One Dress For A Month – Would You Do It?

I’m always interested in the fringe zones of fashion – the quirky interpretations of style “rules” and the women who pioneer them. I enjoy reading about style “experiments” and “challenges” that get us thinking outside the box, or closet.

This past weekend I read a few accounts of women who chose, for varying reasons, to wear one simple dress for a month or, gasp, a year.

The Uniform Project was a challenge undertaken by Sheena Matheiken to wear the same black shift every day for a year. Her motivation: ” . . . an exercise in sustainability and a fundraiser to provide education to underprivileged children living in Indian slums.” Sheena is a skilled and creative stylist, and I could never hope to match her talent. So her mission was rewarding to support, and pick up tips from, but I could never duplicate it in any appealing way.

Here are just a few of the ways Sheena made fab outfits from a single dress as her base. She has mad skills.

There’s the non-fashionista, artist Alex Martin, who made then wore the same little brown dress every day for a year. She has more accessible style, and she “started the project as a personal challenge to myself, to find out if I could be an interesting, fabulous, sparkling person without relying on my clothes to sparkle for me.”

Here’s Alex in her LBrD.

Journalist and non-fashionista Elizabeth Withey also wore a simple black dress she named “Laverne” for a year, and she’s a hell of a writer. Her feelings about Laverne are authentic and relatable. When Elizabeth described Laverne one morning like this, I felt her pain: “In the mornings, I find myself delaying getting dressed. Laverne’s hanging there, in the doorway, waiting, quiet, on her best behaviour, and she’s looking at me, pleadingly, and I’m like, “WHAT, Laverne, WHAT?” I swear, she’s got the dress equivalent of puppy-dog-eyes.”

Here’s Elizabeth and Laverne, shortly before the end of the experiment. Great article here.


Since I don’t have the desire to wear the same anything, except a smile, for a year, I’ve been tossing around ideas like: the same simple frock or skirt for a week, styled differently. My experiment would be based on the desire to measure my own creativity, not to limit my closet to one garment!

Here’s a few of the pieces I’ve been playing with in my head:

This simple-but-funky dress by Betsey Johnson would be fun to play with.


This linen wrap skirt would be great layered over or under other pieces. I’d love a chunky sweater on top with tights and booties, to start.


This dress could be a lot of fun: add a cropped sweater on top, or colorful tights below.

My husband is completely on board, btw, and has volunteered to wear the same jeans for a week, with a Wednesday wash. Of course, that’s what he does every week, so he is not allowed in the Club.

Stay fabulous and enjoy every sandwich, xo

Some repeat-able pieces to browse:

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  1. I followed the Uniform Project when it was active and it was fascinating to see how Sheena managed to create a new outfit every day for a year that incorporated the one dress. I could possibly do it for a week…

  2. I like the idea of wearing the same piece every for a week / month / year(?). A whole lot of stuff may come out while the experiment is going on and how you feel about your self and the world by the end of it. If one has the courage to face whatever the outcome, then go ahead. It definitely is not for the faint hearted.
    I will pick up one piece of clothing and see I can use it creatively for a week.
    Thanks Patti for the inspiration and to all the lovely ladies for their inputs.

    • Thank you, Sadhana, for this thoughtful comment. “Not for the faint hearted” is so true! xo

  3. A few years ago I had a jury duty that required one day a week for 13 weeks. It was in the city during the summer and mostly very hot outside. It was cool in the courtroom though and it involved sitting all day except for short breaks. I had a black cotton sleeveless shirtwaist dress that I wore the first week. It was comfortable with a cardigan for inside and appropriate. After the first week it became my uniform. I varied sweaters, scarves, and jewelry. It was a supremely easy to get dressed on jury days and styling it was a fun challenge. I could definitely see doing this if I had a job that required showing up only one or two days per week. BTW I don’t know if anyone noticed, they never mentioned it

    • Another great real-life story, thank you Lee! I love that phrase “a supremely easy to get dressed.” xo

  4. I live in a warm country, the Philippines, where we need to change our clothes everyday. If ever I will follow the concept of “one dress a day”, which I won’t, I would need five of the same dresses, otherwise, I would need to wash it every day . So it won’t make sense at all. It just shows that dressing is necessarily a function of the climate and many other factors where a woman lives.
    This is my first time to post here, Patti, I also want to say your posts, as well as that of the other women, inspire me to find my own style, not as dictated by the fashion mill or public opinion. More power to you and all the wonderful women who share in this blog.

    • thank you so much Merci, for your kind words, and for reading! In Florida spring, summer and fall, we need to wear a fresh outfit every day too. xo

  5. No thanks, I tried incorporating 5 pieces into what I wore every day for a month and it about killed me. By the end of the month I could barely stand the sight of the 5 pieces I chose, funny because I loved them at the start!

  6. I definitely could not do this: having to wear the same dress for a month (let alone a year) would make me very unhappy. Doing this one week and seeing which variations you can come up with, sounds like a do-able experiment. Not for me, though. Would love to hear how you get on, Patti! xxx

  7. I also enjoy reading about ‘challenges’ and ‘experiments’ on fashion and self expression, so I’m glad that you shared these links, so interesting.
    I do like the idea of styling a dress in different ways, for a week, a month or even a year. Even if I’m on the maximalist range of the spectrum, I still love to see how to create something different every day with few ingredients: such an inspiring idea!

    • And you would do it with color and energy! Would love to see your results if you try it, xox

  8. The stripes and the uneven hem would drive you nuts after only a short while, best go for something very simple, no pattern.

    • good suggestions, but I’m only going to try my experiment for a week : > Thanks for commenting. xo

  9. I can’t say I applaud Sheena for sustainability. Perhaps I’m nitpicking but there’s a large difference between wearing the same dress for a year and wearing the same dress for a year with the addition of a closet full of additional tops, skirts, sweaters, pants, leggings, shoes, boots, belts, scarves, etc. Having said that, I don’t know anything about her so perhaps the extras were things she already owned. I could wear the same skirt or shift for a week. A month? Mmmmm… And, like your husband, I can wear the same pair of jeans for a week, lol!

  10. Ha ha! This sounds like hell to me but I really do praise the women with the stamina and determination to do it for an entire year! Proof that the clothes do not really make the woman, even if sometimes they may manage to make the woman happy.

    I’m fully aware that I rely heavily on my clothing to express my personality without opening my mouth. Wearing the same thing every day for a year would be like me not speaking for a full year.

    One week as you suggested would be totally doable and an interesting experiment. I hope you do it and report back to us!

    I will admit when I don’t leave the house I’m quite like your husband relying on the same pair of jeans and only switching out my tops. When no one sees me but my pug I figure any efforts are wasted on an audience that doesn’t care if I’m in PJs or an evening gown. All she cares is that I get her feeding times right.


    • Pets are so great that way! They love us no matter what we wear. I know you love variety, but you’re also a magician at making clothes look different. I will let you know first (and seek your advice) if I decide to do it xox

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