‘Wearing clothes every day’ improved my body image and other discoveries.

During February 2018, I completed a month of ‘wearing clothes every day’. This challenge, initiated by Gretchen Rubin on her Happier podcast at the beginning of the month, could be interpreted in many ways. For me, it meant taking that little bit of extra effort with my appearance, ensuring I felt good in my clothes and shopping my wardrobe rather than buying new items. I have come up with 28 lessons learned, one for each challenge day, recorded in no particular order:

  1. ‘Shopping your wardrobe’ can reveal all sorts of wonders. I discovered jewellery I had forgotten I owned. I even found three necklaces I thought had been lost in our move ten months ago hiding in a shoebox along with a pair of very uncomfortable shoes. How fortunate I looked in the box before adding it to the donate pile.
  2. Playing dress ups is fun! I spent an afternoon playing dress ups in my own wardrobe, trying different combinations. Time to get out of the same pair of shoes with the same dress every time rut.
  3. Simple tweaks can completely change your look. One of my favourite discoveries was that a cute, previously unworn red belt looks great with one of my favourite comfort dresses and really dresses it up. Add red lips and shoes and voila!
  4. Changing earrings to match outfits daily doesn’t need to be a chore.
  5. ‘Dressy’ jewellery can actually be worn with a variety of casual outfits.
  6. Just a touch of makeup boosts my confidence. It doesn’t take much.
  7. Bright lipstick doesn’t need to be scary and can be worn for everyday.
  8. If I want to wear lipstick on a daily basis, I really need to invest in some quality, non toxic, long lasting lip colours. Lipstick rims on glasses and drink bottles are why I originally stopped wearing lipstick. Of three long lasting lip colours I own, only one, Rimmel Provocalips, lived up to the hype. It actually lasted well beyond the promised 16 hours and lasted over 24. I left it on overnight and it had to be removed with makeup remover the next day. The others were lucky to last 6 hours, felt cakey and uncomfortable on my lips and ended up coming off in little lumps.
  9. Uncomfortable clothing has no place in my wardrobe. At the outset, I removed all the clothes I thought fitted this category. However, as the month progressed, several other items joined them. If you’re constantly pulling at straps or hem lines, how can you possible function at your best? I’ve had friends express that they can’t just get rid of expensive clothing. I understand this dilemma, but truly, do you actually wear those clothes? If yes, do you feel good in them? I’d encourage you to think carefully about this. What is the point of having clothes you never wear? What is the point of having clothes you feel uncomfortable in? I am fortunate to have a large wardrobe, but even a limited wardrobe of clothes you love and feel great in is preferable to numerous items which you don’t.
  10. Small changes make a huge difference to confidence and attitude.
  11. Others notice when you make a bit of effort. It’s a real confidence boost to receive a compliment.
  12. I feel great and look better when I wear my favourites. We all have at least one of these items in our wardrobe, something we love to wear, that fits well, sits comfortably and just feels good. Wear it more often.
  13. Anti-chafe shorts are the bomb! I have resisted wearing these items due to a combination of pride and a determination to lose weight, but let’s face it, my thighs even rubbed when I was a skinny teenager. For too long, I let it limit my summer wardrobe choices, keeping me in shorts when I really wanted to wear dresses and skirts. I purchased basic beige ones last summer and wore them a few times, but felt like a ‘granny’. I was paranoid they might show when I sat down or if the wind blew my skirt. This summer, I solved that problem by finding some which are extremely comfortable, come in a variety of pretty colours and even have lace trim. If they do happen to show, they look great and I don’t feel self conscious. If you’re interested, check out Undersummers by CarrieRae online. Please let me know if you know of an Australian equivalent, as I do prefer to support local businesses where possible.
  14. A pop of colour breathes new life into a black or greyscale outfit.body image
  15. I need to invest in some new shorts. I do like to wear shorts in summer which is basically nine months of the year here. I have a pair each of dressier work and denim shorts but need tailored, classy, casual shorts for everyday wear which don’t cost a fortune. The search is on.
  16. The movement and flow of clothing makes a huge difference to your mood. A swishy kimono or twirly dancing skirt feel great. Go on, give it a go!
  17. Perfume lifts your mood. I’ve always loved perfume and wear it most days. This month, I’ve started to wear it on days when I’m just hanging around at home too because it makes me happy.
  18. When you look good, you feel good.
  19. When you feel good, you do good. (I discussed 18 and 19 at length in Look good to feel good – wearing clothes everyday part 2.) 
  20. By being more conscious of my clothing choices, I have a more positive body image than a month ago.
  21. I have noticed subtle shifts in the way people treat me during this challenge. In general, I have found others are more willing to engage in conversation. Whether this is due to my increased confidence or is in fact a shift in their perception and treatment of me, I can’t say. Most of us like to think we treat everyone equally, no matter how they look, but is this always true?
  22. I don’t need to buy new clothes to make me feel good. This is a BIG one for me! I really do have all I need and most of what I want already in my wardrobe.
  23. I need to be more mindful when I do go shopping.
  24. I need to be kind to myself. I broke a few of my own rules in this challenge but don’t believe it affected the outcome.
  25. I need to be willing to try a few options. My body shape and mood fluctuate. What looked great last week may look awful today.
  26. Waiting too long between washing limits my wardrobe choices.
  27. I’ve had fun ‘wearing clothes every day.’
  28. I intend to continue making more effort in the future.

“If you wear things you adore, you just look better.” Margherita Missoni

Could a challenge similar to this be helpful to you?

Perhaps you’ve already tried one. I’d love to hear your experiences. Please leave a comment to share your discoveries.

Have your say on future challenges

What do you think I should tackle as my next personal challenge?

Please use the Contact tab to let me know your suggestions. I’ll carefully consider them all before selecting my next challenge topic in a couple of weeks.

Anna xo


Note: Product opinions are entirely my own. I receive no sponsorship, free products or other benefits from any companies or brands.


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