December 12, 2022
Friday, I wore this:
This was interesting, because it was the FIRST time I wore my blue sweater, and also the snowflake scarf. So the first thing that I learned – over and over – was that I have clothes in my closet that I… not exactly forget, but recurringly overlook. Is there a difference?
But let me stop for a moment and think about the most important things that came from this project. First and foremost, if you buy a really great dress and take good care of it, it will indeed withstand 3+ months of constant wear. There’s no reason to believe that clothing will only last a short while. If your clothes start falling apart after a dozen wears, you’re very hard on clothes, or you’re buying things that aren’t very well made!
My dress, after I wash it and press it, will look new. There are no faded spots, no snags, nothing droops or sags or looks in any way as if it has been worn 100 times.
I laundered it every 10 days or so, but I steamed it EVERY NIGHT. A good steamer helps keep things fresh, removes a surprising amount of surface soil, and vanishes wrinkles. Arguably the best wardrobe investment I’ve ever made…
I wore 10 pairs of shoes in 100 days! If I had started the project after the weather turned cool, I could easily have foregone the sandals and maybe the ballet flats too.
Yes, the flats and the low-heeled pumps are going into the BACK of my closet for a few months…My personal recommendations:
- Minnetonka moccasins are just as comfortable as they look. I will wear them all winter…
- The Cariuma fleece-lined sneakers are AMAZING. I put them on one day and proceeded to walk across the loop and back, and literally never gave them a thought. Warm too!
- If you want to wear shoes to death, get them from Thierry Rabotin. Both of my dress shoes are from them, and they last forever. Comfortable. Easily repaired by a competent cobbler.
I noticed 2 things – I really REALLY like earrings from Julie Vos. I only wear her small studs – mostly of them about the size of a dime… They don’t tilt or move around, they’re heavy but they don’t drag, and they’re well made.
Another thing? I will wear the same earrings 3 or 4 days in a row, even though I take them off every night! I just get used to them, I guess…
Why yes, I do have the email address “woman of scarves,” but in French! And I own a lot of scarves; I hadn’t realized how many until I determined that I was going to wear ALL OF THEM during the 100 days…
First, Hermes! I have 17 of these – I honestly thought it could have been more! I’ve been buying them since I was… uh???… 36, I think. That’s 26 years. And I do buy some of them second-hand – I’m not a snob about these things:
One scarf is so old that I can’t find a good photograph of it anywhere!
Next up, square scarves from other companies – Echo, Aspinal of London, ImageDiary, Wolff & Descortis, and D&G. These are scarves that have whappage and must join my massive collection:
And finally, rectangular scarves. Some of these are from Paul Stuart, the menswear store; many others were purchased in France. Yes, I think I could easily thin this collection out to about half as many scarves, but I don’t really need to, so I’m keeping them all!
Here’s where things get interesting…
First, I have to confess that if I were to do this project again, I would choose a dress that wasn’t flared from the waist down, the way my Sierra is. When I put on anything that fell below my hips, the skirt of my dress would be gathered a bit under the hem of my jacket or sweater. Not a deal-breaker, but I would have been more comfortable with something that didn’t have bunched fabric.
That said, I found TWENTY-SIX different garments that I wore over my dress – starting with shirts I wore unbuttoned over in warm weather, to cardigans and sweaters when I weather got cool:
Another confession – I knew that I would be able to easily wear my dress with tee shirts and turtlenecks under it; the last trip I made to Paris (February 2020!), I packed 2 dresses and a stack of things to wear under them. It’s a comfortable way for me to dress.
And I’ve learned that I own a LOT of tee shirts! I have this fear that striped tee shirts will suddenly vanish from the face of the earth and I will never be able to buy another one, so I stock up on them ALL THE TIME. It’s a bit neurotic…
And finally, one of the reasons that this experiment went well is that I have all kinds of other accessories that helped keep things interesting. A good brooch is priceless, nice bracelets make a ton of difference to your look, and excellent necklaces are a game-changer.
A pretty (ahem…) knee brace is never to be refused…
Last but never least, the things I wear every day – hair curling goo, a great watch, my sleep-monitor ring, some sunscreen and some fragrance!
