30 for 30: Less is More

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I have to admit, I was a little nervous about taking on this round of Kendi’s 30 for 30 after bombing the last one. But I told myself in the beginning that I’d turn off the pressure and just roll with this one, kind of like I did with my very first 30 for 30 way back when. So far, it’s worked… and I’m happy to report that I am loving this remix.

You see, before I started this blog, I never really had a defined style. Not to say I didn’t dress well, because I did. I had a closet that overflowed with clothes and shoes I bought on sale, a mismatched cluster of  impulse purchases and retail therapy binges. I shopped once a week — okay, let’s be honest, twice a week — and patted myself on the back for all the great deals I scored. I always wanted new, wouldn’t be caught dead wearing the same outfit twice, and had a closet full of items I’d worn once then written off as “old and boring.” There was no rhyme or reason to the way I dressed, I just wanted to be The Girl That Always Looks Cute.

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{isn’t she cute?}

However, The Girl That Always Looks Cute has a dark and secret alter-ego: The Girl Who Will Never Have Enough. Unbeknownst to me, I was building a bevy of bad habits that revolved around shopping. If I had a rough day or was feeling insecure, I went to Macy’s and bought three pairs of shoes to make myself feel better. Because really, what girl can feel bad about herself when she’s wearing a killer pair of brand-spanking-new patent leather peep-toes, hmm? If I had a meeting or event to go to, I needed to make a good impression with a new outfit. Nothing to do on a Saturday? Shop it up!

I started secretively shopping and hiding how much I was buying and spending from my husband. {I know I’m not the only one who kept things in the trunk and brought them inside when her husband wasn’t home… “What, this old thing?!“} I got myself in some deep trouble with debt and had serious anxiety about my finances and my seemingly out-of-control retail binging. On the inside, I was a hot mess; but man, I looked CUTE!

I don’t know exactly when or why I realized I needed a change, but something flipped the switch and woke me up to the damage I was causing through my insatiable need for excess. I started to crave simplicity in my life and my closet. I just didn’t know how to do it. It wasn’t until I discovered this world of style bloggers that I started to appreciate true style. Not the commoditized “what’s new” fashion of the masses, but individual style that’s built around personal aesthetic and a carefully edited wardrobe.

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That’s what the 30 for 30 is all about for me. Understanding just how little it takes to create outfits that you feel good in every day, and discovering your own definition of basics and favorites. I’m 18 days in to this remix, and there are 3 pieces I’ve yet to wear and 8 that I’ve only worn once. Before I started, I jotted down 21 potential outfit combinations, and I’ve used three of them. I’m confident that if push came to shove (or some crazy happenstance caused the rest of my clothes to disappear) I could make these 30 pieces work for the rest of the summer. Several of my [real-life] friends have told me they want to try a 30 for 30 for themselves, and I tell them they have to. I’m expecting detailed reports and outfit logs, ya’ll. 

In the last six months, I’ve paid off more than half of my personal debt and closed three retail revolving credit accounts. What’s left of my credit card debt is in the three-digits, and I’ve learned about this strange phenomenon they call saving. I’ve found other outlets besides shopping to channel my stress and boredom and reduced my monthly spending {and stress!} significantly. When I do shop, I shop with purpose — more on that later.

I hope the rest of you remixers are gaining some valuable perspective from this challenge. If you haven’t tried a 30 for 30, I encourage you to give it a shot. It just may change the way you think about your style and your closet!

30 thoughts on “30 for 30: Less is More

  1. As you can see from the comments, this resonates with many of your followers. Thanks & keep up the great sharing!

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  2. I”m so glad I slowed down to actually read this today. I was aching to go shopping today. Well, I still am, but this reminded me of the fabulous wardrobe I already have! I have pieces with tags on them as we speak. And while I’m not in debt I do want to learn to save better and cut back on spending. I think I’ll spend the afternoon shopping my closet and doing laundry instead of shopping. Thanks again!

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  3. So inspirational! I have to admit to having a small shopping problem that could easily get out of hand and I am so grateful that you posted this :) well said, it reminded me of one of my favourite quotes

    Have less. do more. be more.

    you are just killing the 30 for 30!

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  4. Such a great post. I haven’t participated in the 30×30 yet, but I believe in the concept. I was a lot like you – Gobbling up a good deal without really thinking about it. Since starting my blog, I am much more cognizant of how a piece will fit into my wardrobe. How many different ways can I wear it? I think it makes shopping much more strategic and productive.

    You look fantastic btw.

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  5. Thank you for so much for your honesty, it gives me hope. I am currently in the place of overflowing closets and bills and have been stressing over it quite a bit and am ready for a change. My husband is in the military and I’ve realized when he is deployed – so 6-7 months out of every year – I shop to compensate and don’t feel guilty b/c I don’t have to hide anything, he’s never there. Thank you so very much for inspiring me to make a real change.

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  6. Wow, thanks for sharing your journey! I think lots of us are in the same boat – always wanting and never having enough. I recently lost some weight so I had to buy some new clothes, but I am hoping I’ll be able to stretch my dollars better this fall. Thanks for the inspiration!! You always look great and I love seeing your DIY projects, too.

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  7. I am so that girl that you described! It’s just so hard to get out of that rut. I’m working on it, but unfortunately still give in too often. Do you have any tips for what you do when you get the urge to shop? Would love to hear how other people cope with this!

