30 Days of Denim – Lessons Learned

THAT, my friends, is a whole lot of denim!

When I started this little project I had a few intentions:

The first, could I transform how I felt about getting dressed everyday? Not that it caused me stress, but it wasn’t really something I did with intention all that regularly. Could I start to develop a “style” or could I learn to recognize what my own style was and feel inspired by that?

I think you can glance up and see that YES! I do have a style (Jeans and Cardigans, FTW!)  But we’ll talk more about that in a minute.

The second – Would doing something like this help me get a bit more in touch with my physical self? This is another YES! But there were so many things I discovered in between that I want to discuss.

Here were some of my most important lessons learned.

1. Style takes effort (duh) but that effort is two-pronged: Inspiration and Execution. I had never really thought about that until I had to come up with 30 separate outfits. In my mind I thought that I was just not a person who executed on the style front very well.  But it turns out that I was actually not spending enough time in the inspiration phase. And you know what — I LOVE the inspiration phase.

I’m a creative person by nature and have always loved looking at pretty things. I pigeon-holed myself into thinking that style was something that just happens for those who are sophisticated! and thin!  and fabulous!  But really style is just another level of creativity to cultivate in everyday life if you so choose.  And not everyone does and that’s ok.  We all must pick and choose our endeavors, and I may not always choose to prioritize fashion with intention, but that epiphany made me feel like I had a whole new creative outlet instead of feeling like it was something else I needed “to work on” and that was empowering.

2. Execution is just practice. You’ll win some and you’ll lose some. Some outfits will be better than others, but luckily no one is keeping score. This Ira Glass quote about art has spread like wildfire around the internet and I think it relates to all creative endeavors.

If you trudge through the muck, you are bound to find some gems.  It’s about the process, not only about the end result.  And it’s ONLY CLOTHES in the end!

3. The camera can be your friend. And I’m not just talking about the Cher Horowitz advice. Did the thought of that just make you cringe? Because let me tell you, I cringed my way through at least the first 10 days of photographs. I died over the dumb looks on my face, how rigid I looked, my lack of posing ability — you name it, I nitpicked at it.

But about a third of the way through the process I began to get comfortable with looking at myself “on film.” Yes, I still noticed something I perceive as “a flaw” here or there but I was able to let go of the criticism and appreciate the documentation. I have years of time where I don’t have a single photo of myself or my body — and how much does that suck? Knowing that I was committed to doing this for 30 days made me realize that I was going to have to make a choice: hate myself daily for a month, or learn to embrace some of the great things about how I look. The latter is harder than it sounds, but man is it a discipline I recommend! Being confronted daily with choosing a picture of myself that I wanted to show the world (uh…well, I mean you guys) meant I had to find something that was acceptable so I had to calm down with the “UGH, I hate this picture of myself” talk. And how crazy is it that when you stop talking so negatively about yourself, you stop feeling so negatively.

THIS BOGGLES MY MIND.

4.  Being inspired doesn’t need to translate into mass consumption.  I was afraid, once I started pinning lots of pretty outfits on Pinterest, that I would feel the need to go out and BUY! ALL! THE! THINGS!  And listen, the thought crossed my mind about how I *needed* a new navy cardigan, and I *needed* a new green striped shirt.  But I actually found that this project helped my streamline my spending.  Because I was looking for inspiration I started to see a trend in things that I liked and so ultimately I made a list of all the useful articles of clothing I wished I had in my closet.  Recently I went over to Nordstrom Rack just for fun on my lunch break and man, did they have a BUNCH of cute things!  But nothing was really on my list and while everything was cute, I wasn’t particularly inspired, so I passed.  And no one was more shocked than I was!  But having a better idea of what you want makes it easier to pass up the things that are only ok.  And for me?  That’s a win!

So those were the big lessons, but there were a few superficial lessons too.

1. I need a new haircut. BAD. :) Let’s talk about this more next week, mmmkay?

2. Obviously I like jeans and cardigans. I’m going to try and step out of that comfort zone this fall but it will definitely be a challenge now that the weather is cooling! Here’s where the inspiration comes in though because now I know what I want to look for: cute, warm outfits that don’t involve cardigans. Excuse me while I go pin…

3. Collaboration is so much fun! Garrett and I had a blast doing this silly project together and I NEVER would have thought that would be the case. It was great to do something creative together daily! I think we will collaborate again, although who knows on what. While we were both relieved when this was over to not to have to worry about fitting in a photograph of an outfit each day, we also kind of miss it. Weird, right? Who’d have thought???

It was a lot to learn, do and process, but in the end I’m glad I did it. Thanks to all of you for your feedback, support and for being such a great cheering section through the process. Did you find this helpful at all for yourself? Are you glad it’s over? Do you have any ideas for what I should try next time? Leave a note in the comments, I would love to know your thoughts!

