I did a thing. A 30 day dress challenge and here’s what I learned.
A month in the same dress
If you’ve seen me over the past month, you saw me wearing a comfy little green dress. That’s right, for the past 30 days, I have worn the same dress. Yet, it’s also quite possible that you wouldn’t have even noticed the dress or the color or that I had been wearing for days.
My ‘why’ for the challenge
Over the past few years, I’ve been trying to migrate my wardrobe back to a simplified ‘everything works together’ collection. There was a time, almost 20 years ago, that I basically had the need to rebuild a wardrobe from ground zero. We had just moved back to the states after spending three years overseas living in a hot dusty climate which had taken its toll on my wardrobe. Everything white had turned grey, colors were all faded and basically everything needed to be replaced because I was starting a new job.
I began with a simple ankle length black t-shirt dress. It paired great with sandals, loafers or even boots. I could layer it with a sweater, jacket or wrap. To that, I added a pair of black pants and a few tops and sweaters. Then I purchased a couple of jumpers in neutral colors and a great pair of jeans. Getting dressed for work that year was just plain easy and stress-free. I didn’t struggle to find things that worked together and I also didn’t have to dig through a pile of far too many hanging items crammed into a closet. At the time, we had a walk-in closet that looked more like a boutique because everything had space to breathe and be seen. I loved it. There’s just something soothing about a space like that.
Over time and after many more moves, I am ready to get back to that place. For a while now, I’ve been paring down my wardrobe. I’ve been looking for well made items that can be the base of that same Garanimals type wardrobe I had.
Side note: Heehee. I just had to stop and look up Garanimals (to see if anyone would understand). Well, what do you know? Garanimals are still around. Who knew?
What’s a 30 Day Challenge?
Enter Wool& and the 100 Day Dress Challenge. I had read a few people’s stories about their experience and the quality of Wool& clothing. If you are not familiar with the company, they produce a quality line of merino wool blend clothing. You can check them out here. The company is only a few years old. When they were getting started and working on their branding, they offered up a challenge to a group of women. Their missions was to wear one of their dresses for 100 days. It could be styled with other items, but had to be worn and a photo taken to record it. After the 100 day challenge was completed, the participants were given $100 toward the purchase of another Wool& item.
It was a huge success. Thousands of others have joined in the challenge over the past couple of years. Recently some smaller challenges have been offered, including a 30 day challenge. This is what I chose to tackle. I picked a spruce green Camellia (a knee length, sleeveless dress with pockets). How much more comfy could one get?
How I prepared for my challenge
While waiting for it to arrive, I spent some time reading about other women’s experiences with the challenge and also found the Wool& 100 Day Dress Challenge Facebook group. I found lots of ideas for styling, learned a lot about how the dresses fit and also found a ton of great people. Seriously, if you are looking for a great group of encouraging and friendly people, you need to check out this group who refer to themselves as ‘woolies’.
The dress color I chose was a new one, so I was expecting it to be shipped mid-July. To my surprise, it arrived on July 12th. I was excited but a little anxious to try on the dress. I’ve never had great luck ordering clothes online and this was a bit of an investment. So I wanted it to fit and feel great. I was afraid I would be disappointed.
I stared at the package for about 24 hours and finally had a moment alone. The packaging felt so small. How was this dress that fit in that tiny bag possibly going to fit me?
But it did!
The fabric felt great. I was not sure what to expect, but the texture was strong and soft. It was not itchy. I had ordered a long because I didn’t want it to be too short. However, I felt like it was a little too long. It fit great around the arms. The pockets hung at great place and it was so comfy. I did eventually wash and dry the dress in the dryer to help shrink up some of that extra length. It’s still a little long, but better long than too short in my book.
I discovered that I had several accessories, some cardigans and wraps that would work with the little green dress. So, I snapped a couple of pics that morning and started the challenge right away.
1 – The spotlight effect is real
One of the lessons learned and shared by others was that of the spotlight effect. This is the idea that we believe we are being noticed by others far more than is actually true. It turns out, people just don’t really care or pay attention to what we are wearing. So, thinking that others will notice we are wearing the same outfit day after day is just not true.
I decided to test this idea. So, I chose not to post my daily selfies on any social media until after completing the challenge. I only told my husband and later my son. Neither of them thought or said anything negative and NO ONE else noticed or said a word. HA!
2 – Wool clothing doesn’t need to be washed everyday
Many ‘woolies’ talk about not needing to wash their wool dresses very often. I, however, did not feel the need to test this. Because I live in hot, humid Alabama and this challenge was from mid-July to mid-August, I made a habit of washing the dress about every three to five days.
3 – Routines are nice
Living on a small farm, I normally dirty a lot of clothes, especially in the summer months. We raise animals and my mornings are filled with sweat, mud and animal poop. I definitely didn’t want to wear my dress for those occasions. So most weekdays I wore work clothes for my outside work and would come in around noon to shower and get dressed in my little green dress for the afternoon. It was nice knowing what I was going to put on each day after my shower and to be excited about it. I knew that little green dress felt great and it looked good. Prior to this challenge, I didn’t really have a set routine and I definitely didn’t have a ‘work wardrobe’. This experience has helped me settle on both routine and ‘uniform’.
4 – Styling doesn’t have to be complicated
As I mentioned, the weather has been hot and humid, so the cool flowy style of my sleeveless Camellia has been incredible. I was always comfortable and the length of the dress still felt very modest. Most days I was team basic, meaning I wore the dress simply as is and no accessories or extra layers. But there were still days that I would wear a cardigan (especially while shopping at a grocery store– WHY are grocery stores always so cold?!?) or a sweatshirt tied around my waist for just in case. I wore the dress with sandals, slip on sneakers, Crocs and even my farm boots. Everything works with it.
5 – I can do this!
So, here I am now with 30 days under my belt and feeling confident that I can do 100 days in the next challenge. My biggest struggle now is choosing the dress and the color. My tendency is to go black, but I am considering stretching myself and trying vintage blue.