Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Day One: I am back.

I’ve wanted to come back to the blog for ages but I’ve managed to come up with some sort of (mostly valid) excuse for not doing so every time I plan to start again. I’ve also wanted to try some sort of 30-for-30 type challenge since they were all the rage a few years ago. I’m hoping that coming back to the blog with a 30 day plan in place will help keep me on track.

However, if I wait until what should be THE perfect start date- January 1st- I run the very serious risk of not starting again at all.

Item 1: The grey knit dress.

Here’s what I’ve decided to do. Since the month-equals-30-days formula  already seems a bit arbitrary in a 31 day month like January, and since there will be a week in January during which I’m already planning not to post, I’m just going to start now, skip the aforementioned week, pick up where I leave off, and wrap up the challenge shortly before the end of January. This is approximately when I would have been wrapping up if I’d started on January first and posted 30 days steadily through.

I’m aware that taking a break in the middle of a 30-for-30-challenge makes it, well, less challenging, but I can’t see any other way of making it work as I will not be able to wear my regularly selected clothing during that time. And I want to get back to blogging right away before I talk myself out of it again. And, heck, my challenge- my rules, right?
So, speaking of rules… here are my rules for this challenge:
  • 30 garments.
  • Underwear, shoes, socks and tights, accessories, jewelry and outerwear do not count.
  • The clothing I wear to work out also does not count (and will not be featured.)
  • These 30 garments will have a unifying color them, like all good clothing capsules. This theme will be black, grey, black and white, or denim.
  • Any of the preselected 30 items can be replaced in the lineup by another item that supports the color theme if a) the selected item is determined not to fit properly and is removed for alterations or b) the selected item is determined to be something I just don’t like wearing and is removed to the donation pile.
  • 5 additional items that support the color scheme can be added during the 30 days if these items meet one of the following criteria: a) the item was previously unwearable and has been altered to make it wearable, or b) the item was made by me.
With these rather loosey goosey rules, and the week long break, I can just about face this challenge without my chest constricting in panic. With the switch out option and the 5 additional pieces I’ll have a pressure valve built in to deal with the possibility that I’ve selected all of the wrong things and will be miserable wearing what I’ve chosen for a month. The goal, really, is to train oneself to function with a core wardrobe that fits and flatters and really serves ones everyday needs, rather than to spend a month suffering for ones lack of forethought. I think my rules allow me to move towards that goal over the course of the 30 days. 

Items 2 through 30.

I'm starting out easy. Both in terms of the blog itself, and the 30-for-30 challenge. The grey knit dress is kind of a cop out in this kind of exercise (no pattern or print mixing, no interesting layering, no thoughtfully juxtaposed textures) but frankly, I wish I consistently liked all of my clothes as much as I do this dress. I purchased it at a local thrift store at the height of summer and I was forced to break my self imposed rule of only buying things that I can wear right away. Since it has gotten cold enough to wear it I've worn it at least once a week.

I like: 
  • It's a really stable knit so it skims rather than clings.
  • It doesn't have a back vent. I have a kind of pathological hatred of back vents and slits in skirts and coats. I understand the function- no one wants to be hobbled by their clothing, least of all me- and I do own a few items that have them, but I vastly prefer garments that have enough flare or stretch to make them unnecessary, or some other treatment to provide appropriate walking ease (a small pleat, for example.)
  • The cool open neckline and the decorative darts at the neck. Both of these details seem ideal for short hair.
  • 3/4 sleeves. My preferred sleeve length. Why? Who knows. I just really dig them.
  • The color. Grey is the neutral I'd choose if I was forced to choose only one. Its softer than black but just as sophisticated and (IMO) better for separates because a bunch of greys that don't exactly match look quite nice together while non-matching blacks look terrible.
I'd change:
  • The fabric composition. It's machine washable, which is great since I wear it all the time, but in a perfect world it would be made in a luxurious wool double knit instead of an unappealing synthetic blend.
  • The zipper. I think the fashion moment for the exposed zipper has passed, but I must admit that the large ring on the zipper pull makes it easy to grab so I don't need assistance getting in and out of the thing.
The verdict:
  • I give this outfit a 9/10. I feel comfortable, attractive, and reasonably stylish.
  • I like the outfit and I like the dress. I have an old Stretch and Sew pattern for a similar style knit dress that I could use to make an upgraded copy of this dress in wool someday.

And as far as blogging goes I've got big plans- I want to improve my photography and photo editing. I hope to take my own photos soon, rather than relying on my husband. I'd love to improve the overall appearance of the blog and do a better job of editing for typos and grammatical errors. My dream is to have it become something I'm so proud of I'd be willing to use it as a professional marketing tool. But for right now I'm taking it slow, as I said, until I get back into the habit of posting regularly. I've missed this.


  1. Great to see you back! I like the dark hair. :)

    I did a year of 30 for 30 challenges (12 months, 30 different items each month - yeah, I have a large wardrobe, mostly thrifted!), and it was a real eye-opening experience. I hope you have fun! Play with colour in your accessories (and tights!). I like the details on this dress quite a bit, especially the seaming at the neck and the bigass zip.

    1. I devoured every installment of your 30 for 30 year. And it definitely inspired this challenge (the preselected color scheme? sound familiar?) I'm toying with the idea of doing something yearlong but I have to keep reeling myself back in and reminding myself that I am not even a week into this challenge and I'm not sure I'm gonna make it to the end of the month! Baby steps. Must walk before I can run.

  2. Hi Margaret I have missed you welcome back. I like the dark hair and risking being too nosy, I think we are seeing alot less of you. You look GREAT!!! Looking forward to your new posting. I have the same goals too. I need to take better pictures and get some new inspiration/

    1. Ah, yes, there's about 30 lbs less of me than when I was last posting. I'm so happy to hear from you again!