses. But other than that, totally easy and fun. Ha.

The trickiest part, since the beginning, has been assembling different outfits that are actually INTERESTING. I could do some statistical calculations for you, determining how many possible combinations I’ve got based on number of items and probably that would be close to 1,000. (Ok. I can’t actually do those calculations. I could probably get out some test tubes and a white lab coat, an abacus and a ruler and give you just as accurate a number). I’d guess, of possible combos, 70% of possible outfits would be completely Olsen-twin* wacko and 15% of them would be the sartorial equivalent to a Bachelorette contestant {that is, unoffensive to look at but painfully boring}.

I’ve hit many of the latter in an effort to avoid the former. Boooring. I have absolutely taken the easy way soooo many times. Turns out, remixing is easiest when you have a few staples that go with everything. I have two identical-but-the-color flyaway cardigans from Charlotte Russe that go with everything. See? Just wear any shirt and pants and throw on a cardi. Cuz layers=slightly more interesting.

Other 5-month-in observations/lessons:

  1. *I actually am rather fond of the Olsen twins. Because I can’t NOT smirk when I camera is in my face, either, apparently.
  2. I could do this better a second time around with better planning.
  3. I hate my hair so much of the time, and I especially hate it in photos.
  4. I own too many things that look similar. I have 8 pairs of black pants. That doesn’t include the 3 pairs of black capris.
  5. I don’t own enough shoes. Because I can’t find the perfect ones at a price I can afford, I don’t buy many at all. If I extend the wardrobe challenge I’m going to break down and buy a couple pairs of shoes regardless.

I’m trying to decide where to take it when June is over. Spending spree or a challenge extension? New challenge with new rules? I have a month to make the decision!

Stay tuned for the final month, with an extra special twist! 😉

ultimate wardrobe challenge // month 4

The wardrobe challenge went really well in April due to the bi-polar weather {all the season’s clothing were put to use- when I can wear flip flops one day and boots the next, I’ve got options}, and a pretty good mid-month thrifting-splurge.


  • Day 95: a bright top and houndstooth has gotten me a few great outfits in the past couple months.
  • Day 96: Lace top and black bead strands made me feel fancy ;).
  • Day 98: Aqua and lime were fun.
  • Day 112: Mustard yellow cardigan and that stripey shirt look so contrasty and awesome together!
  • Day 116: Vacay-casual. I was wearing mardi gras colors in New Orleans- unplanned!

I finished the month weakly because I have been suuuuper busy!

Months five and six are going to be really fun because I’ve got some fun DIY projects up my sleeve plus more time for planning ahead. I’ll be done with class in 2 weeks and I’m taking the summer off (yay!) so more time for projects and playing. Can’t wait!

a big ol’ post on thrift shopping

I did some serious thrift shopping today in search of some fun new spring/summer wear. The booty includes:

  • 2 purses {a colorful canvas floral printed one and a shiny purple one with a chain strap that looks like it’s from The Buckle. Or owned by a Vegas hooker. Whatev.
  • A scarf {not a spring or summer one… more of a fallish tapestry one that I’ll get to drag out months from now}.
  • A sunny yellow jersey dress. I now have 2 mustard-yellow sleeveless dresses I’ve not worn yet. Ha!
  • 3 skirts with various prints… plaid and florals.
  • 5 sleeveless and short-sleeved work-appropriate tops.
  • A hoodie and cropped sweats for working out.
  • Some longish khaki shorts… Calvin Klein and super cute.
  • A serving platter with a yellow print… looks kinda vintage/cottagey and will be perfect for my Garden Party-themed cooking club in June.
  • A few misc things for an organizing project I’ll be working on this week… pretty saucers, votive holders, etc. I’ll post about it later… I need to get some Gorilla Glue to complete it.

I ended up dropping $86 today which is a LOT for a thrift store trip for me, but that’s quite the haul. I feel like my work wardrobe is looking pretty good for Spring now.


I’ve been a thrift-shopper for a lot of years, which has made me a total deal-seeker when I shop anywhere. I’ll generally spend about $30 on a given thrift store trip and end up with around 6-7 items. I’ve hit the thrift store once each month of the wardrobe challenge and those 6-7 items get mixed in to the lineup giving me tons of options. I am on day 100 today and still going strong without spending a dime on retail… except those sandals in Vegas with a gift card.

Anyway… here are a few examples of some outfits built around thrift scores:

Left: button-down shirt; Middle: plaid gauchos; Right: black vest, grey skirt.

Left: tank; Middle: vest and button-down shirt; Right: short-sleeve sweater.

Left: black skirt and sweater vest; Middle: orange hooded sweater and houndstooth skirt; Right: sweater.

Some of my favorite outfits incorporate things I thrifted, because I buy things I might not normally buy when they are $4. Like that houndstooth skirt… I love it, but never would have thought to buy it new.

The great thing about thrifted now versus 10 years ago is you’ll find WAY more trendy stuff than before. Now that there are super cheap, super trendy stores like Charlotte Russe and Forever 21, you’ll find more of it in thrift stores while it’s still in style. Sad, I know, that clothing’s become so disposable, but you can use that to your advantage.

Admittedly, and obviously, I’m not really a person who thrift shops to support my unique and edgy style {though I’d like to be}. I still have to dress conservatively for work but like to still show off hints of my personality in my clothing. I thrift shop because of the bargains and because I like the creative aspect of putting things together.

^Here’s today’s haul!

