Minimalism

What I Learned Wearing the Same Dress for 100 Days – Minimalist Challenge

A few short months ago, I wrote about what I had learned by wearing the same thing for thirty days. At the time, thirty days seemed like a lot. Committing to a full one hundred days of wearing the same dress? Crazy! But I did it, and I’m so glad that I wore the same dress for 100 days. Wearing the same dress for a hundred days in a row was like hitting the reset button in my wardrobe and for my goals in striving for a simpler, more joy-filled life.

This dress gave me the confidence to find my style. And more importantly, the dress helped me understand why I am so drawn to simple, minimalist living.

Want to see all 100 days? Head over to my Instagram and stay a while!

The 100 Day Dress Challenge from Wool&

I would have never attempted to wear the same thing for a hundred days if it were not for Wool&. They prompted a challenge that you can wear the same dress for one hundred days in a row and the dress will stand up to the test. Not only would it stand up to the test, but it would encourage you to make more intentional decisions in your wardrobe.

This challenge created an online community of women who have taken (or are taking) the plunge and wearing the same dress from Wool& for one hundred days. Now, over 1000 women have completed it! I am so proud to say that I am one of them.

Wool&’s mission statement is “Live simply. Consume carefully. Do good.” The simplicity in which these dresses are made is all outlined on their website. That alone makes them one of the most transparent companies I’ve ever shopped with.

Throughout the challenge I was amazed to find like-minded women who are reaching for the same goal – simplicity. So many women wanted to simplify their lives and get off the hamster wheel of consumption. In the Facebook group, I see women from all over the world striving for more than just living life as it happens. This, I swear, is the most genuinely positive place on the internet. Not once have I seen a little-too-sassy comment or someone judging another woman. We lift each other up, provide genuine insight, and have formed this little online community of people who just really love wool dresses.

From all of the photos we uploaded over our 100 days of wearing the same dress, I realized that I’m one in a group of women who form Team Boring. Yes, me – Boring! Just kidding – it wasn’t a surprise at all! I was very happy to slip the dress on everyday and get on with it. Others liked to heavily layer and accessorize to a point you couldn’t even tell they were wearing a dress! But either way, that wasn’t the point of the challenge – the challenge was to wear something so well made that it would stay with you for 100 days… and then keep going.

Why wear the same thing for 100 days?

So why would I decide to wear the same thing for 100 days?

Do I like a good challenge? Am I a little stubborn when it comes to what I wear? Will I do anything for a coupon? (They gave each person completing the challenge a $100 store gift card)

The answer to all of those questions was yes!

I had completed various capsule wardrobe challenges before, but none as intense as this. Wearing the same thing for 100 days flew by quite quickly. And after a few weeks, it was second nature to pull the dress out of my closet and start my day.

That was the most alluring part of the challenge – the elimination of decision fatigue. No longer would I look into my closet to determine what was comfortable because that decision was already made for me.

This 100 day dress challenge also made me want to declutter even more! With the absence of figuring out what to wear everyday, I was able to see the items around me a little more clearly. Was I using everything? Did these items serve us still? So at the beginning of April we held a garage sale and made a good chunk of change!

Wearing the same thing eliminates decision fatigue

The first area of my home that I decluttered was my closet. I eliminated over half of my wardrobe in 2017 and haven’t looked back. My wardrobe was my pain point. But with the less that I owned, the less brain power it took to get dressed in the morning.

Since wearing the same dress for 100 days, I have developed a uniform. While wearing the same exact dress everyday was a uniform on its own, I’ve now included the rest of my wardrobe. The challenge made me hit the reset button on how I dress and what I liked to wear. My uniform consists of:

  1. Base layer: dress (leggings/tights optional) or jeans/shirt
  2. Top layer: cardigan or scarf
  3. Accessory
  4. Shoes

Now that I have gone back to work full-time, the ease in which I get dressed is amazing. I no longer wonder if I’m presentable or if something fits right. Everything can be mixed and matched. Even my basics can be worn to work and dressed up with my basic blazer.

Getting ready for the day at record speed is something I immensely enjoy. Why? Because for right now, it’s the simplest part of my day and I’ve worked very hard to make it this way.

The elimination of this decision of “what should I wear?” and also, “how should I do my hair/makeup?” allows more brain space to be focused on things like – listening to podcasts, reading, writing, playing with our son, having conversations with my husband, and the like. I’m not saying that uniform creation allowed time for all of that, but it certainly helped.

I live in this blazer at work – it instantly makes anything look professional … at least a little bit 🙂

Wearing the same dress for 100 days also eliminates a lot of laundry

The most perfect thing about this dress I wore for 100 days is that it is made from merino wool. The amazing temperature regulating and odor resistant properties combined with a few sweat-absorbing undershirts, allowed me to very infrequently wash it.

I washed the dress on the delicate cycle once a week. Hang drying the dress was essential – wool shrinks!

