A quick (hahah, no) post with some showerthoughts on my personal style + closet this month. We’re doing this again!
Last month, @elyseholladay hosted the May 30×30, which is a personal style challenge where you choose 30 items of clothing and wear only that capsule wardrobe for 30 days. Some people include shoes and accessories, some don’t – it’s really up to you since the point is fun and personal style exploration. Some folks include everything if they’re practicing packing though! In an earlier post I went over my process on how I chose my pieces. Now that it’s over (and in typical form, at least one full week late), here’s a list of some takeaways I had.
☀️ Mirror pics + natural light = YES. So much easier and more enjoyable to take photos. This is the first time I’ve done a nontrivial style challenge/prompt in the new apartment and honestly even though it isn’t a part of the closet, having a good space to work with for getting dressed and taking pics helps SO MUCH.
🧢 The almighty baseball cap – working more as a crossover item between romantic “storybook style” and the basic “crunchy casual.” I think this is the first time I’ve regularly been styling dresses with baseball caps and sneakers or casual sandals, and I gotta say it’s growing on me! I liked becoming more comfortable wearing my whimsical pieces for just slouching around. I’ll sometimes slouch around in full ren faire regalia, but it is easier when the accessories are practical. Definitely a very Free People esque styling, reading more like “crunchy romantic” rather than “crunchy casual”.
🦄 Bodysuit finally gets its chance to shine – I had a hard time styling this for the first few months I owned it. It’s very stretchy and comfortable and fits, so I think this was more down to the fact that my anxiety was really bad for most of the last year, so I just kinda let myself forget about it. Also I didn’t have any jeans that fit! But I got a few cute looks in with it with both dresses and just jeans, and it now feels like it’s properly in rotation.
👖 I decided that the full length wide leg jeans are nice as is. I originally wanted to crop them so they’d fit like those brown canvas wide leg crop pants I used to wear a lot but got too heavy for, but the full length really grew on me. It’s easy and feels fresh – we’ve been doing cropped pants for so long! Part of this is also definitely all the gen z y2k trend rubbing off on me. But I can let you know right now I am open to flares and baggy pants coming back but I am not going to be repeating that low-rise thing where you live in a constant state of background worry about whether your crack is showing.
✨ CAPE CAPE CAPE CAPE – okay I know I get excited every time I buy vintage inspired outerwear, but THIS ONE. Actually fits my climate and is relatively casual with it’s cotton twill trench material. I was very happy about these outfits. I only got two in because I added the cape in late, but I’m glad I didn’t wait.
🐑 I appreciate my fleece bomber – the cropped shape works with my babydoll dresses, so it’s a good crossover item with the “crunchy casual” jeans and leggings because the bomber cut and extra wide collar give it some theatrical flair.
☕️ Did not end up wearing the ‘basic boring’ options of the scoop neck tee and stretch straight leg jeans more than once, but I’m glad they’re there. I think because the dresses work for this mild weather, that base is more for cold weather. But it was freezing that week so I wanted to be safe.
🌼 Tried hair bandana! Another y2k resurgence trend. I just used a bandana I already had, but it felt cute! I have fond memories of that particular y2k element as I used to do that in elementary school.
