Pondering this 100-Day-Dress-Challenge Business After 42 Days

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I have been wearing the same merino wool dress for the last 42 days. I have 58 days to go!

Why on earth would I do such a thing, you ask?

Well...Initially...boredom. Yeah. I'd like to say that it was something nobler, but it wasn't. I was just bored.  I was bored, and I wanted to do what I do when I'm bored, and that's shop. Prior to the pandemic, I would have gone to a thrift store somewhere in town and bought 6 or 7 things that I would then throw away by the end of the year. I prided myself on thrifting and also on donating the stuff that I was tired of.

Lockdown, and later, my own anxiety about being near humans, masked or not, led me to doing more internet shopping than I have ever done in my life. Mostly, I buy paint. Handmade watercolor paint became an obsession in 2020. But there's a particular brand of boredom that paint just couldn't cover.  Body boredom. Same pajamas day in and day out boredom. All the beautiful handmade natural pigment paint couldn't touch that itch.

Enter Instagram and Facebook ads.

I started finding myself pulled into these smallish companies selling just a few items, and something felt nice about that. I ran into Wool& sometime around Christmas 2020, and a friend of mine mentioned that she was doing the 100 Day Dress Challenge in a Wool& dress.  

Have I mentioned that I love structured challenges? I do well with 30, 60, 90, 365-day challenges of all kinds. Walk every day for 30 days?  Sure.  Paint daily for a year? Ok.  Eat acorn squash for 93 days?  Yep. Wear a dress for 100 days? No problem.

But the price put me off. $138 for a dress? Are you serious? I spend $3 on 2 pairs of pants and brag about it! So I tucked the idea of the challenge away.

Until my birthday. Sort of. I tucked the idea of actually buying a dress away, but I kept visiting the Wool& site. I really became obsessed with it. I would compulsively visit, add a dress to my cart, and then flee.

Until my birthday.  

On my 51st birthday, I ordered a washed navy blue Willow. And started waiting until the dress would arrive...almost 3 months later.

In the meantime, I went a little nuts over wool on eBay, so instead of one wool dress, I actually ended up with 3 (1 of which I use as a nightgown). I also found a cardigan and a charcoal henley top. Oh, and 3 belts...because you can't do a challenge in a dress without belts. And several pairs of tights.  Because...well, you know.

I went a little overboard.

It wasn't all bad though. Before Willow even arrived, I found myself researching sustainable fashion, and I learned a lot about why my thrifting approach wasn't actually the best idea. I also discovered companies that work hard to take care of employees and sheep and bodies of all sizes. So the in-between time before Willow arrived may have been more expensive than it needed to be, but I don't think of it as a waste.

And finally. On April 30th, Willow arrived. I tore her (it turns out when you start wearing one of these dresses, there's an urge to anthropomorphize it...weird, but true) out of her paper package and put her on, without washing, immediately. That was Day 1.  

I thought I'd try not washing Willow. Wool is supposed to be able to handle that, and wow! What a way to cut back on laundry! That didn't last. We're 42 days in, and I've washed Willow twice. The first time, she needed it - we'd been out camping in the desert. The second time just felt like the right thing to do.

So what do you do for 42 days in the same dress? Well...all the things you would have done in your other clothes. Together, Willow and I have been tent camping 3 times, cleaned the cat box, done dishes, painted, walked to the post office and the grocery store, taken ballroom dance classes, taught yoga, completed the last 20 hours of a Nonlinear Movement Method teacher training, carried cats in their backpacks in the heat of the day, visited a tiny town in the Hill Country, taken out trash, picked flowers, walked around town, hugged friends for the first time in over a year, and napped. Right this minute, we're sitting in a little cabin letting the computer cool down long enough to write this post after which I'm going out to the tent to put on some boots and go for a walk.

Thus far, the challenge hasn't been hard, and I'm not surprised.  I'm not sure I've had any remarkable discoveries either. What I do know is that I like the idea of a $138 dress being hardy enough to be worn every day. I also enjoy altering Willow.  She started life as a 3/4 sleeve, V-neck, swing dress, and while she still works that way fairly often, she has also been a shirt tucked into jeans or cover-alls, tied up on one side as a sexy, slinky dress with bright raspberry tights or tied at tunic length, worn belted with and without pants, worn as a skirt - both maxi and midi, and currently she's acting as a halter top over a short denim skirt. I have been a more creative dresser most days, and that has helped me feel a little more like myself on days when I didn't feel like myself at all.  I have also felt really good in my own skin.  Willow is comfy, flattering, and it turns out navy blue is exactly the right color for me.

The reward for completing the 100-day challenge is $100 toward another Wool& product.  I'm almost certain I'll make it, but honestly, if I don't, I'm still glad I started, and I know that I'll never go back to the fast thrift fashion that I loved so much.

27 of the 42 days


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