Could you wear the same dress for a month? One woman did, and it's changed the way she thinks about clothes forever
By Maureen Rice
Last updated at 7:39 AM on 15th October 2009
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The dress: Maureen Rice opted to wear this £195 dress from LK Bennett every day for a month
Could you wear the same dress every day for a year?
That's what Sheena Matheiken is doing to raise money for her charity the Akanshanka Foundation, which campaigns for more schools in India. But could writer MAUREEN RICE wear the same thing day in, day out, for even a month?
She challenged herself to don this plain, purple knee-length, shift dress for 30 days to see how it affected her mood and self-esteem.
WEEK ONE: MONDAY
Over the weekend I found the dress that's going to take me through every occasion for the rest of the month. Costing £195 from LK Bennett, I chose it mainly because of its adaptability - surely something this simple lends itself to accessories, layering and whatever other tricks I can think of.
As this is day one, my strategy is to start off as plain as possible, and gradually add different looks as the month goes by.
So today, it's just me, the dress, a plain pair of black heels and a gold necklace. Your standard day-at-the-office look. In case you're wondering, I'm resolving the hygiene issue by wearing T-shirts under the dress, and making use of a four-hour dry cleaners.
My office is staffed mainly by women, so everyone notices that I have something new. We've all been cutting back on our fashion fixes this year, so there's a lot of compliments on the very fact of a new dress, never mind what it looks like.
But one of the reasons I found the idea of wearing the same thing every day so appealing was the break it was going to give me from shopping. Over the past ten years, a mixture of economic boom and a fiercely competitive High Street created a shopping equation that went: Availability + Affordability = Fast Fashion Frenzy.
Yes, it was fun for a while, but after a decade of getting into lifts with other women wearing the same dress, and swapping the treat of buying something new for the weekly obligation of buying something new, I'm exhausted, bored and broke.
I notice that Nigella Lawson has been spotted wearing the same dress on six days over two weeks - and also that she has sorted her autumn/winter wardrobe by buying a dozen of the same style of dress in different colours.
It works for Nigella, because she's a stylish woman, and I've realised that I'm not. Style, which is personal and depends on self-awareness and self-assurance, is much harder work than fashion, which just requires you to read magazines and spend heaps of money.
Style means looking like yourself, which means not only dumping anything that's 'not me', but knowing who me actually is.