I came across this website a while ago and it’s been hanging out in the back of my mind ever since.
From the site:
So, here’s the deal – I made this dress and I wore it every day for a year. I made one small, personal attempt to confront consumerism by refusing to change my dress for 365 days.
From the FAQ:
Did I look crazy? Most people in my professional circle didn’t even notice that I was always wearing the same dress day after day — my take on that is that we’re all too busy with our *own* appearance, family, work, etc. to keep a tally on everyone else’s wardrobe rotations!
I want to do this, or something like it. I want to stop caring about my clothes.
I never wore make-up in the first place, and I hated shaving so much that stopping was easy for me, and I started needing to walk more so giving up high heels felt totally reasonable, but I just can’t let go of my stylish clothes.
Every summer when the weather gets warm, I get rid of all the clothes from the previous summer that I don’t really care for anymore, and go shopping for a new wardrobe. I spend probably $200 to $300 per store, and while I only really go to a handful of stores, it probably totals more than $1000 dollars. And then I do it again when the winter comes.
I called off the make-up, the shaving, and the heels because I knew the patriarchy wanted me to go along with them. I knew that they were designed to hobble me, physically and financially, to distract my energy and thought, to make it harder for me to get stuff done. And I love being able to just wake up, brush my teeth, and get on with my day in the mornings. I love that showers are nothing but relaxing, and that my skin is no longer dry and irritated all the time. I love being able to run when I want to, being able to stand for hours without my feet hurting.
And I bet you that I would adore being able to just get dressed in the morning, to quit it with the half-hour “does this skirt work with these tights?” brain-drain that occupies a surprising amount of my mental power each day. I’d love it if, when I feel a money-pinch, I had those thousands of dollars in cash, or at least in material goods that were worth something. Because lemme tell ya, there is no way to get your money back out of a well-stocked wardrobe; since I’m buying stylish woman-clothes, it all falls apart by the end of the season, and the few bits that survive have lost all their value now that they are used and outdated.
So, I want to make a radical change. Every now and then I fantasize about filling my wardrobe with fourteen identical outfits like in the cartoons (fourteen because I hate laundry), or maybe composing seven ideal outfits, one for each day of the week, so that I can look great without ever having to think about it, or even, when I’m feeling my most radical, just making myself a single brown dress.
I think it would be a hard transition for me. I am very stylish, and very femme, and I’m vaguely proud of the fact that I always look classy in button-downs and pearls, and don’t even own sweatpants. It’s a performance for me (as my gender always is, really), but because I’ve chosen to perform it, it’s important to me that I perform it well. It’s just…well, as Alex Martin says at Little Brown Dress, “let’s stop agreeing that the best way for women (in particular) to “express themselves” is by purchasing new wardrobe items and putting together daily outfits.”
I don’t have to play this game. I can channel this energy and money into performing something else at the top of my ability, and no matter what it is it’s almost guaranteed to be more worthwhile than my pursuit of fashion. I want to find out who that person would be, what I would do with myself; I want to see what I would accomplish.
I just don’t know how to get there yet.