My Outfits

Would You Wear the Same Outfit Every Day for a Whole Year?

Would You Wear the Same Outfit Every Day for a Whole Year?
Written by Jennifer Nini

Recently on Instagram I ‘met’ Jessica Bohme (@sustainabilitybooster) a capsule wardrobe enthusiast who is undertaking one of the biggest sustainable fashion challenges I’ve heard of to date: wearing the same dress for 1 year.

That’s right. One simple black v-neck dress for 365 days. She dresses it up, dresses it down but if you look closely, there it is, the LBD. Astonishing challenge!

On her website sustainability booster.com, Jessica writes: “I’ll wear one dress for a year, with only a few add-ons. It’s not about looking different with little, but it’s about looking pretty much the same every day. To leave the need to be fashionable behind.” OMG Jessica, WHHHYYYY???

The remarkability of Jessica’s challenge depends on whether you believe it to be noteworthy or just the actions of a woman who has lost her mind. Possibly because of my own embrace of zany ideas, I happen to think the former – although fashion to me is art, and I won’t give it up.

The need to express runs in our homo sapien veins. Despite our failings as a society to solve the poverty problem and other human rights issues, our creative ingenuity should be marvelled at. Removing fashion/art/design means deleting individual expression and wouldn’t that make us… robots? 

Sustainability Booster - Jessica Bohme

Credit: @sustainabilitybooster

Anyway, back to the Instagram ‘conversation’ with this extraordinary sustainability blogger.

Jessica explained that she’s two months into the challenge and has found it “liberating”. Interesting choice of words. Because you see, I find that really hard to believe (although I don’t have any reason to doubt that she’s telling her truth; if she wants to remove fashion’s control on her life, that’s her right to do so and as a feminist, I support her).

For me, the difficulty relates to this question:

Isn’t variety the spice of life? 

Isn’t that why us women change our hairstyles so frequently? Isn’t that why yuppies choose to dine out at a different restaurant every night? Isn’t that why so many people travel the world? (And if we are to address sustainability front on, shouldn’t we really discuss our love of flying and travelling as I would argue this has a higher impact on our environment?). 

Related Post: Sustainable Beauty Embraces Minimalism

I applaud Jessica who is striving for voluntary simplicity, but to me, wearing the same dress every day is too extreme for my lifestyle. I know Steve Jobs was renowned for wearing a black turtleneck and dark denim jeans but I don’t believe he wore the exact same two items, every single day. He probably had several turtlenecks and jeans in his wardrobe so he could cut out the time wasted deciding what to wear. That’s why I have a minimalist wardrobe. Because I am busy (what entrepreneur isn’t?), and I dislike wasting time pondering what to wear as much as I dislike fashion sitting idly in my wardrobe (or rather, tall boy, Ben has yet to build me a wardrobe).

Perhaps I am merely biased. The truth is I don’t even enjoy eating leftovers the following day, much less wear the same thing for 365 consecutive days. And I attended Catholic school, forced to wear a uniform for 12 years of my life. Contrary to Jessica’s beliefs, a uniform – which is what wearing the same outfit each day is – is a sign of oppression, not liberation.

For all my faults, one of my saving graces is that I am open-minded. No one can accuse me of ignorance. So in an effort to understand Jessica’s fundamentalist commitment to minimalism I replied:

“Must make you more creative thinking of new combinations? Do you get sick of it though? It is like eating the same thing every day but with different side dishes lol?”

Jessica’s firm reply (strength of conviction, a big plus in a future friend):

“No, not at all. So far I am really happy about the simplicity it brings. This might sound strange, but I am not being creative at all with the dress. I am purposefully trying to look pretty much the same everyday to find out if it makes any difference. I was fed about with the fast fashion and I want to see what I can do about it. what I can do about it [sic]. I used to really be into fashion and I still love it and love looking at great pictures and outfits, like yours.”

While my version of voluntary simplicity is not the same as Jessica’s, the reasons for undertaking the minimalistic lifestyle is the same. It reduces clutter and environmental waste, saves money and frees up time to devote to the things that truly matter; in my case, my relationships, my writing and my businesses.

Related Post: What Fashion Bloggers Can Teach You About Consumerism

Unlike Jessica, I don’t believe in the maximalist approach to minimalism. Here’s what voluntary simplicity looks like to me: A minimalist wardrobe in which an eco-friendly tee from Project Soco takes centre stage accompanied by an array of other wardrobe staples.

Would You Wear the Same Outfit Every Day for a Whole Year?

Would You Wear the Same Outfit Every Day for a Whole Year?