I would have included my Sensate too, if I had received it earlier. It’s this weird plastic rock-like object that one rests on their sternum, while reclining. It vibrates. You listen to a trippy spa-music recording for 10, 20 or 3o minutes while this thing is humming along, and you relax almost immediately.
Some reviews are indifferent, at best, but I’m loving mine… It isn’t clothing, nor is it really an accessory, but I still want you to know that they exist, and that at least 1 person you know is having really good luck with one.
So – would I do this dress experiment again? Yes, for a good reason.
I can get by with a lot less clothing than I expected.
I wasn’t bored.
I didn’t get tired of black.
I didn’t get tired of either tights or leggings every day.
I found getting dressed was absurdly easy, and that’s worth a lot!
Are you considering trying it?
p.s. EIGHT years ago, I shared some Chic Sightings in which lovely women mixed shades of green in their outfit. Still eye-catching…
I was thinking of it after your last dress post, and it would be “easy” to wear a dress and tights every day. That would be doable for me. If I were to take on the challenge, I think I would shoot to do it during cooler weather as I am heavy in blouses and sweaters I could wear under or over, and also in 2nd layers and scarves. Thank you very much for this analysis. Also, it’s very fun and interesting to have a peek inside your closet!
Beth T says
Great analysis and its useful to count ‘the wears’ ordinarily, particularly if you want to do some culling. It’s what I have done over the past few years.
Are you keeping the second layers that you only wore once? Or circulating out the ones you wore for the experiment to give the extras more wear-time?
I’m not sure that I could do this experiment as I struggle to get into tights these days. So.I hardly ever where skirts and dresses. I’m rather sad because in my twenties and early 30’s, I very rarely wore trousers.
Very interesting analysis! Particularly that you’d choose a different dress because of the way the Sierra flares and bunches under a longer outer layer. That wouldn’t have occurred to me. If I were going to do the 100 day challenge, I’d want to do it in the same french terry fabric of Sierra as I believe it’s a bit thicker than most of the other Wool& dresses. Did anyone ever remark about you wearing the same dress all the time? Curious if anyone actually noticed since you mixed things up with all your different tops and accessories. I’ve enjoyed seeing your OOTD so I hope you continue to do them for a while.
Thanks for sharing your analysis Janice – it’s always inspiring. Would I consider this challenge? No – I almost NEVER wear dresses or skirts (a shame, but my reality. Maybe when I retire). However… do the same with one pair of pants? I have a pair of navy trousers I could probably wear for 100 days… :-D They already get worn so frequently that I need to replace the closure for the second time…
I loved this 100 days project, and actually adapted it with my black pants, and sometimes indigo jeans, for outfit ideas as you moved through the days. In fact, I attended a 3½ day seminar this past week, and mixed and matched just literally a few pieces (2 pants, 2 tops, 1 blazer) and accessories (1 pair earrings, 2 necklaces, 1 tan watch, my usual rings) and had a different look each day. I got the inspirations from you, Janice. Thank you!
Lee Ann says
I don’t know if you wear tunics, but they have a couple that qualify for the challenge.
hallie coletta says
I LOVE that you wear an OURA ring! I’m a biohacker and the ring is such a help. This is a tempting experiment since I wear a lot of black and tend to keep my wardrobe simple. It just could work. Have a Happy New Year and a lovely holiday. Stay well. Thanks for all you do. ~Hallie
I followed this project with great interest. I tried to follow along using a pair of pants. The problem was washing the pants and having them dry overnight since I use a dryer as infrequently as possible. I hadn’t considered using a steamer. I wish I had.
Most definitely, I will try this project again in 2023. Still using pants but for a shorter period (30 days). This will allow me to rotate through my pant collection.
This was so fun to watch. Thank you.
Lois Breedlove says
Pants maybe. One of my favorite things about retirement has been no hose/tights! I can’t say that I’ve never worn them in ten years (early retirement) but it’s possible.
But I liked watching this experiment. And it does make me think. I could do it with a pair of black yoga pants…. I think one of the useful lessons you just shared is trying new things from your closet over the base. It would be a great way to reduce my closet. And of course the importance of accessories. Hummm.
