What I learned from the #30×30 closet remix challenge. Spoiler: I am a lazy sweatpants wearer.

My sister lives 500 miles away, and therefore, we don’t see each other much. I stalk her through twitter and Instagram to know what she’s up to on a daily basis, and the big things, like a business trip to the Cannes Film Festival (she has a film industry job), I learn via phone calls and coordinated visits to our parents’ house, halfway between our two cities.

A few months ago I caught on that she was doing a closet remix challenge and documenting it. She tagged her Instagram pictures #30×30 and posted her outfit every day. At the end, she posted a collage of 30 outfits.

#30x30 closet remix challenge

The basic idea is to take 30 items from your wardrobe and wear only those for 30 days, in 30 unique ways. You can make your own rules, but for my sister, clothing and shoes are what count while accessories are a free-for-all. You can use them liberally to make your outfit new again.

On the first day of August, I noticed that Em had posted a full length shot of her outfit and tagged it 30×30, commenting “Here we go again.”

#30x30 closet remix challenge

I asked if I could join her.

Since she invested so many years of her life idolizing me, how could she say no? She referred me to Kendieveryday.com the originator of this idea, perhaps because she didn’t understand that I was asking her to boss me around and force me to follow her rules.

I scrawled out some notes about what I’d wear for the first week on an envelope on my nightstand and took a picture for Instagram for Day 1. I tried not to obsess about how I looked in the picture, after all, I walk out the door without fear everyday, but for some reason posting HEY LOOK WHAT I’M WEARING, felt more embarrassing.

Day 1

3#30x30 closet remix challenge

I’ll be honest: today (Day 20) I am wearing this same sweater with different jeans (no pre-made holes!) and different shoes (sandals) and a different necklace (a heart pendant), but it feels like a bit of a cheat.  In fact, I feel like a huge cheater on the whole assignment because of the allowances I am making a different days for different reasons.

Here’s what I learned from the 30 for 30 challenge:

1) Social media can be a really fun way to connect with someone. I know, duh, we are living in 2014 and this is the main way we stay in touch with many friends, but even in the two weeks I’ve been doing this project, it has felt like my sister and I are doing an activity together. I feel like I’m posting especially for her and each day I look forward to seeing her pictures more than anyone else’s in my stream. No offense all of you who I may follow on Instagram, but none of you are my only sister. I have felt like I’m getting know people over social media before, but this has been more special.

On Saturday Em and I were both at my parents’ house and because of my lazy sweatpants-wearing ways, which I will explain in #2, I asked that we substitute a shot in our bathing suits as our Outfit of the Day — or #00td as fashion-forward chickadees on Instagram call it.

#30x30 closet remix challenge, now in swimsuits

2) I don’t get dressed head-to-toe much. Due to my work-from-home lifestyle, it is rare that I shower and dress before I take my kids to camp/school. I usually put on exercise clothes and even if it’s only a quick walk, I do some kind of workout once I’m alone. Then, I go “Crap – it’s 10 am and I haven’t done any work yet,” so I sit down at my computer instead of getting dressed. The next thing I know it’s 1 pm and I have no outfit to photograph: I’m still wearing some version of what I slept in or worked out in. Kind of pitiful for someone actually enjoys stylish clothing. With a new focus on what I am wearing each day, I became more aware of the short number of hours that I actually wear my “outfit”.

3) I like cute shoes, but I like to be me. I included a pair of high-heeled clogs in my 30 items, but every day that I selected them for my official 30×30 outfit, I ended up slipping on these other super-comfy, not quite as trendy, sandals to do an errand. I just felt embarrassed to wear clompy shoes to walk around the corner to my grocer, and today for example, walking my daughter from our parking spot to the soccer field seems like a lot of ground to cover in super-womanly shoes. I like to wear my fancy shoes when I’m dressed up, but I just can’t do the heels – even casual heels –  in everyday clothes. It makes me feel self-conscious.

4) Camera angle is everything. When my husband takes my picture, the thirteen inch difference in our height has a slimming effect. Hiding my arms has a slimming effect.  Being aware of these things has a shaming effect. I shouldn’t be so picky about how I look – I am in great health! “Accept and love your body, accept and love your body,” I tell myself. Say it with me. It’s so hard!

#30x30 closet remix challenge

It was hard to even take a moment each day to photograph myself. I felt like giving up after just a few days because I didn’t want to study my image either in the mirror or through the camera.

5. I don’t actually have a problem with my clothing or closet. Or at least I don’t have one that was revealed by this challenge. I picked my favorite things to wear – casual everyday items, including three different pairs of jeans and a pair of cut-off jean shorts. Maybe I didn’t make it hard enough, or make enough use of the opportunity to experiment. Upon mid-month consultation with my sister I learned that she pulls everything she’s going to use in the challenge to one part of her closet. She also thinks ahead, like, hey, I have a wedding shower and a business trip this month, so include a dress that can work for both. I feel like sort of a lame participant for not thinking this through very well, like wow, I wore jeans and tank tops for a month — when I wasn’t wearing yoga pants — not very interesting. Perhaps I’ll do it again and pick more challenging, less frequently worn items from my closet.

I am glad I included this top, cause it’s newish and I {heart} it. (See related items >)

#30x30 closet remix challenge

If I get very ambitious at the end of the month I will make a collage like my sister’s above. Otherwise, I will just return to my regularly scheduled programming of jammies for 20 hours of the day and a cute outfit for four hours.

The challenge I think I’d get more out of is starting on one side of my closet, wearing each item and then moving it to the back, forcing me to wear every. single. thing. hanging in there. That can be my September challenge. Are you in?

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.