More prints than ever! The 30×30 overlapped with a 5 day prints challenge from @moosoutfits and @alexis__page, and I was amazed that I had: striped dress, plaid shirt, floral bodysuit, daisy print bandana, strawberry print bag, and mushroom bag as well as two graphic tees! I stayed away from prints when I started getting into clothes but I really love the variety and cheer they add. I don’t think I’m going to go full eclectic mixed prints maximalist, but I was glad that challenge overlapped because it prompted me to make sure I was using stuff! To be fair I only used the bandana and the strawberry bag in this outfit, but especially as the weather is warming up I want to use both of them again soon! (although as I write this it is a miserable overcast hazy 50F day)
🔨 Hard, smooth, structured clothing (vs “softly structured”, like the fleece bomber jacket) is generally not my thing – I like to use capsule challenges as a time to try a few things I wouldn’t normally go for. In this case I wore the collared blouse with the smooth burgundy trousers and I really wasn’t feeling it! Those pants are what I consider “office slacks texture”, which is not my preferred material for trouser cut as I like to avoid feeling bizcaz. I usually go for a corduroy for a more earthy, softly structured vibe. So with a white button down while the details and silhouette were cute overall it didn’t feel like me in fabrics. I also used a tiny waistcoat as an accessory with one of the romantic dresses at one point just for fun (I found it in a free stuff sidewalk box), but while it ended up being a fun folk/indie musician sort of look, it also really didn’t feel like my style. While those didn’t work it was nice to confirm my preferences. Sometimes I don’t wear a style or color or whatever simply because I’m in a rut of avoiding it, but in this case I do actually still dislike it.
🌊 I missed blue-green! I think that would have made a nice complement to the blue/red/orange. The teal/turquoise/denim/black/white/tan/orange color palette is it. I wish I had put in my green tee or green leggings instead of the black birkenstocks, which I only wore once and were not high-impact in terms of utility or style.
👟 White shoes! Over the past year I have been more and more appreciative of a light footwear option and how much it can change up the feeling of variety in a more limited set of clothing. As my clothing palette has also gotten brighter, white shoes have fit that vibe better. In particular I like having both a casual sneaker option and the dressy boot. I’ve been eyeing those all-white Tevas that have been popular on Instagram for a light sport sandal option, although previously I have not been happy with how often I had to clean Tevas to keep them from getting smelly as I have not had an odor problem with any other sandal.
🎀 Since I wasn’t focusing as much on picking out clothes, I spent more time figuring out how hairstyling could be included in some looks. I don’t do anything too fancy but compared to my previous months long streaks of 70% no hair styling and 30% headband or ponytail I was pleased with how well mixing in a few other simpler styles worked. Of course, my hair is longer now than it has been in the last three years, which certainly helps. I want to try to keep this up, and I have a blog post musing more on this in the queue.
🍃 I consider dresses the ultimate easy outfit now. Even leggings wouldn’t cut it. On any day when I didn’t feel like changing out of pajamas, I definitely gravitated towards the stretchy dresses even over the comfortable straight leg jean option. I still wear shorts underneath when leaving the house, but they are both more comfortable and it’s easier to feel like an outfit with the particular dresses I have is more of A Look without a ton of styling compared to a tee/sweater and jeans. (The fact that all the dresses I included are pocketed definitely contributes to this.)
🐸 I enjoyed alternating tee and jeans type looks with the romantic dresses. Scratches all my fashion itches. Depending on mood and activity, there’s no way I would be able to stay with just tee and jeans casual or romantic dresses. I enjoyed wearing the Frog and Toad tee because it brought in the concept of literal “storybook style” into the basic looks.
🦋 30 pieces was not much of a challenge. Might include bags and hats next year or do two “15 days from a suitcase” options if I participate. On the other hand, it was nice to use it as more of a break / slight challenge rather than a hardcore . More of a wardrobe vacation than a wardrobe challenge.
🌤 I’ll keep the capsule up on the little rack instead of all my dresses again, as I didn’t make time to separate featured items after we moved in so I just put all my dresses there. It’s more inspiring as a mix n match base. On the whole I had a very positive experience this time round, and even though I didn’t have any major epiphanies, I was able to note a few things, and I’m glad I participated!
I’ve been doing a lot of anxiety shopping recently. I’m actually pretty stoked about most of the things that I got, but it is a lot. It’s not causing any problems financially (thankfully), but even though we have quintupled our built-in storage / closet space at the new place, this is definitely not a sustainable rate of shopping as I am not a ‘revolving door’ sort of secondhand shopper. Where’s all this stuff gonna go?