Thank you for taking us along on this journey.
Cathie P says
Black yoga pants yes, I have three identical pairs and wear them on rotation through winter. Experimented by adding navy and grey pairs for variety but found unnecessary and excessive. With lots of different tops and shoes the boredom factor is alleviated but keeps life pretty simple.
Lois Breedlove says
Yes, I tried the navy/gray thing too. Gray is scratchier, which makes no sense, and navy looks like my mom’s double knit polyester pants of years ago. Shudders. So black works for me too!
Vicki G says
Hilarious! I’m DETERMINEDLY migrating away from black, and one of my favourite things to wear last winter was navy merino yoga pants/leggings (from Glowing Sky, it’s a New Zealand company). (Probably leggings weight actually, I wouldn’t wear without a skirt or dress.) They definitely don’t look like mum’s polyester pants! And a bonus that they hardly ever need washing. I know what you mean though, Lois, I think navy can show up an unnatural fibre component in an unattractive way.
Regarding the cut of your wool& dress….take into consideration your body type. I chose the fit and flare because I am hippy and it is a flattering cut. A slim cut just makes my hips and legs look bigger. If you are busty consider what works best for you.
I would probably try something like this on a seasonal basis for fewer days with wiggle room for the variety of activities we pursue.
This analysis of how many times you wore your tees, cardis, scarves & other accessories was excellent. The entire series made me think about how many outfits I can create out of one striped breton top. It’s aquan on soft white- the possibilities are amazing. Then, when I was a low-paid tv news anchor expected to look like I was paid the big bucks, I learned how to buy basics and stretch them. I had a beautiful navy shirt dress that I wore nearly everywhere. It’s much harder to find such basics these days. The colors at Wool& are way off to fit into my wardrobe today.
In your finishing up post, you mentioned that you might have chosen a different dress shape. I would be very interested your ideas about that. Maybe a future post could analyze a few WOOL& dresses and include accessories and companion pieces.
I second this…. I looked at their site this morning and to me it looks like if they don’t fit and flare, then they are too form fitting for me to be comfortable in them. The alternative would be to wear shorter 2nd layers! Of course, I might not even notice the “bunching” as you did….. :)
Oh, great! I was mentally all packed for my holiday vacation and then the beautiful blue snowflake scarf pops up. I have a similar scarf and I love blue…
Thank you so much for this analysis. I am hoping for a dress or a wool& gift certificate for Christmas so I am thinking about doing this challenge if that happens. We shall see. I don’t have as many things to layer under, but then I think I would choose a short sleeve dress. But I have a lot of cardigans to layer over! My question is, what are you choosing for your reward dress?!?!?! Keep us posted!
I noticed a lot of similar observations! I did want to add a couple more.
I too was surprised you only wore blue at the very end of the challenge. It reminded me a post you did a long time ago about staples and items that come in and out… it appears you don’t wear red as much or even at all. Did pink displace purple as your main accent color? Makes sense if you still have purple highlights.
I was surprised how long you went without boots. My ankles were cold earlier than yours.
I was also surprised that you even had to make an effort to rotate through your scarves. Do scarves take a smaller consideration in your outfit planning than before?
Also I wonder if it would renew interest in a current wardrobe if I would focus on a certain category of accents? So instead of repeating a certain item of clothing and wearing it repeatedly, how about a scarf or earrings?
Lastly because I really need to stop somewhere is what would you wear when you stopped? What do you missed the most? You said jeans but I didn’t expect white jeans. Then the next day you wore corduroys. Would it be same if the challenge ended in spring?
Either the thinking from the challenge brought me renewed interest and satisfaction in my own wardrobe and I appreciate you sharing your journey with us
I know that if the weather were warmer, I would have gone directly into linen pants and tunics from Eileen Fisher!
As far as boots – you have to remember that there are days and days and DAYS when I don’t leave our building. We go downstairs to the grocery store, the laundry room, the dry cleaners, the gym… We check the mail, we visit with (torment) the door-staff… I can be busy for quite a while out of the apartment without actually going outdoors! It’s a blessing of a building when you have elderly relatives who need to socialize but who DON’T need to go out in the cold!
