It seems that the fuller the wardrobe, the less we have to wear. Somewhere in between all those fabulous skirts, eye-catching cardigans and must-have dresses, there are plenty of pretty outfits hiding, waiting to be worn. The trick is how to find them.
For this Clothing Challenge, I have put everything that I haven’t worn for the past half year in a big pile, which will be my wardrobe for the following month. Daily, some of these items get a chance to prove their worth – those that haven’t been worn by the end of the month, go straight to Small-scale Samaritan, where they might find a new owner. To prove that I’m sticking to the challenge and to have a nice archive of all the possibilities of these lesser loved items, I’ve posted little drawings of my daily outfits on Twitter and below, with some of my findings.
WEEK 1: SATURDAY 7 JANUARY – FRIDAY 13 JANUARY
As a freelancer, my office is only a few steps away from my bed, so why in the world would I get out of these cosy pyjamas? Because I need to post an illustration, I am now forced to get dressed, and to make an effort. Turns out that when you’ve spent an hour picking your outfit, it’s a waste to just sit on the couch. Hence, I’ve found I’ve gone out much more this week, whether it’s for a stroll in the park, a quick coffee around the corner, or just to post some letters. I even got a couple of approving nods, smiles and compliments.
This week, I’ve rediscovered an old cashmere men’s jumper that shrunk the first time I washed it, which worked great with a maxi skirt – an idea I obviously stole from this fall’s catwalks. I found out that the leather mini skirt that I once searched high and low for but never wore, actually works really well with wide jumpers, and that sewing an old fur stole onto an even older cardigan gives both a fabulous new lease of life.
Unfortunately, I also found out that the strappy wedges I lusted after for so long really are too high for me (I only managed to walk to the post office and had to get the bus back) and that a beautiful black satin skirt with bow simply doesn’t suit my derriere.
WEEK 2: SATURDAY 14 JANUARY – FRIDAY 20 JANUARY
This is the week I discovered how much grey I own. For a colour that doesn’t do anything for me (nor for most other people, really), I seem to love it an awful lot. So, I went on a mission to combine grey with colours this week – a lot harder than it looks. I also decided to throw out any grey that didn’t offer another quality besides being grey, and left not much else besides a leopard print skirt, a draped jacket, a floral silk top, and a pattern-knit cardigan. I should really stick a note in my wallet that says “If it’s grey, don’t buy it.”
In happier news, I rediscovered my box of jewellery. Before you think I should raise my home insurance, I have to admit I have a penchant for buying crappy quality trinkets, none of which are over a tenner. However, they’re all quirky enough to bring some personality to otherwise bland outfits. A bunch of random necklaces provided a rock-chic edge, and a tiny sheep brooch turned a librarian look into something playful.
As said before, the key is to be able to see the clothes you can actually wear. This week, I’ve put away summer shorts, skirts and dresses, and given tees and leggings that I only wear to the gym a designated drawer. Opening my wardrobe in the knowledge that I can put on everything in there and just walk out the door, makes finding something to wear a lot easier. I know it sounds pathetic, but try it for yourself.
WEEK 3: SATURDAY 21 JANUARY – FRIDAY 27 JANUARY
This is the week that I embraced coloured tights to upgrade garments I thought were boring, and unfortunately, also the week I cheated by wearing my new blue silk top for a party. In my defence, I did at least combine it with some jewellery I hadn’t worn for ages. Following last week’s separation of my gym clothes and summer wardrobe, I sorted out all my tights and belts this week. They’re life savers on uninspired dress days when you give in to the lure of the little black dress: at least with a pair of bold tights, a matching or clashing belt and scarf, nobody will notice you barely got out of your pyjamas.
I’m also happy to say that the pile of unworn clothes that I started out with has almost halved, but trying out numerous combinations every day has turned my bedroom into a war zone. I find it hard to resist my pyjamas or current favourites that have been banned from my wardrobe this month. I’m pretty sure that if it weren’t for the fact that I have to post an illustration on Twitter everyday, I’d already caved in. One more week to go!
WEEK 4: SATURDAY 28 JANUARY – FRIDAY 4 FEBRUARY
This is the week it got so incredibly cold I almost had to stop this challenge for fear of hypothermia. Most of the outfits pictured above only occurred for about 5 minutes, quickly covered with my mum’s warmer-than-warm Nordic cardigan – the only thing that prevented me from lighting a fire in the living room. Please note that all tights are double-layered and that I’m actually wearing trousers underneath the maxi skirts. Cold kills fashion.
This is also the week I discovered that one of my most treasured garments, a lush green angora cardigan, actually makes me look like a quarterback – probably the reason why I generally touch it, sigh, and then not wear it. With pain in my heart, I have also bade farewell to a beautiful silk floral maxi skirt. I bought it when it was still a dress just before I moved to London, thinking that would be the perfect place for eveningwear to be an acceptable casual look. Nah. Hoping to make it work, I cut of the top half and was left with a still beautiful skirt, but even this month of pressure couldn’t really make it perform the way it was meant to. It’s now off to Small-scale Samaritan.
This being the last week and having thrown away so much, paradoxically, I also felt like I deserved a bit of a treat. Fortunately, I walked into a seven quid top saying ‘Today’s Outfit’. It goes against everything I’ve tried to teach myself during this challenge, but there you go. I might just frame it and get away with it.