Once the realization hit me of just how long I could go in between washes, I began to experiment with other clothes. Here’s how frequently I wash my clothing:

  • Wool dress and other more delicate garments – 7 wears
  • T-shirts and other tops – 3-4 wears
  • Leggings – 3-4 years
  • Jeans – 5-7 wears
  • Sweaters and cardigans – 5-7 wears
  • Outerwear – twice a season unless notably dirty

Other items like workout clothing, bike shorts, and bras depend on how much I sweat in them. Undergarments are washed after every wear.

Just because you wear something, doesn’t make it instantly dirty! The more we wash and dry our clothing, the more wear and tear they’ll endure. Washing less makes our clothes last a whole lot longer.

I’m proud to be an outfit repeater

The very idea of wearing the same thing makes 20 year old Amanda shudder in fear of being judged. Wear the same thing for 100 days??! Never!

Oh, 20 year old me, you have so much to learn…

Ten years ago I would have rather gone out to Target to buy a new outfit on Friday than wear the same thing I did on Wednesday (even if it was clean). I was so self-conscious of what other people thought about me that I tried to look interesting by wearing new outfits all the time.

And you know what? No one gives a flying flip what you’re wearing as long as you’re decent. The rule of “every outfit has to be different and interesting” is 100% fake. YOU make the rules that you live your life by.

Cloth your body how you want. If that means wearing literally the same thing everyday, then do it! No one is stopping you except yourself.

Most of the outfits created with the Wool& dress over the 100 days are much of the same. The dress with leggings was my number one. A close second was adding a cardigan or my favorite scarf. Tying it in a knot to make a shirt was also fun. My goal wasn’t to make my outfits super interesting. For me, this was about simplifying my life even more.

I figured out what colors look best on me

I’ll admit, I do not quite fully understand the whole personal color analysis. BUT I do know that if you hold solid color garments up to your face in natural light, you can tell if that color is right for you. Some will make you look washed out, or yellow, or too red in the face. It’s color analysis for the body. And because I’m not an expert, here’s some more details.

Personally, I’m a cool tone. As a cool tone, I look my best wearing grays, deep reds and purples, navy, and lighter colors like sky blue and sage.

As soon as I confirmed my suspicions of why I loved gray, navy, and maroon so much, I decluttered my wardrobe again.

I now have sixty total items of clothing for all seasons. No, I don’t normally keep count. However, I found that this was a common question during my 100 day challenge. “But how full is your closet?” I got asked at least ten times. The answer? Not very full at all.

In fact, I love having that breathing room around my clothes. I love organizing them by garment type and then color. If you take a peek in my closet these days, it appears pretty boring – a sea of gray, navy, and maroon. (And, you guessed it – I love it!)

Over 100 days I tracked what I wore

Over the 100 day dress challenge, I tracked what I wore everyday. Yes, I wore the same dress for 100 days – that part is easy. But the items I added in and what I wore after I took the dress off in the evening were what I was most interested in.

I could write a whole other post on this… which I just might…. But to sum it up, I wore my favorites only. I was a little surprised at first! Honestly though, I’m a creature of habit, of comfort. So reaching for these tried-and-true items in my wardrobe seemed obvious.

Over 100 days, here are the items I wore:

  1. Rowena Swing Dress
  2. Black leggings
  3. Jeans
  4. Black sweater
  5. Cashmere cardigan
  6. Long stripe cardigan
  7. Black cardigan
  8. Blue over-sized sweater
  9. Blue Pact dress
  10. Flannel shirt
  11. Gray and white stripe shirt
  12. Black tunic top
  13. Blue, gray, and purple scarves
  14. Running shoes
  15. Gray flats
  16. Blue flats
  17. Blundstones
  18. White sneakers
  19. Oversized black cardigan
  20. Blue floral skirt

I did the challenge while it was still very cold outside, so this list includes the majority of my winter favorites. But only wearing 20 items including shoes and accessories over 100 days? I was pretty darn impressed with myself!

If I were to wear the same dress for 100 days during the summer, there would be a lot fewer items on this list. Having layers for winter is important where we live. That’s because sometimes it’s 70 degrees in February. Other times, it’s negative 20. You just never know what you’ll get year to year.

I hit the reset button on my shopping habits

Wearing the same dress for 100 days was a challenge on its own. As another layer, I threw in the challenge of buying nothing new during the same stretch of time. I almost succeeded…. I purchased two new dresses to wear while on vacation and a pair of Blundstone boots (secondhand).

Even with purchasing just a few items, I very intentionally purchased them. It wasn’t just “whatever works” and I didn’t over-buy. Even since my challenge ended, I’ve purchased a very limited amount of clothing. Going back into an actual office environment “required” a single new cardigan (thrifted) as I’m perpetually cold.