Part of it is I just miss not being able to wear half my wardrobe and I’ve conceded that I don’t want to wait it out to return to being a solid size 8 to have access to more things I like wearing given how big of a hobby fashion is for me. But another big part of it is definitely my generalized anxiety flaring up, so I am continuing to fine tune how I’m handling that separately. At any rate, as one way to at least be more aware of my shopping I’m resurrecting the round-up.
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 Target Universal Thread “sleeveless ruffle dress”, blue stripe, medium – I did not have any need for house dresses or casual everyday dresses, but I didn’t have anything in this silhouette and I saw this when I was shopping on the Target site for apartment stuff and wanted to try it. I’d been seeing it around in the form of the Hill House dress – more on that in the dedicated blog post Style Notes: Outfits with a sleeveless ruffle dress. I ended up including this one in the 30×30.
 Out of Print Frog and Toad unisex fit ringer tee, medium – dedicated post at Style Notes: Graphic t-shirt outfits ft. “Frog and Toad are Friends” ringer tee
[3, 4] Free People “oasis midi dress” small, in black and “springdust” (duplicate of the muted turquoise one I have already) – I am notorious (well, at least well known to cause slight distress to my partner when he sees yet another package make its way into the finite volume of the apartment) for purchasing duplicates of things I like, and I’ve been stalking the FP website for months for restock in black and any of the more muted colors. I can now live out my cottage witch dreams swathed in cotton gauze ruffles.
[5, 6] Free People “Get Obsessed” dress in size small, in red-brown and black – More duplicates. I’m a dummy and didn’t ask the seller of this orange one for measurements and it turns out this was was shrunk and fabric softenered to death so it’s just a cute house dress now (I am happy to wear this length but due to the construction of the very wide sleeves, the hem goes up past my butt if I raise my arm, which makes it more of a tunic IMO)
[7, 8] Abercrombie & Fitch linen-blend pull-on short and camisole, medium, fruit print – I saw this one on @jnaydaily and thought it looked like a good lounge/casual crossover short. I LOVE the tiny wallpaper-esque fruit print and ended up going for the matching set for a retro playsuit/romper look. The straps are adjustable, but I have them on the shortest setting and still wish they were about a half-inch shorter. The straps do require some occasional pulling up, but the fact that I can wear this comfortably without a bra due to the lining AND it’s a button style that’s sewn shut so there’s no gaping still made this an overall positive for me.
 Alice + UO (Urban Outfitters) cape, medium (via Poshmark) – purchased in the same go as the cape below and definitely an anxiety impulse buy. I was thinking about how sad I was about all the lovely structured outerwear that I couldn’t wear and sold and decided that capes/ponchos were great because I no longer wear a backpack every day (and the office has said that we will be allowing part time WFH once the building opens again) and they are very friendly in terms of weight gain/loss.
This chestnut colored twill one is great because it blends perfectly with my two staple ribbed mock necks, and it reminds me of one of my favorite old midi skirts which is currently collecting dust as it is too snug. Nice to have this color and fabric back in rotation!
 Marrakech (Anthropologie) shearling collar tweed cape, medium (via Poshmark) – The twill option I figured would be better for mild weather, but I wanted a slightly warmer option too. This one is a wool herringbone in a dark olive color that feels exactly as nice as you think wearing a lined lightweight wool blanket is. I like the more field/adventure style look of this one cause I think it will work with leggings and docs for lazier days.
 Betsey Johnson gingham “daisy’d and confused” purse (via Poshmark) – I don’t even know how I ended up buying this. This is not a good thing. This is what spurred me to revive the wardrobe round-up. It sure is cute though. Daisies, gingham, wicker, AND bees?? Be still my cottagecore heart. It is supposed to arrive today, so I haven’t gotten to style it yet. I suppose I could justify this one from a style niche perspective because I don’t have any springy/summery clutches or crossbody bags. I have the large circle straw tote, but all my small purses are black leather and don’t quite go with the gauzy dresses I’ve been wearing of late. Still, I mostly go for larger tote bags nowadays so I can stuff a cardigan or layering shirt into them if necessary, so small bags are not exactly a high-use category.