So, a few tips to find great stuff, based on my experiences only… there are lots of thrift guides out there written by people way more dedicated than me. These are the tips for lazy people!!!

  • Periodically check your closet for things you don’t wear often because you don’t have things to go with them. Keep those items in mind while you thrift shop and expand the wardrobe you already have.
  • Don’t limit yourself to one size, especially with skirts and dresses! The skirts I own range from size 4 to 10 somehow. Sizes are not consistent and sometimes things are put away in the wrong place anyway. So, check all the racks!
  • Look for patterns and colors you really like, especially if you don’t have time to really dig. Just check out what catches your eye.
  • Try to make sure you’ve got at least one thing from home in mind you can wear with the item you are buying… unless you can find something to pair with it while you’re shopping!
  • Keep other seasons in mind. Be open to stuff you might not wear immediately. I look for dresses I like in case I have a wedding or something coming up. I’m always glad to get to pull those out instead of going to buy something full-price the weekend before I have to attend an event.
  • When you see something super weird, consider it’s use for Halloween. Not kidding.
  • Look for certain trends you really like and snatch them all up. I have a thing for vests so I buy them whenever I find them. They make layering easy.
  • Never buy the following items retail without checking thrift stores first: black or navy pencil skirts, denim jackets, basic sweaters, long-sleeve tee shirts. Thrift stores are jam-packed with those items! Same for men’s flannel shirts and sweaters, and baby clothing!
  • Pay it forward. Taking a bag of clothes you no longer wear to donate once in a while is good thrifting karma!

March Ultimate Wardobe Challenge Results

I’m a bit behind on documenting March, but here it is:

Being in Vegas sans-camera totally put me behind and made me feel like giving up, but I sucked it up and re-created the week’s outfits anyway because I’m committed like that. (:

I was HORRIBLE at planning ahead this month, so the wardrobe lacked much creativity. Boooo.

Confession: This is totally starting to suck. Mainly because I am feeling totally overwhelmed with everything going on in life right now and I certainly haven’t had time to whip up any cute, fun accessories. Maybe this weekend I’ll fit in an hour of crafts.

Half-way there!

vegas recap

Studio 54^ Source.

Back from Vegas yesterday. Fast recap because I have no photographic evidence this trip happened. ):

  • Burned the candle on both ends… worked a conference, coordinating meeting and demo times for lotsa people who have no tolerance for any answer other than “yes, Sir.” Meh.
  • Soaked up the mid-century modern aesthetic of my hotel room at the MGM Grand.
  • Partied it up at Studio 54 (VIP-style), Rok, Harrahs and lotsa little bars. A night of clubbing was on my list of 30 things to do before I am 30. CHECK!
  • A bit of time pool-side, drank a yard-long margarita, got limo rides to and from the airport.
  • Love finding out how awesome some people are in their non-work lives. Great conversations and tons of fun with some people I rarely hang out with.
  • Insane amounts of seafood, some delish Italian and Japanese fare, and lots of coffee consumed.
  • I love excuses to dress up. Why don’t I do more of it???
  • I had to write a paper while I was there for my Organizational Behavior class. Oy. Total Vegas quality work but it’s done. PHEW.
  • I’ve been carrying around a Visa gift card from Christmas with $70 on it… my emergency fund for something clothing-related. I realized on the second day I didn’t pack sandals and had to use my gift card on some $50 sparkly silver sandals. My wardrobe needed more metallic in it anyway. (:
  • Speaking of my wardrobe challenge… guess what I didn’t do for an entire week? My camera battery died, so no daily picture. I wrote down what I wore each day and will recreate it after my laundry is clean! Stay tuned for that. I took one picture, trying to figure out the lighting and where I could pose in my hotel room since I don’t have a tripod. Below is the ONLY picture because after taking it I left my camera on or something and the battery died. I suck. But don’t you love that ridiculous chair? (I have such a thing for weird chairs).

Slept 14 hours last night recouping. Feels good to be back, but it was a gReAt time! In the words of Dewayne, “That is an EVIL city.”

ultimate wardrobe challenge // month 2 recap

There they are… February’s UWC outfits.

Favs: 32, 33, 39, 47

Laaaaamest: 44, 45, 58

Worst pic: 44.  Seriously, WTH is with my face?

8: number of times I wore a cardigan.

Lessons of the month:

  • I need eyeliner.
  • Skinny jeans + flat boots= stumpy.
  • I need a tripod.
  • My curly styles photograph nice. (:

Goals for March:

  • Wear more skirts, and some dresses, too.
  • Wear more color.

1/3 of the way there!

hood rat

From these:

To this:

1. Find two t-shirts made of jersey knit. These ones were both nearly free and super hideous.

2. Chop up and sew one so it’s flattering. I turned it inside out and laid it flat. I put another t-shirt on top that fits well and used that as a pattern. I cut about 3/4″ bigger to allow for seam allowance, o’course. Stitch back together and make sure it fits. Then, chop off the sleeves and collar as you like it.

3. Make a hood from the other t-shirt. {I cheated and used a pattern piece from this book. Picked up the book for TWO DOLLARS at Ross Dress for Less last week. I was there looking for a fondue pot, NOT for clothing, P.S. (:} Ahem. Anyway. You can also use this tutorial for the hood. One day, when I don’t write instructions for a living, I might take the time to write legit tutorials.

4. Sew that sucker to your t-shirt, right sides together. Here’s the scientific part: if your hood is too wide for the collar of the shirt, chop it bigger. HAHAHA. Sciency. Test tubes and everything.