I needed to curb my shopping so I set myself a challenge: no clothes shopping for 30 days. To document this journey I took a selfie every day. The idea was to take a snapshot of my outfit for the day and see if I was able to go 30 days without repeating any outfits.
What began as a fairly shallow challenge to see if I have enough clothes became something much more meaningful and close to my heart. What sparked the idea to do this challenge was a random moment of boredom between meetings. I had just wrapped up a business meeting in which I wore a fairly new and beautiful bright pink blazer. I had about 20 minutes before my next meeting and, feeling proud of my outfit choice for the day, I went to the bathroom to take a selfie in the mirror. When I got back to my table I quickly wrote my first blog post in my “30 days of selfies” series. At that point I had no idea if I would be able to complete the challenge and I had no game plan. I just did it!
I was lucky in that I managed to go 30 days without repeating any outfits, although I did wear jeans and jerseys a number of times. A lot of the outfits I wore were items of clothing I had bought within the past six months, but I felt inspired to wear things from my cupboard that I hadn’t worn in ages. I picked up dresses and tops that I bought years ago and I received a lot of positive feedback about my outfit choices. In fact, on day 17 I got comments on my blog from strangers telling me I’m “chic” and “trendy”. That motivated me to carry on!
Many people have asked me if I struggled to complete this challenge, and to be honest, there were difficult moments but they were few and far between. I have a tendency to buy a few items of clothing and wear them all the time until I buy something else, so one of the hardest aspects of this challenge was thinking creatively and wearing something different every day. Being a freelancer, it is often easier to keep my pyjamas on and work from home, especially in winter! It was this challenge, and in particular, it was the encouragement on my blog and on Instagram that made me realise that people are actually looking at my selfies. This motivated me to put more effort into the outfits I put together.
I like to think of myself as a clean and tidy person, but this challenge reminded me that I am way too cluttered. My cupboards were filled with clothes I don’t wear. I had a massive pile of gym clothes, but I haven’t been to gym in months (maybe that should be the theme of my next challenge?) and a giant South African flag t-shirt. Needless to say, those items were not worn during the 30 days and they have since been removed from my cupboard, along with my granny pants and ill-fitting dresses.
I also saw that I have a lot of really beautiful clothes that I was saving for “special occasions” or “important meetings”. I wore my favourite outfit on Day 29 – black tights, a white jersey, and a pink scarf to match my pink wellington boots. It was by far the most comfortable outfit I wore and the boots got a lot of attention throughout the day. I hadn't worn those boots in 18 months, so the rainy weather on Day 29 sparked my motivation to get them out of my cupboard.
Along the way I learnt a few lessons:
1. It is possible to wear a summer dress one day and Wellington boots the next day when you live in Cape Town.
2. I am not as broke as I think I am. When I wasn’t allowed to buy clothes I was able to spend money on other things – petrol, food and coffee.
3. I have way too many clothes.
4. There are people who can benefit from wearing my clothes and enjoying them more than I do.
At the halfway mark I shared my selfie on Facebook to see what people would say. I got a lot of positive feedback about my “cute outfits” but one comment really got me thinking. A friend of mine suggested that if I have so many clothes I should give some away. So after my 30-day challenge I cleaned out my closet and I ended up giving away two-thirds of my wardrobe! My charity of choice is the TEARS secondhand store. Whenever I clean out my closet, I take my bags of clothes to the little shop in Fish Hoek for the store owners to sort through and sell. Knowing that money generated by selling my clothes is going to a good cause far outweighs my lack of future outfit choices.
If I had to give some advice, I would say that cleaning out your cupboard is never a bad thing. If anything, you will find outfits you have forgotten about! Have a clothes swapping party with your friends, give things away to a charity store, ask your mom or sister if they would like to raid your cupboard – whatever you decide to do, remember that they are just clothes. Holding onto them and waiting for the perfect weather, moment, date, or occasion to wear them, is a waste. Every day is an excuse to wear something pretty!
To see all my selfies go to my blog!
Twitter and Instagram: @kellyjanemole
- Kelly Mole