I did the Wool& tops challenge this past summer with a Purple Sage Livia tank. I liked wearing the same basic thing every day for a week with a change of accessories, and t-shirts under it or button-downs, a kimono, and a duster over it.
The trouble was that it was 100% merino, and reeked of wet sheep the two times I washed it. The first time I thought my Woolite, which I hardly ever use, had somehow gone bad. The second time, I used All Free & Clear with the same result. The smell was so off-putting that I had to hang it on the porch until it dried. I ended up donating it (along with a recently-purchased and only-worn-once merino beanie) to the Salvation Army.
If only I’d thought to use my steamer on it rather than washing it every three days. Thanks for a great tip that I can use next time, Janice!
If I could find one that was (a) cotton (very allergic to wool) and (b) cut a little more “straight” like you said – I would be tempted to do this challenge! I loved seeing what you chose each day.
Also, I want to come borrow from your closet. All the purple just makes me sing. I must buy more!!! I know I told you that on Instagram one day…but seeing it here, just confirms it.
When you see it all together like this, it really has impact! It truly is my favorite, from the highlights in my hair to my Converse high-tops!
You inspired me to do the same challenge.
I’m now on day 91 with the Camellia marine blue.
I took the dress to both hike trips and the board room. I did rotate the dress with all my tops and jackets.
It’s a little bit bulky with longer tops, but at the same time nobody commented on the not always perfect proportions of my outfits. Until now, only my husband noticed.
I miss my stretch velvet pants and other dresses a bit, but until now I’m perfectly fine with wearing the same garment for three months in a row.
Hi Janice, the moccasin link goes to Chuck Taylor All Stars. I’d really like to check out the moccasins.
I fixed the link – thank you SO MUCH for letting me know. The moccasins are wonderful – mine are going to function somewhere between loafers and bedroom slippers for the winter!
I’m laughing now because I had these in high school. Mine were tan colored and beaded! I wore them to an interview for an after-school job at JC Penney and the assistant manager told me I would need to wear “appropriate” shoes!
(I got the job and promptly destroyed my feet wearing the high heeled pumps I supposed she intended me to wear – it was an on-your-feet job, 6-8 hours at at time)
I wore 6 1/2 shoes when I finished college; I worked retail through ’til I was 35 or so, when I wear 8’s or 8 1/2. Retail is HARD on your feet – especially in high heels!
Susan in NM says
What a fascinating experiment!
1. Did you buy anything new for the challenge or did you shop your closet exclusively during the 100 days?
2. During the 100 days did you buy anything new to wear after completing the challenge?
By the way, I want to live in a building like yours!
Why yes, I did some shopping! I didn’t buy anything new to wear during the challenge, but I bought grey flannel pants, black and white tweed pants, and a new pair of jeans… None of which I’ve worn yet!
Thanks for the analysis of the One Dress, 100 Days Challenge. Your results were very interesting, as was the peek into your closet and scarf drawer. I lust after your collection of scarves and I never wear scarves. Without trying this myself I still think I learned that I don’t *need* as many clothes as I have. What I *need* is to let go of some (okay, a lot) of them. Anyway, well done, Janice.
Bravo, Janice! I’m so impressed by how you you wore that dress for one hundred days with such flare and variety. I loved seeing how you dressed it up and down. Your thorough post-challenge overview is so interesting and was probably a revelation for you to see the stats and trends of your preferences for various tops and accessories.
Could you please add a short P.S. to a post to let us know when you choose to wear your Wool& dress again? I’m fascinated to see how long of a break you need from the dress – or how much you’re enjoying wearing other things.
Loved this post and seeing all the things you use! Please share link for senate when you can.
Amy in Indy says
I’ve enjoyed reading your analysis, but this isn’t something I’d try myself. My wardrobe is pretty small, so everything gets lots of usage. That steamer is a great idea, though!
I bought an Emmy Design Ice Skater wool cardigan this fall. It has a 40s-style fit, snug to the body and ending at the waist. It wears well for long periods without washing. Adding a long underwear top beneath it extends the wear even further, so it’s the cornerstone of my winter wardrobe this year. I love it so much I ordered two more in other colors.
