What is the 30 for 30 and why should I care?

why i care
Recently, I’ve noticed some interesting observations about the 30 for 30 challenge that 337+ bloggers are currently participating in. From offhand comments like “I don’t need a challenge to be creative” to people wondering what the impact of the challenge is, sorry to say, but some people are confused.

Kendi explains her reasons for beginning the 30 for 30 challenge on her blog. “By April 2010, I’d run out of funds and had lost the original intent of my blog: to remix the contents of my closet. I introduced the idea of remixing what was in my closet by the idea of the 30 for 30 Remix. ’30 for 30′ simply meant that I would take 30 items and remix only those items into 30, (hopefully) stylish outfits.”

Well, that sounds like a pretty good idea to me. But Kendi goes on to add insult to injury, restricting shopping during the time of the challenge (which can be about 6 weeks, if you only do it five days during the week).

Why? Because, Kendi says “of two reasons: 1) so you’ll learn to shop your own closet and 2) so you’ll appreciate it. So many times I’ve run out and bought a new dress for one event or I bought something because I felt lacking, not what was in my closet. Obviously, this is not the best solution to a problem. I have found that when I limit myself with shopping, with 30 items, I become so much more aware of what I have versus what I need.”

The first 30 for 30 challenge Kendi did by herself, in the spring of 2010. In summer 2010, she opened it up to her followers. Loving her reasoning and knowing I needed to challenge myself, I joined. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

I’m a pretty creative person to begin with, but when forced to only wear/remix thirty pieces; your mind goes into overdrive. I was pairing things I’d never thought to pair before. I refined my love for all things printed and colorful, and even found a nice balance of wearing all black (which is so not me).

But, I was ready when the challenge was over. I needed to get back to the rest of my closet. In those thirty days, I proved that I could live with only thirty pieces, although I don’t want to.

This time, when Kendi opened up the challenge to her readers again, I jumped at it. I wanted to do it again, with different pieces than last time and prove that I still had the ability to do it, and rock it out. Plus, my favorite part of the challenge is that we don’t shop.

In a perfect world, there would be no waste. Clothing would only be purchased and worn to cover your naked body. But this isn’t a perfect world. There is waste. People purchase clothing to add to their wardrobe, to make themselves feel better or because they have no idea what they really own. I am a big believer in purchasing secondhand or used clothing, because we don’t need more waste. Just because someone else didn’t want it, doesn’t mean it still doesn’t have value. I’ve purchased secondhand cars, shoes, clothes, even pets! I think that the 337+ bloggers involved in this challenge are proving that we don’t need to shop at a store to be creative. We can shop in our own closets and showcase our fashion ability without needed retail therapy.

I work for a nonprofit. We do donation drives. The number one thing people donate? Clothing. The number one thing we don’t need? Clothing. There is so much of it. People buy things and wear them once, then get rid of them. By forcing yourself to remix what you own, you’re proving that you don’t need to buy things.

There are many bloggers who have already gone the route of not shopping for a specific length of time. Alyson, Angeline, Beverly, etc, etc, etc. These women prove that you don’t need new pieces to make your closet work for you. There are also bloggers like Marissa who take $1 each day and revamp an old piece of clothing she finds at thrift stores, garage sales or discard piles.

So why do the 30 for 30 challenge? Because, dear friends, it’s about proving to yourself that you can do it. It’s not about the not shopping, or the time commitment. It’s about proving that you can master the remix and work with only thirty pieces in your wardrobe.

If that’s not enough for you, continue to be mystified why 337+ bloggers would jump on the same bandwagon and attempt the challenge. Sure, some people are naturally creative, but that’s not what this is about. This is fun, challenging and a way to force yourself to think outside the box and prove that you can do it.

Did I think I would ever wear purple, pink and red together? No! But did I do it? Yes. And that my dear friends, is reason enough for me.


71 thoughts on “What is the 30 for 30 and why should I care?

  1. very eloquently put, my dear! couldnt agree more. i’d like to think i’m already creative in my closet, but using a limited number of options has forced me to think even more about what i wear and put together. getting cute ensambles i had never thought to put together out of it is just icing on the cake.

    • Thanks dear! 🙂 I’ve been attempting to write this for a few days and finally reached my stride! I’m pretty proud of not calling anyone out and just explaining why people should care about the 30×30.

      Thanks for the RT too! 🙂

  2. “I work for a nonprofit. We do donation drives. The number one thing people donate? Clothing. The number one thing we don’t need? Clothing. There is so much of it. People buy things and wear them once, then get rid of them. By forcing yourself to remix what you own, you’re proving that you don’t need to buy things.”

    After Hurricane Katrina, I was in a unique spot of having been through the storm and transferring to a new retail local of UO (where I was working). I remember one of the managers complaining how the relief efforts weren’t taking clothes (even new, unworn pieces), because the influx of clothes was SO GREAT.