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  8. Thanks so much for sharing! The remix is a great way to learn to wear things differently and enjoy the same clothes in new ways. I think I will try adding belts or something to the dresses that I chose ;).

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  9. Hello,

    I just found your blog via Little Tin Soldier. What great advice. I am also doing the 30 for 30 & whilst at times I have wanted to chuck in all in, it has really made me realise the items & potential outfits I have in my wardrobe. I really I don’t need to be anymore clothes for a long time (whoo, did I just write that?), but as a student on a limited budget I have better things to do with my money … um, like eat!

    Kelly @
    Elegantly Academic

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  10. I think you’ve inspired me! I am exactly as you described yourself. Some days I prefer buying clothing then spending the money on groceries or even saving it instead. I’ve been thinking about trying out the 30 for 30 to try to figure out what my style is and to go outside of the box that I’ve been in for years. I have so many things in my closet that I buy because I like it, but I may not have anything to put it with. I’m totally going to jump on the 30 for 30 bandwagon!

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  11. Amen to this! I have had the same exact problem for yeeeeeeears. {yes, this includes also hiding purchases in the trunk from spouses/family} I have only been blogging for a few months now, but it has really made me appreciate what I do have and how much that I have bought when I “had to have it” and have become aware of how many times I have actually worn it. This is a great post and I’m sure that it is familiar to many women who can relate. I’m proud to say that I have not been shopping in like two months. This is a huge deal for me! Keep up the great work on your debt and adorable 30 for 30 outfits!

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  12. Great post and I’m glad this 30 for 30 is going so well for you! I’m 10 days into my first 30 for 30 and it has been an eye opening experience since day 1. I feel great about actually using the things I already have and using a little creativity to come up with something “new”. The whole “no shopping” aspect has not been an issue thus far. And when I do go shopping next month, with a budgeted amount in hand, I’ll have a much better idea of what I need in my closet. I’m looking forward to the “shopping with purpose” post you hinted about!

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  13. I have not used blogs before so here goes. I am curious what the 30 for 30 challenge is. I am from Australia and this might account for my ignorance about it. I would like to know more as the general drift of wanting to have less and use that less really well appeals to me. Karen :-)

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  14. You’ve definitely inspired me to take the 30 for 30 challenge. I LOVED this post! I’ve recently gotten really into personal finance, and I’m trying to figure out a clothing budget that works for me. I read your other post on style and money & checked out all the links on your debt post. Thanks for posting this! :)

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  15. This is a really great, honest post Keira. It’s inspiring to hear how you overcame the constant need to shop and found ways to appreciate what you already have. Blogging has definitely opened my eyes in a similar way; I find myself buying less and being very thoughtful about the purchases I do make. I can’t wait to participate in another 30 for 30…I plan to do one in August!

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  16. OMG your whole post on shopping and hiding bags in the trunk is SO me too! Thank you for being brave enough to put this out there. I’m sure there are many others who do the same, but don’t want to come forward. I too went into massive debt and then got very sick and could not work anymore, and it really opened my eyes. So I didn’t have a choice anymore to stop shopping, I didn’t have any money coming in and it was the worst 5 years of my life! I’m still sick and can’t really work like I used to, but I have very little money coming in now so I really have to watch it Bigtime! Thank you again for your post, I’m so glad I found the Bloggers of this world like you. It has truly helped me in the past year :)

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  17. Love your post. I can identify! These days, more often than not I find myself at the local Ross store, and I cruising consignment shops and local Goodwill stores for interesting accessories which supplement the separates that Ross offers. I enjoy tallying up the cost of my outfit for the day, and realizing I’ve put my look together for less than $100. Love it! I’m not a “fashionista”, but, as you said in your post…I look cute! And it didn’t cost me the world! Works for me!

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  18. This is SUCH a great post! I admit that I fall into the tangles of “new outfit” bliss as well – The 30 for 30 has taught me so much over the seasons I have tried it. And, actually, the one we are currently in feels SO good to me. A few weeks before the current 30×30 began, I went through my closet and got rid of 80 pieces of clothing. EIGHTY. And my closet is still huge. What was I doing buying all that!?

    Anyway, again, I love this post. :)

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  19. So awesome that you are making great strides in this area! I wish you great freedom in this area as you continue to discipline yourself and continue to be creative with all the beautiful pieces that you have. I think learning to be content is important in every area of life… it is so key. Otherwise, having everything will ever be enough. I’m trying to find contentment in the midst of chronic illness right now… it’s hard, but I’m doing my best to seek God’s purpose in it.

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  20. Kudos to you for sharing this. I think it’s a dirty little secret amongst bloggers who share their fashion that often we let appearances get ahead of our financial well-being. Also, MAJOR high-five to you for paying off that debt, it’s not easy to curb spending.

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  21. Thank you! I too used to shop to make myself feel better….but then would come that horrible guilt! I have so many clothes that last night one of my closets literally collapsed! Since I started blogging a mere 3 weeks ago I’ve noticed a change in my relationship to my clothes…in fact you were one of the inspirations behind me trying this! So, while I can’t imagine being able to pull it off, I really think I’m going to attempt the next 30 for 30. Thank you for your honesty and inspiration!
    Cheryl

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