For the last 12 weeks, I’ve put on the same outfit whenever I’ve needed to go out for the night.
I did not leave my house for a single evening social activity in anything other than my beloved Claudie Pierlot blazer (navy with a black leather trim, an investment piece from that one time I tried to care about fashion), a navy Zara jumper, light blue jeans and knee-high boots.
The only thing I changed was my socks, mostly alternating between my M&S daschund print pair and the John Lewis ones with penguins all over them.
When it was particularly cold outside, obviously I’d sling on an enormous overcoat because I’m Australian by birth and need thorough insulation to survive a British winter. I’d wind my grandmother’s old tartan scarf around my neck, shove my frozen fingers into navy gloves I bought at a Christmas market in Prague and I was set.
I went to birthday parties, dinners, book launches, industry events and date nights in exactly the same thing for a full three months and it was nothing short of fantastic.
I don’t always find socialising easy. I’m an introvert who works from home with her dog, so I often find venturing out to spend time with other people daunting. I get pangs of social anxiety in the lead-up to almost any event and like just about any woman I know, almost always fret about what to wear.
‘I’ve nothing to wear!’ I’ll bellow, standing in front of a perfectly fine wardrobe of acceptable clothes. I dread nothing more than the act of dressing myself in nice clothes to attend something fancy and usually end up having a tantrum in my bedroom, surrounded by discarded dresses.
It started out of laziness: I would just put on the same outfit whenever I went out
I have struggled with body image issues for as long as I can remember and will notoriously declare I look hideous in every available item of clothing, rendering me almost unable to leave the house. Getting dressed can be a real challenge. I also do not have any sort of natural elegance or sense of style.
The decision to have a social uniform was, therefore, inspired. It started out of laziness: I would just put on the same outfit whenever I went out. It became a conscious decision to keep going after I’d done it about three times, because I noticed how much time angst I was saving.
So from then on, whenever I got an invitation to go outside and talk to other human beings, I did not worry about what to wear because I already had a pre-approved outfit selected.
Every time someone texted to ask me out for the night, I smugly thought about my favourite blazer hanging on a coat hanger, just waiting for her next outing. I washed the jumper semi-regularly, but left the jeans and the blazer as they were, so the outfit was always ready to go. Minimal upkeep, just as I like it. I widdled down my getting ready routine to about 20 minutes and saved a stupid amount of heartache and worry and fear, just by always knowing what I was going to wear.
If I’d repeated a more flamboyant outfit, perhaps I would have caught more people’s attention
My friends thought it was kind of great. To be honest, a lot of them didn’t even notice. A navy and black ensemble, hidden some of the time underneath a huge coat, isn’t exactly memorable.
I mostly just looked appropriate enough that people didn’t properly register what I was wearing each time. If I’d repeated a more flamboyant outfit, perhaps I would have caught more people’s attention. As it was, my closest friends had to hear about my decision to wear the same outfit over and over anyway because I was so pleased with myself. If they didn’t notice on their own, I made them acknowledge my new-yet-old look because I wanted them to know what a stone cold genius I was for simply wearing the same thing all the time.
My boyfriend was delighted because he had to endure fewer wardrobe related tantrums and we were able to leave the house with so much less anguish. He is also extremely sensible by nature so he approved of the minimalist approach to fashion. He endorsed my decision for environmental reasons, too.
We’ve all started talking recently about how awful fast fashion can be for the planet – and it’s such a worthwhile conversation. I’ve become a lot more conscious of the way I might contribute to climate change recently. Delightfully, while I was so busy outfit repeating, I didn’t buy a single new item of clothing all season long because I was perfectly content with what I had.
I had no shame whatsoever wearing the same thing so many times. Not once did I dread wearing my chosen outfit. Not once did I question my decision. Not once did someone criticise me for it.
In a world where celebrities are frequently shamed online and in the pages of magazines for wearing the same thing more than once, my act of serial outfit repetition felt like a little gesture of rebellion. I loved it. I’ll do it again. You should try it, too.
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