Warning this post is longer than my usual posts. If you want, you can just skip to the end.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately. Before you become worried, let me explain. I’ve been thinking a lot about the 30 for 30 challenge. I started the 30 for 30 a year ago last month. April 2010 was the very first time I decided to create and take on the challenge. Since then I’ve completed the challenge 4 times, once for each season of the year. And I’ve been lucky enough to have 1200 of you over the last year take the challenge along with me. But I have to tell you had I any idea of what the 30 for 30 was about to become, I’m not sure I would have been brave enough to take it on last April.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve walked to the beat of my own drum. Some people in my life have found this endearing (mainly my parents), others have found my drum to be too loud, too quiet, too different, too boring, too fill-in-the-blank here. But no matter what, I never stopped. My drum, my beat. The 30 for 30 was I guess another extension of this said-drum. But all too quickly the 30 for 30 felt like I had started a bandwagon. Something that I tend not to follow and here I am the leader of it. I have no problem in being a leader of something great, but I never intended to be a bandwagon leader.
Because you all have your own paths. You all have your own drums you need walk to; who am I to interrupt that beat? This probably will come to a surprise to you but the 30 for 30 wasn’t supposed to be anything other than cathartic for me. (Selfish I know.) But with each challenge taken, I received email after email from others who took on the challenge, too. I now understand that there are lots of women and men out there who think and feel the same way as I do about shopping and the mystery that is their closet. I love that the 30 for 30 has become a tool to help some people understand more of their style or how the shop or what else they can do with that little black dress. I love that my self-serving endeavor actually turned out to help someone else. This blesses even my selfish little heart.
But over the past year, I feel like the motive and the heart of the 30 for 30 has been lost. (Found here, 4th paragraph.) That I let it become an event instead of a helpful challenge. This breaks my heart.
The 30 for 30 challenge is simple: to help you rediscover your closet. To help you realize you can get by with less. But I feel like I let the challenge become complicated in it’s simplicity. This challenge is to help you figure out where you stand in your style, in your budget, in your closet. But instead I let it become a race to finish, a rule burdened plan, a competition of links. If less is more, then why have I let it become more and more and more? Where did less go?
When I say I had no expectations or ambition for the challenge, I mean it. I took the challenge on selfishly; I had to get out of my spending cycle. And since taking the challenge 4 times, I actually have started to live my life that way. I am slightly obsessed with the idea of remixing and what else I can do with a single item of clothing. Don’t get me wrong — even a challenge can’t change human nature. I will always be an over-spender, an over-shopper. It’s who I am by nature, but I can fight those tendencies with the habits I’ve taught myself with the 30 for 30. A diet for my inner shopaholic, if you will. Just as I know eating unhealthy will hurt my body, I know that shopping using my unhealthy habits will make me broke and miserable. So I take on a 30 for 30 challenge, to help reset my habits again.
All of this to say, I would love to take another 30 for 30 challenge this summer and I’d love for you to try it with me. But this time, let’s do it simply. If you are interested in figuring out the mess that is your closet, finding your style, or just discovering that you actually are more creative than you thought, then please take the challenge with me. There is no competition, there is no time limit, there is no race. This time around I will not put myself on overdrive and won’t blog more than I normally do. (During a 30 for 30 I stress myself out trying to get 6-7 outfits a week, going crazy while doing it.) It’s not a 30-day challenge, it’s a 30-outfit challenge. If you want to shop during the 30 days, shop. If you don’t, then don’t. No one is watching you to see if you fail, heck no one is watching you to see if you succeed. Success to you could be 15 completed outfits, or 45. There is no succeed or fail. The challenge isn’t about anyone else but you. It’s a challenge to see what you can do in your closet with that creative little mind of yours.
To uncomplicate things for you, I’ve updated my 30 for 30 page. There you find the guidelines of the challenge, but not rules. In a few weeks, you will also find a place to link your blog, if you decide to take the challenge. But what you won’t find is an FAQ page or an exhausted explanation of how to go about it. You won’t find a deadline to sign up; there is no deadline in helping yourself. The challenge is simple by nature: take 30 items, make 30 outfits. Don’t worry about if you are breaking a rule, you can’t mess this up. Trust me. You really can’t.
One more thing — there are no seasons to the challenge. No matter what country or hemisphere you live in, feel free to take the challenge. The weather doesn’t have to match that of my blog for you to qualify. In fact there are absolutely no qualifying factors here. Blog or no blog, woman or man, 30 pieces, 15 pieces, 5 pieces. It doesn’t matter how you go about it, all that matters is that you find yourself in the end. May it be your style, your budget, your creativity. Whatever it is you set out to find, I hope you do.
(Did you really skip to the end? Go back up there and read the whole thing.)