One dress, one hundred days

I’m not really one to do a funny challenge — life is challenging enough. But somehow this one from wool& inspired me: wear the same lovely merino wool dress every day, I mean EVERY DAY, for 100 consecutive days.

I suppose I’ve been thinking a lot about cutting consumption. I’ve been trying to grow veg and trying to get ever closer to being zero waste. That has taken time and thought and research and work, so I thought maybe it would be nice to save time by never thinking about what to wear. Tons of women have done it, and I liked reading what they wrote, so I’m writing this.

They talked about it contributing to a life change and new ethics of fashion in light of the many injustices and climate change. I rarely buy anything new for these reasons. But I also liked how they talked about it helping them think less about their appearance, worry less about what others thought, enjoy their jewelry and scarves and belts more, save money/buy less and many other cool things. On completion, Wool& promises to send you $100 (or €) towards a new dress that you can also wear day in and day out.

Me in the dress, standing on the peaks above Settle in the Yorkshire Dales

The dress felt lovely and smooth, even with my sensitive skin. It really did adjust to temperature, and I was cool or warm as needed. It totally wicked away moisture and didn’t smell. It did not require washing often and dried really quickly. I never had to iron it. It was great for hiking, and I have walked many many miles in it. It is maybe a little shorter than when I bought it (a longer one would have been nice), but overall looks good as new, which is actually quite amazing. I only had one major spill to be fair, and washed it out right away. But I’ve never had a dress that could do all that, and I loved it.

I learned some things. Like I should have got a black dress. Grey isn’t me so much, nor is this flowy style really and the way it layered for winter, so it felt odd for all that to be me for 100 days. But that itself was kind of cool. Like stepping outside myself a while. I now know I like wearing the same thing much of the time, and no one notices. I think it will make changing it up much more special. Of course, my partner already does all this and considers it nothing at all.

I gave them a try, but I don’t like belts.

It made packing for weekends away SO easy and I needed so much less. That alone was revolutionary. I still spent a little too much time thinking about what to wear over and under the dress and I didn’t feel quite the same degree of liberation some others did. But I felt a little. To be fair, while I really love good clothes, I never cared much what people thought much less about brands since leaving behind the mean girls of high school and junior high. I did really miss some of my clothes that just didn’t work with it. I also missed jeans, and wore them undereath quite a lot.

The photos made me realise I adore the woman who cuts my hair at Rupert Hayes.

It also felt a bit like cheating that I should be in lockdown for so long, that was unexpected. Stupid Covid. But I found I actually liked photographic evidence of my everyday, and started trying to capture the spirit of the day — magic zoom moments providing NEON training, evening chats with Mark, my mum and her cat, my nepew dressed as a squid. The bleak experience of lecturing into the online void. Our rare travels (and that time I was in a Ray Harryhausen scene!), films, the UCU strike, shining days out with friends, baking and the pizza from my favourite place, days sick with colds and that weird eye allergy when I looked like an old lady, finishing at Salford and starting at the Soil Association (though I forgot to take a picture of that, didn’t I) and of course holiday Covid…so much.

I will be nostalgic for this hundred days. I might continue the photo tradition. I keep putting the dress on out of habit for working from home, and I will definitely keep wearing it. Can’t wait for the new one, black, wrap dress with a bit of a plunge.

2 thoughts on “One dress, one hundred days”

    1. Only to people who don’t know you, they’ll just think you just wear the same T-shirt and jeans everyday and reflect o how admirable you are!

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