    I’m glad you bring this up though– I think it’ll make people more thoughtful when buying– will you be donating this item within a year? Will you want to keep it that long? Shouldn’t you MAYBE save up for something you’d like to keep for longer?

    • I think clothing is usually the first thing people think to donate, but usually isn’t not whats needed. I know that people need pots and pans, appliances and other things that we don’t even think about!
      I try to be very thoughtful about what I buy, and sometimes I don’t even donate clothes. If one of my friends like my shirt/shoes/dress and I no longer wear it, it’s theirs. At least they can use it! 🙂

  3. I joined this challenge primarily for the no shopping, only shopping in your closet and within the limits of 30 items. Everytime I felt my wardrobe needed a revamp, I’d hit the mall, etsy, etc to buy something new to me. So far on day 5, I’ve learned I’ve wasted a lot of money on similar pieces, and very little on belts, scarves, etc. I think next time I want a little pretty in my wardrobe I’ll reach for something in the far back and rework it a la the challenge.

    • That’s awesome! I think I was very much like that before I started my blog. Now I have more scarves and belts than ever, but they can change around the same skirt/dress/shirt in so many ways!

  4. AWESOME post. You made some great comments and observations that I completely agree with. So many times I sit in my closet and my rows of clothes and think to myself “I have nothing to wear”. When in reality I need to stop shopping at stores and start shopping in my closet on a DAILY basis. What could be more fun than shopping everyday? and NOT having to pay? Retail therapy is right at our fingertips if we just reach one tiny inch further with our hands before running out the door with our wallet.

    Thanks for sharing this!


    • Thanks!! 🙂 I used to do the same thing. I’d always say “I have nothing to wear,” which is so not true. This is a great exercise to show us what we really own.

  5. Hear hear! I couldn’t agree with you more.

    I’m having a ton of fun with this challenge. Although I won’t lie: I’m missing some other parts of my closet…

  6. You are pretty brave! I really think next time around I will go for it. I’m definitely one of those people who is constantly shopping not thinking I have something to wear. I commend you for doing it again and can’t wait to see what you come up with. And congrats on your new camera, i’m jealous!

  7. Well said my dearest. It seems like we’ve had similar experiences with it! So glad for you to have joined in a second time around. Its kind of addicting, no?

    And you know what? the 30 for 30 isn’t for everyone! And that is OK. Some people are already really good at remixing and others need a little help. If you need a little help, the 30 for 30 is a great challenge to help you get going on your merry little remixing way. 🙂

  8. Lovely explanation, Suze, and I seriously admire all the bloggers who are not only willing to participate, but abstain from buying. I just cannot do it, even though I totally need to! When Hubby sees two new pairs of shoes arriving from Endless tomorrow, I may be forced into it, though.

    ♥ V
    twitter: @gritandglamour

  9. I think it is a great idea! I would love to take the challenge so I hope it comes around again soon. Most of my things are still in boxes from packing & moving…hope to solve that problem this weekend…but it is very exciting watching what everyone else is doing. I think you are doing great!

  10. I’m doing the GAAD this year, and was in the middle of a challenge for myself (wear ALL my jackets in Nov. so I stop thinking I need jackets) when this 30 x 30 came up. So I thought it might be too hard to do both at once. I’m definitely going to do one someday, though. GAAD has probably already hit on some of the “you don’t need to shop, you already have enough” lessons for me, and it’s also made me realize that I use shopping for comfort and stress relief. Anyway, I totally get why you’re doing it and I’m enjoying your remixes.

  11. This is my first remix. When I heard about it I thought it sounded like a fun way to get creative with my closet and help curb my shopping habit. So far that has definitely been the case, but it has also introduced me to a great community of amazing bloggers I never would have found otherwise.

  12. good post. I get questioned about why I’m doing it too.
    I also think when the 30 for 30 is over, you can’t wait to wear the rest of your clothes so you spend longer than 30 days shopping your closet.

    (I saw your tweet about this post and didn’t actually get to it in my google reader yet. I’m behind on all reading because I’m trying to catch up on blogging. I’m 10 days behind.)

  13. What a great post Suze…and I totally agree with everything you said. There are WAYYYY too many choices these days about EVERYTHING…..who really needs to choose from 13 different tubes of toothpaste, ya know? I think the mindset for the 30×30 is great…you KNOW you have THESE pieces to chose from, and that’s it! You make the best of it, and I bet your styling talent shines like a beacon in the night:)
    I really, REALLY wanted to join the challenge…. I’m going to NYC in a few weeks and already knew I’d be setting myself up for disaster knowing I wouldn’t be able to shop.

    I give you, and the other 336+ “mixers” a standing ovation….there’s alot of dedication to this challenge…and all of you are going to ROCK!

    • Me? No. We have a thrift store we sell it through, a woman’s shelter and homeless shelter and refugee’s that use it. If it makes it to the thrift store I’ll buy it if I want it 🙂

  14. I’m glad you posted this. That comment about not needing to limit herself to be creative irked me when I first read it. And I know she wasn’t trying to be rude, but it certainly came off that way when I initially read it. I am a naturally creative and adventurous person, but even I have found in the short time I’ve been doing this challenge that I can pair things together that I wouldn’t normally think to do. It’s good for each participant in the way they find to make it work or inspire them.

