My #WearEverything #FashionChallenge Deep Dive: The Good, The Bad and The Boring

I know, I promised I would blog my “wear everything in my closet at least once before repeating an item” challenge as it went along. Instead, I chronicled the whole thing on my Instagram over the past few months. (I’m finding lately that in terms of daily style content, my Instagram has become my go-to outlet, so please follow me on there if so inclined.)

But an Instagram caption is no place for a “deep dive” into the insights, thoughts and (shall I daresay) wisdom that I gathered during this challenge. And yes, I found there was a LOT I learned about the state of my current style and wardrobe, my potential growth points, my shopping habits and tendencies and where I’d like to go next with fashion, shopping and style in general. Read on for more!

My Favorite Outfits

One thing about wearing *everything* in your wardrobe at least once before repeating it is seeing your defaults, your tendencies and your favorites — and then reflecting a little on why an outfit works or doesn’t work for you.

I know it’s a lot of favorites! Which is nice, because it shows there’s a lot that is working in my wardrobe already. Generally, what I enjoyed what not only that they visually pleased me, but they *felt* both comfortable but empowering, fun or just cool. When I break down my favorites, I find they’re a good combo of drape and structure, they’re generally earthier in feel and neutral-colored but I’m not afraid of pattern, and boots, boots, boots…I love a good boot. This is a good range of my style, I think: there are California-y casual grunge-meets-athleisure looks, classic French girl gamine ones and more elegant, even bookish bohemian takes as well. Maybe not highly original, but I’m super fond of all these strands and it works for me.

These were my least favorite outfits

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Just for the interest of full honesty with my little #WearEverythingOnce #fashionchallenge … today was a day when I just needed to wear something easy and not tight or confining in any way. Since being pregnant and giving birth, my skin has been super sensitive and irritable and when it’s “acting up” (like when the weather is particularly cold and dry like now) I can’t wear anything at all tight. So these are some of the “gentlest” clothes that I haven’t worn yet. It’s not the most trendy of outfits but sometimes clothes just have to be clothes, right? #ootd #ootdfashion #ootdmommy #outfitoftheday #wiw #wiwt #whatiworetoday #whatiwore #fashiondiary #fashionblogger #fashionblog #styleblogger #styleblog

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One was just an outfit I threw together because I was physically having a rough day and dealing with crazy welts and hives, and couldn’t wear anything too tight. I was so miserable — ugh, itchy skin is the worst! — that I probably would’ve hated any outfit that day, because I kind of just hated life at the moment!

The other made me realize that while I love the shirt I wore, I’m just not a cardigan person anymore — not in the way I was in college, for instance. It’s just something I should accept about myself, because if I can’t love a Jil Sander black cashmere cardigan, there’s just no hope! When I analyze just why I didn’t like them, it’s because they felt a little *too* comfortable. I don’t like formality or constraint, but I also don’t like too much sloppiness, especially when wearing all-black.

The Overall Good

One nice thing about this particular wardrobe challenge was getting a full-dimensional 3D feel for your own “personal boutique,” if you will. Are you running a Brooklyn hipster cool-girl Mecca? A French-chic sportive joint? I saw my own style proclivities in real life were what I think of a “grounded Parisian-y bohemian basics” with Los Angeles modern athleisure and touches of librarian chic. Doing this made me realize I do like a lot of the items in my closet, and that the time I spent mindfully curating my closet and shopping really makes an impact. I already have a lot of good items that reflect my style, which I think of as “Parisian romantic librarian meets California modern bohemian.” It’s bookish but feminine at one end, or a clean and straightforward take on grunge/punk/surf/skate-y on the other end. I’ve played around with other aesthetics, but these two poles are ones I keep going back to, and it feels good to know I have my bases covered with my basics and key pieces — and that I have a good sense of what I like and what feels good for me in terms of style. Doing a #WearEverything challenge helped me realize, “Oh, hey, I’ve done a lot of work stripping everything down and curating my closet and shopping — and it’s paid off.”

What I Learned

One thing you can observe over time is the silhouettes and “outfit formulas” you gravitate towards, and what you have a lot of — and what seems to be missing. For example, I rarely deviate from the looser top/skinnier bottom formula, whether it is skinny jeans and silk blouse combo or a sweatshirt and leggings. I think this is most “flattering” (if I cared about flattering, that is), but it’s also most comfortable for me, and accommodating of the changes in my mama figure. (I am so not a “bounce back” kind of mom.)

I also have PLENTY of casual and workout clothes — I pretty much doubled down on them after I gave birth, and I can ease up on them for now.

I have a few default outfit formulas I lean on, but I’d like to explore a few more to shake things up a bit.

One unexpected pleasure of doing this challenge was that it forced me to wear skirts and dresses — and I found that I enjoyed them again. Dresses still aren’t super practical for my day to day life, but they’re nice to wear when I want to break out of a rut. I have nice cozy casual ones, but it’d be nice to wear something more fun. I have more colorful, kicky dresses for spring, so hopefully I can explore this sartorial strand once the weather warms up!

The Bad (Which Is Really More Boring)

What I do feel like I’m missing, though, is a general sense of “pizzazz” or zest, for a better lack of word. I don’t necessarily mean “colors that pop” or the like — I guess the common parlance would be “statement pieces.”

Part of it is just lifestyle — I’ve deep in the toddler trenches of #momlife, and things just have to be practical and easy. But does that mean they have to be boring? Because honestly I do feel like my default can be a little snooze-inducing, even for someone who appreciates subtlety like I do. So I’m going to devote some time, thought and resources to items that take a bit of risk and have a bit of fun, because I do feel like I’m missing that “something” that elevates my style while still keeping it grounded and practical.

I haven’t necessarily figured out what “zest” translates to, so this will be a fun style exploration in the coming months, and will help me focus my money and time, as well. But I am pretty sure this new “challenge” will be a lot of fun!

Final Thoughts

I really, really recommend this wardrobe challenge if you need an eagle-eye viewpoint on your style, wardrobe and closet *as you actually live it.* That last part is the most important to me — because sometimes I think people approach “style” as this heady, cerebral thing and forget that it’s a corporeal, body-oriented experience that also exists in real time and space.

You get to inventory exactly what you have and how you wear it; you can see what you love and where your ruts are; you celebrate what you have and say goodbye to items that just don’t work for you anymore with a fitting little tribute.

I’ll be doing this again for my spring/summer wardrobe, which I am excited about, actually, because it will force me to wear everything in my closet once again and figure out what is earning its place in my wardrobe and what isn’t. I’ll document the whole thing on Instagram, because it’s easy…and clearly easy is something that my life needs during this busy time of #momlife!

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