Carolyn Watson says
This post is a keeper! I recently ordered the black wool& swing dress. I won’t be wearing it every day because I am retired and wear yoga pants and a top most days. However, your choices and tips gave me ideas about what to wear with the dress, and I am also planning to buy the long one that you wore. It is time to pare down and follow my motto, Live Simply, which I have not been doing with my clothes. I am tired of fretting about clothes. Thank you, Janice.
Really fascinating analysis! Thank you.
I really enjoyed the analysis. I am very tempted to try a challenge like this. I did find it interesting your comment about the cut of the dress and the flare kind of bunching. I had wondered about that.
I would love for you to show us more how you wear the scarves. I love scarves, but never seem to ever wear them. I always feel way too over dressed. I also don’t see many other people wearing them casually. Maybe it’s because I live in the suburbs. For 2023, I want to try and wear them more. Any advice would be great.
In the “old” days, widows wore black the first year. After my husband died April 15, 2021, I did something simililar. I did not have the mental energy to decide what to wear when leaving the house. I bought the Maggie Swing Dress in Marine Blue, long length which is 42″ long. I didn’t do the 100 Day Challenge, but anytime I had to leave the house that first six months, whether to buy groceries or go to church, that is what I wore.I need the A-line for my body shape, but I did find the skirt too full. I took it to the tailor and had the fullness of the skirt altered to better suit me.
It was so easy to put on my dress and add layering pieces or accessories.
Like the others, I found it very easy to care for and it is still as nice as the day I bought it.
Lisa P says
Thank you for your analysis of the hundred days project! It’s so interesting to hear your thoughts on repeating the dress, which other items got the most wear, and what gave you the most pleasure and feeling of variety. I think I could do this as I work from home, tend to dress in “uniform”—especially in winter—and love re-wearing favourites. Good lesson on paying attention to the shape of the dress to make sure it looks great with something over as well as under. This idea may help me thin my closet!
We are Hermes soul sisters and you have reminded me to USE them! I also have collected them over many years…not as many as you..they are treasures. Your dress project is so appealing and such a great reminder that we can do with less. Thank you.
Ardyth Eisenberg says
Hello, Scarf Woman,
I may finally break down and dispose of scarves that I’ve overlooked for 10+ years. (Then again, maybe I won’t…) Any suggestions on where to retire them to?
Oh my, that’s a lot of scarves!
Janice, Thanks for posting about this wonderful clothing adventure. I really enjoyed seeing how you put things together, it is making me think about new combos and how I can pare things down. I am thinking of planning my next trip( 30 days) around an Eileen Fisher dress I have. This also has me wearing my scarfs more. thanks so much!
Mary Lou Green says
Thank you for the very informative analysis. If you have a sewing machine handy, I think the side seams of the dress can be taken in enough to decrease the bunching around your waist area down to the hem. And side slits will give walking ease if it’s needed. . Then you will still have an even more useful dress!
I don’t have! But I could always have the dry cleaner in our building adjust it for me…
I loved seeing the outfits and this wrap-up was perfect. I wouldn’t try this myself, at least not with a dress, because I live in rural western Canada on a farm and am outdoors, doing chores or on my knees in the garden/digging in the dirt from April to September, and the rest of the year it’s cold and snowy, from 20F to -40F, so I need snow pants etc. Which is why it was so much fun to see how you handled the challenge! And such a great reminder to shop my own closet — and also to make use of my steamer!
Thank you for the analysis. Bravo for making it to the end without putting the dress in the wastebasket on day 101. So many thanks for the scarf count. It gives me a good idea of when to say when on building my own collection. I am nowhere near that number, but my ‘expensive/luxury’ ones are Echo, a bit more in line with my budget, but I love them all, even the polyester one my father brought me from England after he went there TDY 27 years ago.
Loved the in depth number crunchy analysis! And the insights.
I’m working on a personal theory that the more scarves, the better if one tends to be a minimalist otherwise! I am glad you aren’t letting go any of your scarves. Having seen them in action they are jewels in their own right.
The more limited the wardrobe in other ways, the more important scarves, earrings and other accessories become; to bring in variety- the stars of the show so to speak.