Could you wear the same dress every day for a year? Sheena Matheiken can.
She’s about 100 days into her year-long exercise in sustainable fashion — The Uniform Project — wearing the same dress for 365 days. Her blog showcases her look of the day and how she varies her outfit using recycled accessories and other thrifted items. It’s not just fashionable, it’s also charitable. All proceeds will go to the Akanksha Foundation to fund uniforms and other educational expenses for children in India’s slums.
When I saw what she has been able to do with one dress, it gave me a major case of eco-style envy. If only I could pull off something like that.
But it did get me thinking about my own wardrobe and how much it has changed since moving to Europe. Here, it’s not unusual to wear the same outfit two days in a row or more than once a week. I’ve noticed that the most stylish people I work with tend to have signature outfits, usually involving a neutral-colored dress. It’s also not unusual to see a summer dress worn in winter, or vice versa. Seriously, a short-sleeve black dress can be winter-fied with some layers and tights. (Or skinny jeans! I am now a major fan of the dress-with-jeans look that is so popular here.)
It’s quality over quantity
Clothes tend to be a lot more expensive in Europe, and I’m sure that’s the underlying reason behind all of this. I actually used to erupt with a you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me reaction at the price tags. But, after four years, I’ve learned to tolerate them, knowing that I’ll only be buying a few clothing items each season and will be reducing my overall consumption. It’s quality over quantity.
By the way, did you know it’s been estimated that almost half of the clothes in our closets go unworn, according to a survey by non-profit anti-poverty organization Oxfam? It focused on wardrobes in Britain, but I’m sure it’s about the same in most Western countries.
So instead of stocking up on fall fashions, what about trimming down? Or maybe just investing in a few versatile pieces that you can wear from Monday to Sunday and April to March (perhaps you can even score something at a clothing swap). I mean, don’t most of the best fashion trends start in Europe anyway?