Here it is with its more goth sister (several years old Sole Society brand purchase via Nordstrom)
 Baggu “baby baggu” size in strawberry print (out of stock again but if it restocks in any of the product line you can find it here – I got mine from Urban Outfitters since they had it in stock, but that has since sold out) – Also admittedly an “influenced” buy. Not from any particular person, but I have been seeing this all over my feed and it just looks so HAPPY. Also a fairly utilitarian way to get into the strawberry print trend, which I have been loving. This is the sort of thing that I think I’d actually find more useful in a non-WFH lifestyle, as this is perfect to throw in a backpack either to separate things within it or as a bonus tote if I need to carry something extra. This is my first Baggu item and it seems decent quality, although I will not be collecting these as I don’t need more than a few nylon bags.
 Chelsea Crew “Suede Persuasion” ballet flat (Modcloth), size 39 (corresponds to size US 8) – $30 during the Memorial Day sale. Due to a combination of being tired seeing the resurgence of y2k fashion and feeling very nostalgic for 2010s fashion after styling the twill cape, I decided I should look for medium brown ballet flats. Sometimes the derby flats just aren’t feminine enough for how I’m feeling, but I don’t want pumps and the black multistrap pointy toed flats are a rather heavy and edgy look for most of my outfits nowadays.
The size 39 fit me well, consistent with the recommendation to slightly size up. I’m most often a 7.5 in shoes. They were comfortable to walk around in the apartment with, although after walking a mile in them around the neighborhood I did end up shredding my heels. I think I’ll probably just wear them around the apartment until I can put in a bit of heel padding. My other old pair of flats never had this problem because it goes further up the ankle. However this cutoff is also what makes them harder to style.
[14, 15] nbGlovesAndMittens embroidered fingerless gloves – I was scrolling through my favorite Pinterest board and realized that the pin with these gloves went to THE ACTUAL SOURCE ON ETSY. I’d always thought of these as a mythical too pretty to be real life Pinterest item so I was very excited to see that they were, indeed, handmade by a knitter in Lithuania. The shipping was half the cost of a single pair of gloves, but the craftsmanship on these is absolutely stunning and knowing how much skill and time this sort of thing would take I was more than happy to pay the asking prices. They’re 60% wool and a lot warmer than I was expecting, and I’m really looking forward to cooler weather so I can use them. The shop instagram is also very lovely with a lot of original aesthetic nature photography.
One outfit in honor of the new gloves, before putting them away til (as close as California gets to) fall weather.
Here are the official stock photos
(From April, but felt it was worth a mention) Columbia plaid raincoat, large (via Poshmark) – if anyone remembers my months-long hunt for a long raincoat in 2019 which culminated in the purchase of a nice pomegranate-hued Lululemon number, that sadly has not ended well as it is now too snug to zip comfortably. Instead of splurging, this time I just went on Poshmark and looked at reliable outdoors brands and sorted by price low to high. To be honest I actually like the style of this gingham one a lot more! I think that the cut feels a lot less techwear so it will blend better with normal outfits. Black and white gingham is also a great “statement but goes with everything” print. The high contrast is bold, but won’t clash with the colors and prints that are most common in my closet.
Nothing leaving the closet this month aside from stuff I had already listed on Poshmark. However as we now have finalized our furniture situation, I need to do another closet edit such that any item I keep has to have a dedicated space.
I don’t have any grand conclusions from all this, other than actually being quite pleased at the style cohesion of everything that I purchased. Still definitely did not need most of it, but I tell myself that it’s at least things that I am generally pretty tickled to have. Even if work or life is a little rough, at least I am surrounded by cute clothes and I can wear them out on chill walks in the (now nicer) neighborhood, and for that I am thankful.