style me spring challenge

I mentioned yesterday that I’m doing a spring style challenge. We all know I love anything that has the word challenge in it and since I’ve been trying to improve my fashion I signed up immediately when I heard about it. I have three goals for this challenge, because really people, what is worth doing without goals? (Answer: nothing.)

1. Stop wearing gray (and other dark colors) all the time.

I might have a small addiction to darker colors, especially gray. A co-worker asked me the other day if I preferred to not wear colorful clothing. Hmm. Spring fashion is definitely something I need help with. I decided to cut myself off cold turkey; below are all the dark colored clothes I pulled out of my closet. I took the photo from above so you can’t see that the stacks are fairly high. It’s at least 75% of what was in my closet, and 100% of my go-to items. These clothes are now in a bin in the garage, not to be brought out until the fall.


The next day I had to put something on for work so I pulled out some of my new clothes for the challenge. The number of compliments I got at work was nice but somewhat concerning. How frumpy and dark do I usually look?


2. Start to blend my casual and work wardrobes.

Forever I’ve thought of my wardrobe as really being two, work and play, which means I probably buy more than I need. With my current client (and plans to work for myself in the future), I think it’s time to start blending the wardrobes and the outfit inspiration will help. Alison will be giving us casual outfits every day and I’ll need to tweak them a bit to make them a little more work friendly. My goal is that the same pool of clothing can be used to make work and casual outfits.

3. Wear all my clothes. 

I tend to buy things I really like without thinking of how they fit with everything else I have. I end up with items that only go with one pair of pants or shoes. This kind of goes along with my second goal, but I want to not have many items in my closet that can’t be paired with several others to make outfits. Of course there will always be special occasion clothes and a piece or two that I just love, but in general I’m going for own less, wear more.

The Shopping List

(Note: I’m not actually posting the shopping list. Alison made this challenge affordable at just $10 and the actual list or outfits themselves aren’t to be copied.)

A few things to keep in mind:

  • There were 18 items on the list but you will see more than 18 below.
  • I had multiples of a few items already, and a few suggested items I bought more than one option for. Spring is a pretty long season in Seattle, I’m not expecting summer weather until July and even then it’s mild and I expect most of these items to transition.
  • As previously noted, I have no clothes in fun colors so I bought a little more than was “required”.
  • I had to buy a few items not on the list that will allow me to make all the outfits more work appropriate.
  • I bought a few extra accessories because that’s not my strong suit at all but I think it helps tie things together. We shall see if I get better at them.
  • Not going to lie, I got totally giddy over the smaller pants size I am wearing now and bought more than I need.
  • There are several ladies in the challenge who gave up shopping for Lent or are on tight budgets and are doing this only from their closet. You can buy as much or as little as you want and make this work.

Here’s what I shopped for in my own closet. You’ll notice I didn’t have a single non-neutral item and had a whopping five pairs of neutral shoes (I have others too that I didn’t include). IMG_4641_edited-1

Quite a few of these items are at least a year old, if not older, so I can’t link back to them.

Gap: black & white t-shirt
Nordstrom: gold sperry top-siders, leopard flats, wedges, jolt skinny jeans, vigoss boyfriend jeans, gray sweater, light chambray shirt
Target: silver & yellow sandals
Old Navy: military jacket
Forever 21: high low black & white shirt
Unknown: nude flats (steve madden)

And here’s what I ended up buying. I have a few more items in transit and will post them in next week’s wrap-up, assuming they aren’t all returns. I only bought two of the exact items off the shopping list, what I loved about the list is that it is all open to 1) what you already have and 2) what you feel good about, as long as you follow a few guidelines. Now I won’t be straight copying outfits, but instead using them to learn how to put together a polished look (that’s the hope at least).


GAP: blue and white striped shirt, lime cardigan, gray pants, coral pants, orange striped tee
Nordstrom: military jacket, mint tank, scarf
Macy’s: jean jacket
Ann Taylor Loft: white jeans
Target: mint belt, leopard belt, scarf
Everlane: white t-shirt
Stella & Dot: kimberly necklace

And on to the challenge!


pink necklace (old); other pieces linked above

Lessons learned from the first day include 1) white pants are fun, 2) if you are short, don’t fear the petite, they actually fit, 3) if your years old statement necklace breaks, hold it together with a bobby pin, 4) military jacket is the new gray cardigan, 5) no, nothing will ever replace the amazingness of the gray cardigan, 5) lipstick is not scary, and 6) smiling really helps an outfit selfie.



green necklace (old); gray cardigan (old/banana republic); navy sleeveless blouse (StitchFix); other pieces linked above

I found that 1) wearing new clothes before the challenge means you already wore the outfit called for, 2) when you have to scramble you take steps outside your comfort zone, 3) maybe you should notice when you buy shoes in your exact skin shade and pick a different pair instead, 4) leopard print belts from Target go with everything, and 5) when you speak ill of the gray cardigan you must redeem yourself by wearing one the next day.

So, how did I do? I feel really great to be honest. Much more put together and certainly more springlike. I’m already thinking of future outfits I want to try, plus I have 19 more days of Alison’s to look forward to.

There are a handful of ladies also blogging about their outfits, from office dwellers like me to teachers to SAHMs. I’ve been seeing everyone’s creations on our private Facebook page (there are over 400 of us!) and the outfit ideas from a handful of clothing items are enormous –  check out a few of them with the links below.

Spring Me Challenge-2

Deena @ Shoes to Shiraz
Jordan @ Just Jordan
Shaunacey @ Confessions of a Frumpy Mummy
Katie @ The Mishaps and Mayhem of Solitary Life
Vanessa @ X-tremely V
Anne-Michelle @ May We Be Allergy Free
Teresa @ Two Babies and Me
Sarah @ Foxy’s Domestic Side
Carrie @ A Lovely Little Wardrobe
Carly @ Faith Family and Frugality

That ends my random foray into fashion blogging until next Wednesday, when I’ll share days 3 – 9.

23 thoughts on “style me spring challenge

  1. Shaunacey

    Seriously, you look AMAZING in color!!!! I LOVE the outfits you’ve put together! I’m fair-skinned too and that yellow/green scares me but it looks amazing on you! Well done!

  2. Jordan

    I hear you on the shoes matching your skin tone! Ha. I have to be careful of that! I am definitely a shade of pastey. I absolutely love ALL of your outfits. You look fantastic.

  3. Sarah C

    You and I are the same, my closet is full of grey and black items, although there is a lot of pink, I like pink. So adding other colors will be fun. So glad that we can go through this together!

  4. ampfrances

    The color brightens you up so much! I was looking through some of your other pictures, and it even looks like YOU are happier with the new changes — lots of smiles in the bright colors! Love the skinny belt and the bright pants.

  5. Carrie

    Great outfits! I absolutely love the necklace & belt from day 2. {gorgeous}You really pay attention to details. Love all the pictures of your pieces for this post.

  6. Lana

    Hi Beth – I thought I should get over here and check out your blog since you all are being so nice to let me join the link up for the Get Your Style On challenge. I love the clothes you bought! I’m also from Seattle, and i have way to many neutral colors in my wardrobe. I’m looking forward to seeing what you wear as we go along 🙂

    1. Beth Martin Post author

      Welcome! The more the merrier, and definitely fun to have another Seattle blogger joining. I don’t think we’re going to need the wedges or sandals for a while. 🙂

  7. Pingback: style me spring challenge {days 3 – 9} | fastlife, slowlife

  8. Pingback: style me spring challenge {days 10 – 16} | fastlife, slowlife

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