I feel like this challenge did so much more for me than I expected it to.  I think it is safe to say that I am fan of the 30 for 30.  thanks kendi!  (do you like how I refer her to her like we are bff?)

here are a few things I learned.

Fit is SO IMPORTANT.  I am done buying things that do not fit me perfectly.  It’s not worth it.  Something new that is happening, is that I keep finding myself trying stuff on–stuff that before I might have purchased–and telling myself I can do better. There are things out there that fit me great, things I will love, and I need to hold out for those.  It’s not worth spending money on something that I will look at in the mirror and not be totally happy with.  It’s especially not worth spending money on something that is not flattering.  I feel so much more confident with myself and with my body when I don’t have to worry about how I look.  And I don’t have to worry about how I look throughout the day if I’m wearing stuff that fits.  Which is actually my whole point; my whole goal.  I don’t want clothes to be the focus of my life.  (I’m headed on a sidebar here).  I don’t want to have to worry about how I look.  This is taped up in my bathroom.  That is my goal.  I don’t want to go through my day worrying about how I look.  And I have to be so careful that I don’t make fashion the goal.  When I say that I want to “dress well,” that doesn’t mean “dress expensive” or “dress trendy” or anything like that.  I want to be able to be creative in how I dress, which I don’t think is a problem, but I need to make sure it is not the focus of my life.  If I have good foundation pieces that fit me, I can pick something creative and leave it at that.  It is a slippery slope, and I have to be careful that fashion is not the driving force in my budget, and I don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that how I dress is the most important thing, and that I don’t judge others (and myself) based on how they dress.  I also think it is so hard these days to have a healthy body image, and I don’t think the fashion industry helps us out here.  There are so  many times when I find something that is so cute but is definitely not made for my body type, and then I get frustrated and think I’m not good enough.  Which is so not true.  I need to know that not all styles are for me. It’s not bad that I’m not a size 0, and sometimes I have to remind myself of that when current fashions only look good on really skinny girls, and it’s not a bad thing that I don’t look like them.  I don’t have to look like anyone but me.

I also learned: DON’T BUY STUFF JUST BECAUSE IT’S CHEAP.  Obviously budget is an important thing.  Clothes shouldn’t be my top budget priority, and I don’t have an unlimited amount of money to spend on whatever I want.  That said, I think it is very easy for people like me (decent job, can pay bills, can’t afford expensive clothes, want to save more) to buy cheap stuff simply because it is cheap.  I am learning the importance of foundation pieces.  Stuff that fits well; stuff that lasts; stuff I can do more with.  I am learning that I can actually save money if I buy one nice, quality top somewhere decent, instead of buying four cheap tops that aren’t great and I won’t wear past this season.  It can actually benefit from spending 2 months clothes budget on one nice shirt that is high quality that I will wear for years, instead of 6 junky tops I’ll have to replace next year because they fell apart (or didn’t fit anymore, or were out of style).  So I have found myself doing more shopping at places like Loft or Banana Republic, where I can get those better foundation pieces.  That’s not to say that they don’t have junk there, things that are super trendy, or things that don’t fit well.  I can’t buy stuff from those nicer places and assume it’s a good choice just because of the tag…. But I’m more likely to find something doable there vs. somewhere like Target.  Although that’s also not to say that everything at Target is junk…   Basically, I’m learning to be more discriminating in what I buy and where my money goes.

I am starting to check versatility more in my mind when I shop.   “What could I wear this with?  How many seasons would it work in?”  Things like that.  I never did that before.  I’ve started turning stuff down (even if it’s cute) if I wouldn’t have a lot of options with it.  BUT, I also can’t use that as excuse to buy more stuff just so it would go with something.  Like I can’t say “Oh, this top would be cute” and then have to go buy a new skirt and cardigan JUST for that.  That is so not legit.

I’m starting to be more patient when I shop.  Sometimes in the moment it’s easy to think “this is so perfect and I will never find anything I love as much!!”  But I have to remember that I will find something I love as much, because I’ve thought that before, and new stuff always comes along.  So I’m learning to be more patient, and think “maybe it will go on sale,” or “I can wait until I find one that fits me better” or things like that.

I’m also starting to get more solids.  They are so much easier to do more with, so much more versatile, and so much less trendy.  I love a good print still, but I’m seeing more of the need for solids.  This is especially true across seasons.  30 for 30 helped me to see how pieces can transition from one season to the next.

I’m also learning to simplify.  Maybe you don’t believe me, and it might not seem like it, but I really am.  I know this sounds ridiculous, but there were SO many times I thought about all of this when we were doing our last book with small group on margin.  I feel like I am starting to create more margin in my budget, my wardrobe, and my time since understanding how to build a good collection.

I am such a better shopper.  I feel like I make better choices and ask better questions of the things I try on.  I feel like it has helped me to offer better advice as well (WHEN ASKED.  ahem.  I’m not trying toot my own horn or anything.)

This is getting long, so I will end here.  I think you get the point.  I’m nowhere near where I’d like to be yet, but I feel like I’m headed in the right direction.  If you want to know more, just ask!  I love to talk, you know.

I will leave you with a picture of my first big outfit after 30 for 30 ended.  This is what I wore for our church auction.  Have I told you I love my church?  I love my church.  And while certainly not the criteria for a good church, my church knows how to throw a good party.  I love this dress!  It can certainly go across seasons, it fits me well, it is well-made, and I can wear it for years to come.  It is also versatile, I can do a lot with it as far as sweater/jewelry/shoes, BONUS!  I could wear to church, on Easter, to school, at conferences, to a wedding, YES!  It was a good choice.  My new self approves.

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