With fellow Mindful Boss Lady Jooli Chan, co-founder of fair-trade homewares business, Tara Treasures

Would You Wear the Same Outfit Every Day for a Whole Year?

Although I wouldn’t personally take on this sustainable fashion challenge, I still think Jessica is incredible. Anyone who goes out on a limb and challenges the status quo, pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a conscious human has my vote.

Now over to you: Do you practice voluntary simplicity? Would you wear the same outfit every day? Feel free to share your thoughts below!

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About the author

Jennifer Nini

Jennifer Nini is a writer, activist and the founding editor of Eco Warrior Princess. In 2010, after studying Fashion Business, she launched Eco Warrior Princess to explore her interests in fashion, politics, social justice and sustainability. Jennifer is also the founder of The Social Copywriter, a digital agency harnessing the power of copywriting and content marketing to help mindful businesses reach more people. When she's not perfecting a sentence or coaching business clients, you will find her at her certified organic farm reconnecting with nature.

10 Comments

  • I think I would be legitimately depressed by the end of the first week. Fashion as a form of self expression is important to me. When I had to wear uniforms to work, I always felt sad and unlike myself.

    • I know right? And I can relate to that work uniform challenge. I used to work for a non-profit and was required to wear a shirt with the logo printed on it. I was very huffy about it and I remember sharing my exasperation with a colleague who shared it with the boss! LOL! So just like in high-school, I tried to push the boundaries of my the uniform. I would wear high waisted skirts with the corporate shirt tucked in and knee-high boots. I’d wear a cool tuxedo jacket with skinny pants and stilettos. I’d wear vibrant scarves and wide legged trousers. Anything to overcome the oppression haha

    • Thanks for reminding me, I had forgotten about this project! I think why I am so transfixed with Jessica’s story is she really isn’t interested in creating new styles with the same outfit. It’s about removing ‘fashion’ out of the equation. As I equate fashion with art/self expression I find her anti-fashion stance completely fascinating. And yes I admire both women too for putting themselves out there.

  • I’m with you Jennifer, fashion is my art and I couldn’t wear the same thing everyday. Getting dressed is the guaranteed opportunity I get each morning to be creative.
    Although I often wear the same outfit up to 3 times per week, that outfit is different to the one I’ll wear 3 times the next week.
    We can’t be 100% sustainable, so why not give up the many things we’re so-so about to allow for indulgences in the few things that bring us real joy? Or maybe that’s just it, maybe Jessica will find at the end of her journey that she doesn’t have the passion for fashion she thought she did and something else will rise to the top.

    • Creative consciousness is the one thing us humans have going for us isn’t it? And great point Zoe! Perhaps Jessica may find that the less time spent on fashion, the more time spent on what she really does have passion for. I’ll be following her story and will be sure to do a follow up at the end of her journey and see if she still feels the same way.

  • I notice that all the previous commenters are female. I’ve have noticed, empirically, that each winter and summer I tend to settle on one shirt and one pair of pants, and wear them for as many of the days of the season as the wife will let me, often the same garments for successive years until they wear out: but it would be a very urban, indoorsy thing to be able to do this for an entire year unless one lived in an area with a very unseasonal climate.

  • I love the idea of wearing the same outfit for a year. It’s not my kind of slow, minimalistic way but I applaud her for trying something new that inspires her.
    I’m growing my minimalistic capsule wardrobe with mostly ethical garments but it includes more than one outfit.

  • I found your blog while looking for fashion advice– I am pretty unaware of style and usually don’t think about how I dress, but I would like to have a “look” that reflects who I am. I like the minimalistic thing, but would have to think about what I would wear. Do you have any advice for a 25 yr old Catholic environmentalist from Alaska with a love of mycology?

    • Hi Christin! I would definitely suggest you keep staples in your wardrobe – good pairs of jeans, tees, sweaters, jackets, scarves, beanies. Minimalists tend to stick to monochromatic tones/colours as these colours never date: white/grey/blue/black. Or you can go earthy tones too like beige and brown. But if you like colour you can add them to these basic colour palettes, by choosing statement pieces such as a colourful jacket or scarf or beanie or jumper. Given how busy I am these days and particularly when I’m on the farm, I try not to spend too much time on the way I look myself so tend to go for a basic but classic outfit such as a pair of jeans, gumboots and a black tee. If its raining, I throw on my Drizabone. I also encourage you to check out the following fashion resources that will help guide you on your sustainable wardrobe: http://ecowarriorprincess.net/member-resources/ But above all else, have fun building your new wardrobe!

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