Same Dress, Different Day.

I am a very passionate person. When I get an idea in my head-especially as I’ve gotten older-I glom onto it and just GO with it. Definitely have that “jump first, think later” attitude.

So when I somehow got back on the idea of wearing one outfit for an entire year, something I’d contemplated back in college while working on my Senior Project on Sustainable Fashion, I forced myself to sit back a little and think about it. Mainly, to explore the question “Why?” (subtext: “…the hell would you ever want to do something so completely crazy as that? Why? Why? Why?”)

Why would I want to get rid of my clothes? Well, one reason was that I was just so tired of standing in front of the mirror judging myself. It seems like every time I try to get dressed for work I end up second-guessing my choices all day. And have you noticed how one shirt can literally make you look 20 lbs heavier than another one? And how it seems like 3/4 of your wardrobe are those fat-making shirts? And your pants are never the right length? And that color is sooo bad on you? And that skirt is a little too short? And you really can’t wear a coat with that outfit because it doesn’t match, but who cares, at least you’ll be cute! And is that a stain on your favorite shirt?! Shit.

Why would I want to go against cultural norms and wear the same thing every day? Wouldn’t people think I was smelly, poor, unfashionable, weird? This was a big sticking point for me. What will people say when I show up to every work event in the same clothes? Luckily for me I work at a very open-minded, Liberal church, so I don’t anticipate any animosity from them. But I can imagine a lot of professions where I would lose all credibility as “some crazy woman” for doing something like this. In the end, my hope here was just that people would look past my weirdness and look at me for me, or possibly even use it as a conversation starter, rather than just judging me by my appearance (which wouldn’t be all that different, would it?).

Won’t I just be using more resources because I’ll have to wash my clothes more often in a less-than-full washing machine? I still haven’t figured this one out. It does seem like I’ll be doing a lot more laundry. BUT I am really looking forward to not having clothes lying around all the time.

So I decided to do it. I still had a lot of questions, but I wasn’t holding myself to something that I didn’t want to do; if it ended up awful, I could quit.

The first step was to find an outfit that was comfortable, multi-seasonal, and appropriate for a variety of scenarios. Like I said, I work at a church (albeit a modern one) so I wanted to be sure I could be modest on a daily basis, while also not feeling like a shlub. Is that a word?

I found this:


And I quite liked it! Unfortunately, it shrunk quite a bit in the dryer… Probably going to have to add a bit to the bottom.

It’s been one week since I bought the dress, and I’ve worn it every day that I’ve been out of the house (I wear jeans around the farm, and sweatpants if I’m working from home). I would like to share with you my initial insights:

  1. I knew it would take less time to get ready, but it really takes less time to get ready. Like 1 minute instead of 20. The husband takes more time than me!
  2. My favorite thing so far: I don’t look in the mirror and judge myself. It’s only been one week, but already I feel like a new woman. I put on this dress, go to the mirror and decide what my hair needs to be doing, throw on the necklace that fits my mood, and go get my coat. There’s no second-guessing, no harsh critique, no feeling like I’m less of a person because of my outer appearance. Maybe this will change; perhaps in 2 months I’ll be sick and tired of the dress and seeing it will make me feel blue, but for now it’s empowering.
  3. So I haven’t come across a green benefit yet, except perhaps that it takes me out of the marketplace, so new items don’t have to be made for my consumption.

I’m hoping I learn a lot from this “social experiment,” not only as it relates to resource consumption, but especially how it relates to us (women and men) culturally as “non-beautifuls,” which I would argue is every single person who hasn’t been airbrushed and pasted on a billboard. And when I say that, I include the pre-airbrushed model, who has her own insecurities around beauty and acceptance.

Or we could all just be nudists. Though I think I would be a hibernating nudist…

I would probably get fired. (My church isn’t THAT modern).


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