The Black Dress Challenge Wrap-up

Black Dress ChallengeRecap: I recently completed The Black Dress Challenge, in which I wore the same black dress every day for 31 days. While the dress remained constant, I rotated shoes and accessories throughout the month.

Assessment: As I look back on the Challenge, I am struck by 3 things:

  • How easy it was.
  • How much I enjoyed it.
  • How sorry I was to see it end.

I came to love my little uniform and the ease with which I could get dressed and get on with my day. The funny thing is, unless I mentioned it, not one single person commented on the fact that I was wearing the same dress every day. I’m not sure if this was because they did not notice, or because they did not want to hurt my feelings by pointing out an obvious sartorial faux pas. I really think it was the former.

I also came to appreciate that limiting my clothing to one outfit is a luxury and a choice, while for for many people it is the only option. I developed a great sense of gratitude for being able to choose to participate in this self-created challenge and for being able to select from a variety of tops and accessories each day.

And, finally, my shopping expenditures dropped significantly during this month. The old saying, “shop in your own closet first” really came home to roost, and I can say that my desire for new clothing has greatly diminished. Score another one for minimalism and sustainability!

Goals: My main reason for attempting this challenge was to simplify my life. I also hoped to increase my creativity, become more comfortable on the other side of the camera, embrace vegan fashion, and donate to a worthy cause.

Did I reach my goals? For the most part, yes. Below, I’ve rated my success on a scale of 1 (total dud) to 5 (total success).

  1. This black dress greatly simplified my life. It was comfortable, versatile, and adaptable enough to wear in sunny Los Angeles, temperate Oregon, and chilly Washington, D.C. It made packing for trips an absolute breeze. In fact, I was able to travel for a 4-day, cross-country trip with only a small carry-on bag and personal item. And, as I posted here, air travel while wearing leggings is a very comfortable, practical choice. Score: 5
  2. I was able to express some creativity in accessorizing. At times while staring in my closet, I drew a total blank. But knowing I would be taking a photo forced me to put together an ensemble that was both appealing and appropriate for the activities of the day. Wearing a different top every day of the month was slightly unrealistic, however, in that I typically wear the same selection of tops several times in any given month. In retrospect, it would have been more challenging to limit my shoes and tops as well. Next time… Score: 3
  3. I became slightly more comfortable on the other side of the camera. While I have done limited runway modeling, my photographic modeling experience is next to nothing. So, this was by far the most difficult part of the challenge for me. I would say I got used to the camera, but comfortable, well, only slightly more. Score: 3
  4. I am happy to say that I did not wear any animal products (wool, silk, leather) during the challenge.  I have found vegan fashion very easy to embrace. There are so many natural fiber and synthetic fiber options available today that it makes vegan dressing both simple and sustainable.  Score: 5
  5. I donated money to one of my favorite charitable causes: Global Vision 2020. This terrific organization brings self-adjustable eyeglasses to people in the developing world. I love the elegant simplicity of these eyeglasses and I am a huge fan. Score: 4

Future: Where do I go from here? Well, much as my black dress was suitable in so many ways, it was a little long for my taste. Therefore, I am meeting with a fashion-whiz friend later this week to design a shorter version of the same dress. I will try it in black fabric first, and, if it works well, perhaps make it in a few other colors, too. Who knows, we may have a small fashion line in our future! But I’m getting way ahead of myself 🙂

In closing, I want to thank Courtney at Be More with Less for creating the Project 333 and Meg at Minimalist Woman for bringing it to my attention. I look forward to hearing other people’s experiences with their minimalist fashion challenges. If you have any questions or comments about The Black Dress Challenge, I’d love to hear from you in the  comments below.

Also, if you’d like to see photos of all 31 outfits for the month, you can visit The Black Dress Challenge.

image: Day 31 of the Black Dress Challenge. © 2010. Christianna Pierce.

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6 Responses to The Black Dress Challenge Wrap-up

  1. Did you wear the dress all day every day? What about gardening, cleaning, etc? Maybe you did post about this and I missed it.

  2. Yes, all day, every day. The only exceptions were a couple of chilly evenings when I switched to a cozy velour track suit for a few hours when I was home for the evening. But, other than that, I wore the dress from dawn til dusk and well into the evening.

    The dress was comfortable and versatile enough for cooking and light housework. I also wore an apron to protect against splatters and spills. Fortunately, October is not a big gardening month for us, so I did not need to put the dress to a literal field test!

  3. I really enjoyed your post I think we all should consider down sizing I’ll lives things are to complex as is!

  4. i just viewed the black dress challenge for the first time. it seems to me that you have thirty one other garments you used to make the little black dress stretch. that kind of defeats the purpose of the challenge no?

  5. Pingback:Help Getting Organized | Get Organized with Organizational Tips from Buttoned Up | Six smart time-saving strategies | Buttoned Up

  6. That sounds like fun! But with two dirty kids I think I would need two dresses…maybe I’ll try it…