The Wardrobe Challenge 15:30 Project; Style Expert Kelly Lee of

Happy dance.


I’ve never been happier to see something come to an end (if you exclude living in Detroit and South Carolina — ugh, just kidding?, bad relationships and my perm in the sixth grade). This Wardrobe Challenge was tougher than I thought it would be and I’ve learned a few lessons along the way, namely how to look better in photos. Shall I share?

1. I’m not the best planner. I chose three out of 15 items that I never wore. I replaced two of them (note to self:  You are not good at math!), which means I cheated myself out of many a possibility. I realized this on the last day of the Challenge, hence the gingham shirt above.

2. You look taller and thinner if you twirl and arch your back. Try this next time you meet a blind date. Charmed he’ll be, I’m sure.

3. You look taller and thinner if your paparazzo shoots you from below (or above). Thanks hubby paparazzo for literally laying it all (and by all, I mean yourself) on the line (and by line, I mean ground) to make me look better than I do.

4. Cameras lie. For better and for worse. Cameras can be your bestie or you worst enemy. Learning to take pictures in the most flattering light (dusk), with the best settings and filters (soft focus, overexposed), at the best angles does a personal style blogger good.

5. I lie. I really did wear the outfits shown in these photos (obvi, I don’t have a stand-in or anything — I’m no Julia Roberts!). But, I only put these outfits on after being in my pajamas most of the day. That’s what we bloggers do. We tell you what to wear and how to wear it, all the while typing away at our laptops, the glow of the computer illuminating our pasty, Vitamin D-deprived skin. Many thanks to Felicia Sullivan for starting this challenge, so I was motivated to get out of my PJs before 5pm (gotta catch the sunlight before it goes down!). It also forced me to “put on my face” every day and to wear eyeliner. You should see the difference. Maybe I’ll get brave and show you. One day…

6. Madonna’s a genius — striking a pose does wonders. There are many ways to look better in photos and my favorites are putting your weight on your front foot while standing at an angle, crossing your legs and putting your hand on your hip. The worst is standing and facing the camera dead-on, you know, like a normal person. It makes you look wider and shorter (or is that just me?).

7. Plan spontaneity. This challenge is humbling. You quickly learn that a bad angle can make you look 15 pounds heavier, wrinklier, pastier and fuglier than you are (at least you hope).  So the next time you pick up an US Weekly and scoff at Jessica Simpson, think about what you would look like if someone snapped your photo walking into Starbucks for your venti double macchiato. Candid is not your friend. Faux candid is (see twirling above).

8. A good camera is a must. A point-and-shoot is fine, but the images typically come out too flat. We use a Canon EOS Rebel T1i with interchangeable lenses and filters and the difference between that and our point-and-shoot or our iPhones/Droids is night and day.

9. Plan your purchases and embrace basics. I tend to just buy what I love and what loves me back (though the difference between what one sees in a mirror an in a photo can be startling). However, if you want to build a wardrobe, you want pieces that can be worn with things you already have. Like a pair of blue jeans for example (one pair of pink jeans is not enough). A great basic white shirt would be helpful too. And how have I made it through life without owning a pair of black boots or a black bag?).

10. Give yourself a break. When wading through hundreds of pictures of yourself each day (vain and self-centered, I know), it’s easy to loathe yourself and pick yourself apart. Many a meltdown occurred in the beginning of this process, and most of them couldn’t be blamed on a sugar crash (darn). Instead of dwelling and accentuating the negative, illuminate the positive (lighting!)  and don’t mess with mediocre in between.

Again, many thanks to Felicia for initiating this Wardrobe Challenge. I plan to continue sharing outfit photos going forward and really look forward to having access to my entire wardrobe. Sweet freedom, how good it tastes.

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