April 10, 2023

The 1-Month White Dress Challenge: 10 Things I’ve learned from wearing the same dress every day for a month

How this began:

A couple years ago, I saw a black $10 t-shirt dress in Target and thought it would be an interesting idea to wear it every day for a month. Fast forward to the present year and I wanted to do it again, but with a different color dress. After a bit of searching, I landed on this white cotton tiered dress from Gap Factory and bought it on sale for $20. In order to not over-complicate my life, I bought three of them to rotate through so I didn’t have to worry about constant laundry.

A lot of people wondered why I would challenge myself to do something like this. It was really just a way for me to gain some awareness around my wardrobe habits and challenge myself to mix it up. I knew by trying to vary my outfits every day, I would wear a lot of things I don’t often reach for and it might help me find the things I really love. Intentionally setting limits can be a good exercise to learn things about yourself. Just like people set financial boundaries to learn about their spending habits or dietary restrictions to eat healthier, why not set an artificial boundary on another area of your life to learn more about yourself?

Now that the month has passed, I am satisfied knowing I finished it out and also happy that it’s over.

10 Takeaways from the Month:

  1. Getting dressed every day was much easier. I didn’t usually have a plan for what I was going to wear. Instead, I let the weather and day’s events control the outfit. When I got out of the shower, it was really easy to just throw on the dress right away without knowing what the complete outfit would be. While I brushed my hair and teeth and put on my make-up, I would think about what might work for the day’s activities.

  2. I was much more intentional about wearing a complete outfit every day. As a mom and someone who works at home or in other people’s spaces, it’s easy to just throw on something mismatched or comfy yoga pants BUT it really does feel nice to put on make-up and jewelry every day. I used to do it regularly before kids and it really does make me feel much better all day long to be dressed for anything.

  3. My jewelry acts as a little collection of memories. I never fully realized how many memories are in my jewelry box. I personally do not care for expensive jewelry but I love buying unique inexpensive pieces when we travel. As far as souvenirs go, a pair of earrings or a necklace is a pretty small item to fit in my suitcase. While documenting my daily outfits, I realized most of my jewelry is from my travels and holds fond memories. This added lots of happy moments to each day.

  4. You can style a white dress for almost any occasion. I wore the dress to a funeral, two Taylor Swift concerts, date nights, book clubs, girls night out, lunches, work sessions, a ping pong birthday party…you name it, I wore the dress (even when my kids begged me not to wear it to the concerts!) I never felt out of place or dressed inappropriately.

  5. No one cares what you wear every day. True story. You think people are noticing, but they really aren’t. They are more focused on their own lives than they are worried about what you might be wearing. And truthfully, if someone doesn’t want to hang out with me or thinks less of me for wearing the same dress every day, they probably aren’t people I want to spend time with, anyway.

  6. Wearing a dress with a loose waistband isn’t the ideal thing to encourage good eating habits. It felt like I was wearing my elastic waistband pants to Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t think I had a particularly stellar month of eating but it was all in the name of research and gaining awareness so I guess I’ll just let that go.

  7. I really missed color! Sure, I wore plenty of color along with the white dress but I still felt a little bland. The week after the challenge ended, I wore a floral dress to an event and my husband said, “I missed seeing you in color.” I have to agree. I missed wearing all of my bright floral dresses and things that make me feel….like me.

  8. I don’t think I would do great having to wear a daily uniform. Because this was a self-imposed challenge, I knew I was going to challenge myself to keep it up for the full month to learn about my clothing habits. If I had to wear a uniform everyday with no end in sight, I don’t think I would enjoy it.

  9. I have a few things in my closet I can purge. For example, my overalls from day two. I want to be an overall or jumpsuit person but I can’t get over the annoying part of having to go to the bathroom. My overalls also have holes in the knees which annoy me every time I sit down. Doing this challenge gave me a push to clear some space in my closet for things I would enjoy more, instead of keeping things I aspire to wear.

  10. I identified my favorite items. My MVPs for the month were my silver hammered bracelet, my silver ring and my black scarf. I gravitated towards those three items a lot. I told my husband I was so upset that my fake silver bracelet was getting so beat up from all the use that he went out and found me a beautiful real silver one in the same hammered style for our anniversary. I couldn’t have asked for a more thoughtful gift. This month taught me I will definitely be putting it to good use!

If you want to see an entire month of my White Dress silliness, head over to Instagram @ClearWithPaige and click on the White Dress Challenge Highlight. If you want even more, there’s another highlight full of pics from the Black Dress Challenge from 2021.

What do you think you would learn about yourself if you did a wardrobe challenge? Would you ever do something like this? If you’re wanting to push yourself even further, I recommend reading Project 333: The Minimalist Fashion Challenge That Proves Less Really is So Much More by Courtney Carver. I love Courtney’s simple approach to creating a capsule wardrobe so you have more bandwidth to make decisions about other things you value more. I’m so down with that concept!

Peace.

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