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If you would like to continue following my fashion inspiration, here is my board on Pinterest.

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30 Days of Denim – Day Thirty!!!

Oh you all!

We have reached the end! I can’t believe that I put together 30 outfits that I actually thought about in advance (well…you know, more or less) for an entire month. Style Blogging is no joke! And don’t worry, it is not in my future.

Thanks again for coming along for the ride and not shouting “You’re so vain!” in the comments section.

I have learned A LOT over the last 30 days and I will wrap and recap in another post, but for now, how about we talk clothes.

Here’s What I Wore Today:

30 Days of Denim - Day Thirty!!!!

Earrings: Mom hand me down
Necklace: Gift from my mom (Dude, my mom is nice.)
Cardigan: Merona for Target, obvs
Belt: Target
Dress: Target
Shoes: Old Navy

My favorite part of this outfit is my hair which you can’t even SEE in that picture, but how hard is taking a picture of your hair where your face looks cute? So hard! It’s a fun braid, but you can hardly tell. You will have to take my word for it.

Thanks again for playing along. I’ll recap on the flipside, friends!

Hope you all have a great weekend!

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30 Days of Denim – Day Twenty Nine

I’m running out of shirts to wear that I haven’t worn yet which is both a good and a bad thing. Bad, because hey! No one wants to run out of clothes to wear. (Although this challenge is almost over so it’s a mighty convenient time to run out, really.) Good, because now I know I can pretty much go 30 days without repeating a shirt — which means I need to acknowledge that saying “I have nothing to wear,” is dramatically crying wolf. And now I have told it to the internet, it’s practically written in stone. I can be more stylish, I just have to *gasp* TRY!

Anyway, I was glad to see this shirt was available this morning because it’s blousy. And do you know what blousy means? No one *ahem* has to feel guilty about not working out yet this week. (Quick check of the calendar, yup, it’s Thursday! OY!) But because I CAN look a gift horse in the mouth — I’m smooth like that — I put it on with a pair of jeans that are somewhat unforgiving just to punish myself.

It made a lot more sense this morning when I picked out my clothes (before I had coffee.)

Here’s What I Wore:
30 Days of Denim - Day Twenty Nine

I tweeted this morning that my pants either fit perfectly or are a bit too tight. After looking at this picture I think they are right in between the two, but I’ll take it.

Shirt: LOFT
Jeans: Gap 1969 Perfect Boot
Shoes: Isaac Mizrahi for Target
Bracelet: Target

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What did you wear today?

Join the group and play a little show and tell.

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30 Days of Denim – Day Twenty Eight

The inspiration for today’s outfit?

Dry shampoo.

More accurately, me being a little sleepy and not wanting to wash my hair — meaning, what can I wear with a headband? Well glad you asked, I’ll show you.

Here’s What I Wore:

30 Days of Denim - Day Twenty Eight

Headband: Gap
Earrings: Mom hand me down?
Necklace: Target
Cardigan: Halogen for Nordstrom
Tank: Mossimo for Target
Jeans: Old Navy The Diva Skinny Jeans
Shoes: Target Clearance!

And for the record, I don’t feel like a flasher in THIS particular cardigan. Maybe because it’s pink…

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What did you wear today?

Join the group and play a little show and tell.

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30 Days of Denim – Day Twenty Seven

Well I’m running low on cardigans so you know the end is near. If I have discovered one thing, it is that cardigans are definitely the major items punctuating my style statement.

Here’s What I Wore Today:

P1030976

So squinty!

Cardigan: Old Navy
Tank: Merona for Target
Skirt: Gap
Belt: Target
Yellow Flats: Target
Bracelet: Target

I love this tank because I never have to think up a necklace to wear with it. That’s lazy fashion for you. I think some celebrity should “design” a line of clothing that is 100% accessorized for you already. Hollywood glamour, already attached to your pants! and sweater! Right? RIGHT?

Ok maybe not. But it’s a nice tank top anyway.

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What did you wear today?

Join the group and play a little show and tell.

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30 Days of Denim – Day Twenty Six

When I woke up this morning all the power was off in our house. Irritating. I scratched my head feverishly in hopes that it would help me figure out a way to brew coffee with no electricity (we have an electric stove) but to no avail.

Instead of sitting around staring at the wall (in the dark) I took my book light (good thing I got new light bulbs, eh?) to the closet and picked out the brightest, most obnoxious shirt I could find and then built an outfit around it.