With limiting my shopping, I also found what triggers me to buy… literally any emotion. Happy, sad, stressed, anxious… “I’ll shop and feel better!” Shopping is just there to distract me from actual feeling my emotions.

So instead of running to the store to purchase something new, I made do with what I had and sat in that emotion. Working through an emotion sometimes looks like – Drinking another iced coffee, reading a book or article, doing an at-home spin class, intentionally spending time with our son, looking through a photo album, decluttering and organizing, crying because I’ve held in grief for too long… These are all things that I did instead of shop. And man, my mental health is SO MUCH BETTER.

Narrowing in on ethical, sustainable options

My Wool& Rowena swing dress was really the first sustainably made article of clothing I’ve ever owned. The world of ethical and sustainable living is a recently discovered one for me. And the 100 day dress challenge opened my eyes to it even more.

Whilst looking at more eco-friendly versions of things is fun, using what you already have and making do is the most sustainable and eco-friendly option out there. You’ve already bought it, your money’s gone. The product has already been created, those resources are gone. So use what you already have to it’s fullest!

How I now shop

When looking to make a more sustainable wardrobe, the first thing for me is to wear what I already own.

The second way my wardrobe is working towards being more sustainable is through thrifting. Buying secondhand clothing gives me the option to buy quality brands at a fraction of the original price. Like the sweater I’m currently wearing. It retails for $89, but I scored it for $5.99! For more on how to look for quality clothing, see my article here.

The last option (for me, personally) is to buy from a sustainable, ethical company. Wool& is transparent about where their wool comes from and where the dresses are sewn together. Not all companies disclose this information (most of the time because it’s not so savory!).

I’m clearly no expert when it comes to finding and researching sustainable, ethical companies… or how to even really get started or how to spot when a company is green-washing. I highly recommend combing through the brilliant resources April at The Ethical Edit has on her blog. Her Instagram is delightfully witty and jam packed with the knowledge you need to know.

Where to go from here…

I am not one of the women who will keep wearing this dress everyday even after the challenge ends! I think it’s great that some do, but for me, it’s hot and muggy now where I live. Long sleeves just won’t do! But the dress will keep a very special place in my wardrobe.

I intend on not adding much to my wardrobe for the rest of the year. My “reward dress” for completing the challenge will arrive in August. It’s a short sleeved beauty called Maggie and I’m obsessed! Other additions to my wardrobe will likely be a sleeveless dress called Sierra, also by Wool&, and perhaps a pair of their wonderful leggings and bike shorts. Yes, I do intend to only shop from Wool& for the remainder of the year! If something else needs to be replaced, like jeans, I’ll shop secondhand for them. (Apparently, my beloved skinny jeans will be flooding thrift stores this summer because they’re like so 2008. And I’m here for it!)

Even though I have all my clothing purchases planned out, I need to purchase them in a sustainable way. I don’t want to over-consume a good thing! Because purchasing more than you need, even if it is sustainably and ethically made, isn’t actually sustainable. So maybe it will even be next year before I truly need any of the items I mentioned.

And I’ll keep on loving what I have!

If wearing the same dress for 100 days taught me anything, it’s that I do actually love a lot of my wardrobe! I just didn’t know it. I was looking right past the things I like because I thought I had to look a certain way as a stay-at-home-mom or certain items showed too much of my “mom-bod”.

I’ve realized through this challenge that the only person who actually cares about how I look on a day-to-day basis is myself. I’m giving myself permission to wear whatever I want because I like it! NOT because some hypothetical girl named Sally from three doors down may think this looks horrible on me. This hypothetical person doesn’t even notice any of my self-perceived imperfections (and most real-life people don’t either).

My wardrobe is full and I’m going to wear it all!

Would you do it?

I challenge you to partake in a challenge similar to wearing the same dress for 100 days! Maybe you wear the same shirt for 30 days, or the same jeans. Maybe you have a lovely dress that you could wear everyday but don’t… bust it out and start wearing it! Whatever it is, I’m sure you’ll find that you learn things similar to what I learned – quality clothing matters, a simplified wardrobe and uniform creation eliminates decision fatigue, and that you don’t need to go shopping for the next best thing – you already own it!

How I wore the same thing for 100 days 
#100daydresschallenge #minimalistwardrobe

3 Comments

  • NATALIE K

    It’s very interesting to me that you ould find putting together an ensemble every day difficult. I find it creative and a ay to express myself. I ould be very sad if this outlet as taken aay from me. I dress for myself and my husband. You have great ideas here but this is just one that I can’t relate too!! Thank you for the insight you’ve given me ho other omen may feel!!

    • Amanda

      Everyone is creative in different ways! I found that I used to be very interested in fashion. Then once I had a baby, my priorities AND my body changed and it became more difficult to get dressed everyday. That was around the same time I found minimalism and started to enjoy dressing more simply.
      I’m so glad you find joy in getting dressed and expressing yourself that way!

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