Could you wear one dress for 365 days?

clothes swap dress

 

I recently came across an amazing project carried out by Canadian journalist and writer, Elizabeth Withey, called Frock Around the Clock.

For all of last year Elizabeth wore just one dress every day. The simple black dress (which she called Laverne, after its style name) was worn with leggings, tights, jumpers, belts, tops etc for all of 2015. Every few days Elizabeth would carefully hand wash it and leave it to dry. It was dressed up for dinner in restaurants, dressed down for camping trips and even went abroad to Iceland.

Elizabeth wore it because she wanted to spend time doing more important things than worrying about what to wear every day. I really recommend you have a look at her blog – which is very honest. I really admire her decision to reduce her wardrobe to just one thing so that she was no longer being sucked into the cycle of worrying about what to wear, shopping for clothes, washing piles of laundry etc.

However I’m not sure I could do this. Over the past couple of years I have struggled with the Capsule Wardrobe concept, Project 333 and have written here and here about my adventures. At present I am taking a break from the project as I try to figure out what works for me.

I guess what it comes down to is personal style. I like to wear clothes that don’t always go together and, while I am far more strong willed when scouring charity shops, I do like to buy quirky, original pieces. BUT it would be so much easier waking up every morning and knowing what I was going to wear – because I didn’t have the choice (as most of the world, beyond our comfy First World status, has).

Could you wear just one piece of clothing all year?

(Below is a really interesting interview with Elizabeth from My Green Closet’s Verena Erin)

 

 

 

Project 333: Winter/Spring 2015

Project 333: Winter/Spring 2015

Today marks the end of the latest installment of Project 333,whereby I only wear 33 items for three months. This is my second ‘season’ and I am starting to gain more from it.

I started this latest installment of Project 333 on 1st January and so the clothes I chose had to see me through the winter (no snow this year but still cold) and the faint beginnings of Spring. I have cheated a couple of times and worn clothes outside of the 33 allocated to me (for example a summer-ish dress a couple of weeks ago because it was warm at work). However I’ve actually found that I haven’t even worn all of the items I chose for this period.

In total I have 30 items of clothing, shoes and coats (plus three accessories which I barely wore although I didn’t included wool hats, scarves and gloves in this project). The rest of my clothes were stored away for the season.

Since January I have worn:

Four pairs of trousers. The jeans at the bottom of the pile were bought second-hand last month to replace another pair that were falling apart. Note: the blue skinny jeans, teal and black trousers were bought new.

Project 333: trousers for Winter/Spring 2015

Seven jumpers. The bottom two are thick cowl necked jumpers. I then have two thinner polo necks, followed by grey and red wide neck jumpers and topped with a teal coloured v-neck jumper.  I barely wore the wide neck grey jumper so could have managed without that. Also not shown are two cardigans: blue button up and grey wrap-style cardi; and one long cobalt blue jumper. Note: all jumpers and cardigans, except grey wide neck one, are second-hand.

Project 333: jumpers for Winter/Spring 2015

Three shirts. I thought I would wear more of the red pussy bow blouse but the material was just too thin to wear over the winter. Also not shown are two long sleeved t-shirts in white and burgundy (note: the latter is second-hand, as is the white blouse in the picture).

Project 333: shirts for Winter/Spring 2015

Two dresses and two skirts. The second-hand burgundy dress proved to be a real work-horse this season. I wore it a lot teamed with white blouse/black polo neck/red jumper as a pinafore style dress OR with a heavier grey, red or blue jumper over it so that it was worn more as a skirt. My LBD (Little Black Dress) was saved for smarter occasions. or worn as a long tunic over the black trousers. The yellow skirt (bought this season from H&M) was a great pop of colour and I really enjoyed wearing it with black, blue or burgundy tops – and tights. The second-hand grey skirt is warm and one to wear with lots of layers and heavy boots.

Project 333 Winter 2015: skirts and dresses

I also had four pairs of shoes and three coats (not pictured).

I definitely enjoyed taking part in Project 333 this time. I found it easier to choose outfits and felt that I made more pieces work together. My previous fears that Project 333 had restricted my style have been allayed. I think that the use of brighter primary colours has really helped to lift the neutral colours so that I can still add some brightness/quirky touches to my outfits.

My next challenge is to choose a wardrobe to take me through Spring into early Summer – I may need a crystal ball to predict what the English summer has in store for us, though!

 

Project 333 Part Two: the shopping haul

As I mentioned in my previous post I’m trying to follow Project 333 where I pare my wardrobe down to just 33 items for the next three months. So far my list is 37. But having sorted through my wardrobe I realised I needed to buy more clothes if everything was going to match and be inter changeable. So off I went to do some second-hand shopping and came back with these:

Teal coloured jumper and burgundy long sleeve t-shirt

Teal coloured jumper and burgundy long sleeve t-shirt

These tops cost a total of £4 (the t-shirt was even reduce to £1).