Here’s What I Wore:
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If there was ever an excuse to wear chartreuse, right? The rhyming makes me feel like this would make a good title for a children’s book. Although this outfit should never be mentioned in the context of children’s books though because all day long the sweater has kind of make me feel like a little bit of a flasher, and we could never work that into the plot because the would be kind of awkward.

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Sweater: Gap Outlet
Chartreuse Tee: Banana Republic Factory Store
Necklace: Target
Tank: Gap
Jeans: Old Navy The Flirt Jeans
Shoes: Old Navy

Maybe I’ll try to work this outfit into the plot line of my Young Adult Paranormal Romance Novel.

Maybe not.

****
What did you wear today?

Join the group and play a little show and tell.

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30 Days of Denim – Day Twenty Five

So I may have mentioned how lazy I feel already today, but it should be repeated: I FEEL LAZY. Yet these groceries, they don’t shop for themselves you know? I don’t know how we have gotten to 2011 without Costco figuring out that they should offer some Amazon type delivery service.

Why Costco, why??

I think at the end of this coming week, when I have denim’d myself out after 30 days and am doing some reflection, I will say to myself, “Next time, Holly, give yourself the weekend off.” Because on the weekend? I am not my most fashionable self. And for the most part, I am okay with this.

Here’s What I Wore On My Great! Costco! Adventure!

P1030967

It’s a shock that Vogue isn’t beating my door down right now isn’t it?

Sweater: Old Navy
Tank: Mossimo for Target
Jeans: Gap Slim Boyfriend — yep, picked them up off my closet floor this morning. How’s that for gettin’ real?
Shoes: Target Clearance Rack. No brand, just an owl logo?

I’m of the opinion that they don’t call it lazy Sunday for nothing, and I’m just doing my best to abide by the rules.

****
What did you wear today?

Join the group and play a little show and tell.

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30 Days of Denim – Day Twenty Four

Hola!

Very busy day that included celebrating my cousin Chelsea’s 1st Birthday. And we all know that celebrating a child’s birthday involves eating lots of cake right?

I celebrated like it was MY JOB.

Here’s What I Wore:

P1030958

After 24 days I figured you could use a change of scenery, so this is my mom’s backyard.

Earrings: Target
Sweater: Merona for Target
Shirt: Gap Outlet
Belt: Target
Jeans: Gap Slim Boyfriend
Shoes: Missoni for Target

These are the second pair of shoes I scored at the Missoni Madness and boy do I LOVE THEM:

30 Days of Denim - Day Twenty Four

They will be a fun pair of flats to have around this fall. You know, assuming it starts to actually feel like fall, instead of just being a bazillion degrees out every day. UGH.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend!
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What did you wear today?

Join the group and play a little show and tell.

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30 Days of Denim – Day Twenty Three

Pssssst!  It’s Friday night!  And I will admit to finding Rihanna’s silly “Cheers to the freakin’ weekend” song slightly less annoying when I hear it on my way home from work on Friday nights.

Only slightly though.

What happened to Rihanna?  Remember when she was cute and innocent?

Now she’s like *cough* Pass the Jameson while I smoke a cigarette *cough* Avril Lavigne and I need another DRINK! So sad! I mean, it can’t ALL be blamed on Chris Brown, can it? Maybe one of her tatoos can be blamed on him, but the rest of it??? I don’t know.

Anyway, what was I saying…

Ah, yes. It’s Friday! And do you know how I feel about that? About like this:
P1030956

Are you gettin’ what I’m puttin’ down here?

And here’s a more normal-ish picture of what I wore:

P1030954

Sweater: Mossimo for Target
Tank: Mossimo for Target
Jeans: Old Navy The Diva Skinny Jeans
Shoes: Mossimo for Target
Necklace/Earrings/Headband: Target, YOU KNOW!

Shiny face and squinty eyes courtesy of the blazing hot as balls sun. Thanks Mr. Sun!

I hope you have a fantastic weekend, whatever your plans!
****

What did you wear today?

Join the group and play a little show and tell.

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30 Days of Denim – Day Twenty Two

I put on this outfit this morning not thinking too much about it, and was greeted by a gentleman waiting for the same elevator who said to me, “WOW! YOU’RE A GIANT.”

To which I responded, “You must be single.”

Well, at least I said that in my head anyway. I’m only 6’1 in these shoes, and I hardly think that qualifies as GIANT status, now does it.

Just to make sure, let’s consult Andre:

Just what I thought: he says NO. But then again he said that from the dead, so I don’t know how reliable that whole conversation was in the first place.

Here’s What I Wore:
P1030953

Earrings: Target
Shirt: Banana Republic
Jeans: Ross
Shoes: Merona for Target

Some people just don’t know when to hold their tongue.

*****

What did you wear today?

Join the group and play a little show and tell.

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