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My 2012 Fashion Experiment: 30 Outfits, 17 Articles, $197

30 Days
30 Different Outfits
40 Degrees Temperature Swings
17 Articles of Clothing

Because of our jobs, we travel often and usually for a lengthy amount of time. I have fine tuned the art of packing-light, but a few weeks into our trip, I'm tired of the limited clothing I've taken. So I decided to experiment--what if I brought affordable clothes that would mix and match with my accessories, shoes, and each other--maybe I could make it versatile enough that I would enjoy what I wore every day? The answer is YES! I did!
My Rules:
*A different outfit every day for 30 days while traveling to/from Panama City Beach.
*Include the cost of each item of clothing and limit to $200 (Some things were gifts, some bought with gift cards, but I included the total cost of it all just to showcase that it can be done frugally. If an item had been in my closet for more than 3 years, I did not include it in the total).
*No buying new clothes to wear while I'm there! Nothing!

Striped skirt, Target, $6.
White tank, H&M, last season, $4.

The jean jacket I've had for 3 years, but if you really wanna know, I paid $6 for it. ;)
[Disclaimer: My pics are far from professional. They're taken by my husband and 6 yr-old daughter. Usually in the moment of "K, Mommy's got 30 seconds to take a picture please."]

On this day, I pulled it up above the waist, and it's an Empire Dress! If you look closely, you'll notice that the green necklace I wore in the previous photo is worn on this day as a bracelet. (This pic had bad shadow problems. The wrinkles where the H&M tank and skirt meet were not as prominent in person as in this photo).

And now taken up a notch (literally and metaphorically) as a strapless dress for our team dinner at a nice restaurant.
Crochet cardi, Ross, $12.

This day was a "Didn't have time to shower so I'll throw a scarf in my hair to disguise that fact." (If you think that's gross, then you haven't experienced life with small children is just part of my reality that I have embraced). Hubby walks in for a lunch-time work break and says, "Wow! You look great today! I love that thing in your hair." Disguise = success.
I didn't include accessories in my totals, but if you look around, you can find super deals on accessories. This scarf from Aeropostale was only 97 cents!
Big Break T-shirt, free (uniform for job)

This was my favorite ensemble with this piece. It felt really feminine. I wore fabric rose earrings which added to its delicacy. Claire's, 99 cents.
Long-sleeve T, Forever 21, last season, $9

My next dress, a floral maxi, which you'll never believe my mom found at Garden Ridge of all places! And for less than $5. (Now you know that I come by my bargain-hunting naturally). ;)
Worn over the H&M tank.

For a chilly yet sunny day at the beach. My mom got this fun sun hat for me! Same Forever 21 long-sleeve T.

T-shirt over maxi for kite-flying. T-shirt, paid $10 last year. This shirt has the logo SOTW which stands for "Something on the Wing", a comedy ministry started by our good friends. My hat was a hand-me-down from a good friend. (Thanks, Jenny!)

This floral dress I found on clearance at Kohl's. $4

This blurry pic was taken by my daughter. The fuzziness is no distress to me because this is my least favorite outfit of my month, as I was holding on tight to People Style Watch's advice: "Mix prints with stripes!" It worked well for a morning at the library.
Striped cardi, Target, $6.

On this day, it worked as a beach cover-up while I went out to share my faith with these fun lovely ladies from UNT.

My only photo op that day...wearing my "uniform" Big Break shirt over the dress.

A fashion tip I received long ago is to limit accessories: stick to one key piece and allow it to stand out. Here's an up-close of these fun earrings I found at Cira last year for $4.

How much do I love this Forever21 shirt?! I wear it every chance I get! It is so soft and lightweight!

Here's where I invested more than my normal pennies.
Apricot pants, Forever21, $40.
You might think that such a trendy piece is not versatile enough to pay a higher price, but I have found so many ways to wear them. Here I wore it with the H&M tank and crochet cardi.

It's ok to pair it with the same color family as long as it's not the exact same shade so it's not matchy-matchy. (I get my fashion tips from People Style Watch mag, so if you disagree, take it up with them ;) Same tank and cardi that you've seen before.

Chilly night out on the pier. I love this turquoise and brown shell necklace that my daughter gave me on my birthday a few years ago.

Another non-shower day. Morning out for errands.

Warm afternoon with the family for a carnival. My husband gave me this stack of turquoise bracelets. I wear them ALL the time. One of my favorite gifts from him ever!

Ok, this simple navy dress turned out to be one of the wisest purchases I ever made.
Navy Dress + belt, Papaya Outlet, $15
I wore it last summer in a dozen different ways! However, I was sticking with one color palette on this trip, but still created 4 different looks.

I haven't mentioned my shoes yet...I brought 3 pair--gladiator sandals, beach flip-flops, and these, all of which are not included in my total. I'm wearing "OneSole"--an awesome versatile travel shoe that my in-laws gave me for Christmas.

Cream sweater, Old Navy, my mom bought this for me too, but if you want to know, she only spent $4.
The scarf that I previously wore in my hair became a belt!

I just love this family picture! Thanks KAZBullet for photographing us so well!

Our students complimented me on this outfit and didn't even realize that it was a dress underneath this shirt. They confirmed that the belt "made the outfit."
Navy Stripe, Old Navy, last season, $6.
Belt, Target, came with a skirt that I didn't bring on this trip.

Sorry this pic is so dark. This was the day we arrived...10:30 PM, and I was heading out for groceries.

I had to show you the fun detail on these designer jeans...which I got at Sam's Club! Originally $120, I got them for $60. Long gone are the days of cheap jeans (which stretch out, fade, and don't flatter). Instead, I invest in ONE GOOD PAIR, and wear them til they wear out.
Miss Me Jeans, Sam's, $60
Lucky Shirt, Sam's $12

Yeah, these outfits are almost the same, but this scarf dresses up the Lucky shirt.
Floral scarf, White Balcony, $6.

This scarf changes the look of this striped shirt. With the buttons concealed, it brings attention to the color block on the shoulders.

This is probably my favorite outfit of the month. It is my Texan personality + individual flair coming through.

I like tying the thin Aeropostale scarf chain-style. I also love stacking these bracelets and wearing bright nail polish! Prepared for a chilly restaurant and theater, I covered up with again my fave lightweight long-sleeve T.

Lastly, this striped tank dress I found at the same clearance at Kohl's. If you shop summer dresses in December, you can get some amazing deals!
Tank dress, Kohl's, $4.

Another magazine tip: Mixing stripes is fun and surprising!
I got this necklace from a street vendor in China Town of San Francisco a few years ago.

Another "uniform." I tied up the side to reveal more of the skirt. This may be the only picture in existence of me with somewhat of a tan--3 hours after a trip to the beach. By the next morning, it was pale again. :) My only other accessory is the hot pink rosette studs from Claire's, 99cents.

Ok, I actually had several outfits in my mind that never materialized--I could have stayed another week without repeat! I chose this outfit for our last day, traveling home, because while it was comfortable, I was a little intimidated to wear it. But I embraced the stripes-on-stripes with confidence, and realized that confidence is the best accessory! :)

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