I deliberated over this stripy jumper (£3) as, strictly speaking, you shouldn’t have patterns in your capsule wardrobe. However I really liked the cut of it and it does still match all my trousers:

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My final purchase was first-hand from Gap – but still in the sale (£14.99). I’ve been looking for a blue shirt for ages and I love this one:

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So, ironically, this has increased my wardrobe to 41 items. I need to now reduce it by eight items.

Funnily enough since starting Project 333 I have not run out of things to wear and I know there are still items that I haven’t even put on. The weather this month, though, has been unseasonably warm and I have still been turning to my few transitional pieces (dress, short sleeved cardigan, sandals). So there are quite a few items (thick jumpers, winter coats) that I haven’t even touched. As we head towards October I think I will make my final decisions about what to keep and what to put away/re-donate so that I can tuly have just 33 items in my closet.

De cluttering clothes and Project 333

cr103 / stockarch.com / CC BY 3.0

 

Since the kids went back to school  I have been on a big de-clutter session. Over the six week summer holidays we have had three birthdays  and a lot of stuff has ended up in our small house which we do not have room for. So far over the past three weeks  I have donated one bag of books, five bags of clothes and two bag of toys – plus recycled and,ahem, sent a few bags to landfill.

I have been reading a lot about minimalism this past year and although I’m not quite ready to fully embrace the lifestyle there are elements to it that appeal. Namely:
1) I like the environmental aspect: only buy things you really need so you’re not sending unwanted stuff to landfill
2) economically speaking the less you buy the more you save your hard earned pennies
3) space – we are a family of five living in a small cottage with very little room to store things. Minimalism advocates clutter- free spaces (easier to clean and maintain) by only having things you really need and use every day

For some people who follow minimalism they have been able to pare their possessions down to just 100 items. I’m certainly not ready to do but I’ve become intrigued by Project 333.

This is a clothes-based project aimed at simplifying your wardrobe. The idea is that every 3 months (every season) you allocate yourself 33 items to wear. This includes clothing, coats, shoes, hats, scarves, sunglasses, jewellery but not underwear, sleepwear or working out clothes.

One of the aims of Project 333 is to get people to keep only clothes that they love and look and feel good in. Although I can be a second-hand junkie when it comes to clothes shopping I also pick up outfits that I’m not quite happy with it.I have struggled over the past few months to find anything in my wardrobe to wear and, although I do de-clutter I still have a lot of stuff that doesn’t match, or I can only wear one thing with.

So last week, I took a deep breath and turned out my closet. As you can see living in a house with small rooms means we already have limited wardrobe space. The hanging storage for all five of us is this double and single wardrobe.

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I also store folded clothes in this narrow cupboard:

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Plus I have two longer dresses hanging on the back of the bedroom door (not pictured).

Not a great system I know for getting ready in the mornings, which probably fuels my clothing crises.

While I thought I had a fairly small collection, a quick count of all my clothing (not shoes, jewellery and accessories) came to over 70 – pictured here:

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Following the 333 hints and tips I got rid of clothes that were:

– beyond repair

– no longer fitted (I had to be brutally honest about this one)

– or just looked bad on me

I also made a pile of all my summer clothes, while keeping what is called ‘transitional’ clothing (a short dress, thin jacket and two t-shirts) as the weather has become warm again. I also tried very hard to work out what ‘base’ colour would look best on me (ie black, grey, brown, navy) and tried very hard to pick out those items of clothing that would go with these shades. In the end I chose brown, beige and some grey clothing and added green, plum and blue as ‘accent’ colours. The idea is that by paring down your wardrobe to essential items and colours means that everything will match because the colours all work together.

At the end of the day I managed to whittle my clothing down to 37 items, including shoes and fabric scarves but not jewellery (I rarely wear it) or hats or woollen scarves. Ironically when I had laid my new ‘capsule wardrobe’ out I realised there were a few gaps. So I will need to go shopping for a couple of new tops/jumpers. Apparently this is quite common among serious followers of Project 333. They will work out what the gaps are in their wardrobe, buy (second-hand) appropriate clothing and, if after a short while, these items don’t work out then they will re-donate.

So, part two of Project 333 is to go clothes shopping (second-hand, of course!). Watch this space and if you are interested in reducing your own wardrobe I’d really recommend following the Project 333 style stories here; Minimalist Beauty blog for food tips on creating a capsule wardrobe; or the inspirational Bea from Zero Waste Home. I’ve also started a small pinterest board (of course!).