Could you get through 100 days with just 20 items of clothing?
In recent years we have increasingly been sold the idea of novelty, and not just in terms of our sartorial choices. We have somehow developed the need to keep consuming for fear of looking or feeling boring, even if that means we end up with wardrobes full of one-hit wonders, often of poor quality, and surplus to our needs. And, worse still, we might not even like much of what we own – sound familiar?
That is why I decided to set myself a challenge. For 100 days, I wore combinations of just 20 items of clothing that hung from a rail, separated from the rest of my wardrobe. The ‘rules’ of my challenge allow you to add as many accessories, coats and jackets as you like. So, with ten blouses, jumpers and tops, and a further ten jeans, skirts and trousers, my aim was to show it’s possible to create 100 different outfits, or if you like to work in percentages, the equivalent of dressing for approximately 27% of a year.
People have asked me why I decided to do this, and the answer’s simple. Putting aside that House of Colour teach people how to dress well, and help them to create a hard-working, mix and match wardrobe, I am passionate about people making mindful life choices.
By completing this challenge, I wanted to show that we do not need huge amounts of clothes to make us look and feel good. In fact, by giving some thought to our shopping and spending habits, we can experience far-reaching benefits.
I am not saying don’t ever buy anything new – I love buying beautiful things, most people do. What I am saying is we should all try to make informed decisions about products that are produced in ways that do not destroy our environment or exploit the people who produce them. Furthermore, that we select our clothes and dress in a way that make us feel confident and authentic and look wonderful, whilst not spending our cash mindlessly.
As a result of the experiment, what did I learn?
1. Nearly everyone who writes about their experience of owning a capsule wardrobe will tell you it is a whole lot easier getting dressed in the morning – and they are not wrong!
Less scope makes the decision process much simpler and I was lucky that the items I selected worked for me in terms of colour and style, so I was more than halfway there. So, less stress and more brain space – win-win!
2. I put more thought into my accessorises and makeup. It’s fun browsing a selection of jewellery, scarves, belts and buckles to see what might work together. We should get pleasure from it, it shouldn’t be a chore and the result is a more interesting and put together look.
3. I know my clothes better; I appreciate them more and I’ve become more discerning. Some of the items in my curated selection weren’t good enough quality and didn’t make it back into circulation – one even developed a hole after only being worn a handful of times!
4. It was easier to manage and maintain my clothes. This one was surprising as I wore the same number of outfits as I would normally, but somehow completing my laundry seemed much more straightforward. Know that I’d have a maximum of 14 items to wash and iron at the end of every week seemed a much more doable task than normal!
So, what can we do? First, we can all try and think before we buy. Then look after what we have and make the pieces in our wardrobes work hard for us. Knowing what works for you is one of the most important elements, a virtual style class will help you discover what styles suit you best.
Think about how many hours you had to work to pay for that coat that brings you no joy, or that skirt that you bought because you needed something to wear at short notice, but that rides up every time you wear it!
When you’re comfortable in your clothes, when they make you feel like ‘you’, you spend less time thinking or worrying about how you look, so that you can put your energy wherever it’s needed.
House of Colour consultants are here to help you continue to put your best foot forward in these unsettling times. Contact your local consultant to see how their services have been modified to accommodate social distancing measures.
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