Monday, November 1, 2010

Reflections on a closet of dresses

Hi, It's All Happening readers! My name is JoAnn, and I blog over at Sidewalk Chalk. When Melody contacted me about guest blogging, I was beyond excited! Like Melody, I have done my own dress challenge, and was thrilled to read about her own journey through wearing all of her frocks. Although, unlike her, I didn't think of having others vote on whether to keep certain dresses -- though that kind of participation sounds like fun.

I started my own Dress Project several months ago in an attempt to curb my spending and to celebrate what I already owned. I wore 45 dresses in a row, and documented each dress's look and how I felt it fit into my style. During this time I also placed myself on a shopping ban by not allowing myself to spend on anything clothes-related until my challenge was over. Though my shopping before was already done mostly through thrift and vintage stores, I felt that my eyes were bigger than my closet and I wasn't fully appreciating what I had. I was a woman obsessed, and my interest consumed my time and a good chunk of my disposable income.

Though it's been several months, the Project still has had a large influence on my sartorial choices now. Here's what I've learned, and maybe it'll help you, too:

- Shop smarter. During my project, it became pretty clear which dresses I liked and didn't like wearing. Because of this, it's helped me learn which fabrics I love (cotton, silk) and which silhouettes work best on my body. Since the challenge, I've bought a few dresses, and each time I've thought long and hard about the frock -- its durability, purpose, shape and likely I would be to rewear it to different occasions. Sure, I've had a couple of missteps since the Project ended, but I've mostly been able to find things that I love wearing, and because of that, the need to buy has decreased. In addition, the dresses that did not fit well were finally donated to Goodwill.

- Know what you already have. One of the mistakes I learned early on in the Project was that I kept buying similar items because I'd forget that I already owned one. For example, I had roughly five to six black dresses, and so you can imagine how difficult it was to want to repeat what I already had. It's so important to document what you already own, so you don't make the mistake of purchasing a similar item. One way you can do this is to take pictures of what you have, or make a list. After the Dress Project was over, I created a picture list of what I already owned, and put them into event categories: "work, business," "work, casual," "casual weekend," "formal occasions," etc. Doing so has made me realize that more than a few dresses could fit either category with the change of an accessory or pair of shoes.

- Experiment. One of the best things about doing the Project was that it helped me become more comfortable in my own skin. Seeing myself in 45 simplistic dress looks made me want to experiment more with my combinations. Since then, it's been easy to layer dresses with skirts, sweater, blazers, t-shirts. Don't be afraid to experiment and wear what you love. Since the Project has ended, my outfits have primarily been dress-oriented!

Do you have a favorite clothing item? Would you ever participate in a "31 Dresses" type of challenge?

Beautiful dresses on a beautiful girl! Thanks so much JoAnn for guest posting on my blog! I'll have some reflections on my project soon, right now I'm just enjoying having the freedom to be scroungy, change my outfit as many times a day as I want and utilize shirts, skirts and pants. ~Melody


LenaLoo said...

Good advice Joann! I don't know if I would have the guts to commit to wearing a dress everyday for a month. I am more of a jeans and T-shirt type, especially since having a baby and nursing him for the past 11 months!

Forevermelody said...

Wow, as much as I think about breast feeding, which is a lot for someone who isn't pregnant, I never considered the challenges of breastfeeding in a dress... that's got to be tricky.

Sidewalk Chalk said...

Thank you so much Melody for featuring me! It's been great to read all of your posts. :)

fashionfarmsandfreedome said...

wow! I love this. so inspiring and this will also help me with my 'no spend november' days..Ugh, day one..Biked by Freestyle, broke into a sweat. :) Great blog!!

TheHeatherGirl said...

JoAnn, thank you for the advice. I'm adding you to my "Blogs I like to read" folder.
Melody, I look forward to your reflections.

Forevermelody said...

Oh wow, I didn't know you were doing no spend November! That's awesome! Maybe you'll be my next guest blog with your reflections on a month long project.


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