    • I knew you had seen the same comment as me, haha. I’m naturally creative too! This is just something I can force myself to do to see what else I can come up with!

  15. if i could ‘like’ this post, i would.
    it’s my first time to join this remix but it’s definitely worth it 🙂 yay for kendi! and yay for everyone participating!

  16. Well put. I think a common misconception, especially in the era of GAAD and six items are less, is that those that are trying to pare down are often seen as thinking of themselves as better for not buying. I don’t think that’s the case, and it isn’t for me, since I’ve been on the GAAD for almost 9 months. It’s a personal choice, and while I did appreciate the encouragement from other bloggers to do the remix again, if I didn’t actually want to, I wouldn’t have. I do it because I think it’s fun. I don’t think I need to have another reason. If people don’t want to read it, they don’t have to (there are a ton of other bloggers NOT doing 30×30 if they want to read those instead).

    Way to speak up! I didn’t even have any idea that there was any negativity re: 30 for 30.

    • I didn’t think there ever WOULD be negativity, then I saw some tweets fly by, and while I do NOT think the people saying them were trying to be mean, I just wanted to clarify their comments, because I’m sure there were others thinking similar things.

  17. Really well written. Thank you for putting into words what I kept stumbling over when I was trying to explain the idea to some friends. 🙂

  18. I can’t even imagine what negative thought can be directed at this 30by30 Remix. I guess it takes all types. I am loving the fact that so many fashion bloggers jumped on Kendi’s bandwagon. Clearly she really hit upon something that got us all thinking, and in an industry where it seems to be all about fast fashion and conspicuous consumption, I think it is a postive thing to see 100’s of bloggers showing how it’s done to live stylishly from their own closet. And kudos to you for doing it twice! And for writing such an excellent post about it. No doubt I’ll be re-reading this next week in Links Ala Mode. Congrats!

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  20. Such a great post. I can totally see the reasons for for the 30 for 30 challenge. I tried to do it earlier in the summer and failed! But I think that next time around, I might just go for it again. I went six months without shopping last year and it was liberating. I stopped trawling the shops/online sites/magazines and started taking note of what was actually in my wardrobe.

    • I really think Kendi figured out a great equation to help others figure out what they actually own. It’s so easy to look in your closet and SEE the clothing, but not see the potential.
      You could always make yourself do it for just a week or something see how that goes.


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  31. The 30×30 is one of the best things fashion bloggers can do for the environment. We have been led to believe that you can somehow save the world by consuming more when in fact reducing is the absolute best way to do that. I’m a philosophy of fashion writer rather than an outfit blogger so I’m not participating but I admire the initiative greatly.

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  34. I don’t know what there is to criticise in the challenge really. I think it’s great, especially with the not shopping bit. My reasons for not doing it are that I live out of a suitcase and only have about 60-80 things anyway, so months at a time are a bit like the Kendi challenge. But if I was at home with all my stuff, I would so be there!

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  40. i think the 30/30 is pretty cool and wish i would have known about it…i would have jumped right in..

    …i did my own challenge back in sept where i only wore 10 items for 30 days and it was pretty tough but it was worth it for me because i left that challenge knowing that (although i found during the course of it that out of all the clothes i own, i chose some pieces that caused me grief), i don’t need a closet chock full of clothes to be able to dress fashionably

  41. “I try to be very thoughtful about what I buy, and sometimes I don’t even donate clothes. If one of my friends like my shirt/shoes/dress and I no longer wear it, it’s theirs. At least they can use it!”

    —> Have you had one of the recycling parties for clothes? …AKA “Naked Lady Party,” which you can read more about here: http://www.getcrafty.com/home_nakedlady.php

    It’s a rad idea for swapping with your friends as an event instead of [my personal experience] cousins or sisters saying, “Oh jeez, I really like that skirt on you, but don’t you think it would look so much better on me?” That’s only one of my cousins – not all of them are so rude 🙂 Anyway, I scheduled a Naked Lady Party last spring and got really really sick the day of and had to postphone and it’s now several months LATER than spring and I still haven’t hosted it. I digress…

    Read it, do it, and post amazing pictures about it 🙂

    Thanks for the blog! I have only recently begun reading fashion blogs and they have made me feel pretty discontent with what I HAVE, which is really effed up and I am analyzing and working through for myself. Anyway, I like your blog. Cheers!

    • That’s a really good idea! I’d have to find friends in the area that wear the same size as me, and sadly, non of my friends are my size! They’re all either bigger or smaller. Boo

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  43. I agree! Your reasoning is great, and I don’t understand what any criticisms would be. I’m doing it, and it is a challenge for me to wear the clothes outside the way I